Tuesday, May 31, 2016

That Time When Work Punched My Blog In The Face

Hey Everyone!

I'm just posting quickly today to say I'm extending the long weekend into most of this week because I'm still playing catch up from being out of town for BEA, and I'm struggling to keep up with both work and this blog at the moment. This is in no way a good-bye or precursor to a good-bye, just me needing a few extra days to get work done so I can get back to reading (I'm thoroughly enjoying The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes right now)! Look at me, adulting and things:) I have a fun giveaway planned for Friday, and then it will be back to normal with reviews and tours next week.

Thanks so much for your patience guys!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Welcome, Mya!

Happy Friday Everyone!

I talk about my dogs with some frequency on this blog, more so the past year given we've lost both boxers and gained two pit bulls in that time, and today I just wanted to do one more post to welcome our newest addition!

Mya is two years old (best guess), and had the great misfortune of being sold as a puppy to a dog fighter. As a result of being beaten nearly to death, she's wary of new people in general and absolutely terrified of men in particular. When we met her at her foster's home, she was a little cautious but warmed up to both me and my husband in no time, so we figured we were in relatively good shape. That was definitely a bit naive of us because we're new to rescue (Gracie was our first and she's quite possibly the most unflappable, well-adjusted dog ever), but the dog we met at the foster is not the same dog we brought home, as her new environment has triggered all the fear behaviors I'm sure she had when she was first rescued. She has a lot of trouble with sudden movements and skitters away in fear if either of us happens to have something in our hands, and it breaks my heart every time she does it.

Mya is proving to be a bigger challenge than we were honestly prepared for, but I know it's going to be an enormously rewarding experience to watch her come out of her shell and start to feel comfortable with us. We're going to have a bumpy road at times I'm sure, and I know Kevin and I will make mistakes (we already have) because she's the first abused dog we've welcomed into our home, but she's such a sweet girl and wants so desperately to please us. Sometimes her fear just gets the better of her, so "be patient" is our new mantra. We both know she's worth waiting for!

While she's still unsure about the two of us (but I think doing amazingly well considering everything she's been through), she and Gracie are becoming the best of friends which makes me absurdly happy. I know Gracie was content on her own, but she's a social butterfly for sure, and seeing the two of them doing zoomies and playing tug of war in the backyard all day has basically had me in ugly tears the past week and a half since Mya's been here. Mya also takes a lot of her cues from Gracie, which I think will go a long way in helping her settle in and feel safe.

Below are a few pictures! They're basically twins, but Mya is the one on the left below with less white on her face and floppy ears:)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Review: How The Duke Was Won

The Disgraceful Dukes #1
Lenora Bell
Historical Romance
384 pages
Available Now
Source: Finished copy from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
The pleasure of your company is requested at Warbury Park. Four lovely ladies will arrive… but only one can become a duchess.

James, the scandalously uncivilized Duke of Harland, requires a bride with a spotless reputation for a strictly business arrangement. Lust is prohibited and love is out of the question.

Four ladies. Three days. What could go wrong?

She is not like the others…

Charlene Beckett, the unacknowledged daughter of an earl and a courtesan, has just been offered a life-altering fortune to pose as her half-sister, Lady Dorothea, and win the duke’s proposal. All she must do is:

* Be the perfect English rose [Ha!]

* Breathe, smile, and curtsy in impossibly tight gowns [blast Lady Dorothea’s sylph-like figure]

* Charm and seduce a wild duke [without appearing to try]

* Keep said duke far, far from her heart [no matter how tempting]

When secrets are revealed and passion overwhelms, James must decide if the last lady he should want is really everything he needs. And Charlene must decide if the promise of a new life is worth risking everything . . . including her heart.

How the Duke Was Won is a gem of a historical romance, making us swoon and laugh our way through James and Charlene's matrimonial journey until we regrettably find ourselves turning the last page.

