Monday, April 30, 2012

Spring Fling Giveaway Hop!

Welcome to the Spring Fling Giveaway Hop!

This giveaway hop is hosted by Eve's Fan Garden and I Am a Reader, Not a Writer so check out either of their sites for details on the hop itself!

One winner will be selected and they will have their choice of one of the above titles. The books shown and listed are either some of my favorites or ones that I'm greatly looking forward to when they release. There are books from all my favorite genres: Paranormal Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, and Paranormal Romance, so hopefully there's a little something for everyone!

Since this is a blog hop and you'll all likely be entering numerous giveaways, I'm going to keep things really simple. No complicated extra entries, just follow the blog and fill out the form with your name and email address so I can contact you if you win. If for some reason the form doesn't work, feel free to email me at with SPRING FLING GIVEAWAY in the subject line and I'll make sure you're entered. This giveaway will end at 12:01am (EST) on Tuesday, May 8th after which time a winner will be chosen, emailed, and announced on the blog.

This giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY as long as The Book Depository delivers to your country. You can check the list of countries here.

Book prizes:
Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting
Underworld by Meg Cabot
Lover Reborn by J.R. Ward
A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare
A Perfect Storm by Lori Foster
Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost

There are over 150 blogs participating in this event, so be sure to check out the other giveaways! All participating blogs are listed below, good luck everyone!

Interview: Shannon Greenland + The Summer My Life Began

As part of the promotional tour through Teen Book Scene, I'm pleased today to welcome young adult author Shannon Greenland to the blog to answer a few questions about her upcoming release The Summer My Life Began. The Summer My Life Began comes out May 10th from Speak.

Em has dreams of being a chef even though she’s “supposed to be” a lawyer following in her father’s footsteps. Is there a particular dish you’ve made that came out so well you impressed yourself with your cooking abilities? (I would just like to point out that this has never once happened to me ;-) 

You might surprise yourself! I made beef wellington once and was like, wow, following a recipe totally works!

*I would like to reiterate that, recipe or no, I'm a disaster in the kitchen. I'm a culinary failure :-)*

If you had the chance to go back and tell your seventeen year-old self one thing about pursuing your dreams, what would you most like to tell her? Do you think she’d listen? 

I would tell my younger self to do exactly what I wanted and to not listen to anybody else. I think my younger self would definitely listen to that advice. What teen doesn’t want to hear that?

What is your favorite summertime memory? 

I lived in a RV one summer right on the beach. Cool right? That is definitely at the top of my memory list.

If Em had to describe her perfect guy before spending time with her aunt, what would she say? The perfect guy after her time with her aunt? 

Before her aunt: smart, driven, and neatly groomed. After her aunt: smart, sense of humor, laid back, with some sort of future figured out.

You have to describe Em’s journey in The Summer My Life Began in terms of food. What specific food item or category (i.e. chocolate 7 layer cake – lots of dark, bittersweet goodness) best sums up the Em’s emotions as she goes through this summer of change? 

Ooh this is an easy one. Before the summer she was a cookbook with exact measurements in everything. During the summer she closed the cookbook and relied on senses to guide her.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions Shannon! More information on Shannon and her books can be found here:



Elizabeth Margaret—better known as Em—has always known what life would contain: an internship at her father’s firm, a degree from Harvard and a career as a lawyer. The only problem is that it’s not what she wants. When she gets the opportunity to get away from it all and spend a month with the aunt she never knew, she jumps at the chance. While there, Em pursues her secret dream of being a chef, and she also learns that her family has kept some significant secrets from her, too. And then there’s Cade, the laid-back local surfer boy who seems to be everything Em isn't. Naturally, she can’t resist him, and as their romance blossoms, Em feels she is living on her own terms for the first time.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Summer Lovin' Blog Tour: Guest Post with Katherine Grace Bond

I'm excited today to welcome author Katherine Grace Bond to the blog as part of the Summer Lovin' Blog Tour to talk to us about fame and celebrity. Welcome to Supernatural Snark Katherine!


“Celebrity-in-Hiding.” When I first started writing THE SUMMER OF NO REGRETS, I didn’t want to admit how much that idea intrigued me. I’m a lot like my main character, Brigitta—all about finding the meaning of life, not fantasizing over whether the guy next door is a movie star. When I bought a National Enquirer, I explained to the grocery store clerk that it was for research— that I was writing a book (“Yes,” I told her modestly, “I am an author.”) I certainly didn’t normally read that sort of thing. Of course not. Well, okay, maybe the headlines. Occasionally.

But as I read through stacks of People and Star and Us (which is a lot like eating sugar cubes all day long), and more stacks of celebrity biographies, I started to wonder what the deal is about fame. Why does it fascinate us? Why do we love the idea of either being famous or being connected to somebody famous?

I think it’s because we’ve got some interesting ideas about “being known.” If I’m “known,” people know who I am, right? Lots of people. Those people will say I’m talented and beautiful and they’ll treat me with special respect. If I’m known, I get to wear amazing clothes and ride in limousines. People will do what I want just because I’m known. If I only eat the green M&M’s, someone will pick those out of the five-pound bag and put them into a crystal dish for me. If I’m known, I am important—more important than that boss who fired me, or the teacher who gave me a C and said “You ought to be ashamed of yourself,”  or the security guard who threw me out of a mall in Seattle for plugging my cellphone into a floor outlet (true story!)

But is that really what being known is? Getting special treatment and being better than somebody else? Who really knows me when I’m known like that? What I crave, what I really crave, is to have a few people who will look into my eyes and know me—know how I wrinkle my nose when I laugh, and what my favorite show is, and why I’m afraid of guns. It’s what we all want, I think—people who will listen to us when we’re scared, and scream with us on the roller coaster, and trust us with their hurts. We want to know we matter. We want to have a few people we don’t have to hide ourselves from. 

So is Brigitta’s next-door-neighbor a secret superstar? We can talk about that later. I need to go to the grocery store and read some headlines.

