Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!!

Wishing you all

...And don't forget, the Library Sheriff is reminding you to return your books on time... OR ELSE!!! Mwahahaha...

The Lies That Bind Vlog Tour - Week 4!

For each of the four weeks leading up to the Get Real Contemps on Tour that will be helping to officially launch The Lies that Bind, the Roecker sisters' are releasing a vlog about their inspiration and some great sneak peeks! So, here's the video for week four, Lies That Bind Farewell!

Lisa & Laura are finally set to head out on tour, but want to leave us with a final goodbye... Find out all the things they are excited to see in a town near you and check out their super cute kids who were helping them pack!!

Don't forget to check out the website for the series or their Facebook page...

I can't wait for THE LIES THAT BIND, which comes out tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Sleuth or Dare Series

Partners in Crime
by Kim Harrington

When best friends Darcy and Norah have to create a fake business for a school assignment, they come up with a great idea: a detective agency! Darcy loves mysteries, and Norah likes helping people, so it's a perfect fit.

But then their pretend agency gets a real case. Someone is missing, and it's up to Darcy and Norah to take on the search. Unfortunately, there's someone else out there who doesn't want the two detectives stirring up any trouble. . . .

With the help of hidden clues, spy gadgets, and trusted friends, can Darcy and Norah crack the case in time?

Sleepover Stakeout
by Kim Harrington

Norah and Darcy's detective agency, Partners in Crime, is taking on new and chilling case. The girls' classmate, Maya, is hearing strange, crackling voices coming over the baby monitor while she's babysitting late at night. Maya is worried someone might be in danger.

To help investigate, Norah and Darcy join her for a sleepover stakeout. In between eating snacks and watching TV, the girls are on high alert for anything suspicious. Soon, they stumble upon a mysterious secret they never could have imagined - but Norah and Darcy clash over how to interpret the new clues.

Can the girls get past their differences to see their way to the truth?

Framed and Dangerous
by Kim Harrington 
Norah and Darcy are still in a fight, but crime doesn't stop just because the girls aren't speaking. Someone has set fire to their school's brand-new field house. And the prime suspect is Zane Munro, the cute boy Norah can't help crushing on.

When Zane asks Partners in Crime for help, Norah and Darcy must band together to investigate. Norah knows Zane is innocent, but the clues are not in his favor. Can she and Darcy mend their friendship, crack the case, and clear Zane's name before it's too late?
(all descriptions taken from
I decided to review this whole series together as they are small chapter books and it seemed a little silly to review each alone... anyway, I loved this series!  I was so happy to read about two SMART girls who are somewhat popular and nice and just have a great time doing what they love. 
Norah is an astronomy geek (me in high school!) and Darcy is a computer genius obsessed with CSI type TV shows.  Together, they not only celebrate their dorkiness, but they also make one heck of a deductive crime-solving team.  Following their investigations was fun and exciting. 
I loved that even though they have rough spots in their best-friendship, they work to stay friends.  They let others into their lives and in fact grow quite the little group around them, but it always comes back to Norah and Darcy, Darcy and Norah. 
These books were fun, easy to read, geektastic, and had great mysteries. I'm hoping that someday the series continues!  For now, though, I'm happy with where things ended, too...
Full disclosure: Books 1 & 2 purchased and signed by the author at a book event at The Otis Library in Norwich, CT. Book 3 borrowed through interlibrary loan.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

It's Kind of a Funny Story

It's Kind of a Funny Story
by Ned Vizzini
Like many ambitious New York City teenagers, Craig Gilner sees entry into Manhattan’s Executive Pre-Professional High School as the ticket to his future. Determined to succeed at life—which means getting into the right high school to get into the right college to get the right job—Craig studies night and day to ace the entrance exam, and does. That’s when things start to get crazy.

At his new school, Craig realizes that he isn't brilliant compared to the other kids; he’s just average, and maybe not even that. He soon sees his once-perfect future crumbling away. The stress becomes unbearable and Craig stops eating and sleeping—until, one night, he nearly kills himself.

