Thursday, October 8, 2015

Interview: Mikaela Everett + The Unquiet

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming author Mikaela Everett to the blog to answer a few questions about her debut novel, The Unquiet. I've always been fascinated by the idea of parallel universes or duplicate worlds, so I got a little excited to bombard Mikaela with questions and poke around in her mind, and she was a good enough sport to let me:) I hope you guys enjoy the interview!

In The Unquiet, every person has a duplicate in another version of Earth. If you ever came face to face with a duplicate version of yourself, what’s the first thing you’d want to know about the life she’s lived?

Great question! I’d probably ask something deep and philosophical like “Are you happy?” I would also ask about the different turning points in my life - to see if she chose differently and how things worked out for her. And then smaller things like, did she keep playing the piano after fifth grade, and is she an expert pianist because of it? Did she also huddle in the corners of libraries reading books that were probably too advanced for her, and is she a book lover because of it? Is she a writer because of it? I’d want to know if we could recognize each other beyond our similar outward appearances - whether inside we’d be the same or different people.

The idea that someone could come in and steal your life without those closest to you even noticing is absolutely terrifying. What would Lirael say are the top three qualities that make the perfect sleeper soldier?

The ability to kill, the ability to hide your emotions, and the desire to stay alive at all costs.

If a friend came to you tomorrow talking about the existence of a duplicate Earth, how long would it take you to believe them?

Not long at all! I think all authors secretly believe that the worlds they create just might be real, somewhere well beyond their imaginations. And it’s not that hard with The Unquiet, given how little we know about space and what is out there.

What’s one small quirk or habit you have that would hopefully tip your family and friends off that your duplicate has taken over when she doesn’t exhibit it?

If my duplicate likes bananas, or is a cat person, those are dead giveaways!

If instead of a duplicate Earth there was realm after realm wherein the worlds of any and every piece of fiction existed, which realm would you most want to visit?

I don’t know that I’d last five minutes in either, but the worlds of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings seem like pretty good places to be. Like almost everybody else, I grew up in those worlds. And I wouldn’t just want to be a spectator in either. Wherever there’s a battle, count me in—wand or sword in hand! (Hence the “wouldn’t last five minutes” part).

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions Mikaela!

• • • • • • • • • • • • • 


For most of her life, Lirael has been training to kill—and replace—a duplicate version of herself on a parallel Earth. She is the perfect sleeper-soldier. But she’s beginning to suspect she is not a good person.

The two Earths are identical in almost every way. Two copies of every city, every building, even every person. But the people from the second Earth know something their duplicates do not—two versions of the same thing cannot exist. They—and their whole planet—are slowly disappearing. Lira has been trained mercilessly since childhood to learn everything she can about her duplicate, to be a ruthless sleeper-assassin who kills that other Lirael and steps seamlessly into her life.

An intricate, literary stand-alone from an astonishing new voice, The Unquiet takes us deep inside the psyche of a strong teenage heroine struggling with what she has been raised to be and who she really is. Fans of eerily futuristic and beautifully crafted stories such as Never Let Me Go, Orphan Black, and Fringe will find themselves haunted by this unsettling debut.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • •


Hi. I’m Mikaela. I write books for adults and young adults. My debut, a speculative novel called THE UNQUIET, will be released from Greenwillow/HarperCollins on September 22, 2015. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Robotic Horses & TITANS: An Explanation in Gif Form

A couple weeks ago I picked Victoria Scott's Titans as one of my Waiting on Wednesday features, the lure of a cover and story featuring robotic horses far too great for me to resist. This led to a chat with Victoria about my love of horses (I grew up with them, see picture below!) and ended with her sending me a post that highlighted the reasons she chose to write about robotic horses. Reasons presented in .gif form. Win.

7 Reasons I Wrote About Robotic Horses, Explained in .Gifs

Horses make great BFFs, especially robotic ones. And who doesn’t need an extra BFF or three?


Horses have great hair. And Astrid’s best friend, Magnolia, totally appreciates this.


Because robots and horses go together like PB & J (plus a small creep factor).


Horses have layers, especially Astrid’s Titan. Wink, wink!  


Because a dude on horseback is always hotter. Even the infuriating Hart Riley II. 


Because a chick on horseback is always hotter. Especially Astrid Sullivan.


And finally, because steel, robotic horses are already becoming a thing. So you might as well prepare yourself by reading Titans.


