Monday, September 30, 2013

Cover Reveal: Forest of Whispers by Jennifer Murgia

About the Author:
Jennifer Murgia has been writing ever since she was nine years old. After receiving recognition for her poetry, she went on to use her talents to bring characters to life in fiction novels that are authentic, intriguing, and personal. She currently resides in Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.

Raised by an old fortune-teller within the dark veil of the Bavarian Black Forest, Rune has learned two valuable lessons: only take from the forest that which you can use, and never, never look anyone in the eye in the village. For something terrible happened in the forest long ago... and now, the whispers of a long-dead mother with a vengeful secret have come haunting.
 Forced to flee all she has ever known, Rune soon learns of a legacy she is bound to--one that is drenched in fear, witchcraft and murder--a birthright that stretches beyond the grave to the trees where Rune is no longer safe.
Title: Forest of Whispers
Author: Jennifer Murgia
Cover designer: Lisa Amowitz
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
ISBN: 978-1-937053-56-7
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Formats: Trade Paper, e-book

Countdown: October 2013 (4)

I've been excited to feature this month for countdowns for some time now. October is my birthday month, so I always look forward to seeing what books are going to be hitting the shelves throughout the thirty-one days that make up this calendar month. It's never a bad idea to have my birthday wish list ready for friends and family to draw from right? I've also always been a big fan of Halloween and getting dressed up and celebrating and marking the day with all the good fun that comes with it...and don't even get me started on pumpkin carving. The competition is pretty steep in my family and I've yet to come out on top, but it is a whole new year, and I'll have plenty of time to try and create a very impressive looking jack-o-lantern that will hopefully put my dad's to shame.
Countdown Pick #1:  Allegiant (Divergent, #3) by Veronica Roth (10/22/2013)

One choice will define you.

What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

This needs no explanation as to why I added it to my countdown list.  I think pretty much everyone who hasn't been in hiding somewhere knows about this series and has fallen in love with it.  There isn't one person who I've recommended it to, that hasn't come back raving about it and wanting more!  I think it's safe to say that there isn't another book coming out this year that I have been more eager to read.

Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life. Now she must call upon them on a daily basis, leading dangerous missions to bring down a corrupt government and breaking into the minds of her enemies. Other kids in the Children’s League call Ruby “Leader”, but she knows what she really is: a monster.

When Ruby is entrusted with an explosive secret, she must embark on her most dangerous mission yet: leaving the Children’s League behind. Crucial information about the disease that killed most of America’s children—and turned Ruby and the others who lived into feared and hated outcasts—has survived every attempt to destroy it. But the truth is only saved in one place: a flash drive in the hands of Liam Stewart, the boy Ruby once believed was her future—and who now wouldn’t recognize her.

As Ruby sets out across a desperate, lawless country to find Liam—and answers about the catastrophe that has ripped both her life and America apart—she is torn between old friends and the promise she made to serve the League. Ruby will do anything to protect the people she loves. But what if winning the war means losing herself?

I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of this title and couldn't resist diving right in to see how things picked up after Bracken's series opener, The Darkest Minds.  Since I've already read the book and have a review schedule to go live around the release date, I don't want to say anything that might reveal anything.  All I will say is that this title and series are ones that you should read if you haven't already!
Countdown Pick #3:   Waterfell (The Aquarathi, #1) by Amalie Howard (10/29/2013)


Nerissa Marin hides among teens in her human form, waiting for the day she can claim her birthright—the undersea kingdom stolen from her the day her father was murdered. Blending in is her best weapon—until her father's betrayer confronts Nerissa and challenges her to a battle to the death on Nerissa's upcoming birthday—the day she comes of age.

Amid danger and the heartbreak of her missing mother, falling for a human boy is the last thing Nerissa should do. But Lo Seavon breaches her defenses and somehow becomes the only person she can count on to help her desperate search for her mother, a prisoner of Nerissa's mortal enemy. Is Lo the linchpin that might win Nerissa back her crown? Or will this mortal boy become the weakness that destroys her?

I think its safe to say that unrequited and star-crossed love stories will be popular forever, and for very good reason.  They're irresistible to someone like me, who loves a good romance, and enjoys the happy endings that come after the pairs have fought so hard to be together.  I'm looking forward to seeing how this one pans out in October.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

In My Mailbox (112)

This is a meme that I first heard about from Kristi over at The Story Siren and immediately wanted to jump on board. I'm always picking up new books, because I never tire of reading, but the other thing I like about this meme is that it gives everyone an opportunity to check out what other book fanatics, bloggers, etc... got for themselves. I've gotten great recommendations from this meme and hope that keeps up in the future.

Here's what I got, what did you guys get this week?

For Review:

When you control minds, only your heart can be used against you.

Eight months ago, Kira Moore revealed to the mindreading world that mindjackers like herself were hidden in their midst. Now she wonders if telling the truth was the right choice after all. As wild rumors spread, a powerful anti-jacker politician capitalizes on mindreaders’ fears and strips jackers of their rights. While some jackers flee to Jackertown—a slum rife with jackworkers who trade mind control favors for cash—Kira and her family hide from the readers who fear her and jackers who hate her. But when a jacker Clan member makes Kira’s boyfriend Raf collapse in her arms, Kira is forced to save the people she loves by facing the thing she fears most: FBI agent Kestrel and his experimental torture chamber for jackers.

