Cover Reveal: The Summer After You and Me by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

I'm excited today to be taking part in the cover reveal for the forthcoming book from a wonderful author, Jennifer Salvato Doktorski. I know people always scroll to the cover first, so I'll just get to the pretty, shall I?






Ta-da!!! Isn't it lovely? I absolutely love the palette. Such gorgeous colours! This is going to look great on bookshelves.

Here's some more info on the book:

Sunbathing, surfing, eating funnel cake on the boardwalk—Lucy loves living on the Jersey Shore. For her, it's not just the perfect summer escape, it is home. And as a local girl, she knows not to get attached to the tourists. They breeze in over Memorial Day weekend, crowding the shore and stealing moonlit kisses, only to pack up their beach umbrellas and empty promises on Labor Day. Lucy wants more from love than a fleeting romance, even if that means keeping her distance from her summertime neighbor and crush, Connor.

Then Superstorm Sandy tears apart her barrier island, briefly bringing together a local girl like herself and a vacationer like Connor. Except nothing is the same in the wake of the storm. And day after day, week after week, Lucy is left to pick up the pieces of her broken heart and broken home. Now with Memorial Day approaching and Connor returning, will it be a summer of fresh starts or second chances? 

Add it to your Goodreads TBR here.

Be sure to look out for The Summer After You and Me, coming Spring 2015 from Sourcebooks Fire!

Where to find Jen Doktorski: www.jendoktorski.com
Twitter: @jdoktorski
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jendoktorski

Waiting on Wednesday #88: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature created by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This is where you showcase an upcoming release you're anxiously awaiting!

This week, I'm waiting on:
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab.

Expected Publication: February 24, 2015.
by: Tor Books.

Goodreads Synopsis:
From V.E. Schwab, the critically acclaimed author of Vicious, comes a new universe of daring adventure, thrilling power, and parallel Londons, beginning with A Darker Shade of Magic.

Kell is one of the last Travelers—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes—as such, he can choose where he lands.

There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, ruled by a mad King George. Then there’s Red London, where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne—a place where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London...but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see—a dangerous hobby, and one that has set him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations, who first robs him, then saves him from a dangerous enemy, and then forces him to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—and that is proving trickier than they hoped.

Why I'm excited:
I absolutely loved Vicious, her last adult book. I also adore The Archived and The Unbound. Schwab definitely has a way with words that makes her an excellent novelist. Before this one had a title she just referred to it as "Pirates, Thieves, and Sadist Kings." If that's not intriguing, I don't know what is.

What are you waiting on this week?


Giveaway: Rooms by Lauren Oliver

I have the excellent opportunity today to offer up a chance for one of my wonderful blog readers to win a copy of Lauren Oliver's first adult novel, Rooms. I reviewed Rooms for the blog tour and even as someone who doesn't read a ton of literary-leaning adult fiction, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Here's my review, if you're curious.

First I'll share a bit more about the book and then you'll have your chance to win!

Rooms by Lauren Oliver.

Published: September 23, 2014.
Published by: Ecco.
Source: Received an ARC from the publisher for the blog tour. Thanks, HarperCollins and Tara!

Goodreads Synopsis:
The New York Times bestselling author of Before I Fall and the Delirium trilogy makes her brilliant adult debut with this mesmerizing story in the tradition of The Lovely Bones, Her Fearful Symmetry, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane—a tale of family, ghosts, secrets, and mystery, in which the lives of the living and the dead intersect in shocking, surprising, and moving ways.

Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance.

But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.

The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.

Elegantly constructed and brilliantly paced, Rooms is an enticing and imaginative ghost story and a searing family drama that is as haunting as it is resonant.

Sounds pretty intriguing, right? It's definitely worth a read, so American friends, here's your chance! (Yes, US only, unfortunately. I'm sorry international friends, but it'd get expensive for Lauren to send them all out all over the world.)

Enter by leaving a comment about why you want to read Rooms or telling me what your favourite novel with ghosts is. Get one bonus entry each for following Lauren on Twitter (@OliverBooks) or adding Rooms to your Goodreads TBR (here).

Make sure you leave some way for me to contact you in your comment (email address, twitter handle, etc.) and the info I'd need to confirm your extra entries (i.e. your Twitter handle to confirm twitter entry, Goodreads name or link to your Goodreads profile to confirm TBR add). 

Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on Monday, November 3rd, so get your entries in by Monday night!

Some Rules (aka the not so fun but important part):
~ This giveaway is open to residents of the US only (void where prohibited).
~ No P.O. boxes.
~ Must be 13 or older to enter.
~ Winner will be chosen randomly and contacted. The winner has 48 hours to respond, otherwise they forfeit their prize and I will choose another winner, who must abide by the same rules.
~ Lauren and I are not responsible for lost or damaged packages.
No cheating! In this case, I have the right to disqualify entries as I see fit.
~ By entering the giveaway, you are agreeing to these rules.

Good luck!


Blog Tour Review: Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot

Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot.

Published: October 14, 2014.
Published by: HarperCollins.
More from the publisher here.
Source: Borrowed an ARC from Kathy for the blog tour.

