TFFOS: Charlotte Bennardo & Natalie Zaman -- Chat & Giveaway

To find out more about The Four Flavors of Summer and to view a master-list of all features and giveaways, click HERE.

The two awesome authors of SIRENZ (released June 8th) are joining me today: CHARLOTTE BENNARDO & NATALIE ZAMAN! I had a great time chatting with them, though a precaution: it's a very long, very silly chat. I've bolded the explicit questions for quick reference, but feel free to read the whole thing, of course. ;)

They also sent me an ADORABLE swag pack that I'll see if I can get some pictures of and it included a copy of the book. I don't know if I'll have time to review it in the near future but it's so Char&Nat, so cute, and so fun -- perfect for the summer! *stamp of approval*

Very Clickable Links: {charlotte's blog} · {natalie's blog} · {goodreads} · {amazon} · {book depository}


            Char Bennardo joined the chat
Jenn­­­ joined the chat
Nat joined the chat

[cue many hello’s]
Jenn: Okay, let's start off with something generic: if you had to describe sirenz in three words, what would they be?
Nat: Fun, Funny, Fabby. :D
Char Bennardo: Yes- my three words- snarky, funny, freaky.
Jenn: Lol, freaky? How so? In the contract with Hades way?
Nat: Freaky stuff does happen...
Char Bennardo: The girls 'morph' into something different. I don't want to give the story away, but it's not something usual like a vampire or werewolf
Jenn: Woah, morphing... o_o
Nat: And there is a "freak" accident . ;)
Char Bennardo: The morphing plays havoc with their fashion.
Nat: but they know how to use it. 
Jenn: Have you guys had any freaky encounters in the pursuit of fashion? Or any weird experiences?
Char Bennardo: Yes- seen some things at the Alexander McQueen exhibit that would give me nightmares, but other stuff I could wear.
Nat: I have a thing for Vivienne Westwood footwear which could be somewhat freaky--have you ever tried to walk in a pair of her heels? She actually designs so you have to "be aware of yourself". Her heels have you pitching forward so you have to stick your butt out--otherwise you might fall over.
Jenn: Haha, is that from experience?
Nat: (looks shiftily the other way)... yes.
Char Bennardo: It's ok, I've fallen off flipflops.
Nat: LOL! Flipflops.
Jenn: LOL, is there a story behind that, Char?
Char Bennardo: I love shoes, but am not always as coordinated as I should be... mind wanders, feet trip.
Jenn: Haha, I know what you mean... Speaking of heels, what do you guys think of the cover of Sirenz?
Char Bennardo: We designed it- we love it.
Nat: LOVE the cover! We didn't want to actually show the girls.
Jenn: Do you guys see yourselves reflect in the girls (Meg and Shar)? Personality-wise, fashion obsession-wise... And who's who? (:
Char Bennardo: def.
Nat: Yes--to an extent...
Char Bennardo: Char is Shar (not intended, at least not initially!).
Jenn: Wow, I didn't notice that name-match. o_o
Char Bennardo: I like fashion, but don't circle my life around it. I'm a bit of a big mouth, but writing is more my thing, not fashion marketing, so character has different career goals.
Nat: Meg definitely has some of my qualities and Shar, Char's. Fashion is something I've always loved--I've been to the McQueen exhibit three times so far.
Nat: Char drafted the Shar chapters and I drafted the Meg chapters, but then we edited each other's chapters.
Jenn: What did you guys love the most about working with each other? ...and the least? (If that doesn't result in any catfights.)
Char Bennardo: Deciding how to get our characters into awful situations. No, no catfights. We agreed from beginning friendship first, book second.
Nat: Char keeps me going--she has boundless enthusiasm and...
Char Bennardo: Liked least- so many revisions! Liked best- writing!
Nat: Char is always the one that has the supreme confidence--sorry, was stuck on that word! Personally, I love the revisions.
Char Bennardo: Nat's opened my eyes to lots of cultural/spiritual/food/fashion ideas. She's worldly.
Nat: There wasn't much I didn't like about working with Char--actually, I can't think of anything--execpt that she almost got me killed in New York. You cross when the little man blinks Char, not when the red hand says stop!
Jenn: LOL.
Char Bennardo: If I can run in heels and make it, you can jog in sneakers. They would've stopped. I think.
Nat: They did. Thank goodness! >:(
Char Bennardo: I'd have saved you. Still have revisions for book 2 to do, and I'm not doing it by myself! Are we rambling?
Jenn: Nope, I like reading what you guys are saying. (:
Char Bennardo: We can go off on tangents, which is why the book came out so funny. Life isn't ordered, things come up. Sometimes things you don't expect.
Nat: True, true.
Jenn: Mm, agree.
Char Bennardo: If I ran into Hades, I wonder what trouble I'd get myself into. For the want of a shoe....
Jenn: Lol, are there any shoes you WOULD sell your soul to Hades for?
Nat: You have everything you want now, right?!
Nat: Hmmmm... I've seen some pretty funky shoes, but not soul-worthy shoes!
Char Bennardo: Nah. I'm not stupid. Once Hades gets you, you're never free. Hence, book 2 in 2012 and book 3 in 2013. Maybe the girls will smarten up by 2014!
Nat: So in a way, we have sold our souls...
Char Bennardo: Other than a hot date with Ian Somerhalder, I'm good.

"Come and find me in SIRENZ. *sexy stare*"

Jenn: Ahhh, IANNN. Lol.
Nat: LOVE Ian!
Char Bennardo: A fellow worshipper I see. Do we have to mudwrestle you for him?
Nat: If any TV/Movie people are listening, he would make a delightful Hades!
Char Bennardo: We had him in mind when we wrote the character...
Jenn: Lol, does that "we" mean you guys have agreed to share him?
Jenn: Ohhh, I can envision him as Hades... ;) What would you guys do if you met him in person?
Nat: I'm one of those people who, when I meet people I admire, think are beautiful etc. I turn into a great big sappy puddle. So I'm afraid if I'm ushered into Ian's presence, I will be completely useless. Y'all willl have to duke it out.
Char Bennardo: Faint. Slobber. Make embarrassing noises. Then drag him away. No, I think I'd smile like an idiot and tell him I love him.
Nat: I met Tarina Tarantino once and I was an absolute mess.
Char Bennardo: Hopefully hubby isn't listening. He may not agree to take care of kids & house when we're on the road.
Jenn: (Is it a crime that I had to search up who Tarina was?)
Char Bennardo: I've met some famous people, but Ian's in the 'Elvis' class.
Nat: Pink haired jewelry and cosmetic designer--so fab! I like people with pink hair.
Jenn: So you guys see anyone playing Meg and Shar? Or do you just see yourselves? :o
Nat: I have a great photo of Selena Gomez that looks like how I pictured Meg.
Char Bennardo: Originally I thought Shar Pei (sp?) from High School Musical for the part, but I don't know if she'd be too old to play h.s. by the time the movie came about.
Jenn: Sharpay, Selena Gomez, and Ian... *envisions* Any plans to make Meg or Shar with pink hair? ;)
Char Bennardo: If Hades let me, I could play me, as long as I was 19 again! But he hasn't appeared to make any soul stealing offers. Too bad, I like dogs too. Hades has one.
Nat: Meg has dark hair--but perhaps a pink haired character will wind their way into the story... You never know...
Nat: Would Cerebus count as one or three?
Char Bennardo: Not Shar, she's a little too conservative initially. Maybe later on in the series something will loosen her up a bit.
Nat: Maybