Sunday, 30 December 2012

Cuddlebuggery's Top Cuddles of 2012 Giveaway Hop

Hello everyone! Today we are taking part in the awesome Cuddlebuggery’s Top Cuddles of 2012 giveaway hop. With 2012 being an epic year, the purpose of this hop is to share either our 2012 favourites or most anticipated reads of 2013 with you. Rachel and I have decided to share our top three reads of the year with you and then at the end one lucky winner will get the chance to choose one of these fabulous books. When I was doing my top ten post, I had a hard time racking my brain for my favourite reads of the year, but this time round I knew my favourites instantly. My top three reads of this year are;  

I’m actually quite surprised with my three picks, if at the beginning of the year someone asked me what my favourite reads of the year would have been I would have definitely said contemporary. But I think this year my reading tastes have changed a lot, I find myself more drawn to the gut wrenching stomp all over your heart reads which Gone Girl and Flawed were. Also books which take me completely by surprise, which all three books masterfully did, I could never guess what could be around the corner.

Over to Rachel to see her three favourite reads. 

I’ve read so many amazing books this year that it was hard to narrow it down to three favorites! Here I go:

Easy by Tammara Webber. I just adored this story! It was an addicting and effortless read that started off with a bang and didn’t let up. There’s a positively swoony romance and a story that keeps you guessing.  This started out as a self-published book, but I wasn’t surprised at all when it was snatched up by a bigger publishing house. 

Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning. I am not automatically attracted to Urban Fantasy. It’s not a genre I have ever gravitated to in the past, but I seriously was blown away by this series!  Shadowfever is the conclusion (for now) and I was RIVITED by this installment! I listened to most of the Fever series on my commute to and from work, but when I got to Shadowfever, I couldn’t restrict myself to just my commutes and listened to the whole book (almost 600 page, mind you!) while following along on my Kindle on Thanksgiving day!! Just AMAZING!! I’ll be forever in lust/love with Jericho Barrons!!

The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta. You know I had to include a Melina Marchetta in here, right?! I have nothing but complete awe for this woman’s writing and The Piper’s Son touched down deep in me. Set five years after Saving Francesca, it’s an odd combination of POVs: Tom in his 20s and his forty-two year old pregnant Aunt Georgie. Not something that would immediately attract your attention, right?  But trust. Melina does not disappoint!!  

So there you have it our top three favourite reads of the year, now into the best part for the Cuddlebuggery’s Top Cuddles of 2012 giveaway hop, we will be giving one lucky winner the chance to win one copy of our six favourite reads. This giveaway will be international as long as The Book Depository ships to you, you can find a full list of countries here. This giveaway will run until the 5th of January so make sure you get your entries in before then.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Recap 2012: Part two

Hello everyone and welcome back to part two of our 2012 recap. 

Characters I want to be friends with:
Jasprit: Suki and Heather Wells. Oh gosh both of these ladies are such a hoot! With Heather she’s always one to find herself up to the neck in trouble, it’s like she’s a magnet for it. Also with the mysteries she falls into that she has to unravel and someone always out to get her I know there would be endless fun with Heather around.
Suki just brightens up a room whenever she enters, she’s good to quickly cheer you up when you’re feeling low and having a friend who can read minds? Bonus!

Rachel: Maybe Tesadora or Beatriss from the Lumatere Chronicles by MM. Tesadora because she’s fiercely protective and seems like someone you could go to for advice and nothing would shock her. Beatriss seemed like such a mothering and caring sort and would be an excellent listener. I would think she’d have lots of good advice but give it a non-condescending manner.  

Best villain you love to hate:
Jasprit: Warner, oh Warner I could never really hate you. Deep down I know there is a real sweet person. You tore me completely in Shatter Me, your behaviour at times could be abrupt, but I’m hoping there’s a sure good reason for this. I’m honestly willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. There’s just something alluring and enigmatic about you which drew me to you even more!

Rachel: I’m going to second Jasprit’s choice, and go with Warner as well. I’m so torn about him! Even more so after reading Unravel Me! 

