29 September, 2012

Onyx and Obsidian Giveaway (INTL ends 10/5)


Hey all!

A little late, I know. Onyx is out there... On Kindle (as of today, 9/29/2012) it's only $4.99!

Since I now have it for Kindle, I don't need my paperback! For that matter I also have an Obsidian paperback in need of a good home, so you have a chance to win them!

I will pick a US winner for the paperbacks, and a non-US winner for the Kindle copies (please note, if you are not in the US and cannot access Kindle editions, either find out how you can or don't enter! We're not giving away a Kindle, haha ;)

Must be over 13 or have a parent/guardian's permission to enter. Good luck!

P.S. If you have a blog or Facebook page, you can share this Rafflecopter widget, too! Click here for the code.

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27 September, 2012

Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop (INTL ends 10/6)

Sept 28 - Oct 6, 2012

Today I am giving away a copy of Fat Kid Rules the World by K.L. Going.
The contest is open internationally to anywhere that bookdepository.com ships.

I had fun listening to this on audiobook as read by Matthew Lillard, who also made it into a movie!

Troy Billings is seventeen, 296 pounds, friendless, utterly miserable, and about to step off a New York subway platform in front of an oncoming train. Until he meets Curt MacCrae, an emaciated, semi-homeless, high school dropout guitar genius, the stuff of which Lower East Side punk rock legends are made. Never mind that Troy's dad thinks Curt's a drug addict and Troy's brother thinks Troy's the biggest (literally) loser in Manhattan. Soon, Curt has recruited Troy as his new drummer, even though Troy can't play the drums. Together, Curt and Troy will change the world of punk, and Troy's own life, forever.

- - -

I think this book gets challenged and banned because of language, content (I mean really, the main characters are high school boys with healthy libidos D:), and there are references to sex, drugs, and alcohol. Making this book unavailable to kids, especially those with weight issues, grief and self-esteem issues, kids who might have tough times navigating family and friendship, and young people dealing with drugs/alcohol/prostitution will miss out on this great book about change, healing, and building trust between friends, brothers, and fathers.

Even if you don't win the prize, I hope you will check out this book and read it. It really rocks.

Use the widget below to enter; check the bottom  of the widget for the fine print. Remember to check all the other participating blogs for more giveaways!


Check here to see if Fat Kid Rules the World is showing at a theater near you! It's a great movie, for reals.

Get a steady stream of the movie news on Facebook and Twitter. Please help spread the word about both the book and the movie.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

There is no mandatory entry, but you must do at least one thing to enter.
Bonus: If this giveaway reaches at least 500 entries, I'll add a second banned book prize from the Most Banned Books of 2011 list (winner's choice).

For more info about Banned Books Week visit bannedbooksweek.org.

26 September, 2012

Bloggiesta 2012

Sept 28-Sept 30, 2012

I haven't done Bloggiesta in a while. It's back, and so am I!

This will be my main post for the event. I am going to the OC Children's Book Festival on Sunday so I'll really only be on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Even if I just get a couple of things done, it'll be well worth the time spent, I'm sure :)

Here we go!

Click here for the Sept 2012 Mini Challenge List

As of 3 am Saturday: 4/8 mini-challenges done
Time spent: 7 hours

  • Wrote blog schedule in Astrid
  • Made monthly blog list in Astrid
  • Updated review template in Evernote
  • Printed and filled out blog calendar for the rest of 2012
  • Installed and used notebook app for blog post ideas (My Wonderful Days)
  • Installed and used Pocket app in browser and devices for web clipping
  • Graded my site (84/100! Pretty good)
  • Assigned 301 redirects (I think I fixed it, anyway... hard to tell.)
  • Started 1 out of 2 reviews I need to finish mini-challenge #8
As of 11:25 pm Sunday: Still 4/8 on mini-challenges
Time spent: 9 hours
  • 2nd of 2 reviews started but neither is ready yet. Long day at the book festival! Will finish up belated Bloggiesta soon.

My to do list:

1. Mini-Challenge: Organization and Scheduling Posts (totally done!)
Seriously, even if this is the only thing I get done this weekend, it will help so much!
  • Make a blog schedule (done! Sat)
  • Make monthly blog lists (done! Fri)
  • Use templates to take notes for reviews before I forget what I read (done! Sat). I already have post templates which Thuy refreshes every so often.
The Astrid app has these cool reusable checklists!  I made one with the weekly schedule.
Hey look! I made a blog to-do-list with Astrid.
This has my blog hops, blog tour commitments,  and things I should not miss.
I also made note templates in Evernote so I can just edit them on my iPhone while I read.
I used to keep up with this a couple of years ago, but fell out of the habit.
2. Mini-Challenge: Notebook and Calendar (done! Sat)
I can't do a notebook--I'll just never look at it again--but I can do a calendar! This ties in with the previous mini-challenge.