Goodreads Synopsis:
When Julia Buchanan enrolls at St. Anne’s at the beginning of junior year, Charlotte Ryder already knows all about the former senator’s daughter. Most people do... or think they do.

Charlotte certainly never expects she’ll be Julia’s friend. But almost immediately, she is drawn into the larger than-life-new girl’s world—a world of midnight rendezvous, dazzling parties, palatial vacation homes, and fizzy champagne cocktails. And then Charlotte meets, and begins falling for, Julia’s handsome older brother, Sebastian.

But behind her self-assured smiles and toasts to the future, Charlotte soon realizes that Julia is still suffering from a tragedy. A tragedy that the Buchanan family has kept hidden … until now.

My Review:
A boarding school, a family secret, and some Great Gatsby flavour. That's what Even in Paradise promised me -- and on these elements, it delivered. While it didn't live up to all of my expectations and it almost felt a little too familiar, it still drew me in and intrigued me, especially when it came to the mysterious and charming Buchanans.

Even in Paradise is a very character-driven novel, so I really had to connect with them for the story to work. While the Buchanans remain largely emotionally elusive, it was easy to get drawn into Charlotte's narrative and experience the Buchanans through her. Watching as Charlotte gets pulled into Julia's world and falls for her brother, Sebastian, I couldn't help but feel that it would be hard to resist all the charm and strange excitement that they brought to her life, so I was easily able to understand her and the connections she forms with all of the Buchanans. These connections were actually some of the most interesting parts of the novel as Charlotte tries to navigate her relationships with Julia and Sebastian while also getting to know the rest of their family -- including their parents, who aren't as easy to pin down as they initially seem.

One of the things that really held me back from loving this book was its structure. I did find it somewhat slow moving on occasion, which can hinder that "I have to keep reading" feeling. I also think that it lacked a real, big climax. There were definitely some scenes that felt like they were supposed to be the climax but I found the book as a whole lacked the significant emotional peak that I expected it to have, which ultimately left me wanting. The ending definitely delivers some attempted strong emotional blows, but I think I would have needed to be able to connect to Julia herself much more to really feel it, rather than just feeling the impact it had on Charlotte.

I definitely enjoyed this one, but there were a couple of things that kept me from falling in love. But if you love stories set in boarding schools, about rich, elusive families, or that are largely character driven (and you can forgive some slow plot), I would definitely recommend you give this one a shot! Apparently this is also a retelling of Brideshead Revisited, which I have never experienced in any format, but I'd be very interested to hear what people who have think of this, so if you loved Brideshead Revisited, try Even in Paradise and share your thoughts!

Buy the book: Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Chapters Indigo // IndieBound // The Book Depository
Or order a signed copy from Chelsey's local indie, River Run Bookstore.

About the author:
Chelsey Philpot grew up on a farm in New Hampshire and now works as an editor and journalist. She's written for the New York Times, Boston Globe, Slate, and numerous other publications. Like her main character, Charlotte, Chelsey attended boarding school in New England. You can visit her online atwww.chelseyphilpot.com or on Twitter @ChelseyPhilpot

Be sure to go back and check out the rest of the stops on the Canadian tour for Even in Paradise:

October 13th: Kathy - A Glass Of Wine - Interview
October 14th: Siobhan - Conversations Of A Reading Addict - Review
October 15th: Emilie - Emilie’s Book World - Guest Post
October 16th: Ambur - Burning Impossibly Bright - Review
October 17th: Lily -  Lily’s Book Blog - Interview/Character Interview
October 20th: Shilpa - SukasaReads - Review
October 21st: Sabrina - Hiver et CafĂ© - Top 5 or 10
October 22nd: Ciara - Lost At Midnight Reviews -  Review
October 23rd: Meaghan -  Feeling A Little Bookish - Interview/Character Interview
October 24th: Jess - Read My Breath Away - Review


Waiting on Wednesday #87: Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature created by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This is where you showcase an upcoming release you're anxiously awaiting!

This week, I'm waiting on:
Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein.

Expected Publication: February 3, 2015.
by: Disney-Hyperion.

Goodreads Synopsis:
A new historical thriller masterpiece from New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Elizabeth Wein

Emilia and Teo's lives changed in a fiery, terrifying instant when a bird strike brought down the plane their stunt pilot mothers were flying. Teo's mother died immediately, but Em's survived, determined to raise Teo according to his late mother's wishes-in a place where he won't be discriminated against because of the color of his skin. But in 1930s America, a white woman raising a black adoptive son alongside a white daughter is too often seen as a threat.

Seeking a home where her children won't be held back by ethnicity or gender, Rhoda brings Em and Teo to Ethiopia, and all three fall in love with the beautiful, peaceful country. But that peace is shattered by the threat of war with Italy, and teenage Em and Teo are drawn into the conflict. Will their devotion to their country, its culture and people, and each other be their downfall or their salvation?

In the tradition of her award-winning and bestselling Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein brings us another thrilling and deeply affecting novel that explores the bonds of friendship, the resilience of young pilots, and the strength of the human spirit.

Why I'm excited:
I am absolutely in love with Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire so I am ecstatic to have another book from Elizabeth Wein on the way! It sounds amazing, it's historical, it has diversity and war and especially friendship - which Wein does amazingly. I can't wait!

What are you waiting on this week?


