Sep 30, 2014

Review: Stay With Me by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Stay With Me
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Willam Morrow
Publication Date: 9.23.2014
Pages: 448
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Series: Wait For You #3
Source: Purchased finished copy

Rating: 4 Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
At 21, Calla hasn’t done a lot of things. She’s never been kissed, never seen the ocean, never gone to an amusement park. But growing up, she witnessed some things no child ever should. She still carries the physical and emotional scars of living with a strung-out mother, Mona—secrets she keeps from everyone, including her close circle of college friends.

But the safe cocoon Calla has carefully built is shattered when she discovers her mom has stolen her college money and run up a huge credit card debt in her name. Now, Calla has to go back to the small town she thought she'd left behind and clean up her mom’s mess again. Of course, when she arrives at her mother’s bar, Mona is nowhere to be found. Instead, six feet of hotness named Jackson James is pouring drinks and keeping the place humming.

Sexy and intense, Jax is in Calla’s business from the moment they meet, giving her a job and helping her search for Mona. And the way he looks at her makes it clear he wants to get horizontal . . . and maybe something more. Before Calla can let him get close, though, she’s got to deal with the pain of the past—and some very bad guys out to mess her up if she doesn’t give them her mom.

Well, she did it again.

No, not Britney. Jennifer. As in Armentrout. As in Holy Sweet Baby Tortoises On A Leash here we go again, gang. Because ... Whoa.

Can I just have a minute to recognize the awesomeness that is my boy, Jax? Talk about hot alpha male with all sorts of protective instincts (and did I mention military background?). He is 6 feet 3 inches of tall, dark, and yummy in a pretty book boyfriend binding.

Try saying that 10 times fast.

Watching him pull Calla out of her shell - oh, yeah, there's another character in this book besides Jax - was so adorably sweet and hot. Calla is, in a lot of ways, a very sheltered girl. She might've lived on the block, but she hasn't walked around it very much. Despite her rocky upbringing, she's trying her best but is seriously naive. At times frustratingly so, but then there's Jax. And Jax is awesome.

Have I mentioned I might have a thing for Jax?

Right. The book.

This book has so much going for it - thrills, danger, comedy (hello, Katie!), love, smexy times, and every single possible thing I've left out. This is a book anyone and everyone can and will enjoy.

Armentrout is easily one of the most versatile authors of her generation. Her ability to seamlessly transition between genres and series has understandably lent her a rabid fanbase (including me) that will happily, willingly, gleefully devour every single word she writes.
Buy: Amazon

Sep 24, 2014

Review: Poisoned Apples by Christine Heppermann

Title: Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty
Author: Christine Heppermann
Publisher: Greenwillow
Publication Date: 9.23.2014
Pages: 128
Genre: Young Adult, Fairy Tale, Poetry
Series: N/A
Source: ARC from ALA

Rating: 5 Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
Every little girl goes through her princess phase, whether she wants to be Snow White or Cinderella, Belle or Ariel. But then we grow up. And life is not a fairy tale.

Christine Heppermann's collection of fifty poems puts the ideals of fairy tales right beside the life of the modern teenage girl. With piercing truths reminiscent of Laurie Halse Anderson and Ellen Hopkins, this is a powerful and provocative book for every young woman. E. Lockhart, author of We Were Liars, calls it "a bloody poetic attack on the beauty myth that's caustic, funny, and heartbreaking."

Cruelties come not just from wicked stepmothers, but also from ourselves. There are expectations, pressures, judgment, and criticism. Self-doubt and self-confidence. But there are also friends, and sisters, and a whole hell of a lot of power there for the taking. In fifty poems, Christine Heppermann confronts society head on. Using fairy tale characters and tropes, Poisoned Apples explores how girls are taught to think about themselves, their bodies, and their friends. The poems range from contemporary retellings to first-person accounts set within the original tales, and from deadly funny to deadly serious. Complemented throughout with black-and-white photographs from up-and-coming artists, this is a stunning and sophisticated book to be treasured, shared, and paged through again and again.

Little known fact? I love poetry. Better known fact? I don’t like books written entirely in verse.

But that’s exactly why POISONED APPLES worked for me – it is a book of poetry, not a singular story told all in verse. In this book, Christine Heppermann brilliantly and bitingly delivers knock-out combinations of words that haunt and freeze the reader.

