Monday, December 30, 2013

The time it was 2013 best of list

When digging through the posts at Fic Fare to get to a giveaway page, I saw that Jaime and Erin had filled out an end of the year book/blog survey.  And since I'm such a whore for surveys, of course I was going to do this...

Thanks to the Perpetual Page Turner for this awesome idea and the pretty pictures.  Make sure you go over there to see all of the links from other bloggers.

1. Best book you read in 2013? (If you have to cheat, you can break it down by genre)

Ugh.  Already this is hard.  Ummm... How about: Splintered, The Distance Between Us, Crown of Midnight, Something Real, The Winner's Curse, These Broken Stars, Time After Time.

2. Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love, but didn't?

No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale.  I love the idea of this book, but I just couldn't get into it at all.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013?

Something Real by Heather Demetrios.  I don't normally read a lot of contemporary, but I read the synopsis and was intrigued.  Turns out, I absolutely fell in love with this book and may or may not have a mild addiction to it.  I loved Patrick all of the characters and Patrick and the storyline and Patrick and it was refreshing to read something so unique.  Oh and I've already got a deal with Heather for Patrick, soooo....

4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?

Either Splintered, Crown of Midnight, or The Distance Between Us.  Anyone who stood still long enough was told about those three beauties.

5. Best series you discovered in 2013?

Splintered [Thank you, Kristen!] I mean, it's a darker take on Alice in Wonderland that has a kick ass girl and a super swoony artist boy. Oh and it is just phenomenal.  Unhinged is even better and I'm convinced that Anita is out to kill me with Ensnared.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?

A.G. Howard and Kasie West

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott.  I tend to stay away from anything dealing with death/terminal illness and the like, but for some reason, I picked this one up.  Man, I was blown away.  I loved every single page of it.

8. Most thrilling, un-put-downable book in 2013?

Crash into You, Unhinged, These Broken Stars, A Darkness Strange and Lovely, Time After Time... I'm pretty sure I could keep going on this one.

9. Book in 2013 you are most likely to re-read next year?

Something Real, The Art of Lainey, The Winner's Curse, Unhinged.  All 4 of those come out next year, so I'll definitely be reading the finished copies when I get my grubby hands on them.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?

11. Most memorable character in 2013?

Sturmhond from Siege and Storm

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?

Dream Thieves. Maggie has a special way of writing that makes me want to read every single word on every single page.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013?

Crown of Midnight and Dream Thieves were both books that were amazing.  They both also had wicked endings that gave me serious feels and major book hangovers.

14. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to read?

The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff. You need to read this immediately. 

15. Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2013?

Nothing immediately comes to mind and it's probably better that way.  Otherwise, I'd more than likely end up typing up entire pages of a couple of books. Like the outside dancing scene between Chaol and Celaena in Crown of Midnight.

16. Shortest and longest book you read in 2013?

The Moth in the Mirror -- 40 pages
Ashen Winter -- 576 pages

17. Book that had a scene in it that had you reeling and dying to talk to somebody about it?

Pretty much the entire time I was reading The Distance Between Us by Kasie West.  Xander and his sips just slayed me with swoons. I forced friends to send me their flails while they read it.

18. Favorite relationship from a book you read in 2013?

Jeb and Alyssa from Splintered, Xander and Caymen from The Distance Between Us, Lilac and Tarver from These Broken Stars, Patrick and Bonnie from Something Real, Micah and Lainey from The Art of Lainey... this is another one I could go on and on and on with. 

19. Favorite book you read in 2013 from an author that you've read previously?

Crown of Midnight.  I didn't think anything could top the epicness that is Throne of Glass and somehow Sarah did it.  I can't wait to see what she has planned for us with book 3.

20. Best book you read in 2013 that you read based solely on a recommendation from someone else?

Scarlet.  I wasn't totally in love with Cinder, so I had put off reading Scarlet.  Everyone told me I would love Wolf and they were right. Believe it or not, Cress is even better.
21. Genre you read the most from in 2013?

All of them? I don't know.  Probably dystopian or paranormal, since those are what I like the most. 

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?

Jeb from Splintered [he's mine, I have proof], Xander from The Distance Between Us [he's Jaime's but I have a claim on him just in case she hits her head and becomes completely delusional], Patrick from Something Real [he's mine, I have proof], Micah from The Art of Lainey [he's mine, I have proof].

23. Best debut 2013 debut you read?

Why haven't you stopped reading this post and started reading Splintered already? Sheesh.

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?

Should I just stop reading the questions now and answer with Splintered for everything? With this particular question, Anita takes Wonderland and makes it creepier and all her own. Oh and there's some epic swoons.  Make sure you check out question 22 when it comes to Jeb.

25. Book that was the most fun to read in 2013?

My Ex From Hell and My Date From Hell by Tellulah Darling and Audrey, Wait and Also Known As by Robin Benway.  Those books actually had me laughing out loud while reading.

26. Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2013?

None? I didn't cry at TFiOS, sooooooo....

27. Book you read in 2013 that you think got overlooked this year or when it came out?

Degrees of Wrong by Anna Scarlett. It was released as an e-book in 2012 and then released in 2013 in paperback and it's just awesome.  It's one of my to-go books when I'm in a slump.

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2013?

Polished Readers is pretty awesome.  They combine book reviews with matching manicures, which I just love.  Pandora's Books is another great blog and Meredith is super sweet.  Go follow both of them in all of the places.

2. Favorite review you wrote in 2013?

Umm. Well, I don't really do reviews, but of the ones that I did, I would have to say the one I did for My Date From Hell by Tellulah Darling.   It was especially fun because Tellulah put together an entire contest leading up to the release of the book.

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?

I don't post these sorts of things.  :)

4. Most thought providing review or discussion you read on someone else's blog? 

This post on Oh Chrys after the GoodReads debacle was extremely well written and really looks at the situation without being assy.

5. Best event that you participated in?

There were so many good events that I went to in 2013.  My favorites of the year were:

**The SCBWI guerrilla panel with Gretchen McNeil, Veronica Rossi, Jennifer Bosworth and Brodi Ashton.

**Driving to Berkeley to support Tamara Ireland Stone for her release day for Time After Time.

**Going to Vegas Valley Book Festival and getting to spend some quality time with Anita.

6. Best moment of your blogging/book life in 2013?

Hands down: being asked by Bloomsbury to be a Throne of Glass Ambassador.  I mean, they knew me for my fangirling and actually referenced it in the invitation email.. Also, being asked to be Macmillan's designated blogger for the Fierce Reads tour stop in Vegas. And then again for the Fierce Reads tour stop in San Diego.

