Friday, September 30, 2011

Follow Me Friday! (9)


Follow Me Friday
is hosted by Parajunkee over at Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. This is a chance to get to know fellow book bloggers as well as follow their blogs. If you'd like to join in the fun, create your own Follow Me Friday post, then visit this week's Follow Friday posts (here and here) and sign the linky. Don't forget to also follow this week's featured bloggers!

Q. What book that hasn't been turned into a movie (yet) would you most like to see make it to the big screen, and who would you like cast as your favorite character?


Hmmmm, what hasn't been turned into a movie? Well, seeing as I recently read Lola and the Boy Next Door I'm going to go with it and also it's companion, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I love both of these and would definitely enjoy movie versions of them. I've chosen to cast the gorgeous love interests, Etienne and Cricket...which was hard!

For Etienne, Douglas Booth (on the left) is a yummy choice. It's the hair! But he's also not short, so then I considered Logan Lerman (on the right), who is shorter and does somewhat have the hair factor. But I picture Etienne a little more beautiful, you know?

As for Cricket, I considered a couple of choices but settled on Max Irons. Again, the biggest factor is the hair and height!! I'm pretty happy with my choices.

If you've read Anna and Lola, who would you choose to cast as Etienne and Cricket?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (21)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine! It spotlights soon to be released books that can't come quick enough!

This week I'm eargerly awaiting...

Courtney Summer's This is Not a Test!

It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up.

As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, everyone’s motivations to survive begin to change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life–and death–inside.


When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?
(summary from Goodreads)


I don't know what else to say about this summary but WOW! Definitely one to keep an eye out for! Before then however, I need to read the rest of Summers' books...I've heard nothing but great things.

What are you waiting on this week?

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers is due for release June 2012.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Teaser Tuesday! (17)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn't give away too much! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!

You Are My Only by Beth Kephart

"There are thirteen steps up, and there are thirteen steps down, and when I opened the red door where the brushstrokes has dried rough around the brass plate, Baby was gone. There was a yellow sock on the ground, below the swing - the color of a chick, Baby's best color. She was always kicking off her socks, my baby." Kindle location 112-14.

Just starting this one. It's an interesting style!

What's your teaser this week?

Monday, September 26, 2011

ARC Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door. (summary from Goodreads)

Another perfectly quirky and utterly swoonworthy story of love, friendship and being true to yourself from the author of the much adored Anna and the French Kiss! This is a must read - so get it, right now!


Lola Nolan wears a new outfit every day, each a unique and expressive costume. She's happy with the way her life is right now. Her relationship with rocker boyfriend Max is pretty serious - despite how unimpressed her Dads are with his being 22 and having no future ambition beyond his music - and she has plans to make her own huge dress, ala Marie Antoinette, for the upcoming school dance. Nothing can go wrong. Until a moving truck shows up outside the house next door - and it isn't new rentals moving in like Lola hoped, but the Bell family returning after years away. For Lola that means facing the Bell twins - Calliope, figure skating extraordinaire, and Cricket, a shy inventor. Two years ago something big happened between Lola and the twins and she wants nothing more than to avoid them. But with Cricket's window directly opposite hers, it's not so easy. Especially as he seems intent on rekindling a relationship with her. Drawn to this taller and more confident Cricket, Lola can't help but question her feelings for him, as well as those she has for Max. Max is the one, right? Or has she alwa
ys been in love with the boy next door?

I was so excited to win a copy of Lola, and as soon as it arrived I started reading, not putting it down until I'd finished sometime in the early hours of the morning. Perkins is brilliant at creating realistic characters that you instantly connect with. And not just her main characters, but the supporting cast too. I feel like I've gotten to know each and every one of Lola's characters, and I mostly love them all. The personalities Perkins creates seem to leap off of the page, each clearly distinguishable and so colourful - none more so than Lola.
I loved Lola right from the first page, and I'm sure you will too. She appears confident and sure of who she is, and for the most part that's true. However throughout the novel Lola doubts everything she thinks she knows and this only endeared her to me even more. Her costumes are perfectly put together in order to make a statement - it's not about fashion, but the stories they tell. I adored how the costumes were so Lola, an actual part of her, not just something for her to hide behind as some mistakenly believe. In much the same way, Cricket's inventions are inherently him, and like Lola's costumes, so much more than a hobby. I love this about Perkins' characters, that there's something they're so into it becomes a part of who they are. It's so quirky, and fun, and completely believable.

What I truly enjoy about Perkins' novels is the relationships - they are key to Lola, and are what make it such an emotionally enjoyable read. There's a fair amount of history between Lola and Cricket which, despite the mounting tension, ultimately allows for an easy comfort during all of their interactions. Honestly, Lola and Cricket made me giddy they were so cute. It's been a while since I got so hooked on a couple that I wanted to squeal like a tween girl everytime they were together...which I did a lot, thanks to Lola and Cricket! Sometimes I find I can get impatient waiting for the moment when characters so obviously in love finally get together. While I was definitely desperate for that moment here, mostly I wished I c
ould draw it out. Lola is perfectly paced, so that every moment only adds to the excitement of the last. I wish it had never ended, truthfully. It's not just Lola and Cricket's relationship either that will leave you smiling, or breathless, or even snarling a little. I adored every moment with Lola's dad's, Nathan and Andy. Their relationship - both as a couple, and with Lola - is solid in a way that is sometimes missing from novels today. I enjoyed the ways they played off each other and were always there for Lola. In much the same way, Lola's relationship with best friend Lindsey is guaranteed to make you smile. They had a real honesty between them that was touching to read. The same can't quite be said about Lola and Max, but jeez the tension between them was palpable! I can't say I'm the biggest fan of Max overall, but their scenes just kept building until I was literally fearing the explosion! Another great relationship was also that between Cricket and his twin sister, Calliope. Calliope may have only had a small number of appearances, but they resonate, especially through Cricket, and it's easy to figure out her feelings and motivations. While each character is unique and stand out in some way, their interactions and feelings for each other are what make Lola and the Boy Next Door fabulous and a book you won't be able to put down.