Romances involving a mistaken identity can often be a source of stress, causing us to be so focused on the impending reveal that it's hard to get caught up in the fledgling relationship, but Ms. Bell makes this familiar trope work oh-so well. Instead of posing as her half-sister for some sort of revenge or spy-based plot, Charlene simply seeks the financial means to save herself and her sister from the courtesan life awaiting them thanks to their mother. She bears no ill-will toward James, nor is she interested in keeping tabs on him to uncover his darkest secrets and blackmail him, he's simply a job for her and one she plans to execute to the best of her ability.

Of course things become infinitely more complicated the more time they spend together, Charlene finding in him someone she never expected in a wealthy duke with a terrible reputation. Their interactions bring both a smile to our lips and heat to our cheeks, Charlene often struggling to impersonate the epitome of refinement and Societal elegance and instead slipping and calling things as she sees them. Her fellow competitors for the title of duchess also add a great deal of humor to this story, with one in particular standing out so much that we can't help but hope she gets her own book in the not-too distant future.

Overall, How the Duke Was Won is engaging from beginning to end, the perfect blend of chemistry, intimacy, and emotional connection with a side of cute banter and laugh out loud moments.

Rating: 4.5/5

Find Lenora:

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 25, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: The Bone Witch

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!

The Bone Witch #1
Rin Chupeco
Young Adult/Fantasy-ish
Releases March 1, 2017 from Sourcebooks Fire

From Goodreads:

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha — one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.

I'm going to be honest here: I didn't even read the synopsis of this book before I made it into my WoW post for this week. I saw that gorgeous cover and my body involuntary made grabby hands. It's. So. PRETTY. I could ramble on about all the things that work for me with this cover, but I won't bore you with those details. Just know I hate the designer who did this a tiny bit because I want their talent for my very own. *stares at cover dreamily*

I read Rin Chupeco's The Girl from the Well last year and really enjoyed it, so I'm excited to dive into this one as well. Necromancy is typically something I avoid in the world of paranormal fiction (zombies freak me out), but I like the sound of Tea and the combination of necromancy and elemental magic. Also, this releases on my birthday next year, so I feel like it's meant to be!


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Review: Ruined

Ruined #1
Amy Tintera
Young Adult/Fantasy
368 pages
Available Now
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
A revenge that will consume her. A love that will ruin her.

Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war. She lacks the powers of her fellow Ruined. Worst of all, she witnessed her parents’ brutal murders and watched helplessly as her sister, Olivia, was kidnapped.

But because Em has nothing, she has nothing to lose. Driven by a blind desire for revenge, Em sets off on a dangerous journey to the enemy kingdom of Lera. Somewhere within Lera’s borders, Em hopes to find Olivia. But in order to find her, Em must infiltrate the royal family.

In a brilliant, elaborate plan of deception and murder, Em marries Prince Casimir, next in line to take Lera’s throne. If anyone in Lera discovers Em is not Casimir’s true betrothed, Em will be executed on the spot. But it’s the only way to salvage Em’s kingdom and what is left of her family.

Em is determined to succeed, but the closer she gets to the prince, the more she questions her mission. Em’s rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life—and her family—on the line, love could be Em’s deadliest mistake.

Ruined is a tale strong in story, with an easy flow that allows for the rapid turning of pages as we follow Em's journey to find her sister and unleash vengeance on those who murdered her parents.

Em, despite the need for revenge driving her initially and the ease with which she murders the young woman whose place she's taking, is a young woman with whom it's easy to settle in. She despises the royal family for systematically executing the Ruined and kidnapping her sister, but she easily keeps her rage in check and uses her time in the castle and with Cas wisely. She's also not so blinded by her hatred that she refuses to see the differences between Cas and his father, nor is she unable to acknowledge that neither side of their war has hands clean of blood. Her romance with Cas is thankfully insta-love free, an arranged marriage slowly shifting into a begrudging friendship and then finally genuine feelings, but we're spared the bold declarations of love that can often read as disingenuous.

