Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tempting Tuesdays: Special Guest Post by Chloe Neill

Today I'm ridiculously excited to welcome author Chloe Neill to the blog to help us wrap up the read-along for Some Girls Bite. She's here to give us a little insight into her writing journey and the eventual development of Merit and Ethan, so welcome Chloe and thank you for being a part of the read-along!

Dear Reader:

Is it surprising to learn that I used to get panicky about writing assignments? That my only English class in college was "African Novel"? that I promised myself I would never, ever get a job that required me to write?

And yet, here we are. :)

In high school and my first year of college, I thought I was headed for a career in the visual arts. A "starving artist" of the New York variety, or maybe an illustrator. (I didn't know much about commercial graphic design back then, or surely it would have topped the list, too.) I did not like to write; hated it, in fact. I wasn't good at constructing sentences, and the act of doing it made me nervous and fretful to the point of distraction.

It was probably a fateful decision, then, that I attended a liberal arts college that prized writing over multiple choice exams . . . and that led me away from studio art in my second year. I wrote a paper as a sophomore, a short essay intended to examine the women's rights movement. Instead of jumping into a discussion of the history, I started by writing the story of a fictitious woman named Hillary.

In other words, instead of simply writing a summary, I wrote a story. It got a good review from my professor, I recall, but that didn't change my mind one iota. Writing was not for me.

The song didn't change after grad school, or in a summer job as I watched my employers lock themselves in their offices to finish drafts. The proposition of having to write for a living, on a deadline, horrified me.

But then, after a string of random occurrences, I got a job as a kind of pseudo-reporter. I watched things happen; I wrote about them. I wrote about them every day for months on end. And in that process, I got more comfortable constructing sentences, putting clauses together and shaping paragraphs.

I learned, in the most basic sense, how to write.

Still, that was it. I read--had always loved to read--but I was quite content to leave the fiction writing to others. It didn't even occur to me to write fiction. After all, I only barely liked writing at my job. Why do it for fun?

Unfortunately, one sad day around that time, an important relationship ended. I healed by reading. And then reading more. And more and more and more. I devoured 8 or 10 paperbacks a week, usually romance, usually in a series of some type because I loved recurring characters and inside jokes.

Eventually, I ran out of things to read. I couldn't find a series I enjoyed or a romance with enough sparkle to hook me.

I thought, at first, I'd try my hand at fan fiction. I loved Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter series. Since I read faster than she published, I decided to imagine myself into the books to fill time until the next episode was released.

After about 2,000 words of Dark Hunter fan fiction, I felt silly. These weren't my characters; they were hers. It felt weird to play the game using someone else's cards.

So, on Labor Day in 2005, I opened a Word file and I started to write.

When I wasn't in class (grad school, at the time), I was writing. Weekends, I was writing. I wrote the same way I'd read--voraciously. I created a family of characters and a bevy of sarcastic inside jokes. I plotted seven books in a paranormal romance series, one romance per book, and I plastered a wall in my apartment with sticky notes--ideas and quips for later books.

I finished the manuscript on New Year's Day. It wasn't very good--and I have a rejection letter to prove it. But I'd done it, and it hadn't been nearly as bad as I'd imagined.

A few months later, I started my second manuscript, which I called THE PRODIGAL DAUGHTER. (Seriously. Isn't that terrible?) It took six months to write and six months to edit. When I was reasonably confident I was done, I sent it to one publisher--Penguin.

A few months later, we mutually decided that SOME GIRLS BITE was a much better title. :)

Today, I have a day job (in which I write) and a writing career (in which I write). I write a LOT, and there are still times when the words don't come and the fear rises up. But I'venow written ten novels, and each seems to reinforce one central idea: A book is crafted one sentence at a time. Don't worry about the last sentence in the manuscript--worry about the next sentence in the manuscript. You can deal with everything else later.

Thanks for listening. And reading.



Thank you for stopping by Chloe! And a huge thank you again to Missie, Tina, and Rummanah for being such fabulous co-hosts and to everyone who participated each week and made this read-along such a blast.

For more information on Chloe and all her wonderful books, you can find her here:

Cadogan House


Below are the three Tempting Tuesdays winners, congratulations ladies, you've all been emailed!


Christy @ Love of Books



Heidi @ Rainy Day Ramblings
Chantaal @ The Wandering Fangirl

Monday, January 30, 2012

Review: On The Fringe

Courtney King Walker
Paranormal Young Adult
272 Pages
Lands Atlantic Publishing
Available Now
Received through Teen Book Scene for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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.

On the Fringe wastes little time tying us up in emotional knots, dropping us immediately into the palpable tension that exists between Daniel and Claire as each starts to realize their feelings for the other extend beyond their roles as best friend and baby sister respectively. We find ourselves a little giddy instantaneously, though with that addictive buoyancy comes the weighty understanding that this sweet hesitancy is only going to be fleeting and temporary, soon to be replaced with darkness, pain, and loss. We almost wish this tale could be an adorable short story, taking us quickly through the developing romance and then leaving us breathless and content at the happy conclusion, but instead Ms. Walker plunges us under the light-infused surface and into depths that have us fully invested in Claire and Daniel’s lives (or deaths as the case may be), ultimately extremely thankful for the gift of extra page time.

Claire is a young woman who’s easy to like right off the bat, all twisted up with nerves as a result of her crush on someone who’s been in her life for as long as she can remember, struggling to find a way to escape the classification of Matthew’s Little Sister in the hope their relationship to one another can be redefined with more romantic–and less familial–feelings. When Daniel returns to her in less-than corporeal form, we don’t get pages and pages of denial or repeated hows and whys from her, instead she accepts his new presence in her life with relative ease, crossing us over into the world of the supernatural in a seamless way that makes everything she’s experiencing that much more believable.

Splitting the point of view equally between Claire and Daniel gives an interesting dual exposure to a ghostly world, Claire’s limited understanding of it making us feel more comfortable as her reactions mirror our own, but at the same time, we also get a deeper look at spectral happenings as Daniel explores his afterlife and his unusual connection to Claire. As a result, we feel fully surrounded by the events taking place as opposed to simply viewing them as an outsider from a single fixed direction. In addition to learning the ins and outs of Daniel’s non-life, we additionally get the return of a little of the giddiness we felt at the beginning, death having freed Claire and Daniel’s mouths from the nerves that kept them closed until it was almost too late, and we finally get to see them communicate all the things that went unsaid previously.

Ms. Walker has written an enthralling ghost story, one with equal parts light and dark where we find ourselves both on the edge of our seats, while also blissfully warm and content as we watch two people robbed of their time together get a chance to reconnect. We are left with a bittersweet ending, one that feels right and wrong at the same time, leaving us with the wish that Ms. Walker would write an alternate ending just to satisfy the part of us that would see the supernatural element kicked up a notch to perhaps stretch the limits of believability for the sake of what our hearts want most. Then we could have both the practical and impractical at our fingertips–able to choose an ending based on our mood—but ultimately we can concede that events wrap up as they should, with Ms. Walker playing our emotions with a consummate skill we can’t wait to experience again.

