Monday, October 31, 2011

Review: Crossed

CROSSED (Matched #2)
Ally Condie
Young Adult/Dystopian
384 pages
Available November 1st
Received at BEA

Warning: synopsis contains spoilers from Matched.

Ky is gone. Taken by the Society to the Outer Provinces where death is most likely inevitable. With the help of her parents as well as her Match and best friend Xander, Cassia finds work in places that will take her closer to the Outer Provinces and give her the best opportunity to try and find Ky.

When she finally puts her plan into action and makes it to Ky's camp she finds Ky has already escaped and made a run for freedom. Deciding she's come too far to give up now, Cassia follows in Ky's footsteps hoping she's not to late to be reunited with the boy who taught her to write, to question, and to love.

What Cassia learns in her search for Ky is that not everything is as it seems, with revelations about Ky himself, Xander, and the Society making her see that change to her previous world of flawless perfection is necessary, and she's going to do whatever it takes to see it come to pass.

Crossed is one of those books that despite being made of featherlight paper and ink feels indescribably heavier, the weight of what's written both considerable and memorable. The word count on each page seems to double that found in other books with similarly-sized pages, as every line printed is compounded by the empty space between it and the line following, allowing what is to be inferred from the negative space of what’s not expressly written to carry equal weight as that which is told to us directly. As with Matched, Crossed moves very slowly, the intensity not stemming from large action sequences but from the unpredictability of Ky and Cassia’s future as they try to outrun the far-reaching shadow of the Society. Crossed does have the feel of a middle book though, picking up not long after events of book one then progressing gradually along a road lined with new questions until it concludes with very little certainty. Some secrets are revealed along the way, yet we are ultimately kept in the dark in tantalizing preparation for book three.

The quietness of Matched created a feeling of intimacy as we partook in the removal of Cassia’s Society blinders, creating a delicious tension as she and Ky engaged in tiny defiant gestures that had us riding a razor’s edge wondering if or when they’d get caught. That desirable apprehension is missing a bit in Crossed, the slowness not as savory as it was previously, instead becoming a bit tedious as Cassia and Ky literally walk circles around each other for close to two hundred pages. No longer are the extended silences and still moments charged with possibility and the potential for love, but rather they are merely seconds and minutes we spend waiting for them to find their way to one another again so their rebellious feelings can return that sense of danger, placing the seductive burden of possible exposure back on our shoulders to bear right along with them.

When the inevitable reunion finally does take place we begin to remember why this world of false perfection and happiness is so interesting, with both Cassia and Ky beginning to struggle with conflicting secondary needs and wants now that their primary goal of finding the other has been achieved. We get a disturbing look at what exists outside the pristine borders of the Society, but we are also left a bit confused as to all the different factions warring with one another to the obliviousness of the Citizens. Fighting the Society in the Outer Provinces is the Enemy, someone or something we know very little about, and then in this second installment we are also introduced to the Rising, a rebellion against the Society attempting to affect change from within. All the elements to this story become just a bit muddled, our thriving connection Cassia and Ky in Matched dimming slightly as their extended separation and opposing desires for the future chip away at the solid foundation we believed them to have.

Overall, Crossed is a beautifully written story but one that should be approached with patience and the understanding that the pages will not fly by at blurring speed nor will we get all the answers we seek. By the end we find ourselves and the characters seemingly back to square one, only with a new goal and purpose heading into book three. While Crossed doesn’t hold us transfixed quite the way Matched did, it does set us up for what will hopefully be an enlightening final installment.

Rating: 3/5

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Author Interview: Kersten Hamilton

Today I'm thrilled to welcome author Kersten Hamilton to the blog to answer a few questions about Teagan and company and what we can expect from In The Forests of the Night, the sequel to Tyger Tyger. Tyger Tyger just released in paperback, and book two releases November 22nd, so be sure and mark your calendars! I'm ready for a little more goblin action, how about you?

What is the most interesting or surprising thing you discovered while researching Tyger Tyger and In the Forests of the Night?

I think the most surprising thing for me was how much the Celtic spirituality resonated with my own worldview. Celtic music pounds in my blood, I feel Celtic stories in my bones. It is so powerful it almost makes me a believer in racial memory.

What would you say is the most terrifying thing about the goblins in the world you’ve created?

I wouldn’t say I created the other-worldly aspects of this story. It was more like they were there, waiting. Reality seeps into fairy tales. And that’s terrifying.

Do you have a personal favorite goblin-centric book or movie? Mine would have to be Labyrinth with David Bowie and his epic hair. Win.

I LOVED Labyrinth. Loved it! Complex fairytales are wonderful, and when you add Jim Henson to the mix…how could it not be a win? But George MacDonald’s book The Princess and the Goblin is my favorite goblin-centric story of all time. MacDonald’s creatures once lived in the light, but followed their masters away from the sun, down into the darkness. They are complex and redeemable. I love poems about goblins, too. Harold Monro’s Overheard on a Salt Marsh, is very nice:

If Teagan were to summarize the changes that have taken place in her life lately in one sentence, what would she say?

She’d use a quote from The Princess Bride: “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who tells you differently is trying to sell you something.”

Did you find In the Forests of the Night any easier to write than Tyger Tyger given your world was already established, or was this second leg of Teagan’s journey equally challenging?

The books are getting harder and harder, because the emotional stakes for the characters are higher. I am hugely invested in all of them, and it is hard to walk with them through this story. Also, life was trying to shake my dreams out of me, filling the world around me with death and disease. Everything came together in a perfect storm of loss and pain—and because of this, I would have to say that Forests was the hardest book I have ever written. And I couldn’t have done it alone. In Celtic tradition, no one should walk through life alone. Celts believed that we were meant to journey in companionship and in community. Everyone needs at least one ‘anam cara’—soul friend—to stand beside them. My husband and my daughter, two of my anam cara, stood by me and encouraged me every page of the way. Readers who wrote to tell me how much they loved Tyger Tyger helped as well.

I maybe a teeny bit more proud of In the Forests of the Night than I am of any of my other books. This is the one that proved that I really am a writer. No matter what.

Name one 2012 release you’re most looking forward to and why.

Uh-oh. You’re trying to get me in trouble. The problem is I know lots of writers with books coming out in 2012, and I am really, truly looking forward to each and every one. How could I choose? That would be like picking only one friend to go to a party with you, when you wanted them all.

Who was the first person besides you to read your initial draft Tyger Tyger and how nervous were you to share it with them?

My daughter. GOOD moms serve their children cookies warm from the oven; all my children ever got were chapters hot off the printer. My daughter is always pestering me for another chapter to read. It’s a good thing, too. It helped me get the book done. I’m not nervous at all when she reads my manuscripts. She is one of my anam cara after all! We laugh a lot, and she often has excellent ideas that I work into the book. She knows my characters almost as well as I do! I dedicated Forests to her.

Let’s say you can promote In the Forests of the Night with nothing but a single quote/line from the book to get people’s attention; which one would you choose?

