Saturday, July 30, 2011

Smashwords Sale!!

Sorry for the late notice, but I just found out that Smashwords is having a HUGE summer sale through tomorrow, July 31st! You can get titles from 25% to 100% off! Last time Smashwords had a big sale like this, I got some titles that sounded really interesting.

One title on sale is HUMAN BLEND by Lori Pescatore and its brand-new sequel EARTH BLEND. You might recall that I reviewed the first book in the series earlier this year and interviewed Pescatore. I’ll be reading EARTH BLEND soon, too!

Click here for a direct link to the sale! On the left, you can even filter by category!

Friday, July 29, 2011

M/J Review Loot

Hey bookworms! So, er… Now that July’s almost over, maybe I should post that video for my May/June ARCs and review copies that I promised when I posted my last loot post? ^^;;; I didn’t want to put it up in the middle of Splash… I need to get faster at this, no? *blush*


YouTube Link


*ASCENDANT by Diane Peterfreund

(Neither of these titles SHOULD have been ARCs, so if purchasing from used book dealer GreenEarthBooks on sites such as AbeBooks, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. [which also goes by], be careful! You might want to shoot them an email first to make sure the book is what you think it will be. I was pretty POed, especially because ARCs should never, ever be sold for profit. They’re uncorrected proofs, for one thing, and, um, they say “Not for Sale” all over the place!)

*HALF-BLOOD by Jennifer L. Armentrout (This book was pretty amazing and now that Splash is over, I need to get a You’re Gonna LOVE Me post up for y’all! Look for this one!)

*THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER by Michelle Hodkin (I finished this one last night and this one is ALSO getting a You’re Gonna LOVE Me spotlight. OMG, wow!) [Thank you to Grace from Livre De Amour for sending me this fabulous ARC while at BEA!!]

*BETWEEN THE SEA AND SKY by Jaclyn Dolamore [Which is being given away; I’ll either be posting winners tonight or this weekend. Check out my review here. I loved this book!!]

*BREADCRUMBS by Anne Ursu (Reading this one within the next couple of weeks!)

*The Screaming Stone by J.P. Osterman

*WILDEFIRE by Karsten Knight (Won from Martha at Hey, I Want to Read That! Thank you!) [This title actually just released this week and I received a copy for my birthday… I still have to read this one!!!]

*AIRBORNE by Constance Sharper (Look for my Blog Tour Stop with Teen Book Scene in August!)

*WOLF STORM by Dee Garretson

*PROGENY by R.T. Kaelin (Again, check out my Blog Tour Stop with Teen Book Scene in August! I’ve already read this one and really enjoyed it!)

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Where Mythology and Dystopia meet...

Piper’s world is dying. Global warming kills every living thing on Earth, and each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles which threaten to destroy humanity. Amid this Global Heating Crisis, Piper lives with her mother who suffocates her more than the chaotic climate. When her mother is called away to meet the father Piper has been running from her entire life, Piper seizes an opportunity for freedom.

But when Piper discovers a world of mythology she never knew existed, she realizes her world is not the only one in crisis. While Gods battle for control of the Underworld, Piper's life spirals into turmoil, and she struggles to find answers to secrets kept from her since birth. And though she’s drawn to her classmate Shayne, he may be more than he claims. Piper has to choose whom she can trust and how she can save the people she loves even if it means the end of everything she’s ever known.

SOLSTICE is P.J. Hoover's debut YA novel and is the first front-list novel to be independently published by an Andrea Brown Literary Agency author.

From Goodreads

Yesterday, P.J. Hoover visited A Backwards Story to share a fantastic guest post entitled DYSTOPIAN BY ACCIDENT with us. Check it out here!

Love them or hate them, dystopian novels are what’s in. SOLSTICE, while dystopian, is the sort of book that even dystopian haters will enjoy. Because the dystopian setting is just that—the setting, not the focal point. Because it’s also a fantasy novel. Because it’s also a retelling of Persephone and Hades. Because it’s an epic romance. Because there’s something magical about it that doesn’t quite exist in any other dystopian novel. Even if you dislike the genre (or are just sick of it), SOLSTICE is a stand-out that shouldn’t be ignored.

One of the most remarkable aspects of SOLSTICE’s journey to publication is the non-traditional route it took. While sold exclusively as an e-book at a very affordable $2.99 price-point, the novel is NOT self-published. Yes, you read that right. P.J. Hoover has written several traditionally-published novels, including the middle-grade trilogy THE FORGOTTEN WORLDS, which revolves around Atlantis (Yes, Atlantis!!) and will be re-released with new covers in e-book and paperback format later this year or in early 2012. Hoover was the first Andrea Brown Literary Agency author to have a book launch solely as an e-book. If they had waited to traditionally publish, the novel wouldn’t be out until 2013, but it’s right NOW that both dystopian novels and mythology-influenced ones are hot and selling. Hoover has a great two-part interview talking about why SOLSTICE took this route (Part 1, Part 2). Because of the way this book was published, it still went through normal rounds of editing and received a professionally-designed cover, so it’s not riddled with errors the way some straight-to-e-book novels are. In fact, SOLSTICE is one of my Ton Ten Novels so far this year. It’s that good.

I think what draws me into the world of SOLSTICE the most is the fact that all of the characters feel so real, so alive. The romance is gorgeous and at the novel’s conclusion, I just wanted more books. I wasn’t ready to leave Hoover’s world. There have been a lot of books revolving around the Persephone and Hades myth this year, including much-buzzed about teen novels ABANDON by Meg Cabot (reviewed here) and THE GODDESS TEST by Aimee Carter (reviewed here). Both of those novels are the first in a trilogy that will explore the myth upon which they’re based. Some parts are truer to their mythological roots than others. But in both cases, the “Persephone” character was very by the book. She was forced to be with “Hades” against her will. SOLSTICE, on the other hand, offers a new way of looking at the classic myth. What if Persephone hadn’t been kidnapped? What if she’d gone to Hades willingly? What if the couple had been truly in love and there was a reason for her mother Demeter’s murderous rampage whenever her daughter went to the Underworld for half the year? This is the heart of SOLSTICE.