Blog Tour Review: Earth & Sky by Megan Crewe

Earth & Sky by Megan Crewe.

Series: Earth & Sky #1
Published: October 28, 2014.
Published by: Razorbill Canada.
Source: Received an ARC for review purposes for the blog tour.

Goodreads Synopsis:
Seventeen-year-old Skylar has been haunted for as long as she can remember by fleeting yet powerful sensations that something is horribly wrong. But despite the panic attacks tormenting her, nothing ever happens, and Sky’s beginning to think she’s crazy. Then she meets a mysterious, otherworldly boy named Win and discovers the shocking truth her premonitions have tapped into: our world no longer belongs to us. For thousands of years, Earth has been at the mercy of alien scientists who care nothing for its inhabitants and are using us as the unwitting subjects of their time-manipulating experiments. Win belongs to a rebel faction seeking to put a stop to it, and he needs Skylar’s help--but with each shift in the past, the very fabric of reality is unraveling, and soon there may be no Earth left to save.

My Review:
I really enjoy Megan Crewe's books so I was very excited to read Earth & Sky. Science fiction is not what I usually gravitate towards, but between a unique main character, some historical fiction woven in, and strong logic behind the science fiction, I was quite impressed.

Earth & Sky combines a science fiction base with flashes of historical fiction, which I absolutely loved. I am a big fan of historical fiction, so having Skylar and Win jump to different time periods on their quest -- and to get to explore these time period a bit, not just hop in, hop out -- was a lot of fun for me. I think Crewe did a wonderful job of trying to capture the feeling of each location and time period and I wish I could have spent more time in each of these places because I was enjoying that a lot.

When it comes to the actual time travel element that made those history visits possible, I was impressed with the logic. I'm sure more experiences sci-fi fans than I will have some questions for Crewe, but as a casual (but reasonably intelligent) sci-fi fan, I was able to follow along with the explanations and logic behind the time travel and the aliens' actions that were messing with Earth. I didn't pick up on any glaring errors or inconsistencies that would have pulled me out of the story or made it completely unbelievable, and I think that made a huge difference because I was able to suspend my disbelief when it came to the alien aspect since the science aspect lined up well. In this sense, it was very well executed.

I thought Skylar was a great character, especially in the way she dealt with the crazy that Win brought to her life. She isn't one of those immediately over-trusting girls that seem to have cropped up since Twilight's Bella; she is immediately suspicious of Win once he starts showing up more than is reasonable. She also doesn't accept his story right away; it takes some convincing and some hard proof to get her on board, which I really respected. It was also interesting to have a main character who is so into math, as that seems to be unusual in a lot of YA, and especially so because it is math on which her compulsion that keeps her grounded is based (I'm not sure that's exactly the correct way to put it, but basically she seems to struggle with a mental illness that is associated with the changes the alien scientists have been making to Earth and math helps her keep it from overwhelming her). Now, I'm definitely not a very well educated judge on portrayals of mental illness, but I think Crewe handled it well and respectfully, and the way she associated it with the conflict in the world, thus tying Skylar in, was smart.

One thing I did struggle a bit with was keeping the other characters straight. Some of them were easy enough to remember, but when it came to people who were largely grouped together, especially Skylar's friends, it wasn't easy to remember who was who. They could have been distinguished from one another more, though I think that would have taken more scenes with them, which weren't necessary for the plot. This wasn't a huge detractor for me, but something happens at the end with one of the friends and it didn't have the impact on me that I think it was meant to because I didn't even remember which of the friends it was by just her name. Overall this was only a small issue, though.

Earth & Sky has a lot going for it and while there are a few things that held me back from totally loving it, there is also plenty to praise, including the fact that it worked so well for just a casual sci-fi reader like myself. I really appreciated that and am interested to hear what other readers -- sci-fi fans and otherwise -- think!


Blog Tour Guest Post: Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez

Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez.

Published: October 7, 2014.
Published by: Katherine Tegen Books.
More from the publisher here.

Goodreads Synopsis:
Valentina Cruz no longer exists.

One moment, she was wrapped in Emilio’s arms, melting into his kiss. The next, she was witnessing the unthinkable: a murder in cold blood, ordered by her father and carried out by her boyfriend. When Emilio pulled the trigger, Valentina disappeared. She made a split-second decision to shed her identity and flee her life of privilege, leaving the glittering parties and sultry nightlife of Miami far behind.

She doesn’t know how to explain to herself what she saw. All she knows now is that nothing she believed about her family, her heart, or Emilio’s love, was real.

She can change her name and deny her past, but Valentina can’t run from the truth. The lines between right and wrong, and trust and betrayal, will be blurred beyond recognition as she untangles the deceptions of the two men she once loved and races to find her own truth.

Jessica on Travelling for Research:

I’m a big believer in doing my research on the ground, so I usually travel to the places I write about. For KISS KILL VANISH, that meant going to both Miami and Montreal.

The Miami trip was painless—I live in Orlando and I used to live in Miami, so it was just a matter of driving down and wandering around my old haunts.

