Friday, January 30, 2015

Chaos Blog Tour: Interview with Lanie Bross

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming author Lanie Bross back to the blog as part of the promotional tour for her newest paranormal young adult release, Chaos. Chaos is the second book in her Fates series, and Lanie was nice enough to answer a few questions for me about what this story holds in store for Corinthe, Luc and company. I hope you all enjoy the interview!

If time started shifting and stuttering the way it does in Chaos and you found yourself able to cross into the world of one other piece of fiction, what world would you most want to spend time in?
This is going to sound crazy, but I would love to jump into a post apocalyptic world. Preferably one with zombies that I could fight!
What was the most challenging aspect of weaving together not one, but two romances in this second installment?
The romance weaving wasn’t that difficult, it was keeping track of where everyone was that proved to be the most challenging. There was not a linear progression in Jas and Fords story, so making sure that each time they came together, I knew “where” they were in their relationship was difficult! Luc and Corinthe were much easier, as their storyline followed a very specific path this time.
As an older brother, Luc probably has an opinion on the type of guy he wants his little sister Jasmine to to end up with. What are a few of the words he might use to describe Ford? 
Arrogant. Dangerous. Not good enough. (I think that Ford and Luc are a lot alike in their desire to protect the people they care about, though.)
If Luc or Jasmine had been warned that their lives would soon be turned upside down, would either of them have taken steps to change their fates or would they have let things unfold as they were supposed to?
I think Luc might have fought against it. He had a plan for his future and fought really hard for it. Jas on the other hand was a free spirit. She would welcome the unknown and be open to whatever the universe wanted to give her.
How might the Luc at the end of Chaos describe the Luc at the very beginning of Fates? Is there any one aspect of his life then and the young man he was before his entire world changed that he misses on occasion?
Wow, that’s a pretty deep question! I think the Luc now would miss the normalcy of his world a little. When he was just Luc and he hung out with friends and played soccer and thought about college. Now he is aware of this huge universe where other worlds exist and he’s seen and done things that should be impossible, and he can’t ever un-know it. But I don’t think he’d go back, even with everything that happened!

*Jenny nods sagely* Yes. I'm very deep. It's intimidating and awe-inspiring 
to be sure ;-)

• • • • • • • • • • • •


Can they change their destiny?

They kissed only once—and it was electric, like the air before a storm. But Corinthe and Luc broke the rules of the universe, and learned too late that their love would have consequences. In the dizzying aftermath, Luc refuses to accept his destiny—not if it means a life without Corinthe. As a fire rages through the Crossroads that connect worlds, Luc must find a way to turn back time and save Corinthe once and for all.

Meanwhile, Luc's 15-year-old sister Jasmine starts to realize things are not as they seem when time begins stuttering, sending her everyday life in San Francisco spinning into chaos. She’s thrown into the path of Ford, a troubled soul with a secret past, who helps her unravel the mysterious threads that connect them all.

Two breathtaking romances interweave across time in this story of what lies on the other side of Fate, as both Jas and Luc discover the incredible lengths they will go for love.

• • • • • • • • • • • 


Lanie Bross was born in a small town in Maine, where she spent the next 18 years dreaming of bigger places. After exploring city life, she and her husband and two young sons ended up coming right back to the wilds of Maine where they now live just one house down from where she grew up. Fate, perhaps? She loves chasing around her rambunctious kids, playing tug-o-war with her 95 pound Lab, and writing for Young Adults. Chaos is the sequel to Fates.  

Thursday, January 29, 2015

ALA + Chicago Bound!

Today I'm headed to Chicago to attend my very first ALA conference. I've been to BEA a number of times and have heard from other bloggers that ALA (at least ALA Midwinter) is a bit lower key than the BEA monster, so I'm excited to see how the two compare. I do have one bone to pick already with the ALA organizers however, and it's with the cities they choose for their conferences.

I love Chicago, it's an amazing city, but I do NOT love Chicago in Jan/Feb and I love traveling in Jan/Feb even less. Why, oh why, is ALA Midwinter mostly in cities with notoriously harsh winters (I'm looking at you Philadelphia and Boston) while regular
ALA, in June, is in beautifully warm cities like San Francisco? I propose a switch
ALA team :)

Despite my lack of enthusiasm for traveling to Chicago and back, I'm greatly looking forward to the event itself and I hope I to see some of you there!

I'll have an interview with Lanie Bross about her newest release Chaos on the blog tomorrow so be sure and check that out, and then I'll be returning on Tuesday with a review of a graphic novel all about Ares and his fellow Olympian gods.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Grave Phantoms

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!

