Friday, December 21, 2012

JULES, THE BOUNTY HUNTER - Happy Book Birthday Giveaway!!!

Hey y'all!

I couldn't be more excited about this e-book giveaway! I beta read Jules back in the day, and I love love LOVE this book!

Check out the cover:

Isn't it pretty? I love the smirk on her face (if you've read the book, it is so Jules!), and the fact that she is in a debutante gown and holding a gigantic gun :)

And here's the blurb:

High-speed car chases, hiding out in overgrown bushes, nabbing the bad guy—all in a days work for Julianne aka Jules St. James. Sure growing up with a bounty hunter for a father was a little unorthodox, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. After all, how many sixteen-year-old girls can take a man down with her bare hands, fire an assault rifle, or become a chameleon by using fake identities to nab bail jumpers? On her father’s Texas ranch, she’s just one of the guys with her older, twin brothers, Remington and Colt.

So when Jules’s father insists she spend the summer with her absentee mother—a former Savannah debutant and current member of high society, she is more than a little pissed off. Jules has had little use for her mother since she blew out of town six years ago to trade garden parties and black tie affairs for being a bounty hunter’s wife. A summer in Savannah with Mommie Dearest means having refinement and culture shoved down her throat while styling the latest haute couture fashion.

But Jules’s father has another reason behind sending her to Savannah. The society family of Emmett Marshall, a white-collar bail jumper resides there. The mission is for Jules to get close to Marshall’s teenage son, Jackson, thus trying to unravel any clues about his father’s whereabouts. Locating Marshall could mean a hefty payoff —enough for Jules’s freshman year of college.

Since she's better at taking down a guy than hooking up with one, Jules feels like she's in over her head. Enter Wyatt Deluca. Working for Jules’s bounty hunting cousin, Wyatt's suave services are enlisted to help her reel Jackson in. The tattooed, motorcycle riding bad boy is a 180 from sweet, cultured Jackson, but the more that Jules hangs around with Wyatt, the more confused she is about her true feelings and her ability to do her job.

Southern belles, intrigue, and a sassy teenage bounty hunter? Yes, please! Make sure to enter before December 29th because you're definitely going to want to curl up with this one* over the holidays.

*best enjoyed with a tall glass of sweet tea

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cover Reveal for CRUSHED by Dawn Rae Miller!

I am very excited to be part of today's Cover Reveal for CRUSHED by Dawn Rae Miller! I love doing cover reveals, especially when the cover in question is as gorgeous as this one! Seriously, though, they give me this giddy feeling. I think it's the prospect of an exciting book I haven't read coupled with lots of pretty :)

So, here's that cover!

Gorgeous, right? I love that it says contemporary and romance and I love how artistic the crushed heart is.

Here's the blurb:

For seventeen-year-old serial womanizer Fletch Colson, life is a game and if he plays by the rules, he’ll win it all: his dream college, his parents’ money, and a hot (if a little vapid) girl on his arm. Really, it couldn’t be easier. All he has to do is get good grades, live a privileged boarding school life, and try not to mess up too much.

However, when he accepts the seemingly impossible bet to change his ways and be “just friends” with smart, beautiful, tempting Ellie Jacobs – a girl who seems hell bent on confusing him - Fletch’s whole world is turned upside down.

Suddenly, what seemed simple and clear, no longer feels right and Fletch must decide if winning it all is worth losing a piece of himself.

Sigh. I don't know about you, but I can't wait to read it. It's that last line that really gets me.

FYI, CRUSHED comes out December 11, 2012, and it's upper YA. And just to tease you a little more, here's a snip:

The Bet

It’s not uncommon to find a friend or two hanging out in your room when you come back from class.

What I don’t expect is to find Reid and Brady standing on my balcony shooting a Super Soaker at unsuspecting passers-by. But seriously, why am I surprised?

“You have the best room in the school.” Reid pumps up the water gun and drenches some poor freshman. “Hot chicks on The Beach and the ability to terrorize underclassmen. This is awesome.”

I toss my bag on the extra bed near the door. “What the hell you guys? You’re going to have…” I pause, searching my memory for the right name, but come up with nothing. “My RA on my case.”

“Not expellable, Fletch.” Reid lets another stream of water fly. That’s Reid’s governing law: as long as it’s not expellable, it’s okay.

“I don’t care if it’s not expellable. If he’s watching me, because of you two dicks, how am I going to have any fun?”

