Wednesday, May 29, 2013

BEA Bound!

Hey Everyone!

I just wanted to throw up a quick post today to let you know the blog will be slow for the next several days as I'll be attending BookExpo America in New York City. This will be my third year going and, as always, I'll have my mother and mother-in-law in tow so it will inevitably be yet another family adventure. Win.

I fail at taking pictures mostly because the only camera I own is a large one with multiple lenses, and I lack the motivation to lug it through NYC and BEA on top of carrying books, so usually I just sort of throw myself into pictures with other people and then randomly ask if they'll email me a copy. Well done me. I do plan on doing a recap when I return though, so I guess you'll all find out how successful I was at photo bombing people ;-)

To give you a little laugh, I thought I would leave you with my favorite picture from last year: Me (left) and Melissa from I Swim For Oceans with a pirate.

Confused? Believe me, I was too. I don't know how we ended up with this pirate. One minute we were sitting on the ground taking a break from the lines and the next thing I know poof! Insta-pirate. Awesome.

Talk to you all next week!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Ink Blog Tour: Author Interview + Giveaways

Today I'm hugely excited to be a part of the promotional blog tour for Amanda Sun's paranormal young adult novel Ink, which releases June 25th from HarlequinTEEN. Amanda was nice enough to take the time to answer a few questions for me, so I hope you all enjoy the interview:) Be sure and check the bottom of the post for a pair of unbelievable givaways as well as a full list of participating blogs so you can following along as the tour continues!

Drawings sometimes come to life in Ink when Katie and Tomohiro are in close proximity to one another. What one piece of artwork would you most like to see come to life if it were possible?

Great question! One of my favorite painters is Michael Whelan. I’ve always loved the vast fantasy landscapes he paints, and how creative they are, so I think I’d choose one of his paintings to come alive so I could visit. In particular I love “Sentinels,” “Landing,” and “Destiny’s Road.”

Is there a particular piece of information or a small tidbit about Japan’s history or culture that most surprised or fascinated you as you were researching?

I was actually really lucky with my research, because the myths and history keep lining up perfectly with the stories I want to portray in INK. For example, Katie makes a visit to Itsukushima Shrine for a variety of plot and author reasons—it’s an important shrine to the storyline, but I also wanted to feature it in The Paper Gods because it made such an impact on me when I visited it. I looked for a historical figure associated with the shrine, and found Taira no Kiyomori, who features in SHADOW and is mentioned in INK. The most interesting part? He was plagued by nightmares like Tomo’s, and all the signs lined up to them having the ink in common. I keep finding these figures that I can twist just a little to place my own Paper Gods mythology there without altering too much, and that’s what I love. It keeps you guessing—how much is real? :D

What country other than Japan would you love to use as a setting for a future story? Why?

There are a few I’m really interested in writing about. One is the Cook Islands. I think Polynesian mythology is so fascinating, and it’s such a beautiful, almost unknown place. So I would love to set something there. Another is Egypt, since I majored in Archaeology. ^_^ And the UK, where I’ll be doing some research this fall.

I love epic Fantasy too, though, so I have a couple Fantasy worlds in my head that I’m pretty convinced are real. ^_^ I love YA set in other countries because it’s such a different experience to read. But of course, I want what I write to be authentic, so it would involve a lot of research to get it just right!

If Katie and Tomohiro could only describe each other using colors, what three colors might they say most suit the other person?

Interesting! Tomohiro would be dark blue, black, and plum. I guess he’d look like the cover of SHADOW. Those colors come up a lot when the ink is coming to life. They’re beautiful colors, but a little ominous.

Katie would be pink for the more gentle side of her, red for her defiant streak, and yellow for optimism. Even though she’s been through a lot in SHADOW and INK, I feel like she’s always trying to reach for more in life, so I see her as someone who doesn’t give up.

If Tomohiro were to give you a lesson in kendo, what’s the very first thing he would teach you?

First would be stances, I think. How to move properly, how to hold the shinai so you don’t pull (too many) muscles in your arm, and the etiquette surrounding kendo. There’s a lot of weight in martial arts put on respect, how you enter the practice area, how to treat your gear, and how to show respect to your fellow competitors. So I’m pretty sure he’d go over all that stuff first.

The cover for Ink is absolutely stunning and makes me want to blow it up huge so I can hang it on my wall. What’s one other YA cover that makes your jaw drop when you see it?

First of all, thank you! I’m so glad the covers have been well received. I love them too and think the team did an incredible job capturing the feeling of the books.

There are two YA covers I just love. One is SOME QUIET PLACE by Kelsey Sutton. That cover is a work of art. It’s so eerie and beautiful at the same time, and I just love it. The other cover I love, which is also eerie and beautiful, is A MONSTER CALLS by Patrick Ness. It fits well with the feel of INK, too, so it just gives me shivers. Actually all the art in that book is stunning, not just the cover.

Let’s say Ink is going to be made into a movie and you’re put in charge of writing a tagline for the movie’s promotional poster. What would the tagline read?

