Monday, 9 December 2013

Immagica Map Reveal!

The Immagica Map is here. I really can't believe how awesome it is. Don't believe me? Check this mother out:

Also, Immagica was deleted by the mystical Goodreads fairies (AKA some meddlesome librarian) and all of the stats are now gone. If you were one of those awesome people who had it added, please pop on over and show Kim some love. <3

Book blurb:
Where anything is possible.
Enter at your own risk.

The night before her fifteenth birthday, Rosaline Clayton uncovers a deep family secret. She receives an amulet from her deranged father, and he tells her she must find the book in order to save him. Rosaline is used to her dad not making any sense, so she dismisses their conversation as another of his crazy rants.

When Rosaline’s brother, Elliot, drags her to their Nana’s attic to explore, they find the old leather-bound book tucked away in a chest. It sucks them into its pages, transporting them to a magical world. Along the way Rosaline and Elliot are separated, and the only thing she wants is to find her brother and go home.

The creatures of Immagica have other ideas. After years of war their land lies in ruin. Using the amulet’s power, they want Rosaline to defeat the dragon and restore Immagica to its former glory. But Rosaline is bound to Immagica in ways she doesn’t understand, and when she discovers the truth about her family, she must follow her heart to save them all.

Immagica by K. A. Last
Genre: YA Fantasy/Adventure
Publication: January 31st 2014
Map Illustration: Lawrence Mann  

K. A. Last was born in Subiaco, Western Australia, and moved to Sydney with her parents and older brother when she was eight. Artistic and creative by nature, she studied Graphic Design and graduated with an Advanced Diploma. After marrying her high school sweetheart, she concentrated on her career before settling into family life. Blessed with a vivid imagination, she began writing to let off creative steam, and fell in love with it. She now resides in a peaceful leafy suburb north of Sydney with her husband, their two children, and a rabbit named Twitch.


Giveaway: The awesome K. A. Last is doing a giveaway too so join in the fun!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Review for Sleeper by Sharon M Johnston

A new heart should mean new life, not a living nightmare.
Mishca Richardson’s life is at an all-time high after her heart transplant. With new boyfriend, Ryder, the two of them have the perfect summer romance. Even the nightmares that have been plaguing her sleep since her operation can’t dull the high she’s on.
Things start to unravel as Mishca develops superhuman abilities. She does her best to hide them so as not to end up a science experiment in a lab. But she can’t ignore the instant attraction she experiences when she meets her university professor, Colin Reed.

Torn between the blossoming love and the obsession, Mishca must decide if she wants Ryder or Colin. But the organization responsible for her changes and her connection to Colin, is moving to secure Mishca for himself so that she can be the weapon he always intended her to be. If Mishca can’t resist her programming she’ll have a lot more to worry about than romance.

Yeah. How great is that blurb?

I have been waiting for this book for the past few months now and I am SO glad it lived up to my expectations. There's nothing worse than finally getting your hands on a book and then having to struggle through a static opening *cough*bignametitlethatjustcameout*cough* and THANK THE LORDY Sleeper jumped straight into it.

There's something about Mishca. Right from the start I enjoyed reading her perspective and she was one of those great characters who really should have been all down in the dumps and sooky about her situation but she wasn't. She needed a new heart - that's a freakin big deal - but Mishca just got on with it. 

Now, despite my love for Mishca, she made a whole load of decisions that made me want to shake her. Or my kindle. Okay, both. They were the kind of choices that made me keep reading because I couldn't imagine just how they would turn out which is one of the things that made me love this book so much. 

Mostly with my reviews, I'll go on to talk about any notable sideline characters because no book is great without a loveable lackey. What makes it so crazy is I really don't know which ones to choose. There were like, SO MANY. Sharon really brought all these guys alive in a way that you could totally tell they had their own personalities and backstories. So do I mention Ryder - the charming, fun and oh-so-schmexy love interest? Or Sophitita - the green haired, green horned, flying, purple people eater? (Which she totally isn't but her character is THAT amazingly cool and ridiculously complicated). Then there's Nerissa who is so totally the type of loyal girlfriend you want to have, and Finlay who is just chock full of secrets. 

All gushing aside, Sleeper was so fast-paced and engaging I got through it in one sitting. And anyone who knows just how easily distracted I am will know that's near-impossible these days. Plus the ending. So. Many. Questions.

So enough from me, I'll let my progress tweets tell you the rest. 

You can grab your copy from Goodreads here. Sharon is doing a rafflecopter giveaway for Sleeper's release here.

Disclaimer: Just so you guys know, I may be Sharon's assistant but if I didn't like Sleeper, I just wouldn't have reviewed it.

K. Thanks. Bye.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Review for Moonless by Crystal Collier

MOONLESS is Jane Eyre meets Supernatural.

In the English society of 1768 where women are bred to marry, unattractive Alexia, just sixteen, believes she will end up alone. But on the county doorstep of a neighbor’s estate, she meets a man straight out of her nightmares, one whose blue eyes threaten to consume her whole world—especially later when she discovers him standing over her murdered host in the middle of the night. 