Poetry is a beautiful art form, and Heppermann is a master. I’ve always been a fan of fairy tales, but suddenly this is the adult version of a fairy tale. It’s not all ball gowns and magic and happily ever after. Poisoned Apples is what happens every day – where the line between fantasy and stark reality is blurred together.

The verse in this book is dramatically enhanced by black and white photos that look pretty from far away, but upon further examination are disturbing and dark. It lends a gritty realism to the poems, bringing them to life in a way that enhances ever single word.

Sep 22, 2014

Baltimore Book Festival 2014

As a lot of you may know, I have been working some hellish hours at work lately (a necessary evil for now), so my posting and tweeting has been sporadic at best. What is keeping me going is knowing that the Baltimore Book Festival is right around the corner.


Baltimore Book Festival is an annual event but this year it has switched locations and will now be in the Inner Harbor. I am so psyched for this change in venues!

The BBF is a 3 day event from Sept. 26-28, 2014 (Fri-Sun). It brings in a ton of amazing authors like:

Jennifer L. Armentrout
Wendy Higgins
Cora Carmack
Laura Kaye
Lea Nolan
Diana Peterfreund
Marissa Meyer
Em Garner
M.D. Waters
Kami Garcia
Cheryl Klam 

And those are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head! Also, the amazing Maryland Romance Writers have asked several bloggers (including me!) to be on another blogger panel. I will be joined by my amazing fellow YADC bloggers Jen from Jenuine Cupcakes, Andye from Reading Teen, and Steph from Cuddlebuggery in addition to Jillian from Read-Love-Blog and Kim from SOS Aloha Blog

Make sure you swing by our panel (5 pm on Saturday) because there will be some massive giveaways. We've snagged donations from Harlequin Teen, Harper Teen, Bloomsbury, Fierce Reads, Simon Teen, Spencer Hill Press, Tor Teen, Atria, Berkley/NAL, William Morrow/Avon, Scholastic, Disney-Hyperion, and Little Brown! Seriously, there will be some amazing giveaways during our panel and throughout the festival. If that's enough to convince you, I hear a certain blogger always comes with cupcakes to share.

And they might be worthy of inciting a drug-fueled dance montage with police presence. 

See? If you were at last year's festival, you'd totally know what I meant. 

So, will I see you there?

Check out the website for the full schedule:

Sep 19, 2014

ARC Essentials: HarperTeen

Since I started ARC Essentials a few months ago, this has been, by far, the most requested publisher to get an interview with. So, here it is. I had a chance to talk with Stephanie and Booki, two amazing publicists at HarperCollins about ARCs and their work with bloggers.

1. What should I include when asking for a review copy (Page view stats? Follower count? All social media accounts)? First and foremost, we absolutely love hearing why you’re so excited about this particular book! Chances are, we are too and we can geek out about it together. Aside from that, it’s great to see a link to your blog and social media pages at the bottom of the email, as well as your most recent stats if you have them handy. That way, we can get a sense for your personal reading taste and blogging style!

2. How long should I be blogging before I ask for a review copy?
We don’t have an experience requirement for bloggers. If you love the sound of a book, it never hurts to ask us for a copy!

3. Who should I contact about receiving review copies?
We have a digital publicist who serves as the main point of contact for bloggers and will be able to help with any galley requests. We also offer many titles on Edelweiss, so you can request digital review copies there as well.  

4. Should I email an author about obtaining a review copy and have them forward my request onto their publicist? Also, if I want to interview an author or ask them to write a guest post for my blog, is it best to contact the author directly? It’s better to contact our digital publicist directly with any review copy requests. Same goes for interviews and guest posts. Authors get a LOT of emails every day, and we want to make sure you don’t slip through the cracks!

5. Do you expect me to review books I never requested, such as an ARC or finished copy I was sent but never asked for? No! We love seeing coverage for our books, but you should never feel obligated to read something you’re not interested in. Take a quick look and if it’s not for you, don’t worry about it.

6. When is the best time to post a review?
Typically, within 1-2 weeks of the on-sale date. It’s best if reviews are posted as close as possible to the date the book is released so that your readers can get excited and go get ahold of the book right away!

7. Where can I send in review links?
Reviews can be sent to the same digital publicity contact that handles galley requests. If at all possible, we prefer to receive reviews and requests in separate emails. That way, we can easily keep everything organized!

