Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Well, everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving that is. To the rest of you, Happy Rest of the Week:)

I've already got my stretchiest pants set aside, ready and waiting to accommodate the 95lbs of mashed potatoes I plan on eating over the next 5 days. I live for mashed potatoes. And chocolate. Not together obviously, but copious amounts of both will be consumed in the coming days.

Before I go change into sweatpants though (who am I kidding, I'm already in sweatpants), I just want to say how exceedingly grateful I am to all of my amazing blogger friends and everyone who reads this blog, you guys give me something to smile about even on my worst day. *group hug*

I'll be back Monday with a full schedule of reviews and interviews, so I'll talk to you all then:)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Review: Shadow's End

A Novel of the Elder Races #9
Thea Harrison
Paranormal Romance
320 pages
Available December 1st
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
For Beluviel, consort to the Elven High Lord, and Graydon, gryphon and First Sentinel of the Wyr, even the slightest desire for each other is forbidden. But two hundred years ago, after a desperate play to save Beluviel’s stepson left them indebted to the cruel Djinn Malphas, they found their fates inexorably linked together—and the hunger between them growing too strong to ignore…

Two centuries later, with their debt to Malphas coming due, Beluviel and Graydon realize that, if they are to stand any chance of saving their souls, they must once again work together—this time more closely than ever before. But every moment they spend with each other brings them nearer to losing something even more vital—their hearts…

For lovers of the Elder Races series like myself, the wait for Graydon's story has tested the boundaries of our patience as we've watched everyone around him pair off book after book. He won many a reader’s heart in the first book even when pitted against the sheer immensity of Dragos’s personality and his role as hero, and we’ve since waited and wondered when Ms. Harrison would gift us with his turn at leading man. One of the main concerns when cracking the spine of a romance like this that features a beloved secondary character finally granted their time in the spotlight is that their story won’t quite meet the absurdly high expectations a long wait creates, something that was sadly the case in this ninth installment.

The first third of Graydon and Bel’s story is told in one long flashback, sending us two hundred years into the past so that we may bear witness to the beginning of their courtship and the steps that led to their bargain with pariah Djinn, Malphas. Part of the problem with flashbacks (for me personally) is the feeling of missing out on something in the present, and while the events leading up to Gray and Bel’s deal with the devil are intrinsic to the story as a whole, their romance during that time feels rushed and lacking in the spark we’ve come to expect from Ms. Harrison’s couples. We then fast forward to the present and begin gearing up for the big showdown, but between one chapter and the next we've missed out on two hundred years of emotional fallout.

Because of their deal with Malphas, Gray and Bel have a forbidden relationship, one that was poised to give us all the feels as they struggled against Malphas’s invisible shackles, but the split timeline gives us the formation of a relationship at novella-length speed before breaking for two centuries and then resuming that love as though no time had passed. All the tension, need, and thwarted desire is left somewhere in the 200 years we missed out on, and their interactions in the present, while enjoyable, are missing the banter, antagonism, and–most of all–the heat that characterized the previous romances.

Ms. Harrison does pack an emotional wallop outside the romance at the end of this story, and it’s sure to be nothing short of ugly-cry inducing for Elder Races fans. That said however, Gray and Bel do get their happily ever after and we also get a sneak peek at some interesting things to come for Dragos, Pia and Liam. Though this was perhaps not the strongest installment despite Gray being an Elder Races favorite, this series is still one not to be missed.

Rating: 3.5/5

Find Thea:

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, November 23, 2015

Review: Not If I See You First

Eric Lindstrom
Contemporary Young Adult
320 pages
Available December 1st
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
The Rules:

Don't deceive me. Ever. Especially using my blindness. Especially in public.

Don't help me unless I ask. Otherwise you're just getting in my way or bothering me.

Don't be weird. Seriously, other than having my eyes closed all the time, I'm just like you only smarter.

Parker Grant doesn't need 20/20 vision to see right through you. That's why she created the Rules: Don't treat her any differently just because she's blind, and never take advantage. There will be no second chances. Just ask Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart.

When Scott suddenly reappears in her life after being gone for years, Parker knows there's only one way to react-shun him so hard it hurts. She has enough on her mind already, like trying out for the track team (that's right, her eyes don't work but her legs still do), doling out tough-love advice to her painfully naive classmates, and giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn't cried since her dad's death three months ago. But avoiding her past quickly proves impossible, and the more Parker learns about what really happened--both with Scott, and her dad--the more she starts to question if things are always as they seem. Maybe, just maybe, some Rules are meant to be broken.

Not If I See You First is engaging from beginning to end, giving us little choice but to fall in love with a protagonist who has a delightfully blunt mouth and refuses to be held back by what others would consider a handicap. Mr. Lindstrom writes in a fluid, conversational style, one that keeps us from checking page numbers every now and again to note our progress and instead leaves us shocked when we find ourselves halfway through in what felt like the blink of an eye. As a result, we can't help but feel as though we know Parker from the moment we meet her, a part of her group of friends despite the barrier of paper and fiction between us.