Roaring Twenties #2
Jenn Bennett
Historical/Paranormal Romance
Releases May 5th from Berkley

From Goodreads:

Feisty flapper Astrid Magnusson is home from college and yearning for the one thing that’s always been off limits: Bo Yeung, her notorious bootlegging brother’s second-in-command. Unfortunately her dream of an easy reunion proves difficult after a violent storm sends a mysterious yacht crashing into the Magnussons’ docks. What’s worse, the boat disappeared a year ago, and the survivors are acting strangely…

Bo has worked with the Magnusson family for years, doing whatever is needed, including keeping his boss’s younger sister out of trouble—and his hands to himself. Of course, that isn’t so easy after Astrid has a haunting vision about the yacht’s disappearance, plunging them into an underground world of old money and dark magic. Danger will drive them closer together, but surviving their own forbidden feelings could be the bigger risk.

I love a when a series introduces a new couple in each installment (mostly because I crave an HEA every time, and with a series that focuses on the same set of characters book to book, I'm almost always guaranteed some kind of cliffhanger or heartbreak at the end of every installment), particularly when I meet characters in the first book whom I know will be getting their own story down the line. Such was the case with Astrid and Bo, two people who had a great deal of chemistry and tension between them in books one and two, and I've been waiting for their story from the moment they first appeared on page.

Plus, this type of forbidden romance–where two people have known each other for a very long time and have feelings they think they shouldn't due to relationships with friends or family–is the kind of temptation I simply can't resist. In May, Astrid and Bo will most definitely be in my hot little hands!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Review: The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy

Smythe-Smith Quartet #4
Julia Quinn
Historical Romance
384 pages
Available Now
Source: eARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Sir Richard Kenworthy has less than a month to find a bride. He knows he can't be too picky, but when he sees Iris Smythe-Smith hiding behind her cello at her family's infamous musicale, he thinks he might have struck gold. She's the type of girl you don't notice until the second—or third—look, but there's something about her, something simmering under the surface, and he knows she's the one.

Iris Smythe–Smith is used to being underestimated. With her pale hair and quiet, sly wit she tends to blend into the background, and she likes it that way. So when Richard Kenworthy demands an introduction, she is suspicious. He flirts, he charms, he gives every impression of a man falling in love, but she can't quite believe it's all true. When his proposal of marriage turns into a compromising position that forces the issue, she can't help thinking that he's hiding something . . . even as her heart tells her to say yes.

The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy is yet another gem from Ms. Quinn, drawing us right back into this world on the evening of a now-infamous Smythe-Smith musicale, an event that never fails to make us cry with laughter. This latest musical adventure is as hilarious as expected; missed cues, small children playing the roles of multiple barnyard animals, and a unicorn horn affixment issue combining to ensure any chance we had of only reading a few chapters before bed goes right out the window. Any reader picking up a Julia Quinn novel should prepare themselves to be absolutely delighted with not only the humor, but also the beautifully emotional romance as well, both Iris and Richard characters who easily make the list of favorite couples.

Iris is a product of the time period in which she lives yet also years ahead of it, a smart mouth and quick wit something she employs regularly when in the company of friends and family alone. With Richard she plays the role of a more demure young woman, her inexperience with romantic situations keeping her quiet when she knows something between them is amiss, but even when she’s at her most hesitant and wary, she still allows her personality to shine through and gives Richard a bit of sass. Just when we reach the point where everything in us demands that Iris finally give voice to all that’s worrying her, she steps up and does just that, letting Richard see her hurt, anger, and sense of betrayal. She never seeks to hurt him in return though, instead maintaining a more than appropriate level of ire without striking out him and making the situation between them worse.

Richard, for his part, is someone we’re hesitant to fully support in the beginning knowing he’s after Iris out of necessity rather than want, but over the course of the book he proves himself to be genuine in his affection. He’s laughably terrible at communicating however, keeping Iris in the dark as to his physical–and later emotional–reaction to her, which leaves her little choice but to assume his interest in her does not extend to the bedroom. Much like Iris though, when it comes time for him to step up and let her see the truth of all that he’s been hiding, he does so, trying with sincerity to make amends for the many mistakes he’s made along the way.

Overall The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy, in a way quite opposite from the fine ladies that play in the Smythe-Smith musicale, hits every romantic note beautifully, leaving us with a broad smile and a warm sense of satisfaction.

Rating: 4/5

Find Julia:

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.

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Originals Blog Tour + Giveaway

Today I'm hugely excited to be a part of the promotional tour for The Originals: The Rise, a book which includes three never-before-released prequel stories featuring The Original vampire family. For those of you who don't know, The Originals is a spin-off of the hit TV show The Vampire Diaries, and die-hard vampire lover that I am, a show I can't wait to binge watch. Following the tour has further ratcheted up my anticipation of meeting the members of this family and getting their story from the very beginning, but I have to admit that Klaus is of particular interest to me. It couldn't have worked out better then that today's teaser quote just happened to be from him:

I can't say I know to whom he's currently speaking, but in my imagination it's me (obviously) and this is his way of professing his undying love. Perhaps slightly delusional on my part, but I'm going with it anyway. I hope you all get a chance to check out both this book and the show itself, and don't forget to check the bottom of the post for all the details on a fabulous giveaway!