Montreal was a bigger deal, though. I convinced my husband to come along under the pretense of taking a last vacation before the baby was born (I was five months pregnant with our third at the time). It required all sorts of organizing and babysitting for the other two kids, but it was going to be fun and so worth it. And it would have been both of those things if the night before we left I hadn’t come down with one of the worst flus of my life. My entire body was screaming at me to crawl into bed and stay there for a week. I couldn’t, though. I’d purchased expensive plane tickets, made all the necessary arrangements, and this was my only opportunity to do the research.

So. I took the two absolutely worthless Tylenols you’re allowed to take while pregnant, got on the plane (sorry other passengers), and tromped around Montreal for five days. I’m not recommending this course of action—IF YOU ARE PREGNANT AND YOU HAVE THE FLU, PLEASE GO TO BED. I pretty much felt like death, and those days all blurred together in a feverish soup of exhaustion, Vicks, and snotty tears. Good thing I took lots of pictures and notes, because I barely remember a thing.

And since then I’ve found myself wondering just how weird my brain and body might be. Because Valentina is miserable when she’s wandering around Montreal, and is it possible my body was forcing me into taking the research to the next level? Could I have needed to be miserable too so I could really understand her?

Umm, let’s hope not. Because that’s crazy. My misery mirroring Valentina’s misery—that was just a lucky/unlucky research coincidence. (Next research trip, though, I’m making sure my main character is plenty happy before I buy the tickets.)

Wow. That is a little crazy! I'm sorry you had such a miserable time in Montreal... I hope you give it another chance because it's a gorgeous city! Maybe next time you could have a character who is happy to be there. ;)

Thanks, Jessica!

Buy the book: Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Chapters Indigo // IndieBound // The Book Depository

About the author:
Jessica Martinez is the author of young adult novels Virtuosity, The Space Between Us, The Vow, and Kiss Kill Vanish. She was born and raised in Calgary, Canada. As a child she played the violin, read books, and climbed trees incessantly. She went on to study English and music at Brigham Young University, and since then has been an English teacher, a symphony violinist, and a mother. She currently lives in Orlando, Florida with her husband and three children.

Find her here: Goodreads // Twitter // Website

Go back and check out all the other stops on the Kiss Kill Vanish Canadian tour!
October 6th: Kathy (A Glass of Wine) - Review
October 7th: Kristie (Lost in Ever After) - Top 5 
October 8th: Emilie (Emilie's Book World) - Review
October 9th: Christa (More Than Just Magic) - Review
October 10th: Giselle (BO-OK Nerd Canada) - Character Interview
October 13th: Shelly (Read. Sleep. Repeat) - Review
October 14th: Angel (Mermaid Vision Books) - Review
October 15th: Ciara (Lost at Midnight Reviews) - Interview
October 16th: Lynne (Words of Mystery) - Review
October 17th: Jess (Read My Breath Away) - Guest Post


Waiting on Wednesday #86: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature created by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This is where you showcase an upcoming release you're anxiously awaiting!

This week, I'm waiting on:
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard.

Expected Publication: February 10, 2015.
by: HarperTeen.

Goodreads Synopsis:
Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood--those with red and those with silver. Mare and her family are lowly Reds, destined to serve the Silver elite whose supernatural abilities make them nearly gods. Mare steals what she can to help her family survive, but when her best friend is conscripted into the army she gambles everything to win his freedom. A twist of fate leads her to the royal palace itself, where, in front of the king and all his nobles, she discovers a power of her own--an ability she didn't know she had. Except . . . her blood is Red.

To hide this impossibility, the king forces her into the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks her new position to aid the Scarlet Guard--the leaders of a Red rebellion. Her actions put into motion a deadly and violent dance, pitting prince against prince--and Mare against her own heart.

From debut author Victoria Aveyard comes a lush, vivid fantasy series where loyalty and desire can tear you apart and the only certainty is betrayal.

Why I'm excited:
Do I actually have to say anything about this one? It sounds AMAZING and exactly like the kind of fantasy I love. Plus I've already heard great things from someone very in the know (can't wait to meet Mare, Suman!) so I'm counting on an awesome read!

What are you waiting on this week?


Sophomore Spotlight: Cat Winters

I'm thrilled today to have Cat Winters on the blog chatting about her new book, The Cure for Dreaming. You probably know that I absolutely loved her debut, In the Shadow of Blackbirds, so to say I'm excited to help her spread the word about this new book is an understatement.

First, here's a bit about the book:
The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters.
Published: October 14, 2014.
Published by: Amulet Books.

Goodreads Synopsis:
Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud. These supernatural challenges only make Olivia more determined to speak her mind, and so she’s drawn into a dangerous relationship with the hypnotist and his mysterious motives, all while secretly fighting for the rights of women. Winters breathes new life into history once again with an atmospheric, vividly real story, including archival photos and art from the period throughout.
And now welcome Cat!

Jess: Can you Twitter Pitch The Cure for Dreaming (140 characters or less)?
Cat: In 1900 America, a man hires a young hypnotist to cure his daughter, a budding suffragist, of her rebellious thoughts and dreams.

J: What would you say are main character Olivia's best and worst traits? Would Olivia agree with your answer?
C: Olivia’s best traits are her compassion and her ability to grow stronger under difficult circumstances. Her worst trait is misjudging people and making assumptions based on appearances alone, which changes as she comes to view people’s true natures under hypnosis. By the end of the novel, she would likely agree that she was always too quick to evaluate people before getting to know them.