While there's much to enjoy about this first installment, especially for those who just want to be entertained, many will likely take issue with the overall lack of world-building and history of the Ruined. We're given almost no backstory on Em's people other than fleeting glimpses here and there of an all-powerful queen who was a monster in the truest sense, and very little information on how the Ruined magic came to be, why no other race of people in this world possess any kind of magical abilities, or how the war between kingdoms started. Hopefully book two will delve deeper into Ruined history and highlight Em's mom in particular, as she was a special kind of nightmare who has the potential to be hugely memorable should we get to take a closer look at her.

Even with a distinct lack of history in this first book, there's still something deeply intriguing about Ruined, the crowns on both sides of the battle equally deserving of the title of villain, thereby ensuring we question who is and is not deserving of our loyalty throughout.

Story/Characters: 4/5
World-building/History: 3/5

Find Amy:

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 20, 2016

Friday Flourish: Elemental Assassin Coloring Bookmarks!

Happy Friday Everyone!

I don't know about you guys, but I'm very, very ready for the weekend. BEA last week was its usual whirlwind of awesome (a recap will be coming at some point), but it's exhausting, and because I have the worst luck ever when it comes to air travel, we were of course delayed in getting home. We got home late Saturday, and then on Sunday drove 6 hours to pick up Mya, the newest pit bull addition to our family. The drive was more than worth it as she and Gracie are becoming fast friends, but all this week I've had trouble staying up past 9. *blinks wearily*

But enough about being tired! It's Friday and I have a very different kind of Flourish post to share with you today. While book covers are my primary focus, I do occasionally get design requests for related things like bookmarks, teaser quotes and the like, so when Jennifer Estep (one of my longtime favorite authors) got in touch about doing a coloring bookmark for her outstanding Elemental Assassin series, I jumped at the chance to do something entirely new to me.

Adult coloring books are all the rage at the moment (I need more in my life!), so I loved the idea of a coloring bookmark. Heroine and all-around badass Gin runs a restaurant called the Pork Pit when she's not putting her silverstone knives to good use, so Jennifer thought it might be fun to design something around all the mouthwatering comfort foods Gin dishes up in each book. On the back we brought in some of the Elemental Assassin branding elements, with Gin's spider rune and her classic tagline as the focal points. I hope you guys love how they turned out!



Want an Elemental Assassin coloring bookmark of your very own? Here's how you can get one:
Get your swag on! For 2-3 stamps, Let's Talk Promotions will stuff an envelope full of Jennifer Estep swag so you can keep some swag and give away some to interested parties. Just send a self-address stamped envelope with two stamps on it to Let's Talk Promotions, P.O. Box 241721, Milwaukee, WI 53224 and mark "Jennifer Estep" on your envelope. Currently, LTP has swag for Gin Blanco and the Elemental Assassin series.

Let's Talk Promotions also offers swag for fantasy author Faith Hunter. If you want some of Faith's swag, follow the instructions above and mark "Faith Hunter" on your envelope. Cheers!

Find Jennifer:

You can check out more of my design work at Seedlings Design Studio 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Crown's Game Blog Tour: Playlist + Giveaway!


I'm absurdly excited today to be a part of the promotional tour for The Crown's Game, the debut novel from author Evelyn Skye! I feel like you guys might be tired of me going on and on about my love for YA Fantasy, but I can't help it. This is one of my most anticipated reads of the year, and I can't wait to dive in. To help you guys get in the right mood for this tale of magic, secrets and of course thrones, Evelyn was so nice as to put together a playlist. I hope you guys enjoy, and be sure and check out the bottom of the post for all the details on a fantastic giveaway!


“All or Nothing” – audiomachine

“Centuries” – FallOut Boy

“What You Want” – Evanescence

“Long Way Down” – Robert DeLong

“Nightlight” – Silversun Pickups

“The Rat” – The Walkmen

“All the Right Places” – OneRepublic

“All of the Stars” – Ed Sheeran

“Paralyzed” – Against the Current

“Black Sun” – Death Cab for Cutie

“I Don’t Love You” – My Chemical Romance

“In the End” – Linkin Park

“The Only Exception” – Paramore

“Just Watch the Fireworks” – Jimmy Eat World

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •


Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love... or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear... the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.


• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •


Evelyn Skye was once offered a job by the C.I.A., she not-so- secretly wishes she was on “So You Think You Can Dance” and if you challenge her to a pizza-eating contest, she guarantees she will win. When she isn't writing, Evelyn can be found chasing her daughter on the playground or sitting on the couch, immersed in a good book and eating way too many cookies. THE CROWN’S GAME is her first novel. Evelyn can be found online at www.evelynskye.com and on Twitter @EvelynSkyeYA.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •


One lucky winner will receive a custom THE CROWN'S GAME necklace (similar to the photo above) made by Tales of a Ravenous Reader. Please fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter. Giveaway is open to US addresses only. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

5/9/2016- Dark Faerie TalesGuest Post 
5/10/2016- Owl Always Be ReadingGuest Post 
5/11/2016- 125PagesReview 
5/12/2016- A Backwards StoryReview 
5/13/2016- Two Chicks on BooksGuest Post
5/16/2016- The Reader LinesReview
5/17/2016- Once Upon a TwilightGuest Post
5/18/2016- That Artsy Reader GirlReview
5/19/2016- Supernatural SnarkGuest Post
5/20/2016- Mundie MomsReview

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Frostblood

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!

Frostblood Saga #1
Elly Blake
Young Adult/Fantasy
Releases January 2017 from Little, Brown

From Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a fireblood who must hide her powers of heat and flame from the cruel frostblood ruling class that wants to destroy all that are left of her kind. So when her mother is killed for protecting her and rebel frostbloods demand her help to kill their rampaging king, she agrees. But Ruby's powers are unpredictable, and she's not sure she's willing to let the rebels and an infuriating (yet irresistible) young man called Arcus use her as their weapon. All she wants is revenge, but before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to take part in the king's tournaments that pit fireblood prisoners against frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her and from the icy young man she has come to love.

Fast-paced and compelling, Frostblood is the first in a page-turning new young adult three-book series about a world where flame and ice are mortal enemies—but together create a power that could change everything.

You guys already know how much I love YA fantasy, so desperately wanting this one is pretty much a given. I really like how this has a paranormal gladiator-type quality to it, I'm always a sucker for stories that pit one supernatural gift against another. It makes me think long and hard about which gift I would want if I lived in that world. Right now I'm leaning toward ice because I feel like I would do less damage day to day with that ability, but I'd still be plenty badass when necessary. Definitely looking forward to seeing how Ruby handles her fire though!


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Cathy Reviews: No Comfort for the Lost

My mother-law-Cathy is back with another review today! With BEA all last week, I'm of course behind on my reading, so she stepped up once again. I fail. :( Thanks so much Cathy!

Mystery of Old San Francisco #1
Nancy Herriman
384 pages
Available Now
Source: Bought

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
In this historical mystery series, a courageous nurse and a war-scarred police detective in 1860s San Francisco champion the down-trodden and fight for justice …

After serving as a nurse in the Crimea, British-born Celia Davies left her privileged family for an impulsive marriage to a handsome Irishman. Patrick brought her to San Francisco’s bustling shores but then disappeared and is now presumed dead.  Determined to carry on, Celia partnered with her half-Chinese cousin Barbara and her opinionated housekeeper Addie to open a free medical clinic for women who have nowhere else to turn. But Celia’s carefully constructed peace crumbles when one of her Chinese patients is found brutally murdered…and Celia’s hotheaded brother-in-law stands accused of the crime.

