Saturday, 31 January 2015

LOOTCRATE


So, we recently found out about a very cool subscription service that sends out a bunch of very cool geeky stuff every month. It's called LOOT CRATE. The exciting thing about it is that it's a mystery box. So you don't know what you're going to get each month. The only thing they give you is a theme.
 
January's theme was REWIND. So we were very excited. The box arrived this week. Yay.
 
This is what it looks like:

 
This is how it was packed:

 
And these are all the goodies:
 
 
We get one box and share the goodies. My daughter got the glasses + badge, and I grabbed the Comic Book Notebook. Everything else is hubby's. ;)
 
I love getting these things because a lot of the time they're exclusive. I can't wait to find out what the theme is for February. We've signed up for six months, and this is actually our second month.
 
This is what December's (theme: ANNIVERSARY) looked like:
 
 
 
There are a few other boxes out there and the one that really caught our eye is HORROR BLOCK. I don't need to tell you what the topic is there, right? I've been a huge horror fan since I was a kid so I couldn't resist. This month's box should arrive soon. I can't wait...
 
But that's a post for another day. :)
 
Have a great weekend!

Friday, 30 January 2015

PLEASE REMAIN CALM by Courtney Summers


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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Today I had a bit of a zombie-reading day. I read The Walking Dead #136 and then got stuck into this novella. :)

I LOVED This Is Not A Test, so I was looking forward to reading this one. Especially after my daughter read it and kept talking about the ending.

Sloane and Rhys are determined to reach Rayford because it's supposed to be safe, but the world they live in is dangerous and overrun by the dead. So they wind up losing each other. Rhys barely survives and is convinced he'll never see her again, but sometimes the pendulum swings from bad to good luck when you least expect it. Before screwing you up again.

The story is told by Rhys, and I have to admit that at first I missed Sloane's POV because Rhys was a little too abrupt. And even whiny. But that was when they were together. As soon as they're apart, his story really took off. The secondary characters in this novella were so interesting.

And like my daughter said: THAT ENDING. OMG. WTH? No. :(

It all came together very well. I really enjoyed this, and hope there's another one coming. I need to know what happens next.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

LOVE BOMB by Jenny McLachlan

Love Bomb
Betty Plum has never been in love. She's never even kissed a boy. But when H.O.T. Toby starts school it's like Betty has been hit with a thousand of Cupid's arrows. It's like a bomb has exploded – a love bomb!
 
More than ever Betty wishes her mum hadn't died when Betty was a baby. She really needs her mum here to ask her advice. And that's when she finds hidden letters for just these moments. Letters about what your first kiss should feel like and what real love is all about…
 
Is Betty ready to fall in love? Will she finally have her first kiss?


Last year I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of a mega cute book called Flirty Dancing. Both my daughter and I absolutely loved it, so we were mega excited when we received the ARC for the second book in the Ladybirds series. And just like the first book, I read it in a day!

Betty Plum has just turned fifteen. She might be running late like usual, but she's still having a great day with her friends. When she meets the new kid in school, she sets her sights on this hottie. Toby is tall, cool, the right kind of boy she wants. So she makes it her mission to get his attention, which she has no trouble doing. Before she realises what's happening, she's caught up in a Toby whirlwind that has her fronting his band, hanging out with him outside of school, and doing all types of non-Betty things just to be around him.

This is one of those times when she wishes she still had her mother around. Sure, Betty and her father have a great, quirky life together and do all sorts of awesome, unusual things but she could use some advice about boys and falling in love. And that's where her mother's letters come in. Since her mother died when Betty was very small, her father's passed on a birthday letter every year. This one happens to be the last one, so she puts it off for a while. But when she eventually decides to open it, this final letter leads to a cache of secret letters.

As Toby pays more attention to her, she starts losing touch with her best friend Bill. A boy she's known all of her life and is still there when she really needs him. But she's also letting down her friends Kat and Bea. And she's starting to not get along with her father because for the first time in her life, he might have met someone that threatens their cool family routine. Not to mention the worst thing of all--that she's starting to stifle a bit of her awesome self. So Toby doesn't think she's stupid, she starts taming down some of her more odd tastes.

