Friday 30 May 2014

GALILEE by Clive Barker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm a huge Clive Barker fan and have read (and loved) many of his books. I love his writing style, and his twisted imagination. I actually own every single one of his books, but haven't read all of them yet. And this is one that I've been meaning to read for YEARS!

Last week, while shuffling things around in my bookshelves, this book caught my eye and I started it. I was instantly swept away by the sheer enormity of the story. There's something magical about this book. It's majestic, and filled with characters that are larger than life. The Barbarossas are an ancient family that are much more than human. Their lives span centuries, and when the story starts we meet the 'kids' who are living in a grand hidden house that was built by Jefferson himself. Cesaria and her offspring are hiding from the world, and have done so for so long that one of them decides it's time to tell their story.

But to tell their story, first he needs to go back to the beginning. Back to a time when Gods and Goddesses walked the Earth and were worshipped by people. Which then leads to a very powerful American family--the Gearys. These two families are enemies, but have a heavily intertwined history. An amazing past that links them but will ultimately tear them apart.

As the story unfolds, the reader is introduced to the prodigal son. His name is Galilee, and because of him their world might come crashing down around them...

OMG. This is an amazing book and I absolutely loved every minute of it. It's epic. It's a twisted love story. A tome filled with hidden histories. Characters who are both good and bad. It's moving and powerful. Violent. Interesting. Erotic. Fantastical. Brilliant!

Seriously, Galilee is a beautiful, twisted, complex, and intriguing adventure.

Sunday 11 May 2014

SEARCHING FOR SKY by Jillian Cantor

Searching for Sky
River means everything to Sky. They have lived alone together on Island for as long as they can remember. The two of them hunt for food, wash in Falls and curl up together in Shelter. Their life is simple and safe. Until River sees a boat . . .
Across Ocean is California, a place where nothing makes sense to Sky. She is separated from River and taken to live with a grandmother she doesn’t know. Lost and heartbroken, Sky searches for him so they can return to Island, only to find out that their paradise wasn’t as perfect as she thought, and everything she’s ever known and loved may have been a lie.
A gripping and beautifully told story of love and survival in a hostile world – ours.
I received an ARC of this book last week and was instantly intrigued by the premise. So I thought I'd give it a go, and found myself instantly engrossed in the story. So much that I finished it before I was ready to let it go.
Sky and River live on Island. It's the only home they've known. A beautiful paradise surrounded by the healing Ocean that provides everything they need--shelter, food, and each other. Life isn't always easy on Island because they have to hunt for their own food, and since the loss of their parents (Sky's mother and River's father) things have become a lot harder, but they still survive. As long as they're together, Sky is happy.
That all changes shortly after Sky's sixteenth birthday, when River notices a boat in the distance. Now their quiet existence is threatened, because when two strange men arrive on their island River wants to go back to civilisation. Sky doesn't want to leave, but there's no convincing River and she's not going to stay on Island without him. So, they let the men take them to California, and life changes overnight.
In this new place people are different and there are so many things Sky doesn't recognise. Worst of all, River leaves to chase his own destiny. Leaving her alone with a grandmother she doesn't know. A woman who, while she's kind and willing to do whatever it takes to help Sky adjust to the world away from Island, keeps many secrets and despises the one thing Sky loves the most--River.
No matter how much she learns, or even that she befriends a nice boy called Ben, Sky just can't adapt and spends most of her days dreaming about finding River and returning to Island. While she sneaks out at night and spends alone time on the beach. This world isn't for her, no matter how hard she tries to pretend it is. And one night, she finds out that River feels the same way. But in a world where there are so many more unknown dangers than these two innocents are used to, their lives change in a split second...
OMG. Wow! I loved every single minute of this wonderful book. I felt Sky's heartbreak every step of the way, her conflicting emotions as she wants to learn as much as she can to help her return to the only place she wants to call home. It's so compelling, and reading a story where our world is seen through the eyes of a character who doesn't recognise anything we take for granted, was quite a refreshing experience. Plus Sky is a wonderful narrator.
Searching for Sky is an amazing, well-written, heartbreaking story about two teenagers forced to live in a new world that ends up causing them more distress than the peaceful existence they lived in most of their lives. It's also intriguing, moving, tragic and beautiful. A real page-turner because I just couldn't put the book down. Not until I'd devoured every page and found out the shocking mystery behind their seemingly simple lives.
I loved this book so much, and highly recommend it to anyone and everyone! Actually, I told my daughter about it and she was interested in reading the first chapter to see what it was like... and read it faster than I did! Yes, it's that good. 
Searching for Sky, July 2014, ISBN  9781408846643, Bloomsbury Childrens

Saturday 10 May 2014

Sierra Fox, Book 5: A STITCH ON TIME Blurb!

