Monday, June 30, 2014

Review: On the Fence

Kasie West
Contemporary Young Adult
320 pages
Available July 1st
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
She's a tomboy. He's the boy next door…

Charlie Reynolds can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at a chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world. To cope with the stress of her new reality, Charlie takes to spending nights chatting with her neighbor Braden through the fence between their yards. As she grows to depend on their nightly Fence Chats, she realizes she's got a bigger problem than speeding tickets-she's falling for Braden. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

On the Fence is a story as cute as they come, a lovable and endearing tomboy of a heroine charming us instantly as she tries to find a place for herself amidst the testosterone of her all-male family. As is commonplace for a Kasie West novel, humor and witty banter abound, adding new creases to our cheeks from smiling so frequently even as our heartstrings are tugged repeatedly when growing pains force Charlie into a sweet and poignant journey of self-reflection. As was the case with The Distance Between Us, there are a number of facets to Charlie’s life and her relationship with her family that could have been explored with more depth, but that mild complaint doesn’t detract from a hugely satisfying story overall.

Charlie has known nothing but contact sports and brotherly teasing her entire life, her hugely athletic and hilariously mischievous older brothers keeping her on her toes at all times lest she find herself on the losing end of a dare she didn’t know they’d issued. She has no concept of her appearance in terms of how physically attractive she might be to the opposite sex, but its refreshingly clear that she’s neither the falsely modest type nor the frustratingly self-deprecating type, her observations of her brother’s preferences in girls simply give her no reason to think she might be appealing to guys in all her sports-loving athletic glory.

Her changing relationship with next door neighbor–and brother Gage’s best friend–Braden is the kind that makes us suck in a breath and hold it whenever they’re together, hoping that if we don’t so much as breathe these two will find fewer obstacles blocking their path to happiness. That way of thinking of course fails spectacularly, and Braden and Charlie quickly discover that knowing one another as well as they do can cause as many problems to a fledgling relationship as not knowing someone at all. While there are a couple of miscommunications between them, they’re not of the overly irritating variety, rather they feel genuine in nature, the complications of a friendship as close as theirs something we can all relate to in one way or another.

The only other very small complaint aside from the aforementioned lack of exploration in certain areas is the brevity of our time with Charlie and Braden once they finally do get together. Majority of the book is the humorously tense (and sometimes adorably mortifying) progression of their friendship to something more, and while we can’t help but love all the build up, their time together is our reward and it’s cut just a touch short with the last page finding us long before we wish it to. Overall though, On the Fence is cute and flirty and pure fun, a story destined for the rereads shelf so we can experience Charlie and Braden again and again.

Rating: 4/5

Find Kasie

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, June 27, 2014

Excerpt + Giveaway: The Faded Trilogy

Today I have the pleasure of sharing with you an excerpt from Faded, the first book in a young adult paranormal romance series by Chloe Miles. Chloe has also generously offered up three copies of Faded, so be sure and check out the bottom of the post for a chance to win. I hope you all enjoy the excerpt!

It was just as stunning out there as it was inside the hall. A string of lights adorned the fancy stone railing, and little square trees formed a hedge along the inside of it.

Hunter walked out into the middle and took a bow before he extended his hand to her. “Our own private dance floor.”

Savannah obligingly placed her hand in his. She couldn’t hold his hand like she could have in spirit form—she couldn’t take the risk in case somebody had seen her go out there—but Hunter could still hold hers all the same.

“It’s bad enough that I can’t be your proper date that everybody else can see you with,” he said as he twirled her around and then gently pulled her in closer, “but I didn’t want you to miss out on this part as well.”

 “What do you mean a proper date?” she asked him. “Hunter, you’re still here to me. You’ve just faded a little, that’s all.”

A light dusting of snow had started falling above their heads, and Savannah lifted her eyes to see tiny romantic snowflakes falling only on them like their own little winter snow globe scene.

“I noticed their dance floor in there had a snow machine,” Hunter said as he watched the snowflakes fall above their heads before he let his eyes drift back down to hers. “I can do better than that.”

“It’s beautiful.”

Savannah caught a tiny snowflake as it landed gently on her hand. It might not have been really snowing like how Madison had wanted it to, but it was still romantic.

“This night is perfect,” she whispered as she placed her arms around his transparent shoulders, “because you’re here.”

“I wouldn’t have missed this for anything,” he said. “You’re the most important thing in the world to me, and I knew how important this was to you.”

Savannah looked back up at the falling snow.