I printed this and here it is all filled out:

I put a lot of stuff that I've already read in October. I only have 15 days left in the year without a post, which sounds pretty good!

Also, instead of getting a physical notebook I got My Wonderful Days - there is a free version but the paid one is only $1.99 so why not. I like that it syncs both iPhone and iPad so I can use it on either and only paid once. It only lets you write on today's date and previous dates but not in future dates, which is interesting. I really just have to think about Now and Today and jot down ideas.

3. Mini-Challenge: Pocket App (done! Fri)
This was super-easy. I followed The Book Vixen's instructions and added Pocket to all my devices. I'm already using it to save all my Bloggiesta posts that I haven't quite read ;)

4. Mini-Challenge: Print Your Blog
I really want to do this, but I might not get to it this weekend. :( I still have to prep for OCCBF!

5. Mini-Challenge: 20+ Discussion Post Ideas
I don't really like doing this type of post, but I liked the 10 Book to Movie Adaptations Coming in 2013 prompt, so expect that soon!

6. Mini-Challenge: Grade Yourself (done! Fri)
I got an 84, which sounds pretty good. I'm still waiting for the Klout (I had it linked to my personal account instead of my page) and 301 redirect to update, so I'll check again in a couple of days to see if it helped. I think this is my favorite and most useful mini-challenge. Thanks SmashAttacksAsh!

7. Mini-Challenge: Review Policies
I am just terrible at keeping up with these.

8. Mini-Challenge: Review Catch-up (started)
Can't Eat Just One. I will write and post at least 2 reviews during Bloggiesta. Or else!

All right, I think that's about all I have the time or energy for. Updates coming soon!

25 September, 2012

I Hunt Killers - Review

Publication date: 03 April 2012 by Little, Brown and Company
ISBN 10/13: 0316125849 | 9780316125840

Keywords: Contemporary, thriller, mystery, friendship, serial killer, murder
Category: Young Adult Mystery Thriller
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, eBook
Source: Library

From Goodreads:

What if the world's worst serial killer...was your dad?

Jasper (Jazz) Dent is a likable teenager. A charmer, one might say.

But he's also the son of the world's most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, Take Your Son to Work Day was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could—from the criminal's point of view.

And now bodies are piling up in Lobo's Nod.

In an effort to clear his name, Jazz joins the police in a hunt for a new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret—could he be more like his father than anyone knows?

Thuy's Review:

I have a fascination with serial killers. I know I am not the only one. There are countless books, television programs and movies about serial killers. They are creepy and frightening, but I can’t look away. I want to know how they think and what motivates them. So when I heard that there was a book about serial killers from the point of view of a teenager, I knew I had to read it.

I Hunt Killers is told from the point of view of Jazz (and let me say that he could not have a more ill fitting name), a teen who looks like any other teen. Except Jazz isn’t like everyone else. He is the son of Billy Dent, one of the most notorious and prolific serial killers in modern history. But Billy didn’t just want to leave behind a trail of bodies. He wanted to leave a legacy. So, before he was caught and sent to jail, Billy trained Jazz to think like a serial killer. He taught him how to pick victims, find weaknesses and exploit people. Even though he’s been trying to live a normal life for the past four years, Jazz can’t help wondering if he’s destined to become like his father. When a copycat killer shows up in town, Jazz uses his intimate knowledge of his father’s way to help find the killer while struggling with his own demons.

This is a really different type of novel. Even though there books out there that focus on dark subjects, I really don’t think there is another YA novel with a main character like Jazz. He’s charismatic and charming at times, but he can also be anti-social and closed off. He struggles with the guilt of what his father did and what he himself might be capable of. His narration fits his mental state. The cold calculation with which he assesses the world can be chilling but, at other times, he sounds like any other teenager.

One of the main themes of the book is nature vs. nurture, which is an idea that everyone can relate to, even if your parents aren’t serial killers. Jazz's situation is unusual but his struggles with identity are universal.

Though the book is quite dark, it does have it humorous moments. Most of those come in the form of Howie, Jazz’s best friend. I have to say that Howie is probably my favorite character in the book. He is sweet and very loyal, believing in Jazz when no one else does. Howie always has a positive outlook, even when things look really bad.

