Saturday, July 30, 2011

WIN an ARC of Blood Song through Goodreads!

The giveaway is now open! Australia only. Click below to enter.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Blood Song by Rhiannon Hart

Blood Song

by Rhiannon Hart

Giveaway ends August 18, 2011.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Sunday, July 24, 2011

In YOUR Mailbox

They've started happening. The things that every author anticipates with excitement as well as dread: reviews! Will they like my book? Will they get the humour, the intention? If they don't like it, will I crawl into bed and eat ice-cream with my hands, renouncing Blogger, Twitter and Goodreads forever?

Well, not yet, as so far people have only said wonderful things about Blood Song!


First Holly Harper put her review up on Goodreads after Random House Australia sent Reading's Bookstores a super-early copy during the sell-in period (when publishers send books to store owners/managers to gauge interest in order to estimate the best print run). Holly is children's specialist there, and we met briefly when I bought my copy of Burn Bright from her one rainy Sunday. (We only realised who each other was after I tweeted about it and she said "That was me!!" I really love Twitter for things like that.) You can imagine how ecstatic I was when she posted a rave review:

A while ago I was whinging about the lack of Aussie YA fantasy coming out, and how I really just wanted to sink my teeth into something amazing. Well! The book gods obviously heard my cries and answered with Blood Song, though I think this wonderful gem had less to do with book gods and more to do with superb d├ębut author Rhiannon Hart. 

I sent my three ARCs out to Aussie bloggers when I got back from travels. This week Nomes from Inkcrush and Brodie from Eleusinian Mysteries posted their reviews, and I was similarly blown away by their enthusiasm and praise. And also how quickly they started on their copies, because I know how many books a reviewer has in their TBR at any given time.

From Nomes's review:

Blood Song grabbed me from the start. The thing about this fantasy is Hart writes in such a way that the reading experience was so effortless. Her writing is tight, within pages you have a sense of the world and our heroine. Her world-building is all show (not tell) and Hart masterfully places the reader in the story alongside Zeraphina, letting the world-building evolve as we go along. 

From Brodie's review:

Mystery, danger and Rodden, a man who rivals Zeraphina in all kinds of delicious ways. But can she trust him? What is he hiding? Why does he keep putting a stop to her finding any answers? And why is he such a jerk 90% of the time? (Hush, Zeraphina, don't speak such nonesense of my Rodden!) What awaits the reader is amazing tale that will suck you into it's heart, clutching tighter and tighter as you venture further into Pergamia and the terrors that lurk nearby. I could not read this fast enough, but so very disapointed when I had no more pages to turn! I think Zeraphina may be one of my new favourite heroines.

WOW. I mean, can anything make an author happier than that?

If you're an Aussie blogger and you're interested in a review copy of Blood Song, my publicist still has a few to send out. DM me on Twitter or email me at rhi.hart [at]

You can also read an extract of Blood Song here.

Look out for reviews shortly from Skye at In the Good Books and Braiden from Book Probe.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Review: Chime by Franny Billingsley

I’ve confessed to everything and I’d like to be hanged. Now, if you please.

I don’t mean to be difficult, but I can’t bear to tell my story. I can’t relive those memories—the touch of the Dead Hand, the smell of eel, the gulp and swallow of the swamp. How can you possibly think me innocent? Don’t let my face fool you; it tells the worst lies. A girl can have the face of an angel but have a horrid sort of heart.

This is how Chime begins, with the main character, Briony Larkin, asking to be hanged. She carries the responsibility for her family's hardships upon her slight shoulders, believing she killed her stepmother and caused the injury that made her twin sister simple. In her village, witches are hanged, and she believes herself to be one. Why else would all these bad things be happening?

You get the sense, reading Chime, that there's something Not Quite Right about this stepmother, and that Briony herself is innocent of any wrong-doing. What matters, though, is why. Despite the terrible burden she carries, she's a rather chipper young lady, subject to wild bouts of wordsmithery and cleverness. It's quite entertaining to read. Briony states at the beginning she doesn't want to talk about what happened, but gradually, she does. It's a slow uncovering, and Billingsley makes the journey enjoyable by dispersing throughout it historical clues as to the setting and an entirely rompable main character. (Rompable is my new favourite word. I may have made it up myself.)

