Monday, February 25, 2013

Dark Days Wrap Up Post + Giveaway @PitchDarkBooks @EpicReads @HarperTeen #PitchDarkDays

Pitch Dark Days - Winter Tour 2013

So, would you like to hear all about the evening I had with 4 of the most amazing ladies ever? Yes? Good, because I was going to tell my story anyway. 

I was so very lucky to meet and spend the evening with Allison from HarperCollins, Brodi Ashton (Everbound), Cynthia Hand (Boundless), Tahereh Mafi (Unravel Me) and Veronica Rossi (Through the Ever Night). 

Every one of these ladies was super awesome and willingly answered every question that I had even if they didn't want to. (I was probably talking them to sleep!)

So, below I will show you some various photos from the event as well as a short Q&A with the authors. I hope you enjoy.

o What is something random you can tell us about yourself? 

Tahereh Mafi: I used to break dance. 

o Did you initially plan to write within the YA genre or did it just happen? 

Cynthia Hand: I figured out I was writing YA about ¼ of the way into UNEARTHLY. 

o Do you listen to music while your write? 

Veronica Rossi: Yes. I have playlists for each book. Death Cab for Cutie, Mumford and Sons, Muse, The Civil Wars, and Damien Rice are just a few. 

o Where did you come up with the name Roar? Is there a special story there? 

Veronica Rossi: He’s an Aud, so a “sound” name was in order. And uhhh, it happens to be my favorite wine. heeee. 

o Where do you come up with character names? 

Cynthia Hand: Baby naming websites. Sometimes. 

o What is the craziest thing you have ever received from a fan? 

Tahereh Mafi: A guy once ripped his shirt open and asked me to sign his chest. 

o So, did you and if so what did you write? 

Tahereh Mafi: Oh noo no. I was super freaked out. 

o What’s your favorite moment in your most recent book? 

Brodi Ashton: There’s a scene where Cole and Nikki are stuck in a dark cellar. I love that scene.


o Can you describe EVERBOUND in five words? 

Brodi Ashton: Girl follows boy. Get screwed. 

o What is the best part about being an author? 

Tahereh Mafi: Living the “no pants lifestyle.” 

o What are some of your favorite authors? 

Tahereh Mafi: Shel Silverstein and Dr. Suess.


o The first few pages of SHATTER ME are true to Tahereh Mafi’s first draft. 

o Veronica Rossi has her husband “man check” her characters. Perry can only cry once a book. 

o Cynthia Hand keeps a recording device on her rear view mirror and has pulled over to cry after dictating a scene. 

o After many revisions Brodi Ashton finally drew a map of the Everneath. On a paper plate. 

o Brodi Ashton knows being a teen is life or death, DEATH the day she wore clown pants to school.

Tahereh is waving "hello" to a very special reader of mine. Von - this is for you! 

Open to US & International Residents 14+
* Winner must respond within 48 hours*
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Friday, February 22, 2013

Review - UNRAVEL ME by @TaherehMafi + Giveaway @epicreads @harperteen @pitchdarkbooks

Title: Unravel Me (Shatter Me, #2)
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Pub. Date: February 5, 2013
Publisher: HarperCollins

Pages: 461
Find it: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, IndieBound
Source: Purchased

Juliette's world is beginning to unravel. 
Everything is falling apart changing.

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point-the headquarters of the rebel resistance. There she discovers other people with abilities. Abilities they have learned to control. And for the first time in her life, Juliette has hope. Hope that she can have a life with Adam. Hope that her touch can be used to save instead of destroy.

But Juliette is only just beginning to understand the depth of her power, and she's struggling to fight the desire to use it. She's still haunted by her past, terrified by her future, and too tempted by Warner, who still wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible. 

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart-and Adam's life.


Oh sweet mother of all things good and evil. This story has my emotions wrecked. There are just so many feels.. It's almost as if I've been on one hell of a roller coaster ride a little too long. I may have experienced every emotion possible as I read UNRAVEL ME. Not only did this story cut way deep down but I was also able to see several sides of a few of the characters. It was like meeting them again for the first time. 