SOLSTICE takes place in a world where global warming has affected our climate to the point that it’s now referred to as the Global Heating Crisis. There is now year-round summer. Night-time is a “cool” 99 degrees (Fahrenheit) and an average day might be 113 degrees. After suffering this past week’s 100-106 degree heat wave, I would HATE living in a world where that’s the norm…at night. I’d melt faster than an ice-cream cone. It’s not until the temperature hits upward of 123 degrees that citizens have anything to worry about. There are designated cooling areas, a special cooling gel that gets sprayed throughout the day. There are also scary heat-bubbles. For example, “A real heat bubble means we could be stuck with deadly temperatures for weeks. The last time one of the pockets of hot air formed, the city was evacuated, and even then, almost a thousand people died. An evacuation is going to be nothing short of a disaster.” (Page 10)

There are special missiles to pop the heat bubbles, but they further damage the atmosphere and can kill. Piper (The novel’s “Persephone”) and her mother are against the use of these missiles, and we really get insight into her mother’s personality. She’s ultra-protective of Piper and doesn’t let her out much; she’s a true representation of Demeter in today’s world. She wants to keep her daughter at her side forever, despite everything, refusing to let her have a life of her own. When Piper starts noticing a boy in her class named Shayne, one she’s sat next to for a year but doesn’t recall previously meeting, her world changes and life as she knows it will never be the same again. Suddenly, she’s the center of a deadly love triangle between immortals, being courted by Fate, and in a world she never believed to exist.

Hoover twists familiar mythology together at a breath-taking pace for a page-turning adventure. Readers never quite know what’s coming next, and there’s always a new surprise in store. The mythology is flawless; I have nothing to nitpick about in that regard. The romance is deep and genuine. Shayne is Hades in a way that other novel retellings are unable to capture. SOLSTICE is officially my favorite version of Persephone and Hades, and one of my favorite mythological-retellings PERIOD. It’s that good. Even if you’re not a fan of e-books and don’t have an e-reader or tablet, this is one worth downloading and reading on your computer or your phone, especially at the $2.99 price point. Solstice is that good. I promise you won’t regret it!


This cover makes you want to take a long drink of water. Look at that blaring sun over poor Piper’s head (though thankfully there’s a summer breeze, since her hair’s flying every which way). Beyond the city, the dirt is hard and cracked, no grass or plants for miles, only more rays of unforgiving sunlight. The font used for the author’s name and book title is simple, yet strong and confident. I like the way there’s a crazy flare around the O in SOLSTICE, too, as though the sun can penetrate even words. I like the atmosphere of the cover and think it’s well-suited for the novel lying within.

[This entry is part of Bookish Ardour's Reading Challenges' Dystopian Challenge of 2011. See how I've done so far here.]

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Guest Post: Dystopian by Accident by P.J. Hoover

Today’s guest post is part of the Teen Book Scene tour for SOLSTICE by PJ Hoover, which is not only one of my favorite books so far this year, but one of my favorite mythology-influenced novels. Period. I can’t wait to FINALLY share my review with you. The tour started on July 18th and will run until August 12th. Check out this site to follow the tour and read more about this amazing novel. You can also find out more about PJ Hoover on her website.


P. J. Hoover first fell in love with Greek mythology in sixth grade thanks to the book MYTHOLOGY by Edith Hamilton. After a fifteen year bout as an electrical engineer designing computer chips for a living, P. J. decided to take her own stab at mythology and started writing books for kids and teens. P. J. is also a member of THE TEXAS SWEETHEARTS & SCOUNDRELS. When not writing, P. J. spends time with her husband and two kids and enjoys practicing Kung Fu, solving Rubik's cubes, and watching STAR TREK. Her first novel for teens, SOLSTICE, takes place in a Global Warming future and explores the parallel world of mythology beside our own. Her middle grade fantasy novels, THE EMERALD TABLET, THE NAVEL OF THE WORLD, and THE NECROPOLIS, chronicle the adventures of a boy who discovers he’s part of two feuding worlds hidden beneath the sea.



Thanks so much for inviting me to guest blog over here! For those who don’t know, my debut young adult novel, SOLSTICE, was just released last month. SOLSTICE is what happens when MATCHED meets THE LIGHTNING THIEF and is set in a future where global warming is destroying the earth. Dystopian world? You tell me.

I never intended to write a dystopian story. I intended to write a story steeped in mythology with romance that sizzled off the page. This was my goal. I wanted my story to not be a retelling of a myth but more of a “what happened after the myth.” The dystopian element was purely by accident.

For SOLSTICE, when I began brainstorming my “what happened next” plot, I decided to set the story in the future. Global warming was basically killing everything on Earth, and the gods walked among the humans, going to their school, meddling in their lives. It all seemed viable and straightforward. And yes, the romance was hot. But as I started getting feedback from my agent, I realized that I never tapped the full potential of the actual world. I had worked so much on the characters and the mythology, but what about the global warming?

The line that sparked the change was this. It came from an early version of the manuscript (and please keep in mind this line no longer exists in SOLSTICE).

“The only funny thing about the endless summer we’re stuck in is how much time people spend talking about it. They call it catastrophic and claim the earth is melting. They have forty national news channels dedicated to nothing but the endless misery caused by rising temperatures. They’ve even started building bases on the moon and Mars in case the earth needs to be evacuated.
I just call it hotter than hell, and try to avoid thinking about it, which means a lot of ignoring the TV and zoning out during lectures.”

Who calls it catastrophic? What do the news channels say? What miseries are caused by these rising temperatures? How would society react? And most of all, how would this impact the mythology storyline?

After this eureka moment, I revised and revised some more, and the dystopian element really began to shine through. It was always there; it was just never given the right amount of attention. But once I started exposing it, I fell in love with the story all over again.