J: Interesting. I think that's something we've all been guilty of at some point or another, so that's definitely a relatable trait for her to have. 
Which character from TCfD other than Olivia are you most excited for readers to meet?
C: Henri Reverie, my young stage hypnotist. I won’t say too much about him so you can discover his secrets throughout the novel, but he appears in the first chapter as a dashing young performer with a French-Canadian accent who leaps out of a cloud of smoke on a stage. Olivia initially thinks he looks like the devil.

J: Oooh, I'm intrigued! And a French-Canadian accent, eh? Interesting choice! ;)
What was your favourite part of the book to write?
C: Even though I loved creating all of my atmospheric and emotional scenes, my favorite ones to write involved Olivia riding her bicycle through town. In turn-of-the-century America, as well as other parts of the Western World, women gained independence after the invention of the “safety bicycle,” with its two equal-sized wheels (as opposed to earlier bicycles with a giant wheel in front and a small one in back). Suddenly, females were able to ride around town without chaperones, getting exercise, feeling good about themselves. Olivia loves tooling around the streets of her hometown of Portland, Oregon, and I loved riding around with her. After focusing on such dark moments in both IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS and THE CURE FOR DREAMING, it felt so refreshing to allow one of my characters to soar through the air and simply enjoy herself. My absolute favorite scene in the novel is one in which she’s pedaling through town with a young man hanging on behind her. I feel it encapsulates the sheer joy of being young.

J: What was the strangest or most interesting thing you researched for TCfD?
C: I loved reading about the horrors of Victorian dentistry—the gags used to pry open patients' mouths, public laughing gas demonstrations, the use of leeches to relieve inflamed gums, etc. Olivia’s father is a dentist, and she worries he wants to extract her dreams from her head the same way he enjoys pulling teeth out of people’s mouths (see the excerpt below).

J: Ohhh my goodness. Horrors is right. Dentistry was so primitive back then in comparison to what we have now. And people today are scared of the dentists! 
How did the publication journey for TCfD differ from that of your debut, In the Shadow of Blackbirds?
C: THE CURE FOR DREAMING ended up being a more difficult novel to write, and Amulet Books actually took longer acquiring it than they did with IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS. The entire second half of the book kept changing. It started off dark, dark, dark, then it switched to something too light, and after my editor and I got through with it, we found a middle ground. I’m extremely proud of the results.

J: Did you change anything about your writing process for this novel after having written your debut?
C: This novel ended up being shorter than my debut, simply because I learned the skill of weeding out unnecessary parts. The original manuscript of IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS was a huge, overflowing mess that gradually got pared down. All of my books now seem to be shorter. I’ve learned how to stay focused on the main story at hand.

J: That's probably a good skill to have. Time-saving for you, at the very least. 
Can you share a favourite quote from TCfD?
C: “You actually hired this person”—I pointed toward the still-seated hypnotist—“to extract my thoughts in your operatory, as if my brain were a decayed thing, like Mr. Dibbs’s disgusting bicuspid? Do you know how cruel and horrifying this is?”

J: In keeping with our theme here, are there any sophomore novels you've loved recently or are looking forward to?
C: I’m really looking forward to reading Carrie Mesrobian’s PERFECTLY GOOD WHITE BOY. Her debut novel, SEX & VIOLENCE, blew me away. I feel it’s a book all writers should read when contemplating how to capture the elusive quality of “voice.”

J: You're not the first to mention that one here. Sounds like one that I should be picking up right away! 
Can you share a little bit about your next project(s)?
C: I’m thrilled to say that I have two novels and one anthology under contract, with publication dates in 2015 and 2016. Here’s a little bit about each of them.

THE UNINVITED (William Morrow/HarperCollins, Summer 2015): My adult novel debut marks my return to 1918 America, when the Spanish influenza and WWI disheveled lives. A young woman makes a break from her family’s home for the first time in her life after her father and brother murder a German-American in their small Illinois town. It’s also a ghost story.

SLASHER GIRLS & MONSTER BOYS (Dial/Penguin, Fall 2015): I have an as-of-yet undisclosed short story appearing in this YA horror anthology that also includes new fiction from April Genevieve Tucholke, A.G. Howard, Megan Shepherd, Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu, Carrie Ryan, Nova Ren Suma, Stefan Bachman, Jay Kristoff, Kendare Blake, and several others.

THE STEEP AND THORNY WAY (Amulet Books/Abrams, Spring 2016): My third YA novel is a HAMLET-inspired tale set in the backwoods of Oregon in 1923. A biracial girl deals with Prohibition, the KKK, and the murder of her father in a region of America that has turned “less than kind.” Another ghost story.

I’ll include updates and reveal covers at my website, http://www.catwinters.com.

Thank you so much for hosting me, Jessica!

J: So much to look forward too! How exciting! Thank you, Cat! 

About the author:
 Cat Winters was born and raised in Southern California, near Disneyland, which may explain her love of haunted mansions, bygone eras, and fantasylands. She received degrees in drama and English from the University of California, Irvine, and formerly worked in publishing.