By the end of SHATTER ME Juliette had begun to grow into herself and started dealing with the fact that she was a monster different... she was special. Juliette has powers and she was beginning to believe for the first time in her life that she was not a monster, that she was in fact a very special and extraordinary young lady. That is not at all the Juliette that we came back to in UNRAVEL ME. Within the two weeks of being at Omega Point it seems that Juliette has lost all self-esteem and reverted back to the frightened and withdrawn child that she was in the very beginning. Let's just say that I wasn't completely thrilled about this. I was am quite fond of the strong, independent young lady that believes in herself and when she's got that confidence she totally rocks it.

While Juliette spends her days hiding away from everyone and feeling sorry for herself, the rest of the people at Omega Point go on with their daily routines. It doesn't take too long before Juliette is put in her place and slowly begins to come back around. Now. That's what I'm talking about. This is who we all want. The bad ass Juliette. The girl who will not let anyone or anything hurt the ones she cares for. Now that we've went through a complete mental make-over with Juliette, we spend more time with Kenji and see a different side of him as well. Kenji was asked to more or less take Juliette under his wing, keep her out of trouble help her train and learn how to control her powers. 

Kenji is seriously like a breath of fresh air. I totally dig that man. In my opinion the difference in him is like night and day from the previous book. Kenji is not only completely in control of himself and everything around him, he is charming, witty and seems to be quite the ladies man, if you will. I was super pleased that we were able to spend so much time with him. Kenji would be the best and most loyal friend to have. I was definitely jonesing for one of him to keep for my very own by the end.  

We actually don't spend as much time with Adam as we did before. He spends his days and nights at Omega Point always in private meetings and doing super secret testing to learn more about his powers. Adam is still the most kind, and gentle man. He is someone who makes you want to curl up with and just stay. For always. His love for Juliette is strong and powerful and there is nothing he will not do to keep her safe. So, you can certainly understand why all holy hell broke loose when they brought back a captured soldier to Omega Point and it was none other than Warner. Yes, Warner. Mr. Cocky. Mr. I will kill you with my stare but I am just oh-so-so sexy that you are going to melt like ice cream on a scorching summer day Warner. Well, obviously this didn't make many people very happy. The tension was thick in the air and only held the promise for getting worse. Except Warner wasn't the evil man that they all knew and despised. Well, of course he was, but there was something different. There was compassion inside that ruthless man. Not that he would show that side of himself to anyone but it was there. He was just a man with flaws, fears, pain and wild emotions coursing through him. He was human. It was so interesting to see this part of him. He was actually enticing. And entice Juliette is what he did. Not that Juliette planned to see the side of Warner that was decent and almost human but once she did, she could not turn back nor could she forget. There was something there but did she want to face it? 

Juliette has learned so many truths throughout the course of this book and the thought on everyone's mind is.. what path is she going to follow? Will Adam ever be able to overcome the one thing that could keep he and Juliette apart forever? And will Warner revert to his previous self, not caring who he hurts or destroys if they happen to cross his path or get in his way. I like to think the good that is in him will continue to grow because that boy drew me in and captured me like a helpless butterfly. And I liked it. A lot.

Besides the fact that this story is truly phenomenal, Mafi has created a world so unique yet so utterly frightening that readers can't help but want to read more. I will certainly be on the edge of my seat whilst awaiting the continuation of the SHATTER ME series. 

"I want to be the friend you fall hopelessly in love with. The one you take into your arms and into you bed and into the private world you keep trapped in your head. I want to be that kind of friend," he says. "The one who will memorize the things you say as well as the shape of your lips when you say them. I want to know every curve, every freckle, every shiver of your body, Juliette—

"I want to know where to touch you, I want to know how to touch you. I want to know convince you to design a smile just for me. Yes, I do want to be your friend. I want to be your best friend in the entire world.”


Tahereh Mafi is a girl.

