SS: Interview with Jamie Quaid + Giveaway!

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Today I am super happy to have author Jamie Quaid by my side. Her Saturn’s Daughter series rocked my world and I’m glad that she accepted to join us to celebrate the release of the second book, Damn Him to Hell! Make sure to stick around for a giveaway at the end!
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1- I really like the first novel in the series, Boyfriend From Hell, and I’m sure everyone would like to know if the second installment, Damn Him to Hell will be just as funny and action-packed?

Thank you, kindly! I’d like to believe it’s funny and action-packed– I certainly notch the action up another level. But humor is in the eye of the beholder, so unless you know you like frog humor, you’ll have to answer that one for me after you read it.

2- How would you describe the main characters to someone who’s unfortunate enough to not have read the first book?

Does bizarre, insane, lusty, and concerned cover it? <G> Tina—she of the weird Saturnian abilities— is obsessed with justice, and not precisely in the legal, rational manner of the lawyer she is. Then we have the invisible gay teenager, the snake-producing investigator, the handsome US Senator returned from hell, and Andre—the gorgeous but seriously freaky and paranoid Special Ops hunk. Just your usual chemically-polluted neighborhood.

3- You remained pretty hazy on the Gods mythology in BFH, will we finally learn more about it and Clancy’s abilities?

Tina won’t come into her full abilities until her 28th year, so she’s still learning what she’s capable of and really starting to worry herself. She develops a few more serious quirks this time around (frogs are involved!), and reaches out to another Saturn’s daughter. The problem is that Saturn’s daughters are so busy staying alive that they really don’t have time to write down what they learn.  It takes time to research a mythology no one is telling them about—and granny still isn’t too helpful. But it’s looking like whole new dimensions are involved…literally.

Let me ask this of your readers…what would you like to see happen? Do you really want a god to step down out of heavens with a rule book? Or do you want the Daughters to be their own force?

4- Andre turned out to be one of my favorite characters, will we get to know him more in book 2?

Oh YEAH! Andre gets in way over his pretty head this time around, and we learn a little more about those dimensions I mentioned…  He’s just a bit more than an all-around, average guy.

5- The folks in The Zone are pretty weird, do you think they’d be the kind to celebrate the summer solstice?

They’re mostly a pretty cynical lot, and the solstice is about celebrating life, not hell—which kind of haunts our polluted neighborhood—but if you can show them a good reason to celebrate, they’re all over it. Can the gargoyles come, too?

6- Have you ever attended this kind of celebration yourself?

Let’s just say I’ve created my own bonfires a few times and not go into details, okay?

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Thank you so much Jamie for stopping by ❤ It’s always such a pleasure to have you on board!

More about Damn Him to Hell:

Damn Him to Hell

Justice is blind. Justine isn’t. Book two in the Saturn’s Daughter series, in which Tina Clancy is gifted with the power to dispense justice…for good or evil.

Tina Clancy is adapting to her new life as one of Saturn’s Daughters while living in the toxic part of Baltimore known as The Zone, and occasionally acting as a champion of the downtrodden, the weird, the innocent…and the sometimes not-so-innocent.

Just when she finally lands a real law job, the Zone is blasted by poisonous gas and her sometimes-boyfriend starts receiving visitors from Hell. He’s none too pleased about that, or in Tina having sent his granny to Hell in his place. For that matter, neither is granny…

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Previous books in the series:

Boyfriend from Hell (Saturn's Daughter, #1)

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Jamie is generously offering  2 copies of Damn Him to Hell to 2 lucky winners!

Open internationally

Fill the form to enter, ends July 5th!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Patricia Rice“As a fan of urban fantasy and kick-ass heroines, I’ve often wondered why we’re drawn to fangs and fur when there are so many grim realities our heroines can conquer.  While pondering the possibilities of fighting evil in a real world, I created Justine Clancy, a woman who has fought the bullies of the world all her life, without realizing she was pre-destined to be an arbiter of justice—until she accidentally sends her lying boyfriend to hell. And the devil handsomely rewards her.

But along with power must come knowledge—and for Tina, that includes learning not only the difference between good and evil, but all the shades of gray in between. Because sending the wrong people to the Underworld could have grave consequences, literally. But not doing her job can hurt the people who have taken her in and accepted her. For the first time in her life, she has a home, but it’s going to require a whole lot of housecleaning to drive out the demons hiding there.”(source)

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Damn Him to Hell by Jamie Quaid

Damn Him to Hell (Saturn's Daughter, #2)

Damn Him to Hell by Jamie Quaid

Book stats:
Reading level: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Pocket Books
Release date: June 25, 2013

Series: Saturn’s Daughter #2

Source: Edelweiss

Reviewed by: Tynga

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Justice is blind. Justine isn’t. Book two in the Saturn’s Daughter series, in which Tina Clancy is gifted with the power to dispense justice…for good or evil.

