Saturday, April 30, 2011

In My Mailbox

It was another week of unexpected goodness! And though I know he looks annoyed in some of the pictures, Toby was actually fighting off sleep. I woke up him in the middle of his snoring, kicking, totally passed out good times for these pictures. He promptly went back to sleep once I was done with him...

For Review:
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake (Already read- ADORE this one)
Lover Story by Jennifer Echols
The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Feagan
Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready
I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan
The Magnolia League by Katie Crouch
Bitter End by Jennifer Brown
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Moonglass by Jessi Kirby (Already read- fantastic book!)
Sorta Like a Rockstar by Matthew Quick
(Huge thanks to Kendare Blake, Jennifer Echols, Trinity Feagen, Simon & Schuster, Little Brown, and Walker UK!)

 Gift from Kirsten Hubbard:
Like Mandarin, signed with jackalope drawing (One of my favorite books ever!)

Defiance by Lili St. Crow
Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz (Looooove this one)
City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

Won from Princess Bookie:
Off Kilter by Donna Kauffman
Your Life, but Cooler by Crystal Velasquez

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Contest: Last Snow by Eric Van Lustbader

Every now and then, I branch out of YA into adult and one author who I seriously adore is Eric Van Lustbader. Last year, I reviewed his thrillers First Daughter and Last Snow, both of which are fantastic! Well now Last Snow is hitting paperback, and I'm giving a copy of it away!

If you want to check out my review, you can here.

To enter, just fill out THIS form!

Contest is US/Canada only, and ends May 12.

And be sure to check out the next book in this set, Blood Trust, hitting shelves May 10!

Last Snow summary:  The electrifying follow-up to the New York Times bestselling Jack McClure thriller First Daughter

Jack McClure, Special Advisor and closest friend to the new President of the United States, interprets the world very differently from the rest of us. It’s his greatest liability, and his greatest asset.

An American senator, supposedly on a political trip to the Ukraine, turns up dead on the island of Capri. When the President asks him to find out how and why, Jack sets out from Moscow across Eastern Europe, following a perilous trail of diplomats, criminals, and corrupt politicians. Thrust into the midst of a global jigsaw puzzle, Jack’s unique dyslexic mind allows him to put together the pieces that others can’t even see.

Still unreconciled to the recent death of his daughter and the dissolution of his marriage, Jack takes on a personal mission along with his official one: keeping safe from harm his two unlikely, unexpected, and incompatible companions—Annika Dementieva, a rogue Russian FSB agent, and Alli Carson, the President’s daughter. As he struggles to keep both young women safe and unearth the answers he seeks, hunted by everyone from the Russian mafia to the Ukrainian police to his own NSA, Jack learns just how far up the American and Russian political ladders corruption and treachery has reached.

In the vein of Eric Van Lustbader’s latest bestselling Jason Bourne novels, Lustbader takes us on an international adventure in this powerful page-turner that will keep you reading through the night.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mini Reviews: Anna Dressed in Blood and Imaginary Girls

Well, it's that time again. Gushing mini reviews for some upcoming books that I'm holding on to the full reviews for till closer to their releases. I love both of these books so freaking much it's possibly bordering on creepy. But they are just that amazing. Trust me.

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake: This book is freaking AMAZING. A top book of 2011 easily, and definitely a top ten ever kind of book. The worldbuilding is SO well done, and so smooth that you don’t even know it’s happening. The story itself is just so brilliant. Completely intricate and unpredictable and nonstop, and beautifully put together and both creepy and emotional and just absolutely amazing. I seriously love Cas.I want him. He's now in my Boy Closet and claimed. He’s such a great lead, both as a character and romantically. He doesn’t come off as being written just to make girls swoon and yet, I fell hard for him. It’s a gradual fall though, happening before I even realized it. His character is so well put together, so fleshed out, just so fantastically done. And the writing is astounding, full of voice but still poignant and easy to read. The descriptions create everything vividly and perfectly while still letting the reader fill details in and it’s just… amazing. And Kendare actually uses the word kerfuffle. You have no idea how much more I love her for that. This is one that made me incoherent with my love of it, and unable to handle just how completely awesome and phenomenal this book is. Everyone needs to read it, whether they are big on ghosts or not. I cannot get over my love (obsession) with this book.

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma: I'm not sure there are enough words to describe what this book did to me, how I felt about it, how it captivated me and entranced me. Oh, there you go. Those words. Because Imaginary Girls is just astounding. From the mystery that makes no sense until it's revealed and then everything clicks and yet you're left with this feeling of oh my god did that just happen to the phenomenal characterization and intricacies that are so deep into this book that I don't think I even really got half of them... it's just brilliant and basically perfect for me. Dark at times, comedic relief at others... pulling in it's own mythologies and motivations and explanations... a very strong contemporary component mixed with just enough supernatural to hit hard on both fronts... and absolutely stunning and exquisite writing. It pulls you in from the start, fires the characters to life, and pulls the reader in. I practically felt like the writing and emotional atmosphere of this was pulling me into it's arms and cradling me, never letting go the whole time. It's... amazing. And blew my mind. And left me astounded and flabbergasted  and incoherent. Get this one. Devour it. Love it.

Character Interview with Zan and Joy (Back When You Were Easier to Love)

Here today is Zan and Joy, the central characters in Emily Wing Smith's Back When You Were Easier to Love. But for this interview, they're both answering the same set of questions, so check out their answers!

You're dropped inside King Henry's court! What's the first thing you do? 

Zan: Reorganize leadership

Joy: Take the grand tour

If you were a demigod, what god/goddess would be your parent? 

Zan: Zeus

Joy: Athena

What is the one book you recommend to anyone you can? 

Zan: Howl and Other Poems, Allen Ginsberg

Joy:  Madame Bovary

Boxers or briefs? 

Zan: Commando

Joy: Panties of the non-skank variety

What kind of cake would you describe yourself as? 

Zan: Boston cream pie

Joy:  Funfetti

Thank you, Zan and Joy, for those fun and interesting answers.

Now make sure you guys all check out Back When You Were Easier to Love, out this week!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Do You iClue?