Of course, there is one other couple I absolutely cannot forget to mention, one I was so very happy to reconnect with. Yep! Anna and Etienne! Reading other reviews of Lola, I knew they made an appearance, but in actuality it's so much more than that. Anna and Etienne are a big part of this story, as friends of both Lola and Cricket. It was amazing to see how their relationship is developing after Anna and the French Kiss, and if you were a fan, you don't want to miss them here. They are still as cute as ever, and Etienne still makes me swoon. Though I tell you what, I am just that tiny, tiny, tiny bit more infatuated with Cricket. I don't know if I can quite explain it...just Cricket has a more quirky quality to him that appeals to me. But I will always adore Etienne none the less!


Overall, Lola and the Boy Next Door is a fun and unique read you don't want to miss, especially if you loved Anna and the French Kiss. It's been a while since I've read Anna (I'm definitely due a re-read!) but as it stands, I enjoyed Lola even more. I loved every character and every moment fiercly, and I can't wait for Isla and the Happily Ever After. As Anna and Etienne were so much a part of Lola, I reckon we can hope for more of the same with Lola and Cricket in Isla, yeah?


Rating:


Publisher: Dutton
Published date: 29 September 2011
Pages: 338

Challenges: 2011 YA Contemporary Challenge; Vacation Reads - San Francisco: Definitely a place to vacation! I'd love to see the houses like the one's Lola and Cricket live in.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

In My Mailbox (18)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Not a lot this week, but I won some more, so woohoo!

Bought:

Shift by Em Bailey

Won:

Halo by Alexandra Adornetto - With many thanks to Dymocks!

Swag:

Starcrossed swag, thanks to the lovely Josie Angelini! Includes a signed bookmark, pen, lip gloss and wristband.

What bookish goodies did you get this week?

**********

Be sure to check out my two current giveaways while you're here!

The first, my SEPTEMBER EXTRAVAGANZA GIVEAWAY, is open internationally and you do not need to be a follower of my blog to enter. Hurry, it ends 1 October!

The second, my 100 FOLLOWERS GIVEAWAY, is also international but you must be a follower of my blog to enter. Closes 30 October.

Good luck!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Review: Tris and Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison

Izzie loves Mark, and why shouldn’t she? As the captain of the basketball team, he is kind and loving and he’s everything she’s ever wanted in a boyfriend. Her BFF loves . . . somebody, but she won’t say who. So when a hot new guy, Tristan, shows up at school, who better for Izzie to fix up her friend, Branna, with? And what better way to do it than with a love philtre?

But even the best of magic has a way of going awry—and Izzie finds she’s accidentally fallen in l
ove with Tristan herself. And that’s a problem. First of all, there’s Mark. Second, Tristan comes with baggage—like the supernatural creatures that keep attacking whenever he’s with Izzie, and the fact that he comes from the place where Izzie’s father was killed, years ago, by an enormous, evil serpent that’s still around—and it knows Izzie is out there.

Like Mettie Ivie Harrison’s
The Princess and the Hound, praised by Orson Scott Card as “powerful, surprising, moving, and deep—a classic,” Tris and Izzie rings the changes on a timeles
s legend, this time in a contemporary high school setting. (summary from Goodreads)

A modern and magical retelling of the German folktale, Tristan & Isolde, Harrison's Tris & Izzie unfortunately does not live up to it's potential.

Izzie has known her whole life that magic exists, and
tells no one but her best friend, Branna, the truth. Her mother is a witch who concocts potions to help people in her work as a paramedic, and her father, who died when Izzie was a toddler, was also magical. Izzie has always been told that she was born without any magical abilities and she relishes her ordinary life with her normal, popular boyfriend, Mark. But when Tristan, a gorgeous transfer from another school, arrives, Izzie's life takes a turn from the normal. Determined to see Branna as happy as she is, and in an attempt to ignore her own attraction to Tristan, Izzie steals what she believes to be a love philtre from her mother's cabinet and has Tristan unknowingly drink it. Instead of Branna also drinking it, however, Izzie impulsively does so. She knows there's no countering a love philtre, but Izzie desperately continues to fight her feelings for Tristan and make things work with Mark. But when magical and deadly creatures show up to kill Izzie she has more than the consequences of the supposed love philtre to deal with. She must face truths long hidden for her protection - about her actual magical abilities, about how her father really died, about where Tristan actually comes from, and about the evil serpent, Gurmun, who is not simply a nightmare of Izzie's, but a powerful creature intent on killing her and enslaving the world.