Thanks so much for stopping by Katherine! More information on Katherine and her books can be found here:



The day Brigitta accidentally flings herself into the lap of a guy she's never met, her friend Natalie is convinced he's Trent Yves, egotistical heartthrob-in-hiding. When the boy, who calls himself Luke, is nearly eaten by a cougar, Brigitta finds herself saving his life, being swept into his spectacular embrace and wondering if she wants Natalie's fantasy to be true.

As the two spend the summer together raising orphaned cougar cubs, Brigitta still can't be sure of his true identity. But then again, since her grandparents' death, her father's sudden urge to give away all their possessions and become a shaman, and her own awkward transition from girlhood into a young woman, she isn't sure of anything. What is the truth? More importantly, can she accept it?


I've had several contests the past several weeks, and I just wanted to sneak in an announcement regarding the winners really quickly. A huge thank you to everyone who entered, and to HarperTeen, Media Masters Publicity and Harlequin, and Penguin for providing such fantastic books! All winners have been emailed.

DARK DAYS (The Last Echo, Partials and Slide)

Amanda at On a Book Bender


Friday, April 27, 2012

Review: Unraveling

Elizabeth Norris
Paranormal Young Adult
445 pages
Balzer + Bray
Available Now
Received from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Two days before the start of her junior year, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit by a pickup truck and killed—as in blinding light, scenes of her life flashing before her, and then nothing. Except the next thing she knows, she's opening her eyes to find Ben Michaels, a loner from her high school whom Janelle has never talked to, leaning over her. And even though it isn't possible, she knows—with every fiber of her being—that Ben has somehow brought her back to life.

But her revival, and Ben's possible role in it, is only the first of the puzzles that Janelle must solve. While snooping in her FBI agent father's files for clues about her accident, she uncovers a clock that seems to be counting down to something—but to what? And when someone close to Janelle is killed, she can no longer deny what's right in front of her: Everything that's happened—the accident, the murder, the countdown clock, Ben's sudden appearance in her life—points to the end of life as she knows it. And as the clock ticks down, she realizes that if she wants to put a stop to the end of the world, she's going to need to uncover Ben's secrets—and keep from falling in love with him in the process. 

Unraveling is a gloriously unexpected read, one where the synopsis is specific enough to pique our curiosity and inspire us to break the spine, but at the same time vague enough to have us flipping that first page with a fair amount of trepidation given we’re not exactly sure what type of paranormal or inhuman element we might be dealing with. That initial hesitancy fades away quickly as we’re immediately introduced to a female protagonist who embodies many of the characteristics we as readers love best—strength and intelligence paired with a quick wit and down-to-earth personality–and very few of the ones that have us curling our fingers into fists out of sheer frustration. Our introduction to her is the beginning of a marathon that feels much more like a sprint, Janelle’s already complicated and difficult life becoming even more so when the weight of the world is literally placed on her shoulders and the unstoppable ticking of a clock haunts her every waking moment.

Janelle is one of those rare characters who seems utterly perfect from the minute we meet her. Not so much in the sense that she’s physically flawless or a paragon of everything good and wholesome and pure, but in the sense that we feel no desire to change anything about her and can simply appreciate her faults because they’re part of a whole we can’t imagine being any other way. She absolutely makes mistakes, but she often knows she’s making them and admits them to herself before we even have the chance to open our mouths and tell her to change her course, and even though we may disagree with her on occasion, we can’t help but recognize that without the gift of outside perspective we might make the exact same choices.

Many times with young adult novels, the romantic element seems to be tossed into the overall story arc more because it’s almost a criteria that one be in place for the book to be appealing to the target market, and thus many romances come across as rather superfluous rather than intrinsic. With Unraveling however, Ms. Norris does a truly impressive job of crafting a complex plot with an otherworldly mystery that is only enhanced by the presence of a romantic relationship rather than encumbered by it. We get the distinct pleasure very early on in the story of not only seeing how Ben feels about Janelle but actually experiencing his emotions briefly as she glimpses herself through his eyes, and from that moment on we get the deliciously slow building of a relationship that was previously non-existent and completely unacknowledged become something beautifully important. There’s a special headiness to their connection, one stemming from the collision of new and old feelings as Janelle begins to truly comprehend the extent of Ben’s feelings, and nothing is more satisfying than watching what Ben never thought possible come to life.

The story itself is a perfect combination of simple and complex, giving us just enough scientific information to create genuine plausibility, but not throwing so many technical terms and complicated theories at us that we get ejected from the story due to incomprehension. Those who enjoy stories like those presented in Fringe will revel in this tale, enjoying the juxtaposition of reality and science fiction while remaining completely grounded in heartfelt human emotion.

Rating: 4.5/5

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Review: Underworld

(Abandon Trilogy #2)
Meg Cabot
Paranormal Young Adult
336 pages
Scholastic Point
Available May 8th
Received from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera isn’t dead.

Not this time.

But she is being held against her will in the dim, twilit world between heaven and hell, where the spirits of the deceased wait before embarking upon their final journey.

Her captor, John Hayden, claims it’s for her own safety. Because not all the departed are dear. Some are so unhappy with where they ended up after leaving the Underworld, they’ve come back as Furies, intent on vengeance…on the one who sent them there and on the one whom he loves.

But while Pierce might be safe from the Furies in the Underworld, far worse dangers could be lurking for her there…and they might have more to do with its ruler than with his enemies.

And unless Pierce is careful, this time there’ll be no escape.

Where Abandon introduced us to Pierce and catapulted us back and forth in time to help us piece together her relationship with a dark young man we really never got to know, Underworld grants us the extra time with John Hayden we were denied previously, allowing us to see glimpses of the man behind the Death Deity. Those who were slightly put off by the jumps in time in the first book will be pleased by the linear nature of this second installment, our time with John and Pierce spent entirely in the present as they attempt to sort through their feelings for one another as well as their roles in the Underworld. The focus of Underworld feels a bit more internal, the connection between John and Pierce moving to the forefront while the external threat of the Furies remains more static in nature, and as a result we’re given the opportunity to better know each of our protagonists as individuals.