Have you guys heard about iClue? No? Click here to read all about it. Trust us when we say you will NOT want to miss out on the chance to win an iPod Touch loaded with 6 amazing mysteries!

Lisa and Laura Roecker posted Part #1 of their mystery based on the hilarious Seth Allen from their novel, The Liar Society. Click here to check it out. Yesterday they visited the Mundie Moms to continue their tale AND post a super secret clue. Click here to read Part #2.

Today we're posting Part #3 of Seth and The Secret Admirer AND another super secret clue that will help you puzzle out the mystery so you can enter to win the grande prize.

Drum roll please....

Right. So apparently my secret admirer was into riddles. Not gonna lie, that's kind of a turn on for a guy who's been known to spend entire weekends trying to break a code created by someone named ConspiracyLuvR. I looked at the clock on my phone, only 10 minutes till midnight if I was going to get there in time I had to get going. I peeked my head out into the hallway, the house was silent and dark. My parents had a strict 9 PM bedtime routine and I could hear my dad snoring loudly behind the closed door of their room. It was now or never.

I fired up my mom's minivan and crossed my fingers that the sound machine in my parents' room would drown out the noise of the garage door opening. My stomach grumbled as I pulled out of the driveway. All this stress was making me hungry. Thank God my mom kept snacks for me in the car. I grabbed a package of Oreos and stuffed a few in my mouth. By the time I pulled up to the school I had finished half the package and it felt a little like all the cookies had congealed together in a giant cookie cannonball in my stomach. Not. Good.

The clock on the car radio read 11:58 PM. I threw open the car door and made my way through the shadowed gardens to the arches. Out of nowhere two hands flew around my eyes.

"Guess who?" The voice sing songed softly while someone else slipped a worn piece of paper into my clammy hands.

Honestly, I couldn't even imagine.

But when I opened my eyes and saw three girls staring back at me, I knew this was going to be more complicated than I ever could have imagined. Good thing the note had a clue...

The Reading Room will post the final clue tomorrow. Happy sleuthing! 

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.

This week's pick is Lie by Caroline Bock, coming August 30 from St. Martin's Griffin.

Summary: A gripping and incredibly important story about a tight-knit town torn apart by a vicious hate crime.  
Everybody knows, nobody’s talking… Seventeen year-old Skylar Thompson is being questioned by the police.  Her boyfriend Jimmy stands accused of brutally assaulting two young El Salvadoran immigrants from a neighboring town, and she's the prime witness.  Skylar is keeping quiet about what she's seen, but how long can she keep it up?  Jimmy was her savior.  When her mother died, he was the only person who made her feel safe, protected from the world.  But when she begins to appreciate the enormity of what has happened, especially when Carlos Cortez, the victim's brother, steps up to demand justice, she starts to have second thoughts about protecting him.  Jimmy's accomplice, Sean, is facing his own moral quandary. He's out on bail and has been offered a plea in exchange for testifying against Jimmy.  Sean must decide whether or not to turn on his friend in order to save himself.  But most importantly, both must figure out why they followed someone like Jimmy—someone who bullied people and advocated violence against others—in the first place.   

My Thoughts: I really love that this one is set against a hate crime in a small town, yet has so many more layers and aspects to it. From the different personal sides to the overall interwoven story, this one just sounds absolutely stunning and gripping. I want to know more about Jimmy, why he is like he is and if he can realize the horrors of it. I want to know what Sean chooses and why. I want to see what Skylar goes through, and I think her struggle especially, watching Jimmy go through all this and seeing the good in him overlapping all the rest will just be absolutely poignant. And this cover is so simple, almost innocent, yet the font itself hints at the darker, rougher stuff. The two have a nice back and forth, and it makes me wonder more about this girl staring down, and what kind of things she's endured.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Book Review: Moonglass by Jessi Kirby


When Anna was little, she and her mother used to search for sea glass, but since they looked at night, they called it moonglass. Now, ten years after her mother's mysterious death, her father is working as head lifeguard on the same beach where her mother grew up and her parents first met and fell in love.

Reluctant to get close to anyone (including her father) and not pleased about having to start at a new school, Anna begins to spend more time alone, running the length of the beach and wondering about who her mother really was. After meeting a lifeguard named Tyler, she slowly lets her guard down and together they start exploring the abandoned houses that dot the beach.

But when learning more about her mother's past leads to a painful discovery, Anna must reconcile her desire for solitude with ultimately accepting the love of her family and friends.


The Short Version:
Beautifully emotional and vivid in setting, Moonglass is a story of secrets, romance, and forgiveness. With a sympathetic but still sometimes frustrating protagonist, a cocky but sweet lifeguard love interest, and an interesting dynamic between father and daughter, the characters play a strong and well defined role throughout. A well paced plot, shifting between mystery and character growth, and fluid, gorgeous writing make this one a brilliant, stunning, and intense yet rewarding debut.

The Extended Version:
Anna is disgruntled at the start, frustrated about moving and having a rough time connecting with her father. This creates a different kind of bond with the reader, blending both frustration and affection. Likely able to sympathize with the distance between Anna and her father, readers will gravitate towards her while still wondering about the dad’s side of things. Rebellious in some ways, and obedient in others, Anna is a very realistic teen, and though she’s certainly got her pool of issues to wade through, she isn’t purely angst or sorrow. From sweet to intelligent and perceptive, Anna shows a range of sides and emotions, each one well cued and explained.

Tyler seems sure of himself and arrogant at first, but that side quickly fades into a caring, genuinely kind boy that makes for a fantastic and completely swoonworthy love interest. The reasons Anna is attracted to him are clear, far beyond his physical appearance, and their banter keeps things lively and fun. Despite his lighthearted nature, Tyler knows when to be serious, when to be there for Anna, and when she needs nothing more than a hug or a laugh. Their relationship grows in such a steady, believable way, and the impact they had on each other for the better is clear.

From other lifeguards who range in personality types to new friends at school, Anna encounters plenty of people that bring out different elements of her. Even her father shows different sides amongst the different crowds, from the way the lifeguards who he manages view him to family friends. The new girl element is present, without being a crutch, and Kirby has done a beautiful job of bringing on a rather large cast of characters in a way that isn’t confusing or too much at once.