I’d choose a quote from the ancient Celtic prayer that is laced through all three books:

“I do not ask for a path with no trouble or regret, I ask instead for a friend who’ll walk with me down any path. I do not ask never to feel pain. I ask instead for courage, even when hope can scarce shine through."

I’d choose that one because Teagan Wylltson needs all the courage she can muster, and she will never make it without her friends.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions Kersten! For more information on her and the Goblin Wars novels, you can find her here:



Kersten is running a very cool trailer contest for In The Forests of the Night in an effort to help libraries, so if you are a librarian or know a librarian, I hope you'll help spread the word! For full deatils, click here.

Vacation Pictures!

Hey Everyone!

I went a little photo-happy and took a couple thousand pictures from our cruise of the Mediterranean, and since I figured you all might not want to go through all of those with me (O_o), I narrowed it down to some of my very favorites from each of our stops. Looking at them makes me want to go back even though it's nice to be home. I highly recommend this cruise to anyone that might be interested in traveling to Spain and Italy, it was a great way to see a bunch of different places in a short amount of time!

Click on any of the pictures to enlarge.


Clockwise from left:
The Arc de Triomf, sculpted angels on the outside of the Sagrada Familia Cathedral, one of the many examples of architecture by Gaudi in Park Guell (the roof is mosaic tiles), and chimneys sitting atop one of Gaudi's apartment buildings .

Sagrada Familia Cathedral


Clockwise from left:

The Uffizi Gallery looking out toward the Arno River, a view from the Piazza de Michelangelo overlooking the Duomo, a streetlight outside the Pitti Palace, and the Ponte Vecchio bridge.

The Duomo


Clockwise from left:
The Colosseum, a view of the Colosseum from the far end of the Roman Forum, the Altare della Patria (monument to Victor Emmanuel, the first king of unified Italy), and columns from the ruins of the Roman Forum.

St. Peter's Basilica


Clockwise from left:
A view of the Amalfi Coast from above, the bell tower of the cathedral in Amalfi, Amalfi homes set into the mountainside, and a lightpost with a view of Amalfi in the background.

The Ruins of Pompeii


Clockwise from left:
A view of Palma's enormous cathedral from the balcony of our stateroom on the ship, a view of Bellver Castle up on the hill overlooking Palma (also taken from the balcony), colorful downtown Palma, a shot of the thousands of sailboats docked in Palma's Harbor.

Palma Cathedral

Friday, October 28, 2011

Review + Giveaway: Dark Eden

Patrick Carman
Young Adult
336 pages
Available November 1st
Received from publisher for review


Will Besting is all-too familiar with debilitating fear. He's lived with it for years, seeing a therapist at the request of his parents to help him cope. It's not helping. During one of his sessions, his doctor informs him she doesn't feel as though she can do much more for him than she already has.

As a last resort, she recommends Will go to a place called Fort Eden and give himself over to the very capable hands of a colleague of hers who boasts of having a cure for fears such as Will's. Will's told he'll be going with six other teenagers, all with crippling fears like his that are beyond her ability to treat.

Will has no desire to go through this so-called "cure", and upon arriving at Fort Eden decides to break away from the group and watch the happenings as an outsider, hidden away and unnoticed by the others. From what he observes, the cure seems to be working, only those who return from treatment have minor but unusual ailments not present before their miraculous recoveries. All he sees however can never prepare him for the dark truth hidden in Fort Eden's walls, a truth that may be worse than the fear itself.

Engrossing and deliciously unexpected, Dark Eden is a tale that slithers across our skin, a cool breath on the back of our necks that raises the fine hairs and has us frozen in place, held immobile by the paralyzing fear of turning around and facing what’s there. The story progresses slowly and rather quietly, increasing our paranoia with every page as our minds churn frantically to produce possibilities and explanations for Fort Eden, the “cure”, and the characters’ phobias themselves. Will’s self-imposed isolation from the other patients only increases our skittishness, leaving us cut off from the comfort of safety in numbers and all the more off balance as a result. We turn the pages as if drawn by magnetic force to do so, the tantalizing lure of learning about everyone involved without their knowledge while revealing nothing of ourselves both heady and powerful, and we enthusiastically follow the trail Mr. Carman has brilliantly blazed for us.

Though we spend all our time with Will, we don’t really ever learn that much about him, our relationship more one of a pair of observers studying, cataloging and piecing together the puzzle of Fort Eden and its current residents. The lack of a deep and memorable emotional connection is in this case one of the rare times such a thing is not a detriment to the overall story, instead we find ourselves so caught up in the almost overwhelming anxiety experienced as we learn of one character’s fear after another that we need absolutely nothing else to make this story stand out in our minds. We’re connected to the mysteries lurking within the intimidating walls of the Eden compound mind and body–as plugged into the book as Will is to his wall of monitors–with our bodies feeling phantom aches that mimic the strange symptoms of the cured individuals as proof of our involvement.

We spend the entire time we read wondering how things are going to play out, calling on every corner of our imaginations to conjure up any number of twists, but despite our best efforts, Mr. Carman still shocks us with his concluding revelations. Expertly played, he impresses us with his ability to weave a story full of clues that don’t go unnoticed but rather remain not fully understood until everything comes together, and we sit back at the end and bow our heads in a quick nod of deference acknowledging we’ve been bested. Dark Eden is a very quick read despite its slower pace, the phrase “just one more chapter” becoming a mantra repeated again and again until we reach the final page and immediately desire more from Mr. Carman.

Rating: 4.5/5


For those of you who don't know, Dark Eden is taking a unique approach to engaging readers through the use of interactive media. It can be experienced in two ways. The series is enhanced by a downloadable app that enriches the elements of the traditional narrative through innovative story artifacts including still images, audio recordings, videos, scans, and text entries. For a complete explanation of how the app experience works, check out this video from author Patrick Carman. The Dark Eden app is available now on the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and all Android enabled devices.

To get a taste of what's to come, download The Arrival, the first free episode, available through the Dark Eden mobile app in the Apple/iOS App Store and the Android Market.


I got a very fun and interesting package in the mail the other day with an extensive promotional kit for Dark Eden. In it was a "Fear is the Cure" t-shirt and 10 cd-roms that feature a special fear test, and I'm very excited to share the contents of the kit with all of you! I'm going to split the kit into 10 individual prize packs - one grand prize winner will receive the t-shirt and one of the fear tests, and then nine others will receive just the fear test itself. To enter, please leave a comment with a valid email address so I can contact you if you win. This giveaway is open to US residents only and will run through midnight EST on Friday, November 4th after which time the winners will be chosen and announced on the blog. Good luck everyone!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Review: Drink Deep

DRINK DEEP (Chicagoland Vampires #5)
Chloe Neill
Urban Fantasy
321 pages
Available November 1st
Received from publisher for review

Warning: Review/synopsis contains massive spoilers from book 4, Hard Bitten, but no spoilers from Drink Deep.

Things for the vampires of Cadogan House are getting darker by the minute. Master vampire Ethan's death has left them all bereft and uncertain of their future, and the continued scrutiny of the vampire ruling council as well as the increasing fear from Chicago's human residents is only making a difficult situation worse.