8. Do you want to see all reviews I’ve done—positive and negative? We do! We want to hear all of your thoughts, no matter which way they lean. It’s also very helpful if you include a rating or impression of your review within the email next to your review link.

9. Am I more likely to get approved if I request an eARC of a book instead of a physical copy? Not necessarily, but we do have a limited supply of physical copies, so those always tend to go faster.

10. When is the best time to request a book or be asked to be put on a list to receive a review copy? The best time to request is 4-5 months in advance of the on-sale date. Of course, whether we’ll be able to send you one depends on supply, but we’ll try our absolute best!

11. Do you have a catalog available that lists all your upcoming books?
We don’t have a physical catalogue, but you can find our digital catalogue on Edelweiss here ( where you can see all of our exciting new titles!

12. Anything else you would like to add that you think bloggers should/need to know?
We absolutely love book bloggers! Building a strong reading community with you all is one of the best parts about our job and we really do appreciate the work you put into promoting our books. Your enthusiasm and passion is incredible and we look forward to continuing to work with you!

*Because the digital publicist job changes hands occasionally, they did not include the current email address for their digital publicist. Comment below if you would like her email address*


Stephanie and Booki are letting me host an EpicReads themed giveaway to go along with this post. Here's the thing ... it's a mystery. They will ship you a package of HarperTeen titles - might be ARCs, might be finished copies, could be a little of both. 
*Winner must be over 13 & have a US/Canada mailing address*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sep 18, 2014

Blog Tour & Review: The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh O'Brien

Title: Vault of Dreamers
Author: Caragh O’Brien
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publication Date: 9.16.2014
Pages: 420
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Series: Vault of Dreamers #1
Source: ARC from publisher

Rating: 4 Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
From the author of the Birthmarked trilogy comes a fast-paced, psychologically thrilling novel about what happens when your dreams are not your own.
The Forge School is the most prestigious arts school in the country. The secret to its success:  every moment of the students' lives is televised as part of the insanely popular Forge Show, and the students' schedule includes twelve hours of induced sleep meant to enhance creativity. But when first year student Rosie Sinclair skips her sleeping pill, she discovers there is something off about Forge. In fact, she suspects that there are sinister things going on deep below the reaches of the cameras in the school. What's worse is, she starts to notice that the edges of her consciousness do not feel quite right. And soon, she unearths the ghastly secret that the Forge School is hiding—and what it truly means to dream there.

A secret school with seriously gifted teens and an underlying cause/mystery? Um, yes, please. Sign me up to be all over that. Caragh O’Brien had a brilliant mind and I was so excited to start this story. We hit a few rough spots, but for the most part, I enjoyed this.

Rosie is a tough character to nail down. Sometimes I really liked her. Other times she irritated me with her inability to make rational decisions. But I guess that’s O’Brien making her a normal teenager, huh? Her romance with Linus amused and entertained me.

VAULT OF DREAMERS seems to be a very polarizing book – people are loving or hating it. There is no real middle ground. Here’s the thing, yes, I figured out the plot twist early on and there was no real HOLY SHIZZ moment, but I was OK with that. O’Brien writes in a fun, enchanting way that I was able to enjoy. It’s worth checking out.

Sep 16, 2014

Blog Tour: Hook's Revenge by Heidi Schulz

Ahoy there! International Talk Like A Pirate Day is nearly upon us. This Friday, September 19, landlubbers the world over will get their sea legs—or at least sound like they have.

If you want to join in, but don’t quite know how, read on. I talked my curmudgeonly pirate narrator into sharing a few pirate terms, and it only took a little bit of blackmail to do it.