Parker is a joy with whom to spend a couple hours, in possession of a set of rules regarding her blindness those around her must follow for both her safety and theirs (a fist smashing into their face if they startle her with an unexpected touch is something to be avoided) and determined to run unaccompanied every single day. She's unapologetically honest–in a brutally humorous way–with those around her, calling things as she sees them (no pun intended) with both friends and strangers and bringing a smile to our faces as she does so.

A quiet romance does come into play as we follow Parker in her day to day life, a former best friend re-entering the picture thanks to a school consolidation, and Mr. Lindstrom manages to keep things between them light yet full of emotion at the same time, the drama kept to a minimum but the feels cranked up as new light is shed on past mistakes. When Parker has the opportunity to see the event that caused their rift from a different perspective she doesn't let it pass her by, instead reaching out to make amends in a beautifully genuine way once she realizes Scott was not the only one responsible for the deterioration of their relationship.

Not If I See You First is a story full of humor and witty banter between friends, with gorgeously flawed teenage characters free of deep dark secrets and angst-ridden moments to exaggerate the fiction of their lives shining brightly from the pages. We're treated instead to young women and men who laugh, cry, face things we can relate to and some things we can't, all the while feeling as though we could find them walking the halls of the high school closest to us.

Rating: 4.5/5

Find Eric:
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, November 20, 2015

Harper Winter 2016 Tour + Giveaway: Burning Glass

Happy Friday Everyone!

I'm insanely excited today to be a part of the Harper Teen Winter Blog Tour, a tour where each participating blog highlights one book from Harper Teen's Winter 2016 catalog. There are a whopping 40+ books being featured, so be sure and check out the other stops (see full schedule below) to see what bookish awesomeness Harper has in store over the next few months.

My book of win to share with you guys today is Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie, but before I get to the synopsis and all the giveaway goodies, I want to do a quick top 3 list of why I need this book in my life immediately.


1.  Fantasy + Romance = All I need to know. I've been on a YA fantasy kick for going on 2 years now and I simply can't get enough of the imaginative worlds, the magic, and the often epic romances. Burning Glass promises all three so I'm completely sold.

2. Loner Heroine. Sonya is the only one left with her particular ability, soon finding herself conscripted into the service of the emperor. There's something appealing to me about a young woman who's isolated despite being surrounded by people as such characters often have a tragic strength to them, and I can't wait to see what Sonya's made of.

3. It releases March 1st, which just happens to be my birthday. THIS BOOK AND I WERE MEANT TO BE.

You'd probably like to have a better idea of what Burning Glass is about now that I've rambled on a bit, right? Right.

Sonya was born with the rare gift to feel what those around her feel—both physically and emotionally—a gift she’s kept hidden from the empire for seventeen long years. After a reckless mistake wipes out all the other girls with similar abilities, Sonya is hauled off to the palace and forced to serve the emperor as his sovereign Auraseer.

Tasked with sensing the intentions of would-be assassins, Sonya is under constant pressure to protect the emperor. One mistake, one small failure, will cost her own life and the lives of the few people left in the world who still trust her.

But Sonya’s power is untamed and reckless, her feelings easily usurped, and she sometimes can’t decipher when other people’s impulses end and her own begin. In a palace full of warring emotions and looming darkness, Sonya fears that the biggest danger to the empire may be herself.

As she struggles to wrangle her abilities, Sonya seeks refuge in her tenuous alliances with the volatile Emperor Valko and his idealistic younger brother, Anton, the crown prince. But when threats of revolution pit the two brothers against each other, Sonya must choose which brother to trust—and which to betray.

BURNING GLASS is debut author Kathryn Purdie’s stunning tale of dangerous magic, heart-rending romance, and the hard-won courage it takes to let go.

Find Kathryn + Burning Glass

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There is not one but TWO massive giveaways for this tour, so two people are going to be the luckiest book lovers out there.

Giveaway #1: A Harper Teen Winter 2016 Prize Pack of 40+ Books
(includes all the YA titles in the Winter 2016 catalog with the exception of The Siren by Kiera Cass, Yellow Brick War by Danielle Paige and Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway #2: 5 Finished Copies from the Harper Teen Fall 2015 Catalog
(includes The Lies About Truth, Walk on Earth a Stranger, Dreamland, Dumplin' and Da Vinci's Tiger)
How to enter:
Collect the daily word from each blog stop during the Harper Winter 2016 Tour (a total of 45). Once you’ve collected them all, email the complete saying to:

Prize Rules:
  • Winner must have a valid US mailing address to receive the prize 
  • Winner must be over 13 
  • Only one (1) entry per person for Prize #2 – duplicates will be deleted.  
  • Only a completed phrase will be accepted as an entry – do not email each word/phrase daily. Wait until you have the complete saying and then email in. 
  • All email submissions must be received by 11:59 PM EST 11/30/2015.  
  • Winners will be selected 12/1/2015 and will have 48 hours to claim their prize before another is selected. 
  • Participating blogs and bloggers are not responsible for unsent, damaged, and/or stolen prizes offered by the publisher. 