Um. As much as I want a robotic horse of my very own, I would prefer mine to have a head. I feel like the head is a vital part in making said horse a friend rather than something out of my nightmares. *shudders*

Also, just because I have a competitive streak a mile wide, I feel it necessary to try and one up Kristen Stewart in the horseback hotness department (though she is riding bareback, and I have to admit that's badass), so below please find a picture of me and my beloved Alibi from my equestrian competition days:

Who desperately needs this book in their lives? *raises both hands*

• • • • • • • • • • • 


Ever since the Titans first appeared in her Detroit neighborhood, Astrid Sullivan’s world has revolved around the mechanical horses. She and her best friend have spent countless hours watching them and their jockeys practice on the track. It’s not just the thrill of the race. It’s the engineering of the horses and the way they’re programmed to seem so lifelike. The Titans are everything that fascinates Astrid, and nothing she’ll ever touch.

She hates them a little, too. Her dad lost everything betting on the Titans. And the races are a reminder of the gap between the rich jockeys who can afford the expensive machines to ride, and the working class friends and neighbors of Astrid’s who wager on them.

But when Astrid’s offered a chance to enter an early model Titan in this year’s derby, well, she decides to risk it all. Because for a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, it’s more than a chance at fame or money. Betting on herself is the only way she can see to hang on to everyone in the world she cares about.

Find Titans:

Find Victoria:

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

First & Then Book Superlative Blog Tour: A Pair of Love Letters

Today I'm beyond thrilled to be a part of a very unique blog tour for First & Then, a contemporary young adult debut from Emma Mills (LOVED IT!). Since this novel deals with life in high school, the amazingly creative team at Fierce Reads decided to put together a superlative-themed blog tour, one where each blogger is assigned a yearbook-style superlative to address along with Emma. What superlative was I given you ask? Well, I'll tell you:


Instead of simply listing a few reasons as to how our book of choice impacted our lives, I thought it might be fun to write love letters to the character(s) of those books instead. I asked Emma to let protagonist Devon take the reins though, so she's here to share a love letter to one Mr. Sam-I-Am. Take it away Devon!

Dear Sam-I-Am (Mr. Am?),

Thank you for so faithfully shepherding the events of Green Eggs and Ham, which is the first book I remember reading all by myself. I’m a pretty serious reader now— Jane Austen books are my favorite, but I like YA and mysteries and fantasy as well—and you, Sam, kicked it all off with your culinary adventures and your rhymes. Thanks for paving the way for me to read everything else that I enjoy. I couldn’t delight in Sense and Sensibility had I not hashed out that reading thing way back in the day with the help of your unapologetically green breakfast.

Fondest regards,
Devon Tennyson

Like Devon, I wanted to write to one of my firsts as well, so here I go baring my fictional soul:

Dear Cast of Twilight,

There are many who would read this letter and scoff at my choice of book for this particular superlative, but I've never been one to be embarrassed or ashamed of my reading preferences, so it seems silly to have any hesitation in writing this letter now. You all have been mocked mercilessly over the years, your character flaws dissected and posted for ridicule on every corner of the internet, and while you are undoubtedly imperfect and your poor movie adaptation laughable at best, you are single-handedly responsible for both this blog and my current employment.

Before you came along reading for me was a chore. You see, I was traumatized in high school by a pair of classics by the name of Moby Dick and Crime and Punishment. These books were painful for me. My soul died a little with each page I forced myself to flip (I DON'T WANT TO CALL YOU ISHMAEL DAMMIT!), but I persevered because in the end I would be tested. I would have to recall names. Quotes. I would have to wax poetic on symbolism, metaphor and character motivation. And though I read both cover to cover, I met with near failure in the from of a D grade on both tests. Those grades haunt the overachiever in me still.

In the aftermath of that academic tragedy I could not be persuaded to pick up a piece of fiction for any other reason than it was required of me for class, but then, years after college, a friend told me of you. Read this, she said. Fangirl with me, she said. And so I did. What followed was me seeking out every paranormal young adult story I could get my hands on, and I became a proud stalker of the YA shelves at my local bookstore. I started a blog to share my newfound love of reading. And, as of this moment five plus years later, I have a new career designing book covers, something that would never have been possible without you.

So, while some may snort at the idea of you having a profound impact on anyone's life, please know that you forever changed mine for the better. As I wrap up this letter to go work on a new cover, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.



• • • • • • • • • • • • • 

(releases October 13th from Henry Holt & Co)

Devon Tennyson wouldn't change a thing. She's happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon's cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn't want them first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.

• • • • • • • • • • • •


Don't miss out on all the amazing stops on this tour as each has its own special superlative. I also hope you guys add this one to your lists as I absolutely adored it (full review to come next week!)


