Blog Tour: Silvern by Christina Farley (Top Five List + Giveaway)

Silvern banner
Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the Silvern Blog Tour! Today, I’m pleased to share a Top Five List with you. First, here’s the cover and synopsis:

SILVERN final cover
Title: Silvern
Author: Christina Farley
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release date: September 23, 2014

Jae Hwa Lee has destroyed Haemosu, the dangerous demi-god that held her ancestors captive, and now she’s ready to forget about immortals and move on with her life. Then the god of darkness, Kud, sends an assassin to kill her. Jae escapes with the knowledge that Kud is seeking the lost White Tiger Orb, and joins the Guardians of Shinshi to seek out the orb before Kud can find it.

But Kud is stronger and more devious than Haemosu ever was. Jae is soon painfully reminded that by making an enemy of Kud, she has placed her closest friends in danger, and must decide how much she can bear to sacrifice to defeat one of the most powerful immortals in all of Korea.


Amazon | Books-A-Million | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble

And now, here is a list of Christina’s Top five places to visit in North Korea, based on Silvern. Enjoy!

1. Kuryong Falls (Nine Dragons Waterfall)

This waterfall is one of the sacred places of the Koreas. It’s beautiful, not just for its plunge of 74 meters (272 feet), but it’s also in a sacred area. Above, there is a platform, the Kuryong Pavilion, that has a great view for picture taking, and it’s also where Marc finds a secret message. Legends speak of nine dragons that once inhabited Kuryong Lake, the pool at the foot of the falls. These dragons insured the mountain was safe. Why? Read SILVERN to find out!

Here’s a great site for pictures.

2. Mount Kumgang

This mountain is also called Diamond Mountain and is well-known in Korean art due to its jagged peaks and unusual formations. Its name actually changes with the seasons, but tourists simply call it Mount Kumgang. There are many interesting stone formations made from granite and diorite, rigorous hikes, temples, and gorgeous views.

Check out this picture of Mount Kumgang!

3. Mount Kumgang Tourist Region

This is the region where most of the North Korean scenes in SILVERN take place. It was opened to tourists until July 11, 2008 when a 53-year-old South-Korean tourist was shot and killed while walking on the resort’s beach. Perhaps someday the border between North and South Korea will once again be reopened, but until then, only medical relief workers and government authorized personal are allowed.

Click here for the full archive of the events in this tourist region.

4. Kumgangsan Culture Center

This center once held ninety-minute cultural shows for tourists of gymnastics, dance, and acrobatics. In SILVERN, tensions begin to rise while Jae is watching this show.

Here’s a great picture of this center.

5. Demilitarized Zone

In order to cross from South Korea into North Korea, you have to go through the demilitarized zone, also coined DMZ. Although this feat is nearly impossible these days, especially for Americans. Basically the DMZ is a strip of land that separates the two countries. When I visited the DMZ, I couldn’t help but notice the tension and high alert simmering beneath the quiet zone.

An interesting note is that the DMZ is one of the best preserved temperate habitats in the world. Amazingly, within this landmined region and fortified fences live extremely rare animals such as the red-crowed crane, white-napped crane, Korean tiger, Amur leopard, and Asiatic black bear.

This picture shows the road that Jae and her friends would have taken from their entry point into North Korea.

Finally, we’ve got an amazing giveaway for you! Please fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter:

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Author Christina FarleyAbout Christina
CHRISTINA FARLEY, author of Gilded was born and raised in upstate New York. As a child, she loved to explore, which later inspired her to jump on a plane and travel the world. She taught at international schools in Asia for ten years, eight of which were in the mysterious and beautiful city of Seoul, Korea that became the setting of Gilded. Currently she lives in Clermont, FL with her husband and two sons—that is until the travel itch whisks her off to a new unknown. Gilded is her first novel. For more details, check out her website at Christina holds a master’s degree in education and has taught for eighteen years. She is represented by Jeff Ourvan of Jennifer Lyons Literary.

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Blog Tour: Vanished from Dust by Shea Norwood (Excerpt + Giveaway)

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Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the Vanished from Dust Tour! Today, I’m pleased to share an excerpt from the book with you. First, here’s the cover and synopsis:



Eric Stark is not insane. Or at least he doesn’t think so. He wishes everyone in Dust, Texas, felt the same way. But that’s not going to happen since the whole town thinks he’s crazy. Why didn’t he keep his mouth shut?

No one understands. Eric is alone as he battles his sanity in a town of tormenters. Suddenly a new friendship emerges after the new kid, Kyle Barrett, moves to town.
Eric reluctantly reveals his secret. Is it a curse or a gift? He isn’t certain, but with Kyle by his side he finds the courage to seek the truth.

They soon realize that something sinister is descending on the residents of Dust.
Is it caused by Eric’s phantoms or is it something else? Is it connected to the mysterious death of hundreds of townspeople over sixty years ago? One thing is certain—only Eric and Kyle can save them.

They set out on a heart-pounding adventure and find themselves transported to a disturbed and deserted version of their small southern town. They quickly discover that this new world has mysteries of its own to uncover. What they find could prove more than they bargained for, and it only leads to more questions. Eric and Kyle must face a horrifying fact—they may never get out alive.

“We’re gonna die here,” Kyle muttered.

“I don’t believe that,” Eric said. “And neither do you.”

Will they survive their encounter with these dark and mysterious beings?

Will they find a way back home?

Or will they be lost forever?

The Vanished from Dust series is perfect for anyone who craves a hair-raising thriller packed with mystery and suspense. This paranormal story for young adults can be compared to Stand by Me, mixed with Odd Thomas, and a twist of The Dark Tower.

Goodreads | Amazon

And now here is the excerpt. Enjoy!


“I’m not crazy,” Eric Stark shouted at the crowd of seventh graders as they surrounded him. He looked up from the ground, which consisted of patches of grass and dirt, to see the sunlight glinting off of the metal braces of a girl with pigtails as she pointed and laughed with the rest of them. Another boy kicked him in the stomach, causing him to retreat into a fetal position to guard against another blow.

“Oh yeah?” Greg Coffey asked as he towered over Eric. His lip was curled, showing his crooked, heavily stained teeth. “What happened last week in class? You said, ‘They’re watching me.’ Remember that, loser?”

“I didn’t say that.” Eric tried to get up, but Greg pushed him back down and kicked dirt in his face. Eric rubbed his burning eyes with both hands. When he opened them he saw four more kids sneering over him, all laughing at his expense. Where was a teacher when you needed one? The hot Texas sun was high on the horizon, almost blinding him as he stared back at his tormentors. Sweat was pouring from his brow, mixing with the tears that streamed down his face.

“Yeah you did,” Adam Marshall said with a smirk. “You’re going off the rails,
crazy train.”

“I like that—crazy train. Just like the song,” Greg said. He laughed and gave Adam
a high five. “That’s your new name. Like it?” Greg kicked another pile of dirt at Eric. Eric tried to spit it out, but his entire face was covered in a muddy film. He
wished that he’d just kept his mouth shut about it, but it was too late now. News traveled fast in a small town, and he was sure everyone thought he was insane by now.

He didn’t know what he was.

“Leave him alone,” a kid said. He leaned over to help Eric to his feet. “I don’t like

“Stay out of it, new kid.” Greg said and gave him a scowling stare.

“Or what?” The kid got closer.

“Let’s go,” Adam said. “There’s a teacher coming.” He slapped Greg on the

“This ain’t over,” Greg said as he walked away. “Thanks,” Eric said.

“I’m Kyle Barrett,” the kid said, extending his hand.

Eric shook it. “Did you just move here?”

“Yeah, this is my first day,” Kyle said. “It’s hard being the new kid. No one talks to

“No one talks to me either, except to make fun of me,” Eric said.

Six months after the dirt-­‐kicking incident, Eric and Kyle had turned from strangers
into fast friends. But everyone else still thought Eric was crazy. Even now, he
couldn’t be sure if they were right or wrong.

He only knew one thing—he hadn’t actually seen them in several months. So was
it all in his head? His mom always told him time heals all wounds. But this wound

was more like a cut that never healed. It festered in the eyes of everyone in Dust, Texas. He was just a mentally defective kid who barely deserved their pity.
He was in the eighth grade now, and he tried to put those troubled years behind
him. It seemed that most of his classmates felt the same way, but a select few never grew tired of reminding him of his sanity (or lack thereof) and demeaning nickname from time to time.

Eric looked up at the clock. The second hand moved in a slow, agonizing speed
before the bell rang loudly, reverberating throughout the building.