This story is just as good as the first one. It's fun and quirky, featuring a headstrong heroine who is hilarious but slowly starts to lose herself because she's convinced she's in love with a 'cool' boy. It's also an emotional ride about one young girl trying to use her dead mother's letters as a way of guiding her through romance and love. And what happens is her experiences, though different, end up being parallel to her mother's letters.

Love Bomb is another super cute, fun story about a very unique girl who loses sight of what's important on her quest to finding love. It's a coming-of-age story about a teenager who doesn't want her family life to change. A story about understanding that love is sometimes right in front of you. And just like Flirty Dancing, it'll hook you in from the beginning. This time, instead of cheering along, you'll probably want to hug Betty. Behind this hilarious, nice girl hides a sadness that leaps off the pages and touches your heart.
 
I loved this book, and I'm really enjoying this series. Thanks Bloomsbury Australia!
  

Love Bomb, April 2015, ISBN 9781408856093, Bloomsbury Childrens

Edits & Stuff


So, it's Thursday. The first real sunny day we've had all week. The day my daughter starts the new school year. The day after finishing FLEs for DASH. The day after reading/finishing another great book.

Yeah. It's a day of many things. :)
 
DASH is the fourth book in my SFR RECAST series. It's also (now) one step away from being completely done. I will soon be getting the proof, and then it's done. And it will be released in May. Cool.
 
This is exciting for many reasons. It's a Robot Love Story I've been wanting to tell for ages. It means my RECAST series is only two books away from being done. It means that soon I'll have another new book in the wild. And it also means that once I'm done reading the proof, I can move onto other projects.
 
Don't forget I've got that 2015 Writing Goals List. ;)
 
But for today, I'm actually taking a breather. I wrote and posted a review, spent some time reading, hung out with Loki, and am now writing this little update. LOL. After everything I squeezed into the last few days, I really need to just sit back and relax for a bit. Not for long, but hopefully for what's left of this week. I'm hoping that the DASH proof hits my Inbox over the weekend or Monday, so I can worry about tackling it next week.
 
Then, I can go over my To-Do List and attack that. There are a few things on there, but my main one will be getting the final Lavie Draft done. I'm actually looking forward to it.
 
Okay. It's almost lunchtime, so I guess I'll sign out and go grab something to eat.
 
Have a great day!


*Today's pic is of a gorgeous Hallmark itty bittys Wonder Woman that my hubby and daughter surprised me with last week. She's so cute!

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

THE HERE AND NOW by Ann Brashares

Seventeen-year-old Prenna James emigrated to New York when she was twelve. But Prenna didn't come from a different country, she came from a different time - a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they're from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she's told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth and take the lives of her younger brothers. But everything changes when she falls for Ethan.

She might be able to save the world ... if she lets go of the one thing she's found to hold on to.

 
I was looking forward to reading this book. The premise sounded interesting and the cover is gorgeous. So, I was glad that I was engrossed from the beginning.
 
Prenna James is an immigrant. Not from another country, or even another planet. She's emigrated from the future. She lives in a world that is in ruins. The world has been ravaged by the selfish, greedy ways of humans, and a blood plague carried by mosquitos does the rest of the devastation. She's young, but she's lost a lot, and now lives with her mother within a tight-knit community of fellow travellers.
 
They arrived in 2010 and are here to make a change, to ensure that the future doesn't end up the same as the place they escaped. There are strict rules they need to adhere to, and one of those is to never get intimate--physically or emotionally--with one of the time natives. As much as she tries, Prenna does her best to not get involved, but Ethan is hard to ignore. He's nice, funny, persistent, and seems to know a lot more about her than other natives.
 
When Prenna realises that all the rules she's been trying to stick to are more about control and surveillance than to help create a better future, she's upset and angry. But when a familiar face from her life makes her see things the way they really are, she finds herself in the middle of a race against the clock. With Ethan's help, she has to stop the murder of someone pivotal to saving the future. By doing this, she ends up breaking all the rules. And it feels amazing.
 