Though there is the romantic element, it definitely is not a focus nor does it take away from the bigger issues and points of the book. The back and forth between Anna and her dad, from misunderstandings to miscommunicating completely creates a fragile but real air, and is most definitely something any girl can likely relate to. Their need for each other is clear, and yet they’ve been through so much it’s also obvious why there’s distance now. This, combined with a growing mystery about not only where they are living but things related to Anna’s mom create a unique and powerful emotional atmosphere that grabs the reader and doesn’t let go.

The plot moves at a very steady pace, with something always happening to keep the reader intrigued. The huge role that moonglass itself plays in this book is well thought out and a fantastic element, giving life and ties to Anna’s mother while still being something fresh as well. Hints of mermaid mythology are also infused in a smooth manner, bringing up questions and providing explanations, while still staying true to the contemporary style.

Kirby’s writing is beautiful, and rapt with very vivid descriptions that certainly draw in the reader’s senses without being overbearing, overdone, or verbose. From the misty saltwater air to the cool nights and sand in your tours, Kirby brings the setting to life as strongly as she does Anna and the other characters. Infused with intensity and emotion, Kirby creates some very breathtaking and heartwrenching scenes, while still keeping things very true to Anna’s mentality and voice.

The characters are the strongest point in this book, each one uniquely developed and created, and all well fleshed and very clearly multidimensional, and Kirby’s inherent writing skills are showcased perfectly. She doesn’t only rely on her characters, however, and has a fantastic storyline to back it up, and powerful writing to round it out. Across the board, Moonglass is a must read and holds plenty of elements for many different readers to find something to adore about it.

Source: ARC received from author/publisher in exchange for an honest review
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Publication Date: May 3, 2011

Cover Reveal + Contest: Don't Breathe A Word by Holly Cupala

I have the privilege today to bring you guys the full reveal for the gorgeous cover of Holly Cupala's upcoming release Don't Breathe A Word! Before we get to the summary and giveaway info, since I know what you're here for, I'll just get right to it:

Okay so are you as in love with this cover as I am??? Definitely catchy and one that I would snatch off the shelf! I seriously LOVE the yellow on it too, totally stand out without being overkill. Now to just get the book....

And here's the summary, in case you haven't seen it yet!
Joy Delamere is suffocating.

From asthma, which has nearly claimed her life. From her parents, who will do anything to keep that from happening. From delectably dangerous Asher, who is smothering her from the inside out.

Joy can take his words—tender words, cruel words—until the night they go too far.

Now, Joy will leave everything behind to find the one who has offered his help, a homeless boy called Creed. She will become someone else. She will learn to survive. She will breathe…if only she can get to Creed before it’s too late.

Set against the gritty backdrop of Seattle’s streets and a cast of characters with secrets of their own, Holly Cupala’s powerful new novel explores the subtleties of abuse, the meaning of love, and how far a girl will go to discover her own strength.

But since the book isn't available yet, as much as I am seriously dying for it, Holly is instead bringing you guys the chance to win 1 of 3 copies of her 2010 debut release Tell Me A Secret. Trust me, if you haven't read this one, you want to. It's fabulous and emotional and completely amazing. All you have to do to enter is comment on any one of the cover reveal posts (like mine!).

There is one entry per person per post, so if you comment on them all, you get 11 entries! The contest IS international, just be sure to leave your email so we can contact you! All comments received by 11:59 pm tonight on all 11 blogs will be counted.

Puzzle Piece Teasers from Monday:

Character Interview: Colin from Overprotected

Here today is Colin, childhood enemy turned protector for Ashlynn from Jennifer Laurens' Overprotected!

What memory with Ashlyn from childhood stands out the most to you? 

There are so many.We grew up down in the same neighborhood. Probably the times we spent in the pool at my house. She was so fun to tease. I couldn't resist throwing her in and pretending I was an alligator.

What was your first thought when hired to be Ashlyn's body guard? 

That Charles was off his rocker. I mean the man no disrespect, he's a genius lawyer. But, his ideas about parenting are totally skewed. Still, I needed a job, and the timing was right on, so I thought, ' what the hell'. I'd always liked the Adairs. And, Charles said it'd be pretty low key. I was blown away by how...weird it all really was at the townhouse though, I'm not going to lie.

Describe what it's like to kiss Ashlyn. 

You're seriously asking me that? I...don't know what to say to that question. It's personal.

What's your favorite thing about Ashlyn? Least favorite? 

She's genuine. I don't have a least favorite thing about her except that she doesn't give herself enough credit for what she does and how strong she is.

Boxers or briefs? 

Oh maaaan. Boxers.

What kind of cake would you describe yourself as?

(laugh) who thinks up these questions??? Cake...yellow with chocolate frosting.

 Thank you, Colin, for sharing those answers! Now I'll let you get back to... kissing... Ashlynn!

And make sure you guys check out Overprotected and meet Colin for yourself, out this week!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Author Interview: Brent Hartinger

Popping in today is Brent Hartinger, author of Shadow Walkers!

You're trapped in a horror movie with your characters! What happens, and does anyone die?

What would be interesting would be if I was the killer. After all, I’m the guy who made all these horrible things happen to them in my book Shadow Walkers, so it kinda makes sense.

The thing is, Zach and Emory are both really smart, so I suspect they’d end up taking me. Probably some cool show-down on a boat where I end up ground up by the boat’s propeller. Yikes!

If Zach could plan his perfect first day, how would it play out (even outside of the confines of his specific world)?

It’s not about the “where,” it’s about the “who.” He’d spend it with Emory, some place light and open and airy: a picnic in a beautiful garden on a sunny afternoon, or perhaps on a hillside looking out over the world.

If you could pair Zach and Emory with any character from any book, what would be your pick for each?

What?! You’re asking me to split them up? Nooooo!

As friends, Zach and Emory would definitely get along great with Russel, Min, Gunnar, and Em from my “Russel Middlebrook” series.

And frankly, I think they have a lot in common with Sam and Frodo from The Lord of the Rings too.