You know, I’m going to cheat here and use the tagline my editor came up with for the series, because it’s brilliant and I think it’s the best one there is. “Ink is in their blood.” It gets everything in one go—a little sinister, a little literal, and a lot ominous. ^_^

Of course, I came up with a silly tagline a while ago which is fun too. I like to think of INK as a mini-vacation, making Japan accessible for those who may want to visit but be unable to at the moment. Which produced the tagline “INK—it’s cheaper than airfare!”

Thank you so much for having me on the blog! :)

• • • • • • • • • •


I looked down at the paper, still touching the tip of my shoe. I reached for it, flipping the page over to look.

Scrawls of ink outlined a drawing of a girl lying on a bench.

A sick feeling started to twist in my stomach, like motion sickness.

And then the girl in the drawing turned her head, and her inky eyes glared straight into mine.

On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they’ll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.

Find Ink

Find Shadow (novella prequel to Ink)

• • • • • • • • • • 


I’m a YA author and proud Nerdfighter. I was born in Deep River, Canada, a very small town without traffic lights or buses, and where stranger safety is comprised of what to do if you see a bear—or skunk. I started reading fantasy novels at 4 and writing as soon as I could hold a pencil. Hopefully my work’s improved since then.

In university I took English, Linguistics, and Asian History, before settling into Archaeology, because I loved learning about the cultures and stories of ancient people. Of course, I didn’t actually become an archaeologist—I have an intense fear of spiders. I prefer unearthing fascinating stories in the safety of my living room.

The Paper Gods is inspired by my time living in Osaka and travelling throughout Japan. That and watching far too many J-Dramas. I currently live in Toronto with my husband and daughter. When I’m not writing, I’m devouring YA books, knitting nerdy things like Companion Cubes and Triforce mitts, and making elaborate cosplays for anime cons.

• • • • • • • • • • 


Thanks to Kismet Book Touring and HarlequinTEEN, I have two spectacular giveaways to share with you guys today. The first is a chance to win one of 9 copies of Ink, and the second is a one-of-a-kind authentic Japanese Yukata (see above picture). Isn't it gorgeous? Filling out the Rafflecopter form below enters you to win both giveaways, good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Don't forget to follow along with the remainder of the tour for more interviews, reviews, and chances to win!

Tuesday, May 28th – Supernatural Snark 
Wednesday, May 29th – Page Turners
Friday, May 31st – Reading Angel

Monday, June 3rd – Alice Marvels
Wednesday, June 5th – Chapter by Chapter
Friday, June 7th – YA’s the Word by Katja

Monday, June 10th – Bewitched Bookworms
Wednesday, June 12th – Oh Chrys!
Friday, June 14th – Melissa Watercolors

Monday, May 27, 2013

Review: Dare You To

Pushing the Limits #2
Katie McGarry
Contemporary Young Adult
462 pages
Harlequin Teen
Available May 28th
Source: Received from publisher via NetGalley

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does....

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all....

Dare You To is a stunning follow up to Pushing the Limits, Ms. McGarry's ability to pair life's darker moments with its achingly beautiful ones something that profoundly resonates, leaving us thoroughly exhausted after the emotional wringer she drags us through but pleased beyond measure by the time we emerge on the other side. One of the highlights of Ms. McGarry's storytelling is the visceral quality to the love between characters, the relationships neither a sudden magical cure-all for the problems in their lives nor a means by which they are able to eradicate all fears and doubts, ridding their worlds of darkness and pain. The love between these pages doesn't seek to smooth out all the sharp edges, but it does give them a soft place to land, preventing those fragile points from shattering on impact. There's nothing instant or simple about Ryan and Beth's relationship, it's hard work and it hurts at times, but we can't help but revel in the realism and the acknowledgement that love isn't always epic, sometimes it's gritty and scary and all the more affecting for it.

Beth is a young woman whom if we saw only from the outside without any access to her chaotic mind and turbulent emotions we might not like at all, her attitude and anger creating a wall of broken glass around her, cutting anyone who dares step too close. We do have access to her though, and as a result, we see the vulnerability behind the bluster, and though we know she would hate us for it, we can't help but want to wrap our arms around her and hold tight. Her life has taught her that she's worthless, that her value is only measured by her past, her family and her mistakes, and so her ability to trust is non-existent and makes her relationship with Ryan difficult at every turn. For Beth, Doubt is a many-tentacled monster; as soon as she escapes the grip of one arm and takes a few hesitant steps toward freedom, another arm swoops in and wraps her up tight, and though we want to rage against that monster for her, screaming at her to recognize her own worth, we know it's a battle she has to fight herself.

Ryan is at first glance the opposite to Beth in every possible way, but as we spend more time with him we come to see he has his own monster to fight. As Beth battles expectations of failure, Ryan battles expectations of success, something that sounds like it should be far easier but proves to be equally challenging and demoralizing. He stumbles and makes mistakes as Beth does, but through Beth he learns to fight back, to make his voice heard amidst the compliments and accolades that mask dictation on how to live his life, and in doing so he also teaches Beth that not every battle is one worth winning. Sometimes winning comes in the form of letting go; lessons both Ryan and Beth learn as they find a safe landing in one another.

