The Bookish Best Of... Romance Wankers

It may have begun with Travis Maddox, but 2014 seen yet another explosion of book wankers. You know the type, he's a womaniser who has had more women than hot dinners. He treats them like crap most of the time, except when he wants to satisfy himself and gravitates towards the nearest warm body. She's often meek and naive. Girl, no one will buy the cow when you're giving away the milk for free. So this week it's all about wankers of romance and their wenches.

The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

Contains mild spoilers for The Winner's Curse
The Winner's Crime
The Winner's Trilogy: Book Two
The Winner's Curse Review
Written by Marie Rutkoski
Fantasy, Dystopian
Expected Publication March 1st 2015
368 Pages
Thank you to Bloomsbury Australia
Add to Goodreads
Cover not final
Lady Kestrel's engagement to Valoria's crown prince calls for great celebration, balls and performances, fireworks and revelry. But to Kestrel it means a cage of her own making. Embedded in the imperial court as a spy, she lives and breathes deceit and cannot confide in the one person she really longs to trust...

While Arin fights to keep his country's freedom from the hands of his enemy, he suspects that Kestrel knows more than she shows. As Kestrel comes closer to uncovering a shocking secret, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth.

Lies will come undone, and Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them in this second book in the breathtaking Winner's trilogy.

The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

The Walled City
Written by Ryan Graudin
Survival, Contemporary
Published November 11th 2014
320 Pages
Thank you to Hachette Australia
Add to Goodreads
Disguised as a boy, Jin Ling searches for her missing sister, Mei Yee, who was sold into the brothels of the Walled City. It's a cut throat world of gangs, drug dealers and warlords and every day is a struggle to survive. Jin Ling relies on her speed and cunning but how long will her luck hold? When a mysterious boy, Dai, requests her help with a dangerous mission Jin Ling's inclined to say no, this is a world where no one can be trusted, but the mission offers her a vital chance to see inside the brothel where her sister may be being held.

Jin Ling and Dai join forces, but will either of them survive the mission? Is Mei Yee still alive? And how will any of them ever escape the stifling city walls?

With a fantasy setting inspired by Kowloon Walled City, Hong Kong, Ryan's novel has a rich authenticity and an intense atmosphere, and its pace will enthrall the reader from the very first page.

The Bookish Best Of... Heroes & Heroines of 2014

From the reluctant leader, to the dashing hero or heroine that is often abrasive, tenacious and an important character in fighting oppressive regimes or slaying dragons. They're out leading characters and this week I'm showcasing my favourites of 2014, with a few romantic leads thrown in.

Atlantia by Ally Condie

Written by Ally Condie
Fantasy, Mythology
Published November 6th 2014
320 Pages
Thank you to Penguin Australia
Can you hear Atlantia breathing?

For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamt of the sand and sky Above, of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all her plans for the future are thwarted when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected decision, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self, and the powerful siren voice she has long hidden, she has nothing left to lose.

Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother’s death, her own destiny, and the complex system constructed to govern the divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long hidden truths.

Jump Girl Release Day and GIVEAWAY!

The highly anticipated second book in The Go Girls Chronicles. Stories of gutsy girls in action sports, by Leigh Hutton. Scroll down for the massive giveaway.

The Imaginary by A. F Harrold & Emily Gravett

The Imaginary
Written by A. F Harrold
Illustrated by Emily Gravett
Middle Grade, Fantasy
Published November 1st 2014
240 Pages
Thank you to Bloomsbury Australia
Add to Goodreads
Rudger is Amanda’s best friend. He doesn't exist, but nobody's perfect.

Only Amanda can see her imaginary friend, until the sinister Mr Bunting arrives at Amanda's door. Mr Bunting hunts Imaginaries. Rumour says that he eats them. And he's sniffed out Rudger. Soon Rudger is alone, and running for his imaginary life. But can a boy who isn’t there survive without a friend to dream him up?

A brilliantly funny, scary and moving read from the unique imagination of A.F. Harrold, this beautiful book is astoundingly illustrated with integrated art and colour spreads by the award winning Emily Gravet.

This Shattered World by Kaufman and Spooner

This Shattered World Starbound Book Two
Written by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
These Broken Stars review
This Night So Dark review
Science Fiction, Romance
Published November 19th 2014
400 Pages
Thank you to Allen & Unwin
Add to Goodreads
Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met.

Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet's rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents.

Rebellion is in Flynn's blood. Terraforming corporations make their fortune by recruiting colonists to make the inhospitable planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion.

Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelentingly war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths. He returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape the rebel base together, caught between two
Eighteen year old Jubilee Chase is an urban warrior amongst the soldiers stationed on Avon, when Flynn Cormas, leader of the Fianna takes her hostage after crossing paths. Flynn is the reluctant leader of the rebels, a group fighting for independence against the forces stationed on their colony. The rebels are fighting for their planet, and the promise of a better existence for generations to come. A promise Terra Dyn has yet to deliver. Avon should have been a living, thriving destination for families, and Flynn is determined to discover why it's not.

'Clear skies, cousin.' Good luck, he means. There are never clear skies on Avon, no blue, no stars. But we don't give up hope, and we use those words to remind ourselves. Clear skies will come, one day.

Accepting that her life is now in the hands of a rebel, it's only a matter of time before Lee is just another causality of war. But Flynn isn't the savage rebel Lee assumed him to be. In the caves of their community, Flynn is waging his own battle against one of their own for leadership. The ceasefire between both parties relies on Flynn seeking the truth. Why do soldiers seemingly become suicidal, why the lights and whispers guide them through uncharted terrain and why he finds himself in an alliance with a soldier and turning his back on the Fianna.

Lee and Flynn are both now on the run, he is unfit to lead the rebels who are now seeking retribution, and she now deemed a rebel sympathiser. Separately, they are just two fighting for what they've always been taught to believe in, but together they will change the world.

Kelly's Thoughts

Without a doubt, These Broken Stars was one of my favourite reads of last year, and This Shattered World by far exceeded it's predecessor. Told in dual points of view, eighteen year old Jubilee Chase is a prodigy and a female leader among men. She's seen squadrons come and go on Avon, to avoid The Fury, a condition that ultimately sends soldiers to an early death. While the planet undergoes the lengthy transformation, Lee and her barracks are employed to maintain the peace, often with a heavy hand. Flynn leads a peaceful rebellion, known simply as the Fianna, playing homage to Celtic warriors throughout history.

Jubilee is feisty, stoic and an incredible heroine. She's the ultimate soldier, but fueled by revenge against those who took her parents lives. Unbeknownst to Lee, Flynn also shares a similar fate. His sister lead the rebellion and fell at the hands of the soldiers, or Trodaire as they're known. So what seemingly begins as an attraction and suspicious curiosity across a crowded bar, soon becomes a personal battle of survival. Both Lee and Flynn are more similar than either would care to admit. But when they both begin to question the whispers and secrets that surround Avon, a tentative relationship blooms amidst the volatile world they both share.

This boy, the one who believes I'm not what they say I am, what I believed I was. A Soldier without a soul, a girl with no heart to break. He's the only one who's proved me wrong.

But Lee and Flynn are not without allies, and fans of the series will enjoy when These Broken Stars, This Night So Dark and This Shattered World collide.

Both Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner are incredible authors, their character development and world building is immaculate and understand how to construct a well developed and phenomenal storyline. From the very first chapter, I was utterly hooked. The elements of purple prose scattered through is breathtaking. Once again, they've created another fast paced, action packed and passionate storyline that readers will completely immerse themselves in. This is simply a case of book love and these girls can do no wrong. One of the best modern day young adult series. Ever.

Starry Nights by Daisy Whitney

Starry Nights
Written by Daisy Whitney
Contemporary, Magic
Published November 1st 2014
304 Pages
Thank you to Bloomsbury Australia
Seventeen year old Julien is a romantic, he loves spending his free time at the museum poring over the great works of the Impressionists. But one night, a peach falls out of a Cezanne, Degas ballerinas dance across the floor, and Julien is not hallucinating.

The art is reacting to a curse that trapped a beautiful girl, Clio, in a painting forever. Julien has a chance to free Clio and he can't help but fall in love with her. But love is a curse in its own right. And soon paintings begin to bleed and disappear. Together Julien and Clio must save the world's greatest art... At the expense of the greatest love they've ever known.

