Monday, 31 August 2015

CRESS by Marissa Meyer


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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

With Winter being around the corner, I couldn't put off reading the third book in this awesome series any longer...

Cress is a Lunar, but she's a shell. So she's lived all of her life away from her parents, believing they didn't want her. And for the last seven years she's been living alone on a satellite. She's a gifted hacker and has helped Cinder & Co stay off Queen Bitch's radar. Sorry, I mean, Queen Levana. Cress also has a bit of a crush on Captain Thorne. Okay, it's a big crush.

The day these wanted fugitives intend to save Cress from her lonely life, everything goes to hell. The group gets separated, but I won't tell you who ends up with whom because I was really surprised as the events unfolded and loved following the story to see what was going to happen next.

This book is once again told in the POV of multiple characters, which opens up the world and shows you what's going on all over the place. I love that! SO MUCH happens in this instalment. A lot of awesome things, some very bad things, some LOL moments, and even cute stuff.

I love Iko--she's adorable and makes me laugh. And Cinder's so kick-ass. I felt bad for Wolf, but I still have a soft spot for him. Scarlet, oh, Scarlet... :( Cress was a little naïve, but sweet and very clever. Carswell is still a scoundrel with a heart. I really liked Kai in this one. I didn't like Jacin, at all. And Winter is batshit crazy. O.o

I LOVE this series. Can't wait to read the next book...

CONTEST: Win a copy of Queen of Shadows



Thanks to Bloomsbury Australia, I'm giving away TWO paperback copies and bookplates of QUEEN OF SHADOWS
 
Queen of Shadows
 
Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. Now she returns to the empire – to confront the shadows of her past...
 
Bloodthirsty for revenge on the two men responsible for destroying her life, and desperate to find out if the prince and his captain are safe, Celaena returns to Rifthold, the seat of so much evil. She has accepted her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, there are dark truths to learn and debts to be paid. Aelin must stay hidden beneath her assassin's hood and draw on her mortal strength as Celaena to prevent the King of Adarlan from tearing her world apart. Only then can she fight for her people.
 
  Readers will be held rapt as Celaena's story builds to an agonising crescendo, packed with heart-pounding action and swoon-worthy romance.
 

I've read this awesome book, and absolutely loved it! This series gets better and better. 
Trust me, this book is epic.
 
 
For your chance to win, just leave a comment on this post.
I'll pick the two winners and post them here on Friday, September 4.
So don't forget to check back.
 
Good luck!
 
 
::CONTEST IS ONLY OPEN TO AUSTRALIAN ADDRESSES::

Friday, 28 August 2015

I have a new cover!


Hey!
 
I've been so caught up working on HELL OF A RIDE first round edits during the last few weeks, that I totally forgot I hadn't shared the awesome cover yet.
 
So... here it is:


What do you think?
 
I think it's kick-ass awesome.
 
Kanaxa has done it again! She made all of the Sierra Fox covers, so she knows what I'm looking for better than I do. Seriously, she came up with this exciting concept. It might be a spin-off book, but it stands on it's own. That's for sure.
 
I love Lavie's stance, and that she's holding her wicked machete. Not to mention her scars.
 
Like I said: Awesome!
 
This is one of those covers that I like more every time I see it. It's SO cool.
 
I haven't got the final blurb yet, but this is how I summarised Lavie's story previously:
 
This is a road trip story about a kick-ass demon hunter with a bunch of issues, a hunky demon with mischief on his mind, and a gorgeous red & black VW Kombi. Not to mention, a whole LOT of demonic trouble.
 
This might be Lavie and Saul's stand-alone story, but if you've read the Sierra Fox series, you'll recognise a bunch of people in it. ;)
 
If you're interested in finding out more about Lavie Grye before the release of her book, she's in every instalment of...
 
THE SIERRA FOX SERIES:
https://www.samhainpublishing.com/books/series/338/sierra-fox
 

Thursday, 27 August 2015

My TBR Jar


I'm not actually on Tumblr, but I do enjoy checking out posts featuring books, notebooks and bookshelves. There are some really pretty pics posted on there. There's also a trend that caught my eye. It's the TBR Jar, which pretty much consists of a nice glass jar with bits of paper inside. Each strip of paper features the name of a book you want to read. 

I can certainly relate to this process. Sometimes it's hard to figure out what to read next because I have SO MANY books on my bookshelves, Kindle and Kobo that I often forget what I actually have. Besides, other times I just don't know which to tackle next.

Too many books and not enough time.

Anyway, a few months ago I bought a jar filled with blue paper clips because it was cute and had a foxy lid. :) When I decided to start a TBR Jar, I knew this was the perfect jar for the job:


Next, I cut strips of red paper and got my daughter to write book names on them...


