Sunday, June 30, 2013

June Month in Review / July Preview

This past month was heavy on features and thinner on reviews. I didn't have a lot of free time to sit down for a length review. There will be a ton in July to make up for it, though, and at least there were a lot of features to keep you occupied, right?

I also launched a brand-new feature, A Twist in the Tail, which spotlights fairy tales, mythology, classic novel retelling, and more!

I've been doing a lot of prep work for the upcoming event Splash into Summer, which I hope you're as excited about as I am!


*Win 1 of 3 autographed, personalized copies of WHEN YOU WERE HERE by Daisy Whitney!
**Ends tonight!**
*Win 1 copy of THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL by Soman Chainani 
**Ends July 7th**

Check out the following June Blog Tour Schedule for more giveaways!
(Most blog tour stops feature giveaways as well!)

*ARROW OF THE MIST by Christina Mercer {7/4 Review}
*HELLHOUND BORN by Karen Swart {7/22 Cover Reveal}
*OF BEAST AND BEAUTY by Stacey Jay {7/24 Interview}
*HELLHOUND TWISTED by Karen Swart {7/31 TBA}

And of course, SEVERAL authors and bloggers will be stopping by July 8th ~ 20th to take part in Splash into Summer! It's not too late to sign up to participate or grab some banners for your blog!

{All links to Goodreads!}

*Going to start re-read LOST VOICES by Sarah Porter today, then moving on to WAKING STORMS and THE TWICE LOST to complete the series for Splash!


*All sorts of mermaidy things...but I don't want to commit to titles because my stack is still being narrowed down!

When Splash is winding down, I hope to have time to read these review copies:

THE MYTHIC GUIDE TO CHARACTERS: Writing Characters Who Enchant and Inspire by Antonio Del Drago is a non-fiction book on writing.
HERO by Alethea Kontis, MORTAL FIRE by Elizabeth Knox, RECKLESS by Cornelia Funke, CATCH RIDER by Jennifer H .Lyne, BEAUTY by Nancy Ohlin, SCORCHED by Mari Mancusi, and CROWN OF MIDNIGHT by Sarah J. Maas are YA.
COUNTING BY 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan are MG.

[link to my GoodReads account so you can see my blurb feed as I read]
{All links to Goodreads!}

TOTAL: 19 Books! (6 of which were short novellas...)

*ATTACHMENTS by Rainbow Rowell {Adult}
*WHO I KISSED by Janet Gurtler {YA}
*IF I TELL by Janet Gurtler {YA}
*THE TAILOR by Leigh Bardugo {YA Novella}
*THE EXECUTION OF NOA P. SINGLETON by Elizabeth L. Silver {Adult}
*THE WINNER'S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski {YA 2014 Release}
*SWORN TO RAISE by Terah Edun {YA}
*THE TOO-CLEVER FOX by Leigh Bardugo {YA Novella} 
*THE WITCH OF DUVA by Leigh Bardugo {YA Novella} [Re-read]
*STORM by Brigid Kemmerer {YA} [Re-read]
*ELEMENTAL by Brigid Kemmerer {YA Novella} [Re-read]
*SPARK by Brigid Kemmerer {YA} [Re-read]
*FEARLESS by Brigid Kemmerer {YA Novella} [Re-read]
*SPIRIT by Brigid Kemmerer {YA}
*BREATHLESS by Brigid Kemmerer {YA Novella}
*THIS IS WHAT HAPPY LOOKS LIKE by Jennifer E. Smith {Adult}
*AGELESS SEA by M.R. Polish {Adult}
*REVEL by Maurissa Guibord {YA}
{All links to my review!}

*WILD AWAKE by Hilary T. Smith {YA}
*SIEGE AND STORM by Leigh Bardugo {YA} 
*THE TAILOR by Leigo Bardugo {YA Novella} [Flash]
*WHEN YOU WERE HERE by Daisy Whitney{YA}
*SWORN TO RAISE by Terah Edun  {YA}