Tina Clancy is adapting to her new life as one of Saturn’s Daughters while living in the toxic part of Baltimore known as The Zone, and occasionally acting as a champion of the downtrodden, the weird, the innocent…and the sometimes not-so-innocent.

Just when she finally lands a real law job, the Zone is blasted by poisonous gas and her sometimes-boyfriend starts receiving visitors from Hell. He’s none too pleased about that, or in Tina having sent his granny to Hell in his place. For that matter, neither is granny…

Clancy finally managed to bring back her late boyfriend from hell but it didn’t quite go as planned. His soul his now in his evil cousin’s body and to say it complicates things is an understatement. Unfortunately, there are bigger problems to deal with. Acme, the chemical plant, released a green with pink sparkles gas onto the zone. Driving people to great violence followed by a coma, the gas, and its victims, is Clancy’s main concern. But how can one little lawyer shutdown a big company such as Acme?

I really liked Boyfriend from Hell, but I have to confess I have mixed feelings about this second instalment. Maybe it suffers from the ‘second-book-curse’? I’ll start with the elements I liked. First, I still like the world, and the ghetto that is the zone. It’s originality still commands attention and I enjoyed it. Also, the characters I came to love are still very much present and their sense of humour is as ironic as ever, kudos Jaime. And last, I love Clancy’s dedication to everyone from the zone and I command her for it!

Now onto the aspects I liked less. First, I feel like everything is at a standstill. The novel is action filled and Justina is focused on stopping acme and curing the ‘zombies’, as she call ‘em. While this is all good and well, it prevented overall story progress. What I mean is, by the end of the novel, we still don’t know much more about Justina’s powers, the rules surrounding them or their origins. Also, while we now know how Andre gets impressions from the future, he is still very mysterious. And lastly, their is no progress what so over in the romantic aspect of the story. Clancy is no closer to choosing between Leo or Andre, and the standstill is frustrating. In summary, the plot arc of the novel progressed smoothly, but the arc of the series feels stationary.

Another aspect that bothered me was the constant repetition. In this novel, Justina is resolute to control her emotions and think through before she damns anyone to hell. While this maturity is welcome, she mentions it every chapters or so. I felt like, ‘ok we got it, no need to keep repeating over and over again’. It really annoyed me and I hope this issue won’t be redundant in the next novel.

All in all, Damn Him to Hell is a good but flawed sequel to a series that started great. It’s an interesting and highly original urban fantasy and I still suggest you give it try.

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SS: Interview with Jennifer Estep + giveaway!

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I’m always excited when Jennifer Estep stops by because she’s one of my favourite authors. She’s the brilliant mind behind two great series: her young adult mythology-based Mythos Academy books from KTeen and her amazing Elemental Assassin series from Pocket. She has releases from both series in the pipeline for this summer and she’s graciously agreed to an interview to chat about her summer plans. Please join me in welcoming the wonderful Ms. Estep to Supernatural Solstice!

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1. Welcome back to the blog, Jennifer! Thanks for taking the time to participate in Supernatural Solstice. You have a ton of stuff coming out this summer: SPARTAN FROST(out today), MIDNIGHT FROST (July 30), an Elemental Assassin story in CARNIEPUNK (July 23), KISS OF VENOM, another Elemental Assassin short from Owen’s POV (July 25), and HEART OF VENOM (August 27). It leads to an obvious question: how do you write so much and so well? =)

Heart of Venom by Jennifer Estep (Elemental Assassin #9)Thanks for hosting me on the blog again. I appreciate it.

I’ve been busy. LOL. But writing is my full-time job, and I’m always working on some project or another. I work at least 40 hours a week, and usually, it’s more. But I love what I do, and I write fairly quickly, so that helps with all of the long hours on the computer.

But everything just sort of came together for this summer, which is why I have so many new releases coming out over the next few months. I hope that everyone enjoys all of the books and e-stories.

2. Do you approach writing young adult novels differently than your adult series?

Not really. I’m a panster, so I write all of my books pretty much the same way. I think about the characters, the magic, and the major turning points of the story, then sit down and start writing.

But I would say that my Mythos Academy books are a little different from my other books in that I’m trying to tell more of a coming-of-age story in those books, especially since my heroine, Gwen, is still learning about herself, her magic, and trying to figure out what she wants her place in the world to be. So far, it’s been a fun challenge writing a YA series and really trying to capture that YA voice and all of the emotions, problems, and triumphs that go along with being a young adult.

3. I’m really excited to read SPARTAN FROST because it’s the first time we get a story from Logan’s point of view. Did this switch present any challenges? Any extra freedom?