Craig’s suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, isolated from the crushing pressures of school and friends, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety. (description from
I really need to listen to my teen readers at the library more often. The trouble is I usually have such a huge stack of books that I'm dying to read any way that when a teen suggests a book I tell them, "oh yeah, I'd like to read's going on my list" and then it takes ages for me to get to it...
I had three different teens recommend this book to me.  Then I picked it up, looked at the cover, and put it back down. (I know, shame on me!) I also, unwittingly, checked out the movie from the library and then returned it unwatched.  It wasn't until I received the audio book for review that I finally got around to "reading" this great story.
And, was indeed a great story! Others have said this, but it bears repeating...for a book about a suicidal teenager, this was actually a surprisingly funny book.  Vizzini manages to make this book feel achingly "real" precisely because it covers such a huge range of emotions.  There are NO one dimensional characters and the plot is utterly realistic. What a well done book. 
I highly recommend this one (and I have since checked out the movie again, because this time I will actually watch it! I want to compare it to the book...)
Full disclosure: Audio book received to review for SLJ

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Mini Reviews: The Adult Urban Fantasy Edition

Biting Cold
by Chloe Neill
Chicagoland Vampires, book six

Merit is on the hunt, charging across the stark American Midwest, tailing a rogue supernatural intent on stealing an ancient artifact that could unleash catastrophic evil on the world. But Merit is also the prey. An enemy of Chicagoland is hunting her, and he'll stop at nothing to get the book for himself. No mercy allowed.

No rules apply. No lives spared. The race is on. (description from

Okay, trying to be non-spoilery...not only does this particular book in the series pack a whopping emotional punch, but it also ramps up the action a notch.  Merit has to fight some big battles and face some enemies she previously thought were friends... I loved it. Yet again, Neill sucked me right in and left me waiting anxiously for the next one...

Full disclosure: Borrowed through interlibrary loan

Two Weeks' Notice
by Rachel Caine
The Revivalist, book two

After dying and being revived with the experimental drug Returne, Bryn Davis is theoretically free to live her unlife—with regular doses to keep her going. But Bryn knows that the government has every intention of keeping a tight lid on Pharmadene’s life-altering discovery, no matter the cost.

Thankfully, some things have changed for the better; her job at the rechristened Davis Funeral Home is keeping her busy and her fragile romance with Patrick McCallister is blossoming—thanks in part to their combined efforts in forming a support group for Returne addicts. But when some of the group members suddenly disappear, Bryn wonders if the government is methodically removing a threat to their security, or if some unknown enemy has decided to run the zombies into the ground… (description from
I love this science-fiction take on zombies.  Caine's writing always blends the perfect amounts of action, romance, and sheer drama for me.  Looking for a zombie series that doesn't go heavy into the whole brain consumption aspect? Give these a try...
Full disclosure: Borrowed through interlibrary loan

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Lies That Bind Vlog Tour - Week 3!

For each of the four weeks leading up to the Get Real Contemps on Tour that will be helping to officially launch The Lies that Bind, the sisters' are releasing a vlog about their inspiration and some great sneak peeks! So, here's the video for week three, Road Tripping across the USA!!

Lisa & Laura will be heading out on the tour in November, but packing is always a pain. I love the idea of a full-on FASHION SHOW to prep for a big trip. Too bad my sister doesn't live close enough to confer with!! What do you think of their outfits for New York, California, and Virginia? I love the white top and plaid scarf outfit the best, personally... in fact, YOU can tweet your favorite outfit choices with the hashtag #lie2mefashion or go on their Facebook page to suggest some other options. 

Don't forget to check out the website for the series...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Live Through This

Live Through This
by Mindi Scott

If Coley Sterling’s best friend would stop hating her, if her dance-team captains would lighten up, if her friends would stop asking her about Reece, the geeky sax player she’s crushing on—then her life would be perfect. Right? After all, Coley’s stepdad is a successful attorney who gives Coley and her siblings everything, and her mother will stop at nothing to keep them all happy and safe—including having escaped ten years ago from the abuse of Coley’s real father.  But Coley is keeping a lot of secrets. She won’t admit—not even to herself—that her almost-perfect life is her own carefully crafted facade. Now, Coley and Reece are getting closer, and a decade’s worth of Coley’s lies are on the verge of unraveling—along with the life she thought she knew. (description from
This. This is a doozy of a book. It is gripping, it is un-put-downable.  Once I had gotten about 20 pages in, there was no stopping. I read straight through until the last page, tears streaming down my face in several spots, shivers running down my spine.  I could not tear myself away. 

This is not a book for everyone. It is in your face about a very inappropriate sexual relationship and the author doesn't really pull any punches in describing what's happening.  But for the right reader, this is THE book. The one that will change their life. Whether it just be that reluctant reader who needs a compelling story to convince them that they can enjoy reading, or whether it's the teen actually dealing with the same emotional fallout...this book will find its readers.

I have already unequivically recommended this book to two readers I know because I knew without a doubt that they would love it. Need a blockbuster "issue" book or know someone struggling to come to grips with their feelings about being abused...try this book. Really.

Full disclosure: Review copy received from VOYA

Friday, October 19, 2012

Cover Craving... Charmed Vengeance!

Charmed Vengeance
by Suzanne Lazear
Aether Chronicles, book two

Publication date: 2013

No synopsis yet.

