Friday, July 3, 2015

Happy 4th of July!


Happy 4th of July (tomorrow) to all my US friends and readers, and a very happy Friday to everyone else! I'm taking today off to do a whole lot of nothing (woo hoo!), but I do hope to get some reading done this weekend. I've been in a bit of a funk lately and haven't been able to settle into anything, though I just finished Storm Siren by Mary Weber and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I'm digging into Siren's Fury next and can't wait.

I hope all you have a fantastic book and family-filled holiday/weekend!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Interview + Giveaway: Robin Benway + Emmy and Oliver


I'm so pleased today to welcome author Robin Benway to the blog to answer a few questions about her newest release, Emmy & Oliver. Those of you who read this blog with any frequency know I'm a sucker for all things romance, and one of my very favorite types of romances is one where the couple starts out as best friends, so as soon as I read the synopsis (even though the focus clearly isn't on the romance, but my one-track mind zeroed right in on it anyway) for Emmy & Oliver I knew it was something I had to read. Be sure and check below the interview for a chance to win exciting upcoming HarperTeen titles, and don't forget to follow the tour for more Emmy & Oliver awesomeness!

In Emmy & Oliver, Oliver has to face the brutal realization that his father wasn’t the man he thought he was. Once he learned he’d be returning home after ten years away, what’s one question Oliver would say he was most dreading having to answer?

Oliver wouldn’t want to answer any questions about his dad. Like, at all. He’s so protective of his dad, even though he did this terrible thing, because he grew up with him and loved him. They were best friends, and in his mind, Oliver is still trying to figure out how he feels about everything. He can barely talk to himself about his dad, much less anyone else. The pain and betrayal he feels is so overwhelming that he can’t put it into words.

If Emmy could have gotten a message to Oliver at any point in the time they were apart, what would she have wanted him to know?

I think she would have told him how much his mom missed him, and how she spent all of her time looking for her son. Emmy grows up next door to Oliver’s mom, so she can see the pain she’s in, and it’s so hard to witness.

If you ever found yourself with feelings for a close friend, would you be the type to say something and try to shift the relationship to something more, or would you be the type to suffer in silence and hope the other person made the first move?

HAHAHAHA I wouldn’t have said A WORD. That secret would go with me to the grave. Not that I think that that’s the best plan, but especially as a teenager, I was shy and would have never made the first move, especially with a friend. I’m pretty good at suffering in silence.

If Emmy and Oliver were sitting in front of you and you had the chance to tell them how their story affected you, what would the first words out of your mouth be?

I would tell them how brave they were, and then I would thank them for letting me tell their story. And then we would go to the beach together.

Thanks so much for answering my questions Robin!

• • • • • • • • • • • • 

EMMY & OLIVER


Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.



• • • • • • • • • • • •

ROBIN BENWAY

I'm the author of "Audrey, Wait!", "The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June", and the AKA series. My new book "Emmy & Oliver" will be released on June 23, 2015. I live in Los Angeles with my extremely stubborn shih tzu, Hudson. I've gotten a lot better at cooking. I still love coffee. We should be friends.


 • • • • • • • • • • •

GIVEAWAY

One lucky winner will receive:

Galley of WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER by Rae Carson

Galley of WHAT WE SAW by Aaron Hartzler

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

WEEK ONE:
6/22 - The Midnight Garden (Guest Post)
6/23 - Mundie Moms (Review)
6/24 - Reading Teen (Guest Post - Letter from Oliver to Emmy)
6/25 - Addicted 2 Novels (Review)
6/26 - Andi's ABC's (ABC Post)

WEEK TWO:
6/29 - Stuck In Books (Review)
6/30 - Swoony Boys Podcast (Character Interview)
7/1 - Step Into Fiction (Review)
7/2 - Supernatural Snark (Q&A)
7/3 - Fiction Fare (Review)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Leading Her Witness


Today I'm thrilled to be a part of the promotional tour for Cheryl Ann Smith's Leading Her Witness, a new release from Tulip Romance. I couldn't wait to ask Cheryl a few questions about heroine Andie and her job as a newbie process server, and she was nice enough to let me quiz her about some of the craziness Andie's day to day life entails, so I hope you guys enjoy the interview. Welcome to Supernatural Snark Cheryl!