In The Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken

Contains mild spoilers for books one and two

In The Afterlight
The Darkest Minds: Book Three
Check out my review for book two Never Fade
Written By Alexandra Bracken
Dystopian, Paranormal
Published November 3rd 2014
512 Pages
Thank you to Harper Collins Australia
Add to Goodreads
Ruby can't look back. Fractured by an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government's attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. Only Ruby can keep their highly dangerous prisoner in check. But with Clancy Gray, there's no guarantee you're fully in control, and everything comes with a price.

When the Children's League disbands, Ruby rises up as a leader and forms an unlikely allegiance with Liam's brother, Cole, who has a volatile secret of his own. There are still thousands of other PSI kids suffering in government 'rehabilitation camps' all over the country. Freeing them, revealing the governments unspeakable abuses in the process, is the mission Ruby has claimed since her own escape from Thurmond, the worst camp in the country.

But not everyone is supportive of the plan Ruby and Cole craft to free the camps. As tensions rise, competing ideals threaten the mission to uncover the cause of IANN, the disease that killed most of America's children and left Ruby and others with powers the government will kill to keep contained. With the fate of a generation in their hands, there is no room for error. One wrong move could be the spark that sets the world on fire.

Cover Reveal: Jaded Little Lies & Giveaway

Jaded Little Lies
Four Letters: Book One
By Christina Channelle
Contemporary, New Adult Romance
What do you do when the love of your life is halfway across the world?

If you’re Jade Reamer, you fill that void with writing depressing song lyrics, hanging out with asshole exes, and re-reading your dead best friend’s diary (morbid, anyone?). But she’s got a lot to deal with, getting to know her biological family, for one. Not to mention getting through her first year of university without her best friend, Nina, by her side.

Then there are the men in Jade’s life. Her ex, Connor, has baggage coming out of his ass since the car accident. Her brother, Bryn, thinks stifling who he really is while pretending everything’s okay … is okay. When that’s far from the truth. And Reed? Reed decides the best way for Jade to deal with his absence is to get her a dog. And when he finally comes back?

Well, things aren’t exactly the same.

Deciphering between love and hate is the least of Jade’s problems… Those four letter words are getting more and more complicated. Especially when she and Reed are keeping secrets from each other. Because as she forms new relationships and rekindles old ones, an unexpected surprise has got Jade’s mouth spewing lies on top of the usual curse words.

But little white lies won’t hurt anybody, right?

The Bookish Best Of... Pretty Covers of 2014

2014 has been the year of the young adult. Series have ended, new series have begun. We've swooned, we've cried and squealed our way through our favourite reads. Each week I'll feature a new list of my favourites for 2014. Want to join in on the fun? Post your own favourite covers of 2014 and link me up in the comments section.

This week I'm featuring eye catching, beautiful covers.

Crash: Twinmaker Series by Sean Williams

Contains spoilers for book one

Crash Twinmaker Book Two
Written by Sean Williams
Science Fiction, Dystopian
Published November 2014
400 Pages
Thanks to Allen and Unwin
Add to Goodreads
Where is Q?

Clair and Jesse have barely been reunited when the world is plunged into its biggest crisis since the Water Wars. The D Mat network is broken. The world has ground to a halt. People are trapped, injured, dying. It’s the end of the world as Clair knows it, and it’s partly her fault. 'The girl who killed D Mat' is enlisted to track down her missing friend Q, the rogue AI who repeatedly saved Clair’s life. Q is the key to fixing the system, but she isn’t responding to calls for help, and even if she did... Can she be trusted?

Targeted by dupes, abandoned by her friends, caught in a web of lies that strike at the very essence of who she is, Clair finds powerful allies in RADICAL, secretive activists who are the polar opposite of anti D Mat terrorist group WHOLE. However, if she helps them find Q, will she be inadvertently trapping her friend in a life of servitude, or worse, sending her to an early death by erasure?

Caught between pro and anti D Mat philosophies, in a world on the brink of all out war, Clair must decide where she stands, and who she stands with, at the end.
The world has come to a halt. After Clair had been captured by Wallace and destroyed the D Mat system, in which travel was painless and instantaneous, the world is demanding justice. But the D Mat technology was used to map our minds, our physique in order to create another, less animated version of ourselves. Simply known as Dupes, they are gathering en masse and have Clair in their sights. Ant Wallace who created the breakthrough technology is dead, but the Dupes continue to thrive and multiply. Clair's mission was to put an end to the atrocities of Improvement, a system created to heal the wounded, ill and dying, instead was used to change your appearance but also to allow the takeover of unwilling bodies, original and Dupes alike. When an entire world is reliant on technology to fabricate their food, clothing and all remain connected to the Air network, the population is in a panic and all fingers are pointed firmly at Clair.