I love the fae elements in this steampunk series and that they are reflected in the fun and flirty-ish covers designed for the books. I think this blue is really pretty, too!

Pandora Gets Greedy

Pandora Gets Greedy
by Carolyn Hennesy
Pandora series, book six
Pandora is off to Rome in search of Greed. With a little magical help, Pandy and her friends pose as servants for a Roman senator. But the hard work leaves little time to search for evils—not to mention dealing with the senator’s bratty daughter. When a feud breaks out between the senator and Julius Caesar, Pandy finally gets the courage she needs to search for Greed. But there is an odd twist. The Greek gods are in town on a "family reunion" with their Roman counterparts. Are the double gods just a coincidence or are they here to help her? (description from
While I love this series, I had a hard time getting into this particular volume. I don't know if it's that it starts out with Pandora having forgotten what she her mission, or that it took a few chapters to build into the larger story, but something just felt like it was lacking... as I continued into the story things evened out again, but I had a really hard time at first.
Once things picked up again, I loved seeing the Greek and Roman god counterparts interact.  It was fun to see them working together and sometimes against each other as they waited for Pandora to complete her quest.  Pandora's friends also continue to grow closer and closer as a unit, bonding and protecting one another whenever they can.
The next book in the series is the final one and though this book was not my favorite in the series, there is NO WAY that I'm not going to read the last one and find out how it all ends!
Full disclosure: Borrowed through interlibrary loan 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Lies That Bind Vlog Tour - Week 2!

So, I am super ridiculously excited to be joining the Roecker sisters' The Lies That Bind Vlog Tour...
For each of the four weeks leading up to the Get Real Contemps on Tour that will be helping to officially launch The Lies that Bind, the sisters' are releasing a vlog about their inspiration and some great sneak peeks! So, here's the video for week two, The Liar Society in Hollywood!!

I think it's hilarious to hear who each of the sisters would pick to play Kate, Liam, Seth, Taylor and Bradley if The Liar Society series were ever made into a TV show or movie!  Love some of their pics... in fact, YOU can tweet your favorite pics with the hashtag #lie2me or go on their Facebook page to suggest some of your own.

Don't forget to check out the website for the series...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


by Rachel Hartman
Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life. (description from
It has been a little while since I have read a story about dragons that has left me in awe.  It's not that the dragon books out there aren't's that they all seem to have very similar lore these days.  Not so in Seraphina.  Though I have read books where dragons could take human form before, Hartman writes about this process and other dragon-y aspects in such a way that it felt utterly new and brilliantly done. 
I could picture the painful process of a giant dragon folding in on itself to take Saar (human) form. I could empathize completely with how they must feel trapped and utterly alien amongst humankind.  I understood their mathematical and scientific brains, revolted by human feeling and floundering as emotions they did not want flooded their systems. 
Hartman manages to convey excellently drawn perspectives of both humans and dragons as they beome embroiled in political strife.  Seraphina, who can see both perspectives, is the perfect narrator.  Her struggle to fit in, yet hide herself from scrutiny is fascinating. Her relationship with dragonkind draws readers in effortlessly.  Her struggle to fight off feelings for the one man she should never pursue...
A phenomenal fantasy debut, absolutely recommended to all fantasy readers, and well worthy of a shiny, shiny (dragon scale shiny, LOL) gold star:
Full disclosure: Borrowed from my library

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Princess Academy: Palace of Stone

Princess Academy: Palace of Stone
by Shannon Hale
Princess Academy, book two

Coming down from the mountain to a new life in the city is a thrill to Miri. She and her princess academy friends have been brought to Asland to help the future princess Britta prepare for her wedding.There, Miri also has a chance to attend school-at the Queen's Castle. But as Miri befriends students who seem sophisticated and exciting she also learns that they have some frightening plans. Torn between loyalty to the princess and her new friends' ideas, between an old love and a new crush, and between her small mountain home and the bustling city, Miri looks to find her own way in this new place. (description from

I am so happy that this follow-up to The Princess Academy finally came out. The first book is one of my all time favorites!  Miri is a fabulous character: loyal, smart, ambitious (but in the best way...) and true blue to the end... I was so happy to see her back.

Shannon Hale does a FABULOUS job shifting Miri into life in the royal city.  This book still features friendship, romance, and learning, plus it delves into political intrigue, danger, and above all figuring out exactly who you are as a person and where you want your life to take you. Miri finds herself embroiled in a battle for power with divided loyalties - the worst possible place.  It takes months and real life-threatening danger for her to determine exactly what the truest course is...and of course, for her to lead the charge.

Full of wisdom, wit, and heartwarming relationships, Hale has followed up a beautifully written book with a bang up sequel. I adored every minute of it!