“You know how you said that I should forget about everything else and just be a normal girl tonight?” She shook her head to disagree before she had even said the words. “Normal is overrated. None of those other girls in there have real snow,” she whispered, “or you.”

Hunter gently twirled her around again before she held both her hands up to his. Their hands were barely touching, but that was good enough for her. Hunter was hers. She didn’t need anybody else to be able to see him to know that.

“Those other guys in there may be alive and have youth on their side,” he whispered as his eyes drifted to her lips, “but I’m the luckiest guy here tonight.”

• • • • • • • • • • • 


When seventeen-year-old Savannah Fraser and her three friends are killed in a car accident, they are given a second chance at life by a group of century-old earthbound spirits who need their help.

Savannah learns she is a Chosen One, which means she can switch between human and spirit form, heal people, and control the weather—and she is also now invincible.

The Chosen Ones are the only ones who can defeat The Forces—a trio of evil half-spirits who are slowly destroying the perfect little town of Fort Everwick with violent storms and not-so-natural disasters—and stop them from harming everyone they care about.

The Forces are set on destroying everything Savannah knows and loves, but they also have a more sinister plan—they want a new member to join them. They won’t give up until they get the one they want—and they have Savannah firmly in their sights.

But what Savannah didn’t count on was falling in love with Hunter. She’s never loved anyone the way she loves Hunter, and she knows he loves her, too. But how can they be together forever if he no longer exists and she’s the only one who can see him?

Will Savannah have enough belief in herself to defeat The Forces, or will they be able to lure her to the dark side and turn her against her loved ones—and tear her and Hunter apart?


(The Faded Trilogy #2)


(The Faded Trilogy #3)


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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Cover Reveal + Giveaway: Love and Other Theories

You guys know how much I love book covers, so I'm super excited today to be a part of the cover reveal for Love and Other Theories, a contemporary young adult novel by Alexis Bass releasing in December from HarperTeen. I know you mostly just want to see the cover and get to the giveaway, so I'm keeping my intro brief. Let me know what you think of the this one in the comments!

(HarperTeen, December 31st, 2014)

If you want more, you have to give less.

That’s the secret to dating in high school. By giving as little as they expect to get in return, seventeen-year-old Aubrey Housing and her three best friends have made it to the second semester of their senior year heartbreak-free. And it’s all thanks to a few simple rules: don’t commit, don’t be needy, and don’t give away your heart.

So when smoking-hot Nathan Diggs transfers to Lincoln High, it shouldn’t be a big deal. At least that’s what Aubrey tells herself. But Nathan’s new-boy charm, his kindness, and his disarming honesty throw Aubrey off her game and put her in danger of breaking the most important rule of all: Don’t fall in love.

And how about a little Love teaser?!

• • • • • • • • • • •


Alexis Bass grew up in Washington, went to college in Arizona, and spent her early twenties in Seattle. She currently lives in Northern California with Dylan McKay, her gorgeous and rambunctious golden retriever. She loves good fashion and good TV as much as a good book, and is a huge advocate of the three C’s: coffee, chocolate, and cheese. LOVE AND OTHER THEORIES is her first novel.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Boomerang by Noelle August: Part 1 is FREE + A Giveaway!

Hey Everyone!

I just wanted to do a quick post this afternoon to let you know that part one of contemporary NA novel Boomerang by Noelle August (also known as Veronica Rossi and Lorin Oberweger) is now free for one week! The rest of the book will be released according to the below schedule:

June 24: Part 1 (Free)
July 1: Part 2 ($0.99)
July 8: Part 3 ($1.99) + Full Book ($2.99)

The hugely generous team at HarperCollins is also offering up a fabulous giveaway, so be sure and check the bottom of the post for those details. I couldn't be more excited for this book, so enjoy everyone!

Image Map


Welcome to BOOMERANG, the hottest startup in the coolest city: Los Angeles, CA. Why? Because it’s about no-strings, no-fuss relationships for those on the rebound and those who crave connection without all the baggage of long-term promises. While it’s THE dating site for the millennial gen, their offices are even steamier than the hook-ups the website produces.

But that buzz is fading as Boomerang struggles to grow, the solution? Find two brilliant interns and give them a crack at turning this ship back to shore.

Enter MIA GALLIANO and ETHAN VANCE. These young strangers—Mia an aspiring filmmaker, and Ethan at the end of a collegiate sports career—are both bright and motivated. And for very different reasons, although they’re both hungry and way up for the challenge.

But things go wrong from day one. For one thing, Ethan and Mia aren’t strangers. The night before their stint at Boomerang begins, Ethan and Mia meet at a bar and fall into bed together. Or so they think. They’re both hazy on the details. They just know it’s aaaawkward when they share a post hookup taxi…to the same place.