If you were a demigod, what god/goddess would be your parent?

Apollo, god of poetry, and Eirene, goddess of peace. (Truthfully, there might also be some DNA from Deimos, god of fear and dread, thrown in there too!)

What kind of cookie would you describe yourself as?

Nothing fancy, but not your usual chocolate chip: a snicker doodle with just the right amount of cinnamon. But I don’t crumble under pressure.

Thank you, Brent, for those fantastic answers!

Make sure you guys all check out Brent's book, out now!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth


In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her.


The Short Version:
Brilliantly woven and masterfully executed, Divergent does a phenomenal job of digging deep into human nature and drives. Set in a well defined dystopian Chicago, with fantastic and smooth worldbuilding, there is an easy understanding of Beatrice’s life and what led to its current state. With strong characters, an unfiltered look at even the worst side of some, and an engaging romance, several different plot lines are weaved seamlessly to create one stunning book.

The Extended Version:
Beatrice is a very relatable character to start, unsure of herself and her place, and feeling inadequate in the setting of her family. What drives her to choose a different faction than her own is easily laid out, explained in an understandable way while still keeping the harder parts of the changeover. She is strong in unexpected ways, fluid in her ability to change, and very strong willed and intelligent. Despite the faction change, her ties to her original one remain and Roth has handled this tendency for instinct and habits in a perfect way, getting the point across of how often it comes up without making it repetitive or distracting.

Four is also an interesting character, multifaceted in ways not even seen yet. He adds to the overall air of the differences in human nature, and is an intense, sometimes rapidly shifting character. As his own part of the story unfolds, the full effect of everything with the factions begins to come to light, not always in obvious ways but still there. A mix of a product of his upbringing and his current job, and still holding on to the person he is, there are some truly poignant messages that come across through Four’s character.

The rest of the transfer initiates all have their own well defined personalities, becoming memorable and distinct from the start. As expected, some dislike Beatrice while others befriend her, holding an easy to understand and relatable note despite the setting. With a heavy focus on the initiation process for the new faction, there is a huge sense of personal change in Beatrice and everyone else. Roth has handled these changes so fantastically, making them believable and necessary rather than out of convenience.

Roth’s worldbuilding happens smoothly and is so well done. Though there is a bit of a data dump at the start, it is to be expected in an entirely new setting and there are enough ties to the modern world readers know that it’s easy to pick everything up and piece it together. From that point on, the worldbuilding happens in the background, not taking a big focus while still growing to be tremendous in nature and scope. The characters fit into this progression seamlessly, pulling the reader in as though they are right there with Beatrice throughout.

The plot is phenomenal, happening at a steady pace. While not action packed, there is enough character development and plot progression to keep the reader constantly engaged and intrigued. Roth has mastered the blend between the two, fleshing out and providing both without overdoing it on either front. As things move along, the overall brilliance of this book comes out, bit by bit, finally leading to an action packed, powerful climax. The conclusion, for the most part, ties things up directly related to the events of this book, ending at the perfect point to launch into the next installment. It isn’t an immediate drop off a cliff kind of ending, but rather holds a burning desire for more simply because of how fantastic everything is.

The writing is simplistic in nature, not wasting time with flowery descriptions or unnecessary sentences. Roth is very to the point, but it isn’t detracting in its simplicity. Beatrice’s voice and character still come through, and given the ways of the faction she was born in, it adds to her nature in a strong way. The descriptions of everything, from people to places to events, is spot on, building it for the reader and bringing it to life.

With a strong sense of preservation, and playing heavily on fear versus control, there are some big messages and revelations in this book. Beatrice’s continued loyalties to her family throw into question the basic creed of the factions, and the way the initiates are tested is twisted and almost grotesque. The progression of all this, none of which is there simply for shock value, packs some powerful punches in all the best ways. Divergent has taken some known concepts and mixed them in an entirely new way, while also adding in some new things that stand out completely. A magnificently done dystopian world blends with a well thought out, well played out, and brilliant story line to create one mind blowing debut.

Source: ARC borrowed from friend 
Reading level: Young Adult 
Hardcover: 496 pages 
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (May 3, 2011)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

In My Mailbox

I had another unexpectedly good week! Some of my contest wins showed up this week, as did an unexpected gift!

 For Review:
And Then Things Fall Apart by Arlaina Tibensky
Season of Eden by Jennifer Laurens
From Bad to Cursed by Katie Alender
Sharks & Boys by Kristen Tracy
A Kid from Southie by John Shea
We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han
We All Fall Down by Nic Sheff
Blood Trust by Eric Van Lustbader
She Loves You, She Loves You Not by Julie Anne Peters
This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Opal
The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross
(Huge thanks to Arlaina Tibenksy + Simon & Schuster, Jennifer Laurens, Katie Alender + Hyperion, Kristen Tracy + Hyperion, WestSide Books, Simon & Schuster, Little Brown, Julie Anne Peters, and Kady Cross + HarlequinTeen)

For Review from Netgalley:
 Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma (Already read- I am in awe of this book. It is completely amazing!)

Won from the March Contemps Challenge:
Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal
The Fortune of Carmen Navarro by Jen Bryant
Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
What Would My Cell Phone Do? by Micol Ostow

Gift from Holly Cupala:
Tell Me a Secret (signed)
My Not-so-Still Life
A TMAS shirt, swag, and a CD

Kiki Hamilton sent me a copy of The Faerie Ring for the upcoming blog tour, but I'm also blurbed in it! I couldn't get a good picture since my camera is crappy, but  yay!

Won from Princess Bookie's Contest Craze:
Truth & Dare Anthology
Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon

I also won a jacket proof from Michelle Hodkin for The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, along with a scene from the book which I can honestly say is fantastic and amazing and I am absolutely DYING for this book! She wrote something on the back of the proof as well as the scene, which was also just... rawr. Sorry the picture didn't come out well. The cover is SO gorgeous though, and the title is shiny! And it reflects weird from the flash. But it's pretty! And feels sexy. And I couldn't stop staring for like a day. Trust me. You want this book! Michelle also sent me a copy of Fallout by Ellen Hopkins, but I forgot to take a picture with it...