A blast of ice cold water soaks through my sweater and sprays all over my bed.


“What you get for being such a pisser.” Reid chuckles as he turns his attention back toward The Beach.

I strip off my drenched shirt, throw it into the corner and grab a new one from my drawer. “Thanks for reminding me why I didn’t want to room with either of you.”

“You’re not exactly Mr. Ideal Roommate, either. Ever hear yourself snore?” Reid props the Super Soaker by the door and flops on the bed. “It’s like a fucking freight train.”

“Whatever. At least I don’t keep lotion and Kleenex next to my bed,” I retort. Reid and I roomed together last year. It wasn’t bad. He spent most of his time at Paige’s.

Brady snorts. “Yeah, Reid. Why do you keep that so close to the bed? Paige not servicing you enough?” he says as he makes an obscene motion with his fist.

Reid groans. “You guys are jealous because I always have a source. You two never know if you’re going to feast or starve.”

“Speaking of starving, you got anything to eat?” Without waiting for my answer, Brady walks back into the room and opens the mini-fridge. “Some Coke, some fruit – why do you have fruit? What’s wrong with you?”

I shove him out of the way. “There’s chips in the closet.”

Brady flings a bag of chips at Reid and takes one for himself.

“Dude! Those are full-sized bags. Share.” I pluck Brady’s from his hand and toss it back into my closet. “I’m not your personal grocery store.”

Brady sits on the floor, below Reid on the bed, and the two of them tear into the chips like they haven’t eaten in years.

Brady shoves a handful into his mouth, “So whastsgoinonwifcal?”

“What?” I scroll through my playlist and pull up my 80s mix. The music pulses out. Hmmm. Maybe I need some new speakers. The bass is too weak.

“Calista. What ya do to her?”

My stomach drops to my feet. I spent the day successfully avoiding Cal by skipping lunch and eating in my room instead. “She was upset about Hannah.”

“Liar.” Reid throws a fistful of chips at me. “Paige said she was bawling in first period because you did something. So what did you do?”

I spin around in my chair. A lump sits in my throat. “She was?”

Brady swallows and gives me an incredulous look. “Told you.”

“What did you tell him?” Reid asks. He’s picked up his guitar. He plucks out a few notes, like he’s testing the strings, before playing along to the music blasting over the speakers. I watch in envy as his fingers move up and down the neck.

Brady tosses the bag of chips at me and I dart my hand out to catch them before they spill all over the floor.

“That Calista looooves him.”

I wince and feel my cheeks growing hot. “No, she doesn’t. Trust me.”

Reid stops playing and shifts forward, like he’s waiting for more details. I pretend not to notice and step onto the balcony. The crisp autumn air cools my face. Beneath me, a few dozen girls hang out in small groups while the guys mostly goof around.

With the water gun in hand, Brady leans over the railing and surveys the girls. Reid, however, keeps his back toward them and his focus on me. “She likes you. Like likes you likes you.”

I shuffle my feet. “She’s just my friend. Ask her.”

Reid rolls his eyes. “You aren’t friends with girls.”

“I can be friends with a girl. Look at Paige and me. I’ve never messed around with her.” I cross my arms. “And she’s my friend.”

Brady pulls himself way from oogling the girls below us. “Doesn’t count. Paige is your friend because of Reid. He acts like your cock block.” He aims another stream of water toward a group of girls on The Beach and narrowly misses them. He waves as they shriek and giggle.

I think back through the past three years, picturing all the girls I’ve been with, spoken to, hooked-up with. I can’t think of one who’s only been my friend. Not one. Yet, I insist. “I can be friends with a girl.”

Without looking at me, Reid says, “Prove it.”


“Prove you can be friends with a girl.”

I snort. “And how do I do that? Just walk up to a girl and say, ‘Hey, wanna be friends?’”

Wisps of fog drift over the dorm roof and around the corner of the building, but the kids on the Beach don’t seem to mind. Living here, tucked away in the redwoods nine months of the year, you get used to it. A sunny day for us is when the sun makes an appearance between 1:30 and 1:45 on the third Friday of every other month. Brady sets the water gun against the railing. “What you need is a girl who is completely available. And hot. Someone who tempts you.”

He points across The Beach. Sarah Diaz, and her two friends, Ellie Jacobs and Libby Hausman, float across the lawn. At least it looks that way with the fog rushing in around them. “You have Physics with Sarah.”