I Hunt Killers isn’t for the faint of heart. There are some really graphic murder scenes that may disturb some people. I Hunt Killers is at once a coming of age story and a creepy, psychological thriller. Intense and filled with surprises, this is a book you'll want to read with the lights on. Lyga sets this up neatly for a sequel, which I am dying (ha ha, pun) to read. If you’re a fan of dark mysteries, thrillers, or serial killer stories, I definitely recommend this book.

Find adult book reviews by Thuy at

Find the author online at www.barrylyga.com, on Facebook, and @barrylyga on Twitter.

24 September, 2012

Happy Book Birthday to Uncontrollable!

Happy Book Birthday to S.R. Johannes and Uncontrollable today! I really enjoyed Untraceable, the first book in the series, and am excited to read this one.

Uncontrollable is the second book in "The Nature of Grace" series by S.R. Johannes. Untraceable, the first book in the series, has won and been nominated for several awards including Winner of the 2012 IndieReader Discovery Award (YA), 2012 Georgia Author of the Year (YA Nominee), and a finalist in The Kindle Book Review's "Best Indie Book of 2012 (YA)".

Kirkus reviewed Untraceable as "A thrilling story is a dramatic entanglement of mystery, deception and teen romance. The action flows like a brisk mountain stream interspersed with rapids, holding suspense to last page."

If you like a page turner, you will love this series!

Head over to Mundie Moms for a Big Uncontrollable Launch Party with tons of prizes and then over to SR Johannes blog for even more.

To continue on with the blog tour, check out the line up! Where SR talks about anything from marketing to writing to her books to personal interviews and giveaways.

Book Summary

As 16-year-old Grace recovers from tragedy, her science class is chosen by Agent Sweeney at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to help with research on the new "Red Wolf Reintroduction Program".

While she’s excited about helping with the conservation of the endangered wolves, Grace knows this means being outdoors in the worst winter recorded, in a place she no longer feels comfortable. It also means working closely with Wyn (her ex) and his annoying girlfriend (Skyler), a girl whose idea of getting close to nature is picking silk plants and growing fake plants.

After a couple of wolves show up dead, Grace almost quits. However, when a fellow project team member goes missing, Grace continues the assignment under a renewed suspicion that someone might be sabotaging the conservation program. She quietly begins to hunt for clues.

Little does she know, she is being hunted too.

On Sale Today!

Uncontrollable is on sale in paperback and ebook at all major booksellers including Amazon, iBooks/Apple (coming soon), Smashwords, and B&N.

If you haven't read Untraceable, you can get it in paperback and ebook at all major booksellers including Amazon, Apple, Smashwords, and B&N.

Follow S.R. online on her website, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

23 September, 2012

Blog Tour: A Thunderous Whisper

Click here to view the blog tour master schedule

I'm trying something new and exciting! I'm helping author Christina Diaz Gonzalez organize the blog tour for her latest historical middle grade novel, A Thunderous Whisper. The tour will run from October-November 2012 and is still in the planning stages.

If you have a middle grade/young adult book blog and are interested in joining the tour, please fill out this form and I'll be in touch!

Review Copy Wipeout

Thanks to The Book Monsters for creating this challenge to read and review as many of your 2012 review copies as possible! You can sign up here through October 15.
Here's my challenge schedule so far:

Week of October 1
 Shadows by Ilsa J. Bick (Netgalley)
 The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano by Sonia Manzano (MG ARC)

Ooh lordy. I didn't read for weeks. 

Week of November 19
✓ Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor (ARC)
✓ Every Day by David Levithan (finished, free)

Week of November 26
✓ Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin (Netgalley)
✓ The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron (Netgalley)

Week of December 3

Week of December 10
 ✓ Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley (Netgalley)
✓ The Opposite of Hallelujah by Anna Jarzab (Netgalley)

Week of December 17

Week of December 24

Week of December 31
IP The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (Netgalley)

Total finished so far (12/10/2012): 6 in 7 weeks. Eek!
Total finished so far: (12/17/2012): 8 in 8 weeks
Total by 12/31: 8 in 10 weeks

I didn't finish Raven Boys until January 5, 2013. Oh well! I already know I suck at completing challenges, so I guess that I read 8 books at all isn't too shabby :{