Pretty much, being acknowledged by any publisher is pretty awesome.

7. Most popular post this year on your blog (whether by views or comments)?

4136 views for the extra scene that Sarah J Maas gave the Throne of Glass Ambassadors.

136 comments for the post where I hit 500 followers on GFC and 1000 followers on Twitter on the same day.  I gave away books, one of them being an arc of Crown of Midnight.

8. Post you wished got a little more love?

All of them? Don't get me wrong, I love blogging, but the majority of comments I get are during giveaways.  I guess I don't make it easy because there aren't discussion posts and the like. But it would be nice to know if people are actually reading the stuff I'm putting out or just waiting for the next giveaway.

9. Best bookish discovery?

The Book Depository. I feel like I spend a lot of money there, so I don't know if that's a good thing or not. 

10. Did you set any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of the year?

I set a reading challenge of 250 and right now, I'm at 281 books with a couple of days before the new year.

1. One book that you didn't get to in 2013, but will be your number one priority in 2014?

Does a reread of the Mara Dyer series count? I've been wanting to read them badly [Noah is mine, I have proof], but have been waiting for Retribution to come out.

2. Book you are most anticipating for 2014 (non-debut)?

Retribution of Mara Dyer.  I would do horrible, horrible things to get my hands on this early.

3. 2014 debut you are most anticipating?

Umm.  I don't really keep up on this. I should, but I just don't. I'll sit back and watch what people add to their GoodReads shelves and decide from there. 

4. Series ending you are most anticipating in 2014?

Retribution of Mara Dyer

5. One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging in 2014?

I'm not the same as the other book blogs that are out there, I'm different and I really like that.  I guess I hope that people continue to like that too.


Don't forget to head over to the Perpetual Page Turner to see the linky list of all the other blogs who participated.  And of course, feel free to leave a comment with a link to your best of 2013 survey or just answer a few of the questions!

Friday, December 27, 2013

The time it was about The Promise of Amazing

I got approved for The Promise of Amazing from Edelweiss and devoured read it in July. It quickly became one of the books I needed all of the copies of and when I came across a physical arc in the super secret back room, I may or may not have gotten pushy to get my hands on it. Robin was amazing and agreed to sign it if I sent it to her.

From there, it just got worse.  I bugged asked Robin if she would be willing to do an interview and she agreed!  But before we get to her answers, let's check out the book, shall we?

Wren Caswell is average. Ranked in the middle of her class at Sacred Heart, she’s not popular, but not a social misfit. Wren is the quiet, “good” girl who's always done what she's supposed to—only now in her junior year, this passive strategy is backfiring. She wants to change, but doesn’t know how.

Grayson Barrett was the king of St. Gabe’s. Star of the lacrosse team, top of his class, on a fast track to a brilliant future—until he was expelled for being a “term paper pimp.” Now Gray is in a downward spiral and needs to change, but doesn’t know how.

One fateful night their paths cross when Wren, working at her family’s Arthurian-themed catering hall, performs the Heimlich on Gray as he chokes on a cocktail weenie, saving his life literally and figuratively. What follows is the complicated, awkward, hilarious, and tender tale of two teens shedding their pasts, figuring out who they are—and falling in love.
Sounds great, right?  [It totally is. You can read my review on GR here]

1. Where did the idea for The Promise of Amazing come from?

Wren's story had been brewing in my head for a long time. The seed of the idea was to have a shy girl save a local celebrity's life and then be thrust into the spotlight. I worked on other things and fooled around with it every so often, but it wasn't until I moved to a new state that Grayson's part was born.

Home invasion/break-in is apparently a popular crime in the area that I live. And you know, who wants to deal with that? Before we purchased our home I had a conversation with my realtor about it and she mentioned that most break-ins were either people who knew the owners or rashes of crimes. (Neither of which made me feel better, btw) She went on to tell me about a recent crime spree involving thieves who would scope out malls, take the garage door openers out of people's cars and go to their target's houses while they were still shopping. For some reason this stuck with me, maybe because it's more thought out than just your average b&e. I kept wondering about it - did they have a lookout? What did they do with the merchandise they took? I didn't want to write that story but it kept stalking me. I'd get flashes of scenes and just think! But when I sat down to finally tackle Wren's story, I decided to bring that aspect into it. Grayson had been a minor character in another book I'd been writing and I loved him so much, I brought him along for this story. I put a twist on the method of break-in and changed the local celebrity to former thief and the story took off from there.

2. You wrote from two POVs: Wren and Grayson. Who was easier to work with?

The book didn't start out in two POVs but I got about a page into chapter two from Wren's POV and thought this is going nowhere. So I switched it up. Grayson was actually easy for me to write in the drafts - he was very visceral/shoot from the hip and it was fun to switch up the voices - but his chapters were the ones that needed the most revision during the entire process. He's such a delicious mess of a person to me, someone who really wants to do the right thing, get out from underneath the trouble he's gotten himself into, but keeps screwing it up.

3. I really enjoyed the family aspect. Both Wren and Grayson have supportive family members who take an active part in their lives, but don't hinder [for lack of a better word] the character growth. Was that an active choice?

Thanks!! Yes, it was an active choice. I love both of their families. You always here "kill the parents" because your main character is supposed to figure things out for themselves -- which I get to a certain degree but people who come from supportive and loving families can screw things up too. I just always saw these characters with parents and siblings. I love Grayson's father in particular. I think he's this guy with rough edges, someone whose glory days are in his past and he's really okay with that but he wants more for his son -- in his darker moments he dwells on what might have been, but for the most part hes' a guy who is happy and would do anything for his family. And I love Wren's relationship with her brother Josh. So much.

4. I've seen some reviewers say Promise is a mash up of Pretty and Pink and Cruel Intentions. Do you think that's accurate?