External Forces (The Laws of Motion, #1) by Deborah Rix (Thanks to Dime Store Books)


It’s 100 years since the Genetic Integrity Act was passed and America closed its borders to prevent genetic contamination. Now only the enemy, dysgenic Deviants, remain beyond the heavily guarded border. The Department of Evolution carefully guides the creation of each generation and deviations from the divine plan are not permitted.

When 16-year-old Jess begins to show signs of deviance she enlists in the Special Forces, with her best friend Jay, in a desperate bid to evade detection by the Devotees. Jess is good with data, not so good with a knife. So when the handsome and secretive Sergeant Matt Anderson selects her for his Black Ops squad, Jess is determined to figure out why.

As her deviance continues to change her, Jess is forced to decide who to trust with her deadly secret. Jess needs to know what’s really out there, in the Deviant wasteland over the border, if she has any hope of making it to her 17th birthday. Because if the enemy doesn’t kill her first, the Department of Evolution probably will.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Blog Tour & Guest Post: When the World was Flat (and we were in love)

Shocking Facts About Einstein
When the World was Flat (and we were in love) is based around a reimagining of
Albert Einstein’s decision not to accept a potentially life-saving operation.
I am not going to go into details, because that would involve giving away
spoilers, but I would love to tell you a bit about my research into Einstein.
I not only researched his theories for my novel, but also his life. Today, I have
compiled a list of the top five most shocking facts I read about Einstein, some of
which I mention in When the World was Flat (and we were in love).
1. He married his cousin

Yep. How very Downton Abbey. His cousin was also not his first wife. She was his second. Scandalous! His first wife was college sweetheart Mileva Maric, who he married in 1904 and divorced after a long separation in 1919. Later that year, he married his cousin and divorcee Elsa Loewenthal (which was her married name, as her maiden name was Einstein). They were first cousins through their mothers and second cousins through their fathers. They do look very happy together in photos though.
2. He had a secret illegitimate daughter
Einstein had two sons with his first wife Maric. However, scholars recently discovered they had a daughter before they were married, who they called Lieserl. Not much is known about Lieserl, as children born outside of wedlock were usually kept under wraps in those days. It is believed she either died of scarlet fever or was put up for adoption.
3. He blamed himself for the first atomic bomb
In 1939, Einstein wrote to President Franklin D. Roosevelt suggesting that the U.S. should build an atomic bomb before Germany.  The letter led to the development of the atomic bombs ‘Little Boy’ and ‘Fat Man,’ which were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, killing more than
200,000 people.  Einstein, who considered himself a pacifist, later described his letter to President
Roosevelt as his greatest regret.
4. He was expelled from school

Einstein went to a school called Luitpold-Gymnasium in Munich from 1888, but was reportedly expelled in 1894 for being “disruptive and affecting the other students” and left without a diploma. I read that he had been scheming to leave anyway and had secured a doctor’s certificate citing a nervous breakdown if he did not return to his parents, who had moved to Italy.  I also read that he failed his college entry exams, but I am not sure about that, as there is a lot of misinformation about Einstein.
5. His brain has been used for scientific research
Einstein passed away on April 18 rupture of an aneurysm, which had previously been operated on. He refused a potentially life-saving operation, saying it was his time.  The pathologist removed his brain within eight hours of his death for scientific study into his genius. There is debate around whether this was done with the permission of the family, although apparently his son agreed after the fact on the 18th, 1955, from internal bleeding caused by the condition that the research only be published in journals of high-standing.  The findings are contradictory, but it seems to be agreed that he had unusual
brain anatomy. In 2012, a new study was published in the journal Brain, stating: Although the overall size and asymmetrical shape of Einstein's brain were normal, the prefrontal, somatosensory, primary motor, parietal, temporal and occipital cortices were extraordinary.

Looking back, I wonder if I had an inkling that my life was about to go from ordinary to extraordinary.
When sixteen-year-old Lillie Hart meets the gorgeous and mysterious Tom Windsor-Smith for the first time, it’s like fireworks — for her, anyway. Tom looks as if he would be more interested in watching paint dry; as if he is bored by her and by her small Nebraskan town in general.
But as Lillie begins to break down the walls of his seemingly impenetrable exterior, she starts to suspect that he holds the answers to her reoccurring nightmares and to the impossible memories which keep bubbling to the surface of her mind — memories of the two of them, together and in love. 
When she at last learns the truth about their connection, Lillie discovers that Tom has been hiding an earth-shattering secret; a secret that is bigger — and much more terrifying and beautiful — than the both of them. She also discovers that once you finally understand that the world is round, there is no way to make it flat again.
An epic and deeply original sci-fi romance, taking inspiration from Albert Einstein’s theories and the world-bending wonder of true love itself.
About the Author:

Ingrid Jonach writes books for children and young adults, including the chapter books The Frank Frankie and Frankie goes to France published by Pan Macmillan, and When the World was Flat (and we were in love) published by Strange Chemistry.
Since graduating from university with a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing (Hons) in 2005, Ingrid has worked as a journalist and in public relations, as well as for the Australian Government.
Ingrid loves to promote reading and writing, and has been a guest speaker at a number of schools and literary festivals across Australia, where she lives with her husband Craig and their pug dog Mooshi.
Despite her best efforts, neither Craig nor Mooshi read fiction.
Find out more at
Giveaway Details
Enter below for your chance to win one of two awesome prize packages as part of the Around the World in 80 Days Blog Tour for When the World was Flat (and we were in love) by Ingrid Jonach.
There will be two winners worldwide. Each prize package includes:
• a signed copy of When the World was Flat (and we were in love)
• a pair of silver plated key-shaped earrings in a When the World was Flat (and we were in love) gift box
• a When the World was Flat (and we were in love) bookmark.
The competition will run until 21 October 2013 and the winners will be
announced on this page and via
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 27, 2013

Author Interview: Daisy Whitney

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.

Like a master painter herself, Daisy Whitney brings inordinate talent and ingenuity to this romantic, suspenseful, and sophisticated new novel. A beautifully decorated package makes it a must-own in print.
Starry Nights was released earlier this month. How does it feel?  What's your favorite part of the writing/publishing process?
It's surreal that a book I wrote and edited for two years is now finally on shelves and in eReaders and libraries! And that brings me to my favorite part of writing - connecting with readers who have
enjoyed your book!

What's your best advice for someone that wants to be a writer?
Read buckets. Write daily. Then edit voraciously! Revise and then revise again.

Name three things you loved about writing Starry Nights?

I love Paris, art and magic so Starry Nights was a complete joy to write given that it incorporates all three.

What's in your reading pile right now? Any recommendations or titles we should steer clear of?

I read a lot of YA, adult contemporary romance and new adult, so I plan on reading Working It by Kendall Ryan, If I Should Die by Amy Plum, and Off Chance by Sawyer Bennett.
You're both a writer, a journalist, a ghostwriter, a wife and mother. How do you juggle and manage it all?
I have a small fleet of chihuahuas that I have trained to write my novels. They help! But seriously, I don't know there is any magic formula except to just do it. Bills have a way of motivating me to work, and imagination motivates me to write fiction, and my family is awesome, so I am grateful for the juggling involved.
How did you get into ghostwriting? What's your favorite thing about it?

The ghostwriting I do is on the non-fiction side, and that stemmed from my work as a reporter. I enjoy helping my ghostwriting clients succeed in reaching their business objectives.
Any books in the works at the moment? If so, care to share any teasers or hints on what your readers and fans can expect and look forward to?
I am working on another magical realism novel for Fall 2014 from Bloomsbury, a contemporary romance called 21 Kisses for Winter 2015, also with Bloomsbury, and a middle grade novel for Fall 2014 from Spencer Hill Press.
If you could travel anywhere you wanted, where would you go and why? if you could only bring three things with you, what would they be and why?

Fiji. London. Prague. I've never been to London, Prague sounds like a fairytale, and Fiji seems blissful. I would bring an eReader, a toothbrush, and fresh clothes :)
About the Author:

By day, Daisy Whitney is a reporter and ghostwriter. At night, she writes novels for teens and is the author of THE MOCKINGBIRDS and its sequel THE RIVALS (Little, Brown). Her third novel WHEN YOU WERE HERE releases in June 2013 (Little, Brown), and her fourth novel STARRY NIGHTS (Bloomsbury) hits shelves in September 2013. When Daisy's not inventing fictional high school worlds, she can be found somewhere north of San Francisco walking her adorable dog, watching online TV with her fabulous husband or playing with her fantastic kids. A graduate of Brown University, she believes in shoes, chocolate chip cookies and karma. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Author Interview: Mindy McGinnis

Regret was for people with nothing to defend, people who had no water.
Lynn knows every threat to her pond: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and, most importantly, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty, or doesn't leave at all.

Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. Having a life means dedicating it to survival, and the constant work of gathering wood and water. Having a pond requires the fortitude to protect it, something Mother taught her well during their quiet hours on the rooftop, rifles in hand.

But wisps of smoke on the horizon mean one thing: strangers. The mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it….

As a fellow blogger, you focus a lot of the interviews on Writer, Writer Pants on Fire, on the publishing process. Do you have any tips for the aspiring writers out there?

I think my biggest tip is to be realistic, and I don't mean that to sound haughty. Quite the opposite. It took me ten years of writing, improving, learning, revising, etc., to get an agent. The overnight success stories are the ones that make headlines, but Aesop didn't write about the tortoise winning the race because it's sexy.

Name three things you loved about writing Not a Drop to Drink

The research - it was life-changing. The story itself - It wanted to be told. Writing Stebbs - he took charge of every scene. He didn't need me at all.

What's your best advice for someone that wants to be a writer?

Be diligent and realistic. I love being a librarian and will never give it up. I made sure I had a day job that I could conceivably perform for the rest of my life and be happy if the writing gig didn't pan out. If I'd said, "I'll settle for McDonald's until I hit the writing jackpot," I'd be overweight and disillusioned.

Your debut novel is coming out soon, how does it feel? What was your favorite part of this whole process?

I had the kick in the chest when I held my ARC in my hands, the "real" feeling, but it wasn't until the other day when DRINK was on the Indie Next List (sandwiched between Patrick Ness and Elizabeth Wein) that I went - "@#$*@(#@#!!" 

My favorite part was totally getting my cover. Just flat out awesome.

You recently signed a two-book contract with Katherine Tegen Books of Harper Collins which are scheduled for 2015 and 2016....any hints or teasers you want to give your readers on what to expect and look forward to?

I honestly can't because I have no idea what those books are about.

You not only write, you're a YA librarian, maintain your own personal blog as well as contribute to at least five others on a regular basis. How do you juggle and manage it all?