So that was my week! Definitely loving everything, and the contest stuff is always great to get in!

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Mini Reviews: A Need so Beautiful and Vanish

It's mini review time again! In which I tell you about some upcoming books that I'm still holding my full review, but want to gush about the book and get you excited for it!

A Need so Beautiful by Suzanne Young: Unique concept. Brilliant story. Fantastic execution. And one of the hottest boys ever. Yes. Ever. This one just has everything in it and is damn near flawless for this girl. I love Suzanne's writing, it's a style that just works for me for reasons I can't even explain. It's so straight and to the point, but still so vivid. And this story... okay, I didn't cry, but I know people who have and I can see why. It's just amazing, all around. It will make you think, without being ONLY a book that tears you apart and steals your mind. The romance is so sweet and so well done, and I just savored every moment Charlotte and Harlin were together. And Harlin... there are not enough words in the world to describe how hot, amazing, suave, delicious, basically salacious, this boy is. But the book isn't only about the romance, and it isn't only about what Charlotte has going on. So read it. You do not want to miss this one, at all.

Vanish by Sophie Jordan: Don't worry, this will contain no spoilers. Let's just say this one picks up shortly after Firelight ends, and throws you right into the action with all the emotion and grabbing intensity that the first book had. But this isn't one that's 'as good as' the first... it's better, in a way that doesn't automatically make the first bad, but still just makes this one shine, and gives huge promise for the third. Sophie's writing is solid, fantastic, smooth, and has a soft beauty to it that makes it just lick your brain and stays with you. The things Jacinda faces in this one have SUCH ties to our real world, and is handled so completely well, that I just couldn't NOT love it. This is a read in one sitting kind of book, leaving you wondering what's next and putting plenty of clues while still making it hard to guess things. And Will... Oh yes, my sexy man musk hunter boy is back in all his hot glory. If you loved him before, you'll freaking adore him now. But don't write off Cassian, because you will get to know that boy quite well too... and Sophie sure knows how to handle those boys! So bottom line? If you haven't picked up Firelight, do it because you want to read it, and this one.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Book Review: Compulsion by Heidi Ayarbe


Today has to be perfect.
I look at the clock.
10:14 AM.

Ten fourteen. One plus one is two plus four is six plus ten is sixteen minus one is fifteen minus two is thirteen. OK.

I turn from the clock and walk into the hallway. "Ready."

Saturday will be the third state soccer champion­ship in a row for Jake Martin. Three. A good number. Prime. With Jake on the field, Carson City High can't lose because Jake has the magic: a self-created protection generated by his obsession with prime numbers. It's the magic that has every top soccer university recruiting Jake, the magic that keeps his family safe, and the magic that suppresses his anxiety attacks. But the magic is Jake's prison, because sustaining it means his compulsions take over nearly every aspect of his life.

Jake's convinced the magic will be permanent after Saturday, the perfect day, when every prime has converged. Once the game is over, he won't have to rely on his sister to concoct excuses for his odd rituals. His dad will stop treating him like he is some freak. Maybe he'll even make a friend other than Luc.

But what if the magic doesn't stay?

What if the numbers never leave?

Acclaimed author Heidi Ayarbe has created an honest and riveting portrait of a teen struggling with obsessive compulsive disorder in this breathtaking and courageous novel.


The Short Version:
Exhausting and engaging, Compulsion gives a striking look into the mind of a teenage boy with OCD. Ayarbe has masterfully put into words something that is almost indescribable, getting across not only the mental drives but the physical reactions and the need that cannot be ignored. In addition to how fantastically Jake’s world and mindset is written, his relationship with his parents, his sister, and his best friend all play a large role and come through boldly. Raw and gritty, with a well paced and smooth plot, mixed with Ayarbe’s flawless writing, Compulsion will leave a mark and give a brilliant look into the mind of an often ignored disorder.

The Extended Version:
Take away the OCD, and Jake is a normal, kind, well meaning boy. He has his moments of idiocy, yet plenty of things outshine those. He is incredibly real, having plenty of passing thoughts and Ayarbe has given him a very strong, believable male voice that still holds a large crossover for a female readership. His horny thoughts were hilarious and real but smoothly inserted, without being overbearing or a turn off. The depth of Jake’s disorder, however, comes through more strongly than anything else, pulling the reader in and making them feel as much of an outsider as Jake does. The fear of someone finding out, and what they’ll think, is constant and understandable, pitched in a very sensitive way.

Jake’s obsession and need to understand and function with prime numbers is truly exhausting. Ayarbe often includes the way Jake sees the time, figuring out quick math equations in his head that will make the numbers equal a prime. The way he reacts when it is a prime is very different from when it isn’t, and it’s heartbreaking to see the constant, unavoidable struggle. There are some clear differences between Jake and his peers, with a wall he maintains constantly, which often made me question how different he would be if he didn’t suffer from the OCD. When no pep talk could calm him, and when his daily functioning was impaired because of the drive, it truly brought the entire thing up front. Soccer, however, is Jake’s saving grace, and the way this incorporated in was handled flawlessly and expertly.

Luc, Jake’s best friend, is an interesting counterpart, cocky and arrogant and quite the player, but even without the soccer team that unites them, there was a clear connection and underlying kinship between the two. Their home lives are very different, but they really do have each other’s back. Luc was an amusing character, as well as frustrating, but his large presence throughout the book really brought him out as a three-dimensional character. He’s jerky and flawed, but still a good person, and a product of his upbringing as much as anyone else while still trying to resist the worst of it. Not to mention, he garners some hotness points simply for being Columbian in heritage.

There is a very large internal component to this book, centered around the OCD and Jake’s determination to keep it hidden that is as large as the drive to obey the numbers. With several intense and emotional scenes, and a growing sense of foreboding, Ayarbe truly shows just how far this disorder can go to really tear a family apart and disrupt even the simplest of daily activities. Though the source of Jake’s issues are his OCD, there are some universal truths and feelings that come out, which are masterfully woven in. From being in a group but feeling alone to a closed in, lost and scared feeling, there is something everyone can relate to and understand, giving an easy bridge to understanding the feel degree of Jake’s disorder.