*{Cover/Title/Synopsis Reveal} INFINITE by Jodi Meadows
*Highlights from BEA, The Children's Breakfast, and the Teen Author Carnival!
*{Cover Reveal} VULTURE by Rhiannon Paille
*{Book Blast/Excerpt/Giveaway} ENDURE by M.R. Merrick
*{Cover Reveal/Excerpt} OF DARKNESS AND CROWNS by Trisha Wolfe
*{Mad About Nails} YAGB Tour Nail Art
*{Trailer Reveal} CROWN OF MIDNIGHT by Sarah J. Maas
*{Cover Reveal} WARRIOR by Ellen Oh
*{Excerpt} EVERSEA by Natasha Boyd
*{Mad About Nails} Superman Nails
*3rd Annual Splash into Summer Invitation: Promo Banners, Guest Post Openings, and more!
*{Cover Reveal} NO ONE ELSE CAN HAVE YOU by Kathleen Hale
New Weekly Feature!
*New Feature: A Twist in the Tail!
*{A Twist in the Tail Interview/Guest Post} Soman Chainani, author of THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL
*{Cover Reveal} LANDLOCKED by Tiffany Daune
*{Interview} Daisy Whitney, WHEN YOU WERE HERE

Friday, June 28, 2013

{Interview/Giveaway} Daisy Whitney, WHEN YOU WERE HERE

Keep reading for your chance to win be 1 of 3 winners to receive your own personalized, autographed hardcover copy of Daisy Whitney's newest novel, WHEN YOU WERE HERE!

Find out more about WHEN YOU WERE HERE by reading my review!

Also check out reviews of Daisy Whitney's fantastic debut novel THE MOCKINGBIRDS and its sequel THE RIVALS!


An interview with 
Daisy Whitney

By day, Daisy Whitney is a reporter and ghostwriter. At night, she writes novels for teens and is the author of THE MOCKINGBIRDS and its sequel THE RIVALS (Little, Brown). Her third novel WHEN YOU WERE HERE released in June 2013 (Little, Brown), and her fourth novel STARRY NIGHTS (Bloomsbury) hits shelves in September 2013. When Daisy's not inventing fictional high school worlds, she can be found somewhere north of San Francisco walking her adorable dog, watching online TV with her fabulous husband or playing with her fantastic kids. A graduate of Brown University, she believes in shoes, chocolate chip cookies and karma. You can follow her writing blog and new media adventures at

Visit Daisy on her website and Twitter!

In WHEN YOU WERE HERE, you'll meet Danny's dog Sandy Koufax and travel around Tokyo, Japan.
Today, sit down with Daisy Whitney to find out more about her love of both dogs and Japan!

The moment you announced that WHEN YOU WERE HERE was going to take place in Japan and be about loss, I immediately hoped to see you slip Hachiko the Dog into your novel. I was so pleased you did. Can you tell readers about why you chose to include Hachiko?

I'm so glad you liked the Hachiko references! He's such an integral part of Tokyo lore that it seemed wrong NOT to include the world's most loyal dog! The story about Hachiko - waiting for his master at the train station after his master died - is also such a lovely symbol about loyalty and love, but also the unconditional love between a dog and a person. When You Were Here is about all kinds of love, and Hachiko had to be a part of the story!
©Daisy Whitney

(Visit Daisy's awesome WHEN YOU WERE HERE playlist as she takes us around Tokyo to all the prominent scenes featured in WHEN YOU WERE HERE!)

Danny has a beautiful relationship with his dog Sandy Koufax. What made you decide to layer the element of a boy and his dog into WHEN YOU WERE HERE?

I love dogs. Plain and simple. I love my dogs, and I love writing about dogs, but I also think the relationship between a person and a dog can be so absolutely vital to one's health, sanity and happiness! Dogs are always happy to see you. Every day is an awesome day for a dog. Dogs require so little and give so much. There's a reason animals can help people through tough times - because they give so much.

Can you tell us a little bit about your dog Violet and the way she inspired you when writing?

She is four years old, a lab-border collie mix, and, much like Sandy Koufax, she is a total furniture dog. She cracks me up when she sleeps on her back on the couch with her legs sticking up!

©Daisy Whitney
Violet with Glasses!
What are your favorite memories of Violet?

So many! She was very sweet from the moment we adopted her, and always a loyal, protective dog. Violet is also the reason I write on a Mac. Shortly after we first adopted her, she chewed the cord on my PC and fried that computer. I switched to a Mac after that.

©Daisy Whitney
Violet as a puppy!
What are Danny's favorite memories of Sandy Koufax?

He likes it when she goes for a swim in the pool. He thinks she looks like a seal in the water.

What's your favorite place to visit in Japan?

Shibuya! I love the energy and neon and shopping there!

What's your favorite type of sushi?

I'm actually a vegetarian! But when I ate fish, I enjoyed tuna and rice.

What's your favorite Japanese drink?