Spartan Frost by Jennifer Estep (Mythos Academy #4.5)Thanks. I appreciate that.

For my Elemental Assassin series, I’ve written several free short stories from the points of view of different characters. Those stories are on the Excerpts page of my website. So I thought that it would be fun to do the same thing with my Mythos Academy series. Plus, readers really seem to like the shorter e-stories that many authors are now writing in between their books.

After what happens in CRIMSON FROST, the fourth book, it only seemed natural to write a story from Logan’s point of view and fill in some of the things that happen to him after CRIMSON FROST. Plus, I’ve gotten a lot of reader requests for a Logan story, so this is was a way that I thought I could give folks a little something extra to enjoy in the series.

I write in first-person, and I think it’s always interesting to show a different character’s point of view on something or how he might react in a situation when the heroine isn’t around. In Logan’s case, I got to explore how he feels about Gwen, his dad, and being a Spartan, among other things.

4. With each instalment of the Mythos Academy series, Gwen faces bigger challenges and MIDNIGHT FROST seems to contain the most daunting task yet. How do you come up with these ideas and where will the series go from here?

Any time you write a series, especially if you are following the same heroine through multiple books, then you always want to make the stakes higher and higher in each subsequent book. I really enjoy coming up with new bad guys and new challenges for Gwen to face and then figuring out how she can use her magic and smarts to get out of all of these dire situations.

KILLER FROST, the sixth book in the series, is tentatively set to be released in March 2014.

5. What can you share about your story in CARNIEPUNK?

Parlor Tricks by Jennifer Estep (Carniepunk) My story is called PARLOR TRICKS, and it’s part of my Elemental Assassin series. In the story, Gin and Bria go to a country carnival in search of a missing girl and end up in more trouble than they anticipated. It’s more of a stand-alone adventure, so I hope that it will appeal to both fans of the series and folks who haven’t tried my books yet.

Also, to help promote the CARNIEPUNK anthology, PARLOR TRICKS is available as a free e-download from all of the usual e-booksellers. I hope that everyone enjoys the story and the anthology. It’s been a cool project to be a part of.

6. HEART OF VENOM, your ninth Elemental Assassin novel, comes out at the end of the summer and gives us a look into Sophia’s past. Can you share any exclusive tidbits about what we’ll see in this novel?

Like you said, HEART OF VENOM delves into Sophia’s past and backstory, as well as Jo-Jo’s. I’ve gotten a lot of questions about the Deveraux sisters, so this book will fill in some of their history together and with Fletcher, Gin’s mentor. It will also answer some questions about Gin and Owen’s relationship and where the two of them go after the events of the last few books in the series.

7. Which character has surprised you the most in these two series?

Hmm. That’s a tough one. They all surprise me to some extent. But right now, I will say Phillip Kincaid in my Elemental Assassin series. When I first wrote him back in the third book, VENOM, he was just a minor character, a bad guy who owned a riverboat casino. But then, when I had the idea for WIDOW’S WEB, book seven, I realized that he would make a great character to help me tell more of Owen’s backstory. So Phillip just sort of took on a life of his own, but readers really seem to like his character so far.

And now a couple event-related questions:

8. What’s your favourite part of summer?

One of my favorite parts of summer is cooking out with my friends.

9. Which of your characters would be most likely to celebrate the summer solstice and why?

Definitely Finnegan Lane from my Elemental Assassin series. Finn loves any excuse to have a good time, so I could see him throwing a summer solstice party for Gin and the gang.

Happy reading, everyone!

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Thank you so much, Jennifer! It’s always such a pleasure to have you on board!

More about SPARTAN FROST:

Spartan Frost by Jennifer Estep (Mythos Academy #4.5)I’m Logan Quinn, the deadliest Spartan warrior at Mythos Academy. At least I was–until the day I almost killed Gwen Frost.

Professor Metis and Nickamedes say that I’m fine, that Loki and the Reapers don’t have a hold on me anymore, but I can’t risk it. I can’t risk hurting Gwen again. So I’m leaving Mythos and going somewhere far, far away.

I know Gwen wonders what’s happening to me, whether I’m safe. I can’t tell her, but this is my story…

Jenn’s thoughts

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon

And here’s MIDNIGHT FROST, out July 30:

Here we go again…

Just when it seems life at Mythos Academy can’t get any more dangerous, the Reapers of Chaos manage to prove me wrong. It was just a typical night at the Library of Antiquities—until a Reaper tried to poison me. The good news is I’m still alive and kicking. The bad news is the Reaper poisoned someone else instead.

As Nike’s Champion, everyone expects me to lead the charge against the Reapers, even though I’m still hurting over what happened with Spartan warrior Logan Quinn. I’ve got to get my hands on the antidote fast—otherwise, an innocent person will die. But the only known cure is hidden in some creepy ruins—and the Reapers are sure to be waiting for me there…

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Click on the cover to see my thoughts on the rest of the series:

Jennifer Estep First Frost Jennifer Estep Touch of Frost Jennifer Estep Kiss of Frost Jennifer Estep Dark Frost Jennifer Estep Kiss of Frost

giveaway

Jennifer is graciously offering one (1) copy of MIDNIGHT FROST to a lucky reader!

To enter, obey the Rafflecopter!

US only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Jennifer Estep is a New York Times bestselling author, prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea. She is the author of the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series for Pocket Books and the Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series for Kensington. She is also the author of the Bigtime paranormal romance series. For more information, visit http://www.jenniferestep.com or follow Jennifer on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Jenn

SS: Precious Blood by Tonya Hurley Giveaway

giveawaySimon and Schuster’s are offering two lucky winners a copy of Precious Blood and a Precious Blood bookmark!

More about the book:

https://i1.wp.com/www.bighonchomedia.com/Assets/SimonandSchuster/PreciousBlood.jpgWhat if martyrs and saints lived among us? And what if you were told you were one of them?

Agnes, Cecilia, and Lucy are three lost girls—each with their own personal demons. These girls meet one night when they all end up in the same hospital…and each wake up with a token from a boy they’ve only just met. Sebastian is gorgeous, mysterious, and has a plan for all of them. As each girl gets wrapped up in finding out just who Sebastian is, they each discover their own strengths, and realize the only way to save themselves is to save each other.

The story begins in PRECIOUS BLOOD and continues in PASSIONARIES, available 1/7/14.

 

This giveaway is open to US only, all you have to do is fill the form below!

Ends July 5th, 2013.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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SS: Interview with Imogen Howson!

I am so excited to have Imogen Howson stop by and tell us a little about her debut novel, LINKED. I am so excited for this novel, so I was happy to learn a little about Imogen from her interview below! I may have even helped her out with a tiny bit of the plot for a future novel! 😉
 
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1. How did you come up with such a unique idea for your debut novel? Did you draw inspiration from anything in particular?

The first spark of an idea came from a magazine article I read about twins who had some kind of a psychic link.  At the time people were talking about space opera a lot, and I really liked the idea of combining my telepathic twins with all the fun of futuristic space travel.  As a typical magpie author, I get bits of inspiration from everywhere, but I know in writing this book I was influenced by Joss Whedon’s Firefly series.

2. Do you see yourself in any of your characters?

In writing about teenage girls, I definitely draw from my own memories of being one, but I don’t think I actually base any of my characters on myself.  Sometimes bits of how I talk sneak into things they say, though–family members who’ve read my book say sometimes they can hear my voice in it!

3. Speaking of which, I’m absolutely terrible with names. How did you come up with the names of your characters?

Ha, I’m terrible with names too!  I end up writing the alphabet all over pieces of paper trying to work out the right letter for names to start with.  I often know the sound I need, or the shape of the name, but it’s really tricky getting it right.  And for the name of the planet on which LINKED is set, I had to enlist the help of my daughter and one of her friends–and they were really helpful!

4. Your novel has been described as fantasy, paranormal, science fiction, dystopian, and thriller because of its plethora of unique plot attributions. How would you describe it?

Most of the time I was writing it I said its title was Telepathic Twins in Space.  Which I think sums it up pretty nicely.  The thriller aspect was really the brainchild of my agent.  She saw an early draft and suggested some changes to the pacing.  As a reference, she mentioned The Bourne Identity–how it turns into a complete breakneck chase, where as soon as the hero gets away from one threat, he’s hit with another–and that totally inspired me.  I revised the first half of the book very heavily, with my agent’s suggestions in mind, and keeping that Bourne Identity feel to the chase scenes helped me so much with the pacing–and ended up making it feel more like a thriller than it had to begin with.

5. What do you hope readers take away from your debut?

Mostly, I just hope to give readers one of those books that you can’t stop reading, that you lose yourself in.  That, to me, is what books are for, and when I find a book like that I can’t stop talking about it!  I wouldn’t mind if it made people think serious thoughts about how society works, too, and about how if you allow yourself to think of some people as "other" you can treat them without normal compassion without feeling bad about it. But mostly I just want people to enjoy the book and look forward to the sequel!

6. What is your next project as the release of LINKED is growing near?

After Telepathic Twins in Space (plus the sequel, Telepathic Twins Save the World–otherwise known as UNRAVEL–out in 2014), my next project is  Cheerleaders in Space. Except it’s sort of turned into "Cheerleaders on a flying ship in the sky, with underground mutants".  I told my daughters about it and they looked at me as if I was crazy.