If I wanted to try my hand at being a process server, what’s the number one tip Andie would give me on my first day?

Watch out for dogs!

Andie is probably going to see a lot of things she’ll wish she could unsee on this job. What would she say is the one thing she hopes never to come across?

Naked people answering the door. No one wants to see that! Well, maybe if it’s Ryan Gosling…

*I would also like to add Chris Hemsworth and Chris Pratt, and just for fun let's throw in Chris Evans as well and make it a holy trinity of Chris hotness, to this list of people we wouldn't mind opening the door naked ;-)

If both Andie and Colin had to give their superiors a one-word summary of how the case with Sammy Gilroy went down, what word would each of them use?

Andie- Insane!
Colin- Successful

What character from any book, film or TV Show would Andie have wished she could have called for assistance either on the case itself or in working with Colin?

Sarah Conner. If she can kick the Terminator’s butt, she can handle a trio of thugs!

While the list of things Andie does wrong as a process server would probably be long if we asked Colin to make one, what would he say is one thing she does right?

Colin likes how she looks at problems and sees solutions that are out of the norm. At first he thinks she’s a nut, but quickly realizes that this unusual skill will help him get Gilroy…and maybe save his life!

• • • • • • • • • • •

LEADING HER WITNESS


Goons, deadbeats, and murder: A tenacious process server’s unconventional techniques get her into loads of trouble. So much so that her boss jokes that he keeps the coroner on speed dial just in case. Still, most of Andie Dixon’s job is pretty tame if she doesn’t count snapping dogs and homeowners squirting her with garden hoses.

That changes when she serves papers on a notorious crime boss and puts her life in real jeopardy. But despite this close call, Andie will not let threats keep her from doing her job. She puts the matter behind her until a hunky U.S. Marshal tracks her down and solicits her help to find the fugitive. Again. At first Andie adamantly refuses, but eventually agrees when she’s swayed by the Marshal’s persistence and rather dreamy brown eyes. However, when crime boss Sammy Gilroy, finds out she’s back and close on his heels, he threatens to make her disappear for good this time.

Marshall Colin Navarro needs to find Sammy Gilroy before the man vanishes forever. Colin is certain that the notorious crime leader was involved in a shoot-out with the FBI that injured his sister. But he never expected that he’d have to sway a newbie process-server to help, or that she’d turn out to be stubborn, aggravating, and an all-around pain in the ass. Yet despite her shortcomings, he cannot figure out why she’s taken over his thoughts and is front and center in some very hot fantasies. But can he keep her from getting herself killed as they edge closer to catching the fugitive? Then again, the crime boss and his goons don’t know who they’re messing with.

With Andie on the case, Colin is beginning to believe that justice may be served after all.


Looking for more Dead to Rights fun? Then be sure and check out Murder, Mayhem and Perfect Hair, coming October 27th from Tulip Romance!

Add Murder, Mayhem and Perfect Hair on Goodreads

• • • • • • • • • • • 

CHERYL ANN SMITH


Cheryl Ann Smith loves mystery and adventure and always includes both in her books. And when she’s not putting her heroines in danger, she’s watching true crime shows or spending way too much time on email with friends. Cheryl lives in Michigan with her family and several pets.

Find Cheryl:

 • • • • • • • • • • • 

GIVEAWAY

Tulip Romance is generously offering up a $120 gift card (Amazon, B&N, iTunes) to one lucky winner! To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form. Giveaway is open internationally.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to check out all the participating blogs for more guest posts, interviews, and chances to win!

Monday, June 22nd – Seeing Night Reviews – Guest Post
Tuesday, June 23rd – Book Referees – Guest Post
Wednesday, June 24th – The BookWhisperer – Guest Post
Thursday, June 25th – Books Glorious Books – Author Interview
Friday, June 26th – Life With Two Boys – Teaser

Monday, June 29th – Rainy Day Ramblings – Book Review
Tuesday, June 30th – Bewitched Bookworms – Guest Post
Wednesday, July 1st – Supernatural Snark – Guest Post
Thursday, July 2nd – Spiced Latte Reads – Teaser
Friday, July 3rd – Gwyn Plum – Author Interview