Can I just say I LOVE that comparison? That would have been awesome to put in a query!! I'm not sure I see what the boys are doing as intentional which may sound strange. Or maybe I should say THEY don't look at what they are doing as intentional or cruel. I think Operation Amsterdam is something that started out as 'we bored, let's see if we can get away with this' and it snowballed. Smart boys doing stupid things and they don't quite fully comprehend the consequences of their actions -- moral or legal. They see the end -- a trip to Amsterdam -- and a way to get there. If they had pulled this stuff when they were twenty-five, that would be a completely different story. We think we're above the law and invincible when we're teens. (At least I did.)

On the other hand, the part I do see that is intentional is Luke and Ava and how they manipulate Wren and Grayson to get what they think they want. And in that respect I can see the Cruel Intentions parallel. Pretty in Pink is a little harder for me (although it's one of my favorite movies so I'll take it!!) but maybe the parallel of Stef trying to keep Blaine away from Andie because he's always sort of liked her and if he can't have her, then Blaine shouldn't either, so he causes trouble for his own amusement? That mirrors a little bit of the Grayson-Wren-Luke dynamic for me. When Luke meets Wren, I have a very specific reason why he acts the way he does, but that's between him and me....mwahahaha.

5. What was your favorite part of writing the book?

I loved Wren and Grayson's first kiss (outside the hospital). Originally they didn't kiss until the cottage scene. In my first draft Grayson wanted to kiss Wren but he thought it might be too soon, and one of my CPs said, well if he wants to, why don't you let him and see what happens. So he kissed her and the scene took a different route from there. For me, it's Grayson being awkward but being so overwhelmed that Wren would go out of her way to do something for him, when once again he's really done nothing to earn it. He's sort of blown away by her kindness. And while Grayson can really put on the whole lady-killer-jerk act as Mike's an act...he's genuine at heart.

I also LOVED writing the cottage scene with Wren and Grayson. And I ADORED writing the scenes with Maddie, Jazz and Wren because they reminded me of the best times with my friends.

6. Describe Promise in 5 words.

Funny. Raw. Sexy. Sweet. Maddening.

Speed [ish] round:

1. You get the call/email/letter that says you're being published for the first time. What happens next?

Have heartburn for a year. Kidding. Kind of.

I got "the call" December 2012 -- I'd just come in from a fruitless Christmas shopping trip and was online looking up a doll for my niece when the phone rang. I have one of those phones that announces the person who's calling so I knew it was my agent and I was immediately like OMG. A million and one different scenarios floated through my head as I walked over to pick up the phone. I'm not sure I heard much after she told me that Donna Bray loved my manuscript and was interested in talking to us. The whole process took about two weeks -- we spoke to Donna before acquisitions and it was all pretty nail biting wondering if the sale would go through -- really you sort of steel yourself by being cautiously optimistic, so by the time my agent called me and said it was a done deal, I just kind of sat down and let it all sink in and was oddly calm, not jumping around flailing like I imagined I would be!! Until I received my editorial letter and started working on the book again, it all sort of felt surreal. Some days it still does!

2. What three things would you take to a desert island?

Matches, Nutella and a thick pair of socks.

3. What are you reading right now?

Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano -- it's coming out March 2014 and it's soooooo good.

4. Who are your favorite swoony boys?

Pretty much the cast of The Vampire Diaries and The Originals, but I'm partial to the bad boys -- Damon and Klaus and Stefan when he's being evil. And I LOVED the bromance between Damon and Alaric!!

5. Are there any authors that you fangirl over?

I kind of fangirl over every author I meet! And I am so goofy when I'm fangirling -- it's like my brain forgets how to form words. I met Laurie Halse Anderson right before Speak came out and she was so down to earth and genuine, she put me at ease. On the other hand I was recently at an event with Judy Blume and I was too overwhelmed to go up to her and introduce myself for fear that I'd just kind of run off at the mouth of worse, stand there and gape after awkwardly professing my love for her. (I regret that!!) And if I ever met Marcus Zusak, I'd probably do something embarrassing like walk into a wall or trip over my own feet. (That was not a speedy answer, was it?)


Huge thanks to Robin for putting up with my fangirling taking the time for the interview.  Make sure you're following her on Twitter, following her on Tumblr, subscribing to her blog, and adding Promise to your GoodReads shelves.

And now for the giveaway!!

There will be two winners! Robin has so awesomely offered up an annotated copy of Promise and I'm going to give one away as well.  Robin's special copy is US only and since mine will coming from The Book Depository, it'll be international.

Rules for the giveaway are under "terms and conditions" on the Rafflecopter widget.

**Good Luck!!**

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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The time it was twelve drummers drumming

Twelve drummers drumming added to the eleven pipers piping means the bird menagerie has to be going insane. This countdown of gifts is so odd.  Welp, here we are.  This is the final day of the 12 Days of Christmas giveaway.

I figured the final day of the giveaway had to be a big one, right?  So, up for grabs is....


That's right.  I have a paperback copy of Legend and hardcover copies of Prodigy and Champion. And they're all signed.  Click here to be taken to Marie's GoodReads page to read the synopsis of each. Rules for the giveaway are under "terms and conditions" on the Rafflecopter widget. This contest is international!

**Good Luck!!** 

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The time it was eleven pipers piping

All I can imagine is what eleven pipers piping would sound like.  And what the various bird menagerie would do when they heard it.  Anyhoo.  Here we are for day eleven of the 12 Days of Christmas giveaway!

Today we have fellow Whovian Trish Doller to share her favorite Christmas tradition. Let's welcome her, yes?

When my kids were little (and still believed in Santa) we would go to midnight Mass together and then they would go to bed. Instead of wrapping their presents early, I would wait until Christmas eve after they were asleep and the house was quiet. I'd keep the Christmas tree lit and sometimes--softly--listen to music as I wrapped. Or, I'd just enjoy the solitude. After I finished wrapping, I'd creep upstairs to sleep for a handful of hours before going back down so I could see the kids' faces when they discovered their presents from Santa. They're too big for that now--my son is 22 and my daughter is 18--but it will always be my favorite Christmas tradition.


Huge thanks to Trish for taking the time to share that sweet tradition.  Make sure you're following her on Twitter, liking her Facebook page, subscribing to her blog and adding all of her books on your GoodReads shelves.

And now for the giveaway!!

Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She's never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love--even with someone who seems an improbable choice--is more than just a possibility.

Trish Doller writes incredibly real teens, and this searing story of love, betrayal, and how not to lose your mind will resonate with readers who want their stories gritty and utterly true.
That's right, I have a copy of Where the Stars Still Shine up for grabs. Rules for the giveaway are under "terms and conditions" on the Rafflecopter widget. This contest is international and the book will be coming from The Book Depository.