7. Have you ever celebrated the summer solstice?

I haven’t.  But now I want to write a book about a planet called Solstice, so thank you for the name suggestion!

8. How would your characters celebrate the summer solstice?

My characters live on Sekoia, which is a hot, mostly desert planet.  I think the summer solstice is probably a pretty dangerous time, because that’s when the planet could be at its hottest.  So they probably celebrate by staying indoors with their air-conditioning on, and by hoping that the heat won’t reverse the planet’s terraforming process and kill them all off.

 
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Thank you so much for stopping by, Imogen! This was a really fun interview!
 
Check out more about LINKED:
Elissa used to have it all: looks, popularity, and a bright future. But for the last three years, she’s been struggling with terrifying visions, phantom pains, and mysterious bruises that appear out of nowhere.

Finally, she’s promised a cure: minor surgery to burn out the overactive area of her brain. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the shocking truth behind her hallucinations: she’s been seeing the world through another girl’s eyes.

Elissa follows her visions, and finds a battered, broken girl on the run. A girl—Lin—who looks exactly like Elissa, down to the matching bruises. The twin sister she never knew existed.

Now, Elissa and Lin are on the run from a government who will stop at nothing to reclaim Lin and protect the dangerous secrets she could expose—secrets that would shake the very foundation of their world.

Riveting, thought-provoking and utterly compelling, Linked will make you question what it really means to be human.

  
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As a child, I loved reading so much that I not only read in bed, at the table and in the bath, but in the shower and – not so successfully – on my bicycle.
 
I enjoyed books in a slightly unorthodox way, too – many of my childhood books have ragged edges where I tore paper from the margins in order to eat it.
 
I wrote my first book at eight. It was entitled The Dragon in the Teapot and would probably have been a huge hit if I hadn’t lost the only copy on a family day out.
 
Some years later, armed with several different types of backups, I’m busy writing romantic science fiction and fantasy for young adults and adults.
 
I live with my partner, our two teenage daughters, and three cats, near Sherwood Forest in England. I still read in most places, but I no longer eat paper.
 
I’m a member of The Romantic Novelists’ Association, the group blogs The Lucky 13s and Author Allsorts, and the online writers’ community Romance Divas.  I’m represented by Mandy Hubbard of D4EO Literary Agency.

Linked by Imogen Howson

Linked by Imogen HowsonLinked by Imogen Howson

Book stats:
Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 368 pages
Genre: Sci-fi, Dystopian, Thriller
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: June 11, 2013

Series: Linked #1

Source: From Publisher for Review

Reviewed by: Lili

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Elissa used to have it all: looks, popularity, and a bright future. But for the last three years, she’s been struggling with terrifying visions, phantom pains, and mysterious bruises that appear out of nowhere.

Finally, she’s promised a cure: minor surgery to burn out the overactive area of her brain. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the shocking truth behind her hallucinations: she’s been seeing the world through another girl’s eyes.

Elissa follows her visions, and finds a battered, broken girl on the run. A girl—Lin—who looks exactly like Elissa, down to the matching bruises. The twin sister she never knew existed.

Now, Elissa and Lin are on the run from a government who will stop at nothing to reclaim Lin and protect the dangerous secrets she could expose—secrets that would shake the very foundation of their world.

Riveting, thought-provoking and utterly compelling, Linked will make you question what it really means to be human.

I think that this was one of my most anticipated reads from 2013 for two reasons: look at that attention-grabbing synopses and look at that beautiful cover. Both drew me in immediately. And while I have to admit that Howson was able to come up with a solid debut, it left me wanting a little more. While definitely satisfactory, I think that certain things hindered this book from reaching its true potential because its science fiction plot-line can rival some of the best.

The plot in this one was absolutely glorious. The thought behind it was mesmerizing, but it took me awhile to be mesmerized. See, the first 80 pages of this book dragged on for me. I texted a fellow reader at exactly page 84 to announce that it’s picking up, and from there it never slowed down. But it was hard to get through those first 80. They weren’t professionally paced the way the rest of the book was and, on top of that, I spent most of the book confused. I could figure out what was going on way before the main character did, but my issue was mainly with the world-building. I didn’t understand what was going on at all with the world-building and can honestly say I was slightly lost. And while I understand a lot more now upon completion of the book, I still have a few more questions to be answered. Mainly, what happened that made humans have to start colonizing other planets? Is Earth still there or did it blow up or something or hit an ice age? I’d love to know what made all of this necessary… If anyone has trouble with the rocky beginning, it’s truly worth continuing because the rest of the plot is strong.