And then we folded each one and threw them all inside:


Next, hubby pulled out a name, and this is what it was... 

 
Okay, this turned out to be a bit of a problem because it wasn't a book I actually wanted to read. My daughter snuck it in there. :/

I gave it a go... but couldn't get into it.

So hubby picked another one:


This was a book I'd been looking forward to reading for a while, so I grabbed my Kindle and got started... and didn't like it. :( I got a few chapters in before I decided to put it aside and call it a DNF.

So far I've found this jar to be helpful in eliminating books. LMAO.

I don't intend to let the TBR Jar tell me what to read all the time, because I often get review books or get a craving for a certain book. This is just for when I can't decide for myself. :) 

And these are the books that are next in line:
 

They're two that I'm looking forward to reading, so I hope they work out...

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

HORROR BLOCK


Here's the July's box:


Can you see TWO T-shirts this time?


 Yep. They threw in two very cool tees...

 

I kept An American Werewolf in London--because, werewolf--and hubby took the Comic Book Guy. :)

Oh, and check out my Spike:


 This Spike figure is seriously cool. I always liked Spike, so receiving this was awesome!

As you can see, this was another great box.

Hope your day is horrorrific.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

VINYL PALOOZA


This is something we couldn't resist:


Who doesn't want to receive a box full of vinyl surprises?


Check it out:


I was especially excited about this one:


 The Tenth Doctor is my most fave, and this vinyl looks AWESOME.

He's so darn cool.

I'm so glad we grabbed this!

Monday, 24 August 2015

HORROR BLOCK


Um, okay, so I've fallen behind on posting these but they've all been arriving on time.

Actually, HORROR BLOCK is my favourite subscription box. It's always filled with cool surprises, and the admin is pretty cool too.

So, this is the June box:


And here's a peek at what's inside:


And once we took everything out:


I really liked the Scream addition to this box.

And we now have Alien heads ice cubes in our drinks all the time. :)

Horror later!



Thursday, 20 August 2015

SIMON VS THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA by Becky Albertalli


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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OMG. This was such an excellent book! I loved it.

My daughter borrowed it from the library and read it in one sitting. She also told me that I would probably like it. So, I decided to give it a go.

After finishing QUEEN OF SHADOWS, I needed to read something fun and light.

This book covered both of those, but it also had substance.

Simon is gay, but hasn't told anyone. Well, he told his email buddy, Blue, who is also struggling with coming out. But when a classmate reads an email exchange and tries to blackmail him, Simon's life becomes a little more complicated. Now he has to meet the demands of an annoying guy, while trying to get on with this everyday life. At least he has Blue to chat to. Though even that situation becomes complicated...

This was such a sweet love story, with a twist of mystery. It's also a nice story about friendship and crazy family members. How it's sometimes hard to balance everything, and while Simon does, he ends up hurting others. Even though that wasn't his intention.

Really enjoyed this charming story. It was a fast and fun read, and I loved Simon's voice.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

QUEEN OF SHADOWS by Sarah J. Maas

Queen of Shadows
Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. Now she returns to the empire – to confront the shadows of her past . . .
 
The fourth breathtaking instalment in the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series.
 
  Bloodthirsty for revenge on the two men responsible for destroying her life, and desperate to find out if the prince and his captain are safe, Celaena returns to Rifthold, the seat of so much evil. She has accepted her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, there are dark truths to learn and debts to be paid. Aelin must stay hidden beneath her assassin's hood and draw on her mortal strength as Celaena to prevent the King of Adarlan from tearing her world apart. Only then can she fight for her people.
 
Readers will be held rapt as Celaena's story builds to an agonising crescendo, packed with heart-pounding action and swoon-worthy romance.
 
 
This is one of my favourite series. So as soon as I received this book last week--thank you so much to Bloomsbury Australia for sending me a copy--I got stuck into it. But I took my time. I wanted to savour every moment, note every detail, and lose myself in the story. Until I reached the last 200 pages, and had to race towards the end.
 
Celaena Sardothien used to be an assassin, and the King's Champion, but she's now accepted her true destiny. She has become Aelin Ashryver Galathynius, heir of fire and Queen of Terrasen. But there's a lot to do before she can claim her crown, and it all starts by returning to Rifthold.
 
Aelin must once again slip into the role of Celaena to settle some old scores and rescue her cousin from the King's clutches. To do that, she has to work alongside the man who trained her to become a ruthless assassin. The man who ruined her life and still thinks he owns her. Arobynn Hamel is the King of the Assassins, and as much as she despises him for what he did to her beloved Sam, she must now work with him in order to defeat a much darker enemy--the King of Adarlan.
 