Though it’s easy to like Pierce overall, her ability to take the fairly monumental changes in her life in stride something we can’t help but admire, our relationship with her can be rocky at times. She’s quick to speak her mind before fully thinking things through, often voicing a thought that hurts John by calling into question his life in the Underworld and the choices he’s forced to make as a result of his work, and she therefore spends a great deal of time apologizing to him for saying things she didn’t entirely mean. While anyone in her position would certainly have questions about John, his past, and his role in the Underworld, her continued inadvertent verbal cuts make the romance between the two of them feel extraordinarily one-sided on John's part, planting seeds of doubt in our minds as to whether or not they truly belong together. She says she loves him, but we don’t necessarily feel the intensity of those feelings the way we do with John, and we spend our time reading wishing she would provide proof of that love through gesture instead of word.

John shows a great deal of growth in this tale, finally allowing some personality to show through the brooding façade he’s so beautifully perfected as he charms Pierce and us with sweet teases and a rather dry sense of humor. He of course is still prone to rather volatile displays of temper when Pierce is threatened, but it’s obvious he’s making a concentrated effort to keep it in check as he fights every instinct he has and sends Pierce back to the surface despite the danger that awaits her there. He so badly wants Pierce to be happy with him, and while we can find fault with some of the methods he utilizes to protect her as well as his refusal to share too much about himself, we can understand his action-first talk-later approach given Pierce’s predilection for voicing her doubts about the two of them.

Overall, the plotline surrounding Pierce’s life in the Underworld and the battle with the Furies is secondary in this story to John’s history and his love for Pierce, giving us the feeling we’re not simply in the calm before the storm literally as a hurricane continues to make its way to Isla Huelos, but figuratively as well now that we know a little more about John himself.

Rating: 3.5-4/5

(I suffered from a bit of indecision when it came time to assigning a rating to this one. Some days certain things bothered me more than they did on others, so I'm giving a range:)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Review: Sweet Evil

Wendy Higgins
Paranormal Young Adult
464 pages
Available May 1st
Received from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
What if there were teens whose lives depended on being bad influences? This is life for sons and daughters of fallen angels in Sweet Evil.

Tenderhearted Southern girl, Anna Whitt, was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage, and her will-power is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

A cross-country trip to meet her father forces Anna to face the reality that hope and love are not options for her kind. When she confronts her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

Sweet Evil is a tale of dark emotional decadence, luring us in with a beautiful contrast between innocent Anna and sinful Kaidan, and once it has us in its iron grip their story begins to slowly squeeze, forcing us to feel each moment of joy and pain as it’s forced from the recesses of our bodies to the very surface. Once there, it seems as though anyone looking at us will be able to clearly see each emotion etched across our features, and we read page after page hypersensitive to every nuance of feeling coursing through our bodies as Kai and Anna move their feet to a dangerous and addictive rhythm, their steps echoing in our minds and leaving indelible footprints on our hearts. This is one of those books we find ourselves repeatedly walking away from–not due to disinterest, but rather to self-preservation–needing to take a breather to shore up our courage at what we can only imagine Anna and Kai are going to face in a battle that extends beyond life and death and into eternity.

Anna is sweet and innocent; a perpetual rule-follower and spiritual young woman who has known little other than the unconditional love of her adoptive mother. Though she is often naïve and entirely too trusting, believing the best of people and hardly ever recognizing potentially threatening behaviors, she’s never one to think herself better than those around her nor does she believe her way of living is the best or only way. There’s a definite fragility about her–the desire to cup her eyes with our own hands to form blinders that keep her view of the world unsullied by reality dogging our every step–however, that fragility is in no way tantamount to weakness, and she proves to us again and again that she’s far stronger on every level than she might outwardly appear. She handles her gut-wrenching relationship with Kai with a stunningly flawed grace, recognizing some unhealthy behaviors in herself when things with him prove difficult, and allowing herself to indulge in them in a way that’s realistic without being overly dramatic.

Kaidan is the perfect counterpoint to Anna, wearing sin and debauchery like a perfectly tailored suit to accentuate his every deliciously seductive feature, but every once in a while that suit slips off his shoulders and we see pieces of him marred by a life absent of the very love with which Anna’s overflows. Being the son of the Demon of Lust, it’s his job to touch, tease, and tempt any young woman who crosses his path, and while we should be angry with him as he continues his “work” throughout his tumultuous relationship with Anna, Ms. Higgins writes him in such a way that our anger is tempered by the agony we feel on his behalf the more we learn of his circumstances. The acute pain that jolts our systems every time we think of him is two-fold: the distress caused by the knowledge that his hands and mouth are on girls other than Anna when we know how much she loves him first tearing our hearts to ragged shreds, while the even more tortuous realization that being with those other women only causes him misery then rips those shreds fully from our chests and leaves them pulsing weakly on the ground.

One very minor criticism keeping this story from being gloriously perfect is with regard to Kaidan and the other Neph’s need peddle the sins of their fathers. We aren’t told or exposed to the reasons why they all feel so trapped with the work they’re required to do, and we can’t help but wonder why they don’t try their hand at fabricating reports to the Dukes as Anna’s own father does. These musings are more selfish in nature though—a case of us as readers desperately seeking an excuse for Kaidan to walk out of his forced lustful haze and into a loving relationship with Anna. At the very end we are finally granted a peek at the horrors that await those who disobey the Dukes, so by the last page that tiny criticism shrivels in the face of their fury and leaves us with a deeper understanding of life as Nephilim. A truly brilliant beginning to the series, Sweet Evil should top everyone’s must-read list.

Rating: 5/5

I had the pleasure of interviewing Wendy earlier in the week as part of the Sweet Evil blog tour, so if you haven't had a chance to read her describe Kaidan as "lusty to the core" you can do that HERE.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Vicious Deep: Tens List

Today as part of the promotional tour through Teen Book Scene, I have a couple of fun tens lists to share, one from both Zoraida and her main character Tristan! Through a happy series of miscommunications and wire crossings I wound up with two different tens lists which I consider a win, so below is a twenties list(?) for all of you!


1. Bacon, you salty goodness

2. Hawaiian pizza. I mean, pineapple and ham. Who knew?

3. Fish tacos. Though lately, I’ve been feeling a little guilty.
4. It isn’t a Coney Island summer without the consumption of a couple of hundred corn dogs.

5. You’re not supposed to swim after you eat, right? But sitting all day at the lifeguard post makes me hungry. I always, always keep watermelon. Plus, it’s Layla’s favorite.
6. Tater tots. It’s the only good thing about school food.
7. My special combination of ketchup and mayo. It’s an art form, you see. I get it juuuust right.
8. Everything my mom makes, but especially her buttermilk pancakes. For an ex-mermaid princess, she sure knows how to cook.
9. Yellow rice and beans. With Layla as a best friend, it’s hard not to love it.

10. Wait. Did I already say bacon?


1. Speaking to animals.
2. The ability to remove wrinkles out of clothes without an iron.
3. The ability to freeze time when I drop something. I go through lots of glasses.
4. Apparating - JK Rowling was onto something!
5. X-ray vision. Especially around cute guys.
6. Flying, just like my favorite girl, Rogue.
7. The ability to see ghosts! They're scary and it'd be nice to get a heads up.
8. Magical cooking powers. I want to be Bobby Flay when I grow up.
9. The voice of a siren. Maybe I'd start a career as a singer.
10. Super speed. Have to be fast to get the bad guys.


For Tristan Hart, everything changes with one crashing wave.

He was gone for three days. Sucked out to sea in a tidal wave and spit back ashore at Coney Island with no memory of what happened. Now his dreams are haunted by a terrifying silver mermaid with razor-sharp teeth.

His best friend Layla is convinced something is wrong. But how can he explain he can sense emotion like never before? How can he explain he’s heir to a kingdom he never knew existed? That he’s suddenly a pawn in a battle as ancient as the gods.

Something happened to him in those three days. He was claimed by the sea…and now it wants him back.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sweet Evil Blog Tour: Interview with Wendy Higgins

Today marks the kickoff of the blog tour for Sweet Evil, an absolutely fantastic paranormal young adult novel by Wendy Higgins, and I'm beyond excited to welcome Wendy to the blog today to answer a few questions! I can't put into coherent sentences how much I adored this book (I literally stopped and started my review over multiple times trying to adequately express my love), so I hope all of you add it to your lists immediately if it's not on there already!

For the next several weeks Wendy and the oh-so darkly delicious Kaidan Rowe will be bouncing from blog to blog answering questions and, in Kaidan's case, causing hearts to beat faster and likely leaving puddles of drool in his wake (not that Wendy couldn't make people drool as well ;-) You've been warned. Below are all the dates and participating blogs, I hope you guys will follow the tour and be ready to pounce on Kaidan when Sweet Evil releases on May 1st from HarperTeen!

4/23 -

4/24 -

4/25 -

4/26 -

4/27 -

4/28 -   

4/29 -

4/30 -

5/1 -

5/2 -

5/3 -

5/4 -


If Kaidan were given the chance to switch specialties (so to speak) and work for another Duke, do you think he would jump at the opportunity or pass it by? If he decided to switch, which Duke would he most want to work for?

He would pass it by. He’s got some anger and jealousy issues, but he’s lusty to the core.

*Jenny sputters and fans herself*

Anna and Kaidan have a rather epic forbidden romance—one thick with tension and emotion that stayed with me long after I put the book down. Why do you think the idea of a forbidden romance resonates so strongly with you?

I don’t know, honestly. There’s just something so alluring about having the one thing you’re not supposed to have, even if we know it’s not good for us…human nature, I guess. And it’s also the ultimate romantic notion - loving someone against all odds.

The Neph have super enhanced hearing, able to listen in on conversations miles away from them. Is there one specific instance in your life where you would have loved to have such a gift?

Oh, man. I’m a firm believer that there are things we don’t need to see or hear, for our own mental benefit (like…snarky reviews, lol). But it would be kind of cool to be in Washington, D.C. and listen to the conversations that really take place in the White House!

Part of the reason I can’t be angry at Kaidan for continuing his “work” despite his feelings for Anna is because it’s apparent it holds little joy for him and he would change things if he could. Is there one particular “job” he would say he regrets the most?

(Mild Spoiler Warning) There’s a motif running through the story about Kaidan’s father being involved in an underground sexual slavery ring, and every now and then Kaidan is expected to help with that (training these young girls how to please men). That’s the job he loathes most.

(Spoiler Warning!) Anna’s dad has been in prison her entire life and she’s had absolutely no contact with him over the years. When he walked into the visitation room and saw her waiting for him, what were his first thoughts about his little girl?

His thoughts were those of a Daddy--pride--to him she was brave and beautiful. He was nervous about what she’d think of him. And most of all he felt a fierce urge to protect her.

I had to get up and walk away from this book on multiple occasions, setting the book aside after a relatively happy scene to take a break because I knew that happiness was going to be short lived and my heart was likely to take a beating in the ensuing chapters. Do you ever get up and walk away from a book to gather your courage before continuing?

Whether it’s a book I’m reading or writing, I often have to take breaks so I can soak in the emotions, swirl them around in my mind for a bit, and then forge ahead.

If Kaidan had to pick one song that summed up his feelings for Anna best, what song would it be?

“The Motions” by Matthew West

Here are a few lines from the chorus:
I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me

In Sweet Evil we see mostly the world of the Dukes and their children as Anna learns the ropes. Looking forward to the next book, will we be seeing more of the angel side of things?

No…the angels are going to be an elusive element throughout. We’ll meet more Nephilim. There won’t be as much Jay and Veronica (Anna’s human friends) in book two, but Jay will once again have a major role in book three.

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by Wendy! Be sure and check back here on Wednesday (the 25th) to check out my full review of Sweet Evil. More information on Wendy and her books can be found here:


What if there were teens whose lives depended on being bad influences? This is life for sons and daughters of fallen angels in Sweet Evil.