Among the many things to change for her that evening are: her physical appearance—from ghastly to breathtaking, an epidemic of night terrors predicting the future, and the blue-eyed man’s unexpected infusion into her life. Not only do his appearances precede tragedies, but they are echoed by the arrival of ravenous, black-robed wraiths on moonless nights.

Unable to decide whether he is one of these monsters or protecting her from them, she uncovers what her father has been concealing: truths about her own identity, about the blue-eyed man, and about love. After an attack close to home, Alexia realizes she cannot keep one foot in her old life and one in this new world. To protect her family she must either be sold into a loveless marriage, or escape with the man of her dreams and risk becoming one of the Soulless.

Hey guys, the awesome author I assist, Sharon Johnston, has me reviewing some book for her every now and then. This is one of them. (And the review was originally posted over on her blog).

Let me first start off by saying I’m not the intended audience for this book. I don’t read a lot of books set in ‘ye olde times’ but with that said, I really enjoyed it.

Moonless finds Alexis going through a pretty unstable time in her life. She’s just become old enough to be married off, keeps having some pretty disturbing dreams about the future, and is being practically stalked by a blue-eyed hottie.

Great start to a book.

What I really liked about Moonless was it kept you wanting more. There was so much suspicion and unanswered questions right from the start that as soon as a question was half-answered, another one would pop up to say howdy.

Collier weaved interest and intrigue right from the beginning and it wasn’t until the very end that she gave you all the pieces. I love books that keep you guessing and this was one of them.

On top of the mystery, there were two really great characters that stood out. The first was Alexis’ sister-aunt Sarah. She was flirty, and vivacious, and fun in a time when woman really weren’t supposed to be. I could totally picture her going without stockings for a day, or waving her bloomers out the bedroom window, just so people knew she was home. We could totally be friends.

Then there was Bellezza. I think I fell in love with her as soon as she was introduced. She is cray-cray to the maximus and if Crystal wrote a book about her I’d be the first to buy it, no matter when it was set. If you love a character who would burn down your house and paint her face with your blood – here she is. She’d even do it with a smile.

Now, despite all that, I did find Moonless hard to get into. I couldn’t figure it out at first and it took me a few chapters in to work out what had me so confused. There’d be certain scenes were Alexis would mention one person and then use the pronoun for another. This seemed really odd to me until I worked out why. During the first half of the book, Alexis doesn’t know Kiren’s name so she just refers to him as ‘He’. And once I worked that out, everything became so much clearer.
Lastly, if you’re worried about a lack of swoon (which I totally was) because of the setting you don’t even need to worry. Kiren brought swoon to the table and made it his bit

If you love books with mystery, swoon, a character that grows into herself, and some pretty awesome creatures, Moonless is definitely for you. (Just remember what I said about those first few chapters).

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Sex in YA (and why it's okay)

I know this is a topic that gets debated on pretty often so I thought I'd sound in on it. Because, why not?

I think it's important to look at what YA novels are overall: teenagers who are just trying to find their place in the world. I remember those horrid teen years where it felt like all the adults were against you, but you just knew that once you were one of them everything would be so much better. In the meantime, you had to deal with ruthless high school cliques who were never happy unless you were miserable, unrequited love for the hottest, sportiest, most popular boy in school who would never know your name, and the desperate grasp for financial independence.

I wouldn't go back there if you paid me, like, a gazillion dollars.

The thing is, young adults are learning all the social acts and games they need for the days when they are an adult and they are making a wild amount of mistakes in the process. Some of these mistakes are drug or alcohol-related, some of them cost best friends, and some (mostly, a lot) lead to giving up the cherry far too early.

It's life. It happens.

Now I don't want to sound all blasé about the loss of innocence that extra age-digit brings with it, but these things are fact. Yeah, a fair few of us manage to get by untainted but out of the people I know, it's probably around the 5-10% mark.

My point is, people want to read about things they can relate to. People look to books for more reasons than just escapism, sometimes they need that friend that can guide them through the hard times. And what better navigator than a peer who's been through the same trials and come out of them okay?

To those that don't agree, that's too bad. I'm not saying I want YA to be flat-out Fifty Shades territory, it should definitely keep the discretion and notion of love that most books out there hold, but I'll never agree that it should be omitted completely.

Think back to were you were 15+

Really try.

What was it on everyone's mind?

(And I'm not just talking about the boys.)

Thursday, 3 October 2013

The Elite by Kiera Cass

America Singer is one of the Elite and Prince Maxon only has eyes for her.

If she wins the competition for his heart, she will leave her pre-destined life for a world of luxury. But the outcome is less than certain; the threat of rebel violence jsut beyond the palace walls is escalating into war and bitter rivals are ready to take her down.

And as America's feelings for Maxon grow stronger, ex-lover Aspen waits for her in the shadows. 