Can’t believe you waited so long to read this:
Jasprit: Divergent, I’m always one of the last people to jump on a bandwagon; I actually even brought Divergent on the day of its release, but got completely sidetracked by everything else. But this was one epic read that I wished I had picked up sooner.

Rachel: Without a doubt, the Fever series!!! Just amazing. 

Book you stayed up the latest to finish:
Jasprit: Gone Girl, this book absolutely left my brain frazzled. Unexpected blow after blow had me up until the early hours finishing it off, when originally I had planned to just read a few chapters.

Rachel: Grace Grows by Shelle Sumners. The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman. I know there’s more because I often do this. I start a book and think I’ll just read a few chapters and bam! I can’t stop. Little hint: Visine gets the red out, lol. 

Runners up: Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman and Flawed by Kate Avelynn.

Killer cliffhanger award:
Jasprit: Severed by Sarah Alderson. I have no words for this ending; I was just left with my mouth gaping open in horror and wanting to throw my kindle out of the window.
Rachel: Deity or Unspoken. Technically, Unspoken is not a “cliffhanger” per se but still, freaking heck!!

Favourite covers:
Jasprit: Gorgeous covers are always my biggest downfall, so narrowing this down to my top 5 of the year was super tough. Boundless (Aus version), Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill, Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black, Taken by Erin Bowman and The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke

Rachel: The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth La Ban, Easy by Tammara Webber, and there are more photos in that shoot. Click this link to see them (it’s posted on another blog and I’m not sure what language) I AM DYING when I look at them!! Swoon! My Life Next Door, that cover sucked me before I read the synopsis. First Comes Love by Katie Kacvinsky.  Fingerprints of You. 

Most embarrassing covers:
Jasprit: Kiss Crush Collide and Paradise. I do a lot of my reading on the way to and from work, most of the time this is via public transport. So I don’t normally like reading covers with public displays of affection in public, especially with everyone gawping at you. I was lucky that I had both of these books in hardcover, so I could take the jacket flap off.

Rachel: First Comes Love and Easy . I know they’re under my favorite covers but who wants to be seen reading those in public? I won’t even mention some of my adult reads, lol. Let’s just say hooray for e-readers! 

Series I’m loving:
Jasprit: Size 12 series by Meg Cabot. The latest book in this series Size 12 and Ready to Rock was far b y the best in the series. It was full with endless humour, another great mystery, a swoony romance and unforgettable secondary characters. I’m biting my nails in nervous anticipation as Size 12 is the New Black set for release next year is meant to be the last book in this series and I don’t think I’m ready to say goodbye to these characters just yet.

Rachel: Well technically I’m done, but The Fever series. Amazing! 

Runners up: 
Jasprit: The Unearthly trilogy by Cynthia Hand, Divergent series by Veronica Roth and The Dairy Queen series by Catherine Gilbert Murdock.

Rachel: Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews, The Unearthly Series by Cynthia Hand, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. 

Top 5 most anticipated reads of 2013:
Jasprit: Just One Day by Gayle Forman, Boundless by Cynthia Hand, Wild Awake by Hilary t. Smith, Haze by Paula Weston and Size 12 is the New Black by Meg Cabot.

Rachel: Boundless by Cynthia Hand,  Nevermore #3 (no title yet) by Kelly Creagh, Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins, The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead, This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

As you can see this year was a fantastic reading year. Thank you so much to all our blogging friends that made this possible too! With all the lovelies being released next year, we have a feeling next year will be even better!

Thursday, 27 December 2012

2012 Recap: Part one.


Rachel and I had a fantastic reading year this year, so we decided to put together a post with a recap for the year. Nomes from Inkcrush first did this post last year and I absolutely loved it! So all credit for this post goes to her. I’m absolutely delighted that I’m able to take part in this great post this year. Rachel and I have decided to focus on a small section of questions from Nomes original post. With so many great books to choose from we decided to cheat a little bit and include some runner ups for some categories too.