Full disclosure: ARC received at BEA 2012/eARC received from NetGalley

Monday, October 15, 2012

Book Trailer Reveal - The Cadet of Tildor!

The Cadet of Tildor
By Alex Lidell
Dial Books for Young Readers (Penguin)

Publication Date: January 10, 2013

Book trailer by: Medieval Reenactment Group “Liberi Lusenta” located in Italy
Organized by: AToMR Tours

And, here is the official trailer...check it out... *squee!*

I loved it! I cannot wait to read this book. I think it is going to be EPIC!

You can also "meet" the trailer cast here, which I think is awesome! Check it out!

And...very last thing!  The author is doing a great giveaway to celebrate the release of the trailer...if you want to enter, just go HERE. Good Luck!!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Girl is Trouble

The Girl is Trouble
by Kathryn Miller Haines
sequel to The Girl is Murder

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. (description from
Amateur sleuth, Iris, is back and the stakes have gone up another notch. The war is Europe is looming over everyone in Iris' life and it's starting to take its toll on her friends at school, her neighbors, and especially her father... The kids at school in the Jewish afterschool club have started receiving threats.  Iris learns her mother may have been murdered and because...well, the reason would have been absolutely horrifying! Unsure who she can trust, whether her best friend and father are lying to her, and feeling like her world is crumbling around her, Iris must do the best she can to find out all the nitty-gritty details to clear everything up and set her world back to rights. 
Again, my fellow Veronica Mars fans, remember those moments when Veronica's life was spinning completely out of control and while Veronica was emotionally crumbling, her mind seemed to clear and she became a private investigating MACHINE?  Those were the best parts of each season...the moments when I was absolutely riveted. This book, is that moment in written form.  Absolutely riveting and emotionally draining in the best type of way...
Full disclosure: Borrowed through interlibrary loan

Friday, October 12, 2012

Anxiously Awaiting... The Ocean at the End of the Lane!

So, did YOU know that Neil Gaiman has a new book coming out next year called The Ocean at the End of the Lane? I only just found out! It sounds good, too...

Publication date: June 18, 2013
It began for our narrator forty years ago, when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. 

His only defense are three women on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.

To quote Neil himself, “The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a novel of childhood and memory. It’s a story of magic, about the power of stories and how we face the darkness inside each of us. It’s about fear, and love, and death, and families. But, fundamentally, I hope, at its heart, it’s a novel about survival.” (description and quote from

The Name of the Star

The Name of the Star
by Maureen Johnson
The Shades of London, book one
The day that Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London to start a new life at boarding school is also the day a series of brutal murders breaks out over the city, killings mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper spree of more than a century ago. Soon "Rippermania" takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him--the only one who can see him. And now Rory has become his next target. (description from
This is exactly how I like my ghost stories. Creepy, but not horrifying enough to keep me awake all night, huddling under the covers in terror... Johnson uses just enough description to keep you riveted, to make you shudder, but not enough to imprint mutilated body parts in the back of your brain.
Easy to read, intriguing, and with a main character that I thought was pretty cool, from the moment I turned the last page, I found my fingers itching for the next book. I hope it's coming out soon! I'm totally trying to guess what may happen in the next book as it seems there may be a change of venue... ooops! NO more spoilers, I promise. LOL. 
Full disclosure: Purchased hardcover copy

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sneak Peek at Carrie Harris' BAD YETI!!!!

Bad Yeti
by Carrie Harris
Kate Grable series, novella
Set in the world of BAD TASTE IN BOYS and BAD HAIR DAY, this digital story is the perfect introduction into the funny high school world of Carrie Harris, where humor meets horror (and sometimes zombies, werewolves, yetis, and yes, even unicorns).
Jonah Grable hasn’t minded living in the shadow of his older, zombie fighting sister Kate, but this weekend he’s definitely raising his profile. A weekend of epic epicness — waving swords and flirting with girls in elf ears at his LARP club event — is totally up Jonah’s alley. But when his alter ego, Sir Talatien Maguirier, Nightdark Clanlord, comes face to face with a real, live Yeti, Jonah — or, rather, Tal — has to take matters into his own hands. So he sets off with gamer goddess Lady Amethyst, brown-eyed Europa, and Calamity, a braid-wearing barbarian in fur into the great unknown on a search for yeti-related awesomeness… (description from Carrie's website)

Okay, so you may have seen my slightly gushy review of Bad Taste in Boys (here) and my Gold Star review of Bad Hair Day (here)... you may have seen me on the webs having a slight author crush and stalking, I mean constantly chatting up Carrie Harris, herself.  What can I say? Carrie and her books are officially awesomesauce and on my MUST BUY THE DAY THEY COME OUT list.