Iced Green tea from a vending machine!

What's your favorite Japanese oddity?

Dog pick-up bags. They have the funniest little sayings like "Do the lid in the smell one!"

©Daisy Whitney
A Fancy Japanese Doggy Poo Bag!
What was your favorite thing about Japan to include in WHEN YOU WERE HERE?

Oh, that's hard to choose! But probably the Shoto Cafe. It's still my favorite cafe in the world!

©Daisy Whitney
Shoto Cafe Sponge Cake

Thank you so much, Daisy!
I always love working with you and am so in love with your books.
Today's interview was so much fun! I loved learning more about your dog Violet and all the Japanese things you love!

O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Daisy Whitney
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown
Received: Purchased

Filled with humor, raw emotion, a strong voice, and a brilliant dog named Sandy Koufax, WHEN YOU WERE HERE explores the two most powerful forces known to man-death and love. Daisy Whitney brings her characters to life with a deft touch and resonating authenticity. 

Danny's mother lost her five-year battle with cancer three weeks before his graduation-the one day that she was hanging on to see. 

Now Danny is left alone, with only his memories, his dog, and his heart-breaking ex-girlfriend for company. He doesn't know how to figure out what to do with her estate, what to say for his Valedictorian speech, let alone how to live or be happy anymore. 

When he gets a letter from his mom's property manager in Tokyo, where she had been going for treatment, it shows a side of his mother he never knew. So, with no other sense of direction, Danny travels to Tokyo to connect with his mother's memory and make sense of her final months, which seemed filled with more joy than Danny ever knew. There, among the cherry blossoms, temples, and crowds, and with the help of an almost-but-definitely-not Harajuku girl, he begins to see how it may not have been ancient magic or mystical treatment that kept his mother going. Perhaps, the secret of how to live lies in how she died.

1 OF 3 

Daisy Whitney would love your help spreading the word about WHEN YOU WERE HERE!
You get bonus entries every time you post one of the following images online on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc. 
along with a caption such as,
"I can't wait to read WHEN YOU WERE HERE by Daisy Whitney!" 

These images all represent moments from WHEN YOU WERE HERE.
They make me miss Japan, too. 

Who wants to take a trip to Tokyo now after all this? ^.~

Harajuku crêpes
Dogs in matching sweaters in Tokyo
Imperial Gardens
Shoto Cafe Sponge Cake
Tea at Tea Ceremony
Enter now!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

{Cover Reveal} LANDLOCKED by Tiffany Daune


Today, we have another official Cover Reveal!

In April, I reviewed SURFACE, Tiffany Daune's debut novel:

Next month for the third annual Splash into Summer,
Tiffany Daune will be stopping by for a visit!

Today, I'd like to share the cover for this summer's upcoming Splashy sequel,

This great cover was created by Fiona Jayde!

I really like the way the model is swimming underwater and facing the camera. You can't tell if there are feet or fins behind her, but you can see a big splash. I also like the small fish around her. This is a very fun cover, in my opinion, and makes me excited for this sequel!

O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Tiffany Daune
Release Date: Out  July 2013
Publisher: Noble Young Adult


As if staying focused in trigonometry wasn't hard enough....Eerie visions are plaguing Theia's mind, driving her insane. Someone or something is reaching out to her, dragging her into a dark underwater world. And, to add to her metal delirium, she has no control over her newly awakened Siren senses. She thinks she can hear her cat's thoughts, she wants to pummel Sarah Collins, and she's trying to keep it together so she doesn't lose her scholarship. She needs someone who understands—someone bound to the ocean water she craves—she needs Luc. But contacting him is risky, and returning to the water a death sentence. She must find a way to harness her Siren senses even though the waves are calling to her. Denying her intended destiny may be the only way to stay alive.
Tiffany Daune doesn't get why people want to grow up or why anyone would ever stop eating candy. Her purse is filled with books, lip gloss and a few pieces of Lego bricks. She writes best with a dish of chocolate chips on hand and finds licorice makes a better straw than plastic. 

She lives on an island and believes mermaids may be raiding her candy stash, thoughshe hasn't caught them, yet. 

SURFACE is her first novel and pairs well with gummy sharks.

Follow Tiffany on her websiteTwitter, and Facebook.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

{A Twist in the Tail Interview/Guest Post/Giveaway} Soman Chainani, author of THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL

Love fairy tales and mythology?
Fans of mermaids, dragons, unicorns, and other mythical creatures?
Enjoy when a beloved classic tale is retold?
A Twist in the Tail Thursdays features all this and more!