Monday, July 6th – Curling Up With A Good Book – Teaser
Tuesday, July 7th – BB’s Book Reviews – Guest Post
Wednesday, July 8th – The Book Cellar – Author Interview
Friday, July 10th – We’re Jumpin’ Books – Guest Post & Obsessed by Books Review together with Guest Post

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tracy Reviews: Eeny Meeny

Today I'm excited to welcome my sister-in-law Tracy back to the blog to share her latest review! Thanks so much for taking on Eeny Meeny :-)

EENY MEENY
Helen Grace #1
M.J. Arlidge
Mystery/Thriller
432 pages
NAL
Available Now
Source: Finished copy from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Two people are abducted, imprisoned, and left with a gun. As hunger and thirst set in, only one walks away alive.

It’s a game more twisted than any Detective Helen Grace has ever seen. If she hadn’t spoken with the shattered survivors herself, she almost wouldn’t believe them.

Helen is familiar with the dark sides of human nature, including her own, but this case—with its seemingly random victims—has her baffled. But as more people go missing, nothing will be more terrifying than when it all starts making sense...


TRACY'S THOUGHTS
Before you read this review and take my opinion into consideration, I need to explain a few things about me. I love the show Criminal Minds - even though most episodes creep me out. I have been known to binge watch the ID channel for weekends at a time. When Jenny asked me to review this serial killer thriller, I jumped at the chance!

Mr. Arlidge sets a fast pace in his first book in the Helen Grace series. He throws us into the terrifying first murder immediately, never wasting a minute to drag us into the darkness of a very 'Saw-like' scenario. I had a very difficult time putting this book down, and could not wait for the next plot twist and intense sinister scene.

That being said, not everyone will love Eeny Meeny. The chapters are extremely short - some are not even one full page in length. Each chapter brings a different point of view, so some readers may not enjoy all of the switching. I liked all of the POV changes, and never once felt it caused any backtracking in the story - it always progressed very quickly.

The main character, Detective Inspector Helen Grace, was fascinating, but was not necessarily the most likeable character. She becomes more likeable as the book progresses and Mr. Arlidge does a great job uncovering her background in the later half of the book to help us reconcile her less appealing side. While we do not exactly like Helen - we do admire her strength and determination in her work. Helen Grace's team is full of great characters - most notably Mark and Charlie - who are both flawed but likeable and relatable.

Overall, Eeny Meeny is a dark and disturbing read, with plenty of action and surprises. Those that are intrigued by the psychological aspect of this book will look past some of the graphic violence that accompanies it. The twist and turns in Eeny Meeny definitely makes it worthwhile. I look forward to reading more Helen Grace mysteries to come.

Rating: 4/5


Find M.J.


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, or in this case Tracy's, honest opinion.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Review: Court of Fives

COURT OF FIVES
Court of Fives #1
Kate Elliott
Young Adult/Fantasy
448 pages
Little, Brown BFYR
Available August 18th
Source: ARC from NOVL Newsletter

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
In this imaginative escape into an enthralling new world, World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott begins a new trilogy with her debut young adult novel, weaving an epic story of a girl struggling to do what she loves in a society suffocated by rules of class and privilege.

Jessamy's life is a balance between acting like an upper class Patron and dreaming of the freedom of the Commoners. But at night she can be whomever she wants when she sneaks out to train for The Fives, an intricate, multi-level athletic competition that offers a chance for glory to the kingdom's best competitors. Then Jes meets Kalliarkos, and an unlikely friendship between a girl of mixed race and a Patron boy causes heads to turn. When a scheming lord tears Jes's family apart, she'll have to test Kal's loyalty and risk the vengeance of a powerful clan to save her mother and sisters from certain death.


MY THOUGHTS
Court of Fives is one of those stories that needs to be read in small doses, not because it's lacking in elements that hold our interest, but rather because the world and some of the people in it are so appalling we can't bear to be in their presence for long periods of time. Ms. Elliott gives us a society in which women are the lowest of the low, daughters often killed or sent away because they're not everything a son would be, and adult women bricked up alive in tombs with the body of their lord or prince to keep him company in the afterlife. It's a brutal world, one that makes our blood boil at the injustice of the class system, but Ms. Elliott doesn't leave us alone to fume in our anger, providing us with a young heroine who plays the game of life and death so very well.