At lunch, Brady and I compared our prospects and agreed getting Sarah’s number was the win of the day.

“Yeah.” I draw the word out. I know where he’s going with this. Sarah and I hooked up freshman year. Libby isn’t my type, so I’d have no problem not touching her. But Ellie…

She’s hot. Nice fit body, long brown hair. Cute face. I run my hand through my hair, willing her to look up, but she doesn’t. Instead, she tosses her head back, not overly dramatic or anything, and laughs.

“Ellie Jacobs. You’ve never hooked up with her. And she totally gets you hard. If you can be friends with her, you can be friends with any girl.”

On the sad, little grass oval of The Beach, Sarah and Ellie spread a blanket. The three girls arrange themselves in a lopsided triangle. Sarah and Libby touch knees while Ellie stretches out along the edge. Unlike the clueless freshmen, Ellie wears tight jeans and a sweater that hangs off her shoulder, exposing the soft skin of her neck. Her bare shoulder indicates a lack of bra, and my mind fixates on that small fact for a moment.

“What’s the bet?” I ask.

Brady rubs his chin, like he’s thinking, but I can tell he already knows what he wants. “Your car. You have to last until we get back from spring break. If not, I get your car.”

“And if I do?”

Reid pipes up. “If Fletch can do it, you give up girls until after graduation.”

Brady begins protesting, saying that that’s way harsher than me giving him my car. “But you don’t think I can do it, so why worry?” I say.

He scowls. I’ve totally got him and he knows it. “Fine. Deal.”

As we shake on it, Reid grabs the Super Soaker and points it at me. “Okay. Here’s the thing: I’m going to soak your ass if you don’t go talk to Ellie Jacobs right now.”

“Are you fucking serious?”

His finger twitches on the trigger as he aims at my crotch. “Totally.”

I stare at Brady. “You too?”

“Don’t look at me. I want you to fail miserably.”

“Fine.” I push past Reid and into the hallway. He presses the water gun into my back, and trying to be a good sport about how shitty this is going down, I throw my hands over my head and march, like a hostage, to the stairs.

As we walk across the grass, I try to figure out what to say that won’t sound too much like I’m hitting on her. We stop next to their blanket and the girls look up at us. Reid lowers the gun and leans on it.

Brady, however, sinks down next to Sarah and helps himself to some of the crackers the girls are eating.

“Hey, guys,” I say. How lame.

Sarah smiles at me. “Hey, Fletch.” Confusion seeps into her voice. “What are you guys doing?”

Brady, who isn’t trying to be friends with girls, answers, “Just wanted to see what you were doing.” He pops another cracker into his mouth and drapes his arm around Sarah, who doesn’t seem bothered by it. “How were your summers?”

The girls share glances and all babble about their vacations. In the meantime, Reid sits down with them too, and I’m left looming over the group. What should I do? Sit? Is that what a friend would do?

“Where did you guys get water guns?” Ellie asks. There’s a certain force to her voice – it’s a little husky, like she’s been smoking her whole life. Gravely, maybe? Whatever, it sounds sexy.

Brady plays with the Super Soaker and points it at me. “Town.”

Town is a twenty-minute drive from Harker. And neither of these guys have cars, which means…

“You took my car?”

Reid shrugs. “Don’t leave your keys laying around if you don’t want us to use it.”

“Or how about you guys stay out of my fucking room?”

A stream of water shoots past me and splatters all over Reid’s sweater and face. He eyes Brady lazily, flicks the water off his chin and says, “I’ve been hit.”

The girls giggle. I turn to leave. I don’t need this. Why do I have to prove myself to them? Because of Calista? Ridiculous.

“Fletch?” Sarah says.

I pivot. “Yeah?”

“Do you want to study on Friday? For Physics?”

Brady leans his head toward her, his arm still around her shoulder. I know that look. It means, he’s staking his claim.

“Brady might be a better study partner,” I say.

He nods. “Yeah. Science is my thing. Fletch is more of an English guy.” He laughs. “If you ever need a book read, ask him. He loves that crap.”

“I thought Fletch was the best at everything,” little inconspicuous Libby says. Brady presses his lips into a thin line and catches my eye “Not everything.”

There’s an edge to Brady’s normally laid-back voice. I lie. “Yeah. I suck at Government.”