Will the competition get to them, or do they have a future together? Find out come July!

• • • • • • • • • • •


Three lucky winners will receive a copy of Boomerang, so enter via the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win!

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Review: The Murder Complex

The Murder Complex #1
Lindsay Cummings
Young Adult/Dystopian
398 pages
Greenwillow Books
Available Now
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

The Murder Complex is one of those stories that forces us to rationalize the brutality of our protagonists within the context of their world when in our own they would have all the makings of monsters. As a result, we spend a great deal of time asking ourselves uncomfortable questions–questions as to whether or not we could do what Meadow does to protect and care for her family–and find ourselves riveted by the answers. What’s perhaps most fascinating about this dark and gritty tale is the degrees of villainy within it, each character full of good intentions that pave the way to a hell of their own making, and we’re swept along in a tide of blood and death as we slowly uncover how humanity managed to both evolve and devolve so spectacularly.

Meadow is someone we can’t help but root for despite the fact that she takes lives with an ease that should be alarming, but she finds no joy in the killing, she simply does what needs to be done in the name of her family and feels little guilt when she’s the one left standing. A young woman with edges as hard and sharp as Meadow's should be tricky to connect with, but Ms. Cummings does a truly beautiful job of weaving vulnerabilities through her armor; family-shaped chinks appearing more frequently with each chapter. Her love for her brother and her little sister is painful because we know inevitably they’re a weakness to be exploited, but their relationship is a hint of the familiar in a world ruled by methodical chaos, and we latch on to it with all the strength we possess.

Where Meadow’s love for Peri and Koi brings a warm flush to our skin, her relationship with her father immediately cools it, the two of them locked together in a vicious cycle of violence and survival. We want to hate her father for the things he subjects her to and often find our lips curling in disgust at his “training” methods, but for all that he is harsh and unyielding and brutal, it’s his teachings that have saved–and continue to save–Meadow’s life again and again. Maybe she still would have survived with more love and fewer lessons learned the hard way, but as the secrets and lies that make up The Murder Complex are slowly revealed, we develop a sort of twisted admiration for him and the lengths to which he’s willing to go to ensure his daughter will always be the one to come out on top.

The romance between Meadow and Zephyr is perhaps the weakest aspect of this story, but it’s still an enjoyable addition with a great deal of promise that will hopefully be explored with more depth in the next installment. Overall, The Murder Complex is a read that flies by, short 2-3 page chapters and an alternating point of view between Meadow and Zephyr ensuring we have an incredibly difficult time setting this book down to return to our regular lives.

Rating: 4/5

Find Lindsay:

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.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Suddenly Last Summer Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

I'm thrilled today to be a part of the promotional blog tour for Suddenly Last Summer, an adult contemporary romance by Sarah Morgan. I absolutely loved this book (as you'll see below in my review), and can't recommend it enough for those looking for a flirty summer read. In addition to the review you'll also find some fun character artwork to help you get to know Sean and Elise a little bit better, and don't forget to check the bottom of the post for all the details on a fantastic giveaway!

O'Neil Brothers #2
Sarah Morgan
Adult Contemporary Romance
384 pages
Available Now
Source: CBB Book Promotions for review

Bestselling author Sarah Morgan delivers another irresistible hero in her O'Neil Brothers series who's more tempting than dessert and twice as sinful!

Fiery French chef Élise Philippe is having a seriously bad day. Not only have the opening day plans for her beloved café fallen apart, but Sean O'Neil is back in town, and looking more delectable than ever. Last summer, they shared an electrifying night together…and the memories have Élise really struggling to stick to her one-night-only rule! Her head knows that eventually Sean will be leaving, so all she can do is try to ignore her heart before she spontaneously combusts with lust.

Being back in Vermont—even temporarily—is surgeon Sean O'Neil's worst nightmare. For Sean, returning home to the Snow Crystal Resort means being forced to confront the reasons and the guilt he feels about rejecting his family's rural lifestyle years ago. But discovering that Élise has settled in Vermont and still sets his blood racing is a very welcome distraction! Thinking he can persuade her into a replay of last summer is tempting, but remembering how good they are together is going to make walking away more difficult than he could imagine…

Suddenly Last Summer is a sweet romance full of sexual tension and more than a little fear of love, both Elise and Sean the type of people we enjoy watching fall hard given the way they fight to keep themselves from doing so. The two of them, for very different reasons, both wholeheartedly believe love is not for them, fully convinced they’re safe with one another since they share an aversion to the forever type of romance. As a result, there’s nothing more satisfying than watching their shared delusional bubble oh-so slowly deflate and finally pop, leaving us with a smile on our faces and a deliriously happy couple on the final page.