Batten the Hatches Ships are built with hatches in the decking, leading to cargo space and crew quarters. During storms they are “battened” down or secured and made waterproof. “Batten the hatches” is often yelled by landlubbers pretending to be pirates. They generally have no idea what it means, but neither do those at whom it is yelled.
Now that you know what it means, you are at an advantage, perhaps the first in your young life. Do try not to waste it.
Bo’sun Shortened form of boatswain. It was likely shortened because the bo’sun has so much to do that he doesn’t have time to say the whole word. He supervises the deck crew, oversees the ship’s stores and provisions, and inspects the rigging, sails, chains, and anchors. In the case of Mr. Smee, the bo’sun also kept the captain’s clothing in good repair, gave pep talks, and baked cakes—sometimes of the poisoned variety.
Cat-o’-Nine-Tails A lash made from nine knotted ropes. Also the only cat I like.
The Eye of the Wind The direction from whence the wind blows—useful knowledge aboard a vessel propelled by such. Blind Bart tried to make ear of the wind a saying, but it never caught on.
Jolly Roger This phrase refers to more than Captain Hook’s ship and Jocelyn’s happy-go-lucky friend. Jolly Roger is also the name of a pirate flag, generally emblazoned with a skull and crossbones. Jocelyn embroidered a set of Jolly Roger napkins at school and gave them to Miss Eliza for Christmas. They were not much appreciated and never used.
Keep a Weather Eye To watch closely. Jocelyn, sensitive to Blind Bart’s lack of vision (and because she felt bad that his ear of the wind campaign was not a success), amended the phrase to weather ear.
Me Hearty “My friend.” Take note of this. It is the first and last time you will ever find me saying those words to the likes of you.
Offer No Quarter This means that no mercy will be given and no surrender will be accepted. The parties have to fight—to the death! Or, as it was in the Pirate and lost boy Wars, until they got tired and went home.
Poop Deck It may surprise you to learn that this term does not refer to a ship’s bathroom. A ship’s bathroom is called the head. Ships are interesting places.
The poop deck serves as the roof of the back, or aft, cabin. It is also from here that the ship is steered. On the Hook’s Revenge, this was the highest decking area, which made it a good place for Captain Jocelyn to stand and address and/or berate her crew, as they needed and/or desired.
Powder Monkeys Pirates often use the term monkey-sized for any small thing. A powder monkey is a boy, just about your age, who carries gunpowder from the powder magazine, or room where it is stored, to the cannons. The only requirements of the job are being a small size (less easy for the enemy to target) and possessing enough wits to keep from blowing oneself up.

I’d recommend you for a position, but though you are the right size, you are still under-qualified.

Twelve-year-old Jocelyn dreams of becoming every bit as daring as her infamous father, Captain James Hook. Her grandfather, on the other hand, intends to see her starched and pressed into a fine society lady. When she's sent to Miss Eliza Crumb-Biddlecomb's Finishing School for Young Ladies, Jocelyn's hopes of following in her father's fearsome footsteps are lost in a heap of dance lessons, white gloves, and way too much pink.

So when Jocelyn receives a letter from her father challenging her to avenge his untimely demise at the jaws of the Neverland crocodile, she doesn't hesitate-here at last is the adventure she has been waiting for. But Jocelyn finds that being a pirate is a bit more difficult than she'd bargained for. As if attempting to defeat the Neverland's most fearsome beast isn't enough to deal with, she's tasked with captaining a crew of woefully untrained pirates, outwitting cannibals wild for English cuisine, and rescuing her best friend from a certain pack of lost children, not to mention that pesky Peter Pan who keeps barging in uninvited.

The crocodile's clock is always ticking in Heidi Schulz's debut novel, a story told by an irascible narrator who is both dazzlingly witty and sharp as a sword. Will Jocelyn find the courage to beat the incessant monster before time runs out?
Purchase Hook’s Revenge: Powell’s | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon
About Heidi Schulz:

Heidi Schulz is a writer, reader, and giraffe suspicioner. Her debut novel for middle grade readers, HOOK’S REVENGE, will be published by Disney•Hyperion on Sepetember 16, 2014. A sequel, HOOK'S REVENGE: THE PIRATE CODE, will follow in fall of 2015. Bloomsbury Kids will publish her picture book debut, GIRAFFES RUIN EVERYTHING, in 2016. She lives in Oregon with her husband, their teen daughter, a terrible little dog, and five irascible chickens. 

Heidi is represented by Brooks Sherman of The Bent Agency.

Sep 15, 2014

Review: Tease by Sophie Jordan

Title: Tease
Author: Sophie Jordan
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: 5.27.2014
Pages: 320
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Series: Ivy Chronicles #2
Source: Purchased finished copy

Rating: 4 Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
What happens when a girl who always calls the shots meets a guy who's too wild for even her?