Sarah kicks Ellie. “Ellie could help you. Couldn’t you?” She’s talking fast, tripping over her words.

That’s when I realize what’s happening. Sarah likes Brady. And she’s looking for ways to keep him around, even if that means sending her friend off with me. Maybe getting to know Ellie won’t be so hard after all.

I pounce on the opportunity, but try to look disinterested – like I’m not at all still thinking about the fact she’s braless. “That would be great. I could use all the help I can get.”

Ellie pushes Sarah’s foot away from her knee. “I’m busy with my own classes. Lots of AP this year.”

The tiny bit of hope shatters. She’s turning me down. What’s with this girl? My mind races. There is no way I’m walking away from here without having plans with Ellie. Brady and Reid would never let me forget it.

“I could pay you.”

“I’m not a prostitute,” she snaps. A hush falls over the group.

One of my idiot friends coughs and I study my shoe for a moment. Way to go, Fletch. You can’t be friends with a girl if you insult her. “I didn’t mean it like that.”


“Yeah, but hey, don’t worry about it. If you don’t want to, that’s fine.” Time to back peddle or abort mission.

Another long pause. Finally, she says, “No. Of course I’ll tutor you. And you don’t need to pay me.”

“Cool. So Thursday after dinner? Can you come to my room?”

She hesitates. “Not during visiting hours?”

“Naw. Come around seven-thirty.”

As I recite my room number, I notice Brady whispering to Sarah. She grins.

He reluctantly tears himself away from the girls, but only after Reid threatens him with the water gun. I turn around, to say good-bye, and am greeted by a blast of cold water to the face.

“You fucker. You’re dead.” I launch myself at Brady, who has wrenched control of the gun from Reid. He runs across The Beach, laughing like a hyena on crack.

For more scenes from CRUSHED, check out the following blogs:
The Key Chain -
Getting Dirty at the Pool -
Who Am I?
The Music Room -

Thursday, November 15, 2012

How to Make Twilight Jello Shots

I'm about to let you in on a little secret. My friends and I...we like Twilight. We like the books. We like the movies. One time we even had a watch-Twilight-on-DVD-before-New-Moon-comes-out party with themed snacks and Twilight bingo (yes, we are that cool!).

One of these snacks was vampire jello shots made by yours truly (red jello to look like blood topped with peach jello to look like skin, and two vampire fang holes), and with Breaking Dawn Part II coming out this weekend, I'm sharing the recipe to get you in the mood for BD2 in all its shirt-ripping, sparkly glory.

What you will need:

Jello (raspberry, black cherry, and peach worked best)
Plastic straws cut into 2 inch pieces
Alcohol of your choice, assuming you are 21 (raspberry rum or vodka pair well with raspberry jello, and peach schnapps pairs well with peach jello)
Those little paper cups that you only find in old peoples' bathrooms and frat houses

Step 1:

Make some red jello (follow the instructions on the box, use ice in the second 8 oz of water). Fill the paper cups about halfway with jello.

(Note: I found that raspberry looked a little cartoon red while black cherry was a little purple, but a 2 parts raspberry to 1 part black cherry mixture yielded a very bloodlike jello product.

Step 2:

Place jello cups in freezer for 20-30 minutes until solid (not frozen, just, you know, jello-y).

Step 3:

Insert two straw pieces into each jello cup (push almost to the bottom) in a vampire fang configuration.

Step 4:

Make peach jello. Fill the paper cups the rest of the way.

(Note: I also tried mango, but it tasted kind of gross.)

Step 5:

Place jello cups in freezer again for 20-30 minutes, then in refrigerator until use.

Step 6:

Before enjoying your jello shot, remove the two straw pieces, and voila! Vampire jello shot!

A friendly disclaimer - ALWAYS DRINK RESPONSIBLY – which includes, but is not limited to, the following:
Don't drink and drive.
Don't drink underaged.
Don't consume an entire tray of jello shots to help you cope with the squickiness of the Jacob-Renesme romance and then tell the police officer who is arresting you for puking on the floor of the movie theater that I told you to do it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Book Review! MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza

MILA 2.0 (Untitled, #1)MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

10 Things I Loved About MILA 2.0:

1. Mila is one of the most interesting, multi-layered characters I've read about in a very long time. She shows a tremendous range of emotions. Her reactions are very realistic. We already know she’s an android, and I really like how subtle the build up is. She comes into her abilities gradually, and there are these fabulous details hinting at what she really is. (example: “I cranked the old rotor window down, the one that stuck for Kaylee’s little brother and her mom but never gave me any problems at all.”) I think the thing I loved most though is how she identifies with being a human girl, but at the same time feels an intense longing to be “real”.