Elise is a gifted chef with a huge heart, endearingly loyal to the entire O’Neil family and completely dedicated to saving their Snow Crystal Resort from going under. She’s (not unsurprisingly) level-headed when it comes to her attraction to Sean, keeping her heart safely out of the way even as she gives in to the attraction that flares up whenever they’re within a hundred feet of one another. She does have an impressive temper that irritates upon occasion, her tendency to overreact knocking Sean back on his heels a time or two, but she’s always quick to admit to her overreactions and seek to make amends. She also clings to her abject fear of emotional intimacy a touch too long, creating a tiny bit of unnecessary drama toward the end, but as with her temper, she remedies things quickly and easily to our great relief.

Sean, of the two of them, is the one to come to terms with his feelings first, remaining charmingly obtuse about his visceral and emotional reaction to Elise until his grandfather smacks him in the face with it. Once he comes to the realization though, he doesn’t fight it as hard as Elise does, and we can’t help but appreciate his calm in the face of Elise’s panic toward the end. As a couple, they’re a beautiful blend of strengths and weaknesses, and spending four hundred pages with them is certainly time well spent.

Overall, Suddenly Last Summer is a quick read with a strong lead couple and an absolutely adorable family in the O’Neils, and here’s hoping Sean’s brother Tyler’s romance with Brenna is the next one in line.

Rating: 4/5

Check out these amazing visual character profiles for Elise + Sean!

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Photo: Rosanna Hancock Photography

USA TODAY bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes hot, happy contemporary romance and her trademark humour and sensuality have gained her fans across the globe. She has been nominated three years in succession for the prestigious RITA© Award from the Romance Writers of America and has won the award twice, in 2012 and 2013. RT Book Reviews has called her 'a magician with words' and she has made numerous appearances in their 'Top Pick' slot. Sarah lives near London, and when she isn't reading or writing she loves being outdoors, preferably on vacation so she can forget the house needs tidying. She loves chatting with readers by email and on Facebook and Twitter. More information can be found on her website.

• • • • • • • • • • • 


Thanks to the amazing team at Harlequin, two fabulous prizes are up for grabs for the duration of this tour!

  • Grand Prize includes a La Bonne Vie Cupcake necklace, Sleigh Bells in the Snow (first book in the series), Suddenly Last Summer and a bookmark
  • Second prize is Sleigh Bells in the Snow, Suddenly Last Summer and a bookmark

To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway is open to US/CA only.

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Don't forget to check out the remaining stops on the tour for more reviews, interviews and guest posts!


Monday, June 23, 2014

Review: Defector

Variants #2
Susanne Winnacker
Young Adult/Paranormal/Sci-Fi
288 pages
Available June 26th
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Tessa has finally made peace with her life as a Variant. She and long-time love Alec are officially a couple, and for the first time, she has everything she wants.

But the air is tense at FEA headquarters. An agent has disappeared, and rogue variant organization Abel’s Army is likely the culprit.

When Tessa is summoned for her second mission, she is unexpectedly launched into a massive conspiracy. Her best friend Holly is kidnapped and Tessa knows it was meant to be her. But who is after her? And more importantly, why?

When the FEA’s efforts to rescue Holly don’t yield any results, Tessa takes matters into her own hands. Desperate to save her friend and uncover the mystery behind Abel’s Army, Tessa launches her own investigation—but nothing could prepare her for what she finds. Everyone in her life is harboring secrets: Alec, her estranged mother, even the father she never knew.

The truth will take her out on the road and out of her comfort zone, with danger lurking everywhere. Summoning all of her courage and strength, Tessa must decide who can be trusted and what is worth fighting for—even if it means going against the life she thought she wanted. Her final decision will leave readers breathless.

Defector picks up shortly after the events of Impostor, returning us to young Variant Tessa and her group of unusually gifted friends as they try and anticipate the next move made by supposed enemy Abel’s Army. Longtime series readers should know upfront that Defector is a classic second book, following a familiar path in which the main couple dissolves, a new romantic interest steps up, and a cliffhanger awaits us in the final chapter, but despite our frustration that this story fails break out of its middle book box, Ms. Winnacker undoubtedly tells a good story and keeps us entertained throughout. Her style is one that simply flows well; an easiness to the dialogue and the transition from one event to the next that keeps us turning the pages to find out what this second installment has in store for Tessa.