Tenderhearted Southern girl, Anna Whitt, was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage, and her will-power is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

A cross-country trip to meet her father forces Anna to face the reality that hope and love are not options for her kind. When she confronts her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Morganville Vampire Series: Tour Info + Giveaway


Have you read the Moranville Vampire series yet? If not, or if you're like me and have some catching up to do (I LOVE YOU SHANE, I'M COMING BACK TO YOU I SWEAR!), here's your chance! A 12-day tour kicked off last Friday and will be running through May 1st with each stop featuring one of the books in the series in order, starting with Glass Houses and ending with the newest installment, Black Dawn (releases May 1st, the last day of the tour).

Below is the list of all the participating blogs, so be sure to check out all their fun reviews and giveaways!

April 20th: GLASS HOUSES (Book 1)

April 21: THE DEAD GIRLS DANCE (Book 2)

April 22: MIDNIGHT ALLEY (Book 3)

April 23: FEAST OF FOOLS (Book 4)

April 24: LORD OF MISRULE (Book 5)

April 25: CARPE CORPUS (Book 6)

April 26: FADE OUT (Book 7)

April 27: KISS OF DEATH (Book 8)

April 28: GHOST TOWN (Book 9)

April 29: BITE CLUB (Book 10)

April 30: LAST BREATH (Book 11)

MAY 1: BLACK DAWN (Book 12, NEW!)


Though this blog is not a part of the tour, the people at Penguin have still generously provided me with a copy of book 1, Glass Houses, as well as a Black Dawn bookmark to give away on the blog today! I'm going to go ahead and add to that, providing a hardcover copy of Black Dawn to the prize package as well. 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, April 27th after which time a winner will be chosen and announced on the blog. Good luck everyone!

Insurgent: Cover Redesign

Hey Everyone!

I'm sure most of you have either seen or participated in the rather epic marketing campaign unleashed by HarperTeen to promote Insurgent, the sequel to last year's fantastic dystopian novel Divergent. I recently stumbled across a fun contest and giveaway on All Things Urban Fantasy asking entrants to recreate the cover for Insurgent as part of this campaign and thought I would give it a go! Below are my three submissions, and if any of you are interested in participating, the contest runs through April 28th and all the details can be found HERE.


(click to enlarge)

You can't really tell at this size, but the trees have a brushed metal effect I added to try and give the cover a bit more of a futuristic feel.

(I also need to give a shout out to my mom who is a phenomenal illustrator and helped me create the trees)


(click to enlarge)


(click to enlarge)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Dark Days Tour: Dayton Event Wrap Up

Happy Friday Everyone!

This past Wednesday I had the pleasure of being the live blogger for the Dayton, Ohio stop of HarperTeen's Dark Days tour featuring Kimberly Derting, Dan Wells, and Jill Hathaway, and it was an absolute blast! I took a ridiculous number of pictures at the event, but before I post those, I thought I would share with you all a bit of my experience because I tend to be rather special in social situations, and Wednesday was really no exception.

To help cover the event, I thought I would try and tweet fun tidbits as they were taking place and brought my Kindle Fire along to aid me in my tweeting endeavor. Confession: I'm extraordinarily technologically challenged. I know my computer design programs like the back of my hand, but anything else is completely lost on me, so I was a little nervous about getting the bookstore's WiFi working with my Kindle and figuring the whole mobile Twitter thing out. While I'm sitting in the audience waiting for the event to start and trying desperately to make my Kindle magically take me to Twitter, Kimberly Derting looks out at everyone gathered and says "Is Jenny here?"

Cue mild panic attack and deer-in-headlights look.

At her question, I'm pretty sure my hand shot straight up in the air with scary enthusiasm (a la Hermione Granger in the first Harry Potter movie when she knows every single answer to Snape's questions). Like I was the teacher's pet being called on in class. My hand remained in the air as though I had no control over it until the silence became a tad prolonged and Kimberly ever-so-politely said hello and asked what I was doing (probably because one of my hands was swaying in the air while the other was holding a black leather-covered device 3 inches from my face trying to see my teeny tiny tweets).

Me: Um. Trying to tweet?

Brilliant conversationalist, thy name is Jenny.

When it was clear that those four words were all that were going escape my lips, she tried to draw a few more out by asking me about the "trying" part of my stunningly articulate statement, then sweetly sympathized with me about my general failure at all things technological when I explained the situation to her.

I am quite possibly the most amazing social butterfly who has ever lived.

After my unforgettable introduction, Kimberly, Jill, and an injured Dan took turns discussing their books and spent a great deal of time answering questions. A huge thank you to all three of them for being so gracious, and to HarperTeen for allowing me to be a part of their Dark Days tour! Below are the pictures I snapped at the event:

 Books & Co in Dayton

Me & Kimberly

Kimberly had very special Last Echo nail polish to give away.
My nails are now a lovely shade of lavender.

Dan was incredibly personable and very funny, but how awkward am I in this picture? I got all flustered because I didn't know what to do with my hands. I was all "would touching him be weird? Probably. Try not to be weird Jenny." I put my arm around both Kimberly and Jill, but I didn't want to make Dan uncomfortable so I just sort of edged close to him and stood there like a champ. Well done me.

I asked Dan to please sign my mother-in-law's book with a flourish for the camera. That wonky line at the bottom there is his flourish. It's really more of a squiggle than a flourish, but he was a good sport about my photo direction ;-)

Me and Jill. I had to check with my mother-in-law after she took this picture to make sure I wasn't inappropriately close to Jill. When taking pictures with authors, I have a tendency to all but crawl in their laps, something I don't realize I've done until after I see the picture and notice my stalker-like nearness.

Signing books.

So there you have my Dark Days tour experience! If you haven't had a chance yet, don't forget to enter to win copies of The Last Echo, Partials, and Slide HERE, and stay up to date on all things Dark Days by visiting their Facebook page!

Also, if you're not aware of some the fabulous things HarperTeen has going on in April, I thought I'd share some info with all of you:

1. Epic Reads Grab bags - Throughout the Month of April enter to win 5 mystery titles. Winners are picked and announced every Friday!