20 September, 2012

Opal Cover Reveal

We're really excited to be participating in the Opal cover reveal today. I love some Daemon Black and cannot wait for this one to be released. Check out the synopsis below and keep reading to find out all about an awesome contest that Jennifer is having on her blog.
No one is like Daemon Black. 
When he set out to prove his feelings for me, he wasn’t fooling around. Doubting him isn’t something I’ll do again, and now that we’ve made it through the rough patches, well... There’s a lot of spontaneous combustion going on. 
But even he can’t protect his family from the danger of trying to free those they love.
After everything, I’m no longer the same Katy. I’m different... And I’m not sure what that will mean in the end. When each step we take in discovering the truth puts us in the path of the secret organization responsible for torturing and testing hybrids, the more I realize there is no end to what I’m capable of. The death of someone close still lingers, help comes from the most unlikely source, and friends will become the deadliest of enemies, but we won’t turn back. Even if the outcome will shatter our worlds forever.  
Together we’re stronger... and they know it.
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Follow this link to an ~~~ EPIC CONTEST ~~~ Announcement. You will want to bookmark this page!

USA TODAY Bestselling author, Jennifer L. Armentrout, lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell, Loki. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She also writes adult romance under the name J. Lynn.

Find Jennifer on: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Website | Blog

I think Opal matches well with the other covers in the series and, of course, the cover models are gorgeous. Makes this one a winner to me. :) What do you guys think?


17 September, 2012

Mickey Bolitar Review and Giveaway (US ends 9/25)

Thanks so much to Penguin Teen for providing this fantastic giveaway for our readers today!

You could win this cool 

Mickey Bolitar tote bag

containing the new novel

Seconds Away
(Mickey Bolitar, Book 2)


(Mickey Bolitar, Book 1)

Go to the Rafflecopter below to enter!

click here to add to Goodreads [+]

click the cover to add to Goodreads [+]

About Seconds Away

When tragedy strikes close to home, Mickey Bolitar and his loyal new friends—sharp-witted Ema and the adorkably charming Spoon—find themselves at the center of a terrifying mystery involving the shooting of their friend Rachel. Now, not only does Mickey have to continue his quest to uncover the truth about the Abeona Shelter, the Butcher of Lodz and the mysterious death of his father, he needs to figure out who shot Rachel—no matter what it takes.

Mickey has always been ready to sacrifice everything to help the people he loves. But with danger just seconds away, how can he protect them when he’s not even sure who—or what—he’s protecting them from?

About Shelter

The stunning young adult debut from international bestseller Harlan Coben is now in paperback!

Mickey Bolitar's year can't get much worse. After witnessing his father's death and sending his mom to rehab, he's forced to live with his estranged uncle Myron and switch high schools. Fortunately, he's met a great girl, Ashley, and it seems like things might finally be improving. But then Ashley vanishes. Mickey follows Ashley's trail into a seedy underworld that reveals that Ashley isn't who she claimed to be. And neither was Mickey's father. Soon Mickey learns about a conspiracy so shocking that it leaves him questioning everything about the life he thought he knew.

About the author

Harlan Coben is the #1 New York Times Bestselling author of numerous adult novels, and the winner of the Edgar Award, Shamus Award, and Anthony Award – the first author to receive all three. His books are published in forty languages with over 47 million copies in print worldwide – and have been #1 Bestsellers in over a dozen countries. He lives in New Jersey.

Quick Links:
www.mickeybolitar.com Series Official Site
www.harlancoben.com Author Official Site
@HarlanCoben Author Twitter
Goodreads: Shelter | Seconds Away

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Shelter (Mickey Bolitar, Book 1) by Harlan Coben
Publication date: 6 September 2011 by Penguin Teen
ISBN 10/13: 0399256504 | 9780399256509

Keywords: Contemporary, thriller, missing persons, friendship
Category: Young Adult Mystery Thriller
Format: Hardcover, Audiobook, eBook
Source: Review copy from Penguin Teen

Alethea's review of Shelter:

I try not to expect too much from mysteries, as I'm usually the type to guess outcomes too early. I didn't need to worry with Shelter. Harlan Coben knows how to twist and turn a plot so you can't see the end until it's too late. I started this book at about 3 in the morning and was so creeped out, I had to put it down until daylight.

Shelter starts out like a ghost story slash urban legend, but morphs into an entirely different tale tied into the history of the Holocaust--stories of danger and altruism that blend into myth. I really had to tamp down the urge to Google elements from the story to see whether they were real or not. (Luckily I've read enough James Rollins novels to appreciate that it's better to wait until the end of the book to look things up.) To my delight, a restaurant mentioned in the book is real.