Rating: 4/5

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Vampire Empire Special Giveaway + Other Fun Things

Today I have some very fun news to share with all of you. Clay and Susan Griffith, authors of the fantastic Vampire Empire urban fantasy series, are celebrating Valentine's Day with a very special giveaway on their blog. The Vampire Empire series (a particular favorite of mine, I can't recommend it enough), while by no means a romance, does feature a beautiful relationship between Adele and vampire hunter The Greyfriar, and so the Griffiths are offering up a replica of Adele's geomancy talisman in honor of the upcoming holiday.

To enter, just leave a comment and valid email address on their blog post HERE (do not leave an entry on my post, it will not count toward the giveaway). A random winner will be chosen on February 7th. Good luck everyone!

Next, there have been some new cover reveals this week for upcoming Spencer Hill Press titles and I thought I'd share them with all of you in case you hadn't had a chance to see them yet!

TOUCH OF DEATH (January 2013)

Jodi Marshall isn't sure how she went from normal teenager to walking disaster. One minute she's in her junior year of high school, spending time with her amazing boyfriend and her best friend. The next she's being stalked by some guy no one seems to know.

After the stranger, Alex, reveals himself, Jodi learns he's not a normal teenager and neither is she. With a kiss that kills and a touch that brings the dead back to life, Jodi discovers she's part of a branch of necromancers born under the 13th sign of the zodiac, Ophiuchus. A branch of necromancers that are descendents of Medusa. A branch of necromancers with poisoned blood writhing in their veins.

Jodi's deadly to the living and even more deadly to the deceased. She has to leave her old, normal life behind before she hurts the people she loves. As if that isn't difficult enough, Jodi discovers she's the chosen one who has to save the rest of her kind from perishing at the hands of Hades. If she can't figure out how to control her power, history will repeat itself, and her race will become extinct.

PODs (June 2013)

Seventeen-year-old Eva is a chosen one. Chosen to live, while others meet a swift and painful death from an incurable virus so lethal, a person is dead within days of symptoms emerging. In the POD system, a series of underground habitats built by the government, she waits with the other chosen for the deadly virus to claim those above. Separated from family and friends, it's in the PODs she meets David. And while true love might not conquer all, it's a balm for the broken soul.

After a year, scientists believe the population has died, and without living hosts, so has the virus. That's the theory, anyway. But when the PODs are opened, survivors find the surface holds a vicious secret. The virus mutated, infecting those left top-side and creating... monsters.

Eva and David hide from the infected in the abandoned PODs. Together they try to build a life--a new beginning. But the infected follow and are relentless in their attacks. Leaving Eva and David to fight for survival, and pray for a cure.

Lastly, I've had a few giveaways the past couple weeks, the winners have been emailed and are listed below. As always, thank you to everyone who took the time to enter and to JL Bryan and Big Honcho Media for their generous prizes!


Savannah from Books With Bite





Friday, January 27, 2012

Cover Critique: Cloth-Covered Goods

Let me preface this post by saying that my critiques of these covers are in no way, shape or form a reflection on the author, the content or the publisher. I know the authors have very little, if any, control over the design. These are strictly my thoughts meant simply to be humorous and not insulting.

I've started noticing a trend lately as I've searched for covers for these critiques. Would you like to know what this trend is? Based on some of the covers I've posted in the past, this question probably has some of you grimacing and others of you checking over your shoulders at work to make sure no one can see your screen, and I have to tell you friends that reaction just makes me happy. I feel like I've done my job well and have scarred many of you for life. No need to thank me. When I see something that makes me want to tear the eyeballs from my head and wash them vigorously in an effort to scrub the image off, I can't help but say to myself "Self, you should share this experience with others". Kind of like when something smells terrible and the first thing you want to do after smelling it is hand it to someone else and make them smell it too so you can suffer together. And so here we are. Today, I bring you the gloriousness of cloth-covered goods.


Um. Well, he's very naked isn't he? Yes, yes he is. And also very hairless. I have just a couple things I want to discuss about what we're seeing here. First, the title is The Cowboy Next Door, yet I see no evidence of this headless nude fellow being a cowboy at all. Shouldn't he be wearing boots? Or nothing but a belt with an enormous buckle? Is the cowboy next door a nudist? I have to say I think it would be rather uncomfortable to be a nudist cowboy. Having ridden many a horse, I can say with some certainty that being naked while doing so would be unbelievably painful. Especially for a man. Not only would there be epic chafing, but I imagine there would be some rather intense pinching and squishing of delicate parts that then would most likely not be up for the sexy time after a day of bouncing around on the back of a horse. Probably wouldn't make for a very interesting romance novel then would it?

Chapter 1 - Rides horse naked.
Chapter 2 - Comes home in pain.
Chapter 3 - Parts don't want to work right.

Disappointing all the way around really. And I would like everyone to notice how I avoided the obvious "ridden hard, put away wet" commentary. It's because I'm classy. And mature. And clean-minded. (Is that laughing I hear from some of you? I think maybe it is...)

Second, is it me, or is he clutching that white towel just a little too strongly? Most covers with cloth-covered goods have the offending fabric wrapped rather precariously around the model's middle, teasing us with the promise of a peep show given how loosely the cloth hangs, as though the slightest breeze will cause it to drop those last vital inches. Such is not the case with our cowboy. Oh no. He seems to have a death grip on that towel which makes me wonder what he's hiding. Is it embarrassingly tiny? Will his hands look large in comparison? Is it oddly shaped? Kinked? Curved? Are there two heads? WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOUR JUNK NAKED COWBOY!!!!

You're all staring at his crotch trying to make out the shape of his dangly bits to see if there's something off about them now aren't you? It can't be helped, his white-knuckle grip on that towel just raises too many questions.

Moving on.


Anyone else just do a double take on this cover? I know I did. At first glance I thought he was holding some sort of green squash, which of course led my mind down an uncomfortable path lined with questions about what a naked man would be doing with a green groin squash, but then I leaned closer to my computer screen and realized my error. Penis squash crisis averted. *wipes sweat off brow*

After the squash debacle, I next thought maybe his junk was tattooed. Like a sleeve. Only on his goods. Yikes. I just want to quickly say however that even though I have absolutely no training in the art of tattooing, I would be more than willing to offer up my services in this one unique case should this naked man of woven dreams actually want his nether regions inked. It would be a strictly professional situation. Obviously.

Eventually, my mind clawed it's way out of a squash and tattoo-laced gutter and I finally realized that we are simply dealing with some phallic shaped patterned fabric, though I'm not entirely convinced this realization improves the cover situation. It's clear a great deal of trouble went into this model's pose to ensure no woman could mistake what he's holding in his hands to be anything other than what the good Lord blessed him with at birth, and that just makes me giggle. Can you imagine being on this photo shoot? I'm sure it was someone's job to help shape that fabric and make sure the light hit it just right to create the illusion of perhaps the largest phallus ever. Here's how I imagine a conversation between the stylist for this shoot and a friend might go:

Friend: How was your day today?