“Finally,” he said quietly to himself. The sound of the bell signified the end of the school week, and he was happy to hear it. It was only the week after Thanksgiving and he was already looking forward to summer break. He scrambled down the stairs and out the heavy double doors. Kyle Barrett waited at the foot of the steps wearing a tucked-­‐in red polo. They had been inseparable ever since Kyle had stood up for him that day.

He didn’t stop when he got outside, taunting Kyle to a footrace. Kyle ran hard to catch up after seeing Eric dart by. Kyle was five months older, but for the time being they were both still fourteen, and they were often thought of as brothers due to
their similar appearances. Both of the boys had dark-­‐brown hair, chestnut-­‐colored eyes, and olive skin. But Kyle was broader in the shoulders compared to Eric’s slender frame.

“Bet I can beat you to the car,” Eric yelled.

“No way,” Kyle said as he raced ahead of Eric.

Eric wasn’t going down without a fight, so he ran harder while dodging several students loitering outside the school. He was closing the distance when he tripped, scattering his books across the parking lot. A group of girls standing on the sidewalk giggled as he got to his feet and gathered his things and what little dignity he had left. Kyle made it to the car and pointed at Eric, laughing. “You busted big time,” Kyle said.

“You got lucky. If I hadn’t tripped I would’ve beat you,” Eric replied.

“Yeah right, you’ll never beat me.”

Jean, Kyle’s mother, rolled down the car window. She had a cigarette hanging from her lip. Eric watched as the smoke drifted out the window and disappeared into the wind.

“Can I spend the night at Eric’s house tonight?” Kyle blurted out, still breathing

Eric was standing anxiously next to the car, waiting for her reply. He bent over to rub his knee. He was pretty sure he’d scraped it hard enough to draw blood. He looked back to see if the girls were still watching him. They were on the sidewalk waiting for their rides but apparently had found a more interesting topic to discuss since they were no longer looking at him.

“Did Eric’s mom say it was all right?” Jean asked. She flicked her ash out of the window and took another drag. She had dry, ashy-­‐brown hair, along with a pair of large-­‐rimmed glasses that draped over her hazel eyes. She wore a simple mauve-­‐ colored T-­‐shirt and blue jeans.

Kyle’s little sister, Katie, and older brother, Ben, were sitting in the backseat. Katie Barrett, the youngest of the family, had wavy dirty-­‐blonde hair that looked like a poodle’s fur. Ben was Kyle’s older brother.

“She is okay with it,” Kyle said.

“Yeah, we asked last period,” Eric added.

“Well if she doesn’t mind, then it’s fine with me,” Jean said. She took her huge glasses off, wiped the lenses with her shirt, and put them back on. “Kyle, do you still have your bike at Eric’s?”

“It should be there.” Kyle eyed Eric for confirmation, and he nodded.

Eric looked in the backseat and saw Ben picking his nose with no shame. He thought about pointing it out but quickly decided against it. It was only a couple of weeks ago that Eric had narrowly escaped getting his head dipped in the toilet by him at the high school football game, so it was best that he kept a little distance for now. If it hadn’t been for the school principal walking in during the act he would have had the unfortunate opportunity of seeing a close-­‐up view of the inside of the toilet bowl.

“Dammit Ben. Don’t pick your nose and throw boogers in my car,” Jean

Ben looked up and replied, “I’m not picking my nose Mom.”

“Katie, did you see him picking?” Jean asked.

“No ma’am. I didn’t see anything,” Katie said. Eric was fairly certain that she had
in fact seen her older brother pick a fairly large booger, methodically roll it into a neat ball, and then flick it onto the floor of the car, but she probably knew that it was much wiser to keep her mouth shut.

Jean turned and gave Ben a stern look before turning back to look at Kyle. “Y’all
be good now.”

Kyle and Eric nodded in near unison as she rolled up the window and pulled out
of the school parking lot.

And, last but not least, we have an epic giveaway for you guys! To enter, fill out the Rafflectoper below!

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Shea Norwood newAbout Shea:
Shea Norwood is an emerging author and native of West Texas that currently lives in the DFW area with his wife and son.He was drawn to writing at an early age and recently rekindled this passion after dusting off a decade-old manuscript, titled Vanished from Dust. The fictional town of Dust is loosely based on a small town south of Odessa, TX.

When he’s not writing, Shea loves to spend time with this family, read, and is a frequent globetrotter. His travels have taken him to France, the United Kingdom, Japan, Italy, Germany, and Mexico.Shea writes Young Adult Fantasy/Paranormal/Mystery

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Blog Tour: Maid of Deception by Jennifer McGowan (Excerpt + Giveaway)

Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the Maid of Deception Blog Tour! Today, I’m pleased to share an excerpt from the book with you. First, here’s the cover and synopsis:

MoD CoverElizabethan glamour and intrigue abound in this heart­pounding follow­-up to Maid of Secrets, which Kirkus Reviews called “lively and fast­paced” with “plenty of action and plot twists.”

Love may be the most dangerous weapon of all.

Beatrice Knowles is a Maid of Honor, one of Queen Elizabeth I’s secret protectors. Known for her uncanny ability to manipulate men’s hearts, Beatrice has proven herself to be a valuable asset in the Queen’s court—or so she thinks. It has been three weeks since the Maids thwarted a plot to overthrow the Queen, and Beatrice is preparing to wed her betrothed, Lord Cavanaugh. However, her plans come to a crashing halt as rumors of a brewing Scottish rebellion spread among the court.

Beatrice’s new assignment is to infiltrate the visiting Scottish delegation using her subtle arts in persuasion. The mission seems simple enough, until the Queen pairs Beatrice with the worst of the lot—Alasdair MacLeod. Beatrice cannot help but think that the Queen is purposefully setting her up for failure. But Alasdair could be the key to unlocking the truth about the rebellion…and her heart. Caught in a web of ever­more­twisting lies, Beatrice must rise up among the Maids of Honor and prove what she’s known all along: in a court filled with deception and danger, love may be the deadliest weapon of all.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Also in the Maids of Honor series: MAID OF SECRETS by Jennifer McGowan!

And now here’s the excerpt!

Excerpt: A stolen kiss

“Beatrice!” Alasdair was in front of me now. I could see him as if I were outside myself, watching him take my shoulders, watching him shake me, hard. But the images in my head blocked out what I was seeing in this moment, my mother’s quiet surrender and my father’s bleak scowls, the laughter of the children around us like a shielding cloak to the poison that was held within our tiny family, with no boys to carry on my father’s name and a mother who was but a shell and—

“Beatrice!” came the shout. “Beatrice, my love, come back to me!”

I heard Alasdair’s pleading voice, but I couldn’t fight my way back. It was as if the shroud of the past decade and more of my life had been stripped away, baring for me the truths that I had never allowed myself to see. I felt myself dropping into darkness when Alasdair’s hands suddenly seemed to spasm on my shoulders, and he hauled me up close, pulling me onto my tiptoes as his head bent and his mouth branded itself onto mine.

Heat exploded within me. I gave a little cry. Then my arms were around him and I felt his hands at my back and head, cradling me into him even as he pressed me so closely against his body that it seemed that the two of us had become one. This was not the courtly kiss I had allowed to keep the English nobles at my beck and call. This was not even the stolen embrace at the close of a dance or in the tapestry-lined antechambers of a darkened Queen’s castle. And this certainly wasn’t the lecherous advances I’d endured from men of every stripe who’d thought to transgress a step too far in their wooing of me, before I could break away and put them in their place.

These kissed were nothing like that. They were primal and real, made of fire and soul and spirit, and I found my every horrible memory burned away with the flames now stoked within me, a surge of heat seeming to fuse my bones together with a strength I had never known. Alasdair’s hands held my face now as if he were afraid to break me but even more afraid to let me go. And yet he kissed me still, raining soft touches upon me in benediction—my forehead, my eyes, my cheeks, and then my mouth. Then drawing his lips down farther still with a ragged groan, along my jaw and into the sensitive hollow of my neck, my own desperate gasps seeming to drive the breath from his very body. He trembled violently against me, and when he raised his gaze to mine, I was seared anew by the emotion burning within his eyes. “Beatrice,” he said brokenly. “Don’t ever leave me like that again.”