• • • • • • • • • • • 

(releases January 27th from Harlequin)

Family is power. The Original vampire family swore it to each other a thousand years ago. They pledged to remain together always and forever. But even when you're immortal, promises are hard to keep.

Arriving in New Orleans in 1722, Original vampire siblings Klaus, Elijah and Rebekah Mikaelson believe they've escaped their dangerous past. But the city is lawless, a haven for witches and werewolves unwilling to share territory. The siblings are at their mercy…especially after Klaus meets the beautiful and mysterious Vivianne. Her impending marriage is key to ending the war between the supernatural factions—and Klaus's attraction to her could destroy the uneasy alliance. As Elijah works toward securing a piece of the city for his family, and Rebekah fights her unexpected feelings for a French captain, will Klaus's volatile desires bring their world crashing down—and tear them apart for good?

• • • • • • • • • • • •


Julie Plec is the co-creator & executive producer of The Vampire Diaries & the creator of The Vampire Diaries spin-off, The Originals. Plec got her start as a writer and producer on the ABC Family series Kyle XY. She also collaborated on the CW drama The Tomorrow People. Her screenplay adaptation The Tiger’s Curse is in development at Paramount, and she will produce the feature @emma with Darko Entertainment. Past feature production credits include Scream 2 and Scream 3.

• • • • • • • • • • • •


15 prize packs including: A copy of The Originals: The Rise and a copy of The Originals season 1 on DVD.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to check out all the blogs on this tour for more teasers, reviews and spotlights!

This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Big Love Letter Event 2015

Last year the wonderful Danny from Bewitched Bookworms and I hosted an event that ran the month of February wherein we celebrated our obsession with all things romance, and I'm beyond excited to announce that we're once again hosting the event this year! I think I summed the event up pretty well in last year's introductory post, so instead of reinventing the wheel, I'm just going paste that intro below. Laziness, thy name is Jenny.

In celebration of Valentine's Day (but really, more in celebration of how much Danny and I love to swoon over sexy bad boys and adorable good guys), we've asked some of our very favorite authors to write love letters that will appear on our blogs every Friday during the month of February. We proposed letters written from one character to another, from author to character, character to readers, or anything else the authors might be inspired to write that would help us honor our love of love, and the result is something truly fantastic.

Be sure and check both here and Bewitched Bookworms every Friday as we'll be featuring letters from different authors on each blog, and throughout the event we'll also be hosting a fabulous giveaway, so I hope you guys are as excited about this as we are!

The response we received last year was so enthusiastic that we decided to extend the event from 4 weeks to 6, so every Friday from February 6th to March 13th both Danny and I will be posting various types of love letters on our blogs. We have a truly outstanding lineup this year, so we can't wait to kick things off in a couple weeks! You can expect to see letters from the following:

Kristen Simmons will get things rolling here at Supernatural Snark on the 6th, so I hope you'll all stop by to see what she has in store! You don't want to miss it:)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Review: Hero

Samantha Young
Contemporary Romance
416 pages
Available February 3rd
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Alexa Holland’s father was her hero—until her shocking discovery that her mother and she weren’t his only family. Ever since, Alexa has worked to turn her life in a different direction and forge her own identity outside of his terrible secrets. But when she meets a man who’s as damaged by her father’s mistakes as she is, Alexa must help him.

Caine Carraway wants nothing to do with Alexa’s efforts at redemption, but it’s not so easy to push her away. Determined to make her hate him, he brings her to the edge of her patience and waits for her to walk away. But his actions only draw them together and, despite the odds, they begin an intense and explosive affair.

Only Caine knows he can never be the white knight that Alexa has always longed for. And when they’re on the precipice of danger, he finds he’ll do anything to protect either one of them from being hurt again....

Hero is everything there is to love about a Samantha Young story, an emotionally complex romance wreaking havoc on our equilibrium chapter to chapter without ever pushing us past the point where things between the two of them are anything other than believable and genuine. The relationship between Alexa and Caine is of the push/pull variety–something that typically gets old quickly–but Ms. Young gives us in Lexie someone who acts as a balm to any irritation that attempts to flare up when Caine tries to take the easy way out by running away. Both of them are bruised by a tragic shared history, and while Caine is brooding, beautiful and incredibly sexy when he wants to be, it's Lexie who wins our hearts, showing herself to be stronger than a past doing everything in its power to weigh her down.