Stylist: Oh, you know. Went to the shoot. Stood in front of a naked male model for hours molding a giant penis out of patterned fabric, all the while making sure his hands cupped the base and the head just so to make it look extra authentic and sexy.

Friend: The usual then.

Stylist: Yep. Same thing tomorrow, only this fabric is flesh colored instead of green. (see below image on far left)

Good times. Just in case these two aren't enough to satisfy your need to see more cloth-covered goods, I present to you the below for your viewing enjoyment. You're welcome. Happy Friday!

Click to enlarge
(there's a joke in there somewhere, but since I ooze class and maturity today, I shall refrain from making it)

* A special thank you to Jen from In The Closet with a Bibliophile and Amanda from On a Book Bender for bringing some of these covers to my attention.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Review: Arcadia Awakens

Kai Meyer
Paranormal Young Adult
464 pages
Balzer + Bray
Available February 14th
Received from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
To Rosa Alcantara, the exotic world of Sicily, with its network of Mafia families and its reputation for murder and intrigue, is just that—exotic and wholly unknown. But when her life in Brooklyn begins to fall apart, she must travel there, to her family’s ancestral home, where centuries of family secrets await her.

Once there, Rosa falls head over heels for Alessandro Carnevare, the son of a Sicilian Mafia family, whose handsome looks and savage grace both fascinate and unsettle her. But their families are sworn enemies, and her aunt and sister believe Alessandro is only using Rosa to infiltrate the Alcantara clan. And when Rosa encounters a tiger one night—a tiger with very familiar eyes—she can no longer deny that neither the Carnevares nor the Alcantaras are what they seem.

Hidden caves, dangerous beasts roaming the hills, and a history of familial bloodlust mean that Rosa can’t trust anyone. Torn between loyalty to her family and love for their mortal enemy, Rosa must make the hardest decision of her life: stay in Sicily with her new love…or run as far and as fast as she can.

Arcadia Awakens is an unusual story, one where the strangeness of it is both a positive in that it stands out amidst the masses of paranormal young adult fiction, and a negative in that it leaves us a bit unsure as to exactly how we feel about what we’ve read. On the plus side we have the richly atmospheric setting of Sicily, a place where light and dark exist in equal measures and where the beauty of the landscape is in contrast with the nefarious deeds committed by the Cosa Nostra as they defend to the death their political and financial empires. We are also given a fascinating paranormal entity to pique our curiosity, however, there are so many branches to overall plot tree that it’s difficult for us to focus–our bodies so close to the trunk that we’re unable to look up and take in the entire tree as a whole, instead we're left with eyes darting side to side and up and down trying to decipher the tangle of limbs.

Rosa is a hard young woman, events of her recent past fundamentally altering the girl she used to be and transforming her into someone who relies on small acts of rebellion–whether it’s stealing small items or using her bad attitude as a defense mechanism–to win back some of the control over her life that was stripped from her the year before. Even understanding the pain and loss she experienced doesn’t entirely warm us to her, and her cold treatment of Alessandro makes it difficult for us to believe in their budding forbidden attraction. Without even the slight warmth from a romantic spark, the other prevalent dangers and family secrets are a bit overwhelming, and we find ourselves floundering alone in a world where honor has a rather dubious definition and loyalty is as much an item for sale as any product in one of the many Sicilian markets.

Though the synopsis suggests that Alessandro and Rosa’s love (though this term is used loosely when applied to their relationship) is of the epic Romeo and Juliet variety, it actually proves to be somewhat of a non-issue given that neither family seems overly bothered at the idea of them together. We then spend a good deal of our time trying to figure out if one of the other multiple conflicts is going to become the center around which the other elements revolve, but our search for one predominant issue is in vain. No single conflict is given more attention than the others to help direct our gaze, instead we’re simply readers with poor eyesight denied our prescription glasses to bring us clarity, awash in a blur of images we want so badly to blink into focus.

By the time we reach the end of this story of not inconsiderable length, a few of the aforementioned plot tree branches have been shorn, leading us to believe that perhaps the next installment might be more streamlined than this first one. Due to certain events in the concluding pages, the forbidden aspect of Rosa and Alessandro’s relationship is elevated to a whole new level, serving as the piece of flint we’ve been waiting for to help ignite this story’s tinder; the only problem is it seems we’ll have to wait to see if that spark takes hold in the second book or if it’s smothered again by an overabundance of other elements.

Rating: 3.5/5

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mini Reviews + Giveaways: Deep Sky + The Adoration of Jenna Fox

Today I'm very excited to welcome my mother-in-law Cathy to the blog, she's a fellow book lover (and someone I've gotten addicted to many a book series) who's going to be helping me out every now and then with reviews when I get a little overwhelmed. She took over the reviews for Deep Sky and listened to the audiobook for The Adoration of Jenna Fox as I was unable to fit them into my schedule, so I just want to extend a sincere thank you to her for her help and look forward to her contributing more in the future!

DEEP SKY (Travis Chase #3)
Patrick Lee
400 pages
Available Now
Received from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Barnes and Noble)
The anomaly called the Breach is the government’s most carefully guarded secret.

But there is another secret even less known . . . and far more terrifying.

As the U.S. President addresses the nation from the Oval Office, a missile screams toward the White House. In a lightning flash, the Chief Executive is dead, his mansion in ruins, and two cryptic words are the only clue to the assassins’ motives: “See Scalar.”

Now Travis Chase of the covert agency Tangent—caretakers of the Breach and all its grim wonders—along with partner and lover Paige Campbell and technology expert Bethany Stewart, have only twenty-four hours to unearth a decades-old mystery once spoken of in terrified whispers by the long since silenced. But their breakneck race cross-country—and back through time and malleable memory—is calling the total destructive might of a shadow government down upon them. For Travis Chase has a dark destiny he cannot be allowed to fulfill . . .

Deep Sky is the last book in a trilogy. It begins with the assassination of the President and the only clue is a cryptic message–See Scalar. This leads to our hero, Travis Chase and his partner Paige Campbell. Both work at Tangent, a secret facility that oversees alien entities that come through the Breach. They know this message has something to do with them but have to look for clues and use some of the alien entities to figure out what is happening. One in particular is an entity that lets them travel into a memory and seek out more than just what is remembered in that memory. They do all this while being pursued by the new President and members of his regime. There are lots of twists, turns, and surprises which I won't mention because I don't want to spoil the story. The ultimate theme of the story is–If you could alter history, would you and at what cost?

Mr. Lee writes a twisting and intriguing mystery. He gives lots of clues and quickly eliminates the possibilities which makes you want to find out what will happen next. He does a great job of making us feel like we're methodically putting a puzzle together, and the book moves at a good pace. I have not read the first two books in the series and felt I might have missed some background history on characters and events that might have made the ending a little clearer (and there was additionally an underlying science fiction theme that was not overly prominent until the conclusion of the book), but on the whole the story held its own.

Rating: 4/5

Mary E. Pearson
Paranormal Young Adult
Macmillan Young Listeners
Available Now
Received from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Who is Jenna Fox? Seventeen-year-old Jenna has been told that is her name. She has just awoken from a coma, they tell her, and she is still recovering from a terrible accident in which she was involved a year ago. But what happened before that? Jenna doesn't remember her life. Or does she? And are the memories really hers?