A veteran of America’s civil war, detective Nicholas Greaves is intent on discovering the killer of the girl, whose ethnicity and gender render her as powerless in death as they did in life. Nicholas’s efforts are complicated by Celia, who has a knack for walking into dangerous situations that may lead to answers…or get them both killed.  For as their inquiries take them from Chinatown’s squalid back alleys to the Barbary Coast’s violent shipping docks to the city’s gilded parlors, Celia and Nicholas begin to suspect that someone very close to them holds the key to a murderous conspiracy…

My reading weaknesses are mysteries and historical fiction, so No Comfort for the Lost does a marvelous job of sating both of these loves. This is the first in a series and is set in the late 1800's in San Francisco. Ms. Herriman has a gift for painting an accurate and descriptive picture of the era. We can easily place ourselves into this setting.

Celia is a nurse and active in bettering the lives of Chinese prostitutes. A very courageous and forward-thinking venture in those times. When a friend is murdered, Celia is compelled to investigate. She steps on lots of toes including those of Detective Nick Greaves. At first the duo are not on the best of terms, but there is a warming up and a collaboration becomes apparent.

This is a well-conceived mystery because of the extensive research that must have been done to make the plot so convincing. Much of the mystery and investigation touches on actual events of the times.  The characters are fully fleshed out and we are drawn to them and care about their well being. We are rewarded in embracing the characters because we know we will meet them again in the next mystery.

On a personal side note, Ms. Herriman lives in our hometown and she attended our book club the evening we were discussing this novel. It was so much fun and interesting to get an inside look into this story and the author.

Rating: 4/5

Find Nancy:

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

BEA 2016!

Hey Everyone!

I'm on my way to Chicago to attend BookExpo America, so posts will be light this week. This is my 6th year attending, but the first year it's been in the Windy City, so I'm looking forward to exploring a new place. I know I said this last week when I listed my top 3 BEA picks, but I'm really, REALLY excited about the fact that the hotel and convention center are connected. No walking (and sweating) down dirty NYC streets with my rolling suitcase. WOO HOO!

Also? Room service. It's calling to me. Our normal hotel in NYC is closer to Times Square than the Javits Center, so we almost always go out to dinner. Since the Hyatt is connected to the convention center, it's a little more out of the way and there aren't as many restaurants within in walking distance, which means room service is likely. Yessssssssss. It's already been established that I'm lazy you guys, so room service is basically heaven to me. My mom and mother in law are accompanying me once again, so it's going to be books, family, and room service all the way. Best. Trip. Ever:)

Talk to you next week!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Children's Book Week: Celebrating Graphic Novels with Sam Bosma!


Today I'm excited to be a part of a very special tour celebrating Children's Book Week, one where each blog features a fun interview with a graphic novelist! Each interview is conducted by Hippopotamister author John Patrick Green, and he's here at Supernatural Snark talking to Sam Bosma about his inspiration, sports and of course, wizardry. No interview is complete without wizarding questions. Obviously. Take it away John and Sam!

Your graphic novel series, Fantasy Sports, combines competitive sports like baseball and volleyball with spells and magic. Did you A) play a lot of sports as a child, and B) are you a wizard?

I did play sports as a child! I was on the swim team, played baseball and basketball for a few years, and tried my hand at soccer as well. I was just outrageously average at all of those things that, when I started getting older and the sports became more competitive, I couldn’t really keep up. I rode the bench for awhile, where I had plenty of time to think about wizards and dragons and stuff. Never did become a wizard, but maybe those powers manifest in middle age. Fingers crossed!

I'm a huge fan of Steven Universe, which you draw backgrounds for. How does working on an animation project with other writers and artists compare to making your own comics?

Making my own comics will always be number one. I love working on comics because I get to do the whole thing, every part, from A-Z. In animation, it’s more like I’m working on A, while someone else is working on B-Z, while sometimes maybe I’ll help out on M, R, and X. It’s not the same, having to rejigger your mind to be happy working on just part of the whole. In comics, because I write them as well, I create my own problems and then I solve them. In animation (and other fields of illustration), someone else creates the problems and I help to solve them. It’s still a process I enjoy, but it’s not quite as satisfying as working on my own stuff.

Making a graphic novel has a lot of stages, like brainstorming, doodling, or thumbnailing, and of course penciling, inking, and coloring. What's your favorite part of the process? Do you have a least-favorite part?