Though Tessa and Alec box step their way through a dance we’ve seen time and again when secrets that change everything are brought to light, Tessa handles the situation differently from many of the fictional girls that have come before her. Though she’s genuinely upset by what she learns, she doesn’t sit on the information and let it fester, changing her behavior around Alec while she questions his every move and creates more distance between them after working so hard in the last book to close it. Instead, she immediately confronts Alec with what she knows and asks to hear the truth from his lips, and when his answers confirm what she already knew, she thankfully doesn’t stage a dramatic exit. She asks for time to sort through everything while still admitting to herself that her love for him remains the same.

It’s only after additional secrets pile themselves atop the ones she just learned that Tessa decides to make the break we suspected was coming but dreaded just the same, venturing into the unknown in search of answers. While many might see her actions as a girl running headlong into trouble without all the facts (and that is certainly true to some degree), it’s also clear that Tessa will never be trusted with all the pieces of the puzzle that is her family at the FEA, leaving her little choice but to do the best she can in discovering things for herself. Her young age does show itself at times, particularly as her longing for home and family is brought to the forefront, but we can’t help but feel for her, knowing we as readers have the benefit of emotional distance whereas she’s trapped in a storm of confusion, pain and anger.

The introduction of a new romantic player is, to our great relief, a very minor component of this book, and Tessa recognizes fairly quickly that the days following a complete upheaval of her life are not the time to start a new relationship. Overall, Defector plays the part of a middle book to a T, but despite that, it’s a quick and engaging read that answers some questions while raising a slew of new ones, and I certainly can’t wait to see what will happen next.

Rating: 4/5

Find Susanne:

*I was lucky enough to be a part of the promotional tour for Defector, so be sure and check out my interview with Susanne and enter to win a copy of the book! 

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, June 20, 2014

Cover Reveal: Wild by Sophie Jordan

Hey Everyone!

As a special Friday treat, I have the cover of the third and final book in Sophie Jordan's New Adult Ivy Chronicles series to share with you today. I'm a big fan of Sophie's, so I can't wait to see what she has in store for us in WILD. I think maybe the title says it all :-)

Image Map


A good girl goes bad in the third and final book in New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan’s sexy New Adult romance series—where three Ivy League suite-mates testing their boundaries as they seek higher knowledge of just how far they can go.

Months after her boyfriend dumped her, Georgia can still hear the insults he hurled at her. Boring. Predictable. Tame. Tired of feeling bad, she’s ready to change her image, and go a little wild. What better way to prove her ex wrong than a hot night of adventure at the secret campus kink club?

In the shadowy den of the club, she unexpectedly runs into Logan Mulvaney, her friend’s little brother. A player extraordinaire too hot for his own good, he may be younger, but the guy is light years ahead when it comes to the opposite sex. Now he’s telling her to go home-”good girls” don’t belong here!

Georgia is tired of having others define her. She’s going to teach Logan a lesson he won’t forget-one white hot, mind-wrecking kiss . . . that leads to another . . . and another . . . and. . . . Realizing she’s way in over her head, Georgia runs.

Only Logan won’t let her go. Everywhere she goes he’s there, making her want every inch of him. Making her forget who she is. Who he is. And just how wrong they are for each other.

• • • • • • • • • • • 


Sophie Jordan is an international and New York Times bestselling author whose books include historical romances and the Firelight series. When she’s not writing, she spends her time overloading on caffeine (lattes preferred), talking plotlines with anyone who will listen (including her kids), and cramming her DVR with true-crime and reality-television shows. She lives in Houston.
Find Sophie:

Guest Post: M.K. Hutchins + Drift

Today I'm pleased to welcome author M.K. Hutchins to the blog to talk a little bit about her upcoming young adult fantasy release, Drift. I'm a huge fan of all types of mythology, especially lesser-known types I'm not as familiar with, so I was super excited when M.K. submitted her guest post on Maya mythology and how it inspired the world of Drift. Take it away M.K!

Often the first thing I hear from anyone about my book is “cool giant turtle!” Thanks, Sammy Yuen, for creating such a striking cover.

The environment of Drift was inspired by Maya mythology – three elements in particular.

The World Turtle: A number of mythologies viewed the world as being on the back of a turtle. This visual is striking to me. The domed back of a swimming turtle looks like an island in miniature, with all the ridges and cracks in the shell becoming mountains and ravines.