This fascinating novel represents a stunning new direction for acclaimed author Mary Pearson. Set in a near future America, it takes readers on an unforgettable journey through questions of bio-medical ethics and the nature of humanity. Mary Pearson's vividly drawn characters and masterful writing soar to a new level of sophistication.

This is my first audiobook and I found it a bit of a challenge. I love to read, feel the book, see the words on a page and go at my own pace. Because of this I found the audio version to be a little slow for me and found myself easily distracted. I will say that the narrator, a young woman, had an age-appropriate sounding voice. She mostly read from the main character’s point of view, which was Jenna, but also tried to vary her tone when reading other character parts. She read at an even and steady pace. Though audiobooks may not be for me, I can see a real purpose in them for those who have the time or need to use them.

The story is of 17 year-old Jenna Fox, struggling to find out who she is both figuratively and literally. It's set in the future with Jenna waking up from a coma and needing to rediscover who she is. As her memory returns, she finds out things about her past and her parents that she doesn’t understand or like. Because it's set in an age of biomedical engineering, Jenna is faced with some ethical questions and choices. It was a very interesting premise and does raise some questions about how far a parent would go to save a child.

I would give it a 3 as an audio book and a 3.5 as a book.


Today I'm offering up both a paperback copy of Deep Sky and the audiobook version of The Adoration of Jenna Fox to one lucky winner. To enter, please just leave a comment on this post 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, January 27th after which time a winner will be chosen and announced on the blog. Good luck everyone!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tempting Tuesdays: Chapters 13-15 + Epilogue

Welcome to week four of the Some Girls Bite Read-Along! For those of you who don't know, the wonderful ladies behind Tina's Book Reviews, Books in the Spotlight, The Unread Reader and myself are hosting a read-along of book one of Chloe Neill's outstanding Chicagoland Vampires urban fantasy series. Each week we'll pose and answer five questions about the book and then hop around to the other blogs who have signed up to check out everyone's answers! For all the details about the event and our grand prize giveaway, be sure and check out the introductory post HERE.

Missie is the host this week, so be sure and visit her site to link up your posts! This is the last week for discussion posts, but be sure and check back next week for Chloe's special guest post as well as the announcement of our grand prize winner. Thank you so much to everyone who participated and to my fellow hosts, this has been a blast!

January 3rd - Chapters 1-4 (Jenny at Supernatural Snark)
January 10th - Chapters 5-8 (Tina at Tina's Book Reviews)
January 17th - Chapters 9-12 (Rummanah at Books in the Spotlight)
January 24th - Chapters 13-15 + epilogue (Missie at The Unread Reader)
January 31st - Special guest post by Chloe Neill and our grand prize giveaway!


Chapter 13 opens with Merit describing her new job routine as House Sentinel. Considering that every job Cadogan House is important in helping to make the house run efficiently, which job do you think you'd like to have (guard, cook, social director, gardener, etc.) and why?

Well, I most certainly would never be the cook. I'm miserable in the kitchen. Correction. Epically miserable. That's a far more accurate description. You don't want to eat at my table unless you like all of your food with a nice black char on it ;-) I think I would probably want to be a guard like Lindsey, as that way I would be forced to workout and stay in shape (something I neglect to do now) and I would keep plenty busy. Should there be a lull in my guard duties and I find myself bored, I'd at least have Luc in the operations room with me so I could occupy myself ogling him. Dream job accomplished.

In the supernatural world of Chicagoland Vampires, politics seem to play an important role in the way the Houses are run. Now that you've been introduced to the Rogues, do you think it's better for vampires to be a part of a House or to live outside of one?

While I don't always agree with the strict rules and regulations governing the House system and would most likely push against its rigid structure as Merit does, I still think I would prefer it to the unknown. We know so little of the Rogues in this first book, and while living with them could be the greatest life ever, it could also have more rules than the House system and could easily be more violent without the protection of the very politics that make the Houses so frustratingly complicated. At this point, better the evil I know than the one I don't.

After Morgan openly asks to court Merit, she feels betrayed when Ethan commands her to accept for the show of alliance it could bring to Cadogan House. Do you think her reaction was warranted?

I do. While Merit may buck Ethan's authority and take offense (as she should) to his less-than-flattering offer of being his mistress, there's clearly a spark between them and the potential for something interesting. He spends 99% of the book aggressively campaigning for her loyalty and her trust, and the moment he has it, he dangles her out there like some Cadogan prize available for the taking as long as the bid is high enough. He proves to her in that moment that she's not just a person and not just a Cadogan vampire, she's a chess piece on his sprawling and ever-changing board, and what woman wouldn't feel that slight from someone she's attracted to?

When Ethan meets with the perpetrator of the murders, were you surprised to discover who it was? If you suspected someone, were your suspensions correct? What did you think of the perpetrator's motive?

This is another one of those questions that's hard for me to answer knowing everything I do from the remaining books in the series, so I'll just say this: That woman can't get her comeuppance soon enough.

What was your favorite/least favorite parts of Some Girls Bite?

For me the relationship between Merit and Mallory is one of the highlights. Their banter keeps things light when the weight of all the drama Ethan brings settles in and starts pushing down, and I can't help but love their mutual appreciation for snark. It makes me think we would be friends if they were real :-) I also really love the tension between Ethan and Merit, there's something beautifully painful about them together, and theirs is a relationship where you know each book is going to add a new layer to their connection, and I love starting a book with the promise of increased tension and electricity sparking right there at my fingertips.

What do you think is coming up next for Merit, Sentinel of Cadogan House? Will you continue reading this series, and if so, what do you hope to see happen in the next book?

This is one of my favorite urban fantasy series, so I've already read them all and am now not-so patiently waiting for Biting Cold which I believe comes out in August. To those who have read this book and have questions regarding Ethan and his motives, all I can say is keep reading!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Review: Incarnate

INCARNATE (New Soul #1)
Jodi Meadows
Young Adult/Dystopian
384 pages
Available January 31st
Received from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

Deeply intriguing and beautifully told, Incarnate brings to life a world of fantasy that–for all its differences and its paranormal qualities–manages to highlight an inherent flaw we often don’t like to recognize in ourselves or others when confronted directly with it. Ana, being the only newsoul in a place where the same one million souls have been born again and again for five thousand years, is the epitome of an outcast, and through her eyes we see the disdain, the fear, and the distrust someone who’s different elicits in those who believe they possess the one and only indisputable view of how things should be. Seeing such blatant prejudice portrayed in a way that’s so different from our reality but also so horrifyingly familiar strikes a poignant cord in us as we wish for nothing more than the ability to leap into the pages and assume a supportive position behind, in front of, or beside Ana with the few others who see her as human not anathema.