Merit is perhaps feeling Ethan's absence on deeper level than her fellow initiates despite her relatively new status as a Cadogan Vampire, with disturbingly visceral dreams of her friend, her Master, and her lover haunting her with more frequency. While she struggles mentally and emotionally however, her beloved city falls under a new supernatural attack.

The lake turns black briefly before returning to normal. The sky turns bright red and back again. The new mayor and all her followers are eager to pin the occurrences on the vampires, but the truth is none of Chicago's preternatural creatures seem to know the cause of the strange happenings. All anyone seems to know is that soon natural and supernatural are going to come to a head, and Merit is going to be smack in the middle of it without the man that has always served as her anchor.

Drink Deep is one of those books that has us staring at the cover sightlessly before reading, lost in our thoughts and caught up in the tumultuous emotional state the previous book left us in, itching to break the spine but also dreading doing so as we wonder if our hearts can endure another shredding and still continue beating. Before the first page is even turned we find ourselves plagued with questions, curious as to whether Ms. Neil will remedy some of the events of Hard Bitten or if each page we read will serve as a single stitch pulling those painful wounds closed, thereby forcing us to move forward with Merit into a life after Ethan. So it is with both a little hesitancy and a great deal of anticipation that we begin this newest installment, hoping for the best but prepared for the worst as we settle into a series that has been shockingly unpredictable and gloriously memorable.

Merit has always been a young woman of strength and substance, free of the entitlement that accompanies her family's name and truly independent by nature. That independence has allowed her to go toe to toe with a Master vampire and not be cowed by the force of his immense personality while also maintaining an admirable caution when it comes to matters of the heart after said Master found himself repeatedly trying to balance his feelings for her with the duty to his house. Post-tragedy Merit is still beautifully recognizable to us despite her obvious pain, dealing with her grief with far more grace than most might be capable of, and returning to her role as Sentinel damaged but certainly not broken. The strength of her emotional loss is tangible without being overwhelming, reminding us of what is missing yet never drowning us in a flood of despondency that prevents us from engaging in the latest of Chicago’s many supernatural problems. She’s strong but still vulnerable, hurting but not closed off or untouchable, and a true leader while remaining humble and so very human.

Drink Deep is a bit slower than its predecessor, and though such a pace is a necessary reprieve from the grueling intensity previously experienced, it does take just a touch longer to get into as a result. Ethan’s absence is glaring, the trademark romantic tension and witty banter between him and Merit something we miss more than we can express in words, but it just proves to us again and again how much of ourselves we’ve invested in this world that the loss of one character could devastate us so utterly. Despite our mourning for Ethan and everything he brought to the Chicagoland Vampire table, Ms. Neill still manages to create some truly fascinating developments for the residents of Cadogan House and the preternatural population as a whole, and she leaves us in a much healthier place at the conclusion of this tale than we were at the same time one book prior. Though our hearts are not quite healed, we find ourselves on the mend by the time we reach the last page, looking forward to the next book with a copious amounts of hope instead of pain.

Rating: 4/5


To celebrate the upcoming release of Drink Deep, Chloe will be stopping by a couple different bookstores with fellow fabulous author Rachel Caine where they'll be hosting a "Bite Night Bash" for their readers. Readers who purchase books at the store will be eligible to win free raffle bags filled with notebooks, pencils, vampire swag, books and other cool Penguin gear goodies!

What wouldn't I give to live in Nebraska or Minnesota right now so I could attend! Details about the events are below for all you lucky people who will be in the area:

Thursday, November 3rd

Oakview Mall
3333 Oakview Drive
Omaha, NE 68144
402-691-4557 (phone)
7 PM

Meet Rachel Caine & Chloe Neill!

Sunday, November 6th

2100 North Snelling Ave
Roseville, MN 55113
(651)-639-9256 (phone)
2 PM
Meet Rachel Caine, Chloe Neill, and Andrea Cremer (author of the Nightshade series)!

Come to the bookstore, meet the authors, have your books signed, and participate in a raffle drawing to receive cool prizes!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

YA Spooktacular: Party Time + Giveaway

Welcome to the second part of the 2011 YA Spooktacular! This very cool event is hosted by Frenzy of Noise and Wicked Awesome Books, and I'm very excited to be a part of it! For those of you who aren't familiar with how it works, here's a brief summary of what it's all about:
This year, there are three stories written by some of your favorite authors that will be posted throughout the week. Each story is a choose your own adventure, where you get to decide what path to send the character down. Sometimes you live, sometimes you die, and sometimes you fall into a pit of no return.

There are also some TRICKS or TREATS scattered throughout the story, where you can enter to win prizes and get bonus points toward the prize packs. The prize pack for story 2 will be up tomorrow! On Halloween day, the grand prize pack will be posted. You can click the banner above to see a full list of the YA Spooktacular prize packs!

This part of story 2 is written by the utterly fabulous Jennifer Armentrout:


Jennifer Armentrout lives in West Virginia. All the rumors you heard about her state aren’t true. Well, mostly. When she's not hard at work writing, she likes to read, work-out, watch zombie movies, and pretend to write. Her Young Adult debut novel Half-Blood, the first in a four book series, will release in Fall 2011 through Spencer Hill Press and her debut Adult paranormal romance is set for April 2012 release through Entangled Publishing. Basically, she has a lot of books coming out and she is always hard at work.

For more information on Jennifer and her books you can find her here:

Barnes & Noble

Before we get to her addition to the story however, I want to make sure everyone knows the below snippet is the very end of the story, so be sure and head over to Reading Teen to start from the beginning! Now, it's Party Time!

(click on image to start from the beginning)

Scrambling in the dark, you find the fire extinguisher and whip around, swinging with all your might. The tank hits the rotten creature in the head. Crack! Bone shatters. There’s a wet sound that sickens you, and the thing goes down. Not moving. No sound. Dead.

You don’t wait. Rushing over to your friend, you help her with the ropes. “Are you okay? Did it hurt you?”

“I’m okay,” she cries. Rivers of black mascara run down her pretty, elfin face. “Oh, my God, I thought I was going to die. What was that thing?”

“I don’t know, but I have to get Michael. He’s in the garage!”

The two of you carefully step around the still form of the creature at the bottom of the steps and race upstairs, through the house. The fire in the garage is small but it surrounds him, and there’s enough left in the fire extinguisher to vanquish it.

The side of Michael’s face is red from the heat, and as you and Stace untie him, your hands are shaking. He grabs you, pulling you close when he’s free, murmuring something against your hair.

“Is it dead?” Michael asks, voice hoarse from the smoke.

“I think so.” You swallow down the fear. “I hit it pretty hard.”

“Should we check on it?” Stace asks.

That was the last thing you wanted to do, but with your friends, you creep back into the house. You halt at the top of the steps to the basement as Michael goes down the steps. Ice trickles through your veins. You don’t need to go any further. You already know.

The thing is gone.

Stace tries to reason it away, and she’s relieved. “At least, he’s gone,” she says, as you head outside. “It’s over.”

But is it really? And what was that thing? It couldn’t have been human. No one would’ve survived that kind of hit, but you’re alive and the thing is gone.