She’s 24. She was born in a small city somewhere in Connecticut and currently resides in Orange County, California, where she drinks too much caffeine and finds the weather to be just a little too perfect for her taste. When unable to find a book, she can be found reading candy wrappers, coupons, and old receipts. UNRAVEL ME is her second novel.

Her work is represented by Jodi Reamer of Writers House, LLC.

Find Tahereh Mafi on the following websites:

Website * Goodreads * Twitter Facebook  

Find Unravel Me on the following websites:

Amazon * Goodreads * B&N IndieBound                     

"Chapter 62! It's like shaking hands with not-your-hands! Ewww!"
                                                                                                                                                                                         “It's hot rain and humid days and broken thermostats. It's screaming and raging steam engines and wanting to take your clothes off just to feel a breeze. It's the kind of kiss that makes you realize oxygen is overrated.  

“All I know next are his arms, the desperate edge to his voice when he says my name, and I'm unraveling in his embrace, I'm frayed and falling apart and I'm making no effort to control the tremors in my bones and he's so hot his skin is so hot and I don't even know where I am anymore.”

Open to US and International Residents 14+
* Winner must respond within 48 hours *
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Friday, February 15, 2013

Guest Post + Giveaway - IN DARKNESS by Nick Lake @bwkids @nicholaslake



In the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake a boy is trapped beneath the rubble of a ruined hospital: thirsty, terrified and alone. 'Shorty' is a child of the slums, a teenage boy who has seen enough violence to last a lifetime, and who has been inexorably drawn into the world of the gangsters who rule Site Soleil: men who dole out money with one hand and death with the other. But Shorty has a secret: a flame of revenge that blazes inside him and a burning wish to find the twin sister he lost five years ago. And he is marked. Marked in a way that links him with Toussaint L'Ouverture, the Haitian rebel who two-hundred years ago led the slave revolt and faced down Napoleon to force the French out of Haiti. As he grows weaker, Shorty relives the journey that took him to the hospital, a bullet wound in his arm. In his visions and memories he hopes to find the strength to survive, and perhaps then Toussaint can find a way to be free ...

I've talked in other places about the inspiration for the overall storyline of In Darkness, and this blog post has links that will take you to some of those places. But Amy asked me to write something bespoke here, and I am so incredibly grateful to Amy for coming to my second ever bookstore signing and being so lovely and encouraging, that I wanted to help out. She was also the only person there, which only increases my gratitude.

I don't think I've spoken anywhere about Shorty's relationship with his sister Marguerite, which is a key sub-plot in the book - maybe the key sub-plot. Without giving too much away for those who haven't read In Darkness, Marguerite is younger than Shorty and he worships her, and when he's still a boy, she is stolen from him by gangsters who also kill his father.

This is a pivotal plot thing: it's losing Marguerite that is the catalyst for every major decision, and every terrible action, that Shorty takes from that point in. It's the drive to save her, to rescue her from the rival gang he believes kidnapped her, that sets him on a road of bloody vengeance. So she is in a sense the motivating factor for almost all of the action and violence.

But I also wanted, with their relationship, to write a kind of unconventional love story. (This would seem to be something of a preoccupation, since my upcoming book Hostage Three is at least in part about a girl who may or may not be in love with one of the Somali pirates who has kidnapped her.) We only see Marguerite through Shorty's eyes, but to him, she was a person who glowed from the inside, who was surrounded by an aura. He associates her with the mural advertising the funeral home at the end of his alley in the slums: a child being embraced and carried up to heaven by an angel. In a sense, for him, she is an angel, or at least a sort of celestial presence in his life - not just a lost sister, but an idea, of purity and goodness existing in hard conditions. And now, crucially, taken away from him.

She's many things, then: she's the thing he wants to find again, she's the possibility of redemption, but she's also something greater than a person: she's a symbol - not that he's consciously aware of this - of some innocence that he has lost. She isn't just a love story: in a certain sense, she is love.