Add in Jake’s intense love for his little sister and their relationship, his mom’s own issues and OCD which has done some damage to their family, and a father trying to keep it together, and there is also a strong family component. Dysfunctional but still there, Ayarbe really blends Jake’s school and home worlds, along with his friends. The plot has some twists but primarily, it is focused on Jake trying to make his way through everything. The pacing is steady, giving humor at the right moments and intensity at other, each one timed perfectly. A very strong, authentic male voice, unerring grit, and a stunning writing style all pull together to make one truly compelling, emotional and beautiful book.

Source: ARC received from publisher in exchange for an honest review 
Reading level: Young Adult 
Hardcover: 304 pages 
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: May 3, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Character Interview + Contest: Tyler from Moonglass

Here today is Tyler, the hottie love interest from Jessi Kirby's fantastic debut Moonglass! Tyler is a lifeguard with a little bit different view on life, a charming personality, and plenty of laughs. And because he's such a nice guy, he's also bringing you a contest for a signed copy of the book, so stick around after his interview for that!

What was your first impression of Anna, and if you could have changed your first introduction to Anna, would you?

My first impression? That she was hot. And that she had a little sass to her, which I liked. Nah, I wouldn’t change how I met her. It was pretty perfect.

What's your favorite thing about being a lifeguard, besides playing tricks on cute girls?

Getting to spend my work day on the beach, outside in the sun. There’s not a better place.

I have to ask. What's it like kissing Anna?

Um…I don’t really know how to answer that. You got me blushing. Let’s just say it’s good. Very, very good.

Describe what skinny dipping feels like.


So... since it's obviously a very important skill to have, can you demonstrate mouth to mouth on me?

Haha. I don’t think Anna would be too happy with that. James would probably do it though.

And because girls like to know such things around here, boxers or briefs?

Neither. Make of it what you will.

Thank you, Tyler, for those great answers... and maybe the lovely mental images.

Funny story, when I wrote these interview questions, I almost added "or commando" to that last question. Guess I should have! So make sure you guys all check out Moonglass, and meet Tyler, Anna, and the rest of the gang!

But for your chance to win a signed copy with bookmarks, just fill out THIS form! 

Contest is US only, and ends April 30.

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.

This week's pick is Blood Wounds, by Susan Beth Pfeffer coming September 12 from Harcourt Children's.

Summary: Willa is lucky: She has a loving blended family that gets along. Not all families are so fortunate. But when a bloody crime takes place hundreds of miles away, it has an explosive effect on Willa’s peaceful life. The estranged father she hardly remembers has murdered his new wife and children, and is headed east toward Willa and her mother.

Under police protection, Willa discovers that her mother has harbored secrets that are threatening to boil over. Has everything Willa believed about herself been a lie? As Willa sets out to untangle the mysteries of her past, she keeps her own secret—one that has the potential to tear her family apart.

My Thoughts:  Okay, this premise? Oh my gosh amazing and intense and I want it yesterday. This gives a whole new reason for needing to be in a protection program. I want to know what the mom's secrets are. Why the dad not only killed the new family but is coming after them. I even want to know what Willa's secrets are, and how this all plays out. This is a fantastic premise, and that cover is catching and completely, utterly creepy. Honestly, I'd be a bit worried that girl would step out of the cover and knife me... and that makes it amazing. Want want want. Someone please share.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Book Review: Boyfriends with Girlfriends by Alex Sanchez


Lance has always known he was gay, but he's never had a real boyfriend. Sergio is bisexual, but his only real relationship was with a girl. When the two of them meet, they have an instant connection--but will it be enough to overcome their differences? 

Allie's been in a relationship with a guy for the last two years--but when she meets Kimiko, she can't get her out of her mind. Does this mean she's gay? Does it mean she's bi? Kimiko, falling hard for Allie, and finding it impossible to believe that a gorgeous girl like Allie would be into her, is willing to stick around and help Allie figure it out.

Boyfriends with Girlfriends is Alex Sanchez at his best, writing with a sensitive hand to portray four very real teens striving to find their places in the world--and with each other.


The Short Version:
Blending a coming of age story with LGBT issues, Boyfriends with Girlfriends gives the human side of these relationships. Centering around four teens, each with a common ground but different individual issues, this books has plenty of funny and sweet moments interspersed through the meat of things. Though jumpy in focus and rushed overall, the message is strong and clear.

The Extended Version:
Lance is a sweet guy, seemingly stereotypical as being gay at the start but proves to have great depth and an all around well fleshed out personality. Openly gay both at school and with his family, Lance is a case of having been born that way and never really known anything else. Lucky to have not endured too many hardships on account of it, Lance still wants a relationship with someone who isn't afraid to be with him. He has his own shortcomings and misgivings, but makes good strides overall. Though he's slightly hypocritical in his view that someone is either gay or straight rather than bi, despite the same view that no one is gay that is pitted against him, his honest intentions and reasons are there.

Allie is straight at the start, or so she thinks, and in a long term relationship with what seems to be a great guy. Her story is a poignant one of self discovery and trying to navigate mixed feelings, more worried about simply not knowing than actually being a lesbian. Allie was a character that is easy to relate to no matter a girl's orientation, and holds a great sympathetic element.

Sergio is cocky and sure of himself, and a strong player for being bisexual. His reasons and explanations are valid and well presented, and he has an interesting personality that flew off the pages. Though he's been hurt in the past, and certainly made his share of mistakes, the impact Lance has on him is fantastic.

Kimiko comes off, at the start, as being a clash of sterotypes: butch and Japanese, but as the story progresses, the depth and intricacies of this particular character stands out the most. Torn between what her family expects and what she wants and feels, Kimiko's struggle seems to be the most endearing and relatable. She has a great personality and a certain softness about her that lets her leave a lasting impression.

The story itself revolves around these four teens trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in with the others. Each with their own specific struggle, the overall thread is strong though admittedly a little too in your face in playout. Though their interactions were great, several other events and confrontations were too rushed and had too smooth of a resolution to fully hit on the realism note. This one felt like it was potentially trying a little too hard on the personalities and defining the characters by their orientations, and less letting them just be teenagers that are trying to figure things out.