So here goes;

1. Favourite book of 2012: 
Jasprit: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers. I honestly can’t decide between these two books so please don’t make me! Both books had me awake until the early hours and I felt like I lost a part of myself when I had to put the book down for a few minutes. The funny thing is that neither of my choices are contemporary books o_0

Rachel: If I’m forced to pick just one, Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning is my favorite for the year. I listened to the audio while following along on my kindle the WHOLE day. It was Thanksgiving holiday and my family all had separate plans leaving me alone. Gasp! It was really upsetting that I didn’t have a tornado to clean up in my kitchen! *NOT* Lol!

Runners up:
Jasprit: Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson, Size 12 and Ready to Rock by Meg Cabot and Shadows by Paula Weston.

Rachel: Easy by Tammara Webber, The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta, Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta. 

2. Recommended rainy day comfort read:
Jasprit: Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler. Aww this was such a super cute read, not only was I sitting there with a big smile on my face throughout but I was craving cupcakes big time. It’s the perfect book to snuggle up with on a wet and dreary day.

Rachel: Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder was a moody and dark, and poignant romance. It’s a verse novel and it felt like a perfect read to be done by the fire while drinking hot cocoa.  

Runners up:
Jasprit: From What I Remember by Stacey Kramer and Valerie Thomas, road trip to Mexico? YES PLEASE!

Rachel: Something About You by Julie James. Nothing like a well-crafted snarky romance to chase the rain away and broody Jack can warm you right up! 

                                                Bittersweet Trailer - Yum! 

3. I want to go there:
Jasprit: Divergent by Veronica Roth. I would love to be in this world, despite it being extremely scary. I would love to know which faction I would belong to, even though I probably wouldn’t survive.

Rachel: Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill.  I’ve always wanted to go to London and they visit a bunch of touristy stops that I want to see!  

Runners up: 
Jasprit: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.

Rachel: Winter Longing by Tricia Mills was set in Alaska and the author was inspired by the small town pictured in Northern Exposure. I loved that series and always wanted to go to Alaska after watching that show.  That story brought those feelings back again. 

4. Hidden Gem: 
Jasprit: Confessions of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett. Rozett did a fantastic job with this book, I didn’t really know what to expect going into it, but I was thoroughly surprised. Rose despite being a young mc, I found I could easily relate to. Her voice was so honest and raw. The story had both a deeper meaning; heart wrenching parts but was also laced with humour. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book; Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend next year.

Rachel: Almost by Anne Eliot. This is a self-published story that really touched and warmed my heart. Jess is a mess of a girl suffering from Rape Related PTSD. She is almost raped, which makes it almost worse because she doesn’t feel she has the right to feel what she feels. I love it when I read a self-published story that is as wonderful as this. 

Runners up:
Jasprit: Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan and Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock.

Rachel: Grace Grows by Shelle Sumners, Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald. 

5. Outside of my comfort zone, but I loved it.
Jasprit: Throne of Glass; I’m not a huge fan of fantasy but Throne of Glass just blew me away, with its fantastic world building and hugely loveable characters. It made me realise I’m missing out on a lot of great books outside of my favourite genre. It’s made me want to step outside of my comfort zone a lot more now.

Rachel: The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis. Everyone who knows me, knows that I do not care for tragic in my reading. After reading Sam’s @ Realm of Fiction review I quickly bought the book before I realized it might have the potential to do some damage. Whoa! It destroyed me but it was so beautiful and heart wrenching, I didn’t care. Well, I did care,( just ask my husband how pissy I was after reading this) but it was memorable! 

Runners up: 
Jasprit: The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke and The Diviners by Libba Bray.

Rachel: Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks. My first graphic novel and I loved it. 

6. Favourite male mc:
Jasprit: Four from Divergent and Alex from Alderson’s Lila series. I can’t for the life of me chose between these two amazing mc’s. In both books of the series they appear in they just get better and better. I have favourite passages from their books that I like to re-read over and over again, they just leave me weak at the knees and wanting to melt into a puddle of mush immediately. I also love how they always have their girls back no matter what stupid stunts they decided to pull.

 This is truly torture having to pick just one!  I have way too many book boyfriends. But if I have to pick: JERICHO BARRONS!!! Enough said. 

Runners up: 
Jasprit: Rafa from Shadows.

Rachel: Noah from Pushing the Limits.

