Sunday, September 30, 2012

Blogspiration (38): You're vs. Your


Blogspiration is a weekly meme hosted by GrowingUp YA & Saz101. The meme was created to help spark inspiration among bloggers, readers & writers alike. An inspirational quote/picture/video is posted weekly, on the day of the author's choosing, so that it may inspire creativity, conversation & just a little SOMETHING.



OK, so it's quite possible I think this is single greatest thing... uh... ever. Well, today. I've had a few 'greatest evers' this week. If you want to see the full lyrics, you can read them here, but essentially, the guy's rapping about internet trolling and arguments, and how all the folks on message boards arguing keep misuing 'You're and Your', and it's really rather amusing ;D

More on Blogspiration and Linky sign-up below the jump!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles #1), Gena Showalter

Title: Alice in Zombieland
Author: Gena Showalter (author website | blog)
Release Date: Oct. 1st 2012 by Harlequin Teen Aust
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal
My Rating:1 star2 star

Alice in Zombieland. The name alone screams Burtonesque-Resident Evil promise. Yet readers approaching Gena Showalter’s latest Young Adult offering with such hopes will find themselves disappointed. Instead, Alice in Zombieland will appeal to fans of the likes of Twilight and Vampire Diaries, those desperate for unrequited romance, dark teen angst and dangerous secrets. Leave your expectations at the door, and climb down the rabbit hole...

From Goodreads:
She won't rest until she's sent every walking corpse back to its grave.

Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that's all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real.

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn't careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies.

The Story:

Alice’s father’s always been nuts. He sees monsters—walking corpses, hungry for the living. But that’s the thing: only he sees them—until her entire family, Mum, Dad, and beloved little sister, are killed in a car accident, leaving Alice the lone survivor.

Now Alice sees them, too.
And they see her.

The 101:

I know, I know, I used the dreaded ‘T’ word up there, but, in truth, Alice in Zombieland is the closest I’ve come to Meyer’s progeny’s cousin. Perhaps this is the point which needs addressing first: Contrary to the promises of its name, Alice in Zombieland is not a fantastical take on the zombie apocalypse. It’s a straight up YA paranormal, heavy with the tropes of its genre: Absent parents, protagonist with previously unknown power, new school, small town? Check. Controlling, untouchable bad boy with a dark secret? And then some. Alice in Zombieland is, in fact, a compulsively readable addition to its category, but in a genre turgid with paranormal tales of angst driven romance, it does little to set itself apart.

While Alice does have much to recommend it—amongst them a fascinating, eminently creepy take on zombie lore, and a wonderful cast of secondary characters (none less than Alice’s fantastic best friend, Kat, and her sweet, funny grandparents)—it’s let down by two its most crucial players: Alice, and her love interest, Cole Holland.

Alice, whilst a fairly engaging protagonist, feels somehow spurious, her voice sounding more like an adult attempting to channel a seventeen-year-old than an authentic teenage narrative. While people seldom speak precisely what they think, there seems a disconnect between Alice’s inner vulnerability and uncertainty, and the brave, ballsy girl she projects when she speaks. Alice’s dialogue is one of the highlights of the book, her tenacity making for fabulous verbal smackdowns. She is never at a loss for the right thing to say, her words as fierce a weapons as her fists—this girl can fight–but everything admirable about Alice crumbles around one boy: Cole Holland.

Condescending, controlling, and a borderline sociopath, Cole Holland screams ‘bad boy,’ and not in a good way. He’s a deeply disturbing YA paranormal archetype, second perhaps only to Patch Cipriano of Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush ‘Saga’. Yet, while even I admit to Patch’s appeal (and the guy is a confessed attempted murderer), Cole left me cold. The connection Alice and he share is disturbingly intense, and the power gradient in their relationship unhealthily balanced. While the Alpha archetype irks me little in adult romance with a female lead who can hold her own, it leaves me profoundly uncomfortable in young adult. Nevertheless, the chemistry between Cole and Alice is palpable, and will hold strong appeal for readers looking for heady, smoking-hot romance—it certainly kept me reading.