My favorite part is definitely the inking part. That’s where all of my story decisions have already been made and I can just draw and draw. That’s where I feel most comfortable and most confident. I like really any of the stages where I’m drawing, since that’s what first drew me into making comics. The writing is nice, but I still have a long way to go before that becomes natural for me. I’m a very mechanical writer.

My LEAST favorite part is definitely coloring. It’s so hard for me and takes the longest. It’s become a little easier over time, but I still spend more time floundering during that part than I do in any other part of the process.

What are some of your childhood influences, and where do you get your inspirations today?

I didn’t read a lot of comics as a kid – I didn’t really know anything about them aside from Spawn or Venom or any of the other SuperCool anti-heroes of 90’s. I did, however, watch a lot of cartoons. I really loved the RankinBass animated movies like The Last Unicorn and The Hobbit – both movies that were at turns funny and scary for a kid. I think those helped influence the tone I want to shoot for in comics. Possibly the most formative cartoon for me, though, was a VHS tape I had called Warriors of the Wind, which I would later learn was a butchered American version of Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. In the US version I had, whose cover featured a Pegasus, a laser-shooting robot, and a Luke Skywalker lookalike, the names were all changed and about 30 minutes were cut. I loved it so, so much.

Today, I cull most of my inspiration from books. I read a lot — like, a lot a lot. Maybe 40 books a year, mostly fantasy and non-fiction. My favorite authors are Ursula LeGuin and Gene Wolfe, who are both sci-fi/fantasy authors of very different colors, but both write great fantasy worlds with really unique viewpoints.

What are other topics you're interesting in covering with comics? Since you've combined "fantasy" with "sports," what sort of combination should we expect from you next?

Fantasy will likely be the constant in my work for a good long while. It’s what I’m interested in drawing, and so I must find new ways of exploring that. Fantasy Sports will continue for a little while, but I’m working on something of a Western in addition. Dusty frontier towns, cowboys, mesas, duels, the whole thing. But, you know, with swords and stuff.

If you couldn't be a cartoonist, what would you be?


• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 


Wiz and Mug are back in action, and the action this time goes by the name of BEACH VOLLEYBALL!

Wiz and Mug's adventures continue when a misunderstood teleportation spell accidentally drops them off in a ruined beach town. When the town's amphibious inhabitants confront Wiz and Mug with the revelation that the United Order of Mages may not be exactly what it seems, a new tournament begins!

In this sequel to the 2015 best-selling graphic novel, we’ll also find out where young Wiz’s story began—and if you were to find out it was on a baseball diamond, would you really be surprised?

• • • • • • • • • • • • • •


Sam Bosma was born in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, but lived most of his life in suburban Pennsylvania. Sam relocated to Baltimore, Maryland to attend the Maryland Institute College of Art, where he subsequently taught in the Illustration department from 2011 to 2013. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Known primarily for his award-winning work in the illustration industry, Fantasy Sports #1 was his debut graphic novel. Sam loves basketball, comedy podcasts, roleplaying games, smoothies, and Ken Burns documentaries. His greatest regret is that he's never dunked on anyone.

Be sure and follow along with the rest of the tour!