All it takes is a little death and mayhem to make a spook catcher’s day.
Sierra Fox, Book 5
Sierra Fox has finally inherited her grandmother’s power to destroy demons, but what good is it when her werewolf boyfriend still lies in a coma? Worse, the decision she’s about to make could save him—but ruin their relationship.
If that’s not enough bad stuff on her plate, she’s got a soul to save—the soul of her closest friend, killed by the Lamia that got away.
Another untasty side dish: The Obscurus refuse to give up their relentless pursuit, and they’ve upped the ante. Mace is dead set on blowing up the Spook Catcher Council Tower, and the blowback will have devastating effects on Sydney and for Sierra. At least these demon-obsessed freaks aren’t counting on Sierra having a Goddess and a trusty demonic conduit as backup.
All of this leads to a one-way ride into the abandoned part of town, where the Obscurus plan to summon Legion. With her demon hunter friend by her side, Sierra prepares for the final battle…because even she knows this will be The End.

Product Warnings
Phantasms, wraiths, orbs, demons, all guaranteed to ruin any spook catcher’s day. But you can always count on werewolves, land spirits, and a Goddess. Beware of explosions, demonic obsessions, and the battle that will tip the scales and change Sydney forever.

A STITCH ON TIME will be released in time for Halloween!


Friday 9 May 2014

Hey, it's another TGIF!

So, what's going on?
I grabbed this book a few weeks back because I love the quote. It's a lovely notebook, and since I collect them in all shapes, sizes and colours... I just had to have it. LOL.
I've been taking it easy the last few weeks. Well, my idea of taking it easy involves handling a variety of to-do lists: some involve writing stuff, others involve stuff around the house, and even clearing out some of my stationery clutter. Oh, and reading books. Yes! I've caught up on a bit of reading, and it's been a lot of fun.
While I haven't actually done any new writing, revision, or even editing, my head's full of stuff. There's so much stuff percolating that some of it is starting to become more than just incoherent images and snippets. Some things are becoming story ideas that I want to tackle.
The problem is that I want to tackle all of them right now. Which of course, I can't. So I grabbed an A4 book yesterday that I'm going to use for brainstorming. And I intend to try to get as much outta my head as I can... O.o
Besides, my mental break is done. The TORN FROM THE SHADOWS print galley hit my Inbox this morning, so I'll be tackling that next week. Unless I receive R2 edits for A STITCH ON TIME, which I'll then have to squeeze in first. Either way, I think it's going to be All Sierra All Month. And that's cool with me!
Speaking of TORN & Sierra. Do you know what I got the other day?
This great review:
"Ms. Sfetsos has a unique ability to mix the mystical with reality, strength with vulnerability, and adding a layer of magic all her own. I love Sierra and the world she lives in."
—Hollie, Coffee Time Romance & More
Which led to this AWESOME award:
I'm so excited about this! It's an amazing feeling when you read a review that really, really gets your story. It's wonderful, and makes me smile. :)
Thank you Hollie and Coffee Time Romance!
I love writing Sierra's world, so knowing that some people are enjoying it always makes my day.
Anyway. What else? Oh, we stopped by a comic book story last weekend for FREE COMIC BOOK DAY and picked up a few freebies. Plus, we went nuts because there were so many cool and cute goodies that we liked. We ended up buying a lot more than we expected. But that's a good thing. :P And on Sunday we celebrated STAR WARS DAY by watching the original--and the best--trilogy.
It was a lot of nerdy, geeky fun!
Well, that's about it. I just wanted to drop in and say HI! because it's been a while.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday 8 May 2014