I get asked if I used read science in coming up with my dystopian world. Well, I did watch AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH by Al Gore. And I did do web research to see what effects global warming was having. But heat bubbles descending on the world, chemical cooling gel sprayed on the masses, protective domes with glass that grows closed…those ideas are all mine. I hope we never reach a point where these things come to pass, and since I’m no global warming expert, I’ll refrain from commenting on the possibilities. Still, wear your sunscreen and drink lots of water :) And for five SOLSTICE-inspired tips for surviving global warming, check out this vlog involving Kung Fu, zombies, and things from my kids’ play kitchen.

YouTube Link

Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog, and thank you, everyone, for reading!

Sunday, July 24, 2011


What a journey! SPLASH INTO SUMMER was a lot of fun, wasn’t it? Thanks for making it all possible! In the end, I didn’t have enough time to post my review of FINS ARE FOREVER by Tera Lynn Childs, which is what inspired the event in the first place. I should have just reviewed it the first day instead of waiting, lol! Buuuuuuuuuut I will review it at some point this summer and there will still be some fun interactive things for you. So look forward to it!

To sum up Splash for those who weren’t watching too closely or joined the game late:


On Mermaids by Sarah Porter (author of LOST VOICES)
Weeki Wachi Springs by The Flashlight Reader (Her blog here)
5 Reasons Mermaid Books Rock by Small Review (Her blog here)
The Mermaids of MARINA'S TALES by Derrolyn Anderson (MARINA'S TALES series)
Teaser Chapter of EVERBLUE by Brenda Pandos
Teaser Chapter of BETWEEN THE SEA AND SKY by Jaclyn Dolamore
Mermaidy Goodness from Carolyn Turgeon (author of MERMAID:A TWIST ON THE CLASSIC TALE)
Reading of DREAMLAND SOCIAL CLUB by Tara Altebrando from Misty at The Book Rat (and a book review here) (Her blog here)


Liz Kessler (EMILY WINDSNAP series)
Kit Whitfield (IN GREAT WATERS)
Megan March/Relient-K (Created the original image used in the final cover design for FORGIVE MY FINS by Tera Lynn Childs; her online art gallery here)
Brenda Pandos (EVERBLUE)


Reading & Writing About Mermaids
15 Little-Known Facts About Mermaids
Cover Crazy: BETWEEN THE SEA AND SKY by Jaclyn Dolamore (and a look at the original image)
Ocean-Themed Music (And Tokyo Disney Sea!!)
Mermaid Fashion! (For land dwellers everywhere who are mermaids at heart)
Cover Crazy: FORGIVE MY FINS by Tera Lynn Childs and interview with designer Megan March/Relient-K
Happy Book Birthday to RIPPLE by Mandy Hubbard


LOST VOICES by Sarah Porter (Closed; winner emailed, but announced next week during the winner's post)
LIMITED EDITION Weeki Wachee Springs mermaid calendar from The Flashlight Reader (Closed; winner announced on her blog, but on mine next week during the winner's post)
Three copies of MARINA'S TALES series (2 books) in e-book format (OPEN; enter now!)
Autographed (with a hand-drawn illustration!) Advanced Reader Copy of BETWEEN THE SEA AND SKY by Jaclyn Dolamore (OPEN; enter now!)


LOST VOICES by Sarah Porter
SELKIE GIRL by Laurie Brooks
EMILY WINDSNAP AND THE SIREN'S SECRET (with mention of other books in series) by Liz Kessler
IN GREAT WATERS by Kit Whitfield
MARINA'S TALES series by Derrolyn Anderson
BETWEEN THE SEA AND SKY by Jaclyn Dolamore

Did I leave some splashy mermaid fun for next year? You'd better believe I did! Check back for another Splash into Summer in July 2012....and hopefully it will be more organized! :)

DREAMLAND SOCIAL CLUB from Misty at The Book Rat

On Thursday, Misty from The Book Rat teased you with an enticing tidbit that she read from DREAMLAND SOCIAL CLUB by Tara Altebrando for Splash into Summer. Yesterday, she posted her review of the book here. Check it out. Her review really makes me want to pick this one up. It sounds like a fun beach read—and it’s contemporary!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Happy Book Birthday to RIPPLE by Mandy Hubbard!!

For two weeks, come celebrate mermaids, whether it’s winter or summer where you live. Splash into Summer runs from June 28th to July 12th. There will be author interviews, guest posts, giveaways, reviews, and more! Now is the time to celebrate mermaids, especially with so many new novels about them coming out.

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you,
You smell like sea salt,
And you look like a fish!

*coughs* AHEM!

So, Happy Book Birthday to RIPPLE by Mandy Hubbard! I really, REALLY wanted to review this one for Splash into Summer (and it’s one reason we extended until TODAY). Alas, I couldn’t get my hands on a copy until, um, today, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to read it AND review it after getting done work at 8 pm. So I decided against bringing a copy home with me (especially since I KNOW I’m receiving a copy of my own next week for my birthday. I can be patient, REALLY!!)—even though I wanted to!!

The summary from GoodReads:

Lexi is cursed with a dark secret. Each day she goes to school like a normal teenager, and each night she must swim, or the pain will be unbearable. She is a siren - a deadly mermaid destined to lure men to their watery deaths. After a terrible tragedy, Lexi shut herself off from the world, vowing to protect the ones she loves. But she soon finds herself caught between a new boy at school who may have the power to melt her icy exterior, and a handsome water spirit who says he can break Lexi's curse if she gives up everything else. Lexi is faced with the hardest decision she's ever had to make: the life she's always longed for - or the love she can't live without?

From Goodreads

GUEST POST: Misty from The Book Rat reads from DREAMLAND SOCIAL CLUB

For two weeks, come celebrate mermaids, whether it’s winter or summer where you live. Splash into Summer runs from June 28th to July 12th. There will be author interviews, guest posts, giveaways, reviews, and more! Now is the time to celebrate mermaids, especially with so many new novels about them coming out.

Tonight, Misty from The Book Rat has generously done a reading for all you mermaid lovers from recently-released novel DREAMLAND SOCIAL CLUB by Tara Altebrando. This was a book I wanted to get to during Splash, but didn’t get time to read. Misty’s reading makes me want more. How about you? Check out Misty’s blog this coming Saturday for a book review and to hear what she thought.