The push and pull nature of the romance is not the only element that would normally be a source of frustration, as at Caine's suggestion we also have a no-strings attached sexual setup. This type of agreement almost always causes us to shake our heads in dismay, wondering how anyone could honestly believe they'd be able to remain emotionally uninvolved for the duration of their intimacy, but again Ms. Young surprises us with Lexie. Lexie agrees to no-strings, but she does so completely free of the delusion that they'll both be able to keep things strictly on the surface. Instead, she enters into things with Caine already well aware feelings on her part are involved, but she remains hopeful that if she's both stubborn and persistent enough, she'll be able to get him to see what's between them.

Lexie is gorgeously strong in a way Caine isn't for nearly the entirety of the book, someone who at every opportunity tells it like it is and refuses to bury her feelings under a mask of indifference, even though down that road lies the safety of artifice. When Caine does that very thing, she calls him on it, just as she does when his words turn mocking or cruel, never allowing herself to be someone he walks all over due to his power and wealth. While Caine has moments when we want nothing more than for Lexie to walk away with her head held high, we have the benefit of seeing the man he is through Lexie's eyes, and the strength of her conviction where he's concerned casts him in a favorable light when, without her, he would more than likely be wreathed in shadow.

Overall, Hero is a tension-filled romance from beginning to end, but Lexie's spine of steel bolsters us as we follow her in her pursuit of the man she knows Caine is capable of being, and we can do nothing but smile as she wages an epic battle to bring down his walls.

Rating: 4/5

Find Samantha:

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, January 21, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Hidden Huntress

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 Malediction Trilogy #2
Danielle L. Jensen
Young Adult/Fantasy
Releases from Angry Robot on June 2nd

From Danielle's website:

Beneath the mountain, the king’s reign of tyranny is absolute; the one troll with the capacity to challenge him is imprisoned for treason. Cécile has escaped the darkness of Trollus, but she learns all too quickly that she is not beyond the reach of the king’s power. Or his manipulation.

Recovered from her injuries, she now lives with her mother in Trianon and graces the opera stage every night. But by day she searches for the witch who has eluded the trolls for five hundred years. Whether she succeeds or fails, the costs to those she cares about will be high.

To find Anushka, she must delve into magic that is both dark and deadly. But the witch is a clever creature. And Cécile might not just be the hunter. She might also be the hunted…

I absolutely LOVED last year's Stolen Songbird, and nearly had a heart attack when then-publisher Strange Chemistry went under, leaving the future of this series somewhat up in the air. I couldn't have been more excited a little while later when Angry Robot picked it up, and I simply can't wait to get back into this world. I'm a little nervous at the lack of Tristan in the synopsis as he was a highlight of the first book for me, but I have little doubt this second installment will suck me in just as the first did. I'm ready for it to be June!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Mime Order Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

The Bone Season #2
Samantha Shannon
Urban Fantasy/Dystopian
528 pages
Available January 27th
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Amazon)
Paige Mahoney has escaped the brutal penal colony of Sheol I, but her problems have only just begun: many of the fugitives are still missing and she is the most wanted person in London.
As Scion turns its all-seeing eye on Paige, the mime-lords and mime-queens of the city’s gangs are invited to a rare meeting of the Unnatural Assembly. Jaxon Hall and his Seven Seals prepare to take center stage, but there are bitter fault lines running through the clairvoyant community and dark secrets around every corner.

Then the Rephaim begin crawling out from the shadows. But where is Warden? Paige must keep moving, from Seven Dials to Grub Street to the secret catacombs of Camden, until the fate of the underworld can be decided. Will Paige know who to trust? The hunt for the dreamwalker is on.

The Mime Order, much like The Bone Season, is a touch overwhelming in the beginning, a deluge of unfamiliar terminology hitting us immediately as we pick up with Paige at the exact moment we left her, and we can't help but struggle to find our footing in the first few chapters (for those who are smarter than me, Samantha has a handy refresher post to help you before you dive in). It's a fair amount of time before we're given an oh-so brief review of Paige's time in Sheol I as she recounts it for two of her friends, and so we spend much of the first hundred or so pages trying to remember the finer details of this world, its vast history, and Paige's role in the middle of all of it. That being said however, Ms. Shannon kicks everything up several notches in the remaining two thirds of this tale, introducing us to the inner workings of the corrupt syndicate and further developing the stunningly layered relationship between Paige and Warden.

The slower pace of the first third can be largely attributed to the fact that Paige, understandably, slides right back into her previous life, the smart, strong, fighter of a girl who refused to be cowed by the Rephaim in Sheol I returned to a quieter young woman who does her Mime Lord's bidding with only a mere grumble to show her dissatisfaction. It's made clear to us how few options Paige has available to her though, and how ultimately the status afforded her as Jaxon's Mollisher will get her a far cry further on the road to change than if she clung tight to her pride went her own way, so her decisions, while difficult to swallow at times, make sense. Once Warden reenters the picture though, Paige's fight returns, his presence sparking the same rebellious fire in her it did before, pushing her to be the strongest and most powerful–physically, emotionally and mentally–version of herself possible.