Spending time with Ethan, as they try to solve the mystery, makes all of her defences shatter until she can't deny how she really feels. Until she trusts him with a lot of secrets about the life she left behind and slowly starts to fall for him. But theirs is a forbidden love, because if they let themselves get too close they might just destroy everything. Not just each other.
 
This was a great book! It's a time travel/futuristic book with a twist of thriller, and a nice sprinkle of romance. But at its core I also saw it as a wake-up call to our world. Sure, the story might be fiction but with everything that's changing in our world and the amount of people in power who push their denial because of greed, it's not so far off. There's a particular conversation that goes on between Prenna and Ethan that really touched a nerve. She mentions how surprised she was to find that people in our time already know so much about climate change and what it can do, but no one does anything about it. And it's so true.
 
I love that such a lovely story also got me thinking about real life issues we face today, and so many conveniently ignore.
 
The Here and Now is a beautiful, unique and intriguing story seen through the eyes of a determined teenager who tries hard not to break the rules, but at the same time just can't seem to stop herself. Prenna is a wonderful and strong heroine that does everything within her power to help make a change to the world's future. It's also a forbidden love story that tears at your heartstrings.
 
I really enjoyed this book!
 

The Here and Now, January 2015, ISBN 9781444921922, Hodder Children's Books

AUSTRALIA DAY BOOK GIVEAWAY BLOG HOP WINNER


2015-ausday
 
Firstly, no matter where you live, I hope you all had a great weekend.
 
Secondly, THANK YOU to everyone who entered my contest!
 
After using Random.org, the winner is...
 
Angelya @ Tea in the Treetops
 
Angelya, please send me an email--it's on the Contact Me tab--and let me know which eBook format you prefer, so I can send the Sierra Fox series to you ASAP. :)
 
 
 Congrats!
 
And once again, thank you for stopping by.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

NUESTRA SENORA DE LA ESPERANZA by Carrie Vaughn


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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don't know anything about the Wild Cards universe, but I enjoy Carrie Vaughn's books, so I decided to give this a go. Not to mention that it's a TOR.com story, and you know how much I like reading those. ;)

Ana Cortez is an ace, an Earth Witch. But after being injured in a war, she's back home with her father and brother. Injured and haunted by terrible memories of what she had to do, she's doing some soul searching. But to do that, she has to go much farther than to the trailer park. She has to drive to Mexico to meet her grandmother.

This was an emotional and intriguing story about self-forgiveness and self-acceptance. I loved it. It's interesting and very well written.


View all my reviews

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop


2015-ausday

Hello--I mean, G'day--and welcome to my first Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop.

This weekend, Australians have a long weekend to celebrate Australia Day. So I'm going to join a bunch of book bloggers, publishers, booksellers, and authors by taking part in a big giveaway that celebrates Australian books.

Since I'm an Aussie author and my Sierra Fox series is set in Oz, I've decided to give away the 5 eBooks in the series to one lucky person.


So if you'd like to enter, just leave a comment on this post. The contest is open to everyone and will end at midnight on Tuesday, January 27th. I will pick one winner the next day (via Random.org).

And because it's a blog hop, don't forget to check out all the other stops at Book’d Out for your chance to win some great books.

Good luck!

I'll be taking it easy this weekend, and I hope you will too.

Happy Australia Day.
 
 

THERE WILL BE LIES by Nick Lake

There Will Be Lies
Shelby Jane Cooper is seventeen, pretty and quiet. It's just Shelby and her mom, Shaylene, a court stenographer who wears pyjama jeans, stitches tapestry, eats ice-cream for dinner and likes to keep Shelby safe. So safe she barely goes out. So safe she doesn't go to school. Because anything could happen, to a girl like Shelby. Anything.
When Shelby gets knocked down by a car, it's not just her leg that's broken: Shelby's world is shattered. Her mom turns up to collect her and drives off into the night, like it's the beginning of a road trip, like two criminals on the run, like Thelma and Louise or Bonnie and Clyde. And somehow, everywhere she looks, there's a coyote watching her, talking to her, telling her not to believe.
Who is Shelby Jane Cooper? If the person who keeps you safe also tells you lies, who can you trust?
 