Well, obviously I'm completely insane. No, the truth is that I don't sleep much. When I do sleep it's one of those disorienting, drool-on-yourself things and then I'm good for like, 18 hours.

What's in your reading pile right now? Any recent favorites you'd recommend or tell us to steer clear of?

I'm actually ripping through the titles of my fellow Dark Days tour authors - Rae Carson, Michelle Gagnon, Sherry Thomas, Madeleine Roux and Amelia Kahaney. By the looks of it I'll be finishing up Sherry's book - THE BURNING SKY - and jumping into Madeleine's - ASYLUM - tonight!

If you could travel anywhere you wanted, where would you go and why? If you could only take three things with you, what would they be and why?

Ireland. But I don't want to go until I've traced my ancestry back to when they came over (looks like early 1700's) then traced that line *forward* to find living Irish relatives.
Um three things I'd take with me - clean underwear, tampons and more tampons. Just because I'm practical.
Thanks so much for stopping by the blog Mindy, and if any of you readers out there are looking for more information on Mindy and her book, check out the links below. 
Not a Drop to Drink hits stores today....I'm on my way to the store now to pick up my own copy!
About the Author:
I'm a YA librarian and author, represented by Adriann Ranta of Wolf Literary. My YA debut, NOT A DROP TO DRINK, is a survival tale set in a world with limited fresh water. It will be available from Katherine Tegen / Harper Collins, September 24, 2013.

I'm an avid blogger, posting six days a week to my personal blog, Writer, Writer Pants on Fire, which features interviews with agents, established authors, and debut authors. Learn how they landed their agents, what the submission process is really like, and how it feels when you see your cover for the first time. I also do query critiques every Saturday on the Saturday Slash for those who are brave enough to volunteer.

I also contribute to the group blogs From the Write Angle, Book Pregnant, Friday the Thirteeners, The Lucky 13s, The League of Extraordinary Writers and am a member of the Class of 2k13

Monday, September 23, 2013

Countdown: October 2013 (3)

I've been excited to feature this month for countdowns for some time now. October is my birthday month, so I always look forward to seeing what books are going to be hitting the shelves throughout the thirty-one days that make up this calendar month. It's never a bad idea to have my birthday wish list ready for friends and family to draw from right? I've also always been a big fan of Halloween and getting dressed up and celebrating and marking the day with all the good fun that comes with it...and don't even get me started on pumpkin carving. The competition is pretty steep in my family and I've yet to come out on top, but it is a whole new year, and I'll have plenty of time to try and create a very impressive looking jack-o-lantern that will hopefully put my dad's to shame.
Countdown Pick #1:  The Brokenhearted by Amelia Kahaney (10/08/2013)

A teenage girl is transformed into a reluctant superhero and must balance her old life with the dark secret of who she has become.

Prima ballerina Anthem Fleet is closely guarded by her parents in their penthouse apartment. But when she meets the handsome Gavin at a party on the wrong side of town, she is immediately drawn into his dangerous world. Then, in a tragic accident, Anthem falls to her death. She awakes in an underground lab, with a bionic heart ticking in her chest. As she navigates her new life, she uncovers the sinister truth behind those she trusted the most, and the chilling secret of her family lineage…and her duty to uphold it.

The Dark Knight meets Cinder in this gripping and cinematic story of heartbreak and revenge. From Alloy Entertainment, this inventive new superhero story is sure to captivate any reader.

This upcoming release sounds more like a movie to me than a book, but that won't stop me from picking it up on it's release day to see what it's all about.  This will be my first experience reading Kahaney's work, and I'm looking forward to hopefully adding another favorite author to my list.

Return to the world of Melissa Marr’s bestselling series and discover how the events of Wicked Lovely set a different faery tale in motion...

The Mojave Desert was a million miles away from the plots and schemes of the Faerie Courts—and that’s exactly why Rika chose it as her home. The once-mortal faery retreated to the desert’s isolation after decades of carrying winter’s curse inside her body. But her seclusion—and the freedom of the desert fey—are threatened by the Summer King’s newfound strength. And when the manipulations of her trickster friend, Sionnach, thrust Rika into a new romance, she finds new power within herself—and a new desire to help Sionnach protect the desert fey and mortals alike. The time for hiding is OVER.

Originally presented as a manga series, and now available for the first time as a standalone novel, Desert Tales combines tentative romance, outward strength, and inner resolve in a faery story of desert and destiny.

I was a huge fan of the Wicked Lovely series, but I was never really able to get into the manga style novels.  So when I found out that Marr would be spinning her manga series into a standalone novel I was thrilled and eager to pick this one up.
Countdown Pick #3:  Premeditated by Josin L. McQuein (10/08/2013)

A week ago, Dinah’s cousin Claire cut her wrists.

Five days ago, Dinah found Claire’s diary and discovered why.

Three days ago, Dinah stopped crying and came up with a plan.

Two days ago, she ditched her piercings and bleached the black dye from her hair.

Yesterday, knee socks and uniform plaid became a predator’s camouflage.

Today, she’ll find the boy who broke Claire.

By tomorrow, he’ll wish he were dead.

Yikes!  While this whole set up kind of puts me on edge and tips my scale into scary, at the same time, I'm already finding myself wanting to root for this female lead if she's going to try and make sure this "boy" doesn't hurt another girl like her cousin again.
Countdown Pick #4:  Tandem (Many-Worlds Trilogy, #1) by Anna Jarzab (10/08/2013)

Everything repeats.
You. Your best friend. Every person you know.
Many worlds. Many lives--infinite possibilities.
Welcome to the multiverse.