Misty is an awesome blogger. Those of you who were with me in April for the craziness that was Fairy Tale Fortnight might remember that she hosted—and created—the event. Last month, she did Jane [Austen] in June, and her next major event will be Helluva Halloween in October (Read HEX HALL and DEMONGLASS in Oct., Misty!!!). She’s an awesome blogger AND vlogger!

Misty, thanks for today’s awesome reading!

[YouTube Link]

Mermaidy Goodness from Carolyn Turgeon!

In April, I reviewed MERMAID, a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's THE LITTLE MERMAID told from the POVs of both the mermaid who wants to be human and the princess who wins the prince. This re-telling is fresh and new, the first time I've seen one from the princess' POV.

Check out my review!

Carolyn Turgeon was lovely enough to do a fun interview during Fairy Tale Fortnight, too. Check it out!

Carolyn gave me a ton of links to share with all my fellow mermaid-lovers linking to a lot of mermaidy guest posts she's done recently, such as...

Her blog I Am A Mermaid
Sirens of the Deep Mermaid Camp at Weeki Wachi Springs (Which The Flashlight Reader also blogged about for Splash here)
Five Ways to Become a Mermaid
An upcoming MOVIE ADAPTATION of MERMAID, currently being written and directed by Shana Feste [COUNTRY STRONG] from Sony Pictures
Mermaids: The Next Big Thing (Featuring CarolynTurgeon, Sarah Porter, Tera Lynn Childs, and Tara Altebrando)

And last, but not least, Carolyn shared this interesting tidbit: There's going to be a mermaid MAGAZINE in August. It will be a special issue put together by the makers of FAERIE magazine and PIRATES magazine. I'm so hoping a store near me will sell this!!! Check out the details here!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cover Art REVEALED: CINDER by Marissa Meyer

I’m so excited, everyone. I love Marissa Meyer. LOVE HER. Who is Marissa Meyer, you say? Soon you’ll know. I would LOVE it if every blogger reading this posts the cover reveal on his/her own blog to start the buzz going for her debut novel, CINDER. It’s scheduled to come out January 3, 2011.

CINDER is the first book in the LUNAR CHRONICLES quartet. Here’s the summary currently up at Goodreads:

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . . Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future. In this thrilling debut young adult novel, the first of a quartet, Marissa Meyer introduces readers to an unforgettable heroine and a masterfully crafted new world that’s enthralling.

And here is the cover reveal:

CINDERELLA with cyborgs? Yes, please! Marissa is a masterful writer who has had a successful online career for years. I’m so psyched to see her dreams finally coming true. Congratulations, Marissa! I’m so excited for you!

MacMillan and Feiwel and Friends revealed the cover here in all it's full-size glory.

And do you not love those fonts? Can't wait to see the interior design as well!

GIVEAWAY: BETWEEN THE SEA AND SKY ARC Autographed by Jaclyn Dolamore

For two weeks, come celebrate mermaids, whether it’s winter or summer where you live. Splash into Summer runs from June 28th to July 21st. There will be author interviews, guest posts, giveaways, reviews, and more! Now is the time to celebrate mermaids, especially with so many new novels about them coming out.

Did reading today’s review of BETWEEN THE SEA AND SKY or Jaclyn Dolamore’s fin-tastic interview and book teaser get you all anxious to read the phenomenal BETWEEN THE SEA AND SKY? Today is your lucky day!

I’m giving away an autographed ARC, complete with a darling hand-drawn illustration by Jackie Dolamore herself! I’m seriously jealous of whichever bookworm wins this swag!

Entering is simple. All you have to do is fill out the form below. You do NOT have to be a follower to enter the contest. You get extra points for following, tweeting, advertising Splash into Summer on your blog, etc. But none of it is NEEDED to enter. All email addresses will be deleted once a winner has been chosen. This contest is open to anyone living in the US (because I don’t know how the book is being released internationally) from July 20th to 27th. :)

Good luck!

***Entries still being accepted to win one of three copies of BETWEEN THE LAND AND SEA and THE MOON AND THE TIDE by Derrolyn Anderson! Enter now!***


For two weeks, come celebrate mermaids, whether it’s winter or summer where you live. Splash into Summer runs from June 28th to July 21st. There will be author interviews, guest posts, giveaways, reviews, and more! Now is the time to celebrate mermaids, especially with so many new novels about them coming out.

BETWEEN THE SEA AND SKY, set to be published on October 25th, 2011. Isn’t that cover beautiful? I recently featured it on Cover Crazy and reviewed the novel.

Today, not only has author Jaclyn Dolamore, author of the MAGIC UNDER series stopped by to answer a few questions about her novel, she’s also given us mermaid-lovers a sneak peek at Chapter One. You also have a chance to win an autographed ARC with a cute hand-drawn illustration. Whoever wins, you should know that I’m already jealous of you! Enjoy!

What can you tell us about your upcoming mermaid novel, BETWEEN THE SEA AND SKY?

Esmerine is a bit of an odd mermaid. As a child, her best friend was a winged boy named Alan who used to come to the islands near her waters and gather seaweed. He always had a book with him and he taught her to read, but books don't last long underwater, so when he stopped visiting, books went with him. Esmerine has been madly curious about the surface world ever since, so when her sister runs off with a human, she follows in an attempt to rescue her, and runs into Alan again after years apart.

How did you go about creating the mythology in the novel? Did you use traditional examples of mermaids? You also have winged characters; are they similar to angels?

The story was inspired by various mermaid mythology. For example, many traditional mermaid stories involve a mermaid having a magical cap, cape, belt, comb, or other object that a man can steal to trap her in human form and marry her. I worked this into the book. I also incorporated some nods to Hans Christian Andersen, such as the fact that mermaids can take on a legged form, but every step shoots pain through their legs and feet.