A born flirt and good-time party girl, Emerson has never had a problem finding a willing guy. She's always chosen her hookups carefully, and she's never broken her three cardinal rules:

Never let them see the real you.
Never fall in love.
Always leave them begging for more.

Then Shaw comes along. A hottie from the wrong side of the tracks, he's immune to her flirtatious banter and come-hither smile. After rescuing her from a disastrous night at a biker bar, he doesn't even try to take her to bed—he calls her a tease and sends her home instead. Unable to resist a challenge, or forget the sexy, dark-eyed, bad-boy biker, she vows to bring him to his knees.

But instead of making Shaw beg, Emerson finds herself craving him. For the first time in her life, she's throwing out her rule book. Suddenly, she's the one panting for a guy she can't control—a guy who won't settle for anything less than the real Emerson and who forces her to do things she's never imagined, including facing a past she thought she'd buried.

A guy who just might leave her wanting more. . . 

Sophie Jordan is fast becoming an auto-buy author for me. She had a brilliant way of sucking a reader into any story and completely capturing my attention until long after the last page is turned. Her foray into the burgeoning new adult genre is no different and she follows up Foreplay with TEASE, a captivating gem of a book that adds a new layer and new complications for characters we met in the first book.

Emerson is kind of hard to get a handle on. She clearly got issues she's focused on repressing and not dealing with. Instead she parties her way through life, blasting out a persona to protect her vulnerabilities. Because of this, I found her hard to get a handle on. There was a lot of push and pull as her character developed and matured.

Shaw is a guy who is relentless. Who doesn't love a hot Marine? I mean, come on. He pursues Emerson with a dogged devotion that stunned me with its intensity. I can see why Jen claimed Shaw as her own before I even started reading this.

Fans of new adult novels and contemporary novels will love this. It's a wonderful, quick read to sink into. Sophie Jordan can do no wrong!

Sep 11, 2014

Blog Tour & Review: The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas

Finally more of Iolanthe and Titus! I could not wait for this. Personally, it lived up to my expectations. It was full of adventure, more than the first book I'd say, friendship, hardship and a wee bit of heartache.

I really liked the format of how this story played out, how it was written. It starts off in two different scenes. One that happened way after and what is continuing to happen in the Desert. While the other one is placed 7 weeks prior in England and leads up to the Desert. I was slightly confused at first, keeping track of what and who was where, but that's just me and I was so excited to get this book. The amount of adventure put in this book between the two stories was monumental. And the twists!!! I was like "gasp! No friggin way".

Titus and Iolanthe are still the same wonderful characters. Although, Iolanthe has learned to stand on her on two feet a little more as she accepts her destiny. Even when her destiny might be completely wrong, she deals with it. I really loved seeing her grow.

You get to know a few other characters, that were quite minor in the first but become important here. You get to know the previously reserved Kashkari and the not so obnoxious anymore Wintervale. They both blow your mind as to tier importance, as you never see it coming. Ah the twists!

I was certainly not let down. It definitely lived up to my expectations and then some. Exciting and surprising are what comes to mind.

Rating: 5 Stars

Title: THE PERILOUS SEA (The Elemental Trilogy #2)
Author: Sherry Thomas
Pub. Date: September 16, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 432
Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

After spending the summer away from each other, Titus and Iolanthe (still disguised as Archer Fairfax) are eager to return to Eton College to resume their training to fight the Bane. Although no longer bound to Titus by a blood oath, Iolanthe is more committed than ever to fulfilling her destiny—especially with the agents of Atlantis quickly closing in.

Soon after arriving at school, though, Titus makes a shocking discovery, one that makes him question everything he previously believed about their mission. Faced with this devastating realization, Iolanthe is forced to come to terms with her new role, while Titus must choose between following his mother's prophecies—and forging a divergent path to an unknowable future.

About Sherry:
Sherry Thomas is one of the most acclaimed romance authors working today. Her books regularly receive starred reviews from trade publications and are frequently found on best-of-the-year lists. She is also a two-time winner of Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA® Award.
English is Sherry's second language—she has come a long way from the days when she made her laborious way through Rosemary Roger's Sweet Savage Love with an English-Chinese dictionary. She enjoys digging down to the emotional core of stories. And when she is not writing, she thinks about the zen and zaniness of her profession, plays computer games with her sons, and reads as many fabulous books as she can find.
Sherry’s next book, THE PERILOUS SEA, volume two of her young adult fantasy trilogy, will be available fall 2014.
Author photo by the lovely and talented Jennifer Sparks Harriman at Sparks Studio.