Sixteen-year-old Sasha Lawson has only ever known one small, ordinary life. When she was young, she loved her grandfather's stories of parallel worlds inhabited by girls who looked like her but led totally different lives. Sasha never believed such worlds were real--until now, when she finds herself thrust into one against her will.

To prevent imminent war, Sasha must slip into the life of an alternate version of herself, a princess who has vanished on the eve of her arranged marriage. If Sasha succeeds in fooling everyone, she will be returned home; if she fails, she'll be trapped in another girl's life forever. As time runs out, Sasha finds herself torn between two worlds, two lives, and two young men vying for her love--one who knows her secret, and one who thinks she's someone she's not.

The first book in the Many-Worlds Trilogy, Tandem is a riveting saga of love and betrayal set in parallel universes in which nothing--and no one--is what it seems.

I'm so excited for this title to hit the shelves and cannot wait to read more about Sasha and these parallel universes!
Countdown Pick #5:  Teardrop (Teardrop, #1) by Lauren Kate (10/22/2013)

Never, ever cry. . . . Eureka Boudreaux's mother drilled that rule into her daughter years ago. But now her mother is gone, and everywhere Eureka goes he is there: Ander, the tall, pale blond boy who seems to know things he shouldn't, who tells Eureka she is in grave danger, who comes closer to making her cry than anyone has before.

But Ander doesn't know Eureka's darkest secret: ever since her mother drowned in a freak accident, Eureka wishes she were dead, too. She has little left that she cares about, just her oldest friend, Brooks, and a strange inheritance—a locket, a letter, a mysterious stone, and an ancient book no one understands. The book contains a haunting tale about a girl who got her heart broken and cried an entire continent into the sea. Eureka is about to discover that the ancient tale is more than a story, that Ander might be telling the truth . . . and that her life has far darker undercurrents than she ever imagined. From Lauren Kate comes an epic saga of heart-stopping romance, devastating secrets, and dark magic . . . a world where everything you love can be washed away.

Lauren Kate is back with another series and I think all of her fans agree that it couldn't have come at a better time.  I'm always on the lookout for a good romance, so when that's combined with Lauren Kate's amazing character development and story lines that flow together so effortlessly that readers easily lose track of the hour as they're trying their best to fly through the pages, it was a done deal for me.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

In My Mailbox (111)

This is a meme that I first heard about from Kristi over at The Story Siren and immediately wanted to jump on board. I'm always picking up new books, because I never tire of reading, but the other thing I like about this meme is that it gives everyone an opportunity to check out what other book fanatics, bloggers, etc... got for themselves. I've gotten great recommendations from this meme and hope that keeps up in the future.

Here's what I got, what did you guys get this week?

For Review:
Aberrant by Ruth Silver (Thanks to Ruth)

In the future Dystopian society of Cabal, the government instills equality for all and offers its citizens the perfect system. There is food, shelter and jobs for everyone. The one requirement is to follow the rules without question, including the government's match in marriage and "The Day of the Chosen", a lottery that randomly selects families to conceive children as natural means hasn't existed in generations. Following her eighteenth birthday, Olivia Parker accepts her requirement to marry her childhood best friend, Joshua Warren, and is eager to start her work assignment and new life when it all comes abruptly to an end as she's arrested and thrown in prison. The only crime committed, her existence. Olivia is unlike the rest of the world born not from "The Day of the Chosen." The truth haunts the government and puts her life in grave danger as one simple fact would destroy the perfect system.

With Joshua's help, Olivia breaks free of prison and is forced on the run. Together they set out to find the promised rebel town in search of a new home and new life together. Their situation seems less than promising as they reach the town of Haven. New rules and customs must be adhered to in order to stay. Leaving would mean most certain death in the large expanse of the Gravelands. Time is running out as the government mounts an attack to destroy Olivia and bury her secret with her. Thrown into a world unlike their own, they must quickly adapt to survive.

Rory (The Ghosts of Palladino, #1) by Ciye Cho (Thanks to Ciye)

Far beyond heaven, earth and hell is a city known as Palladino, a place ruled by ghosts and filled with demons, magic, and all sorts of darkly beautiful things. A city where no one can ever escape.

Eighteen-year-old Rory is a cake decorator who makes stunning confections. But no amount of frosting or miracles can save her when a demon kidnaps her—and carries her to Palladino. Here, Rory ends up in a deadly charm school where young women are forced to become companions for the Ghost Lords. And for her to survive, Rory must become everything that she isn’t: graceful, elegant... and perfect.

But nothing is what it seems in Palladino. Not the magic. Not the ghosts. And definitely not Martin Marius, the bizarre Ghost Lord-slash-inventor who is drawn to Rory. For amid a thousand machines and a hundred cats, Martin holds a secret that could change everything. A secret that could either free Rory... or destroy her.

Alienated (Alienated, #1) by Melissa Landers (Thanks to Disney Hyperion)

Interplanetary relations have never been more exciting! The first in a funny, romantic YA sci-fi series.

Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara's classmates get swept up by anti-L'eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn't safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara's locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she's fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Guest Post: Author Risa Green

When 13-year-old Gretchen Harris's mother is murdered at Gretchen's 8th Grade graduation party, everyone in the town of Delphi, California, suspects a power struggle within the Oculus Society: Delphi's version of the Junior League. Gretchen's best friend, Jessica Shaw, might even hold the key to finding the culprit withThe Plotinus Ability: the Oculus Society's jealously guarded secret power to trade souls, which hinges on a kiss. Gretchen's hope at finding the murderer ends in tragedy when Ariel Miller—the class outcast—stalks Gretchen and Jessica and surreptitiously films them exchanging a kiss to test if the Plotinus Ability is real, not knowing their motives. The ensuing YouTube video ("Popular Girls = Secret Lovers") goes viral, Gretchen's and Jessica's lives are further shattered, and they vanish from Delphi.

Flash forward two years later: Ariel is suddenly the most popular junior in town, but wracked with guilt over what she did to Gretchen and Jessica. When both girls reappear after their mysterious absence, Ariel finds herself pawn, suspect, and key player in their scheme to bring the murderer to justice.
My new book, Projection, is set in two different time periods: one in present day California, one in Ancient Rome.  In present day California, three teenaged girls are using a two thousand year-old secret to trade souls and solve a murder.  In Ancient Rome, the philosopher Plotinus and his young disciple Gemina have just perfected this secret, and are discovering just how dangerous it is.
The question I get asked a lot is, how did I write the chapters about Ancient Rome?  If I’m feeling snarky, I’ll say that I know this ancient Roman guy who told me a bunch of stories  about back in the day.
Obviously, I did a lot of research.  Plotinus was a real person, so I spent some time reading about his philosophies and beliefs, about where he was born and where he died.  I read up on the laws that existed in Rome in 285, especially those that restricted the rights of women.  And I tried to find out as much as I could about what it was like to live in Rome during that time; what did people wear, what did they eat, what was their typical day like?  But that’s where it got hard.   There’s just not a ton of information about what it was like to be a seventeen yearold girl in Rome in the year 285.  So I had to wing it.  As a former lawyer who was trained to get the facts right, that was hard for me.  I kept thinking, maybe I’m missing something, and I’d read more books, do more internet searches.  But eventually, I realized that I was spending way more time researching than I was writing, I wasn’t coming up with anything new, and, most importantly, I wasn’t enjoying myself.  So finally, I let it go.  I let go of being exactly right, and that’s when the fun started.  Because what is fiction – even historical fiction – if not using your imagination to fill in the gaps?  And what’s the point of writing if it’s not fun?
Most people who read Projection tell me that they liked the Ancient Roman chapters the best, and that’s really validating for me.  Usually when a reader likes something, it’s because they can tell that the author was having fun with it.  And in this case, that is exactly right.
About the Author:
Risa Green is the author of the recently released YA novel Projection.  She has also written the YA series The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball, as well as the critically acclaimed adult novels, Notes from the Underbelly and Tales From the Crib, which were the basis of an ABC television series titled Notes From the Underbelly.  Risa also writes Tales from the Mommy Track, a popular weekly blog which appears on both and   Prior to becoming a writer, Risa worked as a high school college counselor, and also spent two years doing hard time as a corporate attorney.  Born in the Philadelphia area, Risa now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Banned Books Week News

I was recently contacted and asked to help spread the word about a great upcoming event that no one will want to misss out on.  I'm sure it's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Jay Asher and his book Thirteen Reasons Why.  I'm also, of course, a huge advocate of the freedom to read and without a doubt believe that no books should ever be banned from reading! 
Next week is Banned Books Week - the national book community's annual celebration of the freedom to read! Hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country draw attention to the problem of censorship by mounting displays of challenged books!
In honor of Banned Books Week, Google+ and (powered by Meryl Moss Media Relations) are proud to announce that Jay Asher, #1 New York Times and international bestselling author of the frequently challenged novelTHIRTEEN REASONS WHY, will be joining us for a Literary Google+ Hangouts OnAir on September 24 at 3 p.m. ET!
During the Hangout you can:
· Ask Jay questions directly
This is a great organization and a great cause to get behind and check out some more for yourself.  And I have to add...any excuse to to hear and learn a little bit more about Jay Asher and his books and I'm going to jump at the chance!  You can find more information here, but spread the word and be sure to stop by on the 24th at the hangout!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Guest Post: Author Hollis Seamon

Chemo, radiation, a zillion surgeries, watching my mom age twenty years in twenty months: if that’s part of the Big Dude’s plan, then it’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? Somebody Up There Hates You.

SUTHY has landed me here in this hospice, where we—that’s me and Sylvie—are the only people under 30 in the whole place, sweartogod. But I’m not dead yet. I still need to keep things interesting. Sylvie, too. I mean, we’re kids, hospice-hostages or not. We freak out visitors; I get my uncle to sneak me out for one insane Halloween night. Stuff like that. And Sylvie wants to make things even more interesting. That girl’s got big plans.

Only Sylvie’s father is so nuclear-blasted by what’s happened to his little girl, he glows orange, I swear. That’s one scary man, and he’s not real fond of me. So we got a major family feud going on, right here in hospice. DO NOT CROSS line running down the middle of the hall, me on one side, her on the other. It’s crazy.