The winged folk in the book aren't really a thing like angels. I actually once wrote a story about humans with feathered wings, and it was always very hard for me to imagine them actually taking off and flying. Scientifically, it's basically impossible! Mermaids aren't very scientific either, but I did try to make the winged folk semi-believable. I read a lot about how hang gliders work, as well as large birds of prey. These winged folk are built more like bats, with wings in lieu of arms, although they have a thumb and finger so they can grasp things. They use some magic to manipulate the wind for lift, but once in the air they can often just glide. Their physical makeup required a lot of unexpected thought, like, how do you fit clothes around bat wings? (It's explained in the book!) Plus their wingspan has to be huge. Their houses would probably be rather uncluttered so they could actually move without keeping their wings so close to their bodies all the time.

How did you go about putting together the elements that bring your underwater world to life?

It wasn't that easy to research. I read as many other mermaid novels as I could find to see what considerations other authors thought of that might have slipped my mind, for starters, and also to see what had been done. And of course I looked at books with ocean photography to try to get a good visual of the mermaid world. On a less technical level, the races of this world are based loosely on the elements in astrology. Water is the element of emotion and intuition. I also realized the merfolk probably wouldn't have a writing system, so storytelling, singing and oration would be very important to them. This influenced their society, while the winged folk are intellectual sometimes to the point of coldness and quite obsessed with the written word.

What made you fall in love with mermaids? Did you grow up reading/watching tales about them?

I was crazy for mermaids as a kid. The movie Splash was my favorite. I loved how her mermaid identity was a secret in the human world, and then the wrenching tragedy of exposure! The scene where Madison the mermaid has been captured by scientists and is in the tank, and they throw her human love in there with her and she swims toward him and he shies back? It broke my heart as a kid! But deliciously so. Other favorites included, of course, Disney's THE LITTLE MERMAID and the cartoon Saban's ADVENTURES OF THE LITTLE MERMAID. There was also an episode of PETER PAN AND THE PIRATES (god, I'm really dating myself) where the mermaids tried to turn Wendy into a mermaid. The 80s and early 90s seemed to be all about the mermaids. And I was always writing stories about mermaids that read like terrible 80s comedies. Let's not think of it anymore.

Ariel gave up her voice to become a human. What would you give up if offered the opportunity to be a mermaid?

Honestly? Not much, because the sea sounds pretty dangerous when you think about it! But if there were mermaids underwater living in magical palaces like in books...well, I'd certainly pay a pretty high vacation price to see it, at least. In some ways I think I'd rather have a mermaid friend to talk to than actually to be a mermaid myself. At least these days. At age 8 I was more keen on it.

If you could be a mermaid for a day, what would you do?

I would just want to see what mer culture was like. Research, you know! What they eat, what they do for fun, what their homes look like... I'd just want to soak up (oh god, pardon the pun, they're so easy to unintentionally do) all I could.

A Sneak Preview of BETWEEN THE SEA AND SKY by Jaclyn Dolamore

[There is no indentation before each line. Blogger, unfortunately, won't allow it. There will be better spacing in the final version of BETWEEN THE SEA AND SKY! You can also have a physical teaser of your own when buying the recent paperback release of MAGIC UNDER GLASS, in stores now!]

“Well, you’re a true siren now, Esmerine,” her father said proudly. Her parents and Dosia were waiting for her when she left the center of the great room. The crowd was already beginning to disperse and resume conversations. “How does it feel?”
“Good.” Esmerine didn’t know what else she could say. Maybe it was impossible to achieve a great honor without feeling numb.
“Two sirens in the family,” her mother said. “I would never have guessed it. Not a single siren in our entire family history, and now two. You girls are truly treasures.” Not only did sirens bring prestige to a family, but even after death, a siren’s belt was passed down through generations and used in times of need to create strong healing spells or even defend the village. The status of Esmerine’s family would be forever elevated from mere fishermen.
When Esmerine, Dosia, and their parents arrived home, Esmerine’s youngest sister, Merramyn, was swimming to and fro adorning the cave walls with flower chains. Tormaline, usually the most serious, was moving the magic lights to find the best position. Esmerine’s mother swept in to interfere.
“Tormy, what are you doing? I said, put one in the middle of the room and—wait, where is the fourth?”
“Mother, we don’t have a fourth.” Tormy was thirteen, and lately she had taken to saying ‘Mother’ in a particularly irritated way.
“We should have four. This one is ours, and I rented three.”
“You rented two. You decided to save the rest to buy sea bass, remember?”
Merramyn twirled through the water, draping the last flower chain around her shoulders. Dosia tried to take it from her. “Merry, don’t be silly with that, you’re going to damage it.”
A flower broke free from the garland and swished around Merry’s hair. She snatched it. “Dosia, look! Now you broke it! Mother, Dosia broke the flowers!”
As Esmerine swam out of the main room she made a silent prayer to the sea gods that her family could make it through the evening without embarrassing her. Through the narrow door to the kitchens, her poor aunts were preparing food for a crowd with only one magic light to see by. The cave was old and had few windows, just small holes to keep water flowing in and big fish out. In wealthier homes, window nets kept out the fish and let in light.
Fragments of seaweed drifted through the water from the salad Aunt Celwyn was making, while Aunt Lia tucked bits of neatly sliced raw fish into empty seashells for presentation.
“Can I help?” Esmerine asked.
“Chase out this silly fish that keeps bothering me.” Aunt Lia waved her hand as a slender fish darted past her face and into the shadowy corners. Just as Esmerine chased the fish out with the net, Dosia hooted a summons from the main room.
“The guests must be arriving,” Aunt Celwyn said. “Go on and greet them! This is your day.”
Esmerine raked her fingers through her hair, checking that her beads were still in place before she returned to the main room for hugs and congratulations. The guests arrived in a steady stream: her mother’s friends, the fishermen who worked alongside her father, friends she and Dosia had made in school and in their neighborhood singing group.
She knew the routine from when Dosia had become a siren, and although she blushed and said humble things she was pleased to have a little piece of the attention Dosia had gotten for so long.
At dinner, her aunts brought the food around. Esmerine wished they had servants, particularly since her mother had invited Lalia Tembel and her family. Esmerine and Lalia had been casual friends for years now, but Esmerine had never forgotten how Lalia teased her about her preference for playing on the islands and her lack of bracelets when they were little. She used to tell Esmerine that if she spent too much time in human form she’d get stuck that way, and even when Esmerine had Dosia tell her off, Lalia had never apologized.
Still, her mother had not skimped on the food. They had the freshest fish, rare sea fruits sent from the Balla Sea, almonds and hazelnuts, enough olives that Esmerine had her fill for the first time in her life, and sea potatoes filled with minced shrimp.
They sang the Siren’s Hymn in her honor, her mother’s eyes growing red and wistful.