Overall, Dare You To is everything we hope it will be when we break the spine, Ryan and Beth a painfully striking couple who embed themselves so deeply under our skin we're positive we'll find evidence of their presence when we next look in the mirror, their pain and their joy lingering with us long after their story comes to a close.

Rating: 5/5

Find Katie

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

Friday, May 24, 2013

Goddess Blog Tour: Guest Post + Giveaways

I'm extremely excited today to welcome young adult author Josephine Angelini back to the blog to do a little word association and give us a sneak peak at Goddess. I gave Josie a list of Greek mythology-inspired words and she had to respond with the first thing that popped into her head:)

I've been a huge fan of this series from the beginning, Greek mythology has always been something that's fascinated me, and these books are chock-full of tragedy, romance, betrayal, and most of importantly for any Greek myth, the cruel hands of the Fates. Goddess releases May 28th from HarperTeen and I cannot wait! Be sure and check the bottom of the post for the full list of blogs participating in the tour as well as all the details for a pair of fabulous giveaways!


Helen:  Hero

Forbidden:  Fun

Family:  Anchor

Fate:  Nemesis

Betrayal:  Weakness

Choice:  Character

Hero:  Integrity

Toga:  Surprisingly versatile and comfy!

End:  Goal

Fury:  Pain

Promise:  Future

Mistake:  Human

History:  Mystery

Curse:  Challenge

Truce:  Unfinished fight

Oracle:  Conundrum

Strength:  Heart

Kiss:  Promise

Journey:  Growth

Regret:  Shame

Sacrifice:  Love

• • • • • • • • • • • 


As soon as they reached the steps to the basement level, they started stripping off clothes. No shoes, no jewelry, no belts, no hard or sharp objects of any kind were allowed in the cage, but they couldn't be bothered to put on softer gear to replace what they shucked off so frantically. Every time Helen removed another article of clothing, all she could think about was how much she wanted to tear into him.

The jumble of "other' Helens inside her head made it worse. In most of her memories, he'd been forbidden to her, dangling just out of her reach over and over again. She was so frustrated, she didn't need the Furies to want to kill him anymore. And she could tell by the sound of ripping fabric as he wrenched his shirt off, and the slap of leather as he yanked his belt from the loops on his jeans, that Lucas was just as fed up with their impossible situation as she was. 

By the time they got to the ring, they were so worked up they barely shut the door of the cage before they began to whale on each other.

*excerpt taken from an ARC and is subject to change

• • • • • • • • • • 


After accidentally unleashing the gods from their captivity on Olympus, Helen must find a way to re-imprison them without starting a devastating war. But the gods are angry, and their thirst for blood already has a body count.

To make matters worse, the Oracle reveals that a diabolical Tyrant is lurking among them, which drives a wedge between the once-solid group of friends. As the gods use the Scions against one another, Lucas’s life hangs in the balance. Still unsure whether she loves him or Orion, Helen is forced to make a terrifying decision, for war is coming to her shores.

In Josephine Angelini’s compelling conclusion to the masterfully woven Starcrossed trilogy, a goddess must rise above it all to change a destiny that’s been written in the stars. With worlds built just as fast as they crumble, love and war collide in an all-out battle that will leave no question unanswered and no heart untouched.

• • • • • • • • • • 


Josephine Angelini is a Massachusetts native and the youngest of eight siblings. A real-live farmer's daughter, Josie graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in theater, with a focus on the classics. She now lives in Los Angeles with her husband.

• • • • • • • • • • 


Thanks to Josie and the amazing ladies of Kismet Book Touring, I have two awesome giveaways to share with you today. First up is a chance to win one of 15 copies of either Starcrossed, Dreamless or Goddess, and the second is a SIGNED Goddess Kindle Paperwhite (see above picture)! Filling out the Rafflecopter form below enters you in both giveaways, good luck everyone!

And don't forget to check out all the other fantastic stops on this tour!

Monday, May 20th - Starryeyed Reviews
Tuesday, May 21st – fiktshun
Wednesday, May 22nd – The Irish Banana
Thursday, May 23rd – YA Bibliophile
Friday, May 24th – Supernatural Snark 

Monday, May 27th - Birth of a new Witch
Tuesday, May 28th – Refracted Light Reviews
Wednesday, May 29th – Tales of a Ravenous Reader
Thursday, May 30th – Hobbitsies
 Friday, May 31st – Reading Teen

Monday, June 3rd - Parajunkee
Tuesday, June 4th – Buried in Books
Wednesday, June 5th – Candace Book Blog
Thursday, June 6th – Alison Can Read
Friday, June 7th – Book Twirps

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Review: Siege and Storm

The Grisha #2
Leigh Bardugo
Young Adult/Fantasy
448 pages
Henry Holt and Co.
Available June 4th
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

Siege and Storm returns us to a world that utterly captivated us from its introduction, teaming us back up with a young woman yanked from the throngs of the many and placed among the exalted and elite few with hardly any time to get her bearings. Based on the lack of even a small recap in the opening chapters of this second installment, it's recommended that readers review the concluding events of Shadow and Bone to help them find their footing before journeying forth with Alina and Mal once again, but even those who stumble a bit in the beginning without the refresher will find themselves fully immersed in–and connected to–Alina's world before long. Once the connections broken by time are firmly reestablished, Ms. Bardugo holds us spellbound, utterly riveted to the pages as the girl who literally radiates light falls prey to darkness from within and without.