**Good Luck!!**
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 23, 2013

The time it was ten lords-a-leaping

I don't even know what to say about that title, so we'll just get right to it.  Here we are for day ten of the 12 Days of Christmas giveaway!

Today we have the lovely Elizabeth Norris on the blog! Let's welcome her, yes?

It's hard to think about the holidays without thinking of family. Mine is...interesting. I think it's my dad's love for all things Christmas, but my parents tend to go all out. Christmas music played almost six months a year and sometimes our Christmas lights were up until March.

When I was a kid, I dreaded the lead up because the "preparation" was so intense. We had to pull huge boxes of decorations out of the attic and spend at least an entire weekend setting up the house. Putting up the tree meant going to the tree farm and picking out the right one (not too tall but tall enough and full enough and one that looked like it would last). Decorating it meant stringing the lights, and wrapping the musical bells around the trunk of the tree, and hanging all the ornaments in just the right position that the reflective ones would the lights.

What I had the most love/hate relationship with though was my mom's Snow Village collection.

I think it started because they were cool decorations.  My dad got her a little cottage that was on our kitchen table: a cute snowy house that lit up on the inside. She liked it so the next year on Christmas morning, she opened up a group of three kids building a snowman and the following year it was a snow house that looked a lot like ours.

Somewhere along the line, we ended up with a bookstore and a hotel and even a police station. Then family members caught on. They noticed my mother was collecting a Snow Village. They knew exactly what to get her for Christmas. It didn't take long before we had our own little cul-de-sac of Snow Village houses. The cottage was surrounded by a Queen Anne Victorian, an Oak Grove Tudor, a Southern Colonial and even a Gothic Farm House. Our Snow Village Main Street had a costume shop, a barber shop, a post office, a fire station, and even a Starbucks. (Really, I couldn't make this up).

Picture taken from here. Not actually Elizabeth's family Snow Village. 

And the collection just kept getting bigger. We ended up with special edition pieces like the Snow Carnival Ice Palace and an ice skating rink with several moving skaters. We couldn't even keep them set up in the room of the house. They were on the top of the piano, in the living room picture window, on the hutch in the kitchen, and on top of bookshelves. One year, they even took over our dining room table.

On one hand, they were really cool miniature house (and other things) and when they were all set up, they were certainly a conversations started for anyone who came over. But they were taking over our house. It took days to set them all up and we didn't have room for them, and why did we really need to display an Armed Forces Recruiting Station around the holidays?

At some point, my mom admitted that she didn't think we needed anymore Snow Village pieces but she didn't know how to tell all of our relatives to stop buying them. So a few years ago, my parents decided to downsize and moved into a smaller house. My mother started rotating which Snow Village streets she was going to display each year, and last year when I opened my own presents, there was a distinctly cube shaped box among my packages. The tag read: "Now that you have your own place..."

I knew two things before opening it: inside would be something Snow Village and if this became a thing, I would be needing a bigger apartment.


Huge thanks to Elizabeth for taking the time! Make sure you're following her on Twitter, liking her Facebook page, subscribing to her blog and adding all of her books on your GoodReads shelves.

And now for the giveaway!!
Reminiscent of Before I Fall, Elizabeth Norris's Unraveling blends realistic coming-of-age issues and heart-stopping romance with something just a little bit more. In this case, a gripping science fiction world.

Unraveling's heroine, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner, is used to having a lot of responsibility. She balances working as a lifeguard in San Diego with an intense academic schedule. Janelle's mother is bipolar, and her dad is a workaholic FBI agent, which means Janelle also has to look out for her younger brother.

And that was before she died...and is brought back to life by Ben Michaels, a mysterious, alluring loner from her high school. The more Janelle tries to figure him out, the more she starts to believe he's connected to a case her father is working on. The one where people are dying of radiation poisoning and the body count is rising. The one that involves a strange clock that seems to be counting down to the earth's destruction. If Janelle wants to stop the clock and save the world, she has twenty-four days to uncover Ben's secrets--and keep from falling in love with him.

From debut author Elizabeth Norris, comes this shattering novel of one girl's fight to save herself, her world, and the boy she never saw coming.
Unbreakable, the sequel to Elizabeth Norris’s Unraveling, blends science fiction, mystery, and romance into a thrilling story YA readers won’t be able to put down.

It’s been four months since Janelle Tenner stopped the earth’s destruction with the help of Ben, the boy who resurrected her after she died. Ben is gone now—disappeared through a portal to his home world.
Even though Ben broke her heart, Janelle refuses to believe it when Interverse Agent Taylor Barclay tells her Ben is suspected of running a human-trafficking ring across several universes. She vows to uncover the true culprit and rescue the people who have been sold into slavery on alternate earths—not to mention find Ben and prove his innocence.

In addition to Ben, Barclay, and Janelle, Unbreakable brings back fan favorite characters Elijah and Cecily in this action-packed thriller.
That's right, I have copies of Unraveling and Unbreakable up for grabs. Rules for the giveaway are under "terms and conditions" on the Rafflecopter widget. This contest is international and books will be coming from The Book Depository. Oh, and don't forget that Ben is mine, I have proof.

**Good Luck!!**
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Sunday, December 22, 2013

The time it was nine ladies dancing

Ladies dancing could be interesting, but who wants that as a Christmas present?  It's so odd.  Anyhoo, here we are for day nine of the 12 Days of Christmas giveaway.

Today we have the ever so charming Kasie West on the blog, sharing an embarrassing Christmas story.  Let's welcome her, yes?

Ah, Christmas, the time of giving and family and laughter and food and Stacee asking me to share embarrassing stories. Okay, in her defense, she game me options, but of course I chose the "embarrassing story" option.

So back when I was 19 years old, I was madly in love with a boy. (This is how many of my personal stories start, by the way, from about the time I was 12 on) I had been dating him for a few months and like many 19 year old boys in my church, he decided to serve a mission. This meant for 2 years he'd be gone in South America. My poor little 19 year old heart was aching, but I was determined to wait for him. Yes, I was going to wait 2 years for a boy I hadn't even been dating for 5 months. I may have been a bit delusional, but I was in love!