I truly hoped I would enjoy Tris & Izzie, despite the many negative reviews I'd read. Honestly, because of those reviews I did have fairly low expectations going in. Still, I'd fallen in love with that cover and as a modern retelling of such a tragic love story, I really thought it would be a book for me. Unfortunately that just wasn't the case. I almost didn't finish reading this one but, eternally hopeful, I pushed through to the end, though it never lived up to its potential. And Tris & Izzie did have potential.

I liked the ideas behind the story. That magic secretly existed, and in many forms, was interesting. Izzie's mother, as a witch for example, could create potions, whereas Tristan's magic lay in metals, and Izzie's and her father's in the elements. There were also some seriously cool creatures, like trolls, fairies, dragons, etc, but these were only minimally touched on. Gurmun himself, a monstrous and ancient evil serpent, had the makings of
something huge but fell into the stereotypical bad guy trap, ending up nowhere near as scary or as effective as I think Harrison set out to have him. Big Bad 101, my slithering friend - less chatter. Even the main characters fell a little flat. Tristan never developed beyond a sword-toting, old world feeling warrior with one purpose in life - to protect the damsel - and Izzie herself was never depicted as being powerful enough to explain why Gurmun was so determined to hunt her down. I kept waiting for her to to grow out of her naivete, harness her abilities and learn how to use her magic to it's fullest...and kept on waiting. Instead Harrison neatly and quickly wrapped the story with a bit of luck and winging it. Everything that felt like it had the possibility of more unfortunately just kept falling short. Including the once epic romance of Tristan and Isolde that fizzled here. I can't believe in a love just because there's attraction and the author says it's there. I need to feel it, but in actuality I felt very little throughout this book.

Tris & Izzie was ultimately a quick read, and I think that might have bee
n part of the problem. There was just too much, too fast, and many of the plot lines felt forced and without coherent development - just like it's characters and romance. It was as if their purpose was simply to provide drama but there was never any actual building up to it. The only surprises were how many times Izzie thoughtlessly changed her mind. Every shocking twist was instead glaringly obvious before it was revealed and so the story plodded along despite how much Harrison tried to fit into it.

Overall, Tris & Izzie was a disappointing read for me. I'd hoped to like it but I simply could not connect with any of the characters or the story as a whole. Everything that held some sort of intrigue never became more than that.

Rating:


Publisher: EgmontUSA
Published date: 11 October 2011
Pages: 262
Format: e-Galley

Many thanks to EgmontUSA and NetGalley for providing me a copy in return for my honest review.

Challenge: Vacation Reads - Curvenal.
A hidden and magical town full of mythical creatures? I could enjoy a vacation there...especially now that it's destroying evil has been booted!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Follow Me Friday! (8)


Follow Me Friday is hosted by Parajunkee over at Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. This is a chance to get to know fellow book bloggers as well as follow their blogs. If you'd like to join in the fun, create your own Follow Me Friday post, then visit this week's Follow Friday posts (here and here) and sign the linky. Don't forget to also follow this week's featured bloggers!

Q. Do you have a favorite series that you read over and over again? Tell us a bit about it and why you keep on revisiting it?

If you've been following any of my previous Follow Me Friday posts, you're gonna know exactly what my answer is right now...so say it with me! 1...2...3...HARRY POTTER! But when it's true, it's true, so what else I can I say? I must've re-read the HP series about...7 times? And that's only so far! I reckon that's about right, and that it's even on the low side compared to many! I really, truly love this series. It's my favourite. I'm sure I don't have to tell you what it's about, but why do I keep revisiting it? Well, I suppose it's just that it never gets old. Every time I read it it's like I'm reading them for the first time. Even knowing the endings I still experience the same whirlwind of emotions. I still laugh in the same spots, I still cry at the same moments. Then sometimes something new or different stands out to me, and that changes my experience. The Harry Potter series simply doesn't get old for me. It's one of a kind too because I honestly cannot recall ever rereading another series. I've revisted some stand alone books, but never a series. I've been wracking my brain and even questioned my Mum, but nope, nothing. However, I do plan to reread some series in the future. I want to reread The Hunger Games before March, and one day I hope to reread John Marsden's Tomorrow, When the War Began series as I enjoyed it so much in high school. But for now, there's only HP, and I doubt there'll ever be a series I can reread quite as much as it.

Do you have a favourite series you can read again and again?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (20)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine! It spotlights soon to be released books that can't come quick enough!

This week I'm waiting on...

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout!

Starting over sucks.


When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring…. until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don’t kill him first, that is.
(summary from Goodreads)

Aliens, YES! That, plus the whole summary cracks me up. I am definitely looking forward to this one!

Jennifer L. Armentrout's Obsidian is expected to be released 6 December 2011.

Also, be sure to check out Jennifer's international giveaway happening now until 19 October - there's an excerpt from Obsidian, and a chance to win ARCs of both Obsidian and Pure, the sequel to her much anticipated Half-Blood! Don't miss out!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Teaser Tuesday! (16)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn't give away too much! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!

Unnatural by Michael Griffo

"Michael blinked again and when he opened his eyes he saw that the boy was looking directly at him, unsmiling but inviting. It was unnerving, though not in a frightening way, and Michael was completely calm and fascinated by every detail of this boy, his arms hanging loose, easily, at his side, his hair, jet black, thick, and straight, lifted slightly by the wind. But when he noticed that this boy, this apparition, this miracle, was still staring back at him through the raindrops, Michael could feel his heart pound within his chest." - p. 84

I have to force myself to not write out this whole moment! Michael and Ronan meeting for the first time in the pouring rain. It makes me sigh. I'm almost finished this book, and have mostly enjoyed it...definitely enough to want to read the next book in the series!