Our affection for Alina is one of the first things to burst forth from the pages in a torrent of fond memories from book one, and we're immediately reminded of the strength it takes to bear both the reverent love of the masses and the distrust and dislike of the powerful, wishing we could will her some of our support through finger to page osmosis. We're eternally grateful for Mal's presence though, and eventually the lighthearted companionship of one snarky, smart-mouthed privateer, both of whom are able to grant Alina a few brief moments of normalcy before the weight of a world's expectations is placed firmly back on her shoulders. Though there are brief flashes of an Alina we don't recognize when the aforementioned darkness starts to take hold, she never once submits in full, continuing to fight enemies of the mind and heart as well as the physical enemies that are bearing down on Ravka with everything she has.

The most noticeable change in this book from its predecessor is the physical absence of the Darkling, an enigmatic and epically complex figure who haunted both our dreams and nightmares as we devoured Shadow and Bone. What makes him such a beautifully unforgettable villain is his cool calculation and cunning, and while he only graces us with his presence in the very beginning, his seemingly small and perhaps even petty strike against Alina proves to be a well-placed hook that tugs free a tiny thread from the fabric of her life. Once he makes his move, he retreats for almost the full remainder of the story, but what we don't see until much later is the tactical genius of his strike, leaving the thread he tugged dangling loose to snag on any one of the many obstacles she faces, unraveling a bit more every time it catches on one of her new responsibilities, her love for Mal, or her fear of herself and what she's becoming. Instead of plaguing her with assault after assault, he simply gives a nearly imperceptible pull and then watches and waits as she undoes herself, ensuring he's done the most damage with the least amount of effort so that he remains strong for the physical battle to come.

Ms. Bardugo does not disappoint with Siege and Storm, crafting a story that nicks our hearts again and again as Alina struggles, but she saves the deeper cuts and the more powerful blows for the concluding chapters, sending us reeling just before we're left staring desolately at the acknowledgements and inside back cover. She does gift us with an “After”, a short two pages where the story switches to third person from first, and in the final line we find a spark of hope we have no doubt will grow into a roaring fire of retribution in the final installment.

Rating: 4.5/5

Find Leigh:

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

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Guest Post + Giveaway: J. Meyers and Imaginable

I have the pleasure of welcoming author J. Meyers to the blog today for a little guest post fun with a This or That List of Random and a short excerpt from her newest release, Imaginable. Imaginable is book two in her series featuring gifted twins Sera and Luke Raine, with book one, Intangible, releasing last year. I thoroughly enjoyed Intangible and am really looking forward to seeing what's in store for brother and sister next!


Day or night?  

Night (I have four young kids—it’s quieter at night. :-)

Normal or paranormal?


Series or stand-alone?


Endings: happily-ever-after or cliffhanger?  

Happily-ever-after—TOTALLY. Cliffhangers are just mean.

Would you rather see your books made into a TV series or a movie?


Dog-ear pages or bookmark?


Do you write chronologically or out of order?


Release day: more nervous or excited?

Nail-bitingly nervous

Luke’s gift of precognition: yes, you would want it for yourself, or no? 


Would you rather be bitten by a vampire or werewolf (if neither resulted in death of course, just turning)?  


Stay up late or get up early?

Stay up late

Read a book once or re-read multiple times?

Once (unless I REALLY love it, and then I’ll re-read the dickens out of it)

Interviews: would you rather ask the questions or answer them?

Ask (I love hearing people’s stories)

Which character popped into your head first, Luke or Sera? 


• • • • • • • • •


Luke looked up to find Sera watching him.

“What’s up?” she said.


“Luke, it’s me. Remember me?” She reached out toward him as if to shake his hand. “Hi, I’m Sera. We met in the womb? I know when something’s up. Tell me.”

Luke studied her for a moment. She raised an eyebrow at him. He smiled and rolled his eyes.

“I’m just trying something new and it’s not going very well.”

“Tell me.”

“There’s not much to tell. I’m trying to make visions come to me, like on command, and I have no idea how to do it.” He shrugged. “I’m failing miserably.”

“First of all, you haven’t failed—you just haven’t figured it out yet. And second? You will.”

“I better.”

“You will.” Sera grinned at him. “Besides, you keep telling me you’re some sort of genius.”
Luke laughed—the first real laugh since they’d left Muddy Waters. It felt good. “It’s true. I am.”

“Prove it.”

• • • • • • • • • • 


Twins Sera and Luke Raine’s unusual abilities are growing. Sera is healing vampires now, making them human again. And, at times, Luke can actually change the future he Sees.

But Sera’s healing has dangerous consequences, and though Luke is altering the outcome of more visions, he can’t control them yet.

Now Sera is in danger as the dark creatures of the Realm seek to use her. As Luke struggles to master his gift in order to save his sister, he discovers even more about his powers.

And what he learns just may put him in greater danger than Sera has ever been.