Come and hear the siren’s call
Keep mankind in fearful thrall
As long as sirens guard the sea
All the waters shall be free!

Dosia, sitting beside Esmerine, squeezed her hand tight, and Esmerine knew she was thinking how wonderful it would be, to be sirens together.

BETWEEN THE SEA AND SKY by Jaclyn Dolamore

For two weeks, come celebrate mermaids, whether it’s winter or summer where you live. Splash into Summer runs from June 28th to July 12th. There will be author interviews, guest posts, giveaways, reviews, and more! Now is the time to celebrate mermaids, especially with so many new novels about them coming out.

For as long as Esmerine can remember, she has longed to join her older sister, Dosinia, as a siren—the highest calling a mermaid can have. When Dosinia runs away to the mainland, Esmerine is sent to retrieve her. Using magic to transform her tail into legs, she makes her way unsteadily to the capital city. There she comes upon a friend she hasn't seen since childhood—a dashing young man named Alandare, who belongs to a winged race of people. As Esmerine and Alandare band together to search for Dosinia, they rekindle a friendship . . . and ignite the emotions for a love so great, it cannot be bound by sea, land, or air.

From Goodreads

Don't miss my interview with Jaclyn Dolamore, a preview from BETWEEN THE SEA AND SKY, or your chance to win an autographed ARC!

Get ready to swim into one of the best mermaid novels to hit the genre, BETWEEN THE SEA AND SKY by Jaclyn Dolamore. The novel reads like a traditional-style fairy tale; Hans Christen Andersen could have written this. The book is stunning and lyrical, beautifully written and dripping with an epic story. I’m going to have a hard time writing a review that encapsulates all this wonderful book entails, but I’ll try my hardest. If this review isn’t enough to convince you, that’s my fault, not Jaclyn Dolamore’s. You should still pick this book up and read it.

BETWEEN THE SEA AND SKY takes place in a world where mermaids aren’t in hiding, but living alongside humans. In addition, there’s a race known as Fandarsee, winged-people who love knowledge. The novel centers around a mermaid named Esmerine, who has just received her magical Siren belt. Sirens are one of the most prestigious positions for a mermaid to have, and Esmerine and her sister Dosinia are the first two mer in their family to ever receive this distinction. One day, Dosinia disappears and never returns home. Everyone fears that a human stole her belt, forcing her to live on land with him, especially after hearing rumors of a man taking his new mer-bride into the mountains away from the sea. Esmerine is desperate to save her sister and vows to find her as one of the few mer able to withstand the pain of walking on land.

After shifting, Esmerine seeks help from Alandare, a Fandarsee she befriended as a child. Without him, her search would be impossible, as the pain she feels on land would make getting to the mountains on her own impractical. Because of their childhood friendship, Esmerine has always been viewed as peculiar by the other merfolk. Alandare taught her to read and write, unnecessary frivolities beneath the sea. The merfolk aren’t fans of the Fandarsee, and even now, Esmerine is still known as that girl who used to be friends with the winged-boy. Likewise, Alandare is different from the rest of his race, seeking to share information with others rather than studying all the time in order to gain more of his own. His father is controlling, but Alandare seeks his help in order to help Esmerine track down Dosinia.

I love the way the two characters have fully-developed backgrounds that set them apart from everyone around them. They don’t quite fit into their own worlds, but are something in between. In this regard, the novel’s title, BETWEEN THE SEA AND SKY, is perfect. Not quite sea, not quite sky. There’s also a deeper, secondary meaning for both characters revealed later in the story that I won’t spoil here. Esmerine and Alandare reunite in a way that develops slowly, beautifully. Their friendship blooms into something more, which scares them both because Alandare cannot live beneath the sea and Esmerine will always be uncomfortable on land. This is a true novel of a couple from different backgrounds overcoming huge obstacles in order to be together, full of pain, sorrow, and yes, even hope.

The only negative about the book is that it felt much too short (and I mean that in a good way!). The ARC is only 230 pages, and I wish the story had continued for another 230! Dolamore is brilliant and weaves together tales in a fashion that brings us back to days of yore. One of the must-reads this coming fall!


I reviewed this cover in detail earlier this month. Click here to see what I said! I’ll tell you this: I’m still in love with that B!!!

Cover Art REVEALED: SPELL BOUND by Rachel Hawkins

Bookworms, you all know how obsessed I’ve become with Rachel Hawkins’ HEX HALL trilogy, right? (You mean my reviews of HEX HALL and DEMONGLASS earlier this year didn’t give it away?) The title of the book we’ve been fondly referring to as TRIPLE HEXXX officially revealed last month as SPELL BOUND—and now we have an official cover!

Not only that, here’s the summary that’s been posted on Amazon:
Hailed as “impossible to put down,” the Hex Hall series has both critics and teens cheering. With a winning combination of romance, action, magic and humor, this third volume will leave readers enchanted.

Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?

Take a look:

[Click the image to see a full size picture! Likewise, click the mini-covers below to see larger images.]

What do you think? The cover for SPELL BOUND is my favorite yet. Sophie’s holding a SWORD and looks so fierce. I need to know more right this second. And I love that the reflected image is her in her Hecate Hall uniform. It perfectly mirrors HEX HALL, where she wore a uniform and looked down at herself in the green dress. Plus, this school uniform Sophie looks much more secure with herself, not at all nervous and timid the way she does on the first cover. Sophie, you’ve come a long, long way! I can’t wait to see how your journey concludes. I have a feeling that I’m going to cry buckets. I’m not ready for this trilogy to be over yet.