Finally, we’ve got an amazing giveaway for you! The prize? A $25 Gift Card to Amazon or B&N (winner’s choice) and a Grand Prize “Queen for a Day” Spa Kit! To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below:

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AuthorPhoto-1About the Author:
Jennifer McGowan was born in Ohio, grew up in Montana, and studied in Paris. She fell in love with the Elizabethan era as a college student and is now an unrepentant scholar of that period, happily splitting her time between the past and present. An RWA Golden Heart Award winner and multiple finalist, Jenn is the author of the Maids of Honor series, which currently includes Maid of Secrets (2013), the novella A Thief Before Christmas, and the forthcoming novel Maid of Deception (2014). She lives and writes in Ohio.

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Want to get to know Jennifer better? Check out this exclusive interview!

Review: Six Feet Over It by Jennifer Longo (Blog Tour)

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Six Feet Over It by Jennifer Longo (Blog Tour)Six Feet Over It by Jennifer Longo
Published by Random House on August 26, 2014
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

Home is where the bodies are buried.

Darkly humorous and heart-wrenchingly beautiful, Jennifer Longo’s YA debut about a girl stuck living in a cemetery will change the way you look at life, death, and love.

Leigh sells graves for her family-owned cemetery because her father is too lazy to look farther than the dinner table when searching for employees. Working the literal graveyard shift, she meets two kinds of customers:

Pre-Need: They know what’s up. They bought their graves a long time ago, before they needed them.

At Need: They are in shock, mourning a loved one’s unexpected death. Leigh avoids sponging their agony by focusing on things like guessing the headstone choice (mostly granite).

Sarcastic and smart, Leigh should be able to stand up to her family and quit. But her world’s been turned upside down by the sudden loss of her best friend and the appearance of Dario, the slightly-too-old-for-her grave digger. Surrounded by death, can Leigh move on, if moving on means it’s time to get a life?

Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the Six Feet Over It blog tour! Today, I’m sharing with you my review of this young adult coming-of-age story. Enjoy!

Six Feet Over It was a quirky, if not slightly morbid, book about a young girl growing up – and learning important life lessons – in a cemetery. Surrounded by death all day, everyday, Leigh has to learn to cope with life’s many challenges, shocks and surprises (both pleasant and unpleasant).

Leigh was an odd character and it took me awhile to get inside her head, though I never completely did. She’s slightly younger than I realized when I first started reading – just 14-years-old at the start of the book, 16-years-old by the end. Leigh starts out sounding and feeling very young. She takes what life gives her and goes through the motions of day-to-day chores and activities. Leigh has little to no character development for the majority of the book. Then, suddenly, she wakes up one day and – BAM! Her whole outlook on life has changed. She makes things right with everyone, standing up to her father and apologizing to those she wronged. It was a little jarring, if not desperately needed.

I really didn’t connect with Dario. Though his relationship with Leigh was completely platonic (at least in his mind.. She may have thought otherwise at some moments..), it was still a bit odd to see their interactions, with him being five years older than her. He taught her a lot about life and death, though, and helped her cope with so many things. He encourages her to stand up to her parents, to embrace new friendships. In the long run, he helped her learn some valuable lessons. But what he asked of her in the end? It was stupid and dangerous and he never should have asked that of a young girl.

I couldn’t stand Kai. I know she went through a lot. I feel bad about that. But all she does is whine, sigh and cry until she gets her way. Her attitude, on several occasions, resulted in Wade and Meredith (aka mom and dad) forcing more responsibility upon Leigh, responsibility she shouldn’t havet had to bear the weight of alone. Kai was the big sister, but she never acted the part.

I really, really loved Elanor. There was something about her that made me want to root for her. She was brave and strong, kind in ways Leigh was not in the beginning. She reminded me of a girl I knew in elementary school – one I had a falling out with, something I still regret after all these years. Despite Elanor’s odd upbringing, she was more sure of herself and more confident than Leigh. She knew how to stand up for herself and I admired her for that. I’m really happy with the way her story ended.

I couldn’t stand Wade and Meredith. If there’s a Worst Parent of the Year Award, it would be a tie between these two. Though if push came to shove, Wade would win it. Meredith kind of redeemed herself a little bit in the end. Wade was never fair to Leigh. He saddled her with so much responsibility, forced her to handle certain situations that she should NOT have had to handle. Wade, as the adult – as the one who decided to buy the cemetery – should have done more than he did.

A big issue I had with this book was the writing style. It took me awhile to get used to it. It was very choppy, with short, jerky sentences and incomplete thoughts. I didn’t like it at first, though I got used to it after awhile. It slowly blended with Leigh’s voice and character. Another thing I had an issue with is the timeline. The timeline moved freakishly fast and with little to no logic. One second it was fall and Leigh’s birthday, then suddenly it was summer then, out of nowhere, winter. Then summer again, then fall and back to Leigh’s birthday. I will say that this allowed the book to come full circle, which allowed for more closure. But it wasn’t a logical jump and it really threw me off.

Though Leigh’s character development was late in the story and very abrupt, she still did learn some important lessons that allowed her to see the error of her ways and mature in the end. The plot was unique and intriguing. It allows the reader to process the idea of death and change in a safe, comfortable way. It teaches the reader that death doesn’t have to be the end, change doesn’t have to be scary and life does go on after the loss of a loved one.

Overall, though Six Feet Over It didn’t wow me as I’d hoped it would, it was still an enjoyable book, flaws and all. I definitely recommend it to the 13-16 age group, though older readers might also appreciate it. I think it’s safe to say that we can expect great things from Jennifer Longo and I’m still definitely excited for her next book, whatever it may be about.


2014 Debut Author Bash: Jennifer Longo (Interview + Giveaway)

2014 debut authors bash banner
Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the 2014 Debut Author Bash! I’m so excited to be hosting Jennifer Longo, author of Six Feet Over It (August 26th 2014 by Random House Books for Young Readers). Today, I’m pleased to share with you an interview with Jennifer. First, here’s the awesome cover and synopsis:

Six Feet Over ItHome is where the bodies are buried.

Darkly humorous and heart-wrenchingly beautiful, Jennifer Longo’s YA debut about a girl stuck living in a cemetery will change the way you look at life, death, and love.

Leigh sells graves for her family-owned cemetery because her father is too lazy to look farther than the dinner table when searching for employees. Working the literal graveyard shift, she meets two kinds of customers:

Pre-Need: They know what’s up. They bought their graves a long time ago, before they needed them.

At Need: They are in shock, mourning a loved one’s unexpected death. Leigh avoids sponging their agony by focusing on things like guessing the headstone choice (mostly granite).

Sarcastic and smart, Leigh should be able to stand up to her family and quit. But her world’s been turned upside down by the sudden loss of her best friend and the appearance of Dario, the slightly-too-old-for-her grave digger. Surrounded by death, can Leigh move on, if moving on means it’s time to get a life?

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

And now here’s the interview!

Question: Describe your book in ten words or less – But avoid using the words in the title and the word “death.” Go!
Answer: How to ask for help and accept it.

Question: Why a graveyard? In what ways does the setting aid the plot? The character development?
Answer: Six Feet Over It is set in a graveyard mostly because my parents bought our town cemetery when I was 12 years old, and the time I spent working and hanging out there presented more story ideas faster than I could ever put them down.

The story I was interested in writing was one about a young person learning to let herself rely on other people, when she’s been repeatedly taught not to all her life. The cemetery felt like the perfect setting for both character and plot because it is a confined place that is almost always viewed (by Americans anyway) as an ending, a desolate place of loss. What a challenge then, for this to be the place where Leigh blossoms; where she must strain not only against the confines of her own fear of death and guilt but also her fear of being physically trapped, living in the graveyard separated from the ‘regular’ world.

For Leigh, it feels like a punishment. She isolates herself while outside her window, people love and are loved, they mourn without being mocked and she watches it all and wants so badly to figure out how to live that way. The cemetery breaks her heart and is her doom – then ends up being her absolute joy and freedom. It is her destiny, as she suspects, but for a beautiful reason rather than the seemingly inevitable and sad reason she dreads.

Question: What life lessons can be learned from dealing with death (both pertaining to your character specifically and your readers generally)?
Answer:For the characters in the book, there are several aspects of death involved – near death, violent death, child death, typical-old-person-in-your-sleep-death, death of strangers, death of family, death of friends, death as a business, death as a livelihood – and each of these kinds of death present their own unique lesson. For our main character, Leigh, her deal is that she experiences all these kinds, as a participant and as an observer, in a really short amount of time, and she’s a kid. She’s never been allowed to mourn so much as a scraped knee or broken bone without being mocked, so she’s got a blank slate as far as lesson-learning via death goes.