For the most part, the characterization was solid as well. I enjoyed Lissa’s characterization because despite being physically and emotionally frail, she was morally strong and determined. She was genuine and had a great concern for others. Unfortunately, she was also completely oblivious at times. For example, if you’re on the run, you don’t call your family. The odds that they’re not being tracked by the people hunting you are next to nothing. However, Lin completely blew me away. This girl was so easy to trust Lissa, the only person she knew in her bleak existence, and she was strong in her own way. She was a newborn to the world and watching her learn to stand on her own two feet was amazing. Seeing her make her own decisions, learn how to determine right from wrong, and grow was done perfectly. And then there are characters like Cadan. You love him and hate him all at once because despite being one of the elder characters, his emotions were flipping back and forth at hyperspeed the way a young kid’s would. I also have to say that I found it interesting that Howson characterized Lissa’s parents the way she did. One was pretty much understanding and forgiving and the other was cold and stubborn. Whenever there was a comparison between their actions in regards to Lissa’s journey and Lin’s existence, it got you thinking a lot. This book certainly does make you question things like human rights and morality and Howson was able to establish such thoughts through them.

The ending was great. It simultaneously satisfied me and left me curious to know what happens next with the promise of more crazy-awesome space travel to ensue in book two as well as the promise of a possible romance blooming that I’d love to explore. It’s true what they say, passionate emotions erupt in times of great distress, and this book illustrates just that. And while this book wasn’t entirely what I expected, I did enjoy it and I’m definitely curious to see what Howson has in store for us. While not perfect, this is a debut that will certainly allow Howson to stand out as an emerging young adult sci-fi author to look out for. And most importantly, it makes you think.

Read an Excerpt

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"When I’m not writing" with Jenn Bennett + giveaway!

Jenn Bennett Today the wonderful Jenn Bennett is stopping by to tell us what she does when she’s not writing her amazing Arcadia Bell stories, or her upcoming Roaring 20s paranormal romance series (which I’m so excited to try!). Jenn’s one of my favourite authors, and not just because we share a name, so I truly hope you’ll enjoy this peek into her life. She’s been gracious enough to give us a peek into her life, complete with never-before-seen-online artwork and the evilest of pugs. =)

Jenn has also been gracious enough to offer up a giveaway of a signed copy of one of her Arcadia Bell books, so make sure you stick around to enter that. It’s a prize I’d love to get!

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Jenn Bennett painting Death Warm

I wasn’t always a writer, but most of my interests have been creative. When I was in college, I was certain I’d be making a living in the art world. Little did my starry-eyed 20-year-old self know that my super-cool degree in Fine Arts would later be virtually useless. But at the time, I didn’t care about things like Jobs and Money and Adult Responsibilities, and painted almost every day—mostly in oils, and usually figures (like the one in the photo here). Over the years, I’ve made stained glass, mosaics, metal jewelry, screen-prints, and pottery. I still draw on occasion, and I’ve taught myself how to paint in photoshop. Some of the character sketches I’ve done are up on my website.

Jenn Bennett ouija boards

Later, when I began working real-world jobs, I channeled all that creative angst into my living space. My kitchen is rainforest-frog green, and my living room is decorated with flea-market finds and oddities my husband and I have picked up on our travels. I have a lot of unique collections, including vintage ouija boards (see photo), Fiestaware, early 20th century postcards of redwood trees (weird, I know), and small statues of toadstools (weirder, I know).

Jenn Bennett evil pug

Now that I’m writing, most of downtime is spent unwinding. I have two Evil Pugs (see photo of the most malevolent one), who basically hold me hostage in my own home. I like to play video games—mostly survival horror or adventure, like Bioshock and Uncharted. I watch a lot of old movies (1920s-1950s is my sweet spot), and I love to cook. Usually. When I’m not on a horrible writing deadline. But the thing I probably enjoy doing most when I’m not writing is: reading. Funny how life circles back around, isn’t it?

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Thanks for stopping by, Jenn, and sharing your collections and artwork with us! =)

For more information about Jenn and her books, check out her website or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

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Here’s the scoop on BINDING THE SHADOWS:

Binding the Shadows by Jenn Bennett (Arcadia Bell #3)Renegade mage and bartender Arcadia Bell has had a rough year, but now the door to her already unstable world is unhinging. When a citywide crime wave erupts, Cady’s demon-friendly tiki bar is robbed by Earthbounds wielding surreal demonic abilities that just flat-out shouldn’t exist. With the help of her devilishly delicious boyfriend, Lon Butler, Cady sets out to find the people who wronged her—but her targets aren’t the only ones experiencing unnatural metamorphoses. Can Cady track down the monsters responsible before the monster inside her destroys everything—and everyone—she loves? If she survives this adventure, one thing is certain: it’s last call for life as she knows it.