Well, I am beyond stoked to be one of the lucky bloggers that is able to give you all a little sneak preview at the above-mentioned novella, Bad Yeti!  I'm so excited to read this because, I mean come on not only are there Yetis involved, but it also has to do with LARPing (which I am totally fascinated with in that can't quite wrap my head around it way...) and is told from the persepective of Kate's younger brother, Jonah, who I LURVE. 

Want a sneak peek? Well, here you go. This is the beginning of chapter one and is a perfect little teaser, LOL...

If I’d known that girls go crazy over zombie slayers, I would have gone medieval on some undead a long time ago.

Sure, I’m the smallest guy in the freshman class, smaller even than Kai Tipton, and his mom is a bona fide little person. And maybe I’m addicted to computer games, like Dragons of Roargan Kross, and yes, the jocks sometimes duct-tape me to toilets for fun. But once I’d kicked some zombie butt?

The ladies loved me.

Of course, going to homecoming with the Kiki Carlyle, our homecoming queen, hadn’t hurt either. And Kiki was definitely on my mind this morning. I slapped some gel on my hands and ran them through my do. I looked a whole inch taller. Now I’d come all the way up to Kiki’s shoulder.

“You’re going to miss the bus, dorkwad.” Kate—my sister—stuck her head into the bathroom, ruining the nice Kiki-related daydreams I’d been entertaining, and ruffled my hair. I shrank about a quarter inch.

“Die, lich spawn!” I yelled, throwing the bottle of gel in her general direction.

She took off, and I tore down the stairs in hot pursuit. I would have caught her too, if I hadn’t turned the corner and nearly bulldozed Kiki herself. If Kate had wanted to motivate me, she should have known that the presence of a goddess in the house would have worked. I skidded to a stop and almost swallowed my tongue as I took in the view.

The girl of my dreams stood in our entryway. Her blond hair was pulled into a ponytail, exposing a slender neck. That neck killed me. I’d spent a whole night staring at it while we danced at homecoming. But her looks weren’t the best thing about her. What got me the most was that she smiled every time she saw me. Always had.

This time, she laughed outright. I grinned back. Kate kept on going toward the kitchen, cackling madly like she’d won something. Maybe she’d won the battle, but no way would she take the war.

I knew a lot about battle tactics from playing Roargan Kross.

“Kiki!” I grinned up at her. “What’s the girl of my dreams doing in my house this fine morning?”

She blushed a little. “I thought you and Kate might like a ride. It’s better than the bus, right?”

“Thanks!” My voice squeaked, but I pretended not to notice, and so did she. “I’ll be sixteen next month, so maybe then I’ll drive you around.”


She might have been out of my league, but she didn’t scoff. She totally liked me; I could sense it.

“Maybe.” She jingled her keys, smiling. “So listen. I wanted to ask you something.”

“Anything.” I meant it too. At that moment, or any moment, really, I would have died for her.

I don't know about you, but I am DYING to read the rest now. I'm not even really sure that I can wait until November 13th!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Self-Published Author Interview - Megg Jensen

Today, I am super excited to welcome self-published author, Megg Jensen, to the blog! 

A totally adorbable picture of Megg from her website!

Author Bio: (Megg's incredibly concise version, LOL...) I grew up. Went to college. Got married. Got divorced. Got a life. Got married. Had one kid. Adopted a second. And here I am. I love swing dancing, shoes, and my family.

Anyway, as an aspiring author I've become very interested in the last year or so in the self-publishing process, how it compares to traditional publishing, and what authors are feeling about the face of the publishing world right now.

So, I decided to ask Megg a few quick questions about her experience in self-publishing her series, The Song of Eloh Saga.

1. How long did it take you, from first spark of idea to final proofs to write your newest book, The Sundering?

Since The Sundering is the finale of a seven-book cycle, the end has been in my mind since I conceived if Anathema in 2008. When I write my novels, I don't do heavy plotting. I have vague ideas of where I want the story to end. The magic happens on the journey. I actually started writing The Sundering in early 2012. (*Okay, wow. That's actually really fast for first thought to publication...less than a year! Whoa.)

2. How did you originally decide to self-publish? What was the process like for you?

It wasn't a path I ever really considered. In September 2010, I went to a conference with my friend Karly Kirkpatrick. We skipped the final speaker, holed up on two couches in the hotel lobby, and she told me everything she'd learned about self-publishing. Naturally, I thought she was insane, but Karly always has the best ideas and she has them before everyone else. I took her seriously, did my own investigating, and in December I told the two agents who were considering my books that I was withdrawing them from consideration. It was scary and exhilarating at the same time. I've never regretted it, either. I love self-publishing. 