Her critically acclaimed debut novel, In the Shadow of Blackbirds, was named a 2014 Morris Award Finalist, a School Library Journal Best Book of 2013, a 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults pick, and a 2013 Bram Stoker Award Nominee. Her upcoming books include The Cure for Dreaming (Amulet Books/October 2014), The Uninvited (William Morrow/Summer 2015), and The Steep and Thorny Way (Amulet Books/Spring 2016).

Cat lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and two kids.  

Buy The Cure for Dreaming: Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Chapters Indigo // IndieBound // The Book Depository
Or order a signed copy from Cat's local indie, Powell's!

Cat has very kindly offered up a copy of the new paperback of In the Shadow of Blackbirds (with the Morris Award finalist seal on it!) to one very lucky winner from the US or Canada! Trust me when I say you definitely want this book. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this feature and make sure to include some way for me to contact you (email address or Twitter handle, preferably). Enter by Wednesday, October 29th for your chance to win this fabulous book, and get out and buy The Cure for Dreaming!

Some Rules (aka the not so fun but important part):
~ This giveaway is open to residents of US and Canada only (void where prohibited).
~ No P.O. boxes.
~ Must be 13 or older to enter.
~ Winner will be chosen randomly and contacted. The winner has 48 hours to respond, otherwise they forfeit their prize and I will choose another winner, who must abide by the same rules.
~ Cat and I are not responsible for lost or damaged packages.
No cheating! In this case, I have the right to disqualify entries as I see fit.
~ By entering the giveaway, you are agreeing to these rules.

Good luck!


Review: Adrenaline Crush by Laurie Boyle Crompton

Adrenaline Crush by Laurie Boyle Crompton.

Published: September 23, 2014.
Published by: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
Source: Requested an ARC from the Canadian distributor for review. Thank you, Raincoast!

Goodreads Synopsis:
When a daredevil teen pushes herself too far, she must choose between two boys: the one who wants to keep her safe, and the one who dares her to return to her old self.

Seventeen-year-old Dyna comes from a family of risk takers and is an avid thrill-seeker herself, until the day she splinters her ankle in a terrible fall. Her whole life goes from mountain biking and rock climbing to sitting at home and attending group sessions at the bizarre alternative healing center that her hippie mother found. The boy who witnessed Dyna’s accident believes her injury is a wakeup call and he encourages her mild new lifestyle, but a young Afghanistan War veteran she meets at the healing center pushes her to start taking chances again. Forced to face the consequences of her daredevil impulses, Dyna finds herself in danger of risking the one thing she’s always treated with caution—her heart.

My Review:
I went into Adrenaline Crush hoping for a fun and uplifting read about a girl who finds the courage to get back up after being taken down... and hopefully meets a cute guy along the way. On that, I got exactly what I wanted. It wasn't a perfect read and there are definitely some things that could have been improved upon, but it lived up to the promises it made and it gave me a pretty great cast of characters to enjoy it with.

One thing that Adrenaline Crush definitely has going for it is its characters. Dyna herself is a pretty intriguing wild child. I am very much unlike Dyna in that regard so it was really interesting for me getting into her head as she craved going faster and higher, and it felt really authentic. Meeting Dyna's family shows where her daredevil side came from. Her parents are slightly unconventional tattooed motorbike riders who seem to have always encouraged Dyna and her brother to take life by the horns. The whole dynamic of the family and how it changes throughout Dyna's struggle unfolds in a way that felt very real. Dyna's parents and brother have to adjust their lives as Dyna is forced to adjust hers and that causes both conflict and progress for each of them. I loved that they were involved because family is such an important element in so many teens' lives, especially when something so life-changing happens to them. They were definitely a highlight of the story for me.

When it comes down the the main conflict of the book, we're looking at whether or not Dyna can return to living life to its fullest and pushing her own limits. Her new boyfriend, Jay, encourages her to give it all up and be safe -- no more risks, no more thrills. Honestly, the sections she was with him after her accident were kind of boring, I think because he was trying so hard to keep her from really doing anything, and because she was so focused on trying to convince herself that he was right about her life and right for her. Then there's Pierce, the war veteran she meets who tries to show her that falling down is no reason not to get back up again. While I enjoyed seeing Dyna struggle with this balance of fear versus love of adventure, the outcome of the whole book was predictable from the beginning. Not that I was disappointed with how it turned out -- it's the ending I would have wanted for Dyna -- but I called it from the start. That didn't make reading the book less enjoyable for me, just a little less exciting.

This book is short: only 192 pages. Often with books that short, I find I'm left wishing there had been more because things weren't fleshed out enough for my taste. This happened a little with Adrenaline Crush, but thankfully quite not as much as I had worried it would. I do wish Pierce had been explored more as a character. I liked him a lot and thought he was such a great addition to Dyna's life, but I wanted to know him more. It seemed like there was some unexplored potential that could have fleshed him out even more and made me like him even more. The same goes for the unconventional therapy group that Dyna finds herself forced to attend. The other patients made for such an interesting bunch; I just wanted to keep hearing their stories. I do think the different people in the group were there enough for their purpose in this story, Dyna's story, but I did find myself wishing I could spend a little more time with them, learning more about them and doing more fear-facing adventures. I don't think the book really suffered too much because of these specific things, though. Having more of these characters would have added to the book, but it still got its story across with what was within its pages.