Watery Underworld: The ancient Maya viewed both standing water and caves as portals to the underworld. The dichotomy of water as being both life-giving and dangerous fascinates me. When I heard a professor describe the world as a turtle surrounded by a watery hell, I knew I wanted to write a story using that setting. Natural bodies of water are often hard to see through. Something dangerous could always be lurking, just out of sight, below the surface.

World Tree: Many mythologies have some kind of world tree. Thanks to recent popular movies, many people are probably familiar with Yggdrasil, the Norse version. The Maya tree was different, of course, but it, too, connected the lowest part of hell to the highest reaches of the heavens.

From these, I began creating a world of many drifting turtle-island, surrounded by dangerous waters – Nearhell – and connected through the long roots of the tree to an inky, strange place – Deephell. Those who lived in the Tree could travel to Deephell and rob its treasures for strange gifts that would help protect the island. This in place, I could begin to brainstorm my main character – a young man who lived in poverty on the shores of hell, determined to join the warriors who lived in the Tree to pull himself and his sister from poverty.

• • • • • • • • • • • 


Tenjat lives on the shores of Hell, an ocean filled with ravenous naga monsters. His island, a massive Turtle, is slowed by the people living on its back. Only those poor enough to need children to support themselves in old age condescend to the shame of marriage. Tenjat is poor as poor gets, but he has a plan.

In the center of the island rises a giant Tree, where the Handlers—those who defend and rule the island—live. Against his sister’s wishes, Tenjat joins the Handlers. He couldn’t have picked a more dangerous time. The Turtle is nearing a coral reef where it desperately needs to feed, but the naga will swarm just before they reach it. Even novices like Tenjat are needed for the battle.

Can Tenjat discover his sister’s secrets in time? Will the possibility of love derail all his plans for a richer, marriage-free life? Long-held secrets will at last be revealed in this breathtaking debut from M. K. Hutchins.

• • • • • • • • • • 


My debut novel, Drift, is forthcoming from Tu Books and my short fiction appears in Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show and Daily Science Fiction.  I studied archaeology at BYU, which gave me the opportunity to compile histories from Maya glyphs, excavate in Belize, and work as a faunal analyst. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Review: Drowned

Drowned #1
Nichola Reilly
Young Adult/Dystopian-ish Fantasy
304 pages
Available June 24th
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Coe is one of the few remaining teenagers on the island of Tides. Deformed and weak, she is constantly reminded that in a world where dry land dwindles at every high tide, she is not welcome. The only bright spot in her harsh and difficult life is the strong, capable Tiam—but love has long ago been forgotten by her society. The only priority is survival.

Until the day their King falls ill, leaving no male heir to take his place. Unrest grows, and for reasons Coe cannot comprehend, she is invited into the privileged circle of royal aides. She soon learns that the dying royal is keeping a secret that will change their world forever.

Is there an escape from the horrific nightmare that their island home has become? Coe must race to find the answers and save the people she cares about, before their world and everything they know is lost to the waters.

Drowned is a captivating and beautifully unusual story, the world in which Coe and the other inhabitants of the island live one that sits on the periphery of our world, with just enough differences to grab our attention, but similar enough that we don't struggle to wrap our minds around it. For majority of the book, the island of Tides is self-contained and seemingly isolated from the larger world (if one still remains after the floods), and Ms. Reilly does a lovely job of ensuring any questions we might have about how Coe's people survive (or don't) day to day are answered before they can worm their way into our minds and fester. It's only after Coe finds herself in the service of the princess that the island world we've come to know in a short amount of time begins to ever-so-slowly expand, and our curiosity sparks anew with every new bit of information we learn.

Coe, much like the story of which she is a vital part, is striking for all of the ways in which she's different from those around her. Most obviously, Coe's physical differences are what stand out to us initially, an accident when she was younger claiming one of her arms and instantly making her less-than to nearly everyone on the island save a select few. She's mocked at every turn, but even though she she's plagued by self-doubt as a result, she's not one to cower or spend all of her time taking the cruel words of others to heart. Instead, she simply wishes things were different and goes about her tasks with an admirable dedication and hopeful spirit. Even though Death is a constant companion for everyone on the island, Coe never turns maudlin despite the fact that her physical disability has Death sidling far closer to her than those around her, rather she appreciates the time she has with Tiam and steps up to face whatever is thrown her way.

When things begin to shift and her once-narrow world is suddenly widened thanks to a few clues scattered throughout the castle, Coe keeps a level head, questioning the new information to test its veracity without allowing herself to cling to what's she's previously thought to be true to the detriment of herself and those she most cares for. She's unwaveringly loyal to Tiam–even in the few moments where we question whether or not he deserves it–and is always there with her one remaining helping hand stretched out to those who consider her worthless. While she initially has a few stars in her eyes with regard to the princess, that shine quickly dulls as the princess's spectacularly spoiled nature quickly reveals itself, and it's nothing short of satisfying to roll our eyes along with Coe whenever the perfect Star opens her mouth and completely ruins the illusion of royalty.