Thursday, November 19, 2015

Poet Anderson Blog Tour + Giveaway: Interview with Suzanne Young

Today I'm so pleased to have author Suzanne Young stopping by the blog to chat about Poet Anderson...Of Nightmares, a new novel she co-wrote with Tom DeLonge. Suzanne was nice enough to answer a few dream and nightmare-related questions for me, so I hope you guys enjoy the interview. I'm already shuddering in anticipation of the spider question. *dies* Be sure and check the bottom of the post too for all the details on a fabulous giveaway!
If you could take a walk through the Dream World and see into the dreams and nightmares of any fictional character, whose unconscious mind would you most want a peek into?

This is random, but I’m a fan of True Blood and the Sookie Stackhouse series. I would love to wander into Eric Northman’s dreams.

A Night Terror is fear that takes the form of a snarling beast. My personal Night Terror would also likely be crawling with spiders since they have me curling into the fetal position whenever I see one. What additional element might a Night Terror have if it were to reflect one of your personal phobias? 

WHAT DID I JUST READ?? I’m totally freaking over the spider comment. To be honest, I find spider crabs to be the most terrible things on the planet. So my Night Terror would have long, gross legs like that. *shudders*

What piece of advice might a Dream Walker have for me should I ever find myself facing one of the Dream World’s many nightmare-inducing creatures?

Uh, if it’s some spider concoction the Dream Walker would tell you to “RUN FAST!” He might also tell you conquer your fears before they destroy you.

While the Dream World is clearly full of many things dark and scary, what’s one thing about it that makes Jonas grateful he’s a Lucid Dreamer?

I think he’s grateful to feel like he’s in control of his own destiny. After losing his parents and his brother, his life is happening TO him. I think Lucid Dreaming is a way for him to be himself without the trauma of the outside world. He can be stronger than he is in the waking world. I think he finds comfort in that. 
If we were to ask the Jonas at the beginning of Poet Anderson…Of Nightmares his greatest fear, what would he say? The Jonas at the end?

On the car ride to Seattle, I think Jonas would have said that his greatest fear was disappointing Alan. But by the end, I think his fears are bigger than his brother. He’s scared that he won’t be able to save the world. Now he’s afraid of disappointing everyone.
Thanks so much Suzanne!

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Poet Anderson…Of Nightmares follows the epic journey of two orphan brothers, Jonas and Alan, who are Lucid Dreamers. After a tragic car accident lands Alan in a coma, Jonas sets out into the Dream World in an attempt to find his brother and wake him up. What he discovers instead is an entire shared consciousness where fear comes to life as a snarling beast called a Night Terror, and a creature named REM is bent on destruction and misery, devouring the souls of the strongest dreamers to get closer to the Waking World. With the help of a Dream Walker—a guardian of the dreamscape, Jonas must face his fears, save his brother, and become who he was always meant to be: Poet Anderson.

| Indiebound
 Animated Excerpt | Novel Teaser

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Suzanne Young is the New York Times bestselling author of The Program series. Originally from Utica, New York, Suzanne moved to Arizona to pursue her dream of not freezing to death. She is a novelist and an English teacher, but not always in that order. Suzanne is the author of THE PROGRAM, THE TREATMENT, THE REMEDY, and HOTEL RUBY.

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Tom DeLonge is an award-winning American musician, producer and director best known as the lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter for the platinum selling rock bands Blink-182 and Angels & Airwaves. His home is San Diego, where he focuses on creating entertainment properties that bridge music, narrative and film through his multimedia company To The Stars. For the full experience of Tom’s work, visit

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wednesday Flourish: Empire of Sand

Happy 2-More-Days-Till-Friday Everyone!

Back in March I revealed the cover for Love in a Time of Monsters which featured one of my favorite illustrations I've done, so I was beside myself when author Teresa Yea got in touch and said it was time to revisit this series with a prequel novella. Cue spastic happy designer flail.

While we of course wanted to stick with feel established by Monsters, keeping vibrant colors and bold texture as unifying elements, Teresa wanted this prequel to be a bit darker in tone and hark back to the spirit of adventure found in the likes of Indiana Jones. Teresa makes my job incredibly easy by putting together Pinterest inspiration boards that clearly point me in the direction she wants me to go, and then gives me the freedom to put my spin on her initial ideas. I'm always enormously proud of the work we do together, and our latest collaboration just might displace Monsters as my new Teresa Yea favorite.

Empire of Sand, a prequel in The Golden Age of Monsters series, releases December 1st, and I hope you guys consider adding this one to your lists!


Liam is a trained killer--meticulous, cunning, an artist with a knife.
Cat is his protégéewild, reckless, a girl lost.
They're young.
They're beautiful.
They kill monsters.

Egypt, 1866. A terror is unleashed upon Cairo.
A predator that travels under a cloak of storms and
lurks amongst the dunes.
It reigns like a king in an empire of sand and
kills with human-like precision.
Its prey of choice: man.
Liam can't resist the allure of the ultimate kill.
Cat has a vendetta against all unnatural creatures.
They're deadly.
They're invincible.
They're being hunted.

From the author of Love in a Time of Monsters comes an electrifying prequel that invites you to live fast, die young, and shed a little blood.

Find Teresa & Empire of Sand!

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