Luckily, Rachel Hawkins mentioned on her blog today that we’re not yet done reading about Hex Hall…it’s just Sophie’s journey that’s coming to a close. Plus, we get two books by Rachel next year. Not only will SPELL BOUND be in our greedy little paws, but the first REBEL BELLE novel will debut. I’m already beyond excited for it. The Goodreads summary teases at what's to come and I’ve loved seeing Rachel talk about it on her blog.

And hey, one GOOD thing to come out of a completed trilogy? You know we’re finally going to get the Sophie/Archer action we’ve been craving. Or at least, we can hope!

[And seriously, I hope there’s a cat in this book. Because otherwise, what is UP with the cat on all three covers!?]

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


For two weeks, come celebrate mermaids, whether it’s winter or summer where you live. Splash into Summer runs from June 28th to July 21st. There will be author interviews, guest posts, giveaways, reviews, and more! Now is the time to celebrate mermaids, especially with so many new novels about them coming out.

Today’s Splash post features a look at upcoming novel EVERBLUE, set to be published on July 31st. Isn’t that cover beautiful? I love her hair! *wants* Even cooler? Brenda is a graphic designer and created that gorgeous cover herself!
Tonight, not only has author Brenda Pandos, author of the TALISMAN series stopped by to answer a few questions about her novel, she’s also given us mermaid-lovers a sneak peek at Chapter One. Enjoy!

An interview with Brenda Pandos

Can you tell us a little more about EVERBLUE? What will the novel be about?

Everblue is a story about forbidden love, secrets, and a hidden mer world humans have yet to find. Ash wants her life to change and Fin wants everything to stay the same.

Here’s the synopsis:

Best friends share everything with each other. Or do they? Seventeen-year-old Ashlyn Frances Lanski is tired of her boring, single life. Spending time with her best friend Tatiana, dreaming about kissing Tatiana's twin brother Fin, and swimming competitively are her only sanctuary. The girls plan to leave their drab lakeside town far behind for college. But when Tatchi fails to return home after a family emergency, and no one knows where the family has gone, Ash chooses to do something drastic to find them.

Ashlyn is about to discover what she’d thought to be true her whole life, wasn’t, and the truth, too fantastical to imagine. Secrets lurk beneath the deep blue waters of Lake Tahoe, secrets that will change Ashlyn's life forever.

How did you come up with your idea in the first place? What research went into creating your world?

I read mermaid and water “monster” lore online, and watched quite a few underwater documentaries. I also got input for an Irish character from a friend who lives in Ireland, so he’d be true to life. I’ve been to Tahoe (the setting) many times, so that’s mostly true to life. The internet has answered most all my questions I’d had during writing.

I like how you used underwater elements on land, such as the fact that one of the boys is named Fin and Ashlyn swims competitively. Was it hard balancing the contemporary elements in your novel with the fantastic ones?

Sometimes. This book is a first person, with two POV’s (Ash and Fin). I had an easier time with Fin ‘cause he’s more outgoing and his world is very beautiful and I see it in my mind. Ash’s was a little more difficult because her world is the same boring old high school with typical drama. It’s just not as fun.

What other projects are you working on?

I have to finish my third book from my TALISMAN series, THE ONYX TALISMAN. It’s due out in November (fingers crossed). Then I’m off to write Book 2 of MER TALES.

As a writer, how do you come up with your ideas? What would be a perfect writing day for you?

I’m very imaginative, almost to a fault (hence NO HORROR FILMS for me). Ever since the movie SPLASH, I’ve been a mermaid nut. From ages 5 to 14, I was a competitive swimmer and lived in the water. When my friend taught me to sew, I made my own mermaid tail out of an old coral colored nightgown and swam with it in the pool. It didn’t stay on too well, and no matter what I tried, I couldn’t get the fin to stick up out of the water (straws and staples don’t work). But it was fun anyway. My friend and I even tried to trick the neighbor girls and tell them I was one for real. I’m tempted to have one made just to fulfill that dream.

A perfect day would be to be alone with my computer in a quiet space, or even in the environment of my book and write. With two preschool-aged boys, that’s very hard to achieve without a babysitter.

Ariel gave up her voice to become a human. What would you give up if offered the opportunity to be a mermaid?

Tough question. Of course, that was Ursula’s ultimatum and I’d give my voice up for a day as a mermaid, but a life? Naw. I’d have to give up my family, and I’d never do that. So… I don’t think I would trade anything for it, because actually I’m deathly afraid of sharks (thanks, JAWS). It’s ruined me to the point I won’t even swim alone in a pool. There’s scenes in my book that would absolutely freak me out, like swimming in the dark. No way Jose!

If you could be a mermaid for a day, what would you do?

Swim with the whales and the dolphins. Looked for buried treasure. Flip my fin in the air like I’ve always wanted to do. Sun myself on a secluded beach on a tropical island. And I’d carry a spear just in case I ran into a shark. I hope with super vision and hearing, I’d see them so I could get away quick. Can I have a friend with me? Please?

A Sneak Preview of EVERBLUE by Brenda Pandos

[There is no indentation before each line. Blogger, unfortunately, won't allow it. There will be better spacing in the final version of EVERBLUE!]


She tsked. “What does he want?”
My mouth parched as I caught a glimpse of Tatchi’s twin brother through his windshield. He wore his usual black baseball hat, and looked nothing short of adorable.
“He’s coming here?” My voice cracked.
“Apparently.” She pressed her brows together and looked toward her house. “Let me find out what he wants.”
Fin parked and got out before she could meet up with him.
“Hey, Ash,” he called out with a wave.
My stomach flipped into a knot as I smiled and waved back.
They argued for a minute, but I didn’t catch what about. I stood, trying not to gawk, as I shamelessly adored his broad shoulders and beautiful blonde hair. Under the bill would be his piercing blue eyes fringed with paintbrush lashes—the ones that always melted my knees.
My crush started years ago, right after we’d met when we were ten—right on this beach. With a deep breath, I tried to relax and not dream of a relationship that probably wouldn’t be. As far as I knew, he didn’t think much of me beyond meaningless flirting.
Tatch threw her hands in the air and stormed back in my direction.
“Drama on the home front. I have to go,” she mumbled as she snagged her blanket off the sand. “Sorry.”
“Is everything okay?”
Fin watched us, which made me even more nervous.
“Yeah, it should be fine. I’ll try to call later.” She smiled and gave me a hug. But more of a “I’m leaving for a trip and saying goodbye” tighter kind of hug. I grimaced, unsure what to say.
She left with a sigh and headed toward their house, brushing past Fin without even a look. Once she was out of view, Fin turned and instead of going back to his Jeep, he walked towards me. My pulse quickened.