Mr Rompable is the leonine Eldric, an educated and mischeivious man who boards with the Larkin family. He may or may not love another girl, but he scores the best dialogues with Briony. They have, if I may use a very English word, absolutely ripping conversations.

This book is set, as far as I can tell, in an English village just after the turn of the 19th century. Steam engines are mentioned. But witches are hanged. There are Old Ones in the swamp, like Brownie, a stick-y legged creature, and the Boggy mun. There's no explanation for why this is so. It just is. And there's nothing wrong with that at all.bright and cute, and has very unusual language.

Chime is bright and cute, and has very unusual language. A fun read.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Unwanted Sniggers and Misconceptions

Has anyone else had this charming experience? When you tell someone you read or write Young Adult Fantasy books, they snigger, their eybrows rise or they give you a "What the?" look? I've had this several times when people ask what sort of books I write. I couldn't work out why at first, but, horror of horrors, they think it means I write erotica for teenagers.

Can you imagine? How seedy would that be. I'm very quick to disabuse them of the notion. I've learnt now to say, "I write books for teenagers" or "Fantasy novels". The funny thing is, everyone knows what Fantasy novels are. They think of dragons or Lord of the Rings. It's when you tack the "Young Adult" on the front that is sounds somehow sordid. (To them. I think it's perfectly obvious what I mean. Apparently not.)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Review: The Stand, Stephen King

This mammoth, 1400 page book has been the most recommended of Stephen King's works since friends and bloggers heard that I hadn't read any of his books. Since then I've read Carrie and adored it, so was really looking forward to lugging The Stand around the globe on my recent holiday. Most was read on beaches in Greece. The latter half did a perfect job distracting me from first a sunscreen allergy and then a horrible bout of tendonitis.

(Update on that: I've had my shoulder injury diagnosed by an awesome sports injury doctor, and it's tendonitis and bursitis. I'm getting an injection of cortisone right into the shoulder at 7 am tomorrow. *Fun*. And then I start physiotherapy on Thursday. I do get to go to bellydance tonight as long as I go easy on it, so that's something.)

The Stand was an engrossing tale that began with apocalyptic themes and transitioned into a supernatural showdown. A highly virulent influenza virus is unleashed upon the United States with biblically catastrophic consequences. As the meagre survivors struggle to come to terms with the aftermath, they begin to have dreams. Dreams of a dark man, and dreams of an old black woman. The former are terrifying; the latter offer solace and hope. Terrifying as they are, through the dreams the dark man begins to gather an army in the west. But the old woman is gathering her own army in the east, and if good is to triumph over evil, the good must travel over the Rockies to confront those who have allied themselves with darkness.

For the first third or so I found myself wondering why King created a cast of supremely unlikeable characters. Like Harold Lauder and Larry Underwood, for instance. I didn't enjoy Underwood's chapters one bit to begin with. Then there are those who ally themselves with the dark man. Like Trashcan Man. I deliberately left some passages unread as they strayed into the sadistic, and while I like my horror I'm also a bit of a sook.

By halfway through I'd developed a real affection for the good guys, and a sense of dread over the bad apples in the mix. Stu Redman and Frannie I adored. Redman seemed watery and insignificant to begin with and I was surprised when King moved him front and centre. Suprised but glad.

I don't think I stopped tearing up or outright crying during the last 400 pages. ***Slight Spoiler*** I bawled when Underwood broke down over leaving Redman, a leg broken, in a ditch with a fatal dose of morphine towards the end. He came full circle as a character and I felt genuine affection for him by the end. ***End Spoiler***

An epic struggle of good versus evil, The Stand is a novel populated by original characters, surprising, beautiful moments and a good helping of slimy darkness.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

In My Mailbox (Elebenty-sixteen)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren.

More casualties from the Aussie bookshop cull.This time Readers Feast, my favourite bookstore :(


They do tell me they'll be opening again somewhere else in the CBD.


But probably not in time for me to go visit my book there. Sadface.