2. Browse inside titles made of win:

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Immortal Rules Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

(Blood of Eden #1)
Julie Kagawa
Paranormal Young Adult
485 pages
Harlequin Teen
Available April 24th
Received from Media Masters Publicity for review

You will kill. The only question is when.

In the dark days since the insidious Red Lung virus decimated the human population, vampires have risen to rule the crumbling cities and suburbs. Uncontested Princes hold sway over diminished ranks of humans: their "pets." In exchange for their labor, loyalty and of course, their blood, these pets are registered, given food and shelter, permitted to survive.

Unregistered humans cling to the fringe, scavenging for survival. Allison Sekemoto and her fellow Unregistereds are hunted, not only by vampires, but by rabids, the unholy result of Red Lung-infected vampires feeding on unwary humans. One night, Allie is attacked by a pack of rabids, saved by an unlikely hero...and turned vampire.

Uncomfortable in her undead skin, Allie falls in with a ragtag crew of humans seeking a cure, or cures: for Rabidism and for Vampirism. She's passing for human...for now. But the hunger is growing and will not be denied. Not for friendship—not even for love.

Those of us who read huge quantities of paranormal young adult literature might read the synopsis for The Immortal Rules and, despite a preexisting love for Julie Kagawa and the Iron Fey series, have a somewhat lukewarm reaction to the idea of yet another vampire tale. Any hesitancy should be immediately discarded however, as Ms. Kagawa thrusts the stunning darkness of her vampires into the paranormal young adult fiction mix, allowing them to carve a violent and gritty swath through their contemporaries and leaving our hearts scattered at our feet in jagged ribbons after we turn the last page. While we had some humor in the Iron Fey books in the form of Puck and Grimalkin, this first installment in the Blood Eden series provides us no such comfort, pairing us with an amazingly resilient heroine who faces a world that's slowly devolving into darker and darker shades of gray until barely any light remains, yanking us along beside her as she adamantly refuses to let us fall behind.

Allie is positively extraordinary; a young woman who is undeniably cold and hard as a result of a life where weakness proves unerringly to be a precursor to death, and where only those of strong will and mind have any chance of surviving. Despite her no-nonsense attitude and her at times seemingly unsympathetic responses to those around her, she never feels closed off or unreachable, instead we see a woman with drive and determination who accepts the constant upheaval of her life with grace and a renewed dedication to survive with as much of her humanity intact as possible. Vampires in this world are synonymous with monsters, and it’s both painful and awe-inspiring to watch as Allie plays with the words that make up the definition of monster–moving them around and molding them to fit her new self as she journeys with her band of humans to end up on the last page with a drastically different definition from where she started.

Though the romance between Zeke and Allie takes a back seat to the epic search for Eden, it’s so beautifully done that a review cannot possibly be complete with out mentioning it. Gloriously absent are feelings of love wedged into geometric shapes, the triangles and squares replaced with a relationship that feels unbelievably intimate despite the subtle nature of it. Neither character is forced to close the distance between them at a rapid pace to keep the plot moving, instead the physical and emotional space that exists keeps us glued to the pages more than sizzling instant attraction ever could as we revel in the infinite possibilities lingering in that slowly closing gap. Where some relationships feel loud and the love seems to scream from the black and white ink as though every letter possesses a tiny mouth that opens up to overwhelm us with a cacophony of romantic sounds, Ms. Kagawa takes a different approach, replacing the noise with quiet murmurings that haunt us with promises whispered across highly sensitive skin.

Despite the fact that Allie is a vampire herself, vampires actually play a fairly small role in this first installment, Allie’s struggle focused more on her clinging to her humanity with every ounce of strength she has than on her actual vampiric cravings and needs, thus making it a story that will most certainly appeal to even those who pronounce themselves tired of bloodsucking stories. The lack of vampire presence in no way means Ms. Kagawa’s mythology feels incomplete or unbelievable, she in fact grants us just enough knowledge to make us feel as though we understand the parameters of the world while keeping everything else behind a dark curtain we can’t wait to pull back in by inch as the story progresses. A truly gripping and mesmerizing start to the series, The Immortal Rules is not to be missed.

Rating: 5/5


Today as part of the promotional tour for The Immortal Rules, I have some very exciting behind-the-scenes information for you on Allison, the brilliant heroine of this new series. The finished cover for The Immortal Rules features a vampire version of our protagonist, and I have the pleasure of sharing with you an exclusive, never-before-seen image of Allison before her vampire makeover! What do we think of human Allison?

Additionally, Allison has a list of rules to live by (or die by as it were) to share with all of us today:


Look out for yourself and your immediate family -- no one else

If you are eaten by vampires because you were dumb enough to venture out at night and get caught, it’s your own fault.

Nothing good comes from a bloodsucker.

If you steal my stuff, I will break your nose.

Knowledge is power.

Like my favorite book of all time, I wish, in my most secret moments, that I could find a hidden door that would take us all out of this place.

My books are my most prized possession.

When you're starving, you can't be picky. That means eating anything--bugs, rats, moldy bread--to stay alive.

This tour promises to be an amazing one, so you don't want to miss any of the tour stops and giveaway opportunities. Please visit Mundie Moms for the next stop, and you can find the full list of participating blogs HERE!

In addition to the blog tour, Julie will also be doing signings at three bookstores near her hometown. Below is the information on those events, I hope some of you can make it!

Tuesday, April 24th at 4pm - Barnes & Noble The Summit in Louisville, KY
Saturday, April 28th at 2pm - The Bookstore in Radcliff, KY
Monday, May 7th at 5:30pm - Lincoln's Loft in Hodgenville, KY

Buy The Immortal Rules here:
Barnes & Noble


Thanks to the fantastic people at Media Masters Publicity and Harlequin Teen I have one signed hardcover copy of The Immortal Rules to give away on the blog today! To enter, please fill out the form below. Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only and will run through midnight EST on Friday, April 27th after which time a winner will be chosen and announced on the blog.