Where do her loyalties truly lie?

Now, there's no secret I'm a big, ol' fan of The Selection (Look, there it is on my sidebar!), because that book was just so darn awesome. Preppy, pretty, bitches all fighting it out for the Prince's heart, what more is there, really? Since it's been FOREVER since I wrote a book review, any of the ones coming aren't exactly new releases and most I've read a couple of times by now. But this is my blog so whatever.


At Face Value: I like that the covers haven't changed (I HATE when that happens) but I'm not a fan of this dress. I like that the girl looks fierce but I'm a bit over the dress-y covers.

High Five: I would love to say this one was as awesome as the first but it just missed the mark for me. I still enjoyed it, but probably only at the 3.5-finger level.

Favourite Quote:

"Maybe this isn't the right thing to say but I want you to know: when you ran for that stage, I've never been so proud of you in all my life. You've always been beautiful; you've always been talented. And now I now your morale compass is perfectly aligned, that you see clearly when things are wrong, and you do everything in your power to stop it. As a father, I couldn't ask for more."

The thing I really love about Kiera Cass's books is that fact I can't choose whose team I would join in the little love triangle of hers. Yes, I get that people hate love triangles these days (whatever) but they're great when they're actually done right. Don't ask me to choose between Maxon and Aspen because I can't even...

I think what made this book less enjoyable than it could have been was the predictability of what happened to Marlee, and the lack of fear over these supposed-vicious rebels. Yes, we see the destruction they've caused, but really? It feels very two-dimensional to me. These two things alone could have been made into something wickedly unreal but they just fell flat. 

That said, May is as adorable as ever, there's finally some more depth into the royal family, and America keeps on doing that jump-without-thinking thing she's so good at. 

I find it odd though, that even after a second book I'm still in the same place as I was after the first. Maxon is ahead by the teeniest amount and I'm just hoping neither of the lads has some horrible death ahead of them.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Badass B*tches

During my rewatch of Downton Abbey, I realised that even though I love the show like crazy, there are so many characters that I just want to be put out of their misery. They're conniving, malicious, and in some cases brutally honest, and you know what? I love every minute of it.

So what is it about these guys that makes us both want to punch them and kiss them?

Downton Abbey doesn't have the monopoly on wickedly vindictive characters, either. Lady Mary might be my current favourite, but Queen Levana from Marissa Meyer's Cinder is a close second. And while is seems like the females are the only ones getting nasty, there are plenty of guys getting in on the action.

Obviously every protag needs an antag and all that, but when the antagonist becomes the one you're cheering for it gives the whole dynamic new meaning.

So what about you? Who are your favourite bad guys and what was it that drew you to them?

Saturday, 20 July 2013

How do you do: unique

You know that little piece of wisdom, "there are only seven actual stories ever written" (or something along those lines), so how in the heck is someone supposed to write a unique story?

I know it's possible, you just have to take a peek at the best-sellers list to tell, but whenever I put pen to paper (or fingers to keys) I really do feel like I'm on the right track. I get right to the last few chapters of whatever rewrite I'm working on and then start to think about writing the query, or the synopsis, and then... I just... can't.

Those things are pretty crappy to write in general but there is a heap of really great advice out there on how to go about it. And the main piece of advice that keeps jumping up is, "focus on the unique points in your story, make me want more".

I've recently had two partial requests and while I'm super excited about that, I'm seriously doubting that what I've written will stand out from a crowd. SO, even though I haven't started shopping this MS yet, I'm already thinking about rewriting it. Again. For like, the fourth time. But I know I'll probably just be right back in this position in another couple of months.

What I'd like my writerly pals out there to tell me is, do you write with the intention of making your MS as unique as possible? Or do you just write what you want and fingers crossed for later?

And most importantly, how do yo do unique?

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters Cast

Yes, it has been a while since I last blogged, but today Preger Entertainment gave me something to blog about!

I'm not sure how many of you around here have heard the super exciting news, but we FINALLY have a cast! This is great news because it means the movie it that much closer to being here.

As for the actual people, what do you guys think?

Zoey Deutch: Rose Hathoway

Lucy Fry: Lissa Dragomir
Danila Kozlovsky: Dimitri Belikov
My immediate reaction was no. Hell no. But I left it a half hour then went to google for another squizz. The pictures above are what convinced me this might actually work, as the pictures originally posted of the three were far from flattering. 

And as long as these guys are jaw-droppingly, screen-sizzlingly, amazing actors I'll be seeing the movie a couple times at minimum. Plus, Lucy is Australian, and I'll always be there to support an Aussie!

As for the 'new' title, if Richelle has given it the green light I'm more than okay with it. I know this in particular is what has caused a bit of an uproar but I really don't see it as being that big of a deal. 

If you're as excited as me, spread the word! And don't forget to leave me your link.

As for the casting, what do you all think? Happy? Annoyed? Planning to boycott every movie?

I'm sure there'll be plenty more production news in the next few days.