Dealing with death in real life teaches one to accept and grapple with mortality – it presents the realization that life as we currently experience it cannot last forever. So, does that realization make you terrified to ever leave the house lest you die, which ironically robs you of life before yours is over? Does it make you be all YOLO and take stupid chances and be selfish? Is being sad about death simply self indulgence? Or, as Leigh learns from the gravedigger Dario, can death be the gift of a new beginning; a chance to experience the unknown? The way one feels about death, Leigh learns, really colors the way a person lives their life. And that perception can change. These all seem like very run-of-the-mill lessons that most people already have a handle on, but for Leigh, it is all brand new information to navigate. And having to navigate it all in a graveyard? Come on! This book should be sub-titled “Someone Needs To Call CPS!”

Question: SIX FEET OVER IT is a very catchy title. Who thought of it? How accurately does it describe the plot of the book?
Answer: My editor, Chelsea Eberly at Random House, came up with the title. Sometimes it felt like every person who worked at Random House and Folio Literary was helping to figure it out. (“Hey, Dave from the night cleaning crew says to say “How about When Graves Talk. No? Okay.”) It was a really difficult book to title because of the dark nature of the subject, which is then given a pretty funny treatment. At Need was the original title, and my agent and I still refer to it as that, as our journey with that title has encompassed years. But it needed to be something that reflected the very present dark humor without being corny or too flippant. Six Feet Over It gives the teenaged, completely-empty-of-any-more-patience feel of Leigh’s state of mind, while simultaneously providing a very clear picture of where we are and what the book is about. I think it’s the perfect title, and when Chelsea thought of it my agent (Melissa Sarver White at Folio Literary) and I were incredibly relieved and happy.

Question: Craziest thing you’ve had to Google for a work in progress?
Answer: Um. Well, “Size of bone fragments in cremation urn – human” and more recently “Hair stylist median income in Antarctica – Winter Over Only” Good stuff, Interwebs! Also, no parental lock can ever keep up, porn was in both those image searches! (Do NOT do it, get back to your homework, Kids!)

Question: What books would you recommend to a reader who loves your book, and wants to read something similar?
Answer: A book (s) readers may enjoy if they like mine are all favorites of mine as a tyke! Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume, A Summer To Die by Lois Lowery and Bridge To Terrabithia by Katherine Patterson. Get yourself some Xanax and read them all. Gorgeous, beautiful writers and incredible life-changing stories. Oh, and a contemporary book that is along the same lines is Suzy Vitello’s The Moment Before. This girl’s sister dies in a cheerleading accident – cheerleading! – and she must navigate the world without her, and find her own place in it. It is written so beautifully it makes me jealous and I can hardly stand it. You’ll love it!

Question: Name one book you read within the last six months and STILL can’t stop thinking about.
Answer: Two are fighting for attention every day in my mind. I’m going to have to go with E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars. If you’ve read it you’re already nodding. Also, Karen Finneyfrock’s Starbird Murphy and The World Outside. It just came out and I’m telling you, it’s about a girl raised on a commune who then gets a job as a waitress in Seattle – yeah. It’s as good as the premise. Karen Finneyfrock is an actual poet, like for real, for her job – and it shows. It’s another book that makes me jealous of the writing. Amazing YA. Karen. You jerk.

Question: What has been the hardest part of the publishing process so far? The best part?
Answer: The hardest part about publishing so far has been the crushing mood swings of total self-deprecation and adulation caused by rejections and spec revisions requested by agents and editors. I majored in acting all through under grad and grad school till I changed to playwriting, I’ve acted my whole life and have been scrutinized and criticized for really embarrassing things, personal attacks, and I thought I had the thickest skin on the planet. Then I tried to write and sell a book. It really wears on one’s psyche to go from one hour – sometimes one minute – to the next alternatively thinking, “I am writing such a beautiful book!” and then “Oh God who do I think I am, this is embarrassing, readers will hate this, why am I even attempting this I am not a real writer, real writes will never stop laughing at me!” then back to “Oh, I am a genius!” and of course rounding the hour out with a nice, “I am a complete hack.” It was amazing to slowly learn to filter out the criticism that was subjective and not helpful in a certain situation, and to embrace the objective critical advice from people who know how books are written and marketed. I have since learned that all writers go through this. All. If they say they don’t they are liars. Or they are Stephen King and they write genius in their sleep. Oh also, the lesson of ignoring the sad trolls on Goodreads and Amazon? That was a good one.

The best part has been meeting so many agents, editors, authors I’ve admired for years – and finding out what their jobs actually involve, discovering they are all real people, and that 99% of them are hilarious, smart, kind, and most of all THEY NEVER STOP WORKING. That’s the best. Everyone at Random House and Folio Literary seem to be reachable at any hour on just about any day, like I’ve called to leave messages to ask Dumb Question number 8,232 – and someone picks up, ready to help, and scares the crap out of me! I’ve hung up in a panic! These people absolutely love books more than anyone in the world and want, also more than anything in the world, to find and help bring wonderful stories to readers. There are few more noble pursuits in the world to my mind, and getting to work with the people I’ve met has been just – it’s a dream come true. That is cornball but honest.

Question: What’s your favorite part of the writing process?
Answer: My favorite part of the writing process is the first revision. The draft has been banged out, I know where the story is going, and now I’m armed with an editorial letter and notes from my agent and readers I trust, and I get to carve the path with all the twists and turns to get where the story needs to be. It is magical, and this is when I will often get all goosey while I’m typing and my hands sweat and I think, “Ooooh got it, yes, that is funny, that is sad, that’s it exactly!” It is so fun. First draft clay sculpted into a work of revision-ready art. Delicious!

Question: Are you working on anything new?
Answer: The WIP I’m revising for my editor is a novel about a ballerina in San Francisco who discovers, too late, that her body will never do what it needs to in order for her to become a professional dancer. Her entire life, it seems, has been moving toward the wrong end. And she kind of loses her sizzle and decides the best thing to do is go to Antarctica to Winter Over. I love this story and I hope it turns into something readers will, as well. It’s been nice to get out of the graveyard and onto some ice.

Jennifer LongoAbout Jennifer:
Jennifer Longo’s debut novel Six Feet Over It will be in book stores, libraries, and your hands August 26th 2014 courtesy of Random House Books, Edited by Chelsea Eberly and represented by Melissa Sarver White at Folio Literary. A California native, Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Acting from San Francisco State University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Writing For Theatre from Humboldt State University. She is a two-time Irene Ryan Best Actor award recipient and a Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Best Full Length Script honoree for her play, Frozen. After years of acting, playwriting, working as a literary assistant at San Francisco’s Magic Theatre, then as an elementary school librarian, Jennifer told the occasional story at San Francisco’s Porch Light Storytelling Series and decided at last to face her fear of prose and actually write some. A recent San Francisco transplant, Jennifer lives with her husband and daughter on an island near Seattle, Washington and her every hour is consumed by writing, running marathons, walking her kid to ballet class eleven thousand times each week and reading every book she can get her hands on. Contact Jen at or on Twitter.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads


Finally, thanks to the lovely Jennifer, we have an AMAZING giveaway for you guys! One lucky winner will receive a hardback copy of the book, a crap ton of York Peppermint Patties, and a Sierrawood Hills Memorial Park tank top!

So, the rules:

-Giveaway is US/CAN Only

-Winner has 48 hours to respond. If winner does not respond, a new winner will be selected.

-You must be 13 or older to enter OR have your parents’ permission.

-I am not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items.

-I reserve the right to change any rules as I see fit for each individual giveaway

*The above giveaway rules were borrowed and modified from Jessica @ Just a Book Lover.

With that being said, I wish you luck! May the odds be ever in your favor!

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2014 Debut Author Bash: Kiki Sullivan (Interview + Guest Post + Giveaway)

2014 debut authors bash banner
Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the 2014 Debut Author Bash! I’m so excited to be hosting Kiki Sullivan, author of The Dolls (September 2, 2014, Balzer + Bray). Today, I’m pleased to share with you an interview with Kiki, as well as a guest post from Kiki. First, here’s the epic cover and synopsis:

The Dolls Cover Eveny Cheval just moved back to Louisiana after spending her childhood in New York with her aunt Bea. Eveny hasn’t seen her hometown since her mother’s suicide fourteen years ago, and her memories couldn’t have prepared her for what she encounters. Because pristine, perfectly manicured Carrefour has a dark side full of intrigue, betrayal, and lies—and Eveny quickly finds herself at the center of it all.