He left in November, meaning his first Christmas away, I was going to be the best girlfriend ever. I would send him a present every day for 12 days. I was going to give him his own personal 12 days of Christmas. And don't get me wrong, this would've made me the best girlfriend ever. It was the execution that made me...well...fall short.

I gathered my gifts and packaged them. But! I thought. Wait. They each needed to have a little story with them. (This should've been when I discovered that I wanted to be a writer but it would take me ten more years to discover that.) So I began. Each package had a story with it that went something like this. (I don't remember exactly what each of them said and I'm sure they were actually even sillier than what I'm about to write. I wish I had copies of them actually, it's probably better that I don't.)

          On the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a tie.
          "A tie? That doesn't fit very well into the song, why would we give him a tie?"
          "Just be quiet, it's what he needs, we're giving him a tie and we're singing about it. Just go with it."
          "Fine, but if he asks me, I'll tell him that a tie wasn't my idea."

And on...and on...for each day of Christmas.  I don't know what I was trying to do with these stories. Show him I had multiple personalities? That I talked to myself?  That little elves were hidden in my room? I'm not sure but at the time I thought they were a good idea. The best most creative idea. I can't even think about it now without laughing and most of the time blushing at how ridiculous I was. But love makes you do weird/crazy/manic things. To give him credit, he was very sweet about the whole thing and said thank you and that he loved it. Ha. I can't imagine how his roommates must've teased him. Poor guy. Anyway, it's a good thing we didn't end up together. I mean, can you imagine how that story would've been told year after year. Plus he'd actually have the real stories to read aloud to my humiliation.

Ah, Christmas. Happy times. I love this time of year. I hope you all are enjoying the holidays and have many stories of Christmases past with which to mock people. Merry Christmas. Happy New Year.


Huge thanks to Kasie for taking the time!! Make sure you're following her on Twitter, liking her Facebook page, subscribing to her blog and adding all of her books on your GoodReads shelves.

And now for the giveaway!!

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.
That's right.  Up for grabs is a paperback copy of The Distance Between Us. Rules for the giveaway are under "terms and conditions" on the Rafflecopter widget and this contest is international!

**Good Luck!!** 
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Saturday, December 21, 2013

The time it was eight maids-a-milking

Eight maids-a-milking.  Really? I just don't know what sort of relationship these people have... I guess it's their problem.  Here we are for day eight of the 12 Days of Christmas giveaway!

Today's entry doesn't have a story with it, but there is a great giveaway for one of my favorite books of 2013.  Up for grabs....
It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

A timeless love story, THESE BROKEN STARS sets into motion a sweeping science fiction series of companion novels. The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.
That's right.  Up for grabs is a hardcover copy of These Broken Stars. Rules for the giveaway are under "terms and conditions" on the Rafflecopter widget. Book will be coming from The Book Depository and this contest is international!

**Good Luck!!** 

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Friday, December 20, 2013

The time it was about Bitter Pill

I signed up for Stacey Kade's blog tour for Bitter Pill because I really enjoyed The Rules and was really intrigued about this particular premise. Down below you'll find my review for the book as well as an interview with Stacey.

But before we get to all of that, let's check out the book, shall we?

The truth is a bitter pill...

Rennie Harlow is having a bad year. She had a handsome husband, a good job, and a renovated condo in Chicago. Now, thanks to one "exotically beautiful" paralegal, she’s divorced, faking her way through a writing career, and living above her hypochondriac mother's garage back in Morrisville, the small town she couldn't leave fast enough at eighteen. On top of all of that, she just found Doc Hallacy, the local pharmacist, dead behind his counter. And the worst part is, he's the third body she’s stumbled across this year.

Jake Bristol has lived in Morrisville his whole life. A former bad boy turned sheriff, he doesn’t believe it’s just Rennie’s luck or timing that’s the problem. He thinks she’s too nosy for her own good. The last thing he needs is her messing around with his murder investigation so that she can freelance for the Morrisville Gazette. But as they both delve deeper into Doc's death, they find that things don't add up. This isn't a robbery gone wrong or the work of a desperate junkie. Someone has a secret they're killing to keep. The only question is—who's next?
**Thanks to my pretty prancy PA, Christina from The Book Hookup, for letting me steal borrow her review format!**

Rating & First Reaction:

4.5 stars.  I really enjoyed this story.  It was a quick, entertaining read that left me wanting more.  No, really.  I hope there's more [and I'll be bugging Stacey about this] because the ending nearly had me screaming.  If it wasn't for the "The End" on the bottom of the page, I would have thought there was a problem with my e-book... 


Rennie: Recently divorced, Rennie comes back to her small town home to live with her mom. She's quick to find trouble and whether she likes it or not, realizes that she has feelings for the very married sheriff. I feel like Rennie is the type of girl who would get arrested when she goes out with a group of friends, but not for anything serious.  It would be for something trivial law like wearing flip-flops while walking down a sidewalk on a Tuesday afternoon.  Does that make sense?

I loved being in her head.  She's hurting over the situation that she's in, but by the end of the book, I knew that she was strong enough to get through it all.  Even if we don't get anything else from these characters, I'm certain that Rennie is going to prevail in whatever she does.

Bristol: He is a good, strong man. A stand up man with convictions.  Bristol loves his job, the law in general, and seems to see most of his life in the same sort black and white. Except when it comes to Rennie, she's very much a grey area. The sparks between Rennie and him are very apparent and even if he's aware of the town whispering, he never shows it. I would have loved to have gotten even one chapter from his point of view [hint, hint], I'm very interested in the maybe history he and Rennie had...

There weren't swoons in the conventional way, but there were some moments where I gasped at what was happening.  But, as River Song says, spoilers.

Secondary Characters:

Max: Editor of the town newspaper and Rennie's sort of boss.  He's a Morrisville transplant and definitely gives off the vibe of "big, bad city guy".  But, under all of that gruff exterior, there's a bit of a gooey inside. His exchanges with Rennie are interesting.  His respect for her writing shows and sometimes it felt like there was a sort of father/daughter relationship, but it was the mood swings and erratic behavior that kept me curious.