The writing in this one made it hard for me to really connect with any of the characters. Done in third person, it skipped minds rapidly and within the same paragraph, in a way that was a little hard to follow all the time. More focused on dialogue and the exact here and now, this one felt like it lacked description to really pull me in and make me feel like I'm there. Despite this, the voices are clear and strong.

Though lacking a strong way to pull the reader in, and rushed in a few too many places, Boyfriends with Girlfriends does a great job of putting people behind the labels. Battling a few different issues, this one certainly handles most things with grace and in a sympathetic manner that won't offend, but also doesn't flinch away. Despite having four central characters, their individual personalities are fleshed out and different, allowing the reader to separate them easily.

Source: ARC received for review from author/publisher in exchange for an honest review 
Reading level: Young Adult 
Hardcover: 224 pages 
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Publication Date: April 19, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

Trailer Premiere and Release Contest: Invincible Summer

On this lovely night, just before the release of the book, I have for you guys the awesome trailer for Hannah Moskowitz's Invincible Summer! The book is out tomorrow (yes, just hours away tomorrow!), and trust me, you want this one. So without further ado.... I bring you, made by VLC Photo Productions, the trailer:

Are you as in love with it as I am? I think the voice for Chase is PERFECT, and seriously sexy! And this trailer so completely captures so much about this book.

But to make this even more special, YOU can win a copy of Invincible Summer!

All you have to do is post this trailer on your blog and you're entered! Easy, right? And with a video as sexy as this one, why wouldn't you want it to spend some time on your blog?

So go share this baby, and let us know in the comments! And be sure to leave Hannah TONS of release day and trailer love in the comments!

Character Interview: Charlotte Locke from Girl Wonder

Here today is Charlotte, main character from Alexa Martin's Girl Wonder, to answer a few questions!

If you could tell your brother anything, what would it be?

James Henry? Everyone always wants to talk about my superstar little brother. Annoying! But okay. Fine. Since you asked. Here is one of my favorite quotes by Alexander Dumas:

"Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes."

I hope James Henry doesn't make the kind of mistakes I made. As much as he pisses me off I love the kid. But don't tell him I said that!

What was it about Neil that you liked most? The least? What about Milton?

Neal. Big heavy sigh. Why oh why couldn't he be...? Okay. Let's not dwell on what could have been... What I liked most about Neal was his confidence. He had such an ease about him. He'll never know what it feels like to be an underdog, because he'll never be one. I wanted to be like him. I wanted to know how it felt to "own" the world. Ha. But like it or leave it I AM an underdog. I didn't like Neal's arrogance though. The kid's a snob. And he was snobby about Milton's mushroom hunting hobby. Screw that. As for Milton... I hated him at first. Aagh! He drove me NUTS! He pushed all my buttons. He made me feel like I was pretending to be someone else. Which I was, but seriously, did he have to be so in my face about it? What's so great about Milton is how without pretense he is. He's real. Himself. And comfortable with NOT being perfect. And comfortable with ME not being perfect (which I think we all know I'll never be). He makes me laugh. He helps me to laugh at myself. How can you not love that?

What's it like kissing Neil?

Neal was the first guy I ever loved. and I never felt good enough for him, so when he kissed me it felt like I was being "chosen." Saved. Saved from myself. Saved from mediocrity. As for the feeling... It was like sliding into liquid. But I know someone else who's a MUCH better kisser. Take that, Neal!

Though you go through quite the array of trials in the book, do you think it's worth it in the end?

Um, hello... I'm exhausted! How many kicks can one person get in one year? But what I've learned is that I was the one kicking myself the most. So yeah, I guess it was worth it to suffer like that. It hurt. It hurt like hell. But in the end I think it was a necessary pain... kind of like cutting off your finger to save your arm.

What kind of cookie would you describe yourself as?

Rocky Road! I'm complicated, that's for sure! Or maybe a macaroon, since I'm kind of prickly.

Thank you, Charlotte! Now make sure you guys all check out Girl Wonder, out May 3! It hits on the hard stuff with a fantastic grace, and has plenty of fun along the way.

Friday, April 15, 2011

In My Mailbox

I had one of those week's where there were quite a few things I knew were going to come, at some point. And they all chose this week to show up, which made for some happy mail days! (And an admittedly not so happy beagle, but he was paid handsomely in Beggin Strips for lying still long enough. But he did groan at me. And sigh. And huff.) But I am incredibly excited for these books and can't wait to get through them!

For Review:
Vanish by Sophie Jordan (Already read- its FANTASTIC. And Will is mine!)
Misfit by Jon Skovron
The Eternal Sea by Angie Frazier
Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton
City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Claire (UK Edition)
Fairy Bad Day by Amanda Ashby
Original Sin by Lisa Desrochers
A Golden Web by Barbara Quick
Everlost by Neal Shusterman
Thirteen Days to Midnight by Patrick Carman
White Sleeper by David R. Fett and Stephen Langford
Paradise by Jill Alexander (Pictured below- I ran out of beagle space...)
(Huge thanks to Sophie Jordan, Jon Skovron + Amulet Books, Angie Frazier + Scholastic, Random House, Walker Books UK, Amanda Ashby + Penguin, Lisa Desrochers, Barbara Quick + Harper, Simon & Schuster, Little Brown, Phenix & Phenix and Jill Alexander!)

Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer (Signed, From Jennifer)
Amplified by Tara Kelly (Signed, From Tara)
The Sacred Sin by Estevan Vega (Signed, from Estevan)
Estevan also sent me a $25 Amazon and Starbucks gift card as a thanks for his tour! 

Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.

Book Review: Nickel Plated by Aric Davis


Nickel is a survivor. He has to be. For as long as he can remember, his life has hinged on the flip of a coin. Or, rather, the scribble of a social worker’s pen. He’s been through the system, even had a good dad for a few years, until he was gone, too. But Nickel remembers everything he taught him, and since the day he escaped from foster-care hell, he’s put that knowledge to good use. Just twelve years old, he makes a steady living by selling marijuana to high schoolers, blackmailing pedophiles he ferrets out online, and working as a private investigator. 