Overall, Adrenaline Crush is a quick but predictable read that still managed to entertain. While it could have used more fleshing out of some of the characters, they were still a fun bunch that I enjoyed spending these near-200 pages with. The message it holds at its core of not letting your setbacks take you away from what you love most came through loud and clear and was one of the book's shining moments.


Waiting on Wednesday #85: Skandal by Lindsay Smith

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature created by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This is where you showcase an upcoming release you're anxiously awaiting!

This week, I'm waiting on:
Skandal by Lindsay Smith.

Sekret #2.
Expected Publication: April 7, 2015.
by: Roaring Brook Press.

Goodreads Synopsis:
The dramatic sequel to Sekret, this psychic Cold War espionage thriller follows Yulia to Washington, DC, where she fights to discover the truth about her family without losing control of her mind.

Life in Washington, D.C., is not the safe haven Yulia hoped for when she risked everything to flee communist Russia. Her father is reckless and aloof, and Valentin is distant and haunted by his past. Her mother is being targeted by the CIA and the US government is suspicious of Yulia's allegiance. And when super-psychics start turning up in the US capitol, it seems that even Rostov is still a threat. Ultimately, Yulia must keep control of her own mind to save the people she loves and avoid an international Skandal

Why I'm excited:
I thought Sekret was excellent (my review) and I loved the Russian setting and the psychic elements and the whole spy thriller-ness of it, so I am absolutely looking forward to seeing Yulia and Valentin take on Washington and try to deal with whatever crazy Cold War trouble is waiting for them there!

What are you waiting on this week?


Sophomore Spotlight: Christa Desir

I'm very excited today to have Christa Desir here on the blog to chat about her new release, Bleed Like Me.

First, a bit about the book:
Bleed Like Me by Christa Desir.

Published: October 7, 2014.
Published by: Simon Pulse.

Goodreads Synopsis:
From the author of Fault Line comes an edgy and heartbreaking novel about two self-destructive teens in a Sid and Nancy-like romance full of passion, chaos, and dyed hair.

Seventeen-year-old Amelia Gannon (just "Gannon" to her friends) is invisible to almost everyone in her life. To her parents, to her teachers-even her best friend, who is more interested in bumming cigarettes than bonding. Some days the only way Gannon knows she is real is by carving bloody lines into the flesh of her stomach.

Then she meets Michael Brooks, and for the first time, she feels like she is being seen to the core of her being. Obnoxious, controlling, damaged, and addictive, he inserts himself into her life until all her scars are exposed. Each moment together is a passionate, painful relief.

But as the relationship deepens, Gannon starts to feel as if she's standing at the foot of a dam about to burst. She's given up everything and everyone in her life for him, but somehow nothing is enough for Brooks-until he poses the ultimate test.

Bleed Like Me is a piercing, intimate portrayal of the danger of a love so obsessive it becomes its own biggest threat.

And now, welcome Christa!

Jess: Let's start with something relatively easy: Describe your Sophomore novel, Bleed Like Me, in a tweet (140 characters or less).
Christa: Take one hot mess of a girl plus one hot mess of guy, mix them together in a really unhealthy way. Welcome to the crap salad.

J: BLM seems, from the synopsis, to deal with a destructive relationship and self harm -- how did you approach writing this (especially as relationships of this kind seem very under-represented in YA) and what tools, if any, did you use?
C: Well, I had seen quite a few books where messed up people got together and their love for each other pulled them out of their individual messes. And it really didn’t work for me that way as a teenager and I suspect it doesn’t work that way for other teenagers so I wanted to write a book where things didn’t get better by being in love with someone, but in fact got way worse. So that was the launching place for my research, I was very driven by an interest in what co-dependent relationships really looked and felt like.

J: Interesting. As much as I love "happily ever afters" because they're such a great escape, I'm glad people like you are writing stories with that element of tough truth as well. 
What do you hope readers take away from reading BLM?
C: Honestly, I have no “take away” agenda for readers. That’s not really my job as a fiction writer. Mostly I hope that it leaves them asking questions about healthy love and the choices we make and how we can hurt each other when we don’t take enough time to love ourselves first. But that’s pretty ambitious since all I really did was tell a story about two characters I thought were interesting—though I wouldn’t mind if people walk away from it being glad they read it.

J: How did the journey for this book differ from that for your debut, Fault Line?
C: Well, it was quite a bit different because Fault Line came out of a rape survivor testimonial writing workshop and the idea for that book was always to hopefully start a dialogue about sexual assault and help fund more survivor writing workshops. Bleed Like Me is informed by my experiences as a teenager, but it’s personal in a different way than Fault Line was. With Fault Line, I had to “come out” again as a rape survivor (although FL is not my survivor story). With BLM, I feel like I have a little more breathing room not to have my own life so tied into what that book is about. 

J: Did you change anything about your writing process for BLM after having had the experience of writing your debut?
C: Well, I actually had BLM written before I even sold FAULT LINE so my writing process was the same for that book as what it is for all my books: become obsessed with a character/characters, ignore everyone in my life until I get my characters’ story told, then spend several months adding setting and physical description and all the other stuff that I fail to include in my first drafts. Then spend several months after that making things up to my family/friends after being subhuman while I was writing.