Apart from my badly chipped nail polish and a kitty toy, what you can see in this picture is:

Silvermay by James Moloney (recommended by Adele and also an Inkys longlister. It's Australian fantasy, YAY!)
The Wilful Eye, Isobelle Carmody & Nan McNab (Eds; WOO more Aussie fantasy! This time short stories.)
Stolen, Lucy Christopher (Last year's Inkys winner; another Adele rec.)
Alaska, Sue Saliba (Heard about a million awesome things about this book)
The Dead, Charlie Higson (my only non-Aussie purchase--ZOMBIES! Grrr Arrrgh)
Eon, Alison Goodman (AKA The Two Pearls of Wisdom. I like the new title and packaging better.)

The 2011 Inkys longlist is now up on Inside a Dog.

In other news, last night I went to a costume party dressed as Julia from Nineteen Eighty-Four. Note the red sash around the waist, which signifies membership to the Anti-sex League.

Nobody got my costume! Bah. I loved wearing it though.

Currently sitting on my lap is a mopey kitty who got spayed on Tuesday. We tried taking off the cone today but, devil as she is, she went straight for her stitches. Back on went the cone.

Poor Tiv.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Review: Warm Bodies, Isaac Marion

I need to get started on my holiday reads reviewing because there is a *lot* to get through. So here goes. Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion. I picked this up at Book Blogger Con after hearing good things about it on the Book Smugglers. It's not YA. But it's zombie. And I can't resist all things zombie.

I have been known to whinge about "kissable zombie" books. Zoms are bitey. Zoms are monsters. That's the way they should stay. Well, Marion didn't exactly turn his zombies into dream dates, but he did go a long way towards...humanising them. And I loved the result.

The blurb:

R is a young man with an existential crisis–he is a zombie. He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains. He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing. He has no memories, noidentity, and no pulse, but he has dreams.

After experiencing a teenage boy’s memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and strangely sweet relationship with the victim’s human girlfriend. Julie is a blast of color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that surrounds R. His decision to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world.

Scary, funny, and surprisingly poignant, Warm Bodies is about being alive, being dead, and the blurry line in between.

I came to care for R in a way I never thought would be possible. I was convinced I knew what the ending would be before I was very far into it--I read it in New York and I would say to my friend, shaking my head, this is not going to end well.

But Warm Bodies is as unexpected as it is warm. It follows an unusual trajectory for an apocalyptic novel, one that I've only seen explored once before (in Children of the Dust). I really loved this book.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Out and about in Batmania

Did you hear Justine Larbalestier on Twitter talking about how Melbourne was almost called Batmania? HOW COOL WOULD THAT BE. John Batman founded Melbourne way back when it was a colony.

Last night I ventured out on the town for the first time since coming back from my holiday, for the launch of Dirty Granny Cider at Thousand Pound Bend. With extreme crochet. Just when you thought there was nothing cooler than Batmania!

The cider was pretty awesome too.

I love my city, even when it is frakking cold.

*happy sigh*

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Review: Ultraviolet, R. J. Anderson

I probably shouldn't write a review for a book while I'm still an emotional wreck from just having finished it--but WOW.

First of all, I did not expect to love this one as much as I did when I first started it. The blurb did grab me at the airport in London, but really I needed something to go with Bill Bryson's At Home for the Buy One Get One 50% Off offer (who could pass that up?) This is the blurb:

Once upon a time there was a girl who was special.

This is not her story.

Unless you count the part where I killed her.

Kinda chilling huh? Sounds like an issues book, or a psychological thriller. It certainly started that way. But I was disappointed as I saw the protagonist, Alison, go from a batshit-crazy-freakout in a psych ward straight to remorseful and soggy. If this girl has killed someone, can't she just own it, for at least a while?

But then the story changes. Enter (silence, please, as I say this in revered tones) Sebastian Faraday.

Now, I'm known for liking a book a hell of a lot more if I have a major crush on some tall drink of water within the pages. This is definitely one of those times. Not that the book isn't wonderful in its own right. It's incredibly wonderful. But Anderson may as well have stopped by for a coffee and said, "Oh, by the way, Rhiannon, what do you fancy in the way of male protagonists this week, hmm?"