I won't say whether Shorty does find Marguerite, because that would be somewhat of a spoiler. But to some extent I'm not sure that it matters. There's an old fairy tale concept where a witch hides their heart in some object, like a piece of jewelry so that she can't be killed. You could say that Marguerite is Shorty's heart; that she had to go missing, for him to do the bad things he's done; that he put his soul into an idea of her to keep it safe and far away from him. Which is to say that it makes no difference whether he actually recovers her or not: the only thing that can save him is if he decides to take back that loving part into himself, and be weak again.

I don't know if any of that made any sense - it might make more if you read the book first and go back to it. But I do know that, in a book that is very, very close to my heart, the relationship between Shorty and Marguerite is the closest thing to my heart of all. I have a younger sister, but I don't think it's particularly because of that: it's more because I felt like there was something real about Shorty's love for Marguerite. It made it seem even more like he was speaking to me - which is something I felt throughout writing the book, something I have never experienced before or since, when writing anything else. It didn't feel like my story; it felt like his. I think that's why it meant so much to me: it wasn't like making something up. It was like I was a reader too, discovering this messed up, incredible person, and through him, this beautiful girl.

-From the Authors Note:

"Route 9 and Boston and the war between them - are real, as is nearly every detail of life in Site Soleil. It is one of the poorest, most violent slums in existence, even more so now in the wake of the 2010 earthquake. It has frequently been named as the most dangerous place on earth. People really did, and do, eat pies made of mud, such as their desperation. Babies really were, and are, left to die on piles of trash. For years, the slum was virtually cut off by roadblocks and especially during the bloody period in the first decade of the new century, police and attaches were accused many times of shooting unarmed civilians during demonstrations and home invasions. Many residents simply disappeared, never to be seen again."

My name's Nick and I write books for younger readers. My latest, BLOOD NINJA, is about ninjas who are also vampires - because the only thing more awesome than a ninja is a vampire ninja.

I like all the things you like, and I hate all the things you hate. I swear.

I live in a picture-postcard village in Oxfordshire, protected by trip-wires, boobytraps and a fat, lazy tomcat. Life in a picture-postcard village is very nice, but it's a bit two-dimensional.

Nick lives with his wife and daughter in England.


Find Author Nick Lake on the following websites: 

Find IN DARKNESS on the following websites:  

                                                                                                    Amazon * Barnes and Noble * Goodreads
For Q&A with the Author and a note from Nick to the Readers visit his Website here. You will also find the playlist for IN DARKNESS and information/facts on Haiti and the devastation that was caused from the Haitian Earthquake as well as the history on Toussaint L'Ouverture.

 Open to US & International Residents 14+
* Winner must respond within 48 hours*

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Blog Tour: PLAYING HOOKY by @RitaJWebb Excerpt + Giveaway


 Happy Release Day! 

I'm so very pleased to once again bring to you the stellar novella, PLAYING HOOKY by the lovely Rita J. Webb. You will get a sneak peek into the story and have a chance to win some pretty awesome prezzies.

Valentine’s Day.

And my 21st birthday.


Just another college day full of classes and more homework than is humanly possible.

…until Jason, my best-friend-since-kindergarten, shows up to take me out for the day.

Like old times: the two of us on a wacky adventure, playing hooky from real life. With his lopsided grin and tickets to a circus full of misfits and monsters, he introduces me to a whole new world—one full of magic and mystery—and turns my reality upside down.

Except nothing goes as planned, and we end up running through the city to find a missing siren before someone brews a love potion with her blood.

Sirens and love potions, witches and elves, and Valentine kisses. Nothing will be the same for me again.

Chapter 1

~ EMMA ~

THE ALARM CLOCK hammers ice picks into my brain. My freshman year of college, I swore I’d never do another eight o’clock class, but here it is my junior year and I am torturing myself with English Lit after staying up until three in the morning to finish a paper.

I try to peel my eyes open, but they’re glued shut. I rub them and squint at the clock, trying to read the red numbers swimming in circles, but nothing makes sense.

Letting my eyes drift shut, groping for the right button with my hands, I punch snooze and roll over.