With the technology Abstainer Jesse as her only ally, she has no choice but to seek refuge alongside the Peacekeepers, a non violent policing organisation. They too demand answers, but it seems the authorities and gathering Dupes all want to find Q, the newly formed girl that has brought the world to it's knees. But Q has gone to ground, the genius hacker AI and programmer feeling betrayed by Clair, and rightly so. But the Dupes are determined to follow orders, they will stop the impending war on the condition that Clair surrenders, a notion her new team of 'Clair Bears' won't entertain.

The Dupes are aggressive, strategic and hungry for blood. After their location discovered, the group have no option but to seek refuge with RADICAL, an independent group that segregate themselves in a bid to maintain their freedom. But when the Dupes track Clair down on an isolated base in Antarctica, it soon becomes apparent that they have a traitor in their ranks... This isn't a fight for supremacy, it's a battle to save the world.

Kelly's Thoughts

The Twinmaker series is a intricate science fiction future, with a rebellion against technology and a strong social message. Crash begins moments after Jump, with Clair now in the custody of the Peacekeepers and the world is in turmoil. Clair is beginning to realise the full extent of her actions, and sees the need to make rational decisions, the fate of the world may just depend on what path Clair chooses next. In Crash, I felt a compassion for Clair that I couldn't connect with in the previous novel, waking up knowing that each day may be her last. She isn't quite sure who to trust and her every move is being watched by millions around the world who are flooding the Air network with stories, gossip and lies. Her only ally is Jesse, who is a proud Abstainer. He refuses to use any form of technology or modern day conveniences, rather opting for an organic lifestyle. Clair needs to restore the technological dependent society. while Jesse believes that the world will adapt.

Once again, romance isn't the focal point of the storyline. Where character development and world building were at the forefront in Jump, Crash needed to more than the deliberating and devising by characters to lift the storyline and progress in Jesse and Clair's relationship. It wasn't until after the first few chapters, where I was able to understand where Crash was headed. In the beginning, I felt disconnected to both the characters and storyline and only minor segments of book one were scattered throughout. With a lengthy wait between each book in the series, I needed a little more to be able to immerse myself from the first few pages, perhaps a prologue would have sufficed.

More science fiction than dystopian, I really enjoyed the inclusion of the Dupes, where characters were artificially brought back to life and in mass. The only way to stop the production of their creation, is to destroy the patterns stolen from the use of the D Mat technology. But the majority of the storyline was spent speculating about the mysterious AI dubbed Q, and deliberating how to destroy the Dupes while fleeing to their next relatively safe location. Sadly it became a little too repetitive.

The most stunning aspect of the Twinmaker series is the social and moral questions it raises. How Improvement was used to alter your physical appearance, being able to fabricate not just inanimate objects but also another version of yourself. The Air is a widely used social media superhighway, that isn't just a modern convenience but a way of life. Anyone doubting it's application, such as the Abstainers or RADICAL are publicly mocked for their simple beliefs. Society has already proven that cloning is already possible, but as a whole, we've already reached the point where we rely heavily on technology and the Twinmaker series emphasises how dependent we all are. 

The Final Verdict

Although I was a little disappointed at the lack of development in Crash, the stunning and surprising climax has me needing to know where Sean Williams will end the series. I'm looking forward to Fall, the final installment in the Twinmaker series.

Dear Diva #002: The Lazy Guide To Blogging

In the second edition of Dear Diva, this week I'm taking a look at the lazy bloggers guide. We're all short on time, life gets in the way, people want to communicate with you against your wishes. The list is endless. Often our blogs are the ones left to suffer in silence. So how do we make the most of our time online and maintain a blog without needing to devote hours? Two bloggers this week ask how.

Salt & Stone by Victoria Scott Cover Reveal & Giveaway

As part of the Victoria Scott street team, I'm thrilled to take part in the cover reveal for her phenomenal Fire & Flood series. With the much awaited release of Salt & Stone, the series has undergone a cover transformation.
Add to Goodreads
Preorder Salt and Stone
In Fire & Flood, Tella Holloway faced a dangerous trek through the jungle and across the desert, all to remain a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed for a chance at obtaining the Cure for her brother. She can't quit, she has to win the race, save Cody, and then fight to make sure the race stops before it can claim any more lives. In the next legs of the race, across the ocean and over mountains, Tella will face frostbite, sharks, avalanche, and twisted new rules in the race.

But what if the danger is deeper than that? How do you know who to trust when everyone's keeping secrets? What do you do when the person you'd relied on most suddenly isn't there for support? How do you weigh one life against another?

The race is coming to an end, and Tella is running out of time, resources, and strength. At the start of the race there were one hundred twenty two Contenders. As Tella and her remaining friends start the final part of the race, just forty one are left, and only one can win.

Aussie Author: Every Breath by Ellie Marney

Every Breath Every Series Book One
Written by Ellie Marney
Contemporary, Mystery Thriller
Published September 2013
335 Pages
Published by Allen and Unwin
Add to Goodreads
Rachel Watts has just moved to Melbourne from the country, but the city is the last place she wants to be. James Mycroft is her neighbour, an intriguingly troubled seventeen year old who's also a genius with a passion for forensics.

Despite her misgivings, Rachel finds herself unable to resist Mycroft when he wants her help investigating a murder. He's even harder to resist when he's up close and personal, and on the hunt for a cold-blooded killer.

When Rachel and Mycroft follows the murderer's trail, they find themselves in the lion's den, literally. A trip to the zoo will never have quite the same meaning again...
It's been four months since the Watts family farm foreclosed, and Rachel and her family have been forced to relocate to Melbourne. Since moving, she and neighbour James Mycroft have been inseparable. Best friends, she is the country girl stifled by uptight city living, with Mycroft being her bright and eccentric offsider. But when the two teens discover a murder scene outside the Melbourne Zoo after dark, Mycroft's forensic obsession takes over. The police assume the murder was nothing more than a sport killing of the homeless man who is only known as Homeless Dave. But with his trusted canine friend missing, Mycroft believes that his companion may just hold the key to solving the murder.

Kelly's Thoughts

Every Breath is a phenomenal thriller from a Brilliant Australian author in Ellie Marney. It follows the story of Watts and Mycroft, who are on a strictly last name basis. Both dynamic characters in their own right, but share an intense attraction.

He said if Sherlock had Watson, it was only fair that Mycroft should have Watts.

Mycroft is a young man without supervision, living in a run down, ramshackle house with his absent aunt. His bedroom housing a makeshift laboratory, and follows his passion of forensics which entertain his inquisitive mind. He's charming yet dysfunctional, and doesn't adhere well to the classroom. Watts is the country girl stuck in the city, and is expected to provide a positive influence in Mycroft's life. Something her parents don't approve of. But Mycroft isn't just a troubled young man, he has a bright, brilliant mind and struggles with grief each day.

I absolutely adored Mycroft and Watts, as individuals and as an incredible duo. The two teens have befriended a homeless man and his dog Poodle, who reside in the parklands surrounding the Royal Melbourne Zoo. But when they discover Homeless Dave has been brutally killed, they soon realise the police aren't interested in finding the assailant and Mycroft takes it upon himself to seek justice for Dave. What ensues is a grim and heartbreaking adventure, which will leave you on the edge of your seat.

Ellie Marney is a natural storyteller, creating realistic, flawed characters that will adhere themselves to readers. I simply adored the slow burning romance, the intensity of the attraction between Mycroft and Watts only added to the suspense. It was simplistic, beautifully written and cemented Ellie Marney as an instant favourite on my shelves.

Dear Diva #001: Blogging Questions Answered

Welcome to the first edition of Dear Diva. Thanks to everyone who has submitted your questions, the response was quite surprising. I'm assuming that you're all incredibly impressed by my need to stick my nose in other peoples business. Remember, all submissions are anonymous. You can only be identified if you choose to leave your name, alias or email address on the submission form. Your questions don't need to be book or blog related. You may be having an issue with your mother shaving her legs at the kitchen table. Your boyfriend is a One Direction fanboy or the elderly lady next door enjoys nude gardening. You can submit your questions here.

I've had quite a few blogging related questions this week, so today's theme is Blogging.
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