What are you reading this week?

Monday, September 19, 2011

100 Followers Giveaway!


I can't believe I have over 100 followers! It happened so quickly! Thank you to every single one of you, I truly appreciate your supporting my blog!

To celebrate I'm having another giveaway! There'll be 3 winners, and each can pick books of their choice from The Book Depository! The first winner to the value of $50, the second $30, and the third winner gets to spend $20! Entering is easy, please check out the rules below.

To enter please fill out THIS FORM. Entries in comments will not be accepted.

  • You must be a follower of Baggins's Book Blabber
  • Open internationally to wherever The Book Depository ships
  • Ends 30 October
  • Extra entry available - spread the word
  • Winners will be selected through Random.org and have 48 hours to respond
Once again, thank you so much, and good luck!!

Don't forget to also enter my SEPTEMBER EXTRAVAGANZA GIVEAWAY! You do not have to be a follower to enter it, and it's also open internationally. Closes soon, on 1 October!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

In My Mailbox (17)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

A quiet week this week, but great titles...including an awesome one that I WON and have been desperate to read for months! So YAY!

Bought on Kindle:

The Emerald Talisman by Branda Pandos (which was only 99c!)
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
After Obsession by Carrie Jones & Steven E. Wedel

Won:

Lola and the Boy Next Door (ARC) by Stephanie Perkins - With many, many thanks to Kiki Hamilton, who also sent me signed swag for her upcoming book, The Faerie Ring! I started reading LOLA right away and LOVED IT! Review will be posted soon!

What did you get this week?

**********

So, I had thought I'd scheduled this post but like a dork I must've saved it as a draft instead! It was one of those weeks, unfortunately!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Review: The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegen

Sasha is desperate to find out who murdered her father. When getting the answer means pledging her soul to Eryx, she unlocks a secret that puts her in grave danger—Sasha is Anabo, a daughter of Eve, and Eryx’s biggest threat.

A son of Hell, immortal, and bound to Earth forever, Jax looks for redemption in the Mephisto Covenant—God’s promise he will find peace in the love of an Anabo. After a thousand years, he’s finally found the girl he’s been searching for: Sasha.


With the threat of Eryx looming, Jax has to keep Sasha safe and win her over. But can he? Will Sasha love him and give up her mortal life? (summary from Goodreads)

The Mephisto Covenant is a stunning story of love and redemption against the backdrop of the biggest battle of all - that of Heaven and Hell.

Sasha desperately wants to know every detail about how her father was killed in Russia a year ago, and pledging an oath to the mysterious Eryx and his secret society, the Ravens, doesn't seem like much to pay for these answers. Especially as Sasha doesn't really believe in this Eryx. What Sasha soon learns however is so much more than she could ever have expected. She is Anabo, a daughter of Eve who feels none of the temptation for sin that humans do. With her mother exiled to Russia and Sasha forced to live with family she never knew existed, she is thrust into a world of Heaven and Hell and its battle for lost souls - a battle fought by Jax and his brothers, sons of Hell whose duty it is to maintain the balance and truce between Heaven and Hell. With Jax's salvation relying on Sasha's choices, can she choose immortality and an eternity of chasing lost souls by his side? Or will she choose a life without Jax?

The Mephisto Covenant was a surprising story with many plots and twists I didn't see coming. Right from the first page something big is happening and the action just kept going until the last page. There's just so much to this book - betrayal, secret love, family rivalries, spies, high school drama, epic love, destiny, angels & demons...it goes on. Honestly, it all kind of blew me away as I was expecting the tried but true simple storyline of girl meets boy, she finds out life altering secrets about boy and herself, girl chooses boy despite the consequences. Sure, this storyline is there, but it's in no way simple! With so much going on I was a little amazed with how well the story flowed. The connections between Sasha's father's murder, Eryx and his evil plans, the sons of Hell - it really was brilliantly held together in my opinion. At first, as some of these different plots were revealed, I was a bit confused and worried about how I was going to enjoy The Mephisto Covenant, but I shouldn't have, because it all comes together into a conclusion that left me a little breathless...and continuously pressing the button on my Kindle for the nonexistent next page! I still want more, even now!

In books like this I find it's common for the guy to keep secrets in the hopes of protecting his supposed damsel in distress. Well, not here. Instead Faegen's provided a fresh twist where pertinent information is divulged early on. In this way, the focus isn't on Sasha trying to find out the truth no matter what, but on how she deals with it and what choices she will make because of it. Of course, there's still some secrets kept hidden until the end - we do need some surprising twists, after all - but between Jax and Sasha there was honesty, and I loved it. I really enjoyed their relationship, they were cute and hot, completely drawn to each other from word go. There wouldn't be the much needed tension however if Sasha made her choice too early on, so there is a wait and with it just enough development to keep me truly satisfied.