It’s Thursday. Valentine’s Day.

My twenty-first birthday.

And all I want is the pounding headache to go away.

It seems like no time at all before the alarm goes off again.

“Emma, either get up or turn it off.” My roommate Maggie—but we all call her Magpie—kicks the thin wall separating our rooms.

With a groan, I turn off the alarm, roll out of bed, and pad into our kitchen, still in my cotton panties and T-shirt. Sleepwalking, I fill the coffee pot with water, scoop one tablespoon of coffee grinds into the filter—no, two, because Mr. Linden likes to drone on about eighteenth-century poetry—and hit the start button.

Coffee. Breakfast of champions. And sleep-deprived college students.
A knock on our apartment door, and my sister trills a happy, “Good Morning, Emma,” and begins to sing me Happy Birthday, along with several embarrassing verses we wrote when she was five and I was seven. It includes something about monkeys slipping on banana peels.

“Someone shoot her.” Magpie grumbles from her doorway and slams her door shut.

Still in my skimpy sleep-clothes, I open the door to find my sister—long, blonde hair curled to perfection, not a strand out of place, red hair band matching her flouncy short skirt and the red hearts on her too-cute-for-words tights. Glimmering strands of silver lace peek through her pink sweater. As always, Angelina’s the image of vomit-inducing school-girl perfection.

And standing behind her—

My best friend from childhood. The boy—er, man—who should be ten hours away in Kodiak, Alaska, rather than here in Anchorage.

The man staring at my naked legs.

And I’m standing here in my panties and baby-doll T, which clearly shows I’m not wearing a bra, especially as Alaska is cold in February and the door gapes wide open.

I cross my arms over my chest to hide my breasts and duck my bottom half behind the door. “Jason, what are you doing here?”

“To take you out for the day. It’s your twenty-first birthday. Did you think I’d let you celebrate without me?” He grins and slips into the room before I can stop him. His eyes travel up my bare legs (thank goodness I shaved last night) with the ugly wool knee-high socks, the black T with the pink Batman symbol, and ending with my short, blonde hair, sticking up in all directions on one side, matted on the other.

I glance out the door. A few girls, gawking at the man who is too handsome for his own good, stand out on the landing and whisper. I grab Angelina’s hand and drag her inside and slam the door.

“What about what’s-her-name? Sarah? Sally? Mandy? Whoever your latest thrall is. She really let you come out and play? I thought she’d have your Valentine’s Day booked.”

“I broke up with her right after Christmas.” He shrugs.

For the first time in about ten years, neither of us has a significant other. Once upon a time, when I was twelve, I decided Jason was the one for me, and I set about trying to get him to kiss me. He was clueless, and I settled for Mark Jameson, a boy down the road. Three years later, Mark moved to Ohio somewhere. Or was it Idaho? And I never heard from him again.

By then, Jason had a girlfriend, and though he never took her fishing with him or mountain biking (my role in his life), they went to homecoming together and then to the prom. And I went out with Troy Simmons up until the middle of our first year of college when I caught him in another girl’s dorm room where he’d sacked out for a week.

Troy was so pissed about the breakup—because I should just forgive and forget the cheating, since it was my fault because I refused to sleep with him—that he spread rumors about our supposed sexual escapades.

Whenever I tried to date since then, the guys I went out with only wanted me to put out, so I’ve been single ever since. Whenever I consider dating him now, I remind myself of all the ways we are incompatible. We would fight over everything as we’re both too stubborn for our own good.

Angelina tucks her hand through his arm and smiles up at him. “Isn’t he sweet? You have the best friends.”

Not even a note of jealousy in her voice, even though she’s had a crush on him ever since third grade when he put a band-aid on her skinned knee.
My sister Angelina is too perfect. Straight-A honor student. Mother’s sweetie pie. Father’s angel. Never snuck out of the house to go partying. Always kept her curfew. Never broke her leg jumping out of trees while trying to chase squirrels or ramping bikes on the homemade ramps. Always prissy and clean. Never leaves anything out of place.