There are police sirens off in the distance. Someone has seen the fire or heard the screams. Exhausted, you drop down on the curb outside your house, beside a quietly sobbing Stace. Michael shifts closer, dropping his arm over your bent shoulders, offering a comforting layer of warmth against the horrors you’ve faced tonight.

You turn to him, your smile wobbly and weak. “Great party, huh?”

One side of his face is still ruddy from the heat of the flames, and a pang hits you in your chest when you realize how close you came to losing him without ever really…having him. Tears build in your eyes, stinging when it mixes with the arid smoke lingering in the air.

Michael presses his forehead against yours and gives you the smile you want to see. Not the placating smile, but one that flashes that deep dimple in his right cheek. There’s a deep flutter in your chest, a different type of warmth rolling through you.

“You saved my life,” he says.

You shrug it off, flushing and you try to turn away, but he captures your chin with the tip of his fingers. Your breath catches in your throat. He lowers his head ever slightly, his lips brushing yours in the sweetest possible kiss you’ve ever felt. Your toes curl as you lean into him, breathless.

He pulls back, cheeks flushing. “We have to do this again. Not the whole killer part, but

You agree.

Much later, after the police have come and gone, after your cheek is stitched up and you’ve spent hours reassuring your freaked out parents that you’re very much alive and okay, you retreat to your dark bedroom.

Stripping off your dirtied, bloodied clothing, you take a quick shower, careful not to get your cheek wet. Part of you is detached from everything that happened. And as you dry off, you think of Michael and his sweet kiss. Somehow, that alone makes thing better. Pulling on a clean sleep shirt, you sleepily make your way to your rumpled bed and climb in, tugging the blankets to your chin.

And something tugs the blanket

Your heart jumps against your ribs as you jerk up in bed, a scream catching in your throat.
It's here, cloaked in the shadows, beside your bed…moving closer. Moonlight slices through your bedroom window, reflecting off the razor sharp talons. 

“It’s party time,” the thing rasps.


You’ve reached the end of this branch of the story. To see what could happen differently, go back to the beginning at Reading Teen.

Or back up a few steps by going to Overflowing Shelf.

Make sure you visit Lisa M. Potts tomorrow and enter to win the prize pack for story 2!

And visit Wicked Awesome Books or Frenzy of Noise on October 31st to enter the GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY for a ton of books and a ton of swag!!


This stop of the YA Spooktacular comes with an extra treat in the form of a copy of Alex Scarrow's TimeRiders as well as an ARC of TimeRiders: Day of the Predator! To enter just fill out THIS FORM. Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only and will run through midnight EST on October 31st. Good luck everyone!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Author Interview + Giveaway: Linda Poitevin and Sins of the Angels

Today I'm very excited to welcome author Linda Poitevin to the blog as a part of the Angels Gather Here promotional tour for the release of book one in her new dark urban fantasy series, Sins of the Angels. I haven't had a chance to read this one yet, but it's a release I'm really looking forward to! Sins of the Angels released on September 27th from Ace Books. Hope you all enjoy the interview!

Which visual element of Sins of the Angels was more exciting for you to see: the final cover artwork or the book trailer?

As much as I love the trailer, I think the cover was the most exciting thing for me because that’s what the majority of readers will see…it’s what will (hopefully!) draw them in to pick it up, read the back blurb, and then (even more hopefully!) buy the book. :-)

Is it difficult for you to keep track of all the little details about the characters and the world you’ve created? Do you use post-it notes, outlines, a dry erase board or anything else to help you keep everything straight?

Um…yes to the first question, and yes, yes, no, and yes to the second. Which explains why it’s difficult! I tend to keep random notes in random places (organization is not my forte ), so more often than not, I’m madly flipping through the previous manuscript to find out who had what color eyes. I really do plan on becoming more efficient, however. Eventually…

What is your favorite part of writing about a homicide detective after being a civilian member of the force yourself?

Oh, I do love to live vicariously through my heroine, lol! I think my favorite part is when my husband (or his former partner) reads the manuscript and says that I’ve nailed the procedure part. It makes me feel very proud of myself! :-)

What is the first thought that ran through Alexandra’s head when she first saw her new partner? Aramael’s first thought of Alexandra?

Alex: “Wow.” Followed by “Down, girl!”
Aramael: “This is what I’ve been sent to protect?”

Name one book you’ve read recently that you would describe as “unputdownable”.

and Hexed by Kevin Hearne. I know that’s two, but they’re the same series, so that kind of counts as one, right?

As a debut author, has there been any one particular element to the writing/publishing/marketing process that’s been most intimidating for you?

The marketing process has definitely been intimidating. As a bit of an introvert (and my husband would call that an understatement!), it’s been really hard for me to open up to the idea of putting myself out there. Now that I’m getting past the terror, however, I’m actually having a lot of fun meeting new people and talking about Sins of the Angels and The Grigori Legacy series…and I’m not nearly as bad at it as I thought I would be. ;-)

If one of your characters was to critique, complain, or gush over the way you’ve written them, which character would it be and what might they say?

Well, I certainly don’t see any of them gushing…complaining, yes, but not gushing! I think Alex would be horrified that I was telling everyone her private business, and Aramael (and all the angels, for that matter) would be furious that I’d revealed their existence. Altogether, I’d say I’d be highly unpopular with my characters!

Looking forward to book two, how would you describe it in just one word?


Thank you so much for hosting me on Supernatural Snark, Jenny! It’s truly an honor to be here, and if any of your readers have a question, I’d be thrilled to answer :-)

You're very welcome Linda, thank you for taking the time to answer all my questions! For more information on Linda, Sins of the Angels, and the Grigori Legacy series, you can find it here:


SINS OF THE ANGELS: The Grigori Legacy (from Goodreads)

A detective with a secret lineage. An undercover Hunter with a bullet-proof soul. And a world made to pay for the sins of an angel…

Homicide detective Alexandra Jarvis answers to no one. Especially not to the new partner assigned to her in the middle of a gruesome serial killer case—a partner who is obstructive, irritatingly magnetic, and arrogant as hell.

Aramael is a Power—a hunter of the Fallen Angels. A millennium ago, he sentenced his own brother to eternal exile for crimes against humanity. Now his brother is back and wreaking murderous havoc in the mortal realm. To find him, Aramael must play second to a human police officer who wants nothing to do with him and whose very bloodline threatens both his mission and his soul.

Now, faced with a fallen angel hell-bent on triggering the apocalypse, Alex and Aramael have no choice but to join forces, because only together can they stop the end of days.


Thanks to Linda and Penguin I have two copies of Sins of the Angels to give away on the blog today! A hard copy of the book is available for US and Canadian residents, but fear not international readers, there is an e-book copy available for you which makes this giveaway open to everyone. Yay! To enter, please just leave a comment with a valid email address so I can contact you if you win. This giveaway will run through midnight EST on Friday, October 28th after which time a winner will be chosen and announced on the blog.