Ana is a young woman who has our support from page one, her loneliness as visible and as palpable as if she wore it as a cloak about her shoulders and stood in front of us with every vulnerability spelled out on her sleeve, allowing us instant access to the depths of her character with no holds barred. Despite her fear of the unknown, she sets out for Heart with purpose and hope, the horrors of her childhood with an emotionally and physically abusive parent not fully corrupting her faith that not everyone will see her as Li does. At times her suspicions of Sam’s motives and her uncanny ability to read too much into what is said start to irk us, but just as they do we remember that for the past eighteen years her only social contact has been with a woman whose interactions with her have dripped with derision–sharp words wielded as weapons meant to inflict wounds deep enough to scar but shallow enough to ensure she would survive them to endure the torture another day.

Ana’s relationship with Sam is both sorrowful and indescribably wistful at the same time, beginning as a fragile friendship that slowly grows into something greater as trust becomes more than a simple word tossed out to force a tenuous bond, and then quietly transforming into a tangible thing that has been earned with limitless patience and increasing desire. Their actions are never hurried, Ana’s understandable hesitancy to believe the reality of what’s happening between them and Sam’s fear that she’ll continue to misinterpret his feelings for her creating a chasm of space between them emotionally despite there only ever being feet between them physically. Ever-present while reading is an incessant tug in our bellies, a slow twisting that by the end has us thoroughly tangled in knots as tension between the two of them ebbs and flows at the perfect pace to keep us on edge the entire way through.

The only mild complaint is a common one for first books in a series, a great deal of questions and wide open musings plaguing us as we reach the last page, but we are blissfully left without a gut-punching cliffhanger. We definitely want to know more about the few revelations we’re given in the concluding chapters, however, we look forward to the next books with a sense of optimistic curiosity instead of wild desperation, something that will surely make the wait in between books far more bearable.

Rating: 4/5

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Guest Post + Giveaway: JL Bryan, Fairy Blues and Fairy Metal Thunder

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming young adult author JL Bryan back to the blog to help celebrate his newest release in the Songs of Magic series! While I haven't started this series of yet, his Paranormals series is a favorite of mine for his ability to write beautifully layered and complex characters, and I've no doubt this series will be as equally impressive in that regard. Welcome back to Supernatural Snark JL!


Many thanks to Jenny for having me on her blog to launch Fairy Blues, the second book in the Songs of Magic series! Here’s some background on these books...

In folklore, there has long been a deep association between fairies and music. Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry, a collection edited by W. B. Yeats, includes a number of these stories.

“The Legend of Knockgrafton” tells of a gentle man named Lunsmore who is a social outcast because of a huge hump on his back. Walking home one night, Lunsmore hears fairy music and sings along. The fairies are so impressed by his singing that they remove his hump and give him a fine suit of clothes. Later, another man tries to get a free suit of clothes by singing along with the fairies, but he’s not such a good singer, and they punish him by putting Lunsmore’s hump on his back! Clearly, fairies take their music very seriously. John Cusack’s character in High Fidelity has nothing on the Folk.

Yeats has this to say about fairy music: “Many a poor girl has heard them, and pined away and died, for love of that singing. Plenty of the old beautiful tunes of Ireland are only their music, caught up by eavesdroppers...Carolan, the last of the Irish bards, slept on a rath, and ever after the fairy tunes ran in his head, and made him the great man he was.” (A rath is an old fort mound, the sort of place where fairies live.)

In The Folk-Lore of the Isle of Man by A. W. Moore, gives more stories about fairy music:

“Any one straying near these (fairy mounds) on a fine summer's evening would probably hear delightful music; but he must take care, especially if he is a musician, not to linger lest he should be entrapped.”

He tells of a man crossing a river on a horse: “As he was in the middle of it he heard, or imagined he heard, the finest symphony, he would not say in the world, for nothing human ever came up to it. The horse was no less sensible of the harmony than himself, and kept in an immoveable posture all the time it lasted; which, he said could not, be less than three-quarters of an hour.”

Moore also writes: “I have heard many Manxmen protest they have been carried insensibly great distances from home, and without knowing how they came there, found themselves on the top of a mountain. One man had been led by invisible musicians for several miles together, and not being able to resist the harmony, followed, till it conducted him into a large common, where were a great number of little people sitting round a table, and eating and drinking in a very jovial manner.” The fairies try to trap the man by getting him to drink their wine – anyone who eats or drinks among fairies is trapped, like Persephone eating the pomegranate seeds in the realm of Hades.

These kinds of stories led me to create the Songs of Magic series, about a teenage garage band (the Assorted Zebras) who swipe steal instruments from fairies and become huge stars as their music enchants the crowds.

For this series, I’ve read dozens of rock biographies, which makes for fun research. There are countless stories of stars being mobbed by crazed fans, riots at music shows, swarms of groupies intent on getting close to their idols. A number of bands, like Nirvana, left a wake of destruction everywhere they went, as if the energy generated by the group couldn’t be contained as they passed through concert venues and hotels all over the world.

In Life, Keith Richards describes the strange relationship between rock music and politicians, as local politicians would either try to arrest the Rolling Stones or get a photo op with them. Politicians usually picked the latter, because arresting the musicians could lead to a huge riot at the concert venue and/or the local jail. Rock musicians would get arrested for hard drugs but released the same day to avoid potential riots. In the 1960s and 70s, rock groups were closely monitored by the US and UK governments. The Nixon administration considered them threats to national security.

In the Songs of Magic series, enchanting fairy music and volatile rock music are combined into something powerful, music that can enscorcel people but also unleash mass destruction. The band don’t really understand the powers in their instruments...but they have to learn fast, because stealing the instruments has made them some powerful enemies among the fae, including Queen Mab herself. They will have to grapple with the Queen’s bounty hunters and supernatural minions, as well as tricky record executives, mobs of crazed fans, and all the problems of sudden fame and fortune.

Thanks again to Jenny for having me on Supernatural Snark today! I like this place.


JL is generously offering up a copy of Fairy Metal Thunder, book one in the series, to one lucky winner today! This giveaway is international (US residents will receive a paperback copy, international winners will receive an e-book) and will run through midnight EST on Friday, January 27th after which time a winner will be chosen by Random.org and announced on the blog. To enter, please just name a rock song that you'd like to hear the Assorted Zebras play over their enchanted fairy gear and be sure to leave a valid email address or Twitter name so JL and I can contact you if you win. Good luck everyone!

J.L. Bryan is the author of The Paranormals series (Jenny Pox, Tommy Nightmare, Alexander Death) and other books. Fairy Metal Thunder is the first book in his new Songs of Magic series. He lives in Atlanta with his wife Christina, his baby son John, and some dogs and cats.


Buy Fairy Metal Thunder (just $.99)

FAIRY METAL THUNDER (Songs of Magic #1)

The Assorted Zebras are a teenage garage band in Wisconsin with no fans and no gigs, until they steal four enchanted instruments from the fairy world. The new instruments make the band a huge overnight success, but they aren’t exactly ready for fame, fortune, or the supernatural creatures sent by the fairies to track them down.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Interview: Brodi Ashton + Everneath

Today I'm beyond thrilled to welcome young adult author Brodi Ashton to the blog! Her debut novel, Everneath, releases from Balzer + Bray on January 24th and I cannot adequately express in words how much I loved this book. My review took me 2385729834 hours to write (that may be a touch exaggerated) because the sentences I typed seemed to pale in comparison with how I actually felt so I kept deleting them. Needless to say, it's one I highly recommend and I hope everyone adds it to their lists if it's not already on there!