The Verdict:

Alice in Zombieland is a book with many problems, yet it’s also compulsively readable, with a teen romance boasting unparalled heat and chemistry. Paranormal readers will devour the tome, just don’t look too deep. The reading experience is kind of like making mud pies: Fun at the time, but leaves you feeling dirty.

Books in This Series:

  1. Alice in Zombieland (October 2012)
  2. Through the Zombieglass (Expected 2013)

Want it? Get it:

Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Borders/Bookworld | Dymocks | QBD
An enormous thank you to Harlequin TEEN Australia for providing a review copy of Alice in Zombieland

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Blogspiration (37): A Man Who Reads


Blogspiration is a weekly meme hosted by GrowingUp YA & Saz101. The meme was created to help spark inspiration among bloggers, readers & writers alike. An inspirational quote/picture/video is posted weekly, on the day of the author's choosing, so that it may inspire creativity, conversation & just a little SOMETHING.


Well, that about is it all.
*sigh*
And I still think he's the perfect Mr Darcy.

More on Blogspiration and Linky sign-up below the jump!

Friday, September 21, 2012

COVERLICIOUS REVEAL + GIVEAWAY: OPAL by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I am so excited to be a part of the cover reveal for Opal, amongst a veritable army of other bloggers. And seriously, this is the best cover yet in the series. So. WHAT DO YOU THINK? The chemistry between the two models is smoking, and they're both gorgeous, and I am DYING to get my hands on this baby!


No one is like Daemon Black.

When he set out to prove his feelings for me, he wasn’t fooling around. Doubting him isn’t
something I’ll do again, and now that we’ve made it through the rough patches, well... There’s a lot of spontaneous combustion going on.

But even he can’t protect his family from the danger of trying to free those they love.

After everything, I’m no longer the same Katy. I’m different... And I’m not sure what that will mean in the end. When each step we take in discovering the truth puts us in the path of the secret organization responsible for torturing and testing hybrids, the more I realize there is no end to what I’m capable of. The death of someone close still lingers, help comes from the most unlikely source, and friends will become the deadliest of enemies, but we won’t turn back. Even if the outcome will shatter our worlds forever.

Together we’re stronger... and they know it.


Follow this link to an ~~~ EPIC CONTEST ~~~ Announcement.
You will want to bookmark this page!


USA TODAY Bestselling author, Jennifer L. Armentrout, lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell, Loki. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class where she spent most of her time writing short stories... which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She also writes adult romance under the name J. Lynn.

Find Jennifer on: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Website | Blog

G I V E A W A Y

To celebrate the cover release, I'm giving away a pre-order of OPAL. Haven't read Obsidian or Onyx yet, but want to? If that's the case, I'll send you any book in the Lux series instead!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


An enormous thank you to Jennifer & Entangled Publishing for organising the cover reveal, and having me participate!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Stormdancer (The Lotus War #1) by Jay Kristoff

Title: Stormdancer
Author: Jay Kristoff (author website)
Release Date: 1st September 2012 by Tor UK
Age Group: Young Adult/Adult
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating:1 star2 star3 star4 star

Two words: Chainsaw Katana. Add mechanical samurai, flying warships, and ask yourself: what else could a book possibly need? Yet Jay Kristoff’s debut isn’t content with its clockwork wonders and mythical beasts alone. Stormdancer straddles genres, steampunk and Shinto fantasy combining with a passionate message for one of the most thematically rich releases of the year.

From Goodreads:
Griffins are supposed to be extinct. So when Yukiko and her warrior father Masaru are sent to capture one for the Shogun, they fear that their lives are over. Everyone knows what happens to those who fail him, no matter how hopeless the task.