Monday, May 2ndForever YA featuring Gene Luen Yang

Monday, May 2nd  – Read Write Love featuring Lucas Turnbloom

Monday, May 2ndKid Lit Frenzy featuring Kory Merritt

Tuesday, May 3rdSharp Read featuring Ryan North

Tuesday, May 3rdTeen Lit Rocks featuring MK Reed

Wednesday, May 4thLove is Not a Triangle featuring Chris Schweizer

Wednesday, May 4thSLJ Good Comics for Kids featuring Victoria Jamieson

Thursday, May 5thThe Book Wars featuring Judd Winick

Thursday, May 5thSLJ Fuse #8 featuring Eric Colossal

Friday, May 6thSLJ Scope Notes featuring Nathan Hale

Friday, May 6thThe Book Rat featuring Faith Erin Hicks

Saturday, May 7thYA Bibliophile featuring Mike Maihack

Saturday, May 7thSupernatural Snark featuring Sam Bosma

Sunday, May 8thCharlotte’s Library featuring Maris Wicks

Sunday, May 8thThe Roarbots featuring Raina Telgemeier

Friday, May 6, 2016

Guest Post: Catherine Bybee + Doing It Over

Happy Friday Everyone! Today I have a very special guest post from author Catherine Bybee as part of the promotional tour for her latest contemporary romance release, Doing it Over. You guys know there's never a time I'm not in the mood for a good romance, so I'm thrilled to welcome Catherine back to the blog. She's here to share a little bit about Doing It Over and life during her high school years, so I hope you guys enjoy and add this one to your lists!

Jumping off a new series based on three high school besties, was both cathartic and fun. It helps that I have two teenage children either in high school, or just out of high school sparking my muse.

So when asked…what was my worst high school experience, and one that truly shaped my life…this is what I came up with:

I didn’t have a lot growing up. My mom fell in and out of love a lot, dragging her children along for the ride. My older siblings dropped out of school leaving me to set the example of doing it right. I was determined to graduate and go on to college. I learned early on that a university was out of the question. My grades weren’t such that I could compete on that level to get in, and money wasn’t there at all.

I worked as a waitress every day I could and still found time for after school plays and homework. Not that I gave much attention to the latter, but I did manage to pull halfway decent grades. My senior year in high school offered me the lead in two plays, which thrilled and challenged me. I was skating toward the finish line with the couple of academic classes I needed and the rest revolving around my passion. Theater and choir. I’d made the jazz choir, was vice president of the drama club…and lets not forget the lead roles of Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker and Marty in the musical Grease.

Then… during the Christmas break, my mother came home to the apartment she was renting, and told me we were being evicted. She was moving in with her friend ‘Stoney’… name given for obvious reasons…and I should find a place to live.

Holy Shit! 

Yeah, that isn’t made up folks. I was six months away from graduating high school, 17 years old…and being told to ‘figure it out’.

I did!

I dropped out of all my fun classes, acting, directing, choir…gone were the after school roles in the plays. I added classes like computers…remember MS DOS?  I took a ten key class, and left school around noon to work so I could pay my way.  I had two families over the next six months take me in and offer a room. I paid them rent…not a lot, but something. I often only came to their homes to sleep.

I was on my own!

So there you go… the hardest part of my high school years.
The drive and determination I learned during that time has sat with me my whole life. But boy it sucked at the time!

Happy Reading
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •


One small town. Three close friends. True love to last a lifetime.

Voted Most Likely to Succeed, Melanie Bartlett ended up anything but. The down-on-her-luck single mom wants a complete do-over—is that too much to ask? With her family long gone from River Bend, strong, independent Mel is as surprised as anyone to end up in the quaint small town she once called home. But with her friends, Jo and Zoe, by her side, and a comfortable room at Miss Gina’s quirky bed-and-breakfast, she just might have turned the corner on a new life.

Wyatt Gibson never liked the big city. River Bend suits the ruggedly handsome builder just fine. Wyatt knows he’s home, even if that means being charmed by the appearance of Melanie and her spunky, adorable daughter. Is Wyatt’s calm devotion—even amid a coming storm—enough to convince Mel she may have found a home to call her own, a family that never leaves, and a true love to last a lifetime?

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •


New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bybee was raised in Washington State, but after graduating high school, she moved to Southern California in hopes of becoming a movie star. After growing bored with waiting tables, she returned to school and became a registered nurse, spending most of her career in urban emergency rooms. She now writes full-time and has penned the Weekday Brides Series and the Not Quite Series. Bybee lives with her two teenage sons in Southern California.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Review: Ride Hard

Raven Riders #1
Laura Kaye
Contemporary MC Romance
320 pages
Available Now
Source: eARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Brotherhood. Club. Family.