2. The plot is insane. INSANE. Driza is a master of pacing and tension and roller coasters and action scenes.

3. The twists. I don’t want to spoil anything, but let’s just say you’ll love them.

4. The voice. This is a big one for me because I read a lot of contemporary, and I sometimes find myself having trouble getting into speculative fiction because the voice isn’t there. This book combines sci-fi action thrills with an authentic teenage girl voice that will completely win you over and make you want to be Mila’s best friend (her inner monologue is hilarious!).

5. Every time Mila goes bad ass on someone. Teenage girls kicking butt. Love it. The action scenes are flawlessly choreographed.

6. Mila’s relationship with her mom. There are so many interesting levels here. I also loved the fact that Mila and her mom do one of those on the run bathroom makeovers.

7. Lucas. I love him.

8. I don’t want to spoil anything, (view spoiler)[but Three is amazing. She’s the next version of Mila (this time programmed without those pesky emotions!), and she is creepy as hell and makes a great foil for Mila. I can’t wait to see what happens with her in the next book. (hide spoiler)]

9. The tests they put Mila through. This was probably the most exciting part of the book. Extracting info about the mole. The obstacle course from hell. The (view spoiler)[Mila vs. Mila (hide spoiler)] scene that was so cool I can’t even stand it.

10. The ending of chapter 27. So creative. (Actually, all of Driza’s chapter endings are pretty stellar.)

The obligatory crit: There was some stuff that I was hoping would go down with Mila’s mom that didn’t happen, but otherwise I adored this book.

Overall: I loved this book! Great ending and plenty of secrets left to uncover. I can’t wait for the next one!!

View all my reviews

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Giveaway to Celebrate NIGHTINGALE's Cover Reveal

I loved LARKSTORM by Dawn Rae Miller, and I'm counting down the days till September 25th when the next book in The Sensitives Trilogy, NIGHTINGALE, gets released. So, of course, I was super excited when I found out Mundie Moms hosted a NIGHTINGALE cover reveal today. Isn't it gorgeous? I love how it looks like the LARKSTORM cover gone dark.

To celebrate, I'm giving away a copy of LARKSTORM, and, because John Green is one of Dawn's favorite authors, I'm also giving away a signed (and Hanklerfished!) copy of LOOKING FOR ALASKA. (For those of you wondering what the elusive Hanklerfish is, see this video - the part about Hanklerfish starts at 2:16.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Zombie Tag by Hannah Moscowitz

Zombie TagZombie Tag by Hannah Moskowitz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

10 Things I Love About Zombie Tag:

1) The cover fits perfectly.

2) It comes with its own game. (And the game is AWESOME. I mean, hi, you can buy your kid, ahem, or yourself, not just a book but untold hours of zombie tagging enjoyment.)

3) The humor. (Example: "It's five miles. Anthony should really get his stories peer-reviewed or something." )

4) The voice. It is pitch perfect middle grade boy. <3 Wil.

5) The twist. It completely blindsided me, but also made total sense looking back.

6) The friendship dynamics. I could picture Wil's friend circle so vividly, and it gave me kind of a Super 8 vibe which I loved. Loved Anthony. Loved Eben. And most especially loved...

7) Stella. She is so awesome she gets #7 all to herself. She's spunky and brave and fun. I love that she's the girl in the group full of boys (that was so me growing up!).

8) The parallels between being a zombie and being an adult.

9) The brother relationship. This was particularly impressive since Graham is either dead or a zombie for most of the book.

10) ZOMBIES!!!

Crits: I got nothing. And I really like to include at least one with each review, so I can feel like I've been fair and balanced, but this time I don't have any, so enjoy the happy :) AND GO READ THIS BOOK! And then share it with the coolest middle grader you know.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I Have an Agent!!!!

A few weeks ago, I got the kind of news every aspiring writer dreams of. An agent. Wanted to represent. ME. I stared at the email in shock for a few seconds and then commenced trying to not freak out at work but still freaking out just a little bit.