In the middle of all of this, really, there’s just me and Sylvie, a guy and a girl. And we want to live, in our way, by our own rules, in whatever time we’ve got. We will pack in some living before we go, trust me.
First, let me say thanks for the interest in my new YA novel, Somebody Up There Hates You. 
Working with the editors and staff at the brand new AlgonquinYoung Readers (AYR) imprint has been amazing.  I’ve really enjoyed meeting the writers of the other books in this imprint, too, as we get together at signings and events.  It’s a great bunch of people and an absolutely stunning group of books.  Take a look at all of the AYR books at .
And thanks to all of the book bloggers who read and write about YA books.  There’s an incredibly lively and enthusiastic community of YA readers out there and I appreciate, so much, everything you do to promote books and reading.  You guys are a writer’s best friends!  I also love to meet readers in person; my upcoming events are listed on my blog at
I’ve been touched by the response to Somebody Up There Hates You, from traditional reviewers—starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews! ( and )—and from bloggers all around the globe.  This novel is close to my heart; it grew from years and years spent with my young son at what was then called Babies Hospital in New York City, part of the huge Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center.  This was a long time ago and my son, happily, has grown up into a writer himself ( ).  But, through the years, the faces and voices of so many of the seriously ill kids in that hospital have stayed with me.  The teenagers, in particular, made
a huge impression.  No matter how sick they were, they remained funny and rebellious and tough.   They flirted and partied; they disobeyed doctors’ orders and drove everyone around them crazy.  They were very much alive—and fighting like mad to stay that way.  The characters of Richie and Sylvie in my novel are entirely fictional, just like everything that happens to them, but they were created from my memories of those incredibly brave teenagers.  The nurses at my fictional Hilltop Hospital, too, are based on the real-life, heroic caregivers that I came to know and admire.
And, last, one more bit of thanks:  to my students.  I’ve been a teacher for a looooooong time at the College of Saint Rose in Albany NY.  I teach writing and literature and performance to bright, funny and energetic young adults who keep me in touch with their world.  May we all stay, in Bob Dylan’s words, forever young. 
About the Author:
Hollis reads, writes, cooks, and gardens in Kinderhook NY. She teaches writing and literature at the College of Saint Rose in Albany NY and the MFA in Creative Writing Program of Fairfield University, Fairfield CT.

Her newest novel, SOMEBODY UP THERE HATES YOU, is one of the inaugural YA books to be published in Fall 2013 by Algonquin Young Readers. Her collection of short stories, Corporeality, was published in January 2013 by Able Muse Press.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Review: Apollyon (Covenant, #4) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Fate isn’t something to mess with… and now, neither is Alex.

Alex has always feared two things: losing herself in the Awakening and being placed on the Elixir. But love has always been stronger than Fate, and Aiden St. Delphi is willing to make war on the gods—and Alex herself—to bring her back.

The gods have killed thousands and could destroy entire cities in their quest to stop Seth from taking Alex’s power and becoming the all-powerful God Killer. But breaking Alex’s connection to Seth isn’t the only problem. There are a few pesky little loopholes in the whole “an Apollyon can’t be killed” theory, and the only person who might know how to stop the destruction has been dead for centuries.

Finding their way past the barriers that guard the Underworld, searching for one soul among countless millions, and then somehow returning will be hard enough. Alex might be able to keep Seth from becoming the God Killer… or she might become the God Killer herself.
Armentrout took no prisoners with this installment and absolutely did not hold anything back.  Alex once again has a lot going on and not a whole lot of time to work through everything and figure it all out.  She's forced to stay on her toes and doesn't really have the luxury to make any mistakes, even small ones, because even the slightest misstep on her part could cause huge ramifications.  Aiden is still working through the fact that he was forced to put Alex on the elixir, Alex must face the fact that she has connected with Seth and accept that he is her other half, for better or for worse, in her case.
Readers will enjoy the deeper character development Armentrout offered up, especially for those outside of Alex.  We get to see a different side of Aiden, mainly the vulnerability he isn't able to hide all the time and the struggles he deals with both outwordly and the internal conflicts he's constantly battling.  As for Seth, well lets just say that in order to avoid spoiling any of the real juicy stuff that takes place this time around, I'll only say that it's possible that despite readers feeling firm in their opinions of him after the last installment, they might in fact find themselves swaying just a bit.  I definitely went back and forth and found myself questioning my rational a time or two thanks to Armentrout's revelations.
Bottom line being that Armentrout shows no signs of slowing down with this series anytime soon, and I know I'm not alone in wanting the fifth installment, Sentinel to hit the shelves pronto!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Countdown: October 2013 (2)

I've been excited to feature this month for countdowns for some time now. October is my birthday month, so I always look forward to seeing what books are going to be hitting the shelves throughout the thirty-one days that make up this calendar month. It's never a bad idea to have my birthday wish list ready for friends and family to draw from right? I've also always been a big fan of Halloween and getting dressed up and celebrating and marking the day with all the good fun that comes with it...and don't even get me started on pumpkin carving. The competition is pretty steep in my family and I've yet to come out on top, but it is a whole new year, and I'll have plenty of time to try and create a very impressive looking jack-o-lantern that will hopefully put my dad's to shame.
Countdown Pick #1:  Meet Me at the River by Nina de Garmont (10/15/2013)
We can’t choose who we love…but can we choose to let go?Stepsiblings Tressa and Luke have been close since they were little…and when they become teenagers, they slip from being best friends to being something more. Their relationship makes everyone around them uncomfortable, but they can’t—won’t—deny their connection. Nothing can keep them apart.