But the mission proves far less impossible, and far more deadly, than anyone expects – and soon Yukiko finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in her country's last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled griffin for company. But trapped together in the forest, Yukiko and Buruu soon discover a friendship that neither of them expected.

Meanwhile, the country around them verges on the brink of collapse. A toxic fuel is slowly choking the land; the omnipotent, machine-powered Lotus Guild is publicly burning those they deem Impure; and the Shogun cares about nothing but his own dominion. Yukiko has always been uneasy in the shadow of power, when she learns the awful truth of what the Shogun has done, both to her country and to her own family she's determined to do something about it.

Returning to the city, Yukiko and Buruu plan to make the Shogun pay for his crimes – but what can one girl and a flightless griffin do against the might of an empire?

The Story:

Brave, angry and wild, we meet Yukiko in the suffocating, toxic streets of Kigen City. Polluted by the poisonous exhaust of the Shima Empire’s mechanical advancement, the country is dying. Famine, poverty and Black Lung grip the nation’s working poor. Yukiko is somewhat privileged, the daughter of the Shogun’s Master Hunter, the Black Fox, Masaru, though with most animal and plant life near extinct beneath the blanket of choking smog, why the Shogun needs a master hunter is questionable. Until the impossible happens.

An Arashitora—part eagle, part tiger, thought extinct—is spotted, and Shogun Yoritomo will have it as his prize at any cost. Journeying with her father to hunt the legendary thunder tiger, Yukiko knows their lives are forfeit if they return to Yoritomo without the beast.

They find the thunder tiger, alright. But when things go terribly wrong, Yukiko is left stranded is the empire’s last surviving wilderness with the furious, crippled beast. A beast who thinks and reasons like her. A beast with a soul and a mind that may just change hers forever, and change the destiny of the entire country.

The 101:

With constantly shifting point of view and a vast cast of characters, Stormdancer is a tale of many things, and many people, but of none more than Yukiko and Buruu. Yukiko is angry and orphaned for all but her father, who wastes his days and coin in gambling dens, lost in an opium haze. But in a world dying and oppressed by corrupt government and religious zealots, Yukiko has a weapon: empathy—in more ways than one. She’s a splendid character, able to see and care for the suffering around her.

Her weakness is perhaps a lack of resolve, or, if not the will to take action, the way. Enter Buruu. Pure animalistic instinct, resolve, action and fury, Buruu completes Yukiko. His fire combines with Yukiko’s compassion, and the two both grow, Buruu learning reason and restraint, Yukiko learning freedom, and to fight for it.
"Our troubles are but mayflies, rising and falling between the turn of dawn and dusk. And then they are gone to the houses of memory, you and I will remain, Yukiko."
The real magic of Stormdancer lies in the bond shared by Buruu and Yukiko. Far beyond simple friendship, stronger than blood, and deeper than the most passionate romance, the connection that grows and blossoms between Thunder Tiger and ‘Monkey Child’ is the stuff of legend. As hatred shifts to grudging tolerance, then cautious acceptance, to something indelible and profound, both change and grow into something more. The pair cease to be two, becoming one in a magnificent, awe-inspiring way, the joining of their minds proving a breathtaking, pivotal moment in the book.

Dancing around behind the pair is a vast, rich world, filled with powerful players and pawns, corruption and beauty, and rebellion. Shima is a world poisoned, choking on the refuse of its own mechanical revolution, and with Stormdancer, Kristoff makes a bold statement on the cost of industry and advancement, examining the true price of power, leading to gruesome, grizzly, and deeply disturbing discoveries.
"Your kind are blind. You see only the now. Never the will be."
But magic, mechanics, and madness aside, Stormdancer is also a tale of family, in all its forms. What is family, really? A crumbling connection of lies and blood between father and daughter? Sacrifice for a beloved child? Manipulations between brother and sister? The deepest, most profound message of Stormdancer is perhaps the one of family we make for ourselves—of bonds deeper than blood, those of love and devotion and sacrifice despite differences.