 
I received this book from Bloomsbury and knew nothing about it, but decided to give it a go. The premise sounded intriguing, and after reading the first chapter I knew I definitely wanted to read it.

Shelby Cooper is seventeen years old and lives a very sheltered life with her mother, Shaylene. They live in a small apartment in Scottsdale, Arizona. Shaylene works as a court stenographer  to support them, and even manages to homeschool Shelby. Their routine is the same every day and she doesn't have any real friends. Fridays are the only days that break routine because it's Ice Cream for Dinner Night, and when she gets to use her beloved baseball bat at the batting cages. It's also when she stops by the library and gets to chat to a really nice guy who works there.

The night Shelby gets hit by a car, life as she knows it changes. She ends up in the hospital and when she's well enough to leave her mother packs all of their belongings in the car and announces they're moving. She's fine about moving, even if her foot is busted and she can't walk properly. Shelby knows her mother loves her and has always protected her, so she goes along with this plan.

But when it becomes obvious that her mother has been keeping secrets, and she starts acting differently, Shelby starts to question her. Not to mention that Coyote keeps calling her into the Dreaming, and Shelby finds herself on a quest to save a crying child she's been dreaming about all of her life.

Before Shelby realises what's going on, they're on the run. She's still happy to let her mother take the lead but eventually starts to understand just how deep the secrets and lies run. And suddenly, she doesn't know who to trust...

This book is amazing. I had a hard time summarising the plot without giving too many details away. Trust me when I say that I left out a bunch of pivotal points because giving them away would ruin the exciting way this story unravels. And it's a truly wonderful experience, to watch the world unfold and truly comprehend how far this poor girl's life has to shatter before everything can be put back together.

Shelby is a somewhat unreliable narrator and leaves out important details when it suits her. A technique that totally works for this story because it's a fascinating story about a teenager who doesn't know how to deal with the truth when everything is revealed.

There Will Be Lies is an exceptional, addictive, heartbreaking book. The story hooked me instantly, and all I wanted to do was keep reading. I desperately wanted to see where everything was going to end up. I really liked the way this story was written. And the title is perfect!

I absolutely loved this book. It's hard to put into words just how much I enjoyed this.
 
There Will Be Lies, January 2015, ISBN 9781408856000, Bloomsbury Childrens

Friday, 23 January 2015

Just a few things


Hey, how is everyone today? It's Friday, so I'm cool. Especially since we're heading into a long weekend. Yay.
 
This week has been kinda hard. Because we hit the workouts pretty hard last week, went for a massive city walk on Saturday, and completed our 14 Day Lean Legs Challenge... I was buggered. So tired that I hurt my right arm. Tuesday and Wednesday were pretty shitty because it's really hard to give your right arm a rest when you're right-handed. O_o
 
Anyway, it's feeling a lot better. So I'm glad we'll have three days to relax, instead of two. And that hubby will be home.
 
You know how I really want to blog a lot more than I did last year? Well, so far I've been doing pretty good. I mean, the aim of the goal isn't to blog every single day, but a lot more than a few times a month. So far, so good. And the other day I was thinking about how it would be awesome if I could keep track of when/what I was blogging. I thought about it for a while and decided that I would start a new notebook just for that, when I remembered that I have a totally awesome planner.
 
So, this is what I decided to do:
 
 
There are two pages like this at the beginning of the planner with the title Timetable. I don't need a timetable, but I totally love the format. There's enough space to list the weeks, dates and spaces to jot down the blog titles. So, there you go! Love it.
 
I'm glad I thought of this now that it's the beginning of the year.
 
So, the FLEs for DASH didn't come in this week. And while I toyed with the idea of getting started on some revision, like I mentioned above, I just wasn't in the mood. Sitting in front of the computer for hours with a sore arm isn't ideal. Instead, I caught up on some reading.
 