As was the case with The Bone Season, Paige's relationship with Warden is one of highlights of this second installment. Warden's inhumanity is made clear to us time and again, but it's always beautifully contrasted by quiet moments with Paige; moments that warm the chill created by the cool indifference of his kind. Their path to happiness together is one blocked by every type of barrier imaginable–the two of them separated by a bottomless chasm of differences–but for all the ways they're different, they're also both outcasts and reluctant leaders, struggling to right a world gone so very wrong. They see one another with a stark honesty to which those around them are blind, and though what they have is too jaggedly misshapen (and all the more fascinating for it) to fit in a neatly labeled romantic box, it brings a warm flush to our skin and a smile to our faces nonetheless.

Overall, The Mime Order takes a little while to settle into, the politics of the syndicate and the sheer vastness of a futuristic London keeping us from reengaging with Paige's story the way we'd like, but before long the tide of power among the Mime Lords begins to shift and we can do nothing but hang on for the ride. We're left with a revelation that leaves us with our lips curled up in one corner, part-grimace and part wicked smile as we look forward to what this new piece of information will mean for the events of book three.

Rating: 4/5

 Find Samantha

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

• • • • • • • • • • • • 


As part of the tour, the hugely creative team at Bloomsbury asked us all to send in a picture of ourselves so we could have an aura added to them. For those who haven't read this series, those with certain special clairvoyant abilities are, thanks to Paige's Mime Lord, divided into seven distinct orders. Each order has a specific aura associated with it:

I. SoothsayersPurple – Require ritual objects called numa to connect with the æther
II. Augurs Blue – Use organic matter, or elements, to connect with the æther
III. MediumsGreen – Connect with the æther through spiritual possession
IV. SensorsYellow – Privy to the æther on a sensory and linguistic level
V.  Guardians Orange – Have a higher degree of control over spirits
VI.  FuriesOrange-red – Subject to internal change when connecting with the aether
VII. Jumpers Red – Able to affect the aether outside their own physical limits

As I'm a HUGE fan of Paige, I went with a red aura to match hers. And since I don't care for pictures of me by myself, I sent Bloomsbury the photo of me and Griffin that I use for all blog-related things. I didn't realize until after they'd sent the image back however that I'd provided them with the smallest picture EVER, so good luck trying to see us. I had to laugh though, teeny tiny Griffin and I with our red and magenta fluffy auras (Griffin is very lion-like, he would approve) just brought a smile to my face:

    (Yes, that's seriously the size of the photo I sent them. So sorry, Bloomsbury.)

I'm lucky enough to have a copy of The Mime Order to give away on the blog today, so yay! If you haven't had the chance to start this series yet, I can't recommend it enough:) To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway is open to US addresses only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Don't forget to check out the remaining stops on the tour!

(click to enlarge)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Review: Soulprint

Megan Miranda
Young Adult/Sci-Fi/Mystery
368 pages
Available February 3rd
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Amazon)
Seventeen-year-old Alina Chase has spent her entire life imprisoned on a secluded island—not for a crime she committed in this lifetime, but one done by her past self. Her very soul is like a fingerprint, carried from one life to the next—and Alina is sick of being guilty.

Aided by three teens with their own ulterior motives, Alina manages to escape. Although she’s not sure she can trust any of them, she soon finds herself drawn to Cameron, the most enigmatic and alluring of the trio. But when she uncovers clues from her past life, secrets begin to unravel and Alina must figure out whether she’s more than the soul she inherited, or if she’s fated to repeat history.

This stunning “new world” romance from acclaimed author Megan Miranda will leave readers wondering how far they would go to escape the past.

Soulprint has a horrifyingly fascinating premise, the idea that a current incarnation of our soul could be punished for the sins of a prior life the type of thing that keeps the gears in our minds turning from beginning to end. We thankfully learn early on what crime June–the soul our protagonist Alina now carries–committed that was serious enough to warrant the imprisonment (or “containment” as those watching Alina call it) of her future self despite that self having never stepped a single toe out of line, thereby satisfying enough of our curiosity to fully ground us in Alina's story. Once we have solid footing and a basic understanding of the level of fear surrounding June's actions, Ms. Miranda kicks the tension and mystery up a notch and we find ourselves as desperate to uncover the secrets June left behind as Alina is.

Alina is a young woman it's nearly impossibly not to feel for, her entire life defined by the actions of someone else as she pays for the mistakes of the girl who came before her. It would certainly be understandable if she were to let her circumstances get the better of her, existing in a melancholic state of "why me"type questions, but instead the Alina we first meet is someone who uses her time wisely. She teaches herself how to build things that might come in useful in any type of escape attempt and, once on the run, approaching her rescuers with an appropriate level of wariness. She makes smart decisions despite her limited dealings with people other than the guards tasked with watching her, observing the interactions between Cameron, Casey and Dominic and quickly deducing what she needs to do to gain and keep her freedom.