FLIRTY DANCING by Jenny McLachlan

Flirty Dancing
Bea Hogg is shy but fiery inside. When national dance competition Starwars comes to her school looking for talent, she wants to sign up. It's just a shame her best friend agreed to enter with school super-cow Pearl Harris. Bea will fight back! But when school hottie, Ollie Matthews, who also happens to be Pearl’s boyfriend, decides to enter the competition with Bea, she will have more than a fight on her hands.
I received an ARC of this book from Bloomsbury the other day. I knew nothing about it, but I read the attached blurb and thought I'd give it a go... I ended up reading the whole book in under 24hrs.
Bea is a teenager with an odd--but very lovable--family, likes to dance, and has a handful of friends. Yet, none of that is enough to reconcile the personality she has at home to the one she portrays at school. At home she's fun and fiery, enjoys spending time with her Nan and zany three-year old sister, Emma. But at school she's quiet, shy and is constantly being bullied by someone who used to be her friend. Pearl is a mean girl and always singles out Bea, but she doesn't fight back.
When Bea hears about the dance competition Starwars, she wants to participate but her best friend has already committed to being a part of Pearl's dance group. She can't believe her 'best friend' Kat is actually going to dance with Pearl, the girl who constantly calls Bea names, draws demeaning pictures and tries to do everything she can to bring Bea down. As much as she wants to enter, she gives up.
Well, until she tells her grandmother about it and Nan makes other (much better) arrangements. Arrangements that include the school hottie, Ollie. All of a sudden Bea's jiving her way around the dance floor with Ollie. As they advance in the competition and get to know each other, Bea's confidence grows and she starts falling for her dance partner. But Pearl isn't prepared to let Bea have any happiness, because her group has made it into the competition too, and she wants to sink her claws into Ollie.
What follows is a great story about a shy, and almost defeated girl coming out of her shell and allowing her real personality to shine through. Once she realises that she can do anything she sets her mind to, she grows a little more each day. She just needed a devoted grandmother to help her along, a dancing partner who's very attuned to her, and excellent dancing teachers. 
Bea is an awesome narrator, and the secondary characters are great too. Ollie's sweet and not at all how everyone expects him to be, Nan is supportive regardless of her personal challenges, Betty is interesting, and Emma is hilarious!
Flirty Dancing is a super cute and fun story about a very talented girl who doesn't realise how strong she is until she accepts herself. It's a coming-of-age story. A story of first love. An exciting dance story. A fun story. But most importantly, it'll keep you hooked from start to finish because you can't stop cheering for Bea.
This was a book that I knew nothing about, but I'm very glad I got a chance to read. Thanks Bloomsbury Australia!
Flirty Dancing, July 2014, ISBN  9781408856079, Bloomsbury Childrens

Tuesday 6 May 2014

MIDNIGHT CROSSROAD by Charlaine Harris

From the bestselling author who created Sookie Stackhouse and her world of Bon Temps, Louisiana, comes a darker locale populated by more strangers than friends. But then, that s how the locals prefer it.
Welcome to Midnight, Texas, a town with many boarded-up windows and few full-time inhabitants, located at the crossing of Witch Light Road and Davy Road. It s a pretty standard dried-up western town.
There s a pawnshop (someone lives in the basement and is seen only at night). There s a diner (people who are just passing through tend not to linger). And there s new resident Manfred Bernardo, who thinks he s found the perfect place to work in private (and who has secrets of his own).
Stop at the one traffic light in town, and everything looks normal. Stay awhile, and learn the truth...

I'm a big Charlaine Harris fan and I've read all of her other series, so when I found out she had a new trilogy coming out this year I was super excited.
Manfred Bernardo has just moved into the (very) small town of Midnight. He's a 'psychic' and has his own business, conducted online and on the phone, so this isolated place seemed like a good place to move. Most of his work includes the use of psychology and instinct, rather than psychic ability but he does sometimes get real psychic vibes. He's young, determined to get on with his own life, and actually finds the small population of Midnight very welcoming.
So he finds himself hanging out in the local diner run by a woman called Madonna, who has a baby and is married to the local handyman. He also meets the mysterious Rev, who only speaks when he has something important to say. Joe and Chuy are a couple and run an antiques store/nail salon. Then there's Fiji, the witch across the road with a very peculiar cat and a knack of constantly surprising Manfred. His next door neighbour and landlord happens to be Bobo Winthrop--now all grown up and no longer living in Shakespeare--who runs a pawn shop. Bobo has two other tenants that are guaranteed to fill you with wonder--one only comes out at night, and the other constantly disappears on secret missions. The Lovell family consists of Shawn and his two kids--Creek and Connor. They run the local gas station and keep mostly to themselves, but Manfred has his eye on Creek.
It's a small tight-knit community that accepts Manfred instantly.

The day they all get together to have a picnic near the river and find a dead body, things change because the police get involved and everyone's a suspect. No one more than Bobo, because the body is actually his girlfriend. The one he was positive had run out on him months earlier. As it turns out, she was killed and a lot of the evidence seems to point his way. Although he insists he's innocent, Bobo does have a few secrets of his own.
Actually, everyone in Midnight has some sort of secret. Why else would they live in such a desolate place? But one thing Manfred learns pretty early on is that Midnighters take care of each other. Even when faced with the most gruesome, unexpected revelation.
OMG. I had a blast reading this book! I loved every minute of it and didn't want it to end.