For First Place US Only:
1 winner will receive. The Burning Sky, The Perilous Sea, and The Hidden Blade and a handmade solid lotion bar and some homemade face scrubs, plus a burning sky bag. US Only
Runners Up US Only
 2 winners will receive The Burning Sky, The Perilous Sea, and The Hidden Blade. US Only
Rafflecopter Code:
Tour Schedule:
Week One:
9/8/2014- A Book and a LatteInterview
9/9/2014- Such a Novel IdeaReview
9/10/2014- FiktshunGuest Post
9/11/2014- The Irish Banana ReviewReview
9/12/2014- Bewitched BookwormsInterview

Week Two:
9/15/2014- Two Chicks on BooksGuest Post
9/16/2014- A Backwards StoryInterview
9/17/2014- Carina's BooksGuest Post
9/18/2014- NerdophilesReview
9/19/2014- Candace's Book BlogReview

Sep 10, 2014

Review: Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeleine Kuderick

Title: Kiss of Broken Glass
Author: Madeleine Kuderick
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: 9.9.2014
Pages: 224
Genre: Young Adult, Poetry, Contemporary, Issues
Series: N/A
Source: ARC from ALA

Rating: 4 Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
Madeleine Kuderick’s gripping debut is a darkly beautiful and lyrical novel in verse, perfect for fans of Sonya Sones and Laurie Halse Anderson. Kiss of Broken Glass pulses with emotion and lingers long after the last page.

In the next seventy-two hours, Kenna may lose everything—her friends, her freedom, and maybe even herself. One kiss of the blade was all it took to get her sent to the psych ward for seventy-two hours. There she will face her addiction to cutting, though the outcome is far from certain.

When fifteen-year-old Kenna is found cutting herself in the school bathroom, she is sent to a facility for mandatory psychiatric watch. There, Kenna meets other kids like her—her roommate, Donya, who’s there for her fifth time; the birdlike Skylar; and Jag, a boy cute enough to make her forget her problems . . . for a moment.

Told in haunted, elegant verse, KISS OF BROKEN GLASS is a spectacular debut that will resonate with readers long after the last page is turned. It’s truly hard to believe this is the launching point of Madeleine Kuderick’s career because it reads like a seasoned pro. I love it when debut authors don’t shy away from touchy, tricky subjects. Kuderick took “Go big or go home” to a new level.

I’m honestly not that big a fan of books told through verse. I prefer fleshed out stories with lots of details that you can’t always get in poetry. But because of the subject matter, I can’t imagine this book being written any other way. Every word is precise and weighted, each moment fleeting and echoing through the rest of the book.

Kuderick doesn’t dance around the issues of cutting, but she handles in a vividly accessible way so many generations can—and will—be able to relate to it and Kenna. It should be a staple in school libraries and classrooms. I can’t wait to see what she does next!

Sep 9, 2014

Blog Tour: The Clockwork Dagger by Beth Cato

Hello & welcome to THE CLOCKWORK DAGGER blog tour. I'm so thrilled to be on the tour. Check out today's post below & be sure to enter to win!

Published by: Harper Voyager
To Be Released on: September 16th, 2014
Add it to Goodreads
Get it From: Amazon | B&N

Book Blurb:
An extremely fun and very commercial fantasy debut, in the bestselling vein of Trudi Canavan and Gail Carriger. THE CLOCKWORK DAGGER is an enchanting fantasy debut about a young healer with incredible powers setting off on her first mission, when a series of strange occurrences (including murder) rock the airship she is traveling on. But the dashingly attractive steward may be one of the infamous Clockwork Dagger assassins, her cabin-mate hides secrets, and the conspiracy may reach the crown itself.

Praise for The Clockwork Dagger
“The Clockwork Dagger was just what I needed: A steampunk adventure with an uncommon heroine, a fascinating magic system, and a young gremlin! I’m hooked and can’t wait for more Octavia and Leaf!”
—New York Times bestselling author Kevin Hearne

About the Author:

Beth Cato resides in the outskirts of Phoenix, AZ. Her husband Jason, son Nicholas, and crazy cat keep her busy, but she still manages to squeeze in time for writing and other activities that help preserve her sanity. She is originally from Hanford, CA, a lovely city often pungent with cow manure.