The synopsis puts emphasis on the romance between Cameron and Alina, but that aspect is relatively subtle, taking a definite back seat to the mystery surrounding June's crime and subsequent death seventeen years prior. It's present enough so as to not feel like an afterthought, the build-up of trust between them both beautiful and believable, but not so prominent as to overshadow the dozens of questions we have about the concept of tracking a soul from one lifetime to the next. When we reach the last page we are nothing short of blissfully satisfied, June's motivations all those years ago made clear and majority of our nagging questions answered, allowing us to revel in what the future might hold for Cameron and Alina.

Rating: 4/5

Find Miranda:

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, January 16, 2015

Friday Flourish: Paris, Modigliani and Me

Happy Friday Everyone!

As you guys already know, I've been on a bit of a roll at work lately which has been hugely exciting, and I'm so grateful for the chance to work on a wide variety of projects and genres.

I think if I reviewed my portfolio in its entirety paranormal books would outweigh contemporary, but in the end it would be pretty darn close. Last week I had the pleasure of sharing with you an illustrated cover for a YA paranormal mystery, and this week I get to bring you something completely different – a cute YA contemporary set in Paris.

I had such fun working on this cover, everything from the warm and bright color palette to the overall tone of the illustrations is a drastic departure from what I'd been working on leading up to this project, and nothing makes me happier than getting to switch design gears and try new things.

Working on this cover definitely made me wish I could book a flight to Paris in the near future, but alas, I think I'm going to be in snow covered Ohio for a while :) World travel fail. Hope you guys love the cover!


A summer in Paris as a nanny should be a dream job for eighteen-year-old Julie, but it feels more like a consolation prize after not getting into the Art Institute of Chicago, her dream school. Her mom wants her to come back to Texas and attend a state college in the fall, but Julie isn’t sure what she wants anymore.

One thing she does know is that she’s going to find the French father she’s never met while she’s in Paris. Whether her mother likes it or not.

Being a nanny to lively, fashion-minded Genevieve turns out to be fun and good for meeting a trio of intriguing guys. Jean Paul, Clay and Luc show Julie different parts of the city and help keep her mind off the problem of What To Do Next. And of course, Paris is, well,
Paris, and that certainly helps. Also, Genevieve’s mother, Claire manages an art gallery and Julie gets drawn into the Paris art scene. The situation heats up when a new, previously unknown work by Modigliani, one of Julie’s favorite artists, is discovered and acquired by the gallery.

Julie’s affections are pulled in three different directions while she tries to discover if the new Modigliani is real or a forgery, or painted by Modigliani’s mistress, Jeanne Hébuterne. Can the story of Modigliani and Jeanne provide any clues that will help guide her own path? Another
croissant certainly wouldn’t hurt, either.

Paris, Modigliani and Me will release on October 1st from Luminis Books

You can find more of my cover design work at Seedlings Design Studio

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Waiting on Thursday (?): Nearly Found

I realize it's Thursday rather than Wednesday when this meme more alliteratively takes place, but for the first time in nearly 5 years of blogging, work has gotten so busy that I simply haven't had time to read. I had every intention of posting a review today, but I just couldn't get the book finished in time, and since I so enjoy this meme and was on a tour yesterday, I decided to come a little late to the party and do a Waiting on Thursday post. *pats self on back for thinking on my feet* ;-)

Nearly Gone #2
Elle Cosimano
Young Adult/Mystery
Releases from Kathy Dawson Books (Penguin) on June 2nd

From Goodreads:

The sequel to the highly praised and intricately plotted Nearly Gone--a YA urban mystery that's perfect for fans of Bones, Numbers, and The Body Finder

After Nearly Boswell starts working as an intern at a crime lab, a girl from her trailer park turns up dead. Then the corpse of a missing person is discovered, buried on a golf course, with a message for Nearly etched into the bones. When Nearly finds out the corpse is the father of Eric, a classmate of hers, she starts to worry that the body is connected to her father's disappearance five years ago. Nearly, Reece, and Nearly's classmates--Vince, Jeremy, and Eric--start a dangerous investigation into their fathers' pasts that threatens Nearly's fragile romance with Reece, and puts all them in the killer's path.

I read Nearly Gone last year and absolutely loved it, it was one of the books that launched my YA mystery/thriller kick that's still going strong even now. While I figured out a major revelation about the clues long before Nearly did in the first book, I thought the mystery was still really well done and the romance was exactly how I like my romances in this genre: prominent and tension-filled but yet secondary to the mystery itself. I can't wait to see what kind of trouble Nearly and Reece get themselves into this time around!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Tuck Everlasting: 40th Anniversary Blog Tour

Today I’m thrilled to be a part of the promotional tour for the 40th Anniversary Edition of Tuck Everlasting. Confession: I was not a big reader in school. I read what was assigned and not a page more because I found required reading to be an absolute chore; the fact that I was going to be tested on my ability to cough up the material in a final exam sucked all the fun out of the characters and story (Crime and Punishment haunts me still). There were very, VERY few books I read in middle and high school that had me reading ahead of what was assigned, but one such book was Tuck Everlasting, and it remains a favorite of mine to this day.