Though many of our questions about island life are answered throughout, when the world begins to expand toward the end, our aforementioned curiosity is left a touch hanging with only the promise of answers to come in the second installment to appease it. Despite Drowned being very much a first installment in terms of where the story temporarily ends, it's a quick and thoroughly enjoyable read with a strong heroine in Coe to keep us emotionally invested throughout. There's a touch of romance but it's wonderfully subtle, Coe's confidence issues and the greater mystery of how the island civilization came to be and where it's headed ensuring it remains a secondary component. Overall, Drowned is a memorable read for a variety of reasons, a darkly mesmerizing world and rich characterization among them, and I can't wait to see what secrets about the world Coe thought she knew will be revealed next.

Rating: 4/5

Find Nichola (aka Cyn Balog):

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, June 18, 2014

End Times Blog Tour: Q+A and Giveaway

Today I have the pleasure of being part of the promotional tour for End Times by Anna Schumacher, and Anna is here to briefly talk about the hardest and easiest scenes for her to write. The incredibly generous team at Penguin has also offered up a finished copy of End Times to one lucky winner, so be sure and check the bottom of the post for all those details. Welcome to Supernatural Snark Anna!


Unlike Daphne, Janie was a very easy character for me to wrap my head around. Her contradictions make so much sense to me: she’s poor but spoiled, self-centered yet generous, a bad girl who thinks she’s a good girl. Because of this, Janie’s scenes were both the hardest and the easiest for me to write.

Janie undergoes a pretty rough personal journey in the first book, and since I love Janie so much it was hard for me to write about bad things happening to her. At one point my husband came home to find my sobbing into my laptop. That was the hardest scene to write. The easiest was a scene that happens later in the book – I can’t say too much, because spoilers! But I woke up in the middle of the night knowing exactly how the scene needed to go, and I sat down and wrote the whole thing in about an hour. It just flowed out of me. Then I went back to bed.

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When life gets too tough to bear in Detroit, Daphne flees to her Uncle Floyd’s home, where she believes she’ll find solace in the silent hills of her childhood summers. But Daphne’s Greyhound bus pulls over in downtown Carbon County and it’s not silence that welcomes her. It’s the sound of trumpets.

Daphne’s desire to start again in simple country comfort is instantly dashed as the townsfolk declare that the End Times are here. And incredible occurrences soon support their belief. Daphne does all she can to keep her head down and ignore the signs. She works a job at the local oil rig, helps around the house, hangs out with her pregnant cousin Janie and gets to know Owen, a mysterious motocross racer and fellow roustabout at the rig. But soon a startling discovery shatters her resolve and calls into question all her doubts and fears.

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Anna Schumacher received an MFA in fiction writing from The New School. Born and raised in the tiny town of Guilford, VT (no traffic lights, no post office, one store), she now lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and two cats. END TIMES is her first novel.

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Thanks to the team at Penguin, I have one finished copy of End Times to give away on the blog today! To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway is open to US addresses only.

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Waiting on Wednesday: The Queen of Zombie Hearts

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine and is a fun way to see what books other bloggers just can't wait to get their hands on!

White Rabbit Chronicles #3
Gena Showalter
Releases September 30th from HarlequinTEEN

From Goodreads:

I have a plan.

We'll either destroy them for good, or they'll destroy us.

Either way, only one of us is walking away.

Alice 'Ali' Bell thinks the worst is behind her. She's ready to take the next step with boyfriend Cole Holland, the leader of the zombie slayers; until Anima Industries, the agency controlling the zombies, launches a sneak attack, killing four of her friends. It's then she realizes that humans can be more dangerous than monsters; and the worst has only begun.

As the surviving slayers prepare for war, Ali discovers she, too, can control the zombies and she isn't the girl she thought she was. She's connected to the woman responsible for killing–and turning– Cole's mother. How can their relationship endure? As secrets come to light, and more slayers are taken or killed, Ali will fight harder than ever to bring down Anima–even sacrificing her own life for those she loves.