Jessamy has dreamed of competing in the Fives–a sporting even of sorts in which contestants run an obstacle course and can eventually move up the ranks to achieve fame and fortune–for years, and it's easy to root for her to achieve this one goal when everything else in her life is falling apart. She's strong-willed, smart and unafraid to make her feelings known despite the fact that her voice is viewed as worthless by this society at large, and she proves to be a highlight in an otherwise dark and heavy world.

While Jessamy is a strong character, and one whom by the end has us itching to see how she's going to handle the latest blow she's been dealt, the structure of the story itself seems to fall apart as Jessamy's journey continues. We're led to believe thanks to the first half that after a horrific separation from her family, we're going to follow her as she trains in an official stable for the Fives, but just as she becomes a cog in a political machine she wants no part of, we leave the stable and embark on a completely different and drawn-out adventure. It almost feels as though an entirely separate novella in which Jessamy sets out to bring her family back together exists in the middle of this tale, and we're returned to the world of the Fives with only a few chapters remaining. The details of her training and the complexity of the politics surrounding the Fives are discussed only in short random bursts, depriving of us of the in-depth look at what we previously assumed would be the most dominant aspect of the story.

Additionally, the romance between Jes and well-out-of-her-social-league Lord Kalliarkos is lacking in the same substance as the Fives, their relationship one of hesitant friendship (which is great) before things like holding hands and kissing are casually thrown in without much build-up or aftermath. We remain purely on the surface despite the potential for something painfully spectacular to exist between them, leaving us without some of the obsessive anticipation we'd hoped to feel after the turn of the last page. Ms. Elliott does delight with her villainous character however, a man so righteously loathesome we can feel our lips curl involuntarily whenever he appears on page, and we can't help but long for the moment when Jessamy puts him in his place.

Overall Court of Fives is a bit of a rocky start to this series, but a strong heroine and a political world hateful enough to have us taking short breaks as we read make the sequel something to look forward to.
 

Rating: 3.5/5


Find Kate:


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

Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday Flourish: Black Heart, Red Ruby

Happy Friday Everyone!

I'm super excited today to share another of my recent cover designs, this one for author Teresa Yea who I had the privilege of working with on Love in a Time of Monsters. Teresa never fails to come to me with a project that makes me positively giddy at the thought of working on it, and given how madly in love I was with the way Monsters came together I couldn't wait to team up with her again on her newest release, Black Heart, Red Ruby.

Black Heart, Red Ruby is contemporary gothic horror, so we originally discussed a design that would be dark in nature–lots of blacks and reds combining to create a bold, heavy look–with the heroine as a focal point. After submitting the first round of idea boards, Teresa and I ended up back at the drawing board, realizing the direction in which we'd been heading just wasn't suiting the story the way we'd hoped.

We came to the conclusion that we needed to simplify, keeping the design very graphic, type-driven, and full of grit and texture. You guys already know how obsessed I am with typography, so I couldn't be happier with how the final design turned out. I hope you all love it and decide to add it to your reading lists!

BLACK HEART, RED RUBY
(releases June 30th)


Ava Nolan grew up in the shadow of her father's obsession with macabre artifacts. An elixir brewed from witches’ blood. A cabinet of mummified cats. And Arabella's Curse, the missing prize in his collection: a ruby with the power to resurrect the dead. With a father who resents her existence, a dead-end job, and her expulsion from school to live down, Ava sets out to recover the ruby and reclaim her self-respect. Luckily for Ava, local legend says the ruby is buried in a crumbling mansion by the sea, not far from her new home.

But life as an amateur relic hunter is not without its share of emergency room visits. Or cutthroat competitors. And nearly plummeting to her death doesn’t terrify Ava half as much as her uncle, a gentleman grave robber with a vendetta against her father and sinister plans for the ruby.

Entangled in a web of family treachery, Ava finds solace with a lonely boy who fills her nights with stolen kisses and her head with ruby lore. But there's something strange about Ben Wolcott. He's a bit too cunning, a bit too preoccupied with keeping Ava out of his basement, and much too interested in Arabella's Curse.
Find Black Heart, Red Ruby:


Find Teresa:


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