I’ve loved reading and writing for as long as I can remember, but a few years ago, I decided to get serious. So, I wrote a book (and it was awful). And then I wrote another. And another. I never queried any of these books because I didn’t feel like they were good enough to send out into Agentland (trust me, they weren’t, but my little sister still read all of them because she’s amazing like that). But I was learning. I was getting better and better with each book. I could feel it.

When I finished my 4th book, after 8 months of writing and another 8 of revising – during which I received feedback from the bestest beta readers ever, I decided I was finally going to query. But just a small batch.

So, in August of 2011, I sent off those first 8 queries. I got some requests (squee!), but they ultimately ended in rejections (sigh). But it’s okay. Because the rejections came with feedback. Awesome feedback. Agent feedback. I revised again with the help of a friend who picked apart the agent emails the way middle school girls pick apart texts from cute boys.

This spring I queried again with the new and improved version of my MS, which brings us to…a few weeks ago. An email offer! A call! Emails to other agents who had my MS! And that’s when things got really crazy.

I got four more calls and four more offers from amazing, brilliant, passionate agents. Agents who had read my book and loved it! I took some time to think about it and FINALLY made a decision. And now I can officially announce that I am represented by the AMAZING Susan Hawk of The Bent Agency. I’m so excited and lucky and honored to have an agent who loves my book as much as she does, and I can’t wait to see where things go from here!

I’m so grateful for all the help I’ve received from my writing buddies along the way: those of you who read my book (some more than once!), those of you who gave me that last little push to get my query on, those of you who gave me advice and support through this whole rollercoaster process. Love you guys. <3

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Cover Reveal!!!

My friend Chanelle Gray wrote a YA book called MY HEART BE DAMNED, and it comes out July 15th! Here's the gorgeous cover:

Don't you just love how creepy it is? And here's the blurb:

If you're a Hunter, there are only three things you must know about the Damned. The Damned can't lie, can't live without a body, and can't leave you alone.

Amerie Carter has the blood of a Hunter, unfortunately. She is one of a rare line of women who, upon her sixteenth birthday, will come into extraordinary powers used to hunt the Damned; escaped souls from Hell who take up residence in human bodies. It's supposed to be her sweet sixteen, but Amerie has never dreaded a day more, and her worst fears are confirmed as the celebration turns tragic when her mother is killed.

Grief-stricken, Amerie vows to never hunt a day in her life. She's determined to hide behind normalcy, attending school, hanging out with her friends and working an after-school job at The Hut. All Amerie wants is to be left alone. But try telling the Damned that. The harder Amerie tries to ignore her powers, the more the Damned come looking for her.

When an attack leaves one of Amerie's friends in the hospital, and endangers the lives of her fellow students, she knows she has no choice: Hunt or Be Hunted. Thankfully, the gorgeous, secretive, and so-off-limits Marshall offers to train Amerie to take out her supernatural enemies. But training with Marshall means leading lying to her friends, her family, and confronting the mysterious circumstances surrounding her mother’s death.

Amerie soon discovers she’s not the only one with something to hide, Marshall’s secrets might kill her before the Damned get the chance.

I couldn't be more excited! Here's a link to her blog where she's giving away all kinds of awesome prizes to celebrate.

Follow her on Twitter: @ChanelleGray
Add MHBD on Goodreads.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Empowerment Project

I am constantly blown away by the women I'm friends with. For example, check out this project my friend Alina is starting:

She'll be posting submissions (artwork, poems, quotes, etc.) that empower rape survivors. How amazing is that? Alina is a rape survivor herself, but more important than that, she is brave and strong and funny and smart. The project will run a weekly post, and it's a way for other rape survivors (or really anyone interested in such an important issue) to share their stories and to have a place where they can find strength and joy.

I couldn't be more proud of what she is doing.

If you want to follow Alina on Twitter: @AlinaBKlein

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ansley's First Trip to the Aquarium

We had free tickets to the Georgia Aquarium, courtesy of my amazing friend Lisa, so we took the baby, and I was shocked by how into it she was. I was kind of expecting her to be excited about being in a new place in general but I didn't really expect her to notice the fish. Um, I was wrong. Check out how much Ansley loved the big tank in the Tropical Diver exhibit.

Here she is admiring some catfish:

Here she is up close and personal with a, um, actually I forgot what that thing is called, but it's a really big fish and she has no idea it's there.

And here's one of the two of us together:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tempest Winners!!!