Enter Peregrine Marceau, Chloe St. Pierre, and their group of rich, sexy friends known as the Dolls. From sipping champagne at lunch to hooking up with the hottest boys, Peregrine and Chloe have everything—including an explanation for what’s going on in Carrefour. And Eveny doesn’t trust them one bit.

But after murder strikes and Eveny discovers that everything she believes about herself, her family, and her life is a lie, she must turn to the Dolls for answers. Something’s wrong in paradise, and it’s up to Eveny, Chloe, and Peregrine to save Carrefour and make it right

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

And now here’s the interview!

Question: Describe your book, using no more than three adjectives. Go!
Answer: Steamy, suspenseful, Southern (Do I get extra credit for the alliteration? I could also say sexy and stylish!)

Question: Why Louisiana? In what ways does the setting aid the plot?
Answer: I’ve always been fascinated by the culture of rural Louisiana, and in particular the way voodoo traditions shape daily life in some parts. (Did you know, for example, that jazz music—long associated with Louisiana—is a legacy of voodoo?) In THE DOLLS, the main characters (Eveny, Peregrine and Chloe) come from a magical tradition called zandara, which is a spinoff of voodoo, created by their ancestors more than a hundred years ago. It made sense to me that their great-great-great-grandmothers would have begun as voodoo queens in New Orleans, and when they decided to create their own brand of magic, they moved – but they stayed close to where they’d come from, because they, too, were drawn to the magic of New Orleans.

Question: The Dolls cover is crazy gorgeous. Do you think it fits with the story? In what ways?
Answer: Oh my goodness, I am in LOVE with the cover. In LOVE. And yes, I think it’s absolutely perfect for this book. Peregrine and Chloe are style-obsessed (and use their magic to supplement their wardrobes, naturally), and the high-heeled shoe on the cover is exactly the kind of thing they’d conjure up! The snake on the heel (who in fact looks a lot like Peregrine’s pet snake, Audowido) is a great touch that hints at the creepiness underneath the surface in Carrefour, Louisiana. Basically, I think the cover screams stylish, sexy and a little dangerous, which is exactly what I hope readers will feel from this book.

Question: Craziest thing you’ve had to Google for a work in progress?
Answer: Ha! Good question. Probably all of the herb magic searches I’ve done. If someone didn’t know me, they could form a very incorrect opinion of my own love life thanks to my search history (i.e. “Herbs to make a boy love you,” and “Herbs to make everyone lust after you.”). Of course zandara is a fictional form of magic, but I wanted to keep the herbal uses true to real-life forms of voodoo, hoodoo and the like.

Question: What books would you recommend to a reader who loved yours, and wants to read something similar?
Answer: My publisher is promoting this as Pretty Little Liars meets Beautiful Creatures, and I think that’s pretty apt. So those two series are great fits for people who love The Dolls, as is Rachel Hawkins’s fabulous Hex Hall series. Of course I’d also recommend that readers pick up the sequel to The Dolls, which will be out next year. (I’m writing it now!)

Question: What book are you currently reading?
Answer: I’m reading Aprilynne Pike’s Wings series as well as The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler. On the non-YA side, I’m listening to Sarah Jio’s Morning Glory on CD. I love listening to audiobooks during long car rides!

Question: Which book was your favorite read of 2014 (so far)? Are you looking forward to any new releases in particular between now and 2015?
Answer: I’m just beginning Kevin Emerson’s The Far Dawn, which is great. And I’m excited to read three other books from HarperCollins, which are on my desk right now, waiting for me to dive in: Liz Czukas’s Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless, Jeff Hart’s Undead with Benefits and Gretchen McNeil’s Get Even. My problem is that when I start a good book, I find it really hard to focus on my own writing. I obsessively have to finish reading before I can do anything else! So because I’m on deadline, I’m on book restriction until the sequel to The Dolls is done. Otherwise, I’ll never finish!

Question: What’s your favorite part of the writing process?
Answer: I love outlining, because I get to go through the plot really quickly, but nothing is set in stone. I just get to keep asking myself, “And then what? What happens now?” Those are very exciting questions for me. My least favorite part of the process? Revising!

Question: Biggest writing quirk?
Answer: I write best in silence! Some writers like listening to music, but I find it impossible to have music on, even in the background, without singing along with – and thinking about – the lyrics! I’ve tried classical music without words, and that works a bit better, but I still write better without anything but the sounds of my characters in my head!

Question: As a debut author, do you have any advice for other debut authors?
Answer: Start connecting with readers ASAP! I wish I’d taken my own advice earlier in the process, but now I’m really enjoying getting to know readers and potential readers via Twitter and Facebook.

Question: Are you working on anything new?
Answer: Yep! The sequel to The Dolls, which will be out next year! I’m about halfway done. It’s so fun to be spending time with Eveny, Peregrine and Chloe again! Thanks for taking the time to find out about me and The Dolls!

In addition to this amazing interview, Kiki also wrote a guest post about the magic and voodoo of New Orleans! Hope you guys enjoy it!

I’ve always been fascinated by New Orleans and its history, mystery and magic. There are a few cities in the world that seem to throb with their own special energy, and I believe New Orleans is one of them. And while my novel, THE DOLLS, is set in a fictional town an hour outside the Big Easy, I was very drawn to the idea of writing about characters whose families hailed from the city and who brought with them some of its magical traditions.

In THE DOLLS, the main characters practice a form of magic called zandara, which is derived from voodoo. More than a century ago, the girls’ ancestors decided to leave their voodoo roots behind and start something new, based entirely on herb magic and communication with the spirits in the nether (the world between life and death, where spirits sometimes become trapped). Creating zandara allowed me to get a bit creative with some of the magic, something that is detailed much more in the sequel, due out next year. (I only had so much time in this book, because Eveny spends a portion of the book learning exactly what’s making the eerie town of Carrefour tick.) Inventing zandara also allowed me to write about magic with disrespecting voodoo, which is a very serious religion to some people. I’m fascinated by it, and the last thing I would want to do is inadvertently insult those who practice it.

But because the girls’ ancestors came from a voodoo tradition, I wanted to make sure that zandara was rooted in reality, so I took a fabulous fact-finding trip to New Orleans, where I had the chance to become immersed in the legends, practices and culture of the voodoo community. I spent time at the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum (, right in the heart of the French Quarter; wandered through graveyards at night; and even visited with a real-life voodoo priestess, right in the midst of her endless jars of herbs and potions.

One of the fascinating things I learned – something that made it into the book indirectly – was that today, some voodoo practitioners in New Orleans allow themselves to be possessed or filled with spirits at dawn on the day of Mardi Gras. Later, as they sing and dance in the parades, you can hardly understand them because they’ve been taken over by spirits. But to an untrained observer, they simply appear drunk. Others go into the homes of the townspeople, and they hold bloody bones over the homes of their children to warn them against falling in with a bad crowd. So be sure to look for a Mardi Gras possession ceremony late in THE DOLLS. Although it’s not directly based on real voodoo practices, it’s inspired by the traditions of New Orleans.

Another thing I found interesting is that in New Orleans, the history of voodoo is intertwined with the history of the Catholic church in America. This isn’t something that comes into play in the book, but I was fascinated to learn that the city’s most famous voodoo queen, Marie Laveau (for whom Pointe Laveau Academy is named in THE DOLLS) is said to have attended Catholic mass seven days a week throughout her life! When Laveau was alive – through most of the 1800s – “voodoo hid in plain sight,” Jerry Gandolfo, the owner of the museum, told me. In fact, many voodoo practitioners still use statues of Catholic saints on their altars.

If you’re interested, the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Musuem has a great web site, where you can learn much more about the traditions of voodoo in the Big Easy. But again, in THE DOLLS, the girls practice zandara an hour outside of New Orleans, so what they’re doing is a bit different – less rooted in religion, more rooted in herb magic. It might be interesting to compare and contrast the forms of magic… and of course I’m always open to hearing about the things that YOU find the most interesting about magic, especially as I write the sequel to THE DOLLS. (You can reach me at, or you can tweet me at @sullivan_kiki.)