If you were facing the same fate as Nikki and only had a short amount of time left on the Surface, what are the top 3 things you would make sure to do before you had to go back?

Oooh. That's a good question. Hmmmm. I would eat my mother's meatloaf. As much as I wanted! Okay, I'm just now realizing that I should've said "hug my children and my hubby" first. So that's two... Number three would be to take my entire family to a beach house. Ugh, I'm so boring. :)

Given the experiences Nikki has when she returns–seeing the pain her disappearance caused friends and family–do you think she would make the same choice again after waking up from the Feed if she had to do it over?

Wow. Another good question! I don't know for sure, but deep down I think Nikki already knew how difficult it would be, but she didn't want to face it. I think ultimately her love for Jack would've overwhelmed any other feelings. But I'm not sure. What do you think?

*I honestly have no idea! If I were in her shoes I would want so badly to Return to say goodbye to my family, but at the same time, seeing how much pain it caused her loved ones makes me reconsider. SO HARD*

There are two very intriguing boys in this story, both of whom know Nikki in their own unique way. If they were both asked to describe her, what might each of them say?

Jack would say she's smart and sexy and everything he wants for forever. She's someone he could say anything to, but she's also powerful because she has a way of making him feel more vulnerable than he ever has.

Cole would describe her as bewildering, self-sacrificial and stubborn. But those are also the same qualities that make her so bewitching. He's not sure if what he feels is love, but he's never felt it before.

Were there any other names for Cole’s world you went through before finally deciding Everneath fit it best?

Originally I called it the Underneath. But I realized I wanted a name that would encompass what exactly this place is, so my critique partner Bree Despain and I came up with a mixture of the words "Forever" and "Beneath". I think it really brings up the right picture, even though readers might not see it right away.

Is there anything about your characters or world that surprised you when it got on paper? Perhaps something about their personalities or pasts? Or details with regard to the Everneath that existed one way in your head but changed as soon as your fingers hit the keys

Oh, so many things were unplanned for in this book. I don't want to give away many details, but I will say that the ending I envisioned was drastically different than the one that came out. But as I was writing it, I realized it couldn't end any other way. Oh, and I always thought Jules would be meaner to Nikki than she actually is, but she turned out to be a true friend who was facing her own pain because of Nikki's decisions.

Okay, that last one was totally a run-on sentence. Sorry. Thanks for having me!!

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions Brodi! More information on Brodi and the Everneath trilogy can be found here:


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Review + Giveaway: The Way We Fall

Megan Crewe
Young Adult
304 pages
Available January 24th
Received through Big Honcho Media for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
When a deadly virus begins to sweep through sixteen-year-old Kaelyn’s community, the government quarantines her island—no one can leave, and no one can come back.

Those still healthy must fight for dwindling supplies, or lose all chance of survival. As everything familiar comes crashing down, Kaelyn joins forces with a former rival and discovers a new love in the midst of heartbreak. When the virus starts to rob her of friends and family, she clings to the belief that there must be a way to save the people she holds dearest.

Because how will she go on if there isn't?

Megan Crewe crafts a powerful and gripping exploration of self-preservation, first love, and hope. Poignant and dizzying, this heart-wrenching story of one girl’s bravery and unbeatable spirit will leave readers fervently awaiting the next book in this standout new series.

The Way We Fall is a story that creeps along, symptoms of a new and deadly virus presenting themselves slowly to give our fear plenty of time to grow and expand as the virus itself does until our mind can focus on nothing else but the questions of who is going to survive it and who is going to succumb. As we read, we find ourselves victims of one psychosomatic symptom after another, convinced every tiny itch and every sneeze is indicative of something far worse–as though the sickness can spread from the world of fiction to our reality and claim us as the first casualty of an epidemic that's history in the making. We have no choice but to watch through Kaelyn’s eyes as she records every detail of her changing world in her journal, our utter helplessness to stop the spread of infection combining with our fear for the day to day survival of those about whom we're reading to settle like a lead weight in our guts that refuses to budge.

Kaelyn is a fairly unremarkable young woman, a quality that makes her feel all the more tangible and allows us to easily transfer pieces of ourselves to the somewhat blank canvas she represents, giving us a beautifully normal starting point from which we can begin this traumatic journey together. She’s strong and courageous without being overly so, her fear of the unknown a character unto itself and one with which both she and we as readers walk hand in hand throughout this entire first installment. Our response to her isn’t an overly visceral one though, instead we react more to the situation itself than to Kaelyn in particular, making her feel more like a conduit through which we experience the action rather than a vital part of the action in her own right.

Readers who are looking for a fast paced read will likely lose patience a bit with this story, events progressing slowly but inexorably as the island is quarantined and the population culled body by body, friend by friend, and neighbor by neighbor. That being said, this pace is a perfect way to build tension as we watch symptoms progress in the ill and the ethical and mental status deteriorate in the healthy, though at times we can’t help but want something big to happen to grab us by the heart and yank us kicking and screaming into the story.

Overall, The Way We Fall has a fascinating premise that makes our skin crawl with phantom itches and our throats cough away imaginary tickles with each new case of the virus, but the pacing does add significant weight to the story, making us feel as though we’re trudging through thick mud as opposed to sprinting weightlessly over clear ground. Interesting developments at the end definitely cause our curiosity to spike in the last few pages, and the promise of perhaps some increased emotional intensity shines brightly enough to have us jotting down a reminder to look up the release date for the second book

Rating: 3.5/5


Thanks to the fabulous people at Big Honcho Media and Disney-Hyperion, I have 2 copies of The Way We Fall to give away on the blog today! To enter, please just leave a comment on this post with a valid email address so I can contact you if you win. Giveaway is open to US residents only and will run though midnight EST on Friday, January 27th after which time the winners will be chosen and announced on the blog. Good luck everyone!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tempting Tuesdays: Chapters 9-12

Welcome to week two of the Some Girls Bite Read-Along! For those of you who don't know, the wonderful ladies behind Tina's Book Reviews, Books in the Spotlight, The Unread Reader and myself are hosting a read-along of book one of Chloe Neill's outstanding Chicagoland Vampires urban fantasy series. Each week we'll pose and answer five questions about the book and then hop around to the other blogs who have signed up to check out everyone's answers! For all the details about the event and our grand prize giveaway, be sure and check out the introductory post HERE.

Rummanah is the host this week, so be sure and visit her site to link up your posts! Missie is the host next week and has the discussion questions posted on her blog today.

January 3rd - Chapters 1-4 (Jenny at Supernatural Snark)
January 10th - Chapters 5-8 (Tina at Tina's Book Reviews)
January 17th - Chapters 9-12 (Rummanah at Books in the Spotlight)
January 24th - Chapters 13-15 + epilogue (Missie at The Unread Reader)
January 31st - Special guest post by Chloe Neill and our grand prize giveaway!