Mickey is a likeable kid who has been through a lot of traumatic experiences in a short time. He not only watched his father die in a terrible automobile accident, he also is watching his once-vivacious mother disintegrate under the massive pressure of grief and addiction.

In a few ways, he seems a little too good to be true: he has inherited terrific athleticism from both sides of his family, is handsome and smart, and gets along with all the right people. Most of the time I'm torn between liking him a lot and disbelieving how easily he takes things that I expect the average affluent and good-looking white male teen character to have problems overlooking: class, race, and appearances. When his sort-of-girlfriend disappears just a couple of weeks into the school year, he befriends the dweebiest kid and the fattest girl in school, and takes the bus to Newark to play ball in a rough neighborhood. He can barely believe it when the hottest girl in his grade wants to partner with him on a project. The only counterbalance to his awesomeness is how aloof and secretive he is with his uncle Myron (from Coben's adult mysteries), and the bad decisions he makes which will make readers chew their nails down to stubs in suspense.

The friendships he forms throughout the book not only fill up his day and distract him from the pain of losing both of his parents; they also lead him on the hunt for the missing girl and strange goings-on from his father's past. I have always admired the way Coben manages to juggle character, plot, and theme while keeping the story moving at just the right pace. I enjoyed the secondary characters, the dialogue, and the ease with which the story is pieced together. The twists and turns were exhilarating and I am excited to start the next book.

I originally thought to recommend this to reluctant readers with an interest in sports, but after finishing the book I think anyone who appreciates conspiracies and secret societies (think Lost) will really dig this mystery. Mickey also goes looking for answers in some pretty troublesome and seedy places (like a go-go bar, for instance), so I'd recommend this to younger readers with caution.

If you can suspend your disbelief and just enjoy the thrill of secrets, spies, and lies that keep this fast-paced novel moving, you'll really enjoy Shelter. And lucky you, if you're just discovering Mickey Bolitar now, you won't have to wait for the next book in the series, Seconds Away (in stores September 18).

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

11 September, 2012

A few more September Events

Hi again! Looks like we forgot a few events on our last calendar update. We don't want you guys to miss out on any of the great events in the So Cal area so here are all the details. As always, let us know if there are any mistakes or if we have missed and event. Cheers!

BFF Tour 2012
with Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian (Burn For Burn)

Tuesday September 18th at 7PM
Mysterious Galaxy (San Diego)
7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92111

Wednesday September 19th at 7PM
Barnes & Noble
189 The Grove Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

For complete tour dates, please visit Jenny's blog.

Jessica Shirvington
author of Entice

Wednesday Sept 19, 2012 7pm
Barnes & Noble
3rd Street Promenade
1201 3rd Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401
event page

Rachel Hartman
author of Seraphina

Friday September 28, 2012 7pm
Barnes & Noble 3rd Street Promenade
1201 3rd Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401

10 September, 2012

Bridge To Books: Middle Grade Authors at McKinley School

Bridge To Books presents
Middle Grade Authors at McKinley School
with Margaret Peterson Haddix, Lisa McMann, Shannon Messenger, Helen Stringer

Hi, everyone! Just a reminder that Bridge To Books has an awesome event happening this Saturday September 15 in Pasadena, CA. Some fantastic middle grade authors will be on hand to talk books. Sadly I will be in Atlanta for a wedding on that day, but Alethea will be representing RNSL at the event. Tickets are free but you should reserve them ahead of time so we know how may people to expect. And if you can afford it, please consider donating to Bridge to Books. Even a small amount will help fund more awesome events like this. Hope to see you there!

Sept 15, 2012 10:30 am - free (ticketed)
McKinley School
325 South Oak Knoll Ave
Pasadena CA 91101 
panel discussion, book signing, books available for purchase, refreshments available (cash donation)
please order YA/older titles a week in advance from Once Upon a Time in Montrose (818) 248-9668 http://www.shoponceuponatime.com/

08 September, 2012

The Girl is Murder - Audiobook Review

Read by Rachel Botchan
Publication date: 19 July 2011 by Roaring Brook Press
ISBN 10/13: 1596436093 | 9781596436091

Keywords: World War II, Girl detective, friendship, mystery
Category: Young Adult Historical
Format: Audiobook, Hardcover, Paperback, eBook
Source: Purchased from audible.com

It's the Fall of 1942 and Iris's world is rapidly changing. Her Pop is back from the war with a missing leg, limiting his ability to do the physically grueling part of his detective work. Iris is dying to help, especially when she discovers that one of Pop's cases involves a boy at her school. Now, instead of sitting at home watching Deanna Durbin movies, Iris is sneaking out of the house, double crossing her friends, and dancing at the Savoy till all hours of the night. There's certainly never a dull moment in the private eye business.