I’m not an expert in voodoo, but it fascinates and enchants me. I am, however, hopefully an expert in zandara, the fictional form or spirit-based magic that shapes the fate of Carrefour, Louisiana as well as that of Eveny Cheval and her new friends. As the Dolls would say… Mesi, zanset.

kikisullivan_authorAbout the Author:
Kiki Sullivan is the author of The Dolls series. Like the main character Eveny Cheval, Kiki used to live in New York and now calls the American South home. Unlike Eveny, she finds it impossible to keep her rose garden alive and has been singlehandedly responsible for the unfortunate demise of countless herbs. She may or may not have hung out with queens of the dark arts, strolled through creepy New Orleans cemeteries at night, or written the first book of this series with a red-headed Louisiana voodoo doll beside her computer.

Website | Twitter | Facebook


Finally, thanks to the lovely Kiki, we have an AMAZING giveaway for you guys! One lucky winner will receive a SIGNED, finished copy of The Dolls!

So, the rules:

-Giveaway is US Only

-Winner has 48 hours to respond. If winner does not respond, a new winner will be selected.

-You must be 13 or older to enter OR have your parents’ permission.

-I am not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items.

-I reserve the right to change any rules as I see fit for each individual giveaway

*The above giveaway rules were borrowed and modified from Jessica @ Just a Book Lover.

With that being said, I wish you luck! May the odds be ever in your favor!

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Blog Tour: Scar of the Bamboo Leaf by Sieni A.M. (Interview + Giveaway)

scar of the bamboo leaf banner
Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the Scar of the Bamboo Leaf Blog Tour! Today, I’m pleased to share an interview and excerpt with you. First, here’s the cover and synopsis:

scar of the bamboo leaf cover“Her heart wept when she realized that the hardest part about loving him was the idea that his love was never meant for her.”

Walking with a pronounced limp all her life has never stopped fifteen-year-old Kiva Mau from doing what she loves. While most girls her age are playing sports and perfecting their traditional Samoan dance, Kiva finds serenity in her sketchbook and volunteering at the run-down art center her extended family owns.

When seventeen-year-old Ryler Cade steps into the art center for the first time, Kiva is drawn to the angry and misguided student sent from abroad to reform his violent ways. Scarred and tattooed, an unlikely friendship is formed when the gentle Kiva shows him kindness and beauty through art.
After a tragic accident leaves Kiva severely disfigured, she struggles to see the beauty she has been brought up to believe. Just when she thinks she’s found her place, Ryler begins to pull away, leaving her heartbroken and confused. The patriarch of the family then takes a turn for the worse and Kiva is forced to give up her dreams to help with familial obligations, until an old family secret surfaces that makes her question everything.

Immersed in the world of traditional art and culture, this is the story of self-sacrifice and discovery, of acceptance and forbearance, of overcoming adversity and finding one’s purpose. Spanning years, it is a story about an intuitive girl and a misunderstood boy and love that becomes real when tested.

Goodreads | Amazon

And now here’s the interview!

Question: Describe your book in ten words or less. Go
Answer: A heartbreaking romance spanning ten years, set in four different countries. (11 words! but what can I say? I love to write!)

Question: Your book deals with a lot of adversity, self-sacrifice and acceptance. In what ways are these important lessons for teens today?
Answer: I believe hardship is not only good for young people to undergo, but that it builds character, raises a moral consciousness about the world around them, and in some mysterious way molds them to become bigger, better people.

Question: What’s one thing you want readers to take away after reading your book?
Answer: That despite its diversity and its foreign setting, the messages are universally applicable.

Question: What scene do you most regret having to cut?
Answer: The only scene I cut out was one in which Ry gets bitten by a centipede while he and Kiva are trekking in the bush. It just didn’t flow with the rest of the story and so it went.

Question: On the flip side, what was your favorite scene that got added during edits?
Answer: A scene in which Kiva’s face is smudged by charcoal pencil (she’s a sketch artist) and Ry reaches over to smooth it away.

Question: Craziest thing you’ve had to Google for a work in progress?
Answer: “How many collar bones does a person have?”

Question: What books would you recommend to a reader who loved yours, and wants to read something similar?
Answer: Anything by Amy Harmon.

Question: Are you working on anything new?
Answer: Yes! I’m plotting and scheming on a new romance. The heroine is a florist, and the title of the book is “When Petals Fade”.

And now for an awesome excerpt!

The white van’s presence in the driveway made Kiva’s heart thud against her ribs, and a mysterious anticipation settled over her. Hobbling into the house, she carried out her chores with efficiency, hanging the laundry on the line and checking on Masi’s bowl while stealing curious glances at the art center.

After a long pause, she decided to enter it.

Poised along the far wall to avoid distraction, Kiva perused the students scattered around the room, heads and shoulders bent over their wood carvings, the clink and thud of the chisel and mallet competing over each other. Mau paced his time with each student evenly, making his way around, offering guidance when needed. Kiva couldn’t make out his words from where she sat, only a few low mutterings accompanied by the shake or nod of his head.

Her eyes strayed until they settled on the boy with the mysterious tattoo. Ryler. Her suspicions were correct about his work when she noticed the slab of wood with the sliced words in front of him. He hadn’t spoken a word to any of the other boys, didn’t acknowledge them, and they avoided him too, as if he’d erected an invisible wall and they were aware of it.

Her uncle had no problem stepping through it though. He was with him now, speaking in low tones and gesturing to his work. What was he saying? Kiva strained to hear, but nothing came to her over the cacophony of sounds in the room. A muscle in Ryler’s jaw ticked as he sat, head bent, listening to him. Mau remained with him for some time, talking and listening, acknowledging the need to spend more time. Finally, he gave him a tap on the shoulder and a satisfied nod before moving away.

Kiva noticed when Ryler picked up a carving knife, pausing in concentration, his face tentative and contemplative, before he met it with wood, the muscles in his broad back contorting and flexing from the grip and release of the tool. What had he decided to carve? Kiva wanted to inch her way forward to find out but kept herself firmly planted. An hour passed and still she sat riveted to her spot.

A couple sharp drops on the roof were the only warning to the torrential downpour that followed.

“Makiva!” Hana’s voice shouted from across the yard and made her jump. “It’s raining! Get the laundry!”

Kiva scrambled off the floor, the noise drawing attention, and limped as quickly as she could to the line. The knifelike raindrops hit her on the back, stinging, and soaked through her shirt. Ignoring the pricks, she rushed to unpeg each piece of clothing, throwing it in the bucket and returning for more. The rain came down harder and faster, blurring her eyesight, the sound of a thunderclap roaring in her ears. Tea towels, Mau’s shirt, Hana’s school skirt. Breathless, her quick movements had long ago uncoiled her hair, wild and swirling in the wind; the pencil slipped out, lost somewhere. She was nearing the end of the line, grappling with a sheet, when she glanced up and noticed the boys running from the center to the van, their lesson over.

Ryler appeared last through the door, his brown eyes trained on her, and descended the stairs with heavy, deliberate steps. Kiva stared wide eyed as he stepped into the rain and came toward her with unhurried, even strides. She watched as raindrops pelted his gray shirt, soaking through to his shoulders until the wet dots spread and connected.

When he was a foot away, he lifted his hand.

“You dropped this,” he said, his voice low and hoarse, as if he was just getting over a cold. He smelled of wood dust and sweat.

She glanced down at his hand and saw the pencil she used to pin up her hair. It must have fallen in the art center in her haste to get to the laundry. Reaching for it, she noticed the deep scars on his left wrist and paused. From this close they looked even worse.

“It’s not what you think,” he answered, interpreting her thoughts.

Kiva snapped her eyes to his face. His brown eyes penetrated hers, thick lashes dripping from the rain, a line formed between his eyebrows. She tried not to fidget under his gaze and glanced to the right of his face. She saw a scar near his eye, something she hadn’t noticed before.

She calmly returned her gaze to him. “And what do I think?”

Ryler took a step closer. “You think that I did this to myself on purpose.”

“Did you?” She breathed.

He shook his head. “It was from a fight. The other guy had a broken bottle and I tried to block him.”

Kiva hissed as if she had been the one cut open and bleeding. Her eyes found the scar again and her stomach plummeted at the thought of the pain it must have caused. She felt suddenly light-headed and blinked to clear the blur clouding her mind.

“Are you alright?” he asked, concern laced in his voice.

She took slow, even breaths and nodded her head.

The sound of the van’s horn blared from the drive way.

“Ryler! Hurry up, we’re going!” A superior impatiently gestured for him in the rain.

“You better go,” Kiva said hastily. “Thanks for returning this.” She took the pencil from his hand and curled her fingers around it.

Ryler remained unmoving. Why wasn’t he going? Did he want to get into trouble? He finally stepped away and turned, jogging over to the waiting van, his shirt now drenched through and stuck to his retreating back.