I can't say for sure if Faegen planned it this way, but sometimes Sasha frustrated me. As Anabo, Sasha is not tempted, she doesn't feel sin the way many do. So basically, she's doesn't get angry, doesn't judge people - and so many times I wanted to shake her into that kind of reaction! The difference between her and us, as it were, are conveyed very well, is my point. Certainly I am tempted by sin, even in terms of fictional characters and storylines! The more Sasha is around Jax, the more she is influenced by, well, the dark side - and I loved every moment of Sasha's transformation. She's a spitfire when it comes down to it! I always give massive kudos to authors who can elicit emotional and physical responses from me, and Faegen has it. I'm thankful I read most of this book at night in bed, otherwise I may have got more than one weird look for my growls, eye rolls, giggles, or cheers.

The sons of Hell are partly to be blamed for a few of these reactions. While most of Jax's brothers unfortunately make rare appearances throughout the novel, when they did they really kind of stole the show. Unused to normal every day relationships with a girl, their interactions with Sasha are nothing short of hilarious. If I had to pick one thing I want most from future books in this series, it's that there be more of the sons of Hell! As for Jax himself...can I say SWOON and leave it at that? This is one boy you want to get to know yourself! He is the epitome of tall, dark and handsome, and I am endeared by his inherent kindness and protectiveness. Welcome, Jax, to my fictional-boyfriend's-I-wish-were-real list!

I will say that there were moments throughout The Mephisto Covenant when the writing felt a little forced, especially in terms of some of the excessive dialogue. There's every chance this is just me, but sometimes I found the use of slang jarring, so much so that it would pull me out of the story. While it tempered my rush to devour this book, it didn't minimise my overall love for it.

Overall, The Mephisto Covenant was a fresh and interesting story that demanded attention right from the beginning. I'm very much looking forward to more, and I'm intrigued to find out if the series will continue Jax and Sasha's story, or if Faegen will go the way of Alyxandra Harvey's Drake Chronicles and have another brother focus each book. I certainly wouldn't mind either way, just as long as I do get more of the Mephisto!

Rating:

Publisher: EgmontUSA
Published date: 27 September 2011
Pages: 435
Format: e-Galley

Many thanks to EgmontUSA & NetGalley.

Challenge: 2011 YA Debut Author Challenge; Vacation Reads - Telluride, Colorado, USA. Snow & skiing, that sounds like a real vacation, yes? And if I happen to bump into any sons of Hell, well, I won't complain. Unless it's Eryx...

Friday, September 16, 2011

Follow Me Friday! (7)


Follow Me Friday is hosted by Parajunkee over at Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. This is a chance to get to know fellow book bloggers as well as follow their blogs. If you'd like to join in the fun, create your own Follow Me Friday post, then visit this week's Follow Friday posts (here and here) and sign the linky. Don't forget to also follow this week's featured bloggers!

Q. It's that pesky magic book fairy again! She has another wish: What imaginary b
ook world would you like to make a reality?

N'aww, my answer for this one is easy...and probably standard. The world of Harry Potter, of course! Oh, to be a witch and attending Hogwarts! Yes, please! The thought has occurred to me though...what if it is real and I just don't know it because I'm - *gasp* - a MUGGLE? The horror. It's not true, I know it!

Another book world - because I need to be more interesting than just Harry Potter all of the time, despite the fact that it's plain brilliant - is that of Naomi Novik's Temeraire series! It's historical, so I'd have to go back in time too, but DRAGONS! For those of you who might not be familiar with this series, it's set in the period of Napoleon and his wars, and along with the Navy and it's ships, there's the Aerial Corps which is, you guessed it, men battling on dragons. So cool.

What book world do you wish could be a reality?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Review: Misfit by Jon Skovron

Jael has always felt like a freak. She’s never kissed a boy, she never knew her mom, and her dad’s always been superstrict—but that’s probably because her mom was a demon, which makes Jael half demon and most definitely not a normal sophomore girl. On her sixteenth birthday, a mysterious present unlocks her family’s dangerous history and Jael’s untapped potential. What was merely an embarrassing secret before becomes a terrifying reality. Jael must learn to master her demon side in order to take on a vindictive Duke of Hell while also dealing with a twisted priest, best-friend drama, and a spacey blond skater boy who may have hidden depths.

Author Jon Skovron takes on the dark side of human nature with his signature funny, heartfelt prose. (summary from Goodreads)

Skovron's Misfit is a fantastic read full of epic characters, creatures and mythology. It's guaranteed to leave you on the edge of your seat and wanting more!

Jael wants nothing more than to be normal. To attend school, hang out with friends, live in one place for more than a couple of years. But knowing your long dead mother was a demon and having a super-strict father who refuses to talk about his past or your mother makes this a little problematic. Then on Jael's 16th birthday her father gives her her mother's necklace - and nothing will ever be the same again. With it comes visions of her parents past and an unknown demon uncle - who looks like a fish monster. Jael is about to learn truths hidden from her her whole life - about her mother's death, the reality of Hell, and what it truly means to be half-demon. With a Duke of Hell determined to kill her, Jael needs to decide exactly who it is she wants to be.

Jael is one of the great things about Misfit. Sure, she started out wanting the whole 'normal' thing and willfully ignoring the realities of her life, which isn't necessarily a bad thing but it is a done thing. But when the time came she didn't just step up - she rushed head long into the calling danger. Jael quickly became quite the kick ass character, and her lessons on being half-demon were awesome. I wish I could communicate with the elements!! Seriously, Jael is impressive, and as the story is told from her point of view, it makes for a better read. I will say that sometimes I questioned Jael's too easy acceptance of certain things, but this is a really minor quibble and did not deter from my overall enjoyment of the book and Jael herself. This girl is going to be going places and it's going to be intense, so I'm glad she was easy to connect with.