As part of the tour we’ve been asked to address a question posed by the book: What if you could live forever?

I’m going to tackle this question in two parts: The first, my answer to this question as it would have been in 7th grade when I first read this book, and second, my answer now as an adult.

In 7th grade, I can honestly say I would have opted to drink from the spring immediately (well, maybe postponed it for a few years until I was a touch older since you remain the age you are when you take that first sip) and live forever. When I was that age, it felt like the whole world was before me and there couldn’t possibly be enough days in a lifetime to do everything I wanted to do. My answer to "what do you want to be when you grow up?" changed weekly then, and I know my younger self would have done a happy dance at the thought of being able to be a vet, and then an Olympic equestrian showjumper, and then a movie star, and then an artist, and then whatever else struck my fancy instead of having to buckle down and focus one just one. I would never run out of time, so I could be any and all professions if I so chose.

And I could travel endlessly! I could visit places like this:

 And stay weeks or even years. Then I could move on to the next place:

And the next:

And stay there even longer (seriously, I could spend months getting lost in Catherine’s Palace)! Meet new people and do strange, wonderful new things without worrying about time or money, because when you live forever you have time to accumulate whatever funds you might need. Obviously.

Now though, my answer would be quite different. I wouldn’t drink from the spring if you paid me to. I think so much of the joy in life comes from the fact that our time is finite, and we experience certain things more profoundly given our chances of doing so again are unlikely. People say things are “once in a lifetime” experiences and all the more special as a result, and I can’t help but think they wouldn’t be as magical or memorable if you had hundreds of lifetimes to check things off a bucket list that is in fact not a bucket list at all. It would just be a list of things you'd undoubtedly have time to do.

After the changes I’ve made in my life this past year, starting a new business and taking my career in a direction that's better for both my creativity and my sanity, I’m finally more content and comfortable in my life than I have been in a long time. I have goals I want to achieve in the coming years, but I know the kind of person I am, and if I had all the time in the world to do them, they’d never get done ;-) Living forever would simply be a never-ending stretch of procrastination, and there's no fun to be had in that for me!

So to wrap this ramble up, if you asked the 7th grade version of me to drink from the spring, she would have jumped on that without so much as a second thought, but adult me is happy with life just the way it is (except I wouldn't mind if Chris Hemsworth showed up on my doorstep tomorrow to profess his undying love for me. Just saying.) :-)

What do you guys think? Live forever or take this one life and make the most of it?

• • • • • • • • • • • •


Blessed with—or doomed to—eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less of a blessing than it might seem. Complications arise when Winnie is followed by a stranger who wants to market the spring water for a fortune.

A brand-new introduction from Gregory Maguire, the author of Wicked, and additional bonus materials make this special edition of Natalie Babbitt's Tuck Everlasting a must-have for lovers of the book and a great way to introduce a new generation to a classic.

The 40th Anniversary edition releases January 20th, be sure and preorder your copy!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Review: Love, Lucy

April Lindner
Contemporary Young Adult
304 pages
Available January 27th
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
While backpacking through Florence, Italy, during the summer before she heads off to college, Lucy Sommersworth finds herself falling in love with the culture, the architecture, the food...and Jesse Palladino, a handsome street musician. After a whirlwind romance, Lucy returns home, determined to move on from her "vacation flirtation." But just because summer is over doesn't mean Lucy and Jesse are over, too.

In this coming-of-age romance, April Lindner perfectly captures the highs and lows of a summer love that might just be meant to last beyond the season.

The first third of Love, Lucy is a cute escape read, allowing us to lose ourselves on the streets of Florence with Lucy as she tries to make every minute of her European vacation count before she has to return to the States. The remaining two thirds of the book see Lucy returned home, attempting to find happiness within the life parameters her overbearing father has set for her, all the while remembering her Tuscan romance with palpable longing. While Lucy’s story has its sweet moments, it remains more on the surface despite the presence of some weightier issues like family drama, sex and cheating (!), moving us along before we have a chance to really sink our claws (and our hearts) into the meat of Lucy’s life.

In additional to being more superficial overall, Love, Lucy also reads younger than we expect going in given Lucy is a freshman in college. There’s nothing hugely specific that gives the impression of a younger age, it’s more the feel of Lucy’s voice that, when combined with the fact that we don’t delve very deeply into her feelings for the people in her life, makes this story come across as better suited to younger YA readers (sex between Lucy and Jesse is mentioned on a couple occasions, but those scenes fade to black, implying they sleep together without getting into any detail.).