Enter to win a copy of THE CLOCKWORK DAGGER, complete with a gorgeous black-and-gold paper parasol, for your very own steampunk adventures and cosplays (seen above)!

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Sep 8, 2014

Review: Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

Title: Rites of Passage
Author: Joy N. Hensley
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: 9.9.2014
Pages: 360
Genre: Young Adult, Military, Contemporary, Bullying
Series: N/A
Source: eARC from publisher

Rating: 5 Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she's not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.

So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She's even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won't risk her future, or the dare, on something so matter how much she wants him.

As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out.
At any cost.

Now time's running short. Sam must decide who she can trust...and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences.

I first heard about RITES OF PASSAGE almost a year and a half ago when I met the lovely Joy N. Hensley at a local event. Since then I had been anxiously awaiting reading it, so when it appeared on Edelweiss one blessed day, I immediately downloaded it and settled in that very night to read it. One of the best decisions ever.

For a debut, Hensley does an admirable job and writes like she’s been doing it since birth. She has a way of telling a story that thrusts the reader deep into the action and brings these vibrant characters to life.

I couldn’t love Sam more if I tried. Her heart, her spirit, her determination … I’m sad to say I’m not as strong as Sam. I wish I was, but I think I would have backed down in the face of such harsh conditions. The hazing she endures is brutal, but it’s a great story of a girl pushing through adversaries and learning what she’s made of. It’s an uplifting story in that regard that will have girls and boys cheering.

My only complaint, and this is more of a personal nature than anything, but the end. Really, Joy Hensley? THAT END?! *sobs*  But not even my own sadness over the end can detract from the flawless story here. If you like a contemporary with the perfect balance of grit, humor, and swoon, RITES OF PASSAGE is your book.

Sep 3, 2014

Review: Believe by Erin McCarthy

Title: Believe
Author: Erin McCarthy
Publisher: InterMix
Publication Date: 1.21.2014
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary
Series: True Believers #3
Source: eARC from publisher

Rating: 4 Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
Robin used to be a party girl… until she got black out drunk and woke up in bed with her best friend's boyfriend. Now she's faced with being THAT girl, and couldn't be more disgusted with herself. She can't even tell her friends the reason for her sudden sobriety and she avoids everyone until she meets Phoenix—quiet, tattooed, and different in every way that's good and oh, so bad…

Phoenix is two days out of jail when he meets Robin at his cousin's house, and he knows that he has no business talking to her, but he's drawn to her quiet demeanor, sweet smile, and artistic talent. She doesn't care that he's done time, or that he only has five bucks to his name, and she supports his goal to be a tattoo artist.

But Phoenix knows Robin has a secret, and that it's a na├»ve dream to believe that his record won't catch up with them at some point. Though neither is prepared for the explosive result when the past collides with the present…

True Believers is one of my favorite New Adult series, and I love telling people about this awesome, yet often overlooked, series. I feel like more people are getting familiar with it because of me. Or because the books are now in print as well as digital format. Probably the latter.

BELIEVE is book 3 and what I love most is how these books layer in characters from previous books but they can be read as standalones. Robin’s story was hinted at towards the end of book 2, and I have to admit, I was fairly unimpressed by Robin in that book. All I got was a quick “I cheated” and it’s hard to feel any sympathy for a character when that happens.

In BELIEVE, it’s easy to see Robin lead a lifestyle that simply spiraled out of control. It’s easy to see how it happened, but the heart and soul of the girl underneath is what drew me into this story. Robin is a likeable and very human character. She makes mistakes—often big ones, but there is definite growth in her.

Phoenix … Phoenix was a little hard to wrap my head around. I expected a tough, fresh out of prison badass, but this guy is sweet and sensitive and has such a big heart. He also wants to help Robin, but he’s not a masochist. Guys being the be all, end all saviors in New Adult is played out. Phoenix is a guy who is loving and supportive, but will call you on you BS. He’s not a doormat and I loved seeing genuine maturity in a character like his.

This is a fantastic series. Everyone who reads NA needs to have True Believers and Erin McCarthy on their radar. I own all the books in ebook format, but I am happily also buying them in physical form because I need them in every way possible. And so do you.