But it is worth noting that—perhaps like all worthy, great, things in life—Stormdancer is not always easy to read. Kristoff loves words—and with a demonstrated mastery, so he rightly should—but lengthy, detailed descriptions and wordy imagery do make for a slow start. Do not be discouraged. Persevere, and you shall be richly rewarded.
"Each of you must decide where you stand. All we ask is that you refuse to kneel. You are the people. You have the power. Open your eyes. Open your minds. Then close the fingers on your hand."

The Verdict:

A sweeping, thrilling epic, Stormdancer is magnificent. Kristoff’s Japanese-steampunk-fantasy masterpiece is both a splendid celebration of family and friendship and a scathing allegory for corruption, and the grey-area ethics of technological advancement and its environment impact. Call it grown-up, call it YA, Stormdancer is category crossover with a profound tale of friendship, love, and truth that will appeal to fantasy fans of all ages.

Books in This Series:

  1. Stormdancer (September 2012)
  2. As Yet Untitled  (release date unknown)
  3. As Yet Untitled  (release date unknown)

Want it? Get it:

Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Borders/Bookworld | Dymocks | QBD

An enormous thank you to Pan Macmillan Australia & Brodie from Eleusinian Mysteries of Reading  for providing a review copy of THIS AMAZING BOOK!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Blogspiration (36): Equality is Necessity


Blogspiration is a weekly meme hosted by GrowingUp YA & Saz101. The meme was created to help spark inspiration among bloggers, readers & writers alike. An inspirational quote/picture/video is posted weekly, on the day of the author's choosing, so that it may inspire creativity, conversation & just a little SOMETHING.




"Equality is not a concept. It's not something we should be striving for. It's a necessity. Equality is like gravity, we need it to stand on this earth as men and women, and the misogyny that is in every culture is not a true part of the human condition. It is life out of balance and that imbalance is sucking something out of the soul of every man and woman who's confronted with it. We need Equality, and we kind of need it now. 'So why do you write these strong female characters?' Because you're still asking that question."
- Joss Whedon
I've been a Whedon fangirl since the beginning, first with Buffy, then Angel, then Firefly and Dollhouse. This is the man that wrote Toy Story and The Avengers, and a man who'll always, always, always make me sit up and listen.

If the quote above doesn't give you chills, I don't know what will, because this message isn't about feminism--it's about equality, it's about respect, and it's about love. I love.

More on Blogspiration and Linky sign-up below the jump!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Interview with Hannah Harrington, author of SPEECHLESS

It's no secret I love Hannah Harrington. OK, so maybe adore comes closer. Her debut novel, Saving June, is an all time favorite of mine, and her follow up, Speechless, released last month blew me away. I am so excited to have Hannah here today to answer a few questions. Read on for Hannah talking discrimination, atypical heroines and sneaky cameos from Jake and Harper!


Chelsea is a... difficult character to like. At first. Then there's this wonderfully gradual shift to a character I adored. You don't seem to make compromises with characters, but throw us in there, with their prickles, foibles and all—they're real, even when they're not nice. Neither Chelsea or Harper are typical young adult protagonists, but they're two of my favorites. Are you drawn write atypical, difficult characters?

Hannah: I really enjoy writing the trajectory of a character who finds their strength and/or sense of self over the course of a story. You are absolutely NOT supposed to like Chelsea at the start, but hopefully as the story progresses, you understand her more and see the changes she is going through in becoming who she is. I’m more interested in internal conflict than external, so I’m less inclined to write stories where the characters start off as fully evolved or enlightened or perfect. I think too the truth is that characters like Chelsea really do exist in real life, andeven as a contrast characters like Kristen—some of us grow  through experiences at that age, for some people it takes longer. I find flawed characters who struggles not just with their circumstances but with themselves to be more interesting to write!

What was your favorite part of writing Speechless?