Of course, I have to mention Jael's demon uncle, Dagon. If it wasn't for the fact that I adored most everything about this book, I'd recommend it for him alone. Dagon is truly everything you imagine about a fun, loving, favourite Uncle. Except he also happens to be a demon and look like a giant fish monster! I enjoyed every one of Dagon's scenes, especially those that express the wonderful relationship developing between him and Jael. I look forward to not just more of this, but more of his personal history - we only catch glimpses throughout Misfit, and I have a feeling it'll be epic.

I was pleasantly surprised by the romance of Misfit. It's slow and sweet for sure, but a little less than I expected. While there's definite tension and interest between Rob and Jael, and a relationship develops, it simply didn't focus the story. It's there, it's only just beginning, and that's that. It actually felt a little more realistic for this reason, especially as Rob is privy to Jael's truths. It's tentative, as developing romance should be, and by the end I was sighing at the adorableness of it all.

I'm seriously impressed by the world building and history of Misfit. I guess I wasn't quiet expecting the level of detail Skovron has provided, and the atmosphere of it is tense, with every word pulling you into the story. Certainly I couldn't stop reading until I'd finished it. His descriptions of Hell and the battles that occur throughout the book are graphic in a way that had me wincing or wanting to cower. Alternatively, his descriptions of Jael's encounters with the elements are breathtaking. His words ooze feeling and create a consuming read. A lot of the mythology here relies heavily on standard religion, and I found what Skovron added to it to be intriguing and unique. I especially loved the idea that once demons looked like humans, as they were worshipped and revered, but that today, feared and despised as they are, they resemble monsters. Their outward appearance is defined by people's beliefs of them. In such a way, Misfit touches upon many questions of the nature of good and evil. It offers many questions and discussions about religion actually, what with Jael's father, Paul, training to be a priest before meeting Astarte. With so much history, there's the risk that the story can get bogged down by it, but I think Misfit has a fine balance, revealing tidbits as needed but remaining focused on Jael and the fact that she is brand new to it all and learning as she goes.

My favourite parts of this book would have to be Jael's visions of her mother and father's past, which act as introductions to the immense history Jael has found herself a part of. They flowed with the story perfectly and for me, these flashbacks made the book. I loved the insights into Paul and Astarte, not only as a couple, but as individuals. You can't help but feel for Paul as it all comes together and I find myself simply wanting to see more of him. His and Jael's relationship is rocky at best, but full of new hope. What's obvious is that Misfit has only scratched the surface of Jael's story and I for one am eager for more.

Rating:

Publisher: Amulet Books
Published date: 1 August 2011
Pages: 362
Format: e-Galley

Many thanks to ABRAMS and NetGalley.

Challenge: Vacation Reads - Okay, so I wouldn't actually want to vacation in Hell...but Skovron's descriptions of it are fantastic and it came alive in my imagination. So you know, I wouldn't mind being an invisible observer to the Hell he writes about, just briefly...as long as I could remain invisible and unharmed!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (19)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine! It spotlights soon to be released books that can't come quick enough!

Gimme, gimme, gimme...

Jessi Kirby's In Honor!


Honor receives her brother's last letter from Iraq three days after learning that he died, and opens it the day his fellow Marines lay the flag over his casket. Its contents are a complete shock: concert tickets to see Kyra Kelly, her favorite pop star and Finn's celebrity crush. In his letter, he jokingly charged Honor with the task of telling Kyra Kelly that he was in love with her.

Grief-stricken and determined to grant Finn's last request, she rushes to leave immediately. But she only gets as far as the driveway before running into Rusty, Finn's best friend since third grade and his polar opposite. She hasn't seen him in ages, thanks to a falling out between the two guys, but Rusty is much the same as Honor remembers him: arrogant, stubborn. . . and ruggedly good looking. Neither one is what the other would ever look for in a road trip partner, but the two of them set off together, on a voyage that makes sense only because it doesn't. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn--but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences?
(summary from Goodreads)

Everything about this book says I will love it, and so I cannot wait to read it! Just. Yeah. It sounds gorgeous!

In Honor by Jessi Kirby is due to be released 8 May 2012.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Teaser Tuesday! (15)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn't give away too much! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!

Between the Land and the Sea by Derrolyn Anderson

"The surfer had glanced down just in time to see the huge jaws closing in on him. He knew what was coming and had braced himself, resigned to his fate. To his amazement he was spared. A split second before he was awaiting death, and now he was looking into the most beautiful face he had ever seen. A girl with eyes the color of the sea, eyes that locked onto his and disappeared under the water in a flash." Location 46 Kindle edition.

I'm only just starting this one, but woo, what a teaser! What do you think?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Event: Maggie Stiefvater at Word Play 2011

Last week, on Wednesday and Friday, I attended Word Play as part of the Brisbane Writers Festival. Here I was lucky enough to attend a couple of Maggie Stiefvater's events and meet her. For those of you who may not know, Maggie is the best selling author of The Wolves of Mercy Falls series (Shiver, Linger, & Forever) and the Books of Faerie series (Lament & Ballad), as well as the upcoming The Scorpio Races.

I had an awesome time, especially as Maggie is both a brilliant and hilarious storyteller. All throughout her Meet Maggie Stiefvater event I was in stitches.