• • • • • • • • • •


j. meyers grew up in Vermont, spent three years in Germany when she was a kid, and now lives in Central New York. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s chasing after her four kids, exploring the outdoors with her family, baking sweet treats, and forgetting to make dinner.  She is the author of Intangible, Imaginable, and the companion novella Indomitable.

• • • • • • • • • • 


Thanks to Jen I have either paperback copy of Imaginable or an ebook to give away on the blog today! US residents will be eligible for the paperback copy, and international residents will be eligible to win the ebook, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Siege And Storm Blog Tour: Author Interview + Giveaway

Today I'm absurdly excited to be joined on the blog by young adult author Leigh Bardugo, who was nice enough to answer a few questions for me as part of the promotional blog tour for Siege and Storm. I, like so many people, adored last year's Shadow and Bone and quite possibly scarred my mailman for life with my enthusiasm when I found the sequel in my mailbox. I'm sure he'll be fine eventually. He seems resilient:) If you haven't had a chance to read Shadow and Bone, please run to the bookstore immediately, and be sure to mark your calendars as Siege and Storm releases from Macmillan on June 4th!

Alina finds herself in the rather unique position of having to design an original kefta to wear so as to set her apart from the other Grisha. If you were in her shoes, what might the kefta you design for yourself look like?

Oh wow. I love this question, but I'm so torn. I'd either go Heartrender red or just take my chances and dare to wear black.

We get to meet a new and magnificent mythical creature in this second installment. Is there any one magical or mythological creature that has always fascinated you most?

I desperately want a direwolf, but I would gladly settle for a baby dragon. I think the gorgon always fascinated me. There's something very poignant about that myth and the way she's defeated.

Let's say you arrive at the Little Palace and petition Alina to let you aid her. What type of position do you think would best suit you and what skills would you bring to the table to assist her with her many and varied problems?

Alina would probably send me packing. I have no skills! Maybe I could tell her stories and sing her songs? I can whip up a pretty good apple and apricot tart. Beyond that, I've always thought I'd make an excellent fool what with the capering and falling down. I'm certainly willing to wear bells, but I can't juggle or play an instrument so I may be out of luck.

Alina's life gets significantly more complicated and dangerous in Siege and Storm. If she were to stand in front of a mirror and admit to her own face one of her greatest fears knowing speaking it aloud would ease some of her burden, what might she say?

In Shadow and Bone, I think Alina most fears that she will never find her place in the world, that she will always be an outsider, that the one person who truly knows her will leave her behind. Those fears are still there in Siege and Storm, but she's also contending with terrible guilt and the burden of tremendous power. I don't know that it would be as simple as articulating a single fear.

Mal and Alina have known each other almost their entire lives. What would Mal say is one of his fondest memories of them together growing up?

This question made me really think about the memories that come up for both of them over the course of the series. So often they seem like stolen things—sneaking away to play in the meadow, or the brief moments in the dom cart. Keramzin wasn't a joyful place, so the happiness they found they had to make together.

The Darkling continuously haunts Alina throughout this story, trying to get her to see things his way through both veiled and obvious threats as well as soothing words. If he was to stand before her to try and convince her of his cause one final time but had to do so in the form of a single question, what would he ask her?

I'm not sure he'd ask anything at all. The Darkling isn't big on requests.

• • • • • • • • • •


Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

• • • • • • • • • •


• Leigh Bardugo on the Fierce Reads Tour

• Listen to Leigh Bardugo's song, "Winter Prayer"

Pre-order a copy of Siege and Storm, submit your receipt, and get specially-branded nail polish

• Download the first five chapters of Siege and Storm now

• Leigh on Twitter and Tumblr 

• • • • • • • • • • 


Thanks to the awesome people at Macmillan, I have a paperback copy of Shadow and Bone as well as a hardcover copy of Siege and Storm to give away on the blog today! To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway is open to US/Canada only, good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to check out the remaining stops on this fabulous tour for more interviews, reviews and general amazingness:

Monday 5/20

Tuesday 5/21

Wednesday 5/22

Thursday 5/23

Friday 5/24

Saturday 5/25

Sunday 5/26

Monday 5/27

Tuesday 5/28

Wednesday 5/29

Thursday 5/30

Friday 5/31

Saturday 6/1

Sunday 6/2

Monday 6/3

Tuesday 6/4
Moonlight Book Reviews

Monday, May 20, 2013

Review: The Rules For Disappearing

Ashley Elston
Contemporary Young Adult
320 pages
Available Now
Source: Received from publisher via NetGalley

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
She’s been six different people in six different places: Madeline in Ohio, Isabelle in Missouri, Olivia in Kentucky . . . But now that she’s been transplanted to rural Louisiana, she has decided that this fake identity will be her last.

Witness Protection has taken nearly everything from her. But for now, they’ve given her a new name, Megan Rose Jones, and a horrible hair color. For the past eight months, Meg has begged her father to answer one question: What on earth did he do – or see – that landed them in this god-awful mess? Meg has just about had it with all the Suits’ rules — and her dad’s silence. If he won’t help, it’s time she got some answers for herself.