Hannah: I have to say probably writing the scenes at Rosie’s and fleshing out that cast of characters was my favorite. There are parts of the book where Chelsea is really isolated, and so throwing her into the group with all of the different dynamics was the most fun for me. Plus, I think everyone would love to meet an eccentric bunch of people like the ones who work at the diner!

Discrimination, equality and GBLT rights play a huge part in Speechless, but never in a heavy-handed or preachy way. The issues are handled with real sensitivity and insight--was it tough to write about?

Hannah: It was tough because it was very important to me to do justice to those issues. One thing that was important to me was that even though this is Chelsea’s story, that the victims of what happens—Noah most especially, and Andy, too—were not just used as props in her redemption, that their suffering was prioritized, and for them to have their own agency and feelings about what happened. I know some people wanted to know more about Warren and Joey’s side of things, but to me, Warren and Joey weren’t important besides being a catalyst, and yes there needs to be justice on their end for what they did, but within the confines of the story (since it doesn’t take place over too long a period of time), I didn’t want them to get the focus.

I do hope that when I write about these issues that it doesn’t come off as hammering anyone over the head. I try to include them because they naturally fit into the story, and because they are honestly relevant to what teens experience, but I’m not setting off to make a grand moral statement.

I have to know: there's a small scene in Speechless with a boy named Jake and his girlfriend. Are they Jake and Harper?


Hannah: Yes! People who have read Saving June will notice early on in Speechless that both stories are rooted in the same fictional town, Grand Lake. I couldn’t help but throw in a short cameo so you can see that Jake and Harper are still going strong! It was very fun to write.

Can you tell us anything about what you're working on now/next?


Hannah: I am working on a third book, but it’s too early to be able to describe the premise properly! Mostly right now I am getting through the release of SPEECHLESS and all the excitement that comes with it. :)



A BIG thanks to Hannah for her time today. If you love her, why not use the links above and let her know? You can find Hannah on:
GoodreadsWebsite  |  Blog  | Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Tumblr

Speechless is available now at Harlequin www.harlequinbooks.com.au and in bookstores nationally for RRP AUS $19.99.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Blogspiration (35): On Positivity


Blogspiration is a weekly meme hosted by GrowingUp YA & Saz101. The meme was created to help spark inspiration among bloggers, readers & writers alike. An inspirational quote/picture/video is posted weekly, on the day of the author's choosing, so that it may inspire creativity, conversation & just a little SOMETHING.



This quote comes from our own AMAZING Alex, of Alexandra's Scribblings. If you follow Alex's blog, you already know she's incredibly inspiring. She always has something to say that renders me speechless in awe. If you somehow don't know her, go check out her gorgeous blog -- you can thank me later ;D

More on Blogspiration and Linky sign-up below the jump!

Monday, September 3, 2012

AAA: The Wrap Up


After thirty-one days, dozens of authors, and perhaps best of all--YOU--later, Author Appreciation August has drawn to a close. We've had a ball, and hope you've felt the same, so in one last hurrah, here's the AAA round-up!

First, we owe an enormous round of thank yous. To the authors, the biggest thank you of all. This even couldn't have happened without your time, generosity and the hard work you put into writing the stories we love. We can't thank you enough, but we hope you know just how damn loved you are.

To the publishers: thank you for making this event possible.
Allen & Unwin, Hachette Australia and Date a Book, Hachette UK,  Hardie Grant Egmont, Simon and Schuster Australia, you are amazing, and we love you.

To YOU: Thank you for your time, energy, and showing the authors involved some love. You are rockstars.

Giveaway Winners!