Beware, this is long!

* First Maggie addressed the two questions she hates most - what inspired her to write Shiver, and why werewolves. The first she answered by saying that there is no absolute answer. Maggie describes ideas as pimples - on the first day, you're going about your business. On the second day, you have a feeling. Then on the third day, BAM! You have a volcano on your face. So the idea for Shiver came about like this - on the first day, Maggie was going about her business. On the second day, she got a feeling. Then on the third day, a deep voice boomed down from the heavens - "Maggie Stiefvater. You will write about werewolves and kissing." The rest, as they say, is history.
* Maggie also feels she was inspired by her cynicism. She said that she was never one to cry in books or movies. In the cinema, as the hero lay dying (here she used facial expressions and hand gestures to show blood spurting from what we assume to be the hero's sliced throat) she'd be the one yelling "It's just a flesh wound!" One day though, she read The Time Traveller's Wife for the second time and cried. Not pretty tears silently sliding down her cheeks, but snot bubbles and full out sobbing (during which her kids and pets hid under tables, her husband demanded to know why she did this to herself again, and to which she answered by throwing things at him). Thus, Maggie decided she wanted to write a story so poignant, with characters so real, that they would leave the reader utterly devastated. I'm sure you'll agree with me that she achieved her goal, yes?
* As for why werewolves, this answer went many places, so I'm not sure I'm able to fully explain it here...or quiet as well as Maggie did! She began by saying how actually she hates werewolves, because they shed, they slobber, they have a problem with the lunar cycle, and something about a World War that I can't rightly remember, sorry. She also mentioned being coerced to see New Moon on opening night and the consequent effects of Jacob Black, his tearing his shirt off, and the 50-something lady sitting behind her growling. Then there was a story about how Maggie read The Plant People as a child, got freaked out, and then couldn't remember if she'd picked it up from the fiction or non-fiction section of her library. Instead of illustrations, it had actual photographs, so she began to believe it was all true. And so later when she caught glimpses of Michael J. Fox's Teen Wolf...well, she got paranoid is possibly putting it lightly! Finally, she came to the conclusion that she hadn't written about werewolves, just wolves. In fact, about shifters! She thought maybe it was a metaphor of identity loss...which she said in a much fancier way that sounded brilliant! What it truly comes down to though is that Maggie finds wolves both terrifying and beautiful, and so she wrote about them. She also told the story of when she was on tour and visited actual wolves and how they all howled, right there next to her. It's a brilliant story, and I believe you can read about it on her blog. (Yep, here.)

* After these explanations, Maggie asked for questions. Actually, she shamed everyone in to asking questions by telling the story of her first tour where she met with schools of British students. Her jokes didn't get many laughs but she pushed through, and when it came to the questions all she got was 6 schools of blinking raccoon eyes! Though finally someone commented that her accent was awesome, which opened the floodgates on questions like 'how was your flight' and 'how do you pack for such a trip'. She answered these, just in case anyone was wondering!
* Now I don't remember all of the questions exactly, but I made notes of her answers. First she was asked about how she writes - whether she has a plan, or she just goes with it. Maggie answered that she tries to have a plan, but that usually the book goes where it wants to and so she simply goes with it. She said it's like her recent tour in the States, where she road tripped it. She had a plan to leave here, stop here, arrive here finally, but instead she passed a huge Viking announcing Little Norway and so she just had to deviate to see where that would take her. Might not be worth anything in the long run - she said that was true of Little Norway - but that she wouldn't know unless she went there.
* In response to being asked how long she's been writing for, Maggie said forever. She remembers writing her first story about two dogs test driving a car. She told her Dad she wanted to be a writer when she was a child, to which he said 'oh, you want to be poor?' This led to her telling the students that becoming a writer doesn't just happen and that she has enough rejection letters to cover the floor of the event room. She told them that it's never a complete 'no' however, just a 'not yet' and that it's a matter of trying again and again.
* Someone asked about how she writes and how long it takes her to write a book. To everyone's delight, Maggie's thinking process involves lying on her floor and listening to music loud enough that it rattled her butt cheeks! And that it takes about 4 months for her to write a book.
* My favourite story she told is this one, about the release of Linger and it's debuting on the NYT bestseller's list. This list comes out on Wednesdays at 5.30pm EST exactly, and the week of Linger's release, Maggie was desperate to know if she'd made the list. She was travelling that day, and so told David (her editor, I think?) to call her the moment he had the list. Of course, on the day, the phone she was using died, so she called him again from her Dad's phone to tell him he had to call that number instead. At exactly 5.30pm! Now, Maggie was meant to be off the plane and at her destination before that time, but because the world works the way it does, her flight was delayed so that when 5.30pm came about she would only be a little into her flight. This did not make for a happy Maggie! She listened to the flight attendant's spiel about turning off all electronic devices so that the plane wouldn't crash with a bit of resentment. 10 minutes later a mobile phone goes off and Maggie's thinking what idiot is trying to crash the plane when her father hands her his phone and tells her it's her call. Yep, it's 5.30pm! So she shuffles down as low as she can in her seat and warily watches the flight attendant who is scanning the plane, her spidey senses tingling. DAVID: 'Maggie?! Are you ready to celebrate?' MAGGIE: *whispers* 'Noooo.' DAVID: 'Linger has debut at number 1! Congratulations!' MAGGIE: *whispers* 'Woooo.' FLIGHT ATTENDANT: *eyes zero in on Maggie* *announces over the loudspeaker* 'Would a certain person please turn off their electronic device before the plane goes down in a ball of flame and we all die!' Seriously, I had tears in my eyes I was laughing so hard. Maggie went on to say how the flight attendant gave her the cold shoulder for the rest of the flight. FLIGHT ATTENDANT: *hands out drinks, smiling* *comes to Maggie* 'We don't serve your kind.' Poor Maggie. She couldn't celebrate the way she truly wanted to either, so she was doing things like pointing out the window and saying 'doesn't that look like a number 1 to you?!'