3. So, after you'd officially published your first book, how did your writing/life routine change?

It didn't change too much. I was already an at-home mom, writing a few hours every day. At the time I was also freelancing parenting articles for local and national magazines (under my real name - Megg Jensen is a pen name). My time shifted somewhat because I was spending more time on the business side of publishing. I can't complain, though. I find publishing just as fascinating as writing. I really do love my job - and isn't that what we all want?

4. Any advice for aspiring authors out there?

Never give up. I never advocate anyone to follow me into self-publishing or to go traditional. The paths are totally different. One is not better than the other. They are simply different. But if an aspiring author loves writing, then that should be their main priority. Finish writing a book. Edit it aggressively. Then research the publishing paths. Talk to authors on both sides. See which one appeals more to your personality and goals. But never, ever give up. 

1. Quick Picks List:
Favorite vacation destination- Cape Cod

Favorite childhood book- Harriet the Spy, A Wrinkle in Time, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
*A Wrinkle in Time was one of my absolute favorites forever!*

Favorite writing snack food- Unlike a lot of writers, I don't eat while I write. It's too distracting. 

Favorite clothing item- My UGG cardies. I wear them September through April. :)

Thank you so much for having me!!!!!

Megg, truly, thank YOU so much for coming on my blog today! I'm so happy for you and the successful completion of the Song of Eloh Saga. I'm in the midst of the Cloud Prophet Trilogy now... Hopefully, this little interview will also give some aspiring authors, besides myself, of course, a little more information about self-publishing in today's writing market. :)

To learn more about Megg Jensen and all of her books, you can visit her here!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Dust Girl

Dust Girl
by Sarah Zettel

Callie LeRoux lives in Slow Run, Kansas, helping her mother run their small hotel and trying not to think about the father she's never met. Lately all of her energy is spent battling the constant storms plaguing the Dust Bowl and their effects on her health. Callie is left alone, when her mother goes missing in a dust storm. Her only hope comes from a mysterious man offering a few clues about her destiny and the path she must take to find her parents in "the golden hills of the west" (California). Along the way she meets Jack a young hobo boy who is happy to keep her company—there are dangerous, desperate people at every turn. And there's also an otherworldly threat to Callie. Warring fae factions, attached to the creative communities of American society, are very aware of the role this half-mortal, half-fae teenage girl plays in their fate. (description from

This book is a little jewel that deserves a lot more recognition than it's gotten.  Debut author Sarah Zettel builds a fantastically atmospheric world with a compelling main character. This book is a brilliant blend of magic and realism. The Dust Bowl of the Depression Era practially seeps out of the pages. I found myself reaching for my drink over and over as I was reading, so entrenched in the dust storms my imagination pulled from the descriptions.

I loved, too, Callie's complex character. Not only is this a girl who finds that she is not quite human, but even when passing amongst the humans she was terrified of having her bi-racial background discovered. Everywhere she turned, Callie only found danger, intolerence, and the need for deception. Until she met Jack in a storm that changed her entire world and she found an ally who never seemed to care about her differences. 

I am more than ready to leap back into Callie's world, to discover her new abilities, and to see where her search for her parents takes her...I cannot wait for the next book in this trilogy.  
    Full disclosure: eARC received from NetGalley


by Colin Meloy
When her baby brother is kidnapped by crows, Prue McKeel begins an adventure that will take her and her friend Curtis way beyond her hometown and deep into the Impassable Wilderness. There they uncover a secret world in the midst of violent upheaval, a world full of warring creatures, peace-loving mystics and powerful figures with the darkest intentions. What begins as a rescue mission becomes something much bigger as the two friends find themselves entwined in a struggle for the very freedom of this wilderness. A wilderness the locals call Wildwood. (description from
I wanted to love this book.  In the beginning, I liked it very much. It has a folksy sort-of feel in the storytelling.  It has a kidnapped brother, and an intrepid sister, out to recover him... it has a dark, mysterious wilderness that captivates Prue and readers alike.
As I continued reading, though, the story began to lag for me. I'm not sure exactly why. Partially, I think, because I personally do not particularly like books where main characters are talking animals.  It just doesn't work for me and there were definitely some important characters here who were of the non-human variety. Also, this delved a lot into politics and (unlike in M.W. Turner's books which are full of political intrigue that I couldn't help but be fascinated by...) it just became too much. 
I think that there were a lot of factors that just added up to not quite a win here for me.  I think maybe if the book had been a little shorter, not quite so complicated, I might have persevered and possibly even have enjoyed my reading experience, but in the end, I really only enjoyed the first third of this book.
Full disclosure: Borrowed from my library

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Mini Reviews: The Novella Edition

Winter's Passage
by Julie Kagawa
Iron Fey series, book 1.5

Meghan Chase used to be an ordinary girl...until she discovered that she is really a faery princess. After escaping from the clutches of the deadly Iron fey, Meghan must follow through on her promise to return to the equally dangerous Winter Court with her forbidden love, Prince Ash. But first, Meghan has one request: that they visit Puck--Meghan's best friend and servant of her father, King Oberon--who was gravely injured defending Meghan from the Iron Fey. Yet Meghan and Ash's detour does not go unnoticed. They have caught the attention of an ancient, powerful hunter--a foe that even Ash may not be able to defeat....