Check out today's review of THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL by Soman Chainani!

This is seriously one of the best book trailers I've ever seen, don't you agree?

Just watching it makes you wish a movie was in the works. And since life can truly be a fairy tale, our fairy godmother has made our wish come true! According to a recent press releaseOz the Great and Powerful producer Joe Roth and Universal Pictures have acquired movie rights and book author Soman Chainani will write the screenplay adaptation of his novel. Roth has previously produced Snow White and the Huntsman and is also working on a movie version of Laini Taylor's novel DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE. Rumors state that a movie version of THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL will release in 2015!

An interview with 
Soman Chainani

Soman Chainani is the author of THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL, the first book in the epic fantasy trilogy for Harper Collins that will hit bookstores in Summer 2013. The series will be turned into films by producer Jane Startz (ELLA ENCHANTED, TUCK EVERLASTING), and Soman will pen the scripts for the films with screenwriter Malia Scotch-Marmo (HOOK, ONCE AROUND).

Visit Soman on his website, Twitter, and Facebook!

The idea of a school where students learn how to be "good" and "evil" is so intriguing. How did you come up with the concept?

It’s funny, I started writing THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL about six months before the fairy tale craze started happening in Hollywood and in publishing – and I remember asking myself the same questions everyone is asking now. Why do fairy tales matter so much? Why do we respond so deeply to them in every age? And I think the answer is that they feel like a Survival Guide to Life, no matter what age you are. They present such a clear-eyed view of the world, without Disneyfied happy endings or even the expectation of happy endings. At the end of the Grimms’ stories, kids often end up baked into pies, losing tongues, or being turned into birds, just for making poor decisions. 

So with THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL, I wanted to start in that kind of world with true consequences – and where there is balance between Good or Evil (which is in fact the reality of our world today. Balance might even be called optimistic.) And I wanted to deal with the notion that Good has been winning everything… and what did that mean? Why does Good always win these days in stories? And is that what children really need to learn? 

So just by starting with fundamental questions, I realized I could actually conceive a school around these principles. And so the book begins with the quite provocative idea that every child’s soul fundamentally skews towards Good or Evil, that each child is born inclined to create… or to destroy. 

Which seems quite accurate to me, by the way. To play with this idea, I created the entrance exam to The School for Good and Evil on the book’s website, which tests what percentage of your soul is Good and what percentage of your soul is Evil. Over 8,000 people have taken it so far… and it’s pretty balanced between Evers, or those that skew Good, and Nevers, or those who skew Evil.

How did you put together the school's curriculum? I want to take the classes that are being offered!

There was a real question early on of how serious or comic the classes should be. For instance, should girls in the School for Good take a class on ‘Fainting & Sighing’; should the Evil kids take a class on ‘Villain Monologues’? But it just felt like it would degenerate into spoof, which was the opposite of my intention. I really wanted this to feel like a legitimate school for the Good and Evil of the fairy tale worlds we’ve create in our heads. 

So I just focused on the dichotomies in fairy tales that felt worthy of an intensive curriculum – between animal sidekicks that usually help heroes vs. the crony henchmen that assist villains; between the beautification of princes and princesses vs. the Uglification of villains; and between the idea that heroes pursue good deeds while villains pursue vengeance. I wanted each class to feel like a place you could learn something useful every time we visit it.

How many books are you hoping to have in the series?

Three is what I have outlined. But the world is a massive one and could fill many more. We’ll have to see what the readers want and what I have the stamina for, given I’d still like to make movies.

Someone gives you a key ring and says you can open any door you want, save one. Then they leave you alone with all those keys and doors. What do you do?

The one lesson everyone should learn from the Bluebeard tales is ‘Never marry a man that plays games.’ So yes, having internalized that lesson, I would not under any circumstances open the door that was forbidden. I might have a peek through the keyhole, though. Just because I’m a bit School for Evil.

Your favorite obscure (or less well-known) fairy tale?

What a great question. Best one I’ve been asked in a long time. Does anyone still read Bony Legs by Joanna Cole? What a beautifully written, frightening fairy tale. That one haunted me as a child – and fed my obsession with female villains.

Most overrated fairy tale?

This is sacrilege, but I always found Snow White a bit undercooked. In most versions, she never outwits her stepmother, is repeatedly poisoned, only to be rescued by far more clever dwarves, and at last ends up comatose in a glass coffin until a prince chances upon her. How is she at all a teachable or empathetic character?