FYI, this year I'll be taking part in this:
 
2015-ausday
 
So drop in tomorrow for your chance to win some Sierra Fox eBooks. 

Well, that's it for today. I just wanted to drop in for a little update and to share my latest Planner Idea. I really love this SW Moleskine Planner. :)
 
Have an awesome weekend!

Thursday, 22 January 2015

WARM UP by V.E. Schwab


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Warm Up by V.E. Schwab
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is yet another TOR.com story. There are so many good ones that I've decided to read one after every book I read. :)

David hasn't left his house for a long time. 297 days to be precise. After the avalanche that took his life also managed to change him, he hasn't been able to go outside and face the world or people. Even his wife left him and took their son.

It's taken a long time for him to feel in control enough to go anywhere.

The night he decides to go out, he stops by a bar and everything goes well. It's afterwards, when he's heading home, that someone sneaks up on him and ruins David's life.

What a great story! I really enjoyed it and I'm glad I read this prequel shortie before the first book in the series. Which I've already got on my Kindle. :)


THE DARKEST PART OF THE FOREST by Holly Black

Faeries. Knights. Princes. True love. Think you know how the story goes? Think again...
 
Near the little town of Fairfold, in the darkest part of the forest, lies a glass casket. Inside the casket lies a sleeping faerie prince that none can rouse. He's the most fascinating thing Hazel and her brother Ben have ever seen. They dream of waking him - but what happens when dreams come true? In the darkest part of the forest, you must be careful what you wish for...
 
NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Holly Black spins a dark, dangerous and utterly beautiful faerie tale, guaranteed to steal your heart.
 

I like a good faerie tale, and one written by Holly Black is sure to satisfy.
 
Hazel and Ben live in the town of Fairfold. They're siblings who are very close, yet don't realise how far apart their separate secrets keep them. 
 
In the darkest part of the forest there is a glass coffin. Inside lies a beautiful sleeping prince with horns. He's quite the spectacle and draws the attention of tourists who mostly don't believe he's a real boy. It's also a popular hangout for teen parties, where they drink the night away and someone usually attempts to unsuccessfully break the glass.
 
Hazel and Ben spent most of their childhood in the woods because their artist parents were more concerned with having parties than taking care of two kids. But they didn't mind, they learned to survive in the woods and Hazel was determined to become a knight. She was so determined she even found a very cool sword she started wielding as her own when she decided to hunt monsters.
 
But now the monster in the woods is getting hasty. No longer is it happy to take the odd tourist, it's now also hurting the locals. So Hazel makes it her mission to hunt down and destroy the monster. The night that the prince's coffin is miraculously shattered and he's set free, the turn of events send Hazel and Ben down a very dangerous path, all leading to the cruel Alderking...
 
This was an awesome book. I got swept away in the story as soon as I met Hazel and found out she was a complicated character. A girl who likes to kiss boys at parties but doesn't commit to any of them. Someone who is scared of falling in love, yet has been for years. And a person whose bravery and desire to help her brother turns her waking and sleeping lives into a big mess she has to decipher.
 
I also liked Jack. The changeling with an unexpected story of his own. A faerie boy who has lived with the humans all his life, with a family that truly loves him. Yet he yearns to experience his true nature. And Ben, the one bestowed with a musical gift he didn't know how to use and did whatever it took to escape the responsibility.
 
Together, these characters and the others around them create an excellent modern myth. One that turns the stories and archetypes we know so well upside down.
 
The Darkest Part of the Forest is an intriguing, exciting tale of bravery, friendship, love and secrets. It's spooky and dark, and hooked me in from the beginning. I had a great time discovering all of Hazel's lost memories at the same time she did. And the ending was magical. Loved that Epilogue!
 
This was a great story. Loved it!
 
Check out the really cool book trailer: 
 

 
The Darkest Part of the Forest, January 2015, ISBN 9781780621739, Hachette Indigo 

 
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