This is such a great series. I loved getting this extra little glimpse into the Fey world.

The Assassin and the Desert/The Assassin and the Empire
by Sarah J. Maas
Throne of Glass novellas, 2 and 4

The Silent Assassins of the Red Desert aren’t much for conversation, and Celaena Sardothien wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s not there to chatter, she’s there to hone her craft as the world’s most feared killer for hire. When the quiet is shattered by forces who want to destroy the Silent Assassins, Celaena must find a way to stop them, or she’ll be lucky to leave the desert alive.

Celaena Sardothien is the assassin with everything: a place to call her own, the love of handsome Sam, and, best of all, freedom. But Celaena won’t be truly free until she is far away from her old master, Arobynn Hamel – so she and Sam decide to take one last daring assignment that will liberate them forever. And that’s how Celaena learns that having everything… means everything can be taken away.

Kicking myself that I didn't read these in the proper order, but I have all four novellas so I'll be going back to fill in the blanks, LOL.  Since I've already read the novel it didn't really matter what order I read them in, since I already know where the storyline is basically going, but man, Maas does a GREAT job with the backstory and worldbuilding in these. Definitely worth reading!!


The Initiate
by Megg Jensen
The Song of Eloh Saga, book 1
Over a thousand years ago, the gods left Eloh's people and took their magic with them. To win back their favor, her people sacrifice ten female initiates every ten years. No has ever survived. There has never been a Chosen One. Forced into becoming an initiate, Eloh will try to find a way to beat the odds, stay with her boyfriend, and survive the fires that threaten to consume her. But will her lack of faith in the gods and her disbelief in their magic doom her to a painful death?
So intriguing! This is my first foray into the highly recommended works by Megg Jensen and it will not be my last. I have the Cloud Prophet Trilogy to read soon! 


Freaks: A Rizzoli and Isles short story
by Tess Gerritsen
Homicide cop Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles have seen their fair share of mortal crimes, but the death of Kimberly Rayner may qualify as inhuman in more ways than one. When corpse of the emaciated seventeen-year-old girl is discovered next to an empty coffin in an abandoned church, mysterious bruises around the throat suggest foul play. Caught fleeing the scene is the victim’s closest friend, Lucas Henry, an equally skeletal, pale teenager who claims he’s guilty only of having a taste for blood—a craving he shared with Kimberly. But the victim’s distraught father doesn’t believe in vampires, only vengeance. And now, another life may be at risk unless Rizzoli and Isles can uncover the astonishing truth.

I have to admit that though this was an interesting story, I actually like the dynamics of Rizzoli and Isles on the TV version better.  Sad!

Full disclosure: All novellas purchased for my Nook

Friday, October 5, 2012


by Andrea Cremer
prequel to Nightshade
Sixteen-year-old Ember Morrow is promised to a group called Conatus after one of their healers saves her mother's life. Once she arrives, Ember finds joy in wielding swords, learning magic, and fighting the encroaching darkness loose in the world. She also finds herself falling in love with her mentor, the dashing, brooding, and powerful Barrow Hess. When the knights realize Eira, one of their leaders, is dabbling in dark magic, Ember and Barrow must choose whether to follow Eira into the nether realm or to pledge their lives to destroying her and her kind. (description from
It's been a little while since I read an Andrea Cremer book and I'd forgotten how easily she draws me right into the Nightshade world! Now, this book is a prequel, so it takes place in an older society, and I thought she did a really great job fleshing out this time period. Though many things are still secret (we are dealing with a secret sect of a religious army derived from the Templars, after all), the process by which the initiates choose and are accepted into their branch of service was well thought out and interesting, and the power structure of their world was explored just enough to be illuminating, but Cremer wisely withheld enough to make things very intriguing for the sequel...
I liked the very Celtic feel of this time and place.  This was strongly enhanced by listening to the narrator of the audio book, Sile Birmingham, who did an excellent Scots accent.  With action, romance, and a very creepy "bad guy," I cannot wait to dive into this world again in the sequel, Rise, which will be coming out this spring.  

Full disclosure: Audio book received to review for AudioFile Magazine

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Cover Craving... The Elite!