Alethea's review:

I'm not a Veronica Mars fan (as the marketing taglines for this series insist on singling out that demographic), but there's something about the spunky girl-detective novel that never fails to please me. I'll confess that I have fond memories of a hundred Nancy Drew novels, and am currently obsessed with vintage fashion, which might explain part of why I liked this book. Some of the credit definitely goes to the reader, Rachel Botchan. She really nails not just the New York accents but also the inflections from--has it really been that long?--seventy years ago. I think I would have enjoyed this less had I tried to read it myself.

I'm actually surprised this novel kept my interest, as the beginning of the novel felt really slow. Iris is coping with many changes--not just the typical girl-becoming-woman challenges we expect of a coming-of-age novel. She's transplanted from the posh part of town to the Lower East Side, hears whispers of disapproval and malicious gossip regarding her mother's suicide the year before, and is trying to form some sort of connection with her estranged and now disabled father. It's heavy stuff, lending gravity to the story, and I can't decide whether or not it saves the rest of the book from just being a plot-driven mess.

The main mystery involves the disappearance of a boy from Iris's new school. I really enjoyed the author's skill at portraying the secondary characters: Suze, queen bee of the charmingly named "Rainbow Gang", the high school's resident hooligans, and Pearl, the plump, quiet, and defensive schoolmate Iris struggles to befriend. There's no team of good girls versus the bad girls here: everyone seems to have some bad with the good, even Iris, who makes some really terrible decisions for occasionally noble reasons. Despite all the mistakes they make, I found the characters well-rounded and likable. 

The solution of the mystery did leave something to be desired. I wouldn't call this a traditional whodunit--you're better off reading the original (or even playing the games--they're really good!) if a murder is what you're after. You'll enjoy this more if you like reading about relationships, teen problems and comparing those of today to those of yesteryear, or World War II nostalgia. 

You can find the author online at www.kathrynmillerhaines.com and on Twitter @KathrynMHaines.

FTC disclosure: Only the Bookdepository.com link may generate revenue for this blog if you make a purchase by clicking the link. The other links in this post are not formatted with my affiliate IDs.

06 September, 2012

Uncontrollable Blog Tour + Giveaway (INTL)

Hi, everyone! Welcome to one of the official stops on the Uncontrollable Blog Tour. Uncontrollable is the second book in the State of Grace series by S.R. Johannes and will be released on Sept. 24. We're really excited to have Shelli on the blog again. Please check out the interview with Shelli below and then enter our Rafflecopter giveaway for an e-book of Uncontrollable. Please note that this is a quick giveaway and will only run for 1 day.

Hi, Shelli, and welcome back to the blog! Congratulations on the upcoming release of Book 2 in the Nature of Grace series. Today we're going to talk about your journey as an author. 

Thank you ☺

When did you know you wanted to become a writer?

I was actually a late bloomer, which goes to show you never know where you will end up. I’ve always done copywriting and marketing doing catchy copy. But I had never done much creative writing.

I had 5 months of maternity leave when my daughter was born in 2004 and I started writing when she was sleeping. I knew immediately I would never stop and I’d finally found what I want to do.

What were some of your early literary influences?

I have always been an avid reader. Pippi Longstocking is my fav character and children’s book. She was so snarky and spunky. I loved that she went against rules and didn’t care what anyone thought. She made anything uncool, totally chic. I also love John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley.

As far as my style, I used to sneak my mom’s thrillers when I was in HS. So James Patterson and James Hall had a big influence on my writing style.

You had a career in marketing before becoming an author. What made you decide to focus on writing full time? Why was that the right time for you?

I left Corp America back in 2006 and started my own marketing business. I still own that business and I still freelance for my clients. So I am still not solely a FT writer (in the fiction sense). I love the marketing side so it is a way to use both of my talents.

How long did it take you to write your first book, Untraceable?

I started in 2007 after my son was born – so I would say 4 years. I learned to write with that book so it has been through many different versions

You are a successful self-published author. Did you try to get a traditional publisher? If you did, how did you end up self-publishing and if you didn't, what made you decide to go straight for self-publishing?