And, last but not least, we have an epic giveaway for you guys! To enter, fill out the Rafflectoper below!

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Sieni author photoAbout Sieni
Sieni A.M. is a coffee addict, Instagram enthusiast, world traveler, and avid reader turned writer. She graduated as an English and History high school teacher from the University of Canterbury and is currently living in Israel with her husband and two daughters. “Scar of the Bamboo Leaf” is her second novel.

Website | Facebook | Pinterest

Blog Tour: Restraint by Randi Cooley Wilson (Excerpt + Giveaway)

Restraint Blog Tour Banner
Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the Restraint Blog Tour! Today, I’m pleased to share an excerpt from the book with you. First, here’s the cover and synopsis:


One revelation changed everything, turning Eve Collin’s world upside down. Now, she’s left to struggle with her identity and allegiance. Haunted by grief and tempted by her increasing attraction to her protector, will she ever truly be safe from enemies that refuse to give up?

Restraint is an addictively spellbinding continuation of Eve’s journey of self-discovery, love and sacrifice that will change everything.

Readers captivated by Revelation will eagerly devour Restraint.

Goodreads | Amazon

And, in case you want to see how it all started, here’s the cover and synopsis for book one, Revelation:

Revelation CoverA DIVINE SECRET,

Eve Collins starts her freshman year at college blissfully unaware that one revelation will challenge everything she’s believed to be true about her family, life, and future, and right in the midst of it all is Asher St. Michael.

Mysterious and aloof, Asher is appointed to protect Eve at all costs. Bound by his oath of loyalty to mankind, loving her is forbidden.

Dark and enigmatic, Gage Gallagher may be even more dangerous to Eve than the demonic army that hunts her.

Caught in the middle of a centuries old war, Eve must choose sides knowing that the wrong choice will cost more than just her life.

Can Asher and Eve fulfill their destinies or will their love destroy everything?

Revelation is a journey of self-discovery, love, and sacrifice.

This is volume one of a series.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

And now here’s the excerpt! Enjoy!

“Sleep Over” – Asher and Eve, Restraint Excerpt:

I’m brushing my teeth when Asher swaggers into the bathroom. He leans his hip against the counter and just watches me. It’s starting to freak me out. I squint at him before spitting.

Can I help you?”

“Huh?” he asks.

“You’re staring.” I tip my toothbrush at him.

“Am I?” He tilts his head to the side and crosses his arms.

I spit one last time and start my flossing routine and gargle my mouth rinse, all while Asher just stands there, observing me. Seriously, what’s he doing?

“Curious about dental care?”

“Curious about you,” he shoots back.


He shrugs. “I like watching you do normal, everyday things.”

I blink. “Did you get clocked in training today?”

“No.” He slides his hands into the pockets of his pajama bottoms. “Want to have a sleep over?”

“Sleepover?” I repeat, less than enthused.

“Pajamas, pillow fights, gossip. You know, sleepover,” he clarifies, like I’m an idiot.

I sigh. “You’re freaking me out. What the hell is going on?”

He reaches for me and grabs the hem of my tank top, pulling me towards him. I stumble a bit and have to place my hands on his shoulders for balance as he tugs me closer. “I want you in my bed tonight. I was hoping you’d fall asleep in my arms.” His eyes lock onto mine.


Randi Cooley WilsonAbout Randi Cooley Wilson:
Randi was born and raised in Massachusetts where she attended Bridgewater State University and graduated with a degree in Communication Studies.

After graduation she moved to California where she lived happily bathed in sunshine and warm weather for fifteen years.

Randi and her husband recently moved back to Massachusetts with their daughter where she was encouraged to begin writing again.

Revelation is her first novel and The Revelations Series is her first New Adult Paranormal Romance book series.

“I’ve had a love affair with books, writing and storytelling since childhood. It has been a dream of mine to introduce this world and these characters to you. I hope I’ve done them justice.”

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


And now for the giveaway! ONE lucky winner will get signed copies of Revelation and Restraint – open Internationally.

But wait! There’s more…

Love Callan St. Michael’s aprons? In addition, the winner will also be able to choose Callan’s next Apron Saying in book three, Redemption. The winner will be able to pick from one of the following sayings:

“Be a flirt and lift your shirt.”

“If I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you.”

“Can I check to see if my hot dog fits your bun?”

To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below:

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Blog Tour: Swimming to Tokyo by Brenda St. John Brown (Excerpt)

Hey everyone! I’m so excited to be a part of Brenda St. John Brown’s blog tour for her book, Swimming to Tokyo (July 28, 2014, Spencer Hill Contemporary)! For my blog tour stop, I have an excerpt to share with you. First, here’s some more information about Swimming to Tokyo:

tokyo-brenda-stjohnbrown-fullfinalThe rules for swimming are simple:

Rule #1: There is no lifeguard on duty.

Since her mom died three years ago, nineteen-year-old Zosia Easton’s been treading water. Living at home. Community college. Same old Saturday nights. So when her father breaks the news he’s taken a job transfer—and by the way, it means renting out the house that’s been her refuge—a summer in Tokyo feels like it just might be a chance to start swimming again.

Rule #2: Beware of unexpected currents.

Finn O’Leary has spent God knows how many years trying to drown out his past. Juvenile detention. Bad decisions. Worse choices. He’s managed to turn it around – MIT, Dean’s List, a sexier-than-thou body with a smile to match – at least on the surface. When his mom asks him to spend the summer with her, Tokyo seems as good a place as any to float through the summer.

Rule #3: Swim at your own risk.

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And now here’s the excerpt. Enjoy!

I’m halfway across the floor to the pool when I see Akihiro and Finn come through the door from the weight room to the right. I have a good seven seconds to watch them strip their shirts off before they see me. Both of them are lean and muscular, although my eyes are drawn to Finn. I was right about the tattoo. Up his arm, across his shoulder. It’s huge. I was right about his muscles, too. Although his biceps have nothing on his abs. My God. I didn’t even know real people had abs like that. They look Photoshopped.

“Hey, I thought you went to shower,” Akihiro calls.

It’s still disconcerting to hear perfect English coming out of his mouth. Born in Hiroshima, his parents moved to London when he was five and then to Chicago when he was eleven. He doesn’t even have an accent anymore, although thank God he speaks fluent Japanese.

“I’m going.” I pick up my goggles and twirl them on my finger. “I left these.”

They’re close enough now that I see the sweat glistening on their skin.

“How was your swim?” Finn asks. His eyes flicker over my swimsuit before they land on my face, and I’m glad I’m in my black Speedo and not the blue one that’s all ratty around the edges.

“Rough.” I roll my eyes. “Amazing what three-plus weeks of slacking will do.”

“So if we raced, I might win?” He smiles and I try to focus on his teeth and not all that skin. To ignore that tattoo. A snake? A long, spiky black tail zigzags down his bicep, ending just below his elbow. It’s mesmerizing and it’s all I can do not to run my fingernail over it, to trace the outline of raised skin underneath what looks like the creature’s spine.

But that would be wildly inappropriate.

“I’ll drown before you win.”

“Talk is cheap.” He throws his shirt on the bench. “I win and you eat uni.”

I make a face. I like sushi, but the sea urchin looks like baby poo and I can’t imagine it tastes much better. I accidentally ordered it when I stopped for lunch in Yokohama last week, despite my careful conversation with the waitress. I even made her come to the front window with me so I could point at the plastic food, but apparently my pointing didn’t match up with my words. The plate of sushi that came had not only uni, but smoked unagi, which is eel. I couldn’t eat any of it and ended up just downing the rice.

“Fine. I win and you come to Tsukiji Market with me tomorrow.” This isn’t really as bad as his until I add the last part. “At eight AM”
Finn isn’t a morning person. At all. The one time we met up before noon, he was totally grumpy until at least two. But the fish market peaks between eight and ten and closes up by one. Dad has said he’ll go with me, although it’s not exactly his idea of a perfect Saturday morning either.

Finn perches at the edge of the pool. “Okay, deal. You’re totally losing.”

I fit my goggles over my eyes and put my toes over the edge on the lane next to him. “Oh, I totally am not.”

“Dude, you’re gonna lose,” Akihiro says to Finn.

“Shut up and count to three,” Finn says. To me, he says, “Up and back. First one to touch this wall wins.”