In addition to individual giveaways at each tour stop, there is also a grand prize giveaway for the tour itself of a KINDLE TOUCH. Be sure and visit Paranormal Romance for entry details!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Dark Days Tour: Interviews with Kimberly Derting and Jill Hathaway + Giveaway

Today I'm beyond excited to have authors Kimberly Derting and Jill Hathaway stopping by the blog as part of HarperTeen's Dark Days tour to answer a few questions for me! The Dark Days tour has been going on for several months and we're now in leg 4 of this epic event, but there are still some very exciting signings and things coming up so be sure to stay connected to all things Dark Days on the Pitch Dark Facebook page which includes exclusive content features every Wednesday!

For those in the Dayton, Ohio area, Kimberly, Jill, and Dan Wells will be at Books & Co tonight (April 18th) at 7pm so I hope some of you can make it! I can't wait to attend, though usually when I come face to face with authors I'm rendered mute and stand in front of them with a ridiculous smile on my face as my brain tries desperately to send my mouth intelligent, coherent thoughts to help start a conversation. Often to no avail. So if you do attend, I'll be the silent one staring blankly at Jill, Kimberly, and Dan and most likely slightly frightening them. If they look panicked, you'll know it's because I have my author game face on.

In addition to the Dayton event, all three authors will also be at the below locations. A blogger has been assigned to each event to report live and keep you up to date on all the happenings, so be sure to check out their sites as well!

April 18th at 7pm - Books & Co in Dayton, OH (Supernatural Snark)
April 19th at 7pm - Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville, IL (Live to Read)
April 20th at 7pm - Barnes & Noble in Burlington, MA (Books Complete Me)


If we could ask Jay about his friendship–and now relationship–with Violet, when would he say his feelings for her began to shift into romantic territory? Is there a specific event that made him see her in a new light, or any characteristics of hers that became appealing in a whole new way?

They kissed once when they were in the fifth grade, and I think for Jay, that was the moment he knew. He just had to wait for Violet to figure it out too!

Jay and Violet, and now Rafe, have all become characters about whom readers have very strong feelings. Has reader reaction to any of The Body Finder series characters surprised you at all?

Not surprised, really, but maybe a little amused by some comments I’ve read about Rafe (and a love triangle that could possibly...maybe (I’ll never tell!) brewing).  Let’s just say that there are a lot of Team Jay fans out there!  I can’t even begin to imagine what they might say if I ever killed him off...which is never entirely out of the question, you know? I’m just saying… ;)

*Jenny dies here. Jay NOOOOOOOOOO*

Are any of Violet’s “cases” based on real events? Is there any piece of trivia or tidbit of information you’ve discovered while researching that’s been particularly memorable?

The Girlfriend Collector in The Last Echo is very loosely based on Ted Bundy, but only in the sense that he’s charming and can appeal to the girls he wants to abduct. Mostly, though, I prefer to research serial killers in a broader sense. I like to find out what they have in common, what kinds of childhoods they had, what factors may have made them different from everyone really get inside their heads, so to speak.

If Violet could wake up tomorrow without her gift with the dead, what do you think her reaction would be to its absence?

As much as Violet claims to want to be “normal,” I think her ability is part of her identity now.  She would probably be a little lost without it. Without realizing it, it’s become a very important part of who she is, and it makes her special. Secretly, I think she likes the fact that she can do something that others can’t...especially now that she’s found a way for it to be useful!

Name one of your favorite things about being on a book tour.

Meeting readers, hands down! It’s by far my favorite thing about tour!  Of course, that little cardboard sign that said “Derting” on it (which was held by the airport driver guy) was pretty cool too! :)  I may or may not have asked him if I could keep the sign. Okay, I totally did!



If you could slide into the mind of anyone else right this minute, whose mind might you most like to briefly visit? 

Haha, I always say Jared Leto’s girlfriend when I’m asked this. Better not go into details. Also, sorry, Shane! I love you!

Let’s say you and Vee are walking down a dark street at night and suddenly her ability kicks in and she sees that someone with less-than innocent intentions is following you, waiting for the right moment to take advantage of the element of surprise. What’s the first thing you both do? 

Well, if Vee had slid into the bad guy, her body would be left helpless, so I’d probably have to drag her into a restaurant or something until she came to. And then she’d wake up and tell me what was going on, and we’d make a run for it. Or maybe turn around and use our Buffy-like skills on him. It’s whatever!

If you could transport yourself into one particular genre of fiction (mystery, romance, steampunk, etc.), which would you choose and why? 

I definitely wouldn’t want to be in my own mystery. I think I’d like to transport into the world of Candace Bushnell’s THE CARRIE DIARIES, especially after Carrie goes to New York and meets her besties. It would be so fun to wear all the newest fashions and hit up the trendiest parties.

Is there a single point in the overall process were the book begins to feel real to you? Either handing over the first draft, seeing the cover art, or finally seeing on the shelf surrounded by other titles? 

Honestly, it still doesn’t feel real and I have a box of hardcovers sitting upstairs in my bedroom. I think it might hit me when I see the book on the shelf at the bookstore.

Name one of your favorite things about being on a book tour. 

I’m super excited to meet Kimberly Derting and Dan Wells! Plus, I’ve never been to Boston. It will be so much fun! If anyone lives in the Chicago, Dayton, or Boston areas, I hope you come out to chat!

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions Kimberly and Jill! For more information on the Dark Days tour be sure and check out the Pitch Dark Facebook Page.


Thanks to the awesome people at HarperTeen I have copies of The Last Echo, Slide, and Partials to give away on the blog today! 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 Friday, April 27th after which time one winner will be chosen and announced on the blog. Good luck everyone and I hope some of you can make it to the signings!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Review: Thumped

THUMPED (Bumped #2)
Megan McCafferty
Young adult/dystopian
304 pages
Balzer + Bray
Available April 24th
Received from author for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
It’s been thirty-five weeks since twin sisters Harmony and Melody went their separate ways. And now their story has become irresistible: twins separated at birth, each due to deliver twins…on the same day!