Ummmmm Cole. That's really the only word that makes it out of my mouth when I think about series because, bless her, Gena Showalter knows how to write some very sexy men. Even when they're YA men. (But in my head Cole is at least 28 so I don't feel so creepy.) I've loved both books in this series, so I have some very high hopes going into this final installment. As long as Cole and Ali don't die (which seems to be an unfortunate trend of late and I admit to being slightly nervous thanks to the last line of the synopsis), I have no doubt I'll be in love with this one as well. Plus, Cole. That is all.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Defector Blog Tour: Author Interview + Giveaway

Today I'm super excited to welcome author Susanne Winnacker back to the blog as part of the promotional tour for Defector, the second book in her paranormal young adult series. I absolutely LOVED last year's Impostor, it was one of those books that just grabbed me from page one and wouldn't let go, so I jumped at the chance to be a part of the tour (begging may also have been involved). I had the opportunity to ask Susanne a couple of questions about Tessa, Alec and company, so I hope you all enjoy the interview. Don't forget to check out the bottom of the post too for all the details on a fabulous giveaway!

If you had Tessa’s ability to take on the appearance of anyone with whom you came in contact, who’s the first person you’d “try on” (so to speak) and what do you think their reaction would be to seeing another version of themselves?

I would love to be a man for a day. Maybe my husband. I think he’d be surprised, or maybe not. He knows me after all... ;)

Let’s say Tessa, who’s still learning the ropes and is only sent on her second mission ever in Defector, is granted physical training time with any character from fiction, TV or film. Whom would she most like to learn from?

Hannibal Lecter. After all, who would be better to teach her everything there is to know about psychopaths and sociopaths.

If Tessa was able to sit down with you and ask you any question she wanted about why you wrote the events in her life the way you have, what question would you be most afraid to answer?

Why I didn’t give her a loving family. Tessa wants nothing more than parents that care about her. I guess she wouldn’t be too happy with me for depriving her of a family.

If you had the opportunity to interview the author or character of your choosing, what would you most want to know?

I would love to talk to J.K. Rowling, though I’m not sure if you could call it interview. I probably wouldn’t get many words out. But I’d love to talk to her about how she handles negative reviews and expectations.

You suddenly find yourself recruited by the FEA and will now be working with the Variants on their missions. Which character do you think those in charge would pair you with to offset any weaknesses that exist in the two of you?

Maybe Tanner. I’m impatient and want to plan everything in advance. He’s funny and lighthearted and doesn’t take himself too seriously. I think he would help me to be more relaxed. And I would remind him of our job. hehe

What would Tessa say the events of Defector have taught her about herself? About Alec?

That she’s strong and can rely on herself. About Alec...well, THAT would be quite spoilery. Let’s just say that appearances can be deceiving.

In this second book Tessa learns that a number of people in her life are keeping secrets from her. What’s one small thing she’s never told anyone?

There are many things in Tessa’s past she’d rather not talk or think about, but one thing she never told anyone is that the first time her mother brought home a new boyfriend Tessa was excited because she thought he would make them a real family. But she quickly learned that the men in her mother’s life weren’t interested in family life.

Thanks so much for stopping by Susanne!

• • • • • • • • • • •

(releases June 26th from Razorbill)

Tessa has finally made peace with her life as a Variant. She and long-time love Alec are officially a couple, and for the first time, she has everything she wants.

But the air is tense at FEA headquarters. An agent has disappeared, and rogue variant organization Abel’s Army is likely the culprit.

When Tessa is summoned for her second mission, she is unexpectedly launched into a massive conspiracy. Her best friend Holly is kidnapped and Tessa knows it was meant to be her. But who is after her? And more importantly, why?

When the FEA’s efforts to rescue Holly don’t yield any results, Tessa takes matters into her own hands. Desperate to save her friend and uncover the mystery behind Abel’s Army, Tessa launches her own investigation—but nothing could prepare her for what she finds. Everyone in her life is harboring secrets: Alec, her estranged mother, even the father she never knew.

The truth will take her out on the road and out of her comfort zone, with danger lurking everywhere. Summoning all of her courage and strength, Tessa must decide who can be trusted and what is worth fighting for—even if it means going against the life she thought she wanted. Her final decision will leave readers breathless.

• • • • • • • • • • • 


Susanne Winnacker studied law before she became a full-time writer. She lives with her husband, a dog that looks like a sheep and three bunnies that have destroyed every piece of furniture she's ever owned in Germany. She loves coffee (in every shape and form), traveling and animals. When she isn't writing, you can usually find her in the kitchen, experimenting with new vegan dishes.

She blogs for The League of Extraordinary Writers.

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There will be a total of three winners for this giveaway, with two lucky people each winning a copy of Defector and one winning an audiobook of Impostor. Giveaway is international, please enter via the Rafflecopter form below!

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