But Meg isn’t counting on Ethan Landry, an adorable Louisiana farm boy who’s too smart for his own good. He knows Meg is hiding something big. And it just might get both of them killed. As they embark on a perilous journey to free her family once and for all, Meg discovers that there’s only one rule that really matters — survival.

The Rules For Disappearing is a quick and suspenseful read, giving us a brief look at how quickly life in the Witness Protection Program can eat away at the bonds holding a family together. While not a story that crushes souls and scars hearts with its emotional intensity, it is one that guarantees the pages are turned rapidly so we can figure out just how Meg and her family came to be in their current predicament. There's a light romance mixed in, but this tale is beautifully family-centric, and we read on with smiles on our faces at the connection between Meg and little sister Teeny even as our stomachs tie themselves in knots over her relationship with her mother.

Meg is a likable, easy-to-relate-to heroine, someone we genuinely feel for as we join her just before she and her family are shipped off to their newest placement. Her loneliness despite the presence of her sister, father, and mother is palpable, and her fear that this latest identity will be as brief but devastating to leave as the ones that came before it is something we feel keenly. She tries to keep her distance from Ethan–something we wish she wouldn't do but completely understand given her past–increasing her isolation tenfold to leave us feeling as hollow as she does. She handles the stress of not only being ignorant of what landed her Witsec to start with, but also the complications of her mother's rapid descent into alcoholism, with a calm strength we can't help but admire, maintaining a strong front for Teeny to spare her any additional upset.

Though Meg has many admirable traits and a situational vulnerability that has us rooting for her from the beginning, she does possess the same frustrating tendency so many teenagers do: thinking she can handle dangerous problems on her own. She luckily does share some things with her father when she realizes she's in a bit over her head, but she keeps the most vital pieces of information to herself, concocting a plan to save her family rather than sharing her revelations with those in charge of her safety. That being said, her secrecy in some areas makes sense as it's made clear to us their Witsec identities are far from impenetrable, but we still wish given the enormity of her problems that she would share the burden with those far more equipped to handle them.

Overall, The Rules For Disappearing is a highly entertaining read, not one to be picked up when looking for a dark or gut-wrenching contemporary but rather one to be read simply for the joy of reading.

Rating: 4/5

Find Ashley:

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

Friday, May 17, 2013

Dare You To Blog Tour: Interview with Ryan + A Giveaway

Today I can barely contain my excitement over the fact that I have Ryan from Katie McGarry's upcoming release Dare You To joining me on the blog to answer a few questions. *takes deep breath* I fell in love with last year's Pushing the Limits, and like nearly everyone else, have been anxiously awaiting Beth's story. I ended up loving Dare You To as much as, if not more, than Pushing the Limits and I want to say a huge thank you to Kismet Book Touring and Katie McGarry for giving me access to Ryan ;-) Be sure and check the bottom of the post for a couple amazing giveaways as well as the full list of participating blogs. Welcome to Supernatural Snark Ryan!

Let’s say after all the events of Dare You To you are able to travel back in time to your first meeting with Beth in the line of the fast food restaurant. How would you alter your previous approach to ensure a more favorable outcome given what you’ve learned about Beth over the past several months?

Great question, but knowing Beth like I do now, I don’t think there’s anything I could have done to change our course. She doesn’t trust easily and would have been wary of me regardless of what I had done.

If Beth were asked to describe her feelings toward you after that first meeting, how scared of her answer would you be?

(Ryan chuckles) I don’t have to be terrified of her answer, because I already know. If Beth’s anything, she’s straightforward. She didn’t like me. She told me she didn’t like me and I believe she later threatened to take away my ability to have children.

Seriously though, I rattled Beth when we first met and she has a hard time admitting things like that.

You have just a few minutes alone with Isaiah and you can tell he’s in a relatively good mood. He might even humor you by answering a question or two. What do you ask him?

I don’t really have a question for him as much as I’d like to thank him. He protected Beth for years—kept her safe when her mom couldn’t or wouldn’t. For that, I’m grateful.

Beth doesn’t need to do anything special to impress you, but if she really wanted to by planning a unique date without asking you directly what you wanted to do, what are a couple of clues or hints we could give her to help her with that endeavor?

She can’t go wrong with tickets to a Cincinnati Reds game. Honestly, I like spending quiet time with Beth. She knows that. I think that’s why she sneaks over in the middle of the night to be with me.

If there was ever a moment during your courtship of Beth that you wished for the sudden arrival of a telepathic ability so you could know exactly what she was thinking, what moment would that have been?

Can I have the ability for our entire relationship? I love Beth, she’s got one hell of a poker face so I’m always trying to guess her thoughts.

Looking back though, I wish that I could have known her thoughts the night she tried to run away. I didn’t know what was going down at the time and looking back, if I had known, I could have handled things differently.

Outside of anything relating to Beth, what’s one dare you absolutely regret accepting?

Logan and I accidentally singed the upholstery of Lacy’s car once on a dare. She’s still pissed at us.

If you were to fictionalize the story of your life, what would the first line of that novel be?

Meeting Beth is the huge catalyst in my life so I’ll go with the opening: I’m not interested in second place. Never have been. Never will be.

It’s that attitude that helped me define what I want for my future and it helped with winning over Beth.