The Rest of the Town: There's quite a mix of people in the small town of Morrisville and while we only got snippets of most of them, there are a few that I should have added to this.  However, I don't want to spoil anything, I want you to experience them for yourself and trust no one. Perhaps you'll be able to pick out the killer. ;)

Plot & Pacing:

Well, it doesn't get any faster than starting the book out with having the MC find a dead body. This book is fast paced from the get go.  There were several components happening all at the same time.  Not only is it a whodunnit, but there's a real exploration of different types of relationships that made for some interesting scenes.  There were some definite twists that I didn't see coming.  I spent the entire book thinking I knew who was behind all of it and I was way way off.

Rec It?

Absolutely. If you're looking for a fun murder/mystery with a sharp, trouble finding heroine and a smoldering, but straight laced sheriff, this one is for you.


And now for the interview!

1. Where did the idea for Bitter Pill come from?

A couple of different places, actually. It's the only one of my books where a dream played a role. I woke up from a nap one day with the phrase "Pharmacists know all of our dirty secrets" running through my head. Then I had to figure out what that meant, in terms of a story.

But the idea for Rennie's personal life and her decision to go back home actually came from an incident in my newlywed days. My brand-new husband and I were arguing, likely over something stupid, like who emptied the dishwasher last, and I wanted nothing more than to walk out the door in a grand dramatic exit and slam the door after me. (No worries; the husband and I have been married form almost 15 years now!)

But I realized then, for the first time, that there wasn't a place for me to go. Once you're married, you've kind of tossed your lot in with someone else' matter how infrequently they unload the dishwasher. :)

So I gave that place to Rennie and tried to figure out what one does when one's life implodes, as hers had.

By the time my husband tracked me down in the downstairs family room, I was in full note-taking mode and not angry anymore! :D

2. What do you love most about Rennie and Jake and why should we root for them?

Jake Bristol is one of the most honorable men/characters I've ever written, I think. I both love and hate him for that. I want him to give in to temptation, but I know, as Rennie does, that it might change who he is, if he does. He's a total white hat but so very human and trapped in a bad marriage. To me, it was interesting to see which side of him would win out.

He needs Rennie because she is someone who sees him for who is is as a person, rather that a status symbol. And her wholehearted belief in his goodness/honor (vs. her lying, cheating ex) is what draws him to her and also makes things complicated. We all want someone who believes the best of us, you know? But if he follows through, then will Rennie see him as that good man? Will he be able to believe it himself?

Rennie is, I hope, one of those complicated people. She knows exactly how awful it is to have someone you love betray you with another person, and yet, she's dancing on the edge of being "the other person" and playing a role in the destruction of someone else's marriage. She's trying to figure out who she is and what she's capable of (good and bad). She's been battered and tossed around by her circumstances, and she has to figure out whether she's going to rise above and be the person who is worthy of Bristol, even if that means, rather contradictorily, that she can't have him.

You should root for them because they are two people who belong together. :) What remains to be seen is whether the world will cooperate with that idea.

3. What was the weirdest thing you googled while researching? 

I don't know that I googled anything all that strange, but I had a very detailed and awkward conversation with a lovely and obliging pharmacist about what kind of pills could be used to drug someone without their knowledge and how that might happen. It was one of those moments where I was pretty sure the phrase, "I promise, Officer, it's research for a book," was going to become very relevant to my life.

4. What was your favorite part about writing this book?

I loved writing this book. I cackled with glee every night when I settled in to write. It is almost an homage to all the mystery novels I loved as a kid (Rennie is my grown-up version of Nancy Drew) and I was writing it just for me, just for fun. I loved sticking Rennie in situations and then watching everything go wrong.

5. Describe Bitter Pill in 5 words.

A funny, small town mystery.

Speed [ish] round:

1. You get the call/email/letter that says you're being published for the first time. What happens next?

Does "shriek in disbelief and sheer joy" count as an action? :) Because that's exactly what happened.

2. What three things would you take to a desert island?

Short of a helicopter, an experienced pilot and a book to read on the flight of the island? I'd have to say sunblock, an iPad (with an endless battery and internet access) and an inflated air mattress. Sand makes me itchy.

3. You can only read one book for the rest of your life. What is it?

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

4. What are you reading right now?

Parasite by Mira Grant


Huge thanks to Samantha at CLP for providing the review copy and to Stacey for taking the time to answer my questions!  Make sure you're following her on Twitter, liking her Facebook page, subscribing to her blog and adding all of her books on your GoodReads shelves. 


If you head over to the CLP Blog tour page and leave a comment, you'll be entered to win all sorts of goodies.  You can also check out all of the other tour stops!

The time it was seven swans-a-swimming

Swans? WITAF is going on with these gifts? Anyways, here we are for day seven of the 12 Days of Christmas giveaway!

Today we have one of my favorite ladies visiting and sharing a lovely Christmas memory.  Everyone welcome Susan Dennard, AKA SOOZ to the blog!

One of my favorite Christmas memories is from when my husband and I first started dating (back in ye olde 2007). We'd been friends for a few months, but he hadn't yet "made a move". And oh, I liked him so much! And I thought it was pretty clear he liked me back...especially after Thanksgiving when he appeared at my house for our regular Friday night hangout. But THIS time, he had a giant gift in tow.

Basically, he'd made me an Advent calendar: 25 individual wrapped presents that were attached to a long bit of string. The string was meant to be hung across my living room wall, and the gifts had numbers penciled onto the wrapping paper. Each morning, I would scramble out of bed, search for that day's gift, and rip it open...From chocolates to Legos (yes, I still love Legos) to TICKETS TO THE NUTCRACKER, the gifts were varied and thoughtful. Honestly, it was SO ROMANTIC. Certainly, the boy liked me, right?

Well, that year's Christmas reached it's epic awesomeness when we finally used those aforementioned tickets to the Nutcracker a few weeks into December. During the "Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy" my not-yet-husband held my hand! Gasp! I thought I would die. And then a few hours later, once we were back at my house, he asked if he could kiss me, and my only response was, "Finally." ;)

So there you have it: one of my favorite Christmas memories of all time.


Huge thanks to Sooz for taking the time! Make sure you're following her on Twitter, liking her Facebook page, subscribing to her blog and adding all of her books on your GoodReads shelves.

And now for the giveaway!!

The year is 1876, and there’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.
Perfect for readers Libba Bray’s The Diviners and Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Angel series, this spellbinding sequel to Something Strange and Deadly delivers a mix of intrigue, supernatural forces, intense romance, and revenge, all set against the enchanting backdrop of nineteenth-century Paris.