The Elite
by Kiera Cass
Selection series, book two

Publication date: April 2013

Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.

America still isn't sure where her heart lies. When she's with Maxon, she's swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can't dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over--and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she's made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she's struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.

I loved the cover for the first book, The Selection, and I love this one, too. I know that we're swimming in a sea of "girls in pretty dresses" covers right now, but I LOVE the color choice and the broken reflections behind her.  Well done!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Bad Hair Day

Bad Hair Day
by Carrie Harris
Kate Grable series, book two
Publication date: November 13, 2012
Kate Grable is geeked out to shadow the county medical examiner as part of her school's premed program. But after he's arrested for murder, she's left with the bodies. And when Kate's brother, Jonah, stumbles upon a dead gamer girl, Kate realizes that the zombie epidemic she cured last fall was only the beginning of the weirdness taking over her town. Someone—or something—is murdering kids. Something really hairy. And strong. Possibly with claws.

Could it be werewolves, like Jonah and his dorktastic friends think? Kate's supposed to be a butt-kicking, zombie-killing genius . . . but if she can't figure out what's behind the freakish attacks, the victims—or what's left of them—are going to keep piling up. (desription from

Oh, Carrie Harris... how do I love your books? Let me count the ways:
1. Sassy heroine
2. SMART heroine
3. Good friends
4. A great boyfriend
5. Funny, loyal brother
6. Viral Zombies
7. Hilarious LARP groupies
8. "Werewolves" (or are they...)
9. Nanobots
10. Geektastic internships with Doctors
11. A "Rock"-a-Thon

This book once again made me laugh out loud, even as I was marveling at the brilliant blend of the paranormal and hardcore science.  I love that for every weird phenomenon that happens, there is a perfectly viable explanation and, of course...Kate is always right there to fix things!

The perfect vacation read (I tore through this one while I was in Martha's Vineyard, in fact), I am going to bestow a beautiful Gold Star to this book!

I'm also going to let you know to keep an eye out for Carrie Harris' novella, Bad Yeti, coming out on the same day (I've already pre-ordered mine!) featuring Kate's younger brother, Jonah!

Full disclosure: e-ARC received from Netgalley

Monday, October 1, 2012

Gold Star Interview - Kelly Keaton!

Hello All!

As you all know, when I LURVE a book, I give it a Gold Star Review here. Well, to liven up the blog a little, I'm going to (try to) interview the author of each book that receives a coveted Gold Star! I hope you'll enjoy these quick, little interviews. :D

Today's guest is the fabulous Kelly Keaton! I'm so excited. I loved both of Kelly's books in the Gods and Monsters series, but today, we're going to talk officially about the second title, A Beautiful Evil. You can go back and check out my gushy Gold Star Review here.

Welcome, Kelly! Thank you so much for stopping by to chat with me. I have just a couple of quick questions for you:
1.       How long did it take you, from first spark of idea to final proofs, to write A Beautiful Evil?
Since it was the second in a two book contract, the idea – or at least a vague idea – was there from the time I sold the first book. So, almost two years. The actual writing time once I started it was about two months - I’m a big procrastinator, LOL.
2.       If you could write a book under a pseudonym that no one would ever connect to you, are there any genres you would love to secretly explore?
Not anything I feel would need to be secretive about. I’m actually toying with writing a contemporary romantic comedy. Love reading those and always wanted to write more in that genre. My very first manuscript was a rom-com w/some paranormal thrown in.   
3.       I LOVED that A Beautiful Evil evoked such a strong atmospheric setting. You must have researched New Orleans quite a bit. Is there any one part of New Orleans that you think everyone should visit or a piece of the town’s history that you think everyone should know?
Thanks! There are so many places I’d advise people to see. The Garden District. Lafayette Cemetery. The French Quarter. Jackson Square. You can just walk and shop and sit and eat and take it all in, day after day, and it never gets old. NOLA has this amazing Old World yet vibrant feel, an ambience – a feel-good, happy, artistic vibe. Well worth the visit! *I cannot WAIT to go to New Orleans someday. I think there are so many cool things to see! It's on the top of my husband's travel list, too...
4.       If you could cross one thing off your bucket list tomorrow, what would it be?
Tour sites of ancient Greece. *That is on my bucket list, too!*
5.       Quick picks list:
Favorite vacation destination?
Beach, mountains, and NOLA.
Favorite childhood book?
The Black Stallion by Walter Farley
Favorite writing snack food?
Favorite clothing item?
White V-neck T
Thank you so much, Kelly, for letting me interview you. It was a pleasure!

For more information about Kimberly and her books (I personally keep stalking checking her website for information about book #3!), check out her website at