• • • • • • • • • • 


An emotionally-charged roller coaster ride that will keep you turning the pages well into the night, DARE YOU TO tells the story of seventeen-year-old Beth Risk, who finds her life turned upside down at the beginning of her senior year. Forced to leave the mother she’s always protected and the only friends she’s ever known, Beth must start over at a new school, in a new town, with an uncle she hasn’t seen in years.

The last thing she wants is to catch the eye of the town’s golden boy, popular jock Ryan Stone, who seems determined to win her over for all the wrong reasons. But when she discovers that Ryan has secrets of his own, Beth is drawn to him despite herself. Soon she’ll have to make a choice—between the past that beckons her back, and the life she never dreamed possible.

With PUSHING THE LIMITS, Harlequin TEEN introduced a singular new voice that continues to resonate with teens and adults alike. With DARE YOU TO, Katie McGarry cements her place as a master of contemporary young adult fiction.

Releases May 28th from HarlequinTEEN

• • • • • • • • • • 


Katie was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie is the author of the full-length Young Adult novels PUSHING THE LIMITS and DARE YOU TO, and the e-novella CROSSING THE LINE. Her debut novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS, is a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and an RT Book Reviews 2012 Reviewer’s Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel.

Writing has given Katie an excuse to pursue her passions. Research for her books has provided her with the amazing opportunity to train with baseball players, ride along in a drag car at ninety-six miles per hour and experience boxing and mixed martial arts. The most memorable moments for Katie are when she speaks to groups of teenagers about her research, writing and the truth that no dream is out of reach. Katie would love to hear from her readers.

Novels by Katie McGarry:

    • Pushing the Limits (available now)
    • Crossing the Line (e-novella, available now)
    • Dare You To (available May 28th 2013)
    • Crash Into You (coming soon...)

• • • • • • • • • • 


Thanks to the outstanding teams at HarlequinTEEN and Kismet Book Touring, I have a couple of unbelievable giveaways to share with you all today!

First up is your choice of either Pushing the Limits or Dare You To, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. THEN, in addition to your choice of books, filling out the form below also enters you to win the grand prize pack (pictured above, look at all that awesome!), so good luck everyone!

The prize pack includes:

   • 1 copy of Pushing The Limits
   • 1 copy of Dare You To
   • 1 brown leather cuff bracelet
   • 1 iPod
   • 1 iTunes gift card
   • 1 personalized Dare You To baseball jersey

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Though this is the final stop on the tour, don't forget to check out all the previous tour stops for more chances to win!

Monday, April 29th – Bewitched Bookworms – Excerpt & Song
Tuesday, April 30th - Harlequin Blog
Wednesday, May 1sh – The Irish Banana 
Thursday, May 2nd – Review - Tyngas Reviews
Friday, May 3rd – Evie Bookish 

Monday, May 6th - YA – Bibliophile
Tuesday, May 7th – Review - Realm of Fiction
Wednesday, May 8th – Book Swarm 
Thursday, May 9th – Review - Book Nook
Friday, May 10th –  Alice Marvels
Monday, May 13th -  Xpresso Reads
Tuesday, May 14th – Review - Chapter by Chapter 
Wednesday, May 15th – Book and A Latte 
Thursday, May 16th – Review - Blog Girl 
Friday, May 17th – Supernatural Snark 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Review: Wild Awake

Hilary T. Smith
Contemporary Young Adult
400 pages
Katherine Tegen Books
Available May 28th
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Things you earnestly believe will happen while your parents are away:

1. You will remember to water the azaleas.
2. You will take detailed, accurate messages.
3. You will call your older brother, Denny, if even the slightest thing goes wrong.
4. You and your best friend/bandmate Lukas will win Battle of the Bands.
5. Amid the thrill of victory, Lukas will finally realize you are the girl of his dreams.

Things that actually happen:

1. A stranger calls who says he knew your sister.
2. He says he has her stuff.
3. What stuff? Her stuff.
4. You tell him your parents won’t be able to—
5. Sukey died five years ago; can’t he—
6. You pick up a pen.
7. You scribble down the address.
8. You get on your bike and go.
9. Things . . . get a little crazy after that.*
*also, you fall in love, but not with Lukas.

Both exhilarating and wrenching, Hilary T. Smith’s debut novel captures the messy glory of being alive, as seventeen-year-old Kiri Byrd discovers love, loss, chaos, and murder woven into a summer of music, madness, piercing heartbreak, and intoxicating joy.

Loose and meandering, Wild Awake takes us on a strange and jumbled multi-week journey through young Kiri’s life while her parents are away on vacation, watching through a haze of detachment as she finds herself slowly but brutally knocked off one life path before stumbling her way onto another. Reading this story is a bit like attending the exhibition of a renowned painter, standing in front of one of their pieces, and realizing you are perhaps the only person in the room that doesn’t fully understand or appreciate what’s before you. Ms. Smith is clearly a talented writer, but Kiri’s story is extraordinarily hard to connect to, leaving us feeling fuzzy and disoriented as though we are the ones indulging in the pot Kiri’s so fond of, and we flip the pages in a sort of fog wondering when or if the piece of literary artwork before us is going to start resonating.