Not even death. Luke is killed in a horrible, tragic accident, and Tressa is suddenly and desperately alone. Unable to outrun the waves of grief and guilt and longing, she is haunted by thoughts of suicide. And then she is haunted by Luke himself.

He visits only at night. But when he’s with her, it’s almost like the accident never happened. Oh, there are reminders, from the way she can only feel him when he touches the scars on her wrist, to how she can’t seem to tell him about life since he’s been gone. As long as they’re together, though, the rest…it fades away.

But during the day it is Tressa who can’t grasp hold of the people around her. The same people who never wanted her and Luke together in the first place are determined to help her move on. Determined to help her heal. They just don’t understand—one misstep, one inch forward, could leave Luke behind forever.

Nina de Gramont, author of Gossip of the Starlings and Every Little Thing in the World, writes of love that is beautiful and poetic, forbidden and radical—and utterly irresistible.
This read will obviously not be a light and fun one to fly through, but the synopsis went so deep and the way it was all laid out made it difficult to pass up.  I honestly felt like I had no choice but to add it to my countdown list, because otherwise I probably would have always wondered how it all turned out.
On Internment, the floating island in the clouds where 15-year-old Morgan Stockhour lives, getting too close to the edge can lead to madness. Even though Morgan's older brother, Lex, was a Jumper, Morgan vows never to end up like him. She tries her best not to mind that her life is orderly and boring, and if she ever wonders about the ground, and why it is forbidden, she takes solace in best friend Pen and her betrothed, Basil.

Then a murder, the first in a generation, rocks the city. With whispers swirling and fear on the wind, Morgan can no longer stop herself from investigating, especially when she meets Judas. He is the boy being blamed for the murder — betrothed to the victim — but Morgan is convinced of his innocence. Secrets lay at the heart of Internment, but nothing can prepare Morgan for what she will find — or who she will lose.

If anyone out there is like me, I was a huge fan of DeStefano's thanks to her Chemical Garden trilogy and am so glad that she has another series coming out so quickly after her last one wrapped up.  Her writing is fast paced and her plots are enjoyable and will keep you on the edge of your seats from start to finish.
Countdown Pick #3:  Skulk by Rosie Best (10/01/2013)

When Meg witnesses the dying moments of a shapeshifting fox and is given a beautiful and powerful stone, her life changes forever. She is plunged into the dark world of the Skulk, a group of shapeshifting foxes.

As she learns about the other groups of shapeshifters that lurk around London – the Rabble, the Horde, the Cluster and the Conspiracy – she becomes aware of a deadly threat against all the shapeshifters. They must put aside all their enmity and hostility and fight together to defeat it.

I am loving that this book's description sounds like nothing I've ever read or been reading lately.  Perfect for a little change up for the start of Fall and looking forward to my first experience with Best's writing.  This is one that if you haven't already done so, you might want to add it to your 2013 Debut Author Challenge lists.
Countdown Pick #4:  Unbreakable (Legion, #1) by Kami Garcia (10/01/2013)

Supernatural meets The Da Vinci Code in this action-packed paranormal thriller, the first book in a new series from New York Times bestselling author Kami Garcia. I never believed in ghosts. Until one tried to kill me.

When Kennedy Waters finds her mother dead, her world begins to unravel. She doesn’t know that paranormal forces in a much darker world are the ones pulling the strings. Not until identical twins Jared and Lukas Lockhart break into Kennedy’s room and destroy a dangerous spirit sent to kill her. The brothers reveal that her mother was part of an ancient secret society responsible for protecting the world from a vengeful demon — a society whose five members were all murdered on the same night.

Now Kennedy has to take her mother’s place in the Legion if she wants to uncover the truth and stay alive. Along with new Legion members Priest and Alara, the teens race to find the only weapon that might be able to destroy the demon — battling the deadly spirits he controls every step of the way.

Suspense, romance, and the paranormal meet in this chilling urban fantasy, the first book in a new series from Kami Garcia, bestselling coauthor of the Beautiful Creatures novels.

I know I'm not alone in being excited for just about anything Garcia puts out on the shelves.  This new Fall release sounds equally as exciting as her previous works and I can't wait to check it out for myself and have it as a new addition to my library.

What is it like to be the daughter of the most beautiful woman in the world? Hermione knows . . . her mother is Helen of Troy, the famed beauty of Greek myth. Helen is not only beautiful but also impulsive, and when she falls in love with charming Prince Paris, she runs off with him to Troy, abandoning her distraught daughter. Determined to reclaim their enchanting queen, the Greek army sails for Troy. Hermione stows away in one of the thousand ships in the fleet and witnesses the start of the legendary Trojan War. In the rough Greek encampment outside the walls of Troy, Hermione’s life is far from that of a pampered princess. Meanwhile, her mother basks in luxury in the royal palace inside the city. Hermione desperately wishes for the gods and goddesses to intervene and end the brutal war—and to bring her love. Will she end up with the handsome archer Orestes, or the formidable Pyrrhus, leader of a tribe of fierce warriors? And will she ever forgive her mother for bringing such chaos to her life and the lives of so many others?
I'm loving everything about this one.  My followers and friends know that I can't get enough of all things Greek and Roman Mythology related, and this one of those stories that's interwoven with a good mix of all the right elements.  I've been a fan of Carolyn Meyer's writing for some time, and I'm anxious to see what she'll bring to the table with this future release as well.


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