7. Favourite female mc:
Jasprit: Celaena Sardothien from Throne of Glass. She was a proper kick ass mc, we certainly need more mc’s like this, and she knew she could kick butt, but she wasn’t anyway cocky about it. Like most of the guys in this book were. But she also had a vulnerable side that we didn’t even get to touch the surface with. She was a mc which ticked a lot of the boxes for me; her extra traits such as intelligence and wittiness made her an easy mc to connect with.

Rachel: Kami from Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan. She was just so much quirky fun! I loved her dry humor and wit.  

Runners up: 
Jasprit: Heather Wells from Meg Cabot's Heather Wells series.

Rachel: Mac from the Fever series. 

8. Favourite couple:
Jasprit: Alex and Lila and Heather and Cooper. Despite taking ages to realise that they were meant to be together, Heather and Cooper were the perfect fit. Their humour and snarkiness worked well together. Cooper was always there whenever Heather put herself down; he got mad when she tried to underestimate herself. And he balanced out her knee jerk and dramatic tendencies perfectly. Together they were such a barrel of laughs.

Rachel: Barrons and Mac from the Fever series. I just loved the build up between these two.  They kept fighting and denying but there was no mistaking they had it bad for each other. Jericho would move mountains for Mac. Lucien and Phaedra from The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta. They were my favorite couple, and the progression of their relationship held my rapt attention. 

Phew! That was tough, be sure to stop by on the blog tomorrow when we will have part two of our recap with you, we will be sharing some of our favourite covers and our most anticipated reads of 2013.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Showcase Sunday #17

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea. The aim is to showcase our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders this week.

Hello lovelies, is everyone ready for Christmas? I can’t believe it’s only a few days away, I can’t wait, I get to spend time with the family and then watch Dr. Who! And also catch up on my reading. I’ve tried to limit my Netgalley/Edelweiss requests, but to be honest it’s been so hard, have you seen the pretties that have gone up lately? But I supposed five e-books in two weeks isn’t too bad, that’s what I keep telling myself!

Geek Girl had some great initial ratings come in and I felt in the mood for a quirky read, so I couldn’t resist. And I requested How to Get over Your Ex after Juhina from Maji bookshelf gave it 5 stars and devoured it in one sitting.

Geek Girl by Holly Smale
Riptide by Lindsey Scheibe
Novody But Us by Kristin Halbrook
Come See About Me by C.K.Kelly Martin
The Boys of Summer C.J. Duggan
How to Get Over your Ex by Nikki Logan
The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher

Thank you to Harper Collins, Harlequin, Gallery Books and Lesley at My Keeper Shelf.

Jane by April Lindner
Froi of Exiles by Melina Marchetta
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Deadly Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock
Hidden Among Us by Katy Moran
Black Spring by Alison Croggon
OMG! Is This Actually My Life by Rae Earl
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
Tempest by Julie Cross

Monument 14 had been a book I’d had my eyes on for some time so was thrilled to learn it was being published here. I fully blame Jenny @ Supernatural Snark and Bonnie @ Sweet Tidbits for my copies of Tempest and Age of Miracles. Jenny had a fab blog tour of Tempest on her blog last week, which made me realise I was missing out on so much and Age of Miracles made it to Bonnie’s top ten reads of the year. 

I honestly have the best blogging friends ever! Thank you Hilda from Catch the Lune for my copy of Deadly Hemlock, Nick from Nick's Book Blog for The Gathering Dark and my co-blogger Rachel for an Amazon gift card with which I bought What Happens Next, a book I which had been high on my wishlist. And also for sending me Jane, The Raven Boys and a signed copy of Froi of the Exiles! This will certainly give me the extra encouragement to read Finnikin now. Also for some yummy chocolates, book plates and notes! 

What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton
The Gathering Dark by Leigh Bardugo

Over to Rachel to see which books she received.

Oxford Whispers by Marion Croslydon
Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin & Lisa Brown
Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Magic Strikes audiobook (Kate Daniels #3) by Ilona Andrews
Pleasure Bound by Larissa Tone
Every Which Way by Calia Read

Thank you Harper Collins, Edelweiss and Marion Croslydon! 