With her brother dead and her mother insane, Eleanor Fitt is alone. Even the Spirit-Hunters—Joseph, Jie, and the handsome Daniel—have fled to Paris. So when Eleanor hears the vicious barking of hounds and see haunting yellow eyes, she fears that the Dead, and the necromancer Marcus, are after her.

To escape, Eleanor boards a steamer bound for France. There she meets Oliver, a young man who claims to have known her brother. But Oliver harbors a dangerous secret involving necromancy and black magic that entices Eleanor beyond words. If she can resist him, she’ll be fine.

But when she arrives in Paris, she finds that the Dead have taken over, and there’s a whole new evil lurking. And she is forced to make a deadly decision that will go against everything the Spirit-Hunters stand for.
In Paris, there’s a price for this darkness strange and lovely, and it may have Eleanor paying with her life.
That's right.  Up for grabs is a paperback copy of Something Strange and Deadly and a hardcover copy of A Darkness Strange and Lovely. Rules for the giveaway are under "terms and conditions" on the Rafflecopter widget. The books will be coming from The Book Depository and this contest is international!

**Good Luck!!**
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Thursday, December 19, 2013

The time it was six geese-a-laying

So now we're adding geese to our bird sanctuary? Wow.  Well, here we are for day six of the 12 Days of Christmas giveaway.  We're officially halfway through this!

Today we have the ever so lovely Amy Plum on the blog, sharing a Christmas memory.  Let's welcome her, shall we?

My dad hated Christmas. When I was around nine years old, he decided that we would receive the Christmas presents we asked for, but after opening them, had to give them to a "poor family," as he put it. So, we opened our presents and then piled into the car and drove to the "bad part of town" (again, my dad's words) and met a family that our church must have set my dad up with.

We gave them a box of food, and then my sister and I had to hand over our Christmas presents. I did what Dad expected without complaining (even at that age, I knew he was crazy). But my sister had a meltdown when she had to hand over the Barbie doll that she had been asking Santa for for ages. She just stood there and cried and wouldn't let go of it, and the little girl she was supposed to be giving it to looked even more upset than she was (probably at being forced to go through this farce in front of strangers).

Needless to say, that was the last Christmas my dad tried that experiment. And I don't think my sister ever forgot it. One of the Christmas presents she gave to her own daughter when she was old enough: a whole load of Barbie dolls.


Huge thanks to Amy for taking the time! Make sure you're following her on Twitter, liking her Facebook page, subscribing to her blog and adding all of her books on your GoodReads shelves.

And now for the giveaway!

In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity.

When Kate Mercier's parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life--and memories--behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.

Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate's guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he's a revenant--an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.
That's right.  Up for grabs is a signed paperback copy of Die For Me. Rules for the giveaway are under "terms and conditions" on the Rafflecopter widget, this contest is international!

**Good Luck!!** 
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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The time it was five gold rings

Finally.  A gift that I can get behind! Here we are for day five of the 12 Days of Christmas giveaway!

Today we have the lovely Tamara Ireland Stone joining us.  Let's welcome her, yes?

When I was 9 years old I decided it would be fun to try to find my Christmas presents. I spent the whole month sneaking around, peeking under beds and checking the dark corners of my mom's closet. Finally, about a week before Christmas, I found the loot. It was all tucked into place on a high shelf in the hall closet, carefully hidden behind folded towels and blankets. I had to use a ladder to see everything. Bonanza. It was all there. I was elated.

Then came Christmas morning. To quote one of my favorite movies, I had an overwhelming sense of ickiness. As I opened each gift, I couldn't help but notice the looks on my parents' faces. They were waiting for me to light up with surprise and delight, and as hard as I tried I couldn't fake it. I got about three presents in before I broke down into tears. I told them everything. Of course, my mom gave me a big hug and hold me not work worry about it, but it didn't help. I'd ruined their Christmas and mine.

Since then, I've never wanted to know anything about my gifts. What can I say? I like surprises.


Huge thanks to Tamara for taking the time to do this!! Make sure you're following her on Twitter, liking her Facebook page, subscribing to her blog and adding all of her books on your GoodReads shelves.

And now the giveaway!

Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet: she lives in 1995 Chicago and he lives in 2012 San Francisco. But Bennett has the unique ability to travel through time and space, which brings him into Anna’s life, and with him a new world of adventure and possibility.

As their relationship deepens, the two face the reality that time may knock Bennett back to where he belongs, even as a devastating crisis throws everything they believe into question. Against a ticking clock, Anna and Bennett are forced to ask themselves how far they can push the bounds of fate, what consequences they can bear in order to stay together, and whether their love can stand the test of time.

Fresh, exciting, and deeply romantic, Time Between Us is a stunning, spellbinding debut from an extraordinary new voice in YA fiction.
Calling Anna and Bennett’s romance long distance is an understatement: she’s from 1995 Chicago and he’s a time traveler from 2012 San Francisco. The two of them never should have met, but they did. They fell in love, even though they knew they shouldn't. And they found a way to stay together, against all odds.

It’s not a perfect arrangement, though, with Bennett unable to stay in the past for more than brief visits, skipping out on big chunks of his present in order to be with Anna in hers. They each are confident that they’ll find a way to make things work...until Bennett witnesses a single event he never should have seen (and certainly never expected to). Will the decisions he makes from that point on cement a future he doesn't want?

Told from Bennett’s point of view, Time After Time will satisfy readers looking for a fresh, exciting, and beautifully-written love story, both those who are eager to find out what’s next for Time Between Us's Anna and Bennett and those discovering their story for the first time.
That's right, I have signed paperback copies of Time Between Us and Time After Time up for grabs. And they're the extra pretty UK copies. A second winner will receive a signed paperback of Time Between Us. Rules for the giveaway are under "terms and conditions" on the Rafflecopter widget, this contest is international! Oh, and don't forget that Bennett is mine, I have proof.

**Good Luck!!** 
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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The time it was four colly birds

Colly birds? Really? I always thought it was calling birds.  Hmmm.  Well, here we are for day four of the 12 Days of Christmas giveaway!!

When I had this idea, I first went to my giveaway stack to see what I had that I wanted to giveaway.  Then I made a list of authors that I wanted to contact.  I knew that not everyone was going to have the time to send me something, but out of the 12, only 3 people either said they couldn't, or didn't respond to my email.  Which I completely understand, this time of year coupled with any deadlines makes for some tricky timing. 