The King is building an army of Valg demons and has even enslaved his own son, Prince Dorian, with a collar. And he has other depraved plans in Morath. A place in the mountains, where something awful and sinister is going on, and where the Ironteeth witches aren't the biggest threat.
 
As Aelin's plan slowly comes together and she connects her old life with the new one, everyone and everything she cares about could be at risk. Aelin has a lot of decisions to make if she's going to bring an end to the ruthless King so intent on destroying everything, and magic is the key...
 
OMG. OMG. OMG. This book is AMAZING. It's also very hard to summarise without revealing spoilers. There are SO many surprises and revelations in this book that I was left breathless. The rollercoaster of emotions in this instalment is deliciously cruel. I was happy, then sad, and angry. Then I started feeling frustrated, and was back to happy again before anger took over.
 
Seriously, this world toys with your emotions, but I loved every minute of it!
 
Once again told in multiple POVs, the reader gets the full scope of what's going on from several very interesting angles. This story throws you into the middle of the action and slowly peels back the layers, giving you small glimpses of what's going on before everything is revealed.
 
I said it while reading Heir of Fire, and I'll say it again: I love Manon Blackbeak and her wyvern Abraxos. I'm so intrigued by this character, and the story of her Thirteen, that I absolutely loved every time it was her turn to step into the POV spotlight. There are so many other characters that I love in this series, and every single one of them gets their chance in this book, which made me very happy indeed. And sad, too. :/
 
Queen of Shadows is incredible. It's a breathtaking rollercoaster ride. It's a heart-stopping story. It's wickedly violent. It's an explosive tale that toys with your heartstrings. It's so addictive that you become consumed by what's going on and can't stop reading. Once you strap yourself in, there's no turning back. It's the kind of book that sinks its (iron) claws so deeply into you that every single thing that happens affects you deeply. Celaena/Aelin is an awesome character who will do whatever needs to be done, no matter what. She's brave, passionate, loyal, tough, kick-ass, and gets the job done. But she's not the only intriguing character. This world is massive, and this book is totally epic!
 
This is one of my favourite series, and I can't wait to read more! 
 
Queen of Shadows, September 2015, ISBN 9781408858615, Bloomsbury Childrens 

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Finished First Draft!


So, last week I mentioned that I was working on the 5th (and penultimate book) in my RECAST series... and I was pretty far along. Yesterday, I actually finished the first draft.

Yay.
 
The total word count ended up being 45,042. That sounds about right for a RECAST story, because they usually end up being anywhere between 40-50k words long.
 
Finishing this story is a huge thing for me because it's the first WIP I've lost myself in after my writing hiatus. There have been so many creativity-discouraging situations this year that I was starting to wonder if I would ever (really) get back into the writing swing. But of course, I did. Writing isn't something I can switch off.
 
Sometimes I might need a breather or a break, but the stories, characters and worlds never stop swamping my mind. And I'm always grateful for that. :)
 
Now it's time to take care of some other things I've been pushing aside while writing R5. And I'll be taking notes. Because like always, I've already got stuff that I want to add/change/enhance during the next draft. But before that I'll be concentrating on writing R6. But I'll chat more about that once I start planning my next writing step.
 
Yesterday sure turned out to be strange. I got a lot of stuff done, but some of it wasn't pleasant. I'll blog about that some other time.
 
Oh, we've also started watching MR ROBOT and HUMANS. I have to admit that while I really enjoyed the MR pilot, the more I watch the less I'm interested. Just seems to be trying too hard to be out there and different. Plus I don't like/care about any of the characters, and without some sort of connection to someone, I find my interest fades. I hope it pays off in the end. HUMANS, on the other hand, is AWESOME! I'm a sucker for robots, but I also love how the story and characters are developing. The collection of characters in this show are deeper than they first appear. And of course I like the underlining commentary about our society that runs deeply within this fictional world.
 
Well, I hope you're all having a great week! 

Friday, 7 August 2015

I'm still here!


Hey!
 
Did you miss me?
 
I doubt it.
 
It's been so long that you probably forgot all about me. LOL.
 
I just realised that I didn't blog once during the month of July. Sure, I posted a bunch of book reviews--that's about the only posting I keep up to date--but that's it.
 
So much for blogging more often this year... o_O
 
July was super busy. My daughter had school holidays, hubby had annual leave, I was still on a writing hiatus, I celebrated my birthday, I read a lot, we got our tax stuff out of the way, and our hot water tank died.
 
I also tried to ignore the fact that it's still winter. I cannot wait until spring!
 