Hello there readers. I didn’t get too many books but I’m excited about what I did get. I’m so excited about Through the Ever Night as I loved Under the Never Sky. I WON a giveaway from Heidi @ Rainy Day Ramblings!! I hardly ever win anything, so this was quite exciting. It’s a print copy and I’m so glad because it has amazing illustrations throughout (see picture). Thank you! You can see I’m continuing on with the Kate Daniels series, and let me tell you, it’s addicting! I’m about 70% through the 3rd audio book and it’s a challenge to not restrict myself to listening to it on my commute! Thanks to Maja and Keertana for the recommend. All I can say is: CURRAN!!! 

If you shared a book haul/Showcase Sunday, we'd love to see what you received, so please leave us a link and we'll stop by to check it out. 

We hope that everyone has a fabulous Christmas! 

Friday, 21 December 2012

Review: Shadows by Paula Weston

Shadows by Paula Weston
Publisher: Indigo/Orion Books
Publication date: 3rd January 2013
My rating: 5 stars

Love. Nightmares. Angels. War. A fast-paced, compelling debut novel from a fresh new voice in YA.

It's been almost a year since Gaby Winters was in the car crash that killed her twin brother, Jude. Her body has healed in the sunshine of Pandanus Beach, but her grief is raw and constant.
It doesn't help that every night in her dreams she kills demons and other hell-spawn. And then Rafa comes to town. Not only does he look exactly like the guy who's been appearing in Gaby's dreams, he claims a history with her brother that makes no sense.
Gaby is forced to accept that what she thought she knew about herself and her life is only a shadow of the truth - and that the truth is more likely to be found in the shadows of her nightmares.
Who is Rafa? Who are the Rephaim? And most importantly - who can she trust?

Shadows is what I would call a top class book with its frantic pace, vibrant characters and gripping story line it’s not your typical angel book. Gaby barely remembers anything before the accident with her twin brother Jude. After months of trying to make a new life for herself without her brother, she’s thrown another bombshell, the life she thought she believed she led is not true either, her supposed memories of her life and relationship with Jude couldn’t be more wrong. But the dreams she’s been having of scary monsters and a gorgeous guy are very true. What the hell is going on?

With Gabe’s memories being messed around with, Shadows was like a mystery novel as you didn’t know who to believe. Slowly as bits of Gabe’s life began to unravel, we find ourselves falling into this unbelieving world of hellions, demons and angels. Of worlds clashing over what’s right and how things should go down, and then there’s Rafa, the mystery guy who’s quick to want to help Gabe, he says he knows her from before but they didn’t along, so why all of a sudden does he want to help her now? Because she’s defenceless? Useless?  Who can Gabe really trust?

Weston managed to create charming characters shrouded in enigma. Poor Gabe had no clue and then was dropped everything on her in one go, but she was one heck of a mc as she took everything in her stride, if I was in the same shoes I surely would have freaked out with all the random people turning up all the time. Rafa, where do I even begin with this cheeky chappy? He had my heart pumping at a crazy speed with his charm and roguish comments. His cheeky demeanour and comments always brought a smile to my face. He was everything I like in a male character and so much more. I’m happy with how we only barely scratched the surface with his character as I’m certainly looking forward to tons more of Rafa in the next book and also delving into his history with Gabe.

Shadows doesn’t give you a clear cut path, there’s so many different answers that are uncovered, bombshells which blow the story even more wide open. I like how with this book there isn’t a straight and narrow path this book follows, anything can happen! And this makes me so excited. There is so much going on in Shadows that I didn’t want this book to come to an end. The world building and the little shocks which led me off the path had me completely captivated. I remember at one point sitting with a frown on my face, realising that I would be coming to an end of this book pretty soon.

Paula Weston is another example of a brilliant Aussie author. Her writing flair is clearly evident throughout Shadows; she’s an author who can keep you on the edge of your seat and always wanting more. She really created the perfect combination in Shadows with angels and memory loss. Where both aspects have been concerned in the past, I’ve been burned with disappointment, but Shadows is so different, it's fresh and just a delightful read, honestly I can't recommend this book enough. I have high hopes for all of Weston’s future work; I can’t wait to see what she throws at us in the next book Haze.

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