Always the perfect lady in her cute little outfits.

I can’t hate her for it because she doesn’t even act superior about it. She’s never been the goody-goody. Never lectures me on my messy room, sloppy hair, torn jeans, or skipping classes.

Jason grins. “I’d never miss your birthday. Remember last year?”

“Ugh! I thought I’d never thaw out after we went skiing in a blizzard. We were stranded for three days in that cabin we found in the woods.”

“Aw, come on, you didn’t even get frostbite. I took care of you.”

“At least I didn’t end up with any broken limbs. That time.”

“I still can’t believe we went snow-boarding on East Pillar Mountain Loop. That’s a tough trail, and then you broke your arm slipping in the parking lot on the way to the truck.”

My muscles were exhausted, and carrying my board on my shoulder, I wasn’t watching where I was going. I didn’t see the patch of ice. “Remember when you took me spelunking?”

“I had no idea that bear was in there.”

“I can’t remember ever being that scared.”

“But it was fun! Come on. We can’t break tradition.”

“What are you planning this time?” Angelina smiles up at him with a glimmer of wistful longing.

“It’s a secret.” He extricates her hand from his arm and takes a step away from her, and her hand falls back to her side.

For a moment, her smile falters, but then she bounces from the room. “See you! Tell me all about it later. Emma, I’ll tell your professors and coach that you are sick today, and I’ll collect your notes and assignments.”

“Thanks, Angelina. You’re a sweetie.”

She gives me her smile, cheeks dimpling in the cute china-doll way she has, and blows us kisses. Sometimes I wish she could be a real human being for once—throw a royal temper tantrum, break a rule, or actually make a mess—but either she keeps all negativity bundled up deep inside or she really is incapable of baser emotions.

I’m left alone in the apartment’s tiny entryway with Jason.

“Emma,” he says, stepping closer, his head leaning down toward me. He is way too close, and I remember I’m not dressed.

Tall with wide shoulders, Jason is muscular from hard labor (construction and welding) and athletic adventures (kayaking and mountain biking). The perpetual scruff movie stars work hard to perfect shadows his jaw, and his tousled black hair kept short. He cuts it every week because it grows too fast, like at least a half inch a day. With the smoky blue eyes and the confident grin he usually wears, he’d make any girl swoon.

Well, any girl but me. I’d more likely hit him upside the head with a broom than swoon over him.

“Coffee’s in the kitchen. I need to get dressed and showered; then we can go for pastries at the bakery around the corner.” Just off campus, there’s a scrumptious little shop, but I never have time in the mornings. I turn back to my room but then stop. “Oh, how do I need to dress for the day?”

“Sure.” He runs his hands through his hair, but his eyes are too busy following my ass to pay attention to anything I said.

“Jason.” I snap my fingers. “Up here. What do I need to wear?”

His gaze shifts to my face, and he grins, not even having the decency to flush. “Dress warm.”

Good. So we’re going to have an adventure.

Find PLAYING HOOKY on the following websites:

Find Author Rita Webb on the following websites:

 Leaving the house to go to school, I had schoolbooks spilling out of one hand, the other holding my place in a Nancy Drew novel, and bunny slippers still on my feet. My mom was a wee bit upset.
I haven't changed much. Still always have a book (or two) in my hand or creating stories in my head, and although I don't have any bunny slippers, I love writing in my jammies and snuggly slipper socks.

When I grow up (maybe a hundred years from now), I'd like to be a superhero, but for now, saving the day, one page at a time, suits me just fine.

With my husband TJ (my own cuddly werewolf), I home-school our three girls, who keep us busy with art, science projects, books to read, dance classes, and walks about the park.

Release Day Package Giveaway

One winner will receive a necklace with a metal Feather as a pendant (photo shown below in the Rafflecopter widget), an eBook copy of Transcendent, an eBook copy of Daughter of the Goddess, and an eBook copy of Playing Hooky.


Five more winners will receive an eBook copy of Playing Hooky!

Friday February 15 3:30-6:30

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