Catcher and Ethan share some personality traits. What makes Mallory, Merit, and even us readers attracted to these guys? Would you date/mate with someone like these guys in real life?

Honestly, I think most of their appeal for me is in the fact that they're fictional and pure fantasy material. While the thought of curling up to my idea of Ethan (I LOVE YOU GABRIEL AUBRY) each night is hugely appealing, I know I would grow tired of his brooding nature and his games if I had to contend with them on a daily basis. I find him infuriatingly sexy because I only spend time with him while reading and don't have to deal with his attitude on days when the laundry is piling up and I haven't washed even so much as a sock, when I've completely ruined dinner, or when the dogs have thrown up on the carpet. Multiple times. Instead I have my husband who can laugh with me over all of those things and then run to get us McDonald's since what I've made is inedible. I don't have interact with Ethan, I just have to picture him looking pretty. And naked. And that's enough for me ;-)

In Chapter 9 we learn of another murder. Do you see any patterns with the previous murder and Merit's attack? Do you have any guesses as to who is responsible and the motive behind the murders?

This is me completely avoiding this question because I'm a cheater and know who's behind everything. I'm one of those people who reads the back of the book first, so even though this is a reread for me and I know the answer by default of that fact, I still knew whodunnit even the first time around because I'm that girl.

The commendation is my favorite moment in the book and a significant event in Merit's life. She has finally come to terms that she is a Cadogan vampire. Were you surprised at all that Merit resisted Ethan's call and that he made her a Sentinel? Do you think she'll do well in this position? Why or why not?

I'm not surprised she resisted his call in the least. She's exhibited unusual gifts for a new vampire from the beginning, so I think the fact that he's not omnipotent when it comes to her isn't a huge shock. I also think it adds a necessary dynamic to their relationship on both sides–for Merit, now she knows that any time she obeys a direct order from Ethan she's choosing to do so of her own free will and because she believes in what he's asking, and for Ethan, he now knows her following an order is because he's earned her loyalty instead of forced obedience on her. It levels the playing field a bit.

And yes, I think Merit will rock as Sentinel.

Loyalty is a reoccurring theme throughout the book and much of this series. Why is it so important to Ethan that he needs Merit's allegiance? Is it solely a Master and Sentinel thing or does it imply something else?

I think so much of why Ethan demands more from Merit than he does his other vampires has to do with the way she was changed. For most initiates, they choose to be part of Cadogan House and are one of a limited few who are selected to be added to their ranks, and as such, their loyalty is automatic and unwavering given it's something they requested and were granted. Merit has no such automatic loyalty because her choice was taken from her, and so Ethan I think fears that she poses a threat to Cadogan given her questionable transition and therefore is more intense in his pursuit of her allegiance.

If you had the opportunity to sit down with Ethan, Merit, Mallory, and Catcher for a bite to eat like in the beginning of Chapter 12, what questions would you ask them at this point of the story?

First, I would ask Merit, Mallory, and Catcher to please excuse us so I could be alone with Ethan. Then I would leap from my seat and catapult myself into his lap while proceeding to give him a kiss the likes of which he's never seen before and which may not be appropriate for public viewing. After I finished copping a feel, I would return to my seat and order more food than any one person should be allowed to eat because all of this talk about Olive Garden over the past week has made me ravenous. I need breadsticks immediately.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Review: Everneath

EVERNEATH (Everneath #1)
Brodi Ashton
Paranormal Young Adult
384 Pages
Available January 24th
Received from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.

As Nikki's time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she's forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's...

Eerily beautiful and haunting, Everneath is a story that wraps around us like the folds of a blanket, providing us something tangible to which we can hold on tight, but at times we find the edges of what should be comforting pulled so tight it causes our chests to constrict in vicarious pain and our breath to catch, and we are left swaddled in a cocoon formed of love, loss, and sacrifice. Each page turned brings us a little closer to the end of Nikki’s time on the Surface, the soft whisper of paper on paper echoing loudly in our ears as though trumpets were blaring to announce the imminent arrival of her dark fate in the Everneath. The countdown of days left in the present combined with flashes from before the Feed keep us intrigued and on edge, trying to sort through the pieces of a broken life granted a brief period of time in which to repair all damage caused by her abrupt departure. Our trust is fragile in this story, made so by a gloriously muddled before with both Jack and Cole and an exquisitely executed after where everything between the three of them changes, and we hurtle forward at a devastating speed toward an end where past and present meet to create a future never anticipated.

Nikki has been stripped of her emotions thanks to Cole when we first meet her, a shell of a girl driven to drastic actions by the influx of more pain than she’s able to bear. Her decision to Return seems like an obvious and simple one until we see the destruction left in the wake of her unexpected absence, and suddenly we find ourselves wondering as Nikki does if staying in the Everneath might have been more of a gift to those around her than her temporary reappearance to say goodbye. She tries so hard to make things easier for those she loves, but as so often is the case, succeeds in making them more difficult instead. Her story resonates through every fiber of our being, the inexorable ticking of the clock a spectral presence always felt though never seen, and our hearts shatter a little more each page as we draw closer to the moment she’ll disappear forever.

Though the synopsis for this book gives the impression we'll find ourselves in the middle of an all-too familiar love triangle, the reality is a far different, far richer experience that floods us with more emotional intensity than just an attraction to two young men. We understand so little of either Jack or Cole initially, knowing only that Nikki chose a century with Cole willingly after something with Jack drove her to make the decision to do so, and so we read feeling like we are standing outside in a world that’s uncomfortably quiet–ears straining to pick up even the slightest rustle to help us gather information, but the harder we try, the quicker the wind carries those sounds away. Slowly, bit by bit, those whispers find their way back to us though, and the truth of one character is revealed in all its agonizing glory, while the other remains a bit in shadow with only select facets of himself illuminated for our gaze. Both men captivate and intrigue, but one leaves us with a piece of our hearts missing, washed away in a deluge of tears and heartache.

Everneath is a truly outstanding debut, a memorable tale that earns itself a place on that special shelf for books that are destined to have pages crinkled and worn from having been read so many times.

Rating: 5/5

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Rock God: A Musical Event and Signing

I'm really excited to share with you today some information about an upcoming event and author signing to promote the release of Rock God by Barnabas Miller! Mr. Miller, in addition to being a young adult author, also happens to produce music for film and television and is the drummer for a band by the name of Tiger Beat which features fellow young adult authors Libba Bray, Natalie Standiford, and Dan Ehrenhaft as well. Cool right?

To celebrate, he and his band mates are going to be performing a single he produced in addition to other music, and they will all be signing their books as an added bonus! For anyone in the New York City or surrounding areas, I hope you'll pop in for the event, it sounds like it's going to be a blast! I'll be here. In Ohio. With the snow. And the lack of fun author jam sessions and signings. *dramatic sigh*

Barnes & Noble at East 86th
150 East 86th Street
New York City, NY
Thursday, January 19th
In attendance: Barnabas Miller, Libba Bray, Natalie Standiford and Dan Ehrenhaft

One of the songs they will be performing is "written and performed" by the protagonist of Rock God, B.J Levine, and you can find the song, "Three Notes", on the Facebook Fan Page! You can also follow Mr. Miller tweeting as B.J. here.