Married to Ram and living in Goodside, Harmony spends her time trying to fit back into the community she once believed in. But she can’t forget about Jondoe, the guy she fell for under the strangest of circumstances.

To her adoring fans, Melody has achieved everything: a major contract and a coupling with the hottest bump prospect around. But this image is costing her the one guy she really wants.

The girls’ every move is analyzed by millions of fans eagerly counting down to “Double Double Due Date.” They’re two of the most powerful teen girls on the planet, and they could do only one thing to make them even more famous:

Tell the truth.

Thumped returns us to a world that dropped our jaws when we initially encountered it in Bumped, and though we’re more prepared for it with this sequel, we find we’re no more comfortable with this future the second time around. Perhaps part of the reason Ms. McCafferty’s distorted reality is so unnerving is not because we can’t possibly imagine a time in which we’d view the sexual exploitation of our young men and women as necessary no matter how desperate our future selves might be, but rather because in many ways Harmony and Melody’s world is simply an exaggerated version of what has been historically accepted as the norm. In a not-so incredibly distant past women were forced into sexual relationships at shockingly young ages, passed from father to husband in business transactions meant to consolidate wealth and power through the begetting of heirs; their bodies used for procreation alone while the same cool indifference was given to their emotional state as this society gives to Melody and Harmony’s.

Recognizing that Ms. McCafferty’s sex-centric world with its Reproductive Professionals and its bumping contracts has a direct link to our reality if we follow the line of thinking from this future all the way back to our pasts is part of what makes both Bumped and Thumped so uncomfortably fascinating. However much we’d like to deny the potential for this society to exist, the connecting thread our minds can't help but draw between future and past simply refuses to be disregarded as pure fiction. Though Bumped and Thumped may be too over the top and too outrageous for some, it can be said that anyone reading will certainly not walk away from these books without an opinion on them–either positive or negative–thus making them worth reading for no other reason than they inspire a great deal of thought, introspection, and conversation.

While Melody, Harmony and Jondoe were extreme examples of their disparate upbringings in Bumped–completely foreign to us in the beginning with their different approaches to sex and intimacy–Thumped finds them all remarkably more tangible, each of them having moved slowly but inexorably to the center of the spectrum where independent thought thrives. Instead of simply living their lives in accordance with the tenets of their respective factions, they draw us deeper into their lives by questioning what they’ve been told is “right” and refusing to be a carbon copy of what their society considers ideal. While we don’t necessarily feel a visceral attachment to them, we can’t help but respect the changes we see in them from book one and throw our support behind them as they fight what seems like a losing battle.

Those who had trouble settling into Bumped due to the strange terminology and teenage slang so prevalent throughout will welcome the toned-down nature of Thumped, the use of sex-related witticisms and general sexual propaganda few and far between as the focus shifts to the characters themselves rather than the world. The one complaint to be had with this sequel is the seeming ease with which the main conflict gets resolved and the open-ended nature of the conclusion. We can appreciate the connection between the final pages of Thumped and the beginning pages of Bumped, the ending of Thumped presenting nothing but possibilities for each of the characters–a stark contrast to the rigid structure imprisoning them hundreds of pages prior–but at the same time we can’t help but want to know a bit more about the fallout resulting from actions taken in the last chapters as well as a few specifics as to what’s in store for their futures given no third book is on its way.

Rating: 3.5/5

Monday, April 16, 2012

Review: The Selection

THE SELECTION (The Selection #1)
Kiera Cass
Young Adult/Dystopian
327 pages
Available April 24th
Received from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Sweet with just a hint of an edge, The Selection is a puzzle that initially feels familiar, the individual pieces all ones we’ve seen before in other stories, but yet Ms. Cass manages to guide our hands through a beautifully and artfully executed assembly where the familiarity quickly fades to a non-issue in the face a truly enjoyable tale. While there is certainly a level of predictability stemming from the presence of the aforementioned easily recognizable plot elements, Ms. Cass quickly reminds us why such elements are so popular, drawing us swiftly into America’s tale when a forbidden love is immediately put to the test as circumstance, opportunity, and pride force the taking of irreversible first steps toward a new fate.

America is a girl we start out seeing in the muted earth tones representative of her level Five status–someone cute and seemingly typical who entertains us without shocking us into forming an instant and visceral connection to her. However, her relationship with Aspen in the wake of her selection slowly begins to imbue our protagonist with different hues, her ordinariness replaced with streaks of bright color as pain and loss etch themselves across her features. Those colors continue to bleed and spread as she navigates the world of the Selected, new facets of her personality revealed with every page until she becomes a swirling mass of color and emotion that catches our eye and holds it, making us wonder how she could have possibly slipped under our radar in the very beginning.

The romantic relationships are crafted with a great deal of care, our loyalty and affection genuinely torn between our short memory of Aspen and the possibilities represented by Prince Maxon, and it's nothing short of entertaining to sit back and wonder how things will progress. Though we spend the least amount of time with Aspen, America’s feelings for him resonate with us immediately, and while we may not be as moved by him as she is given the brevity of our exposure to him, we can’t deny the strength of their connection even as Maxon slowly begins to heal the wounds Aspen left behind, helping America to find the beauty in those puckered emotional scars she thought would keep her from discovering anything real in the gilded cage of The Selection.

Things with Maxon start with an uneasy friendship and progress ever-so slowly into something more, leaving us with a tentative smile on our faces as we try to block out the anxiety over the developments we know are inevitably coming, understanding with 100% certainty that we have absolutely no idea how we’re going to feel when they come to pass. While our delicious confusion concerning the two young men in America’s life secures our emotional involvement in their story, it is her decision in the concluding pages (beware of the abrupt ending) of this first installment that ensures we will pick up the next book without fail, her handling of the general upheaval of her life showing us just how colorful she’s truly become, and her radiance a truly stunning thing to be left with as we close the back cover and being the tortuous wait for book two.

Rating: 4/5

*I will say I think this book is going to be one that sparks a wide variety of differing opinions, but I entered into it just wanting a fun read, and America's story provided exactly that*