Anyway.
 
Last week, I actually started writing again. I'm working on the first draft of RECAST #5. That's right, my writing hiatus is officially over! It feels so good to be back in this familiar galaxy while exploring a different facet of the world. This time the main characters are a space pirate and a space princess. Although neither of them really live up to those labels. There will be some Leper and Y-123 revelations, as well as a few fairy tale references.
 
I started out slow, but now that I'm more than halfway through I've really found my groove. The story's constantly playing inside my head and so many surprises have popped up. I actually hit 32,260 words today. If I keep going at the pace of 4-5k/day I might (might) be able to reach The End by Friday next week. Hopefully.
 
I'm aiming for anywhere between 40-50k for this draft. I just want to get this story outta my head.
 
Taking the writing hiatus was a great idea. It ended up lasting about six weeks. I think that's the longest I've ever gone without writing, but after several disappointments on the publishing side of things, I really needed to recharge. I also needed to find the spark that drives me to write stories. Sometimes you just need to take a step back and remember why you do this in the first place. For me, writing is a compulsion. Something that I have no choice about. It makes me happy, helps me release the creative energy inside me, and allows me to tell stories.

I love to tell stories.
 
It's a shame that outside forces can affect your creativity sometimes, but I'm feeling good about this story. I'm having fun writing about these characters, and once I'm done with this draft I'll be one story away from finishing the RECAST series. That will make me sad when I get there, but I'm also excited about the prospect of creating new and different worlds.
 
I'm excited about writing again, and that makes me smile. :)
 
OMG. We've been watching two amazing TV shows this past week: DARK MATTER and KILLJOYS. We're absolutely loving them. I love the characters, their development, and just how high the stakes are--especially in Killjoys. We're nearly up to date on both, but man, they are AWESOME. Nowadays I have to admit that I enjoy TV shows a lot more than movies. Although we did go to watch ANT-MAN, and it rocked!
 
Well, that's about it. I thought it was about time that I posted a bit of an update.
 
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 6 August 2015

THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE by Neil Gaiman


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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There's a reason why I love reading Neil Gaiman books, and this book strengthens how much I love his stories. He's such an amazing storyteller. I was instantly swept off my reading feet and transported into this amazing tale.

When a man returns home to attend a funeral, he ends up visiting the place he grew up. But ends up at the end of the lane. Where a lake sits. A pond that the property owners insist is actually an ocean.

While at the farmhouse memories swamp him, taking him back to the incredible events that happened when he was seven. When he met an older girl called Lettie Hempstock and her kind family. During a time when he got caught up in a magical yet super spooky situation.

He visits a strange land, gets a new and very mean nanny who starts changing his family's dynamic. Only the Hempstocks can help him get out of this, but maybe even they're not enough...

This book is moving, beautiful and filled with wonder. I felt so bad for the narrator--we never find out his name--who was so very lonely, and misunderstood. He suffered through so many sad events. :( I also loved how he was a big reader and found comfort in all kinds of books.

The Hempstocks are such an amazing family. I loved them! Reminded me of certain females of myth that I won't mention so I don't ruin anything. :)

Neil Gaiman sure writes incredible stories. He also writes incredible, strong women. And memorable characters.

*happy sigh*

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

PINES by Blake Crouch


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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love mysteries. I'm a sucker for a thriller. I also love stories hiding a deep, dark secret. Small town creepy stories intrigue me. And of course, I love dystopians.

So, this book really spoke to me!

Ethan Burke is a Secret Service agent sent to Wayward Pines so he can investigate the disappearance of two other agents. But when he gets there, he's involved in a serious car accident that totally rattles his brain. Now he suffers from bad headaches, can't get his hands on his ID, and he might be going crazy. No matter how hard he tries, he just can't seem to get in touch with anyone outside of this town.

Everyone seems so nice, eager to help, but the more questions he asks, the more he realises there's something really rotten about Wayward Pines. And when he eventually finds out what it is, Ethan's perception of life will never be the same.

OMG. This book turned out to be quite the hellish ride. And I mean that in the best way possible. It's odd, disorienting, creepy, spooky, tense, and keeps you guessing until the big reveal. And boy was it an awesome reveal!

I also felt bad for Ethan because he went through SO much physical, mental, and emotional punishment in his quest to escape Wayward Pines.

I seriously loved this book!

The author mentioned that he'd set out to write a story in the vain of Twin Peaks, and I think he went above and beyond. I was a huge fan of that show, so you can trust me on that. ;)

I also think it's awesome that the book inspired by a TV show ended up being a show too. I'm really interested in checking it out now. Plus I want to read the next book!

View all my reviews

 
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