Monday, October 5, 2015

Review: Six of Crows

Six of Crows #1
Leigh Bardugo
Young Adult/Fantasy
480 pages
Henry Holt
Available Now
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

Six of Crows is everything we've come to expect from Ms. Bardugo; an extraordinary cast of characters who shine brightly from the darkness of their world to ensure their memory is forever seared into our minds and hearts. This tale could have been pure chaos, five distinct character perspectives as well as sporadic flashbacks to their varied histories ingredients for a jumbled storyline, but in the hands of Ms. Bardugo this dark adventure unfolds smoothly and richly, a gorgeous reveal of a seemingly endless series of layers that keep us on our toes throughout.

While there are six members of Kaz Brekker's team of uniquely talented gutter rats, we get the perspectives of only five of them, and each is given what feels like equal time in the spotlight. What's so impressive about Ms. Bardugo's ability to craft her characters is that none outshine the rest, instead they're all nuanced to a degree that we'll never learn all there is to know about them (Kaz especially), but we'll be damned if we don't want to spend hours on end trying to do just that. All six have their shadowy corners, their secrets and shames. All have pasts riddled with varying degrees of brutality; privilege turned into poverty, dreams turned into dirt and filth, and wishes turned into weapons used for money and revenge, and we're nothing other than spellbound by each and every single one of them.

Ms. Bardugo also possesses an uncanny gift for writing characters to whom we should easily be able to affix the villain label, but yet we find ourselves repeatedly rationalizing their actions, finding ways to excuse the pain they cause in our need to see them redeemed. A need that remains a far cry greater than their own desire to achieve redemption. Kaz is one such character, a young man capable of monstrous actions and cruel words that cut to the bone, yet we latch on to his rare moments of vulnerability and use them to further tint our rose colored glasses. He's absolutely magnetic, a mystery whose motivations we've barely started to grasp by the time we reach the final page, and who will likely continue to surprise us at every turn as this series progresses.

Overall, Six of Crows is stunning from beginning to end, a true triumph of characterization that leaves us in tears over the fact that we must wait a full year to be reunited with these six men and women.

Rating: 5/5

Find Leigh

This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Review: All I Want

Animal Magnetism #7
Jill Shalvis
Contemporary Romance
304 pages
Available October 6th
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Pilot-for-hire Zoe Stone is happy to call Sunshine, Idaho, her home base. But her quiet life is thrown for a loop when her brother’s friend Parker comes to stay with her for a week. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife special agent is a handsome flirt with a gift for getting under her skin. And the situation only escalates when Parker hires her to fly him around the area while he collects evidence on a suspected smuggler.

Now she has to live and work with the guy. But when they’re in the air, she sees another side of him. He’s driven, focused, and sharp. And while he enjoys giving commentary on her blind dates, she quickly realizes with a shock that it’s Parker who gets her engines going…

All I Want is yet another fun, engaging romance from Ms. Shalvis, delighting us with a sweet couple and a standout supporting cast of animal characters. Like the relationships before them, Zoe and Parker’s romance is low on the drama and high on the charm, starting with a kiss meant for someone else and continuing with a series of moments that should have been awkward but are completely endearing instead.

Zoe is a woman adapting to an empty nest since her younger brother and sister moved out to be with their significant others, so used to being the responsible, reliable one that she doesn’t know what to do with herself when Parker enters the picture and offers her help in small ways. She’s humorously outraged when she attempts to fix things and ends up making them worse instead, only to wake up the next morning and find her plumbing mishaps and other household issues not-so mysteriously remedied by her new tenant. It takes some convincing to get her to take a chance on Parker knowing his time in Sunshine, Idaho is short-lived, but once she does decide to go all-in she stays honest with herself and Parker for the duration of their fling. She knows he’s leaving, and as much as she wants to tell herself not to get emotionally attached, she knows herself better than that and just admits the feelings to Parker as they come.

Parker is as amused by Zoe’s determination to handle of all aspects of her life herself as we are, adorably enduring her narrowed-eyed glances when she notices that he’s gone behind her and fixed what she couldn’t. He’s as open and honest as she is, never once pretending that a relationship between the two of them is possible long term, and their communication is as much a highlight as their chemistry and their shared love of animals.