INTERNATIONAL READERS: There is also going to be an International Readers Only draw taking place at the end of the tour on November 14th for those who want the chance to win a hard copy, so if you are one such person, please indicate your desire to be entered in this separate drawing in your comment so all the names can be compiled. Good luck everyone!

Monday, October 24, 2011


Hey Everyone!!

First of all, I just want to say a quick thank you for all the lovely comments you guys left on the post announcing my brief absence, they completely made my entire week!

Now to tell you what's been going on. I wish I had some crazy amazing story for you about a super cool project or fascinating personal information to share about why the blog was down for a bit, but really I was just on vacation. I had planned to do a whole post about it because the husband and I went on a cruise of the Mediterranean with stops in Barcelona, Florence, Rome, Naples and an island off the coast of Spain called Palma de Mallorca, and I wanted to share this information with all of you but when I mentioned my intention to the husband he had a minor conniption followed by a rather paranoid lecture about how I couldn't possibly announce to the entire internet that we were going to be out of town. By the time he was finished speaking, his paranoia had spread to me and I was utterly convinced if I posted such a thing an enormous line of thieves and miscreants would be lined up outside the house to send us off before they ransacked it and stole all my precious books. Okay, so maybe they wouldn't start with the books, but it was a valid concern of mine at the time.

Due to said paranoia, I then decided to be more vague and cryptic in my wording and I apologize for being that way but my mind ran away with me and I didn't know how else to explain why I wouldn't be posting:) While on our trip I took 2000+ pictures, so I'm hoping to go through them in the next few days and post some of my favorites this weekend. The blog will be back to normal tomorrow with new posts every day and I'll have a chance to start visiting and commenting again!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Character This or That List: Daniel Holland from On The Fringe

As part of the promotional tour through Teen Book Scene, I'm really excited today to welcome Daniel from Courtney King Walker's young adult novel On The Fringe to the blog for some fun with a "this or that" list! On The Fringe released yesterday, so be sure and add it to your TBR piles. Thanks so much for stopping by Daniel!

Action movies or romantic comedies?

Action all the way. I only go to romantic comedies if I’m trying to impress a girl. Though, I have to admit that being dead makes you a lot more sentimental.

Would you rather live without chocolate or caffeine?

Well, since I’ve been ‘living’ without both for a while now, I have to say that I miss chocolate more than caffeine. I’d give anything to eat a Butterfinger again.

Which fantasy world would you rather be dropped into: Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?

Star Wars, just for the light sabers.

Card games or board games?

I always stunk at cards, so I’m going to have to say board games. Anything but a Ouija board.

Are you culinary gifted or culinary challenged?

I’d like to say I had some culinary skills when I was alive. I could make a mean sandwich (that takes talent, you know – there’s more to it than just throwing together a couple pieces of lettuce and some meat).

If you could trade places with someone else for a day, would you choose a celebrity or a fictional character?

Fictional characters rock.

If you found yourself in a survival situation, do you think you would fare better in a warm weather environment or a cold weather one?

I’m from California. Enough said.

You are suddenly granted one supernatural ability. Would you prefer time travel or precognition?

Sweet. I’d totally take time travel so I could relive my best memories.

Must have to make it through your day: phone or computer?

Considering I live vicariously through all you guys who aren’t dead, the computer is way more useful to me than your shiny new iPhone, no matter how cool it supposedly is.

Morning person or night owl?

Used to be a night owl. Guess that paid off.


Claire is struggling to overcome the murder of her childhood friend and secret crush, Daniel. Everyone else seems to be moving on with their lives, but she's still trying to cope. The fact that she finds herself alone and drowning on her 16th birthday isn't helping.

Neither is thinking she sees Daniel's face in murky water as she mysteriously resurfaces. But something happened during those four and a half minutes that will make her realize it was not just her imagination.

As Claire and Daniel try to grasp a possible reconnection, other grudge-holding beings have plans of their own. Now, the two of them have to decide if their fleeting relationship is worth the possibility of Claire being trapped on the fringe forever.

Beautifully told, On the Fringe intertwines fresh ideas about devotion, revenge, and the consequences that come with life and death.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Guest Post: Carlyle Clark + Suki Michelle

Today I have authors Carlyle Clark and Suki Michelle taking over the blog to talk a little bit about their newest young adult urban fantasy release The Apocalypse Gene. Welcome to Supernatural Snark both of you!

by Carlyle Clark and Suki Michelle

I bet you’re a lot like us when it comes to reading.

You want to feel like you know the characters yet constantly be surprised by them? You want to be wowed by wild new powers and strange settings, yet still feel you really understand them. I mean, who wants a reading experience to be so complex it feels like a research project? At the same time, you don’t want to be treated like dum-de-dum-dummies who have to be spoon-fed and have everything repeated until your eyes cross cuz you just want to get on with it, already!

What's more fun than meeting someone you immediately like, someone with intriguing mysteries in their past and present, knowing that you will be following them into their future? With these notions in mind, our baby, The Apocalypse Gene, was conceived, born and raised - to fulfill the need to attach emotionally to characters you recognize and feel, instantly and easily, but also have them swirl with unique strangeness. Yes, our novel is unique, especially so during the current vampirification of YA. There are no vampires or werewolves. Our characters are different at first glimpse.

As the story's onion layers are peeled away, everything becomes stranger and stranger still. So how do we keep the most valuable person, you the reader, connected to the story? Make it more familiar, more mundane, right? Wrong. We build it on the foundation of the most wondrous phenomenon in the universe, something that everyone relates to, yearns for and needs - Love.

When is love at its freshest and most powerful? That very first time. That first kiss. There's nothing like it. We didn’t jam our protagonists, Olivya and Mikah, into a love triangle ala Edward-Bella-Jacob. There is no room in their hearts for anyone else - not with the world dying around them - not when each feels like a freak.

Olivya’s home has been converted to a hospice center. Alone and unhappy, her psychic Sight forces her to see the colors of agony in the auras of those suffering and dying all around her. Mikah's psychic empathy compounds his loneliness as the only uninitiated member of the Kindred clan, immortal beings who shield their emotions and deny him the truth of his own nature, forbidding human contact. When Olivya and Mikah find each other, their powers prevent them from masking the truth of their feelings for one another. The usual boy-girl games just don’t work.

We agreed with Kirkus Indie in their review of The Apocalypse Gene - "This action-packed, breakneck-paced novel featuring a duo of lovestruck teenaged protagonists is a wildly imaginative young-adult apocalyptic thriller that also utilizes elements of science fiction, fantasy, folklore, mythology and romance...the well-choreographed, thematically powerful conclusion, coupled with the deeply developed characters of Olivya and Mikah, make this a memorable read."

They could also have simply called The Apocalypse Gene . . . a love story.

Thanks so much for stopping by Carlyle and Suki! For more information on both of them as well as The Apocalypse Gene, you can find them here:


Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Brief Absence of Snark

Hey Everyone!

I just wanted to do a quick post letting you all know the blog is going to be quiet for the next week or so for reasons I can't yet share with you but very much look forward to doing so when the blog is up and running again. I have a few posts scheduled for next week, but I always have an attack of guilt when I can't return comments so there will only be two fun tour posts mid-week and then I'll be back to my normal everyday schedule the following week!