Today's giveaway is one of those that doesn't have a special story to go with it.  However, they're some amazing books.  Up for grabs....

The critically acclaimed, bestselling novel from Gayle Forman, author of Where She Went, Just One Day, and the forthcoming Just One Year.

On a day that started like any other,

Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, admiring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. In an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the only decision she has left. It is the most important decision she'll ever make.

Simultaneously tragic and hopeful, this is a romantic, riveting, and ultimately uplifting story about memory, music, living, dying, loving.
It's been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future-and each other.

Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.
I have signed, paperback copies of If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman. Rules for the giveaway are under "terms and conditions" on the Rafflecopter widget, this contest is international!

**Good Luck!!** 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 16, 2013

The time it was three french hens

Three french hens.  Really? It's starting to become quite the bird sanctuary.  Day three of the 12 Days of Christmas is here!!

Today the amazing Cristin Terrill is here to share a funny Christmas story that involves pie.  Let's welcome her, yes?

Around Thanksgiving, a friend gave my grandmother a cherry pie. My grandmother -- who, incidentally, had terrible eyesight -- was a very meticulous woman, and so she immediately wrapped the pie up in paper towels, put it in a Ziploc, and placed it in the freezer.  She eventually forced my uncle to take the pie home. He kept it in his freezer for a while but finally convinced my dad to take it off his hands because he was trying to give up sugar and didn't want the temptation.

My dad put it in HIS freezer, and it stayed there until we were on our way to a Christmas party with my stepmother's family and realized we didn't have anything to bring with us. Then we remembered, the pie! We took it out of the freezer and took it to my step-aunt's house where she sat it on the counter to thaw. When it was still rock-hard several hours later, we unwrapped the paper-toweled, Ziploc-ed pied and discovered it was made of porcelain.

My grandmother's friend had given it to her as an early Christmas present to go with the many porcelain fruits she used to decorate her kitchen. It has been passed around the family for over a month, and we never knew. It was very disappointing, because we were all looking forward to finally eating the thing!


Huge thanks to Cristin for taking the time to share this hilarious story! Make sure you're following her on Twitter, liking her Facebook page, subscribing to her blog and adding all of her books on your GoodReads shelves.

And now the giveaway!

"You have to kill him." Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.

Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was.

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

Up for grabs is one hardcover copy of All Our Yesterdays. Book will be coming from The Book Depository. Rules for the giveaway are under "terms and conditions" on the Rafflecopter widget, this contest is international!

**Good Luck!!**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The time it was two turtle doves

What is someone supposed to do with turtle doves, let alone two of them? Anyhoo. Here we are for day two of the 12 Days of Christmas giveaway!

Today we have the awesomesauce Gretchen McNeil sharing an early Christmas memory.  Let's all welcome her!

"Santa Didn't Come"

I don't remember much about 1978. I don't remember Roman Polanski skipping bail and fleeing to France. I don't remember porn magnate Larry Flynt getting shot. I don't remember who won the Oscar for Best Picture (apparently, Annie Hall) and I don't remember who won the SuperBowl (apparently, the Cowboys). I don't remember Pete Rose getting his 3,000th hit, or the first Unabomber attack, or the death of not one bu two Popes, or the birth of the first test tube baby, the assassinations of Harvey Milk and George Moscone, or the horrific mass murder-suicide at Jonestown.

What I do remember, quite clearly in fact, is waking up on Christmas morning, 1978 with the panicked knowledge that Santa didn't come.

In fairness, I was three-years old.

My poor mother -- a single mom, by then -- was awakened at 5am by a semi-hysterical daughter who'd climbed out of her crib and run sobbing into her mom's room.

"What's wrong, Bunny Rabbit?" my mom asked, still trying to wake up.

"Santa didn't come," I sniffled.

I don't remember distinctly, but there's a good chance my mom rolled her eyes in the darkness.

"Are you sure?" she asked, soothingly.


She climbed out of bed and took me by the hand. "Let's go check."

Instead of heading for the Christmas tree in the living room, she led me back into my room. Lo and behold, Santa had left a brand new hobby horse wrapped in a ginormous bow leaning LITERALLY against my crib. How I'd managed to miss that as I climbed out is beyond me.

Clearly, I'd been having a nightmare that Santa had skipped our house that year. Perhaps it was my toddler subconscious interpreting the financial hard times we were going through, or perhaps it was just that age-old fear that you'd wake up on Christmas morning with coal in your stocking and a note from Santa detailing your naughty transgressions throughout the year. Either way, I was convinced that Santa hadn't come, and the joy that washed over me at seeing that damn hobby horse was immense.

The tree was no less joy-inspiring. Presents and goodies and treats galore, including the most prized gift of the day: Baby Come Back (she'd toddle away, turns, and comes back to you). Yes, that's three-year-old me opening said doll.

I'd like to point out that my mom and I still have some of those ornaments on our respective 2013 Christmas trees.

I had an amazing childhood. Despite a deadbeat dad and bank accounts that were never as full as those of my friends, I had love in abundance. My mom used to tell me, "Santa will always come as long as someone loves you."

And he always did.


Huge thanks to Gretchen for sharing this story and that photo!! Make sure you're following her on Twitter, liking her Facebook page, subscribing to her blog and adding all of her books on your GoodReads shelves.

And now for the giveaway!!

Rule #1: Do not show fear.
Rule #2: Do not show pity.
Rule #3: Do not engage.
Rule #4: Do not let your guard down.
Rule #5: They lie.

Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone: by her mom, by the cute son of a local police sergeant, and by the eerie voices she can suddenly and inexplicably hear. Unfortunately for Bridget, it turns out the voices are demons – and Bridget has the rare ability to banish them back to whatever hell they came from.

Terrified to tell people about her new power, Bridget confides in a local priest who enlists her help in increasingly dangerous cases of demonic possession. But just as she is starting to come to terms with her new power, Bridget receives a startling message from one of the demons. Now Bridget must unlock the secret to the demons' plan before someone close to her winds up dead – or worse, the human vessel of a demon king.
Don't spread the word!
Three-day weekend. Party at White Rock House on Henry Island.
You do NOT want to miss it.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?
 That's right.  I have signed, paperback copies of Possess and Ten. Rules for the giveaway are under "terms and conditions" on the Rafflecopter widget, this contest is international!

**Good Luck!!** 

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