They live and ride by their own rules.

These are the Raven Riders . . .

Raven Riders Motorcycle Club President Dare Kenyon rides hard and values loyalty above all else. He’ll do anything to protect the brotherhood of bikers—the only family he’s got—as well as those who can’t defend themselves. So when mistrustful Haven Randall lands on the club’s doorstep scared that she’s being hunted, Dare takes her in, swears to keep her safe, and pushes to learn the secrets overshadowing her pretty smile.

Haven fled from years of abuse at the hands of her criminal father and is suspicious of any man’s promises, including those of the darkly sexy and overwhelmingly intense Ravens’ leader. But as the powerful attraction between them flares to life, Dare pushes her boundaries and tempts her to want things she never thought she could.

The past never dies without a fight, but Dare Kenyon’s never backed down before . . .

Ride Hard is a fast-paced, swoon-worthy start to this series, giving us a delightfully mismatched leading couple with a rough and tumble hero and a sweet-as-pie heroine more than a decade his junior. Though they're miles apart in age and personality, unfortunate life experiences bring them together, and the romance that develops between them has us setting this one on that special shelf that houses all the books we plan to read over and over again.

Though Haven is initially as timid as they come thanks to an abusive father and life as part of a criminal organization, she never comes across as weak, merely a young woman attempting to survive in a potentially threatening environment the only way she knows how. She knows she's letting fear drive her in the beginning, and though she gets mad at herself for it, she still can't quite bring herself to be the life of the party the way her best friend Cora is. Slowly but surely however, we see her begin to find herself thanks to her new environment and the camaraderie with many of the Raven Riders, and by the end she has a spine of steel that causes more than one leather-clad biker to take a step back and give her space.

Dare is just the right amount of bad boy, running his MC as above board as possible while still being able to help those the law can't, giving a little kiss of danger along with our heart of gold. He's incredibly patient with Haven as she tries to figure herself out, never trying to be the missing piece that suddenly makes her whole, but rather content to be by her side as she completes herself and then shares her newfound wholeness with him.

As is always the case with a romance by Ms. Kaye, Haven and Dare sizzle throughout, but the heat is more than backed up by emotional substance. Dare and Haven are also surrounded by an outstanding cast of characters, many of whom are sure to get their own stories in future books, and I for one can't wait to dive back into this world with another one of the Raven Riders!

Rating: 4/5

Find Laura:

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 4, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: BEA Edition!

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!

Six of Crows #2
Leigh Bardugo
Young Adult/Fantasy
Releases September 27th from Henry Holt

From Goodreads:

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.

Kendare Blake
Young Adult/Fantasy
Releases September 20th from Harper Teen

From Goodreads:

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose...it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown.

Stephanie Garber
Young Adult/Fantasy
Releases January 2017 from Flatiron Books

From Goodreads:

Before you enter the world of Caraval, you must remember that it’s all a game . . .

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their ruthless father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the legendary, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

Then, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation to Caraval finally arrives. So, Tella enlists a mysterious sailor’s help to whisk Scarlett away to this year’s show. But as soon as the trio arrives, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nonetheless soon becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with her sister, with Legend, and with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

Next week is BookExpo America, an event I look forward to each and every year. This year it's moving to Chicago which I'm excited about because the hotel and convention center are connected (WIN!!!!) and I don't have to walk 11 blocks with a rolling suitcase full of books. I know, I know, first world problems and woe is me ;-) But you guys, it's a long walk and I'm lazy. Too lazy to be walking 11 NYC blocks twice a day. *starts sweating just thinking about it*

There are about 10 books I'm hugely excited for this year, but the above three are the ones I'm absolutely desperate to get my hands on. As you can see, I have a YA fantasy-themed BEA wishlist. I can't help it. YA fantasy just makes me happy, and if I manage to get in line early enough to get copies of these, I will simply wander the booths the rest of the day petting them and calling them My Preciousssss.

*puts on BEA game face*