Jenn (from the blog)’s thoughts

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Here are the earlier books in the series. Click on the cover to see Jenn (from the blog)’s thoughts:

Kindling the Moon by Jenn Bennett (Aracdia Bell #1)

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giveaway

Jenn is offering one (1) lucky reader a signed Arcadia Bell book!

To enter the giveaway, listen to the Rafflecopter!

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Do you guys have suggestions for who you’d like to see featured on the blog? If so, you can make your suggestions on this page. No guarantees that your favorite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!

Authors, would you like to visit and share with us? Please email me at jennblogs (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll set it up!

Jenn

Binding the Shadows by Jenn Bennett

Binding the Shadows by Jenn Bennett (Arcadia Bell #3) Binding the Shadows by Jenn Bennett

Book stats:
Reading level: Adult
Trade paperback: 384 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy
Publisher: Pocket
Release date: May 28, 2013

Series: Arcadia Bell #3

Source: eARC from author

Reviewed by: Jenn

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Renegade mage and bartender Arcadia Bell has had a rough year, but now the door to her already unstable world is unhinging. When a citywide crime wave erupts, Cady’s demon-friendly tiki bar is robbed by Earthbounds wielding surreal demonic abilities that just flat-out shouldn’t exist. With the help of her devilishly delicious boyfriend, Lon Butler, Cady sets out to find the people who wronged her—but her targets aren’t the only ones experiencing unnatural metamorphoses. Can Cady track down the monsters responsible before the monster inside her destroys everything—and everyone—she loves? If she survives this adventure, one thing is certain: it’s last call for life as she knows it.

In BINDING THE SHADOWS, the third novel in the Arcadia Bell series, Jenn Bennett tackles some big ideas: Cady’s Moonchild abilities develop, her relationships with Lon and Jupe are tested, and her friendship with Kar Yee faces new challenges. As a result, this is probably the most emotional book in the series thus far. Bennett’s characteristic ribald humour is still present but there are some seriously heavy moments in BINDING THE SHADOWS. I wasn’t expecting the book to be so emotional, or to be so very wrapped up in the emotion myself. Bennett excels at writing great characters and inspired plots but she’s never gotten my heart so involved in one of her stories before. I think it’s a testament to the strength of her writing and also a very bold move for the author since BINDING THE SHADOWS has a different and somewhat darker tone from previous stories in the series.

Relationships are a big part of BINDING THE SHADOWS and some of my favourite scenes in BINDING THE SHADOWS are the interactions between Kar Yee and Cady. I’ve been a Kar Yee fan for quite some time and it’s great to see her get more page time, even if she and Cady are having difficult conversations. As much as I adore Cady, Kar Yee makes some excellent points in their harsh heart-to-heart and I’m very invested in seeing what happens between them on a personal and professional level in CROSSING THE ÆTHYR. BINDING THE SHADOWS also introduces some of Jupe’s family on his mom’s side. I’ve long wondered what kind of family Yvonne came from and it’s nice to see that they’re warm and wonderful people. Their presence really add to the story and gets Cady to reflect on her relationships with Lon and Jupe.

Bennett really dives into Cady’s Moonchild abilities in BINDING THE SHADOWS and there are some revelations that I can only describing as startling and troubling. I don’t want to spoil it for you since the book isn’t out yet but Cady learns a lot more about what her powers can do and where they come from. It’s going to make her life a lot more interesting and scary and I have no idea how she’s going to get out of the trouble she’s in with her growing powers. But the real OMFG part of BINDING THE SHADOWS is definitely the ending. I actually punched a pillow because I was so shocked and kept trying to flick through the pages on my e-reader to find the rest even though I knew i wasn’t there because I couldn’t believe how Bennett has ended BINDING THE SHADOWS. It’s not a cliffhanger in the sense that the main storyline gets wrapped up but it is a cliffhanger in the sense that I NEED TO KNOW WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO CADY RIGHT NOW AND I DON’T THINK I CAN WAIT A WHOLE YEAR TO FIND OUT WHAT COMES NEXT. I love me some Jenn Bennett but right now I’m too busy feeling tortured by that edge-of-the-seat ending and the fact that we have to wait until next May to get some resolution. In fact, I’m getting agitated just writing this post and it’s been a few days since I finished the novel. Damn you, Jenn Bennett, and your crazy brain!! (I say this with respect and adoration.)

Bennett’s writing has hit an emotional peak with BINDING THE SHADOWS and the way she’s ended this latest instalment will leave readers panting for more. This third novel in her Arcadia Bell series really raises the bar in terms of emotion, danger, and magical possibilities and I’m in awe of Jenn Bennett’s talent and moxy. If you’ve been on the fence about this series, BINDING THE SHADOWS is sure to win you over!

Read an excerpt

Jenn

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The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle HodkinThe Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Book stats:
Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 544 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 23, 2013

Series: The Evolution of Mara Dyer #2

Source: Personal Shelf

Reviewed by: Lili

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past.