Event Schedule

If you've missed any posts, worry not! See below for a list of all the AAA entries

Wednesday 1st August:
Reading Wishes:
Introduction + GIVEAWAYS + Schedule
Appreciaton Posts Introduction

saz101:
Introduction + GIVEAWAYS + Schedule
Appreciaton Posts Introduction

Thursday 2nd August
Reading Wishes: Sarah Alderson, author of HUNTING LILA - Top 5 Authors I Appreciate
saz101: Interview with Lauren Kate

Friday 3rd August
Reading Wishes: Author Giveaway
saz101: Author Giveaway

Saturday 4th August
Reading Wishes: Jennifer Echols - 5 books I wish I’d written
saz101: Jill Hathaway, author of SLIDE - Top 5 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Being Published

Monday 6th August
saz101: Interview with Marissa Meyer, author of CINDER!

Tuesday 7th August
Reading Wishes: Guest post from Jodi Meadows, author of INCARNATE:’The Sequel - Writing Book 2’

Wednesday 8th August
saz101: Interview with Jay Kristoff, author of STORMDANCER

Thursday 9th August
Reading Wishes: Jennifer E. Smith - Top 5 Books That Changed My World

Friday 10th August
Reading Wishes: Interview with Elizabeth Eulberg, author of TAKE A BOW
saz101: Teri Terry, author of SLATED - 5 Things Writing Has Taught Me

Monday 13th August
saz101: Rebecca Serle, author of WHEN YOU WERE MINE - 5 Lessons My Characters have Taught Me

Tuesday 14th August
Reading Wishes: Vlog from Leila Sales, author of PAST PERFECT

Wednesday 15th August
saz101: Interview with Jessica Shirvington, author of EMBRACE and ENTICE

Thursday 16th August
Reading Wishes: Interview with Miranda Kenneally, author of CATCHING JORDAN
saz101: Interview with Cat Patrick, author of FORGOTTEN and REVIVED

Friday 17th August
saz101: Elizabeth Norris, author of UNRAVELING - 5 Literary Quotes that Inspire Me

Saturday 18th August
Reading Wishes: Guest post by Katherine Longshore, author of GILT - 'A Day In The Life Of A Writer'

Monday 20th August
saz101: Interview with Lauren Oliver, author of DELIRIUM and BEFORE I FALL

Tuesday 21st August
Reading Wishes: Jessica Spotswood, author of BORN WICKED - Top 5 Authors Who Shaped Me Into The Writer I am Today

Wednesday 22nd August
saz101: Guest post from Brigid Kemmerer, author of STORM and SPARK: The Writer’s Schedule

Thursday 23rd August
Reading Wishes: Interview with Kirsty Eagar, author of NIGHT BEACH
saz101: Interview with Maria V. Snyder, author of TOUCH OF POWER and INSIDE OUT

Friday 24th August
Reading Wishes: On Authors - the Publishers SPILL!
saz101: Jennifer L. Armentrout, author of HALF-BLOOD and OBSIDIAN - 5 Things I Hate About Writing

Saturday 25th August
Reading Wishes: Huntley Fitzpatrick, author of MY LIFE NEXT DOOR

Monday 27th August
saz101: Interview with Gail Carriger, author of SOULLESS and ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE

Tuesday 28th August
Reading Wishes: Kody Keplinger - author of DUFF and A MIDSUMMER’S NIGHTMARE

Wednesday 29th August
saz101: Louisa Reid, author of BLACK HEART BLUE - 5 Things That inspire My Writing

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Blogspiration (34): Listen to Your Dreams


Blogspiration is a weekly meme hosted by GrowingUp YA & Saz101. The meme was created to help spark inspiration among bloggers, readers & writers alike. An inspirational quote/picture/video is posted weekly, on the day of the author's choosing, so that it may inspire creativity, conversation & just a little SOMETHING.




This quote actually comes courtesy one of our own: the very talented L.G. Keltner, who you can meet over at her blog, Writing Off The Edge. In a Blogspiration post a few weeks ago, she wrote these words and they resonated with me. Just a reminder that wisdom and inspiration can be found anywhere, if you keep your eyes open ;)

More on Blogspiration and Linky sign-up below the jump!

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