Kiri, despite spending nearly four hundred pages with her, is someone who remains a bit of a mystery to us, flitting around frantically like a bird (fitting given her surname) trapped in a cage it never realized existed before, and now that it knows it can do nothing but beat its wings against the bars in an effort to make them disappear. She’s all over the place in this story – obsessing about her music, despairing of the truth of her sister’s death, riding her bike all over town and getting herself in to extraordinarily dangerous situations for a sixteen year-old girl, and bouncing from one thing to the next without staying still long enough for us to get a true glimpse of her. Being with her is a dizzying experience, something only enhanced by her pot smoking and her occasional pill-popping, and we can’t help but find ourselves looking forward to the time when we can get off this crazy ride and put our feet back on solid ground.

Wild Awake is one of those stories that doesn’t follow a typical plot arc; there’s no beginning, middle, or climactic end, it just simply is – a life depicted on the pages that’s sometimes heavy and difficult to wade through and other times light and airy, leaving us unfettered but also a touch uneasy with nothing around us to help us get our bearings. This book will likely appeal to many readers who appreciate more unusual stories that don’t necessarily have a romantic or familial drama to overcome or a specific mystery to be solved, but for many this will be a challenging read full of fairly mundane details about Kiri’s day to day activities and a seeming lack of direction for the story as a whole. There’s undeniably a beauty to this tale, but like any piece of artwork, it’s highly subjective and will certainly inspire more conflicting opinions than most.

Rating: 3/5

Find Hilary:

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

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Review: The Book of Broken Hearts

Sarah Ockler
Contemporary Young Adult
352 pages
Simon Pulse
Available May 21st
Source: Received from publisher via Edelweiss

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Jude has learned a lot from her older sisters, but the most important thing is this: The Vargas brothers are notorious heartbreakers. She’s seen the tears and disasters that dating a Vargas boy can cause, and she swore an oath—with candles and a contract and everything—to never have anything to do with one.

Now Jude is the only sister still living at home, and she’s spending the summer helping her ailing father restore his vintage motorcycle—which means hiring a mechanic to help out. Is it Jude’s fault he happens to be cute? And surprisingly sweet? And a Vargas?

Jude tells herself it’s strictly bike business with Emilio. Her sisters will never find out, and Jude can spot those flirty little Vargas tricks a mile away—no way would she fall for them. But Jude’s defenses are crumbling, and if history is destined to repeat itself, she’s speeding toward some serious heartbreak…unless her sisters were wrong?

Jude may have taken an oath, but she’s beginning to think that when it comes to love, some promises might be worth breaking.

Both poignant and funny, with a focus on relationships both familial and romantic, The Book of Broken Hearts pleases on a variety of levels, giving us a taste of reality without any added drama for effect. What we get when we crack the spine of this book is a glimpse at life – a glorious collage of good moments and bad, heartfelt conversations and witty banter, and old doors closing as new ones open wide to beckon Jude through. There's plenty of pain as well as many a scene between her and her father that make us tear up even though we know Jude would despise our sympathy, but never once does Ms. Ockler heighten tensions or toss in layers of drama unnecessary to Jude's journey just to play on our emotions, instead every minute with Jude is one we value, and one that's a vital piece of the Hernandez puzzle we long to see in all its stunning completeness.

Jude delights with her sass from the very first page, an internal monologue in which she questions the intelligence of wearing her current wedgie-causing shorts in an attempt to give off a biker chick vibe immediately causing a grin to paint our faces, something we'll soon learn is a common occurrence throughout. While her ability to make us laugh comes smoothly and easily, her very real fear for her father's worsening condition as his Alzheimer's rapidly progresses echoes in her every smile, and we can't help but long to wrap our arms around her and squeeze tight. She handles her father's less lucid moments beautifully, hating and cursing his disease but loving him through it, and basking in the moments when the Alzheimer's deigns to return her father to her.

One of the highlights of Jude's character is her lack of judgement, the painful past of two of her sisters leading to the vilification of the entire Vargas clan, but despite that history she opens herself up to Emilio and decides to trust him with things she doesn't even share with her own family. She's not one to keep secrets from him or hold on to her anger when they have an argument, and thankfully Emilio is much the same way, both of them communicating to the best of their ability instead of bottling up all their emotions and simply waiting to pop. Their romance is definitely of the slow burn variety, and their sweet, simple moments together are made all the more significant given the seriousness of Jude's father's condition, his episodes bringing clarity to both them and us as to how important it is to accept and appreciate the brevity of life.

Though we don't get to know Emilio quite as well as we might like, this story as a whole is a highly enjoyable one with a strong emphasis on family, something that is all too rare in young adult fiction. Ms. Ockler has a gift for writing quirky, hilarious young women, and Jude is absolutely no exception, making us giggle-snort in a most undignified manner even as we wipe away a tear the chapter after. A dog with what can only be described as a bunny fixation, a Holy Trinity of older sisters, and a sexy, motorycle-building love interest solidify this read as a one-sit wonder, easily devoured in just a few hours.

Rating: 4/5

Find Sarah:

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