Lucy herself is an enjoyable heroine for the most part, standing up for herself in situations where we desperately want her to voice an objection, and showing a bit of backbone we can’t help but appreciate. Her spine of steel comes into play predominantly toward the end when things with her father reach their breaking point, but as is the case with the rest of the story as a whole, their issues are wrapped up neatly despite his cruel disregard of what she actually wants out of her life. Overall, Love, Lucy is a quick read, skimming us along the surface of Lucy’s life as she tries to sort through the cacophony of voices telling her her place in the world in search of the one that’s most important: Her own.

Rating: 3/5

Find April:

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.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Review: Marked

Servants of Fate #1
Sarah Fine
Paranormal Romance
332 Pages
Available Now
Source: Thank you, Nick!

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
In a broken landscape carved by environmental collapse, Boston paramedic Cacia Ferry risks life and limb on the front lines of a fragile and dangerous city. What most don’t know—including her sexy new partner, Eli Margolis—is that while Cacy works to save lives, she has another job ferrying the dead to the Afterlife. Once humans are “Marked” by Fate, the powerful Ferrys are called to escort the vulnerable souls to either eternal bliss or unending fire and pain.

Unaware of Cacy’s other life, Eli finds himself as mesmerized by his fierce and beautiful partner as he is mistrustful of the influential Ferry clan led by the Charon—who happens to be Cacy’s father. Cacy, in turn, can no longer deny her intense attraction to the mysterious ex-Ranger with a haunted past. But just as their relationship heats up, an apparent hit takes the Charon before his time. Shaken to the core, Cacy pursues the rogue element who has seized the reins of Fate, only to discover that Eli has a devastating secret of his own. Not knowing whom to trust, what will Cacy have to sacrifice to protect Eli—and to make sure humanity’s future is secure?

Marked is a thrilling start to this new series from Ms. Fine, introducing a fascinating mythology as to the politics of death itself while providing more than a little mystery and romance to keep us on the edge of our seats. The futuristic, flooded version of Boston takes a little while to really come into focus, the amphibious vehicles and the lawlessness of canal pirates creating a bit of chaos in the opening chapters, but before long the strength of Ms. Fine’s characters overshadow any lingering confusion we have as to how this world operates, and we easily find ourselves swept up in our lead couple's rather significant problems.

Cacy and Eli set a bar by which a large number of the romantic couples to follow them will find it hard to meet, treating each other with respect and maturity despite the landmines awaiting them every step they take. The communicate effectively not only as work partners but even more importantly as romantic partners, not allowing any behavior from the other person to tip them over the emotional edge before they’ve had the chance to talk things over. While it does take Cacy a little while to reveal the totality of what it means to be a Ferry in this world, Eli is well aware there’s something she’s not telling him from the beginning, thus relieving us of the full burden of her secrets.

While the chemistry between Cacy and Eli is incendiary and the slow escalation of sexual tension between them enough to have us flipping the pages with unprecedented speed, the romance, though prominent, is secondary to the mystery as to who is responsible for the dissolution of the ancient treaty between the Ferry’s and the Kere. Ms. Fine throws in a number of twists, Fate itself forced to snip a number of threads and then reweave them in a pattern that was never meant to be, and we read with breath held until a piece of the larger conspiracy is finally revealed.

Overall, Marked is pure entertainment, giving us a cast of beautifully layered characters we simply can’t wait to spend more time with and a world full of darkness and grit with shadowed corners we look forward to seeing come into the light. Eli and Cacy’s siblings have their chance to shine next, and the release date for Claimed can’t come soon enough.

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.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Friday Flourish: The Estate

Happy Friday Everyone!

Work has really picked up for me over the past month, something that's both incredibly exciting and thoroughly exhausting at the same time, but I'm having so much fun working on new projects for clients. One such client is Laura Bendoly, author of a recently-released paranormal young adult novel called The Estate.

I love working on all types of projects, but illustrated covers are of particular interest for me because I get to be creative in an entirely different way than I do on covers that are photography-based, so when Laura came to me wanting a fully illustrated design, I did a somewhat embarrassing happy dance.

The end result is something really different (in the best possible way I think!) from anything I've done before, so I hope you all love it as much as I do.


Something creeps between the  floorboards of the Rutherford Estate, the fortress where Eileen Morgan spends her sixteenth summer. It is in Fife, Scotland, a usually quiet community but where locals have been experiencing freak accidents – stampeding by bull and falling to their deaths in the North Sea. The inheritance of the estate is now in question. Is the heir Ewan Stalker, the estranged grandson who tends the sheep across the hill from Eileen? Will helping him risk goring by Caedmon the bull or being pushed down a mineshaft by the resident ghost?  Whichever her choice, a dynasty may disappear forever should she not intervene in the Rutherfords' darkest hour.

You can find more of my cover design work at Seedlings Design Studio