While all the books in the Animal Magnetism series have show-stealing furry and feathered characters, none (aside from Peanut the foul-mouthed parrot who does make a brief appearance) is as endearing as Zoe’s dog Oreo. His continual surprise over the fact that he farts nearly every time he barks will have dog owners giggling throughout, completely understanding the look of utter bafflement he directs at his hind end when it happens. Overall, All I Want is one of the strongest installments in this series, Oreo’s prominent role and the honesty (and heat!) between Zoe and Parker ensuring that we breeze right through this romance in no time at all.

Rating: 4/5

Find Jill:

This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Fable Comics Blog Tour: Interview with Charise Harper

I'm super excited today to have cartoonist Charise Harper stopping by the blog as part of a very special blog tour for Fable Comics, an anthology that includes retellings of a number of Aesop's fables (and more) in comic form. I had a blast reading this book and seeing all the varying styles of artwork, so if you're looking for a really fun collection of stories I hope you add this to your lists. Charise was nice enough to answer a few questions for me about her contribution, "The Belly and the Body Members" (this one was new to me!), so a huge Supernatural Snark welcome to her!

If your various body parts could all talk to one another (or complain as the case may be!), which part of you do you think would be the chattiest/loudest or the first to mutiny against the others?

Oooh – that’s a personal question – very daring! Let’s see … Well, because of my job, which involves a lot of sitting and drawing and typing, I think my legs would be bummed out that they don’t get to do very much. They spend a lot of time just hanging out under my desk. If they were complaining, they’d say things like, “Get up!  Walk the dog!  Chase the cat!  Let’s do something! PLEASE!!!” But my butt would say, “No way man!  I’m staying right here until the brain runs out of ideas.” Then my bladder would be all prissy and full of herself (pun intended.) “I can move the butt whenever I want.”

During any given work day, which part of you would correctly argue that they are at a 6 on the Work O’Meter?

In waking hours, my brain is always way beyond a six – even when I want it to be at a three or a four. Drinking coffee probably doesn’t help. I’d say my hands are the work horses of the Charise Harper operation. They type, they draw and they always take time out to pet the dog and the cats. Plus that right hand is an expert at holding my coffee cup. He hardly ever spills a drop. “Great job little buddy!” 

In “The Belly and the Body Members”, the mouth recalls a particularly rough day when the guy he belongs to was younger and decided to eat a few things he shouldn’t have. What’s one food your mouth would raise a very vocal objection to having to eat? One food it would beg you to eat on a daily basis?

Mouth hate - My mouth would protest long and hard about having to eat brussel sprouts! I’ve never liked them. As a kid I always had to choke down two or three when they were on the table, and my mother would say, “When you get older you’ll love them, just like your father and I do.” Well Mom was wrong! I’m grown up and I’m not a fan. I have honestly tried to eat them, on numerous occassions, but my mouth does not like mutant cabbages!

Mouth love – My mouth would ask for my mom’s homemade rhubarb pie. Cold or warm, I could eat it every day! Maybe even sneak down in the middle of the night and have a bite or two – it’s that good!

“The Belly and the Body Members” is a retelling of one of Aesop’s fables, what’s one other fable you would love the chance to recreate in comic form?

My father is from France, and every year my french grandmother would take the long journey over to visit us for a few month. One year she brought me a present of a handkerchief, with the story of the fox and the crow printed in french around the edge and a lovely image of the two main characters in the middle. My french skills weren’t very good, but I practiced, until I could read the whole story out loud in French. I was so proud of myself. I made my whole family sit down and listen to me recite it from memory. Unfortunately for them – more than once. The Fox and The Crow would be my pick.

If you were to create a comic in which you starred, what would the name of that comic be?

Again – not an easy question. Sometimes I feel lke my outsides and my insides don’t really match up. I’m terrible at chit chat in a group. Shyness is not a plus – it often comes off as aloofness. People often seem surpised once they get to know me – like I was not what they were expecting, I’m like that rescue dog you adopt – it takes a while to get to know her personality, and then over time you find out she’s full of surprises – hoefully the good kind. So here is my title:

Rescue Girl – I Won’t Pee On Your Carpet.

Thanks so much Charise!

• • • • • • • • • • • • •


From classics like "The Tortoise and the Hare" and "The Grasshopper and the Ants" to obscure gems like "The Frogs Who Desired a King," Fable Comics has something to offer every reader. Twenty-eight fables from different cultures and traditions are wonderfully adapted and illustrated in comics format by twenty-six different cartoonists. Edited by New York Times bestselling Fairy Tale Comics' Chris Duffy, this jacketed hardcover is a beautiful gift and an instant classic.

This is an epic tour, so be sure and check out the full schedule so you can follow along and meet all the amazing artists included in this anthology!