This or That?

Seven League Boots or Glass Slippers?

I’d personally want the Seven League Boots, but glass slippers play a big role in S.G.E, so let’s say this is a close one.

Talking Birds or Talking Mice?

Goodness, both of these are in S.G.E. also. But talking birds tend to have more personality.

Prince or pauper?

I’m a bit high maintenance, so let’s say prince, provided he isn’t a stuffed shirt.

Hans Christian Andersen or the Brothers Grimm?

Hans Christian Andersen stories tend to be more intense and emotional. But the Grimms stories have the horror, which I love.
teachable or empathetic character?

Would You Rather. . . ?

Ride in a pumpkin carriage (sticky) or climb a hair-rope (tiring) to get where you're going?

In the Groom Room, a medieval spa and gym for the Good students, the boys have climbing walls with ropes made of blond-hair. So definitely, that’s my choice, since I’ve already fully integrated them into my story! (Plus, sitting for long periods of time makes me irritated.)

Face 3 Billy Goats Gruff or 3 Bears from Goldilocks?

Those three bears seem quite reasonable – and appear to keep a very organized house.

Drink an Alice-ish "Drink Me" potion or eat part of a witch's gingerbread house?

Eating any portion of a house that’s left to rot in the sun day after day can be pleasurable or healthy. I’d probably drink the “Drink Me” potion in the hopes it’d add 50 pounds of muscle on me.

Thanks for running such a wonderful blog! Hope you all enjoy the book and don’t be shy about letting me know your thoughts. Visit for tour dates, photos, video trailers, fan art and more surprises in the months ahead.

by Soman Chainani

I’ve been obsessed with fairy tales as long as I can remember. I find myself simultaneously thrilled and terrified by them, at once lured by their innocence and taken by their honesty. No child is safe in a fairy tale. You can end up marrying your prince. You can lose your tongue. You can be baked into a pie. In brief, brutal tales, these storytellers give us romance, adventure, action, comedy, horror. They make us laugh and weep – and most importantly, teach us the lessons of life.

In recent years, fairy tale mash-ups, retellings, and revisions have become popular, but I had my sights set on something more primal: a new fairy tale, just as unleashed and unhinged as the old, that found the anxieties of today’s children. To acknowledge the past – the alumni of the genre, so to speak – and move on to a new class. That was the goal.

Perhaps most of all, I wrote THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL because of my irrepressible love for female villains. Though only seven of Disney’s fifty-three animated features have them, these are the ones we remember the most: Ursula, MaleficentCruella de Vil  Snow White’s Queen, among them. What is it that makes a wicked woman so delicious? What makes her so much scarier than a man? Here are questions worth years of my life. Questions worthy of a trilogy.

And as I began to explore this brand new school, filled in by the lightest and darkest parts of my imagination, I began to see that the witch is nothing without the princess.  We put them in opposition, expecting one to win out, but never give them the chance to live each other’s lives. What would happen then? For at their heart, in their search for identity and security, for happiness outside of themselves, for a life worth living…

Aren’t a princess and a witch the same?

Thank you so much, Soman!
I loved seeing a little bit about the inspiration behind S.G.E.! 
I had so much fun reading all of your responses ^_^
I adored the book and can't wait to read its sequels and see the upcoming movie!
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Soman Chainani
Release Date: May 14, 2013
Publisher: HarperCollins
Received: For Review

“The first kidnappings happened two hundred years before. Some years it was two boys taken, some years two girls, sometimes one of each. But if at first the choices seemed random, soon the pattern became clear. One was always beautiful and good, the child every parent wanted as their own. The other was homely and odd, an outcast from birth. An opposing pair, plucked from youth and spirited away.” 

This year, best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to discover where all the lost children go: the fabled School for Good & Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains. As the most beautiful girl in Gavaldon, Sophie has dreamed of being kidnapped into an enchanted world her whole life. With her pink dresses, glass slippers, and devotion to good deeds, she knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and graduate a storybook princess. Meanwhile Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone, seems a natural fit for the School for Evil. 

But when the two girls are swept into the Endless Woods, they find their fortunes reversed—Sophie’s dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School For Good, thrust amongst handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication.. But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are…? 

THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL is an epic journey into a dazzling new world, where the only way out of a fairy tale is to live through one.

You can win your own copy of 
right now!

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