We're also inching ever closer to the return of my cover critiques, and I think I've found some rather epic ones that I can't wait to share with all of you. Just to be a tease I'll tell you there are a myriad of armpits, strange body hair, and things that are just generally inexplicable and make me so happy I can hardly contain myself when I see them. *dreamy sigh*

Talk to you all in a bit!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Review: The Scorpio Races

Maggie Stiefvater
Paranormal Young Adult
416 pages
Available October 18th
Received at BEA

Puck Connolly can't imagine living anywhere else but Thisby, watching as year after year people escape to the mainland to get away from the tragic deaths caused by the water horses that climb from the sea each year and attack anything in their way. Though both her parents fell prey to these beasts, she still has no desire to leave.

When her older brother Gabe informs her that he's abandoning both her and their younger brother Finn to go the mainland, Puck makes a desperate attempt to get him to stay by signing herself up for the Scorpio Races, a yearly event every November where those who have caught and trained some of the water horses race them in a bloody sprint for a substantial purse. Hoping the extra money from her win will sway Gabe's decision, Puck begins training on her regular island pony Dove.

Sean Kendrick has won the Scorpio Races four years in a row on his magnificent red mount Corr. Fascinated despite himself by the presence of Puck, not only the first woman to enter the race but also the first person to enter on anything other than a water horse, he begins to spend time with her and Dove. At first hoping to dissuade her from a race that will surely get her killed, Sean begins to admire Puck's determination, wanting to help them win even though losing himself will cost him what he wants most.

Quiet yet completely absorbing and intense, The Scorpio Races gradually draws us into a reality similar to ours but different in one shockingly fascinating way: the existence of water horses. Resembling regular horses in appearance aside from some more unusual colors like vibrant red, these creatures of the sea are predators to their core, attacking and killing humans or enchanting them with their magic and drowning them in their beloved sea. This story is not explosive or action-packed, progressing so slowly and evenly that at times we question our connection to the characters and plot, feeling as though we are traveling through a dense fog knowing we are surrounded by Puck and Sean and their horses, yet they slip through our fingers easily when we try to touch. It's not until we read further that we realize the swirling mist we thought we were desperately chasing has turned to solid shackles without our conscious knowledge, beautifully binding us to the outcome of the race as our investment becomes deep and moving and unforgettable.

Sean is one of the main reasons our attachment to this book takes us by surprise, his reserved quality and air of coolness and calm at first creating a wall between us since we can't seem to relate to such quietude when we're so used to noise. Once we continue with the story however, we develop the ability to read his stillness, understanding that he is neither detached nor unresponsive, but is rather telegraphing his emotions as loudly as if he were screaming, we just weren't listening correctly in the beginning. Every word spoken is laden with meaning given he speaks so few, an added weight placed on each syllable uttered that causes us to hold our breath while he's talking lest we miss even the tiniest piece of himself a small gesture or simple inflection might reveal. We learn to revel in his silence, knowing it's as ripe with feeling as if he had spoken aloud, and we find ourselves overwhelmed by his stunningly gorgeous simplicity.

In addition to the haunting and slowly-developed relationship between Puck and Sean, we also have the pleasure of experiencing their individual connections to their horses. Each animal is a reflection of the character who loves them–Corr's innate strength and desire to be free echoed in Sean just as Dove's determination and fear of the race shines through in Puck. Though they don't speak audibly, engaging us with words and conversations, their personalities are distinct nonetheless, bleeding through the pages and seeping into our hearts as surely as if they belonged to us personally. Our stomachs tie themselves in knots when we come to fully understand the stakes for both Puck and Dove and Sean and Corr in the race, and our eyes remain glued to the pages, wanting to stop reading before anything bad happens but unable to find any bliss in our ignorance due to the depth of our involvement.

Those looking for a page-turner will likely find themselves a touch bored with this tale, but those who love a story that shocks them with the the intensity of their emotional reaction will glory in the beautiful richness of a flavor that stems from something slowly simmered. Having experience with horses and being familiar with the joy a bond between horse and rider can bring, The Scorpio Races perhaps affected me more personally than it may some, ensuring its place on my shelf of favorites for some time to come.

Rating: 5/5

Me and Alibi

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Review: Amplified

Tara Kelly
Contemporary Young Adult
304 Pages
Henry Holt & Co/Macmillan
Available October 25th
Received from publisher for review

Jasmine's on her own. When she told her wealthy cardiologist father she didn't want to follow up on her acceptance to Stanford but instead wished to take some time off to pursue her love of music, he asked her to leave.

Now she's in a new place with very little money, no job, no place to stay and a car that's just decided to die on her. Thankfully, it died in front of an auto repair shop where the good-looking but in-need-of-attitude-adjustment young mechanic informs her of the cost to fix it.

Temporarily ignoring the problem of her car, Jasmine shows up to a band audition that comes with the benefit of a room for rent should she be chosen. She's hoping the other members will consider her despite her lack of experience as well as the fact that she's a woman and the ad said men preferred. As it turns out, getting into the band is the easiest part, while the pursuit of her dream and a fledgling romance with the irritating mechanic who just happens to also be the bassist for the band prove to be far more difficult.

Amplified is a cute contemporary read, one that has us living vicariously through Jasmine as she starts down the path toward her goal of being self-sufficient and in her very own band only to find the road not as smoothly paved as she might have hoped. Though musical terms and descriptions of various instruments with their corresponding parts and pieces are prevalent, after our initial hesitation at their unfamiliarity they help draw us into the story, Jasmine's love of music creating a language we understand despite our lack of comprehension on certain specifics. Ms. Kelly writes in vivid pictures as opposed to words, the drama of a budding musical career combined with family disapproval as well as a crush on someone emotionally unattainable projecting from the pages and filtering directly into our minds and hearts as we simply sit back and enjoy.

Jasmine is a young woman of drive and determination, possessing the strength to leave a life full of expectations she has no desire to meet despite the fact that many would call her existence privileged, and chart her own course. She refuses to back down or allow people to walk all over her without ever being abrasive or off-putting, and while we admire that confidence we are also privy to her vulnerabilities and acute fears, making her as tangible and real as if she were standing right beside us. Her stage fright is intense, and there are several scenes where that fear wafts from the paper in waves so thick we practically choke on it, our hearts in our throats as we will ourselves to stay in place and not abandon Jasmine to make ourselves feel more comfortable.

Her romance with Sean is written beautifully, their epically antagonistic relationship ever-so-slowly progressing into one of mutual admiration and respect. There are no doe-eyed glances right off the bat nor any compulsions to be in the other person's presence every moment of the day, instead in their place are traded barbs and thinly veiled insults as they feel one another out as both roommates and bandmates. Their posturing and their generally argumentative natures are highly entertaining, and when the inevitable pain rears its ugly head we feel it to our core as Jasmine does, thinking to ourselves all the the things we wish we could say to Sean in her stead. Through all the ups and downs of her story, Jasmine remains steadfast, reacting to events without overreacting, and allowing for just the right amount of drama to keep us riveted.