The main mystery is trying to figure out who killed Bobo's girlfriend, Aubrey, but there are so many other things going on in this book. The characters are interesting and full of personal secrets, but since we get intimately introduced to several of the characters via multiple POV, it adds an extra layer to the story and what's going on.

Some secrets are uncovered, others aren't. The one thing that will certainly happen is that you'll get caught up in the lives of these people and want to know more. 
Midnight Crossroad is another compelling book by Charlaine Harris. I love her storytelling style and the wonderful characters she creates. One of my other favourite things about this book is the fact that we catch up with several characters from some of her other series. Manfred is from the Harper Connelly series. Bobo is from the Lily Bard Mystery series. There are creatures from her Sookie Stackhouse series, and even a surprise character from her Aurora Teagarden Mystery series. It's all so cool. 
Plus, this might be a mystery at heart... but there's also a supernatural slant I really enjoyed!

Midnight Crossroad, May 2014, ISBN  9780575092853, Gollancz

MURDER OF CROWS by Anne Bishop

Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OMG. This book is fantastic! I actually put it on hold as soon as it appeared at my local library, LOL. And just like the one before it, I enjoyed it so much that I plan to pre-order the paperback edition as soon as it's available.

I was hooked from the very beginning. This is fast becoming one of my favourite series. It's just so original, and so well written that everything about this alien world becomes so vivid while reading it... I love it!

Meg has been in the Lakeside Courtyard for a while now and she's settled into her job as Human Liaison very well. She's also accepted and protected by the Others and has even helped set up a 'human pack' that everyone recognises. She's also managed to make Simon Wolfgard a lot more sympathetic towards humans--and that includes the police--than even he ever imagined he could be.

But when humans start targeting crows as well as Crows, everything changes. There are humans who are starting to forget their place and instead want to stand up to the Others. When that happens, whole villages and cities can be wiped out or asked to relocate. And Meg is having prophecies about what's going on around her. Serious things that will impact all of them, and lead back to the place she escaped.

Once again, the POV changes were excellent and help the reader see the many angles of the same story. This very dangerous world is made even harsher by the stupid actions of humans, who even in a world run by other beings still want to exert their greedy, selfish ways. I also enjoyed getting a glimpse into the institution where the other blood prophets are imprisoned and experience the horrible things done to these poor girls who are born with enough of a burden without adding slavery, rape and domination to the mix.

The addition of Intuits was also interesting, and I hope we get to find out even more. It's just so great to see these characters all develop and change their attitudes towards each other because of one brave girl who dared to take a stand. It just proves that without the bad apples, all kinds of creatures--big and small--can learn to get along.

I love these characters. I especially love the special bond Meg and Simon are developing towards each other. Something so strong that it scares the hell out of both of them.

Can't wait to read more of this awesome series!

View all my reviews

Thursday 1 May 2014

May Day

So, did you enjoy the Sierra Fox Blog Book Tour? I hope you liked the guest blogs, fun interviews, and contests that took place during the last week. I had a blast.
I just want to say THANK YOU to every single blogger who helped get the word out about Sierra's fourth book. :)
Phew. It was busy, that's for sure.
Oh, and in case you were wondering. Not only did I celebrate the release of Sierra Fox, Book 4 last week, but I also completed the first round of edits for Sierra's fifth/final book. It was a bittersweet experience. On one hand I'm super excited about the upcoming release and can't wait to share the conclusion with everyone. But on the other hand, it's sad.
Strange, right?
This week my daughter went back to school and all the public holidays are done, so it's back to being alone at home and trying to write, revise, edit as much as possible. While hanging out with Loki, of course. But this week, I'm taking a mental break. I should get the next round of edits back soon, but I needed this week to get a bit of a breather. There are a few smaller tasks that I need to tackle, and I'm slowly crossing them off the to-do list. It feels good to catch up on bits & pieces after being so focused on one project.
I also got a chance to catch up on a bunch of The Walking Dead comic books. So I'm now up to date and can't wait to see if the series takes a new direction, or if it will keep circling around similar territory. Don't get me wrong, I love these comic books. They're violent, shocking and filled with characters that I keep praying will survive another issue. LOL. But it would be good to see the survivors actually get a chance to reboot civilization.
What else is new? Oh, yeah. See the picture I posted today? It's actually a peek into a diy journal that my daughter and I put together on Monday. That's my one. Basically, we grabbed a bunch of scrap/loose paper and made some cute journals. We even made our own very different covers. It was a LOT of fun, and I'm looking forward to tackling more craft ideas with my daughter. She's inherited my love for stationery. ;)
Well, that's about it. I'm hoping to do everything I have on my to-do list by tomorrow afternoon, so I can enjoy the weekend.
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