I had a NY agent for 2 years and had several manuscripts go to acquisitions. I ended up parting with my agent and decide to do my own thing because I was so frustrated with the publishing world.

What are some of the benefits of self-publishing? What are some of the challenges?

Benefits – I get to create it all on my own, in my own way, on my own time. With my vision. From cover to jacket copy. I can put it out the way I want it to be.

Hardest Part – The hardest part is that I am a one-man show. I wear so many hats it gets overwhelmed. The stigma is tough to get past. But if you do it right, you can slip by unnoticed. ☺

Do you have any bad writing habits?

You’re vs. your. Form vs. From. I say just and evidently a lot. I have to edit those all out.

I eat when I write so it’s not good if I’m on deadline.

What's your favorite snack to have while writing?

Sweet tea and Dove chocolates

Do you listen to music while writing? If Grace were a song, what song would she be?

Yes and her song is "Grace" by U2. Love that song.

Please write a haiku about Uncontrollable (3 lines with 5-7-5 syllables, respectively).

Okay this is hard.

Grace on a mission
Bears, nature, and love threatened
A thriller at best

What advice would you give your younger writer self?

Do what you love. Not what pays.

Last thing: What are you working on now and where can our readers find you? 

You can find me online at srjohannes.com.

I am working on the next 2 novelettes in the Suffocate series (for Oct and Dec release) and the 3rd Nature of Grace book coming in early spring.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Shelli, and congratulations again.

Find S.R Johannes online:


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04 September, 2012

Author Interview with Tera Lynn Childs

Hello! Today we have a really fun interview with Tera Lynn Childs, whose new book Sweet Shadows (Medusa Girls #2) is out today!  I really liked Sweet Venom, the first book in the series, and am so excited that the sequel is finally out. The series is about three triplets who are the descendants of Medusa and is a great mix of adventure, angst and mythology. Add Sweet Shadows to your Goodreads shelf here. Please enjoy the interview!

Describe Sweet Venom/The Medusa trilogy Twitter style in 140 characters or less.

Triplet, monster-hunting descendants of Medusa.

You have a degree in Historic Conservation. That's very different from writing. What prompted the switch to writing or had you always been a writer?

No, I never considered writing as a career. My degree in Historic Preservation is actually partly responsible for helping me figure out I wanted to be a writer. During my thesis defense, one of my advisors said, "Tera, you are a very effective writer." Then he told me to cut half of the first part of my thesis, but the compliment stuck with me. It gave me the confidence to believe that maybe I could be a writer.

Your books have a lot of mythology in them. What about mythology appeals to you?

Everything. I have always loved everything about ancient cultures, but ancient Greece and Greek mythology most of all. I think it's the universal themes, plots, and characters that mythology has to offer that makes it so fun as a writer to play around with.

Are all of the creatures you describe in Sweet Venom real mythological creatures? Did you have to do a lot of research to find them?

Yes (mostly) and yes. I have the bestiary at theoi.com on internet speed dial. Almost all of my creatures are either directly from mythology (hydras, centaurs, griffins) or composites of mythological creatures (hybrids that are usually half-human, half-monster). Only a few did I actually make up, like the bear that attacks Grace at the end of Sweet Venom.

Gretchen, Greer and Grace all have very different personalities. Was it difficult to write from three very different points of views? Was one sister easier to write than the others?

The fact that they are so different made it easier to write. I tried really hard to make their voices unique since they are all first person and they are triplets. I think Greer might actually be the easiest to write because she's so... pretentious. She always sounds serious and mature, so a lot of her tone comes across in the vocabulary she uses.

If you were a mythological character/creature, who/what would you be and why?

A mermaid, for sure. I love the water and the ocean and would love to be able to spend even more time underwater, exploring.

I love all of the characters in the book but I admit that I am really fascinated by Thane. He's totally hiding something and I want to know what it is! Do we learn more about Thane and where he comes from in the next book?

Thane is an enigma. He definitely has secrets and I'm going to be a little evil and tell you that you'll learn a little more about him in Sweet Shadows, but you'll learn everything in Sweet Legacy next Fall. :)

Sweet Venom ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. What hints can you give us about book 2?

In book 2... the girls learn more about their destiny. They learn a lot more about the monster abyss, about themselves, and about each other. There are three kidnappings, two kisses, one break-up, one death, and one city-wide search for someone who doesn't want to be found.

Last but very important - cake or pie and what kind?