I'm 26, but don't go thinking this is some weird cougar thing and I've been captivated by a 16-year-old. Sebastian is my age. Well, maybe a few years younger ... whatever. He's tall. Golden haired, with a voice as beautiful as his well-shaped hands. His voice is mellifluous, dear readers. He's patient and quirky and smart. I melted into puddles of warm butter in my physio's waiting room just reading about him.

But there is more to this book than the man candy! There is also some of the most beautiful, unselfconscious writing I have come across. Alison has synesthesia, a condition in which the senses are crossed-wired. Numbers have colours. Sounds are seen. Names are tasted. I saw a Scott Pilgrim scenario in which Alison's world came alive in impossible ways. Amazing descriptions.

This book isn't without flaws, but I forgave them all before I was even a third of a way through the book. I just couldn't help it. It's gorgeous. If I was still sixteen I'd be swooning around the house for a week.

I think I shall anyway.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Feeding at the REDGroup carcass

This is what $60 worth of books looks like when the major chains in Australia implode. That fact somewhat sours an otherwise delicious haul.

A Great and Terrible Beauty, Libba Bray
Paranormalcy, Kiersten White
Before I Die, Jenny Downham,
The Eternal Kiss, Trisha Telep (Ed.)
The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove, Lauren Kate
Iron Witch, Karen Mahoney
Wolfborn, Sue Bursztynski
Meridian, Amber Kizer
The Reformed Vampire Support Group, Catherine Jinks
Foundling, D. M. Cornish
Dreaming of Amelia, Jaclyn Moriarty
Wither, Lauren DeStefano

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

In My Suitcase + BLOOD SONG ARC Giveaway!

 I'm home! In one piece...more or less. I had so much fun in Greece that I've given myself a possible rotator cuff injury. Some sort of shoulder thing. I'll know more when I've had an ultrasound this afternoon. Doing what, you ask? Oh, something very sensible and writerly...

 That's me on the right with some girls from the hotel in Agios Nikolaos, Crete. One of the most beautiful places I've ever been. And yep, that's the arm in question.

 The action shot. We didn't fall out, even though the guy driving (driving? is that the word?) the speed boat was trying his best. (He certainly wasn't sailing the speedboat, that's for sure.)

But onto more important things! I did a *lot* of book buying in New York. Most of them I left at my friend's place in Brooklyn until the end of my holiday. I actually ran out of books my third week in the Greek Islands, which led to nearly panic-buy ferry tickets back to Athens. But then I found this bookshop! 

The international bookshop holy grail! Mixed in with all the Cathy Kellys and John Grishams (*shudder*) were some Kathy Reichs and even some decent YAs. I picked up The Body Finder by Kimberley Derting--not just Twilight books! I haven't read any Reichs in years and I love them.

So here are the books I bought in New York, London, Greece, were given to me by my agent, bought in airport bookshops and from Book Depository just before I went away.

Across the Universe, Beth Revis
The Body Finder, Kimberley Derting
Yarn, Jon Armstrong
Warm Bodies, Isaac Marion *
Graceling, Kristen Cashore **
Ship Breaker, Paolo Bacigalupi
Jamaica Inn, Daphne du Maurier
Fade, Lisa McCann
The Summoning, Kelley Armstrong
The Demon King, Cinda Williams Chima
A Brief History of Montmaray, Michelle Cooper
Sandman Slim, Richard Kadrey
Mortal Remains, Kathy Reichs *
Cross Bones, Kathy Reichs *
Fatal Voyage, Kathy Reichs *
The Curse of the Wendigo, Rick Yancey
Raised by Wolves, Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Burn Bright, Marianne de Pierres *
We, John Dickenson
Fairy Bad Day, Amanda Ashby
City of Ember, Jeanne DuPrau
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley **
Z, Michael Thomas Ford
Ultraviolet, R. J. Anderson
Libyrinth, Pearl North
Shade, Jeri Smith-Ready *

* = Read, review coming soon
** = Already read and reviewed, just wanted to own a copy :)

And CONGRATULATIONS Jeri Smith-Ready for winning a Prism Award for Shade this week! I read Shade on my holiday and I just loved it. 

Now the giveaway! I have one signed ARC of Blood Song that I'll be giving away on the blog. I'll post further details later this week, so stay tuned. (Ha, that's cheeky of me isn't it? Promise it won't be long!)