Hi guys,

I already emailed the winners, and I'm so sorry it took me so long to get it posted. The little one and I were sick, so I got next to nothing done. Anyway, a huge congratulations to:

Krista for winning Tempest, the Audiobook (Thanks, Macmillan Audio!)

Suz for winning Tempest, the ARC

Thanks everyone for entering, and be on the look out because I've got two more giveaways coming up in February!!

Book Review: LARKSTORM by Dawn Rae Miller

Larkstorm (Larkstorm, #1)Larkstorm by Dawn Rae Miller

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Larkstorm is like no other book I’ve ever read. It’s a dysopian, with all the great world building stuff that goes along with that - wristlets, population control, fun new words like ping and heya, bindings (state chosen partners). But it’s also a fantasy – witches and quests and generation-spanning curses! The hybrid result is an amazing piece of fiction.

And while all that on its own would be enough to make me want to read this book, there’s also a star-crossed love story. Lark and Beck have been friends their whole lives, knowing that they’ll be bound when they turn 18 (like being married). They’re always together, they’re completely in tune with each others emotions, “two halves of the same coin,” they even room together at school. But they can’t kiss. At all. Until their binding ceremony. So, as you might imagine, this book is packed with sexual tension.

When Beck leaves the school in a scandal that marks him an enemy of the State, Lark risks everything to find him and clear his name. She’s bold and brave and smart, but at the same time, she’s not your typical dystopian LI. As the daughter of a State leader, she’s a stickler for the rules. And she actually *gasp* cares about her appearance. I loved hearing about her clothes and shoes, but more importantly, I found this mixture of strength and femininity refreshing. I love Katniss Everdeen, but I love her in The Hunger Games. I don’t want to see her as the cookie cutter for every YA heroine from now until eternity. Lark Greene breaks the mold.

But back to the love story. Lark and Beck are doomed. DOOMED! To quote the blurb on the jacket, “she has to kill the boy she loves, unless he kills her first.” Be still my beating heart. I’ve been aching for a love story like this since Buffy killed Angel.

The only issue I had was that with all the huge reveals and Lark’s volatile reactions to them. While they are an important part of her character and the story as a whole, sometimes I felt overwhelmed with everything I had to process emotionally. There’s a trend in YA recently to make authors cut stories to the bone in order to achieve non-stop action, and sometimes I miss the quiet bits.

To wrap it up, I also loved Eloise, Kyra, Bethina, and Eamon. The cover is beautiful. And the pages have this lark detail at the top that I thought was really cool. Also, the ending is so intense that I’m pretty sure I’m going to go crazy waiting for the next book.

Recommended for: I think dystopia fans and fantasy fans would both like this book. Also fans of star-crossed love.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Giveaway: Tempest by Julie Cross (ARC and Audiobook!)

As promised, I've got another giveaway for you! Macmillan Audio has kindly offered up an audiobook version of Tempest by Julie Cross. And I'm giving away my ARC of Tempest. So there are two chances to win. Two!

Here's why you want this book:

1. It's a book about time travel and love and there's a nerdy best friend and an impossible-not-to-love little sister. Check out my review here. Listen to a sample here.

2. Everyone is talking about this book.

3. Julie Cross is pretty much the classiest/friendliest/nicest author ever.

4. Audiobooks are awesomesauce. (Gah. Why is it so hard to convince autocorrect that awesomesauce is one word?)

Here's how you can win:
1) Be a follower of this blog.
2) Leave a comment telling me you want it. (I'll pick two winners, so let me know in your comment if you are entering for the ARC, the audiobook, or both.)

+1 bonus entry for tweeting about this contest (just let me know in your comment)

This giveaway closes Thursday, January 19th at midnight. US mailing addresses only.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Clockwork Prince Giveaway Winner!

Happy New Year everyone!

First of all, I just wanted to say how AMAZING all of those comments were! Cassandra Clare has the best readers ever! I wish I had a copy to give to each and every one of you, but, sadly, I just have the one.

Now, to announce the winner. I wrote all your names on slips of yellow card stock and put them in a shiny box and had Ansley (my 11-month-old) pick one out. The name Ansley picked (and chewed on little bit) is:

April X!!!

Woo-hoo!!!! I'll shoot you an email so I can get Clockwork Prince to you ASAP.

Again, thank you so much for entering, you guys. I was blown away. And stay tuned because I'll have more giveaways in 2012, including (if all goes according to plan) a signed copy of John Green's new book later this month.