J: Wow, that's dedication! And I'm sure your family and friends understand when they see what comes out of all that hard work. 
I know that you're a rape victim activist (thank you so much for your work, by the way), which likely had a bigger impact on Fault Line, but did your activism work influence BLM?
C: My activism, my politics, my feminism are pretty much all over my books. It’s hard not to have them impact my writing because they’re so much a part of who I am. So in the case of BLM, I have opinions about what teen girls sacrifice for this mystical notion of love, how they can lose themselves because they’ve been sold a bill of goods from the moment they’re born about how their value is determined only in relationship to the men in their lives. And I want girls to be able to stand on their own and love themselves enough not to need validation from a guy to believe they’re worth something. So yeah…I guess you could say my activism is in there :)

J: I have to admit that I'm really glad to hear that, especially the way you put it there. :)
You write contemporary with very dark but real (and undoubtedly important) themes. Is this the kind of book you think you'll stick to in your writing or do you ever want to try something different as well?
C: I don’t think I set out to write “issue” books. I have written other things and hope to do more of it. But the reality is, I don’t think I could write “light-hearted” books when it comes to YA. Other people do that much better than I ever could. For me, I like to push boundaries and ask questions and make people uncomfortable enough that they have to really think. I don’t really care what genre it falls in, the end game is still the same to me.

J: Do you listen to music while you write/edit? If so, can you share one song you listened to a lot while working on BLM?
C: I don’t listen while I’m writing, but I listen while I walk my dog in preparation of sitting down to write/edit. BLM was probably most informed by Eminem’s “Love the Way You Lie” and Sia’s “Breathe Me”.

J: Oh, I love Breathe Me. Such a great song. And I think those probably give some good insight into BLM, if I'm not mistaken.
In keeping with our theme here, are there any other sophomore releases you've either loved recently or are looking forward to?
C: Yes, I loved loved loved Carrie Mesrobian’s PERFECTLY GOOD WHITE BOY, also Sarah McCarry’s DIRTY WINGS, Steph Kuehn’s COMPLICIT and John Corey Whaley’s NOGGIN. And the sophomore book that I’m most looking forward to is Julie Murphy’s DUMPLIN’.

J: You have excellent taste, Christa! I can't wait to get to COMPLICIT because I was blown away by CHARM & STRANGE.
Can you share anything about your next project?
C: Yes, we actually just announced it, although I’ve been in edits on it for months. It’s currently called TWELVE and it’s about an alcoholic girl boxer who gets in a complicated relationship with a 38yo recovering addict. It comes out from Simon Pulse in January 2016.

J: Wow. That's one I'll definitely watch for. Thank you again,Christa!

Buy Bleed Like Me: Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Chapters Indigo // IndieBound // The Book Depository

Christa has kindly offered up a finished copy of Bleed Like Me to one lucky US winner! Enter by leaving a comment about why you want to read Bleed Like Me or responding to part of the interview. Make sure you leave some way for me to contact you in your comment (email address, twitter handle, etc.). Giveaway ends Tuesday, October 21st, so get your entries in by Monday night!

Some Rules (aka the not so fun but important part):
~ This giveaway is open to residents of the continental US only (void where prohibited).
~ No P.O. boxes.
~ Must be 13 or older to enter.
~ Winner will be chosen randomly and contacted. The winner has 48 hours to respond, otherwise they forfeit their prize and I will choose another winner, who must abide by the same rules.
~ Christa and I are not responsible for lost or damaged packages.
No cheating! In this case, I have the right to disqualify entries as I see fit.
~ By entering the giveaway, you are agreeing to these rules.

Good luck!


Waiting on Wednesday #84: A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature created by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This is where you showcase an upcoming release you're anxiously awaiting!

This week, I'm waiting on:
A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd.
The Madman's Daughter #3.

Expected Publication: January 27, 2015.
by: Balzer + Bray.

Goodreads Synopsis:
After killing the men who tried to steal her father’s research, Juliet—along with Montgomery, Lucy, Balthazar, and a deathly ill Edward—has escaped to a remote estate on the Scottish moors. Owned by the enigmatic Elizabeth von Stein, the mansion is full of mysteries and unexplained oddities: dead bodies in the basement, secret passages, and fortune-tellers who seem to know Juliet’s secrets. Though it appears to be a safe haven, Juliet fears new dangers may be present within the manor’s own walls.

Then Juliet uncovers the truth about the manor’s long history of scientific experimentation—and her own intended role in it—forcing her to determine where the line falls between right and wrong, life and death, magic and science, and promises and secrets. And she must decide if she’ll follow her father’s dark footsteps or her mother’s tragic ones, or whether she’ll make her own.

With inspiration from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this breathless conclusion to the Madman’s Daughter trilogy is about the things we’ll sacrifice to save those we love—even our own humanity.

Why I'm excited:
After finishing Her Dark Curiosity and liking it more than many others did, apparently, I am excited to see what happens next and curious about how Frankenstein will be incorporated in. I've enjoyed what Shepherd has done with weaving the classics through these books so far so I'm definitely looking forward to the conclusion!

What are you waiting on this week?