She can’t.

She used to think her problems were all in her head.

They aren’t.

She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets.

She’s wrong.

<p align=”justify”In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?

Can I just begin by saying that this series has the most hypnotizing of covers? If I didn’t love the series as much as I clearly do, I’d probably still buy the books just to display these gorgeously dark and intriguing covers on my shelves. But that’s beside the point. I was very excited to get back into this world. I missed the creepiness, the hallucinations and the paranoia that is Mara’s life. I don’t think I’ve come across an author who can tackle the concept of insanity just as well as Michelle Hodkin, and I absolutely love her for continuously rocking my world with this psychological thriller/horror series. I absolutely never know what is about to happen next.

Long ago, the prequel to this lovely book, THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER, was actually the first ever review I posted for Tynga’s Reviews. It earned a supremely perfect rating because its darkness, its grittiness, its uniqueness that left me wanting more was all incredibly amazing. So, clearly, I had high hopes for this one. While I am happy to report that Hodkin does not suffer from sequel syndrome, I must admit that I don’t think this sequel topped the prequel. While Hodkin can still take me for a roller coaster ride with her amazing and unseen plot lines, she had me flipping the pages at a rapid fire speed for book one and, at times, I found myself closing this book to go for a walk. I’m not even kidding, it actually rained on me on my way home. I had a mini heart attack thinking I suddenly inherited Mara’s consistently terrible luck.

I think that this novel was somewhat slow for me in comparison to book one simply because Mara is now in an asylum. Well, not really, she’s actually in an outpatient program on the brink of being thrown into an asylum. Granted, creepy things continued to happen that made my skin crawl, but this was a repetitive plot line to me. She’d make some progress than take a step back. She’d make more progress than an event in her life forced her to take a step back. There was this constant distrust of her because she once hallucinated. And seeing her internal monologue was draining because of how emotionally drained she was. She was fighting to be heard and nobody believed her. There was lie after lie only for her to disagree in her head. And while I am wholeheartedly on Mara’s side, the repetitive aspect of this novel bored me occasionally.

But this novel was truly very well written. I can honestly say that the repetitiveness of Mara’s problems bugged me in ways that it did not bug most people–probably because a huge pet peeve of mine inherited from my father is indecision and that pet peeve is still existent when it comes to bookish characters. Every other aspect of the novel blew me away. Again, I never saw any of the plot twists coming and, trust me, they were plentiful and incredibly unexpected. And the characterization was strong. There was a particularly touching scene where Daniel accompanied Mara to family therapy that tugged at my heartstrings because I’ve loved how his character has developed in this novel. He’s an amazing older brother. And, of course, there’s Noah–arguably one of the sexiest and thoughtful leading men in young adult literature these days. We were able to glimpse a little more of Noah’s thought processes and learn more about his past, which revealed a darker side to him. His theories about his own abilities and Mara’s were a huge focus of the plot this time around because, rather unexpectedly, they realized that they just might not be alone.

All in all, I say that Hodkin is an author that I can never get sick of and I still highly suggest this series to anyone willing to read a gritty romance dealing with insanity. It’ll make your skin crawl in the most amazing way, and that’s saying something because I absolutely hate your average horror novel and refuse to even pick them up. It’s also not heavy on the fantasy though the entirety of Mara’s insanity developing from her believed ability to control things with her mind is a fantasy novel about superhuman abilities. My only qualms was Mara’s indecisiveness and the unrealistic aspects of Noah having so much money. Sure, he can bribe anyone, but some of his dates with Mara had me rolling my eyes because it’s just so unbelievable. With that being said, I’d say read this book just for Noah’s delicious complexity alone. The final novel in this series, THE RETRIBUTION OF MARA DYER, is the last novel in this trilogy releasing in the Fall and I am anticipating it greatly.

Read an Excerpt

<img style="background-image: none; border-right-width: 0px; padding-left: 0px; padding-right: 0px; display: inline; border-top-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; padding-top: 0px" title="lilisig" border="0" alt="Lili" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-K1wL7-qkvhw/UYQxqQ_oQAI/AAAAAAAAG3M/EnaK6x1ILL8/s1600/lilisig.png"

Giveaway: The Program by Suzanne Young

To celebrate the recent release of The Program on April 30th, Simon & Schuster is offering 2 copies of the novel to two Team Tynga’s Reviews readers!

More about the book:

The Program (The Program, #1)Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

Visit the Official Site of The Program
Visit Suzanne Young’s Official Site
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giveaway

Two (2) winners will receive A copy of The Program, a graciosity of Simon & Schuster!

Giveaway open to US addresses only

Ends May 23rd, 2013.

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