ROCK GOD (from Goodreads)

B.J. Levine, a mild-mannered, 13-year-old boy voted most likely to become a tax accountant, moves to New York City and discovers his true purpose: he must transform himself into the most almighty rocker since Jon Bon Jovi. B.J. battles his father's disappointment, his mother's disapproval, his lack of apparent talent, and a secret society of middle-aged bikers as he gathers a ragtag band and embarks on a real life rock Odyssey.

On a side note, I've been horrible lately about announcing giveaway winners, I'm so sorry! The winners are always chosen and emailed right away but I'm bad about posting them here on the blog. Thanks so much for everyone who takes the time to enter and to Teen Book Scene and Kismet Book Touring for organizing such amazing tours and giveaways!


Tayte H.



Friday, January 13, 2012

Review: What Boys Really Want

Pete Hautman
Contemporary Young Adult
304 Pages
Available Now
Received from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Lita is the writer. Adam is the entrepreneur. They are JUST FRIENDS.

So Adam would never sell copies of a self-help book before he'd even written it. And Lita would never try to break up Adam's relationship with Blair, the skankiest girl at school. They'd never sabotage their friends Emily and Dennis. Lita would never date a guy related to a girl she can't stand. They'd never steal each other's blog posts. And Adam would never end up in a fist fight with Lita's boyfriend. Nope, never.

Adam and Lita might never agree on what happened, but in this hilarious story from Pete Hautman, they manage to give the world a little more insight into what boys and girls are really looking for.

What Boys Really Want is a cute story that superficially illustrates a few of the fundamental differences in the way men and women think in a light, humorous way using two teenagers as the token representatives for their gender. There are no groundbreaking or overly astute observations and analyses of gender relations, but nor are there meant to be, instead we get to enjoy a quick romp through a world of misunderstandings and drama created by the lack of effective communication from one person to the next. We’ve all surely experienced such situations, and probably have made the quick judgments of character quality based on appearance and rumor as Lita does, so it’s an easy story to fall into despite the fact that once we’re in we really don’t wade in more than ankle deep.

Lita and Adam are more than opposites in just sex, their personalities placing them on opposite ends of the spectrum from one another and resulting in rather hilarious interactions that seem to be taken directly from our own lives as we’ve tried to communicate with members of the other gender. Lita is a meddler, constantly insinuating herself into the lives and happenings of others whether invited or not, dispensing snarky advice and generally focusing outward instead of dwelling on her own life. Adam, on the other hand, is distinctively more internal, often in his own little world and slightly oblivious to the thoughts and actions of those around him which causes him no shortage of trouble with both best friend Lita and with life in general. We don’t necessarily feel a strong connection to either character, but our time spent with them is enjoyable in a more shallow way, allowing us to walk away amused yet not inclined to sprint to our computers or phones to find someone with whom to share our reaction.

What Boys Really Want is the perfect read for those looking for a book that’s not overly emotional, dark, or intense, but who instead want to briefly escape into a relatable and familiar world that brings a quick laugh and then lets them go easily to move on to something perhaps more poignant or profound. This book is akin to an episode of Seinfeld: we’re not sure exactly what it’s about other than a brief snippet of time in the lives of others, but it’s enjoyable just the same. Mr. Hautman has a wonderful sense of humor, one that’s the perfect appetizer to get us in the mood for perhaps something slightly richer and more layered where the emotions are truly visceral and the reading experience a bit more powerful.

Rating: 3/5

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Interview and Artwork Reveal: Sara Wilson Etienne + Harbinger

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming young adult author Sara Wilson Etienne to the blog to answer a few questions about her upcoming release Harbinger! She's also granted me the opportunity to share a very cool piece of artwork pertaining to the novel, so be sure and check the bottom of the post to take a look at it. You'll also find details about the other beautiful pieces of art that have been revealed thus far along with a peek at the trailer.

If Faye had to share with us the first thought to pop into her mind upon seeing Holbrook Academy for the first time, what would she say?

They can leave me here, but they can’t make me stay. No one can.

Of course, Faye would never say this out loud, but she has a quiet and fierce determination. And everything about Holbrook seems wrong to her. All the trees blocking out the light, Dr. Mordoch’s plastic smile, and, most of all, the off-kilter Compass Rose–the building at the heart of campus.

Let’s say you‘ve suddenly found yourself a student at Holbrook. Which would be worse for you: spending time in the “meditation center” or spending time with your Aunts and Uncles sharing your problems with your new Family?

Definitely spending time with the Aunts and Uncles. Unlike Faye, I think I could deal with being locked up, even in the dark. But I think all the pretending would be awful…pretending I cared, pretending I was normal, pretending to cooperate.

Do you think you’d be a rebel like Faye, Kel and their Family if you were in their shoes–bucking Dr. Mordoch’s authority and fighting her brand of “help”–or would you try to toe the line?

I’d like to say that I’d rebel like Family Five, but unfortunately I tend to be a chicken around authority figures. It’s definitely one of the reasons I wrote Faye and love her as a character. Thinking about her makes me braver!

If Kel could relive that first day with Faye in their separate cells in the Meditation Center knowing how events would play out from that point forward, do you think he would do anything differently, tell her something else about himself, or ask her a specific question?

Wow. What an interesting question…honestly it’s hard to imagine. It’s their strangeness in the dark that gives them such a sense of intimacy. I’m sure if he could relive the moment having that knowledge, their meeting would fall flat.

What would the first line of Faye’s letter home to her parents say after she’s been at Holbrook for a few days were she allowed to send one?

You sent me here to get better. But things are only getting worse.


As mentioned above, in the weeks leading up to the release of Harbinger, Sara has been periodically revealing spectacular pieces of artwork from a myriad of artists, and I have the honor of sharing one such piece with you today. Here's a brief snippet from Sara's site to explain what you're seeing:

Twenty-four incredible illustrators and artists have picked their favorite scenes and characters from HARBINGER to give you a taste of Faye’s life at Holbrook Academy. Each Thursday leading up to the release of the book, a new illustration will be unlocked...

Here's today's scene:

(click to see larger)

Walk the Path! Explore the whole gallery of HARBINGER-inspired artwork HERE. More information on Sara, Harbinger, and Holbrook Academy can be found below.

Holbrook Academy

HARBINGER (from Goodreads):

When sixteen-year-old Faye arrives at Holbrook Academy, she doesn't expect to find herself exactly where she needs to be. After years of strange waking visions and nightmares, her only comfort the bones of dead animals, Faye is afraid she's going crazy. Fast.

But her first night at Holbrook, she feels strangely connected to the school and the island it sits on, like she's come home. She's even made her first real friends, but odd things keep happening to them. Every morning they wake on the floors of their dorm rooms with their hands stained red.

Faye knows she's the reason, but what does it all mean? The handsome Kel tries to help her unravel the mystery, but Faye is certain she can't trust him; in fact, he may be trying to kill her - and the rest of the world too.