Amplified is a quick, highly recommended read for lovers of contemporary young adult fiction, one that will likely keep readers up late just so they can discover for themselves how close Jasmine comes to attaining her dream. The relationship with her father could have been a bit more complex in nature, wrapping up rather anticlimactically after the volatility of it throughout, but overall this is a story that delivers on a variety of levels. The conclusion isn't handed to us with a pretty bow, ties instead hang loose, just begging us to pick them up and loop them together in our own minds as we read into Jasmine and Sean's future what we will.

Rating: 4/5

Monday, October 10, 2011

Review: The Iron Knight

Julie Kagawa
Paranormal Young Adult
386 Pages
Harlequin Teen
Available October 25th
Received via NetGalley for review

Ash made the girl he loves a promise when he became her Knight. He would be there to protect her with his sword and with his life against any and all enemies, but when she became queen of a realm that would slowly kill him should he stay in it with her, she banished him to save his life. Now, he's on a mission to earn his humanity so that he may return to her side and fulfill his vow.

With the enthusiastic help of trickster Puck and the somewhat reluctant assistance of cat sithe Grimalkin, Ash starts out on his journey to return to Meghan. A few new friends join them on their quest, fighting unusual creatures and traversing never before seen landscapes to get to the end of the world where the trials to earn a soul will be held.

While Ash knows the journey will not be easy, it proves more physically and emotionally difficult than he ever could have imagined, and his confidence in a joyful reunion with Meghan begins to wane. Ash has never been one to admit defeat though, and he leans on his friends for strength when the final steps to earning his humanity require more than he thinks he can give.

The Iron Knight gives us the welcome opportunity to slip into the mind of a character whom we’ve previously only seen through the eyes of another, allowing us full access to the thoughts and feelings of the frigid winter prince who finally began to thaw in book three. Accompanying our highly anticipated new perspective is Ms. Kagawa’s unparalleled creativity, the journey she’s created for Ash and Puck glorious proof of her ability to stretch her characters and readers to their physical and emotional limits as we all find ourselves irrevocably invested in the outcome of the winter royal’s personal quest. At no point is a happy ending guaranteed, our fingers constantly twitching as they itch to flip the pages and skip ahead just to end the apprehension caused by our uncertainty. Part of the beauty of this world and these characters is the unpredictability however, and placating ourselves with any absolutes robs us of the true Iron Fey experience.

Spending an entire book with Ash is an absolute pleasure, our need to know more about his past and his feelings for Meghan straight from the source blissfully satisfied in this tale. Dark details of not only his relationship with Ariella, but also of life as a soulless fae are mixed with the action of the present-day adventure, crafting a stunning character portrait that starts from opposite edges and slowly works inward to reveal every facet of the Ash we've longed to see. We start out reading his story wondering if we’ll miss the romantic tension given Meghan’s noticeable absence, but Ms. Kagawa crafts a compelling and unexpected solution to that particular issue, and once again our hearts seem to swell until we’re full to bursting with conflicting fears and desires.

Puck is another highlight for us as readers, his normal humorous arrogance and big mouth present and accounted for, but we also get glimpses of a man whose life has not consisted entirely of jokes and pranks, the pain of his long and tangled history with Ash breaking through to dim his shining smile now and again. His fierce loyalty and unwavering friendship is both beautiful and tragic as he places Ash and Meghan’s happiness above his own repeatedly, proving himself to be a character we will hold dear for a long time to come in the hopes our feelings for him might magically make their way through the ink and paper to hit home.

The only mild complaint with this tale is to be found in the concluding pages as Ash faces his final trials before earning his soul. The trials themselves are brilliant–both emotionally and mentally intense–however Ash’s reaction to them is the tiniest bit disappointing. After each of the three, Ash reverts to the brooding prince we’ve seen pop up on occasion, needing one of his traveling companions to find him and remind him of the reasons they’ve all come as far as they have. The first time, and perhaps even the second, the melancholic reflection is understandable and the support of a good friend necessary, but it would have been nice if by the third time Ash could remember for himself his feelings for Meghan so that we might experience the renewal of his confidence in his love along with him, no outside assistance needed. That aside, The Iron Knight is a dream for fans of the series, each page a gift for the extra time it allows us in this world and with these characters.

Rating: 4/5

Saturday, October 8, 2011

In My Mailbox #38 + Winners

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi over at The Story Siren and is a great way to see what other bloggers are reading and reviewing. I always love seeing what everyone else got for their week!

Bunheads by Sophie Flack
Drink Deep by Chloe Neill
In the Forests of the Night by Kersten Hamilton
Dreaming of the Wolf by Terry Spear

An enormous thanks goes out to Poppy, Penguin, Kersten Hamilton and Clarion Books, and Terry Spear, I can't wait to read all of these:)

I've hosted a couple giveaways this week and have a few winners to announce! Thanks to everyone who entered and a huge congratulations to the winners, you've both been emailed:)


Jacinda from The Reading Housewives of Indiana


Ashley from Book Labyrinth

Friday, October 7, 2011

Interview + Giveaway: Jennifer Estep and Spider's Revenge

I'm hugely excited (as always) to welcome author Jennifer Estep back to the blog today to talk a little about her latest urban fantasy release Spider's Revenge. Anyone that reads the blog with some frequency knows I harbor an intense amount of love for Gin and company, and this latest book is my favorite of the series thus far (you can read my review HERE). If you like damaged and flawed characters who draw you in with the dark beauty of their imperfections, then look no further than the Elemental Assassin books!

Warning: This interview does allude to certain events that take place in Spider's Revenge, so if you've yet to pick this one up, read with some caution.

In Spider’s Revenge we finally get the epic showdown between Mab Monroe and Gin. What made you decide to have it take place in book five as opposed to the final book in the series?

Well, I think I still have a lot of Gin stories left to tell, and I didn’t want readers to have to wait until the very end of the series (whenever that may be) to see Gin and Mab finally go toe-to-toe.

Besides, Gin and Mab have been circling around each other for five books now, including Spider’s Revenge. It just made sense to end their story arc here. Hopefully, readers will think that I delivered a truly epic battle between the two of them. Fingers crossed anyway.

Now that Gin is starting to find true happiness with Owen, do you think she would look back on her time with Donovan and change anything? Perhaps say something when she previously kept silent or let him really see how much his poor opinion hurt her?

I don’t know that Gin would change anything that happened between her and Donovan since Donovan leaving is what let her find Owen in the first place. But I do think there are some unresolved issues between Gin and Donovan, and I hope to explore those in a future book.

The Finn/Bria physical relationship progresses a bit in this tale though we don’t get to read too much about it. Is there any chance there might be a Finn/Bria short story in the works with a few more, um, details about their new dynamic?

A couple of folks have asked me about that. Everyone seems to love Finn, which I’m sure he would appreciate. LOL. I think it would be a fun story to write, and I may get to it someday, but I don’t have any plans to write it anytime soon. Right now, I’m pretty busy writing the Elemental Assassin books, along with my Mythos Academy young adult series. But I’ll never say never.