Akihiro counts down, and we dive into the pool. I don’t look over at Finn, just freestyle for the wall. One thing I learned on the swim team is to ignore my competition. Other people use it to spur themselves on, but it just intimidates me. I do much better when I get in a zone, and now is no different. My lungs burn before I even touch the far side, but I kick hard when I get there to give myself an extra push off the wall. Halfway back, I feel myself slowing down and I hope Finn hates swimming as much as he’s said he does. Those earlier laps took it all out of me. My arms feel like they’re moving in slow motion above my head, and my kicks barely make a splash. It feels like my chest is going to explode by the time I lurch for the wall, gasping for breath.

I push my goggles up, wiping the water away from my face and look around the pool. Akihiro pumps his fist in the air at me. A splash and Finn touches the wall beside me, panting. “Jesus Christ.”

I’ve caught my breath enough to be able to pant, “Told you so.”

“There’s no way.”

“You picked the wrong stroke. Never breast stroke when you’re racing. It wastes too much energy.” I hang over the rope. “Mine. Seven-fifteen.”

“You’re a bitch.” But he grins as he says it. “I’ll be there with bells on.”

“Make sure you bring coffee.” I extend my hand to Akihiro to help me out of the pool. “We’ll see you guys out front in fifteen minutes.”

I hurry through my shower and join Amelia in front of the mirror where she’s drying her hair section by section. “What happened to you?”

I dot cover up over my nose and under my eyes, brush mascara over my lashes. “I had a last-minute race with Finn.”

“A race?” She wrinkles her nose. “Why?”

“We were messing around.” I smile because I can’t quite keep it to myself. “I won.”

“He let you win?”

“No. He’s coming early to the fish market with me tomorrow. If he won, I had to eat uni.”

“I’d rather eat uni than get up at the crack to go to a damn fish market.” Amelia grimaces and then asks, “What’s the deal with you two anyway?”

“No deal. We’re friends.” I can never quite make myself put the “just” in there. “Why?”

“Naoko was asking.” Naoko is Dad’s assistant. She’s young, sweet, and the only reason I actually have a cell phone after Dad and I bungled our attempt to buy a pay-as-you-go on my fourth day here. God knows what we would have ended up with if she hadn’t come along on her lunch break.

“Yeah, he’s…I don’t know. He’s available as far as I know.” My stomach churns a little as I say it. It’s true. He is. And aside from an occasional sizzle, things between us are totally platonic. No matter how much I think about what it might be like to kiss him.


BrendaStJohnBrownAbout Brenda St. John Brown:
Brenda St John Brown is a displaced New Yorker living in the English countryside. She hasn’t quite adapted to the idea of fireworks in November (despite now being a dual US/UK citizen), but she knows not to call trousers pants & often finds herself saying things are lovely…a word that never crossed her lips until she passed through UK immigration. She writes YA & NA fiction. When she’s not writing, Brenda loves running, reading and traveling, & talking about Greek mythology with her son.

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Blog Tour: Transcender Trilogy by Vicky Savage (Guest Post + Giveaway)

Hey everyone! I’m so excited to be a part of Vicky Savage’s blog tour for her Transcender Trilogy (Out now)! For my blog tour stop, I have a guest post from Vicky with her Dream Movie Cast. First, here’s some more information about the Transcender Trilogy:

Book 1 cover
TRANSCENDER: First-Timer (Book one)

Suddenly plucked from her quiet Connecticut life and dropped into a post-disaster parallel world where most of the earth’s population resides in enormous domes, eighteen year old Jaden Beckett lands in the middle of a kidnapping—her own!

Undercover Agent Ralston of the Inter-Universal Guidance Agency helps Jaden escape from her captors and promises to return her home as soon as he can arrange it. But he conceals from her the fact that she is really a Transcender, capable of traveling among alternate worlds at will. While waiting for passage home, Jaden assumes her parallel identity as a princess in the nation of Domerica. She discovers her mother is alive in this world—a miracle she never dreamed possible. But perhaps even more compelling is her blossoming, breathtaking romance with Ryder Blackthorn, her once and future soul mate.

When it comes time for Jaden to leave, she flatly refuses. IUGA claims the welfare of the entire galaxy depends upon her timely return. Jaden contends that, in this case, eternal love trumps destiny. Who will prevail?

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Book 2 cover

Jaden Beckett makes the journey once again from her home in Connecticut to the nation of Domerica on an alternate earth. The Inter-Universal Guidance Agency has granted her thirty days within which to choose her ultimate destiny. She may remain in Domerica, return to Connecticut, or join the other Transcenders in Arumel.

On her arrival, Jaden finds that all is not perfect in paradise. Her mother, Queen Eleanor, is ill and grows frailer with each passing day. Her scheming uncle has moved into the palace and assumed the role of Lord High Steward of the land. But even more troubling are events that took place in Jaden’s absence which have caused her to question the depth of her fiancé’s love.

All the while, Jaden’s friendship with a handsome, young Transcender from Arumel deepens. He teaches her how to use her astonishing gift to travel to exotic parallel worlds and introduces her to others in the Transcender community.

When the time draws near for Jaden’s final decision, her choice is anything but simple.

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book 3 cover

Jaden Beckett has a secret unknown to those in her adopted homeland of Domerica: she is a Transcender, capable of traveling among parallel worlds at will. When the powerful Inter-Universal Guidance Agency’s sophisticated computer models predict that Jaden will eventually cause the downfall of that agency, IUGA decides to destroy her first. In order to save herself, her family, and the man she loves, Jaden must fake her own death and leave Domerica for good. The plan seems sound, but on the day of IUGA’s attack, things go terribly wrong.

Heartsick and alone, Jaden ventures to Arumel, a progressive nation on an alternate earth, where Transcenders conduct valuable inter-universal research. Just when she thinks she’s found a safe, new life, IUGA makes its presence known. This time, Jaden is determined not to be driven away. She will fight to discover her place in the multiverse, the true meaning of destiny, and the keys to the mystery of eternal love.

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And now here’s Vicky’s Dream Movie Cast for the Transcender Trilogy! Hope you guys enjoy!


It’s so fun to think about what it would be like to have your books made into movies. Of course, I believe the Transcender Trilogy would make an exciting action-packed movie series ( I may be biased), and I’ve come up with my dream cast of actors to play the major and some minor roles:

JADEN BECKETT, played by Spencer Locke:

Jaden 1
Regal enough to be a princess, but gutsy enough to carry the martial arts and fencing scenes, Spencer Locke definitely has what it takes to be a convincing Jaden! Plus check out the green eyes.

RYDER BLACKTHORN, played by Diego Boneta:

Ryder 1
Ryder was unquestionably the most difficult actor to settle on because I had a very strong notion of what he looked like. Although his hair is lighter and the eyes darker, Diego Boneta seems to embody the gorgeous, strong, and sensitive character of Ryder Blackthorn.


Agent C
Bill Nighy has Ralston’s professorial manner, glasses, and thinning, sandy hair. I love everything I’ve ever seen this guy in. He’s a wonderful actor and would make a perfect Ralston.

ASHER STEELE, played by Alex Pettyfer:

I loved Alex Pettyfer in I Am Number Four, and actually had him in mind when I wrote the Asher character. Who could be better, or more swoon-worthy?


Elegant and beautiful, Sela Ward is certainly queen-material. As Jaden’s mother, this lovely lady would be a home run.


Looks great with or without the beard. Handsome Hugh Jackman would make an ideal dad/father for Jaden—strong, sensitive, and wise. Love to see him riding a horse and fighting off the bad guys!

And for the Minor Roles:

ERICA HORNSBY, played by Chloe Bridges:

Dark and exotic enough.

LIV WALLACE, played by Ashley Benson:

Looks exactly how I pictured her!

EVE, played by Chloe Moretz:

Who else but Hit Girl?

URICK, played by Chris Hemsworth:

I can dream, can’t I? Yum.

Do you have picks or your own? Did I leave out one of your favorite characters? If so, let me know and I’ll fill in the blanks!


Vicky Savage PicAbout Vicky:
Vicky Savage grew up gazing upon the beauty of the Wasatch Mountain Range right outside her family’s kitchen window. She thought the Rocky Mountains would always own her heart, until she moved to sunny Florida for law school and instantly fell in love with the ocean. Her passion for new adventures and exotic locales led her on a circuitous path to writing science fiction/fantasy about strange new worlds and parallel universes. Although she has lived in seven different states and London, England, the siren call of the ocean always brings her back to her beloved Florida, where she currently lives with her husband, son, and two dogs.

Contact Vicky through her website, follow her on Twitter, and visit her Facebook page.


And now for the giveaway! Fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter:

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