Cake. Vegan, red velvet cupcakes with vegan cream cheese frosting and blueberries on top. (I made these for July 4th this year and they were AMAZING.)

Thank you sooooo much, Tera! I can't wait to read Sweet Shadows!

Thank you! I hope you love Sweet Shadows!

We hope you enjoyed the interview.  If you haven't read Sweet Venom yet, you really should. Then pick up Sweet Shadows immediately!  :) If you'd like to learn more about Tera and her books, you can find her online in the following places:


02 September, 2012

In My Mailbox (14)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren (inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie) where you can show off the books that you got last week.

I have acquired an indecent number of books since my last IMM. So here's this week's only, because I'm too embarrassed to recap allllll the other books I picked up.


Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout - This is going to be a great escape when I finally get to my "weekend" (I have Wed/Thu off) so I can find out what the heck is happening in the Lux series.


every day by David Levithan - Ann Stampler saw him at BEA but he'd run out of ARCs. She wasn't going to hold her breath when he said he'd send her one later, but it turns out he IS the super-amazing wonderful and kind person we already thought he was. And it's personalized <3 <3 <3 Thanks to Ann for always thinking of me, and to David, and his publicist for being a rememberer of things and keeper of promises!

Shelter and Seconds Away by Harlan Coben - I like Harlan Coben's adult mysteries, so I jumped at the chance to review his teen ones. Thanks to Penguin for sending them over!

What's in your mailbox?

Events in September

It's time again for another event post. It's really amazing how quickly the year is going by. We're already in September which means back to school. Well none of us are in school anymore but it does mean great fall releases and fall weather. There are lots of great events this month including two Bridge To Books events. We'd love it if you could make it to these events. There is a lot of hard work that goes into B2B and the only way we can keep the great events coming is if people continue to come and support these awesome events. We have some great lineups and I don't think you'll be disappointed. Now, on to the events!

Melissa Marr
Carnival of Souls release party
Sept 4, 2012 7:30pm 
Mysterious Galaxy (Redondo Beach)
2810 Artesia Blvd.
Redondo Beach, CA 90278
event page

signs Carnival of Souls
Sept 5, 2012 7pm
Dark Delicacies
3512 W. Magnolia
Burbank, CA 91505

Lauren Kate at Ontario Library
Fallen series
Sept 12, 2012 3:30pm
215 East C Street Ontario
Ontario, California 91764
event page

Lisa McMann & Margaret Peterson Haddix
Sept 13, 2012 5pm
Mrs. Nelson's Toy & Book Shop
1030 Bonita Avenue
La Verne, CA 91750
(909) 599-4558
event page

Bridge To Books presents
Middle Grade Authors at McKinley School
with Margaret Peterson Haddix, Lisa McMann, Shannon Messenger, Helen Stringer
Sept 1, 2012 10:30 am - free (ticketed)
McKinley School
325 South Oak Knoll Ave
Pasadena CA 91101
panel discussion, book signing, books available for purchase, refreshments available (cash donation)
please order YA/older titles a week in advance from Once Upon a Time in Montrose (818) 248-9668 http://www.shoponceuponatime.com/

More info | event Facebook page | download PDF flyer | reserve your free tix

Bridge To Books presents
YA Rising Stars at Barnes & Noble Americana
Sept 22, 2012 2:00-5:00 pm - free (ticketed)
with Jesse Andrews, Kathy McCullough, Lissa Price, Sherry Shahan, Ann Redisch Stampler, Lisa M. Stasse, Carol Tanzman, and Allen Zadoff

panel discussion, book signing, books available for purchase, raffles/library booster boxes

More Info | event Facebook page | Download flyer | Reserve your free tix

LA Sizzles
with Marie Lu, Lissa Price, Jennifer Bosworth, Scott Speer
09/22/2012 7:00 pm
Once Upon a Time Bookstore
2207 Honolulu Ave / cross street VerdugoMontros
event page
Join four of the sizzling hot Young Adult authors who KNOW LA - and write fierce, brave, in-your-face thrilling dystopian tales about our favorite city of the angels.

Anna Carey & Josephine Angelini
Sept 27, 2012 5pm
Mrs. Nelson's Toy & Book Shop
1030 Bonita Avenue
La Verne, CA 91750
(909) 599-4558
event page

Orange County Children's Book Festival
Sept 30, 2012 9:30am - 4:30pm
Orange Coast College (directions)

Lots of great children's and YA events all day. Check the official site for the complete schedule.
If I missed something, let me know. Have a great month, everyone!