Some of my favorite aspects of Gin’s character are her flaws which are beautifully blended with her strengths to make her feel real and layered. If you asked Gin what she considered her greatest flaw, what might she say?

I think Gin would say that she’s not quite cold-hearted enough. Gin can be ruthless anytime she needs to be, but she just can’t turn away from someone who needs her help – no matter how much trouble it’s going to cause her or how much danger it puts her in.

We know what the runes for Gin, Mab, Owen, JoJo, Bria, and Gin’s late mother and older sister look like, but Finn is currently rune-less. What do you imagine his to be?

Well, Finn is rather shameless about his greedy nature, so it would probably involve money. Finn has a key ring shaped like a dollar sign, and he is very vocal in the books about how much he loves money and the finer things in life. So I think a dollar sign would be as good a rune as any for him. LOL.

Did you go through a lot of different scenarios and outcomes for the Gin/Mab battle, or did you know how things were going to play out all along?

I knew that I wanted Gin and Mab to have a huge battle, and as I’ve been writing the series, I thought about how things might play out and how Gin would pit her magic and wits against Mab’s. A couple of things have cropped up as I’ve been writing, things that I think make the battle even better, so I’ve added those in. I just hope that readers like Spider’s Revenge and think that I’ve done justice to the Gin-Mab story arc.

If Gin were to go on vacation, how many days (or hours) do you think it would take before she found trouble or trouble found her?

Funny you should ask that since that’s pretty much the theme/plot of By a Thread, the sixth book in the Elemental Assassin series that will be out in March 2012. In fact, I’ve been calling that one my Gin on vacation book. But the answer is not long at all. Trouble has a way of finding Gin, and she definitely has a way of dealing with it.

What are you most excited about moving forward with this series now that Gin and Mab have finally battled out their long-standing history?

I wanted to give readers a complete story arc with the first five books in the series, and I hope I’ve done that. But I am excited about moving forward because it gives me a chance to reboot the series a little and focus on some villains besides Mab. I think there are a lot of bad guys for Gin to battle, and I’m having a lot of fun coming up with them and their magic/powers.

Also, I like a happily ever after ending, but I’ve always wondered what really happens after the end of the story. What are the consequences of the heroine killing the villain or slaying the dragon or saving her kingdom? What happens next? What sort of new problems crop up because of the heroine saving the day the first time around?

So that’s definitely something that I’ll be exploring in By a Thread and the seventh Elemental Assassin book (untitled) which will be out in August 2012. Hopefully, folks will want to see what’s next for Gin.

Happy reading, everyone!

Thanks so much for stopping by Jennifer! For more on Jennifer, her Elemental Assassin series, and her fantastic young adult Mythos Academy series you can find additional information here:



Jennifer is generously offering up a copy of Spider's Revenge to give away on the blog today, yay! To enter, please just leave a comment with a valid email address so I can contact you if you win. This giveaway is open to US residents only and will run through midnight EST on Tuesday, October 11th after which time a winner will be chosen and announced on the blog. Good luck everyone!


Old habits die hard. And I plan on murdering someone before the night is through.

Killing used to be my regular gig, after all. Gin Blanco, aka the Spider, assassin-for-hire. And I was very good at it. Now, I’m ready to make the one hit that truly matters: Mab Monroe, the dangerous Fire elemental who murdered my family when I was thirteen. Oh, I don’t think the mission will be easy, but turns out it’s a bit more problematic than expected. The bitch knows I’m coming for her. So now I’m up against the army of lethal bounty hunters she hired to track me down. She also put a price on my baby sister’s head. Keeping Bria safe is my first priority. Taking Mab out is a close second. Good thing I’ve got my powerful Stone and Ice magic — and my irresistible lover Owen Grayson — to watch my back. This battle has been years in the making, and there’s a chance I won’t survive. But if I’m going down, then Mab’s coming with me … no matter what I have to do to make that happen.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Review: Deadly Cool

Gemma Halliday
Contemporary Young Adult
272 pages
Available October 11th
Received for review through Teen Book Scene

Today did not go well for Hartley. Not only did she find out she was the last one in school to know her boyfriend was sleeping with the head of the chastity club, but when she went to confront him about it, she discovered said chastity failure dead in his closet.

To make things worse, her cheating boyfriend decides to show up in her bedroom after dodging custody to plead for her forgiveness and, more importantly, her help in proving his innocence. Despite her anger and hurt, Hartley knows Josh isn't a murderer and agrees to help him though she is certainly no detective.

With the assistance of her best friend Sam as well as the bad-boy editor for the school's online newspaper, Hartley attempts to track down anyone besides her who might have had a grudge against the chastity queen and would try to frame Josh. Before long though more bodies start to pile up and Hartley and her team are no closer to helping Josh, but they are, however, a whole lot closer to becoming targets themselves.

Deadly Cool is one of those stories whose spine should only be cracked when there is plenty of time to read as it grabs us from the very first page and keeps us laughing and voraciously consuming every moment of Hartley's tale until we regrettably reach the end. Our friendship with Hartley forms instantaneously when our sense of female solidarity leaps to the forefront at Hartley's discovery of Josh's infidelity, and we puff up in righteous indignation while silently encouraging her to act on our behalf as though we were the wronged party. From our initial loyalty grows genuine affection, and we spend the remainder of the book shaking our heads in good humor at her antics while trying to anticipate the killer's every action as our own inner detective joins in the fun.

Hartley is a young woman who beautifully embodies her age, acting in a mature enough way as to be relatable to older fans of young adult fiction but also not so much so that she becomes unbelievable as a teenager. She's witty and genuinely hilarious, satisfying our vicarious anger at Josh's betrayal by releasing her feelings in a torrent of choice adjectives, but also curbing her emotional turmoil quickly to logically focus on the more monumental of the multiple problems in her life. She doesn't spontaneously morph into an inexplicable super-sleuth who uncovers clues the police themselves cannot to solve the case single-handedly in a show of magnificent intellectual prowess, instead she fumbles along making mistakes and gaining little ground, entertaining us with her humor and realism all the while.

There's just a touch of romance accompanying the mystery element, her partnership with Chase of the bad-boy-appearance-but-adorable-personality variety one filled with both awkwardness and so much potential we can hardly read fast enough to see what happens, if anything, between them. Ms. Halliday allows us to hold the relationship cookie and take that first delectable nibble in this book, but then yanks it out of our hands and places it out of reach somewhere in the depths of the second installment where it will continue to taunt us until we can get our hands on it yet again. Chase and Hartley's banter is a joy to read, acting as a balm to the burn caused by Josh's general idiocy and intimate betrayal, and we are thankful for his and Sam's presence to keep us smiling giddily despite the fact that a killer is on the loose and closing in.

For those looking for an all-around amusing caper with a less-than qualified trio of investigators who make every page immensely gratifying, then add Deadly Cool to your reading lists immediately. We are given a real conclusion to this story even though there's a sequel in the works, and we close the last page with light hearts and sore cheeks from our perma-grins. Ms. Halliday has written a brilliant young adult debut, earning herself a solid place on my must-read list.

Rating: 4/5