* After such an amazing event however, Maggie felt too much pressure and so writing Forever was harder than ever. She actually spent 4 months writing it, and then 2 weeks before it was due she dumped it. All of it. With David sobbing in the background, she said she completely rewrote it, and so Forever actually took her 8 months to write.
* She was asked if she designed her covers, which was a no. Though she detailed how she had some small input on Forever's cover, like changing the colour of the red they were using, and the shape of the leaves (which they had as maple leaves!!) She also wanted to change Sam's pants, stating that he would never wear skinny jeans, but they ignored her there! This led to Maggie telling the story of her April Fool's joke this year, where she announced that she would be writing a 4th book in the series called Litter. She also designed a cover for it, with Grace and Sam surrounded by puppies. But unfortunately the joke wasn't taken as she'd expected, which led to her having to contact Goodreads and make them remove the listing for Litter. I remember the joke, but I had no idea it was taken seriously by anyone! That is just too funny!
* The last couple of questions were about how she creates characters, whether she puts people she knows into her books. Maggie says that she doesn't make any character like any one person, but that instead she takes from all different people and creates a character from a mash of it all, so that they can feel as real as possible. She said she puts herself into her villains, so that they are believable and 3D - she can understand their motives this way. She went on to state that despite all of this, she's actually put her two brothers into The Scorpio Races. She didn't say as which characters, but she'd hoped they wouldn't recognise themselves. I believe she wasn't that lucky.
* Detailing The Scorpio Races before she finished, she said it's her favourite she's written so far and that it is Deadliest Catch crossed with My Little Ponies. There was a lot of murmuring after that, so I'd say she has some new interest in it! I know I can't wait!

I also attended Maggie's Stories that Move presentation, which was about creating book trailers. She hosted this with Aussie author Tristan Bancks, and it was fun. They had some technical difficulties to begin with, but each showed their trailers and discussed briefly how they created them. Both her and Tristan said that book trailers act as visualisations to their words, and as an introduction to their books. Tristan went on to say that creating their own trailers also helps them to focus on what their books are about when they want to talk about them.

Maggie was fantastic! When I met her she was so nice, and we chatted about what our fave books were of her series. I told her I liked Shiver because I enjoy the build up. She said she usually loves the middle book. She was very pleased to hear that the end of Linger devastated me. Honestly, she laughed in delight! I had all my books on me, and Maggie was nice enough to sign them all. I'm so glad she came to Brisbane and that I was able to meet her and attend her events.

While at the festival I also met Emily Rodda, who is a best selling Australian author of middle grade fantasy. I grew up reading her books, so it was a lot of fun meeting her. She's next to Maggie signing my books below.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In My Mailbox (16)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

More great titles! I'm going to have to put myself on a book buying though and work on catching up on those I already have! I've completely forgotten to include my Kindle purchases for the last few IMMs, so I'm listing them all here in one go.

Bought:

Blood Song by Rhiannon Hart
Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon
Flawless by Lara Chapman
Ten Things We Shouldn't Have Done by Sarah Mlynowski

Kindle:

Everblue by Brenda Pandos
Anathema by Megg Jensen
Intrinsical by Lani Woodland
Unnatural by Michael Griffo
Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey
Daimon: A Prequel to Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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Be sure to check out my SEPTEMBER EXTRAVAGANZA GIVEAWAY! Open internationally, you do not have to be a follower to enter. Closes 1 October.

What did you get in your mailbox this week?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Follow Me Friday! (6)


Follow Me Friday is hosted by Parajunkee over at Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. This is a chance to get to know fellow book bloggers as well as follow their blogs. If you'd like to join in the fun, create your own Follow Me Friday post, then visit this week's Follow Friday posts (here and here) and sign the linky. Don't forget to also follow this week's featured bloggers!

Q. Have you ever wanted a villain to win at the end of a story? If so, which one??

Seriously, I don't think I can answer this one. I've been browsing my books and my Goodreads list, and none come to mind. Sometimes I might like a villain, but always I find myself cheering for the heroes. Tessa Gratton's Blood Magic is something like this. I love Josephine, as a character. Bitch is crazy as, and she leapt off the page! But I never, ever wanted her to win. There's also the times the villain changes somehow to become more of 'the good guy'. Here I'm thinking of someone like Eric from the Sookie Stackhouse series...or well, True Blood, as I have yet to read the books. Seems a villain to begin with but not so much these days, yeah?

Not a very inspiring answer! I guess my answer is simply no, I haven't ever wanted a villain to win!

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While you're here, be sure to check out my SEPTEMBER EXTRAVAGANZA GIVEAWAY! You do not have to be a follower to enter. Open internationally, it ends 1 October!

Good luck, and thanks so much for stopping by!