When a beautiful girl named Arrow hires him to find her little sister Shelby, Nickel figures at best the kid’s a runaway; at worst, some perv’s gotten a hold of her. He scours the internet and the streets of Arrow’s suburban neighborhood, and what he finds there is as ugly a truth as he’s ever seen. For beyond the manicured lawns, Nickel discovers children for sale, and adults with souls black as the devil. And people like that aren’t about to let some kid ruin their game. This edgy thriller introduces a canny, precocious anti-hero, the likes of which young-adult readers have never seen.


The Short Version:
Bold in concept, Nickel Plated puts a new spin on kid heroes. A protagonist who is very much a product of his upbringing, and unafraid to face the word, Nickel is a unique character. Though the voice didn’t ring quite real enough for me, and the concept and realism didn’t mesh completely, this is still an enjoyable read from a promising author.

The Extended Version:
Nickel is determined and innovative, and though his situation is definitely unusual, he is sympathetic and someone to get behind. His view on the world is very different, a sad result of being bounced around between foster homes as well as events within some of those places. While his overall character comes off as exaggerated, Nickel is a real and sad example of the lasting effects of being in the system.

Arrow comes off as gentle and sweet but has some great qualities and inner strength. United with Nickel in a search for her sister, both the good and bad side of Arrow comes through. Though some of their interactions seemed off given their age difference, the camaraderie between the two and the ways they pushed and improved the other was well done and believable.

The plot is a simple one, centered around the search for Arrow’s sister while still giving a great look into the life Nickel has made for himself. Though only twelve, he lives alone and handles the day to day better than even some adults. Determined to not go back into the system, and refusing to just waste away, Nickel gives a strong voice to plenty of kids who aren’t as lucky. His focus on catching criminals, from kidnappers to molesters, is fantastic and plays a beautiful role throughout.

The writing is practiced and easy to read, giving plenty of description without being too bulky. Though there was a lack of voice, and Nickel’s mental state came across as being far older than twelve, even with his background, his character itself was still easy to understand. This is a quick read, not bothering to overdramatize things or drag them out longer than needed. While this one does have plenty of contemporary elements, I had a hard time fully getting into how embellished Nickel’s day to day and means of survival were. Despite these few things, this was definitely an enjoyable and endearing read.

Source: ARC recieved for review from publisher in exchange for an honest review 
Reading level: Young Adult 
Paperback: 172 pages 
Publisher: AmazonEncore 
Publication Date: March 22, 2011

Teen Book Con!

Sooo this past weekend, I headed down to Houston for the Teen Book Con, which was seriously amazing! It had a phenomenal line up, with 17 authors-- including Deb Caletti as the keynote-- plus several graphic novelists. I had such a fun time! I went with my best friend and Mary Lindsey, and the three of us most certainly had our share of laughs throughout the day. Kelli and I crashed at Mary's the night before, so the poor awesome woman was stick with me for like an entire day. Baha sucker! =)  Then we got up, got some breakfast, and headed off to the con!

Deb's keynote speech was beautiful, and from there the day was divided up into 4 different panel slots. The first we went to was the paranormal one, called Here There Be Ghosts... and Werewolves and Everything Else! It was made up of Andrea Cremer, Rachel Hawkins, Joy Preble, Stacey Kade and Joy Preble. These ladies are a fantastic bunch, and it was a blast to see them play off each other and answer questions together!

Then it was lunch time, and off to more panels! We hit up the Guys Write Great Stuff panel next, with Brent Crawford, RA Nelson, Brian Yanskey, and Blake Nelson. I didn't get a picture at this one, and we had a hard time hearing them, but they were funny and it was definitely interesting.

From there we hit up The Lighter Side, with Some Bumps Along the Way, which was a contemp panel with Lindsey Leavitt, Deb Caletti, Stephanie Perkins, and Kristen Tracy. These ladies were downright hysterical and this might have been the one I enjoyed the most. Definitely a toss up between this and the paranormal.

And from there, it was off to A Walk on the Dark Side, featuring Ellen Hopkins, Gail Giles, Lauren Myracle, and Elizabeth Scott. This was definitely a really interesting panel too, and all of them were mostly audience based for questions. It was awesome seeing what all the teens had to ask, and their comments for it all!

 (Sorry for the blurry photos. The camera was having an off day...)

After the panels was the signing lines... and yes, this chick most definitely hit up every. Single. One. I spent a ton that day, but it was SO worth it. And I am pretty sure that this weekend is when I got the single most fantastic book inscription I have yet to receive, from none other than Andrea Cremer:

Yes. That does say "Ren does good things in the closet."  Best. Inscription. Ever. I am so glad Andrea supports my Boy Closet and yes, Ren is most definitely stashed away in there in all his hot, cocky, alpha male amazingness.

But I had a fantastic time meeting all the authors, and I even got almost all of them to sign my awesome orange chucks! I would photograph those but the signatures never show up quite right. But suffice it to say, they are getting fantastically full. I might be needing a new pair soon... 

And then after the convention, Kelli, Mary and I headed to Hungry's for dinner with some a few other bloggers and had a fantastic time talking books and more!

(Left to right is Stacy, Mary, Kelli, me, Shannon and Jennifer. Stephanie was taking the picture...)

But that was the awesomeness that was Teen Book Con! Certainly an exhausting day, but WELL worth it! Here's some of my pictures with authors:

 Andrea Cremer
 Brent Crawford
 Lindsey Leavitt
 Stacey Kade
 Rachel Hawkins
 Deb Caletti
Saundra Mitchell

And because I think this picture is adorable, here's imprint sisters Andrea Cremer and Mary Lindsey. Philomel rocks!

And once I got home, and finally lugged all my new books upstairs, it was Toby torment time! Though I admit, it took a few sleepy beagle sneak attacks to get all these photos. These are all signed, but I'm entirely too lazy to take pictures of every inscription. I brought a bunch of books from home, but made it through all 17 signing lines in the allotted hour thanks to Mary and Kelli! Mary parked herself at a table and put all my books in stacks by authors, and then Kelli stood in the longer lines for me. Team work FTW!