Ashlyn stood awkwardly as I approached. Her curvy hips and wavy red hair took my breath away. For a moment, I caught her scent and hummed—honeysuckle with just a hint of chlorine from her morning swim. Briefly, I imagined us playing in the water. She’d give me a run for my money in a race.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
Her green eyes darted away. “Not much.”
“Sorry I interrupted—” I pointed towards the imprint of my sister’s towel in the sand.
“Oh,” she said with a gulp and a smile. “It’s okay.”
She pressed her lips together and suddenly all I wanted to do was kiss her right then and there. I took a deep breath and glanced at my feet.
“Is school going good?” I asked, kicking a rock.
“Yeah.” She shrugged and then shot me that look—one with a hint of yearning behind it. I couldn’t help myself. I stepped forward and cupped her cheek. Her skin was soft as a rose petal, but within her eyes I caught my reflection—my very selfish expression.
Her whole life flashed before me. This kiss I desired to give her would change everything—her dreams, her life with her family, her future. Innocent and trusting, she closed her eyes and tilted her chin upward in anticipation anyway. My soul protested, but I did the only thing I could—the responsible thing.
“You’ve got something on your cheek,” I said, wiping my thumb over her skin.
Startled, she opened her eyes and pulled away, her cheeks reddening. “I do?”
I stepped back and grimaced at myself. I was being one of those guys, the jerk who led girls on and toyed with their emotions.
“I’m going to go,” she said, rubbing her hand where I’d touched, and faked a smile. “See ya later.”
She quickly stumbled up the path towards her Grandmother’s house before I could comment, but I heard what she said under her breath. “I’m so stupid.”
I sulked back to the Jeep and slammed the door, hating myself for being such an ass. The only reason I’d come in the first place was to tell Tatch about the meeting we had to attend, not get distracted by Ashlyn’s captivating beauty. And I’d made a complete mess of things.


The first official HUNGER GAMES poster has been revealed—and it’s SMOKING.


There’s no embed code to post straight here, so you’ll have to click this link to see the *animated* poster. I love how the fire is dripping as it forms the image. And I love that the logo is made from fire. Very appropriate, no?

EDIT: Embed code now live:

What are your thoughts?


Rylie's been bitten.

She's changing.

And now she has three months to find a cure before becoming a werewolf... forever.

Rylie Gresham hates everything about summer camp: the food, the fresh air, the dumb activities, and the other girls in her cabin. But the worst part is probably being bitten by a werewolf. Being a teenager is hard enough, but now she's craving raw flesh and struggles with uncontrollable anger. If she doesn't figure out a way to stop the transformation, then at the end of summer, her life is worse than over. She'll be a monster.

From Goodreads

Last week, S.M. Reine popped over to A Backwards Story for a fun interview. about her SEASONS OF THE MOON series. This post is part of the Teen Book Scene Tour. Don’t forget to check out my review next Tuesday, July 19th, as well as all the other blog tour stops this month!

All of you bookworms who have followed my blog for a long time know that I don’t read a lot of paranormal novels, especially when it comes to vampires and werewolves (despite the fact that I was and continue to be a huge BUFFY fan, which features both creatures!). However, when author S.M. Reine contacted me to review her novel SIX MOON SUMMER, I was intrigued by the fact that the synopsis sounded different, and not like all the books keeping me away from the genre. Then, I was contacted about doing a blog tour and decided that this was a sign! At the very least, I knew that all my paranormal-loving readers would enjoy this tale.

Being that I don’t know much about werewolves, it’s possible that the plot is more contrived than I think it is, but to me, it was fresh and interesting. What drew me in the most was the fact that in Reine’s world, werewolves are dangerous creatures, not romantic heroes. They’re not glamorized. If you’re bitten, it’s considered that you’re “Cursed.” Another aspect that really appealed to me was the fact that once bitten, a human doesn’t immediately become a werewolf. Instead, s/he has six moons to slowly shift from his or her old life to the new one. There’s also a legend that there’s a way to overcome the curse and go back to how things were.

SIX MOON SUMMER centers around Riley, a girl sent to summer camp while her parents go through a nasty divorce. She doesn’t fit in and is ostracized by the other campers in her cabin. She’s treated horribly, but also does little to fit in and blend. One night, she’s out on her own and gets bitten by a werewolf. Along with Seth, who comes over from the boy’s camp, she delves into werewolf lore and realizes that there’s a dark legend about how the creatures came to live in the area and turn humans. The truth is more dangerous than she could imagine, and there are people around her who aren’t as they seem. While some of the plot twists are predictable, others are unexpected and create a fast-paced story that will leave readers wanting more at the novel’s conclusion.

If you like paranormal novels with mystery, intrigue, romance, and, yes, werewolves, then this is the perfect book for you. It’s an especially good summer read, whether you’re at the beach, tanning by the pool, or off at camp (though you might get spooked out if reading while camping!).


Fun cover story! S.M. Reine designed this one herself. Doesn’t it look good? I love the title font, its coloring, and the way it’s on an angle. It complements the image well and matches the wolf’s eyes. The wolf, multiple moons, creepy-looking girl, and dark atmosphere end a chilling aspect to the cover and set the scene. This cover is perfectly suited for a paranormal novel.

The author put together a fantastic three-part cover design series on her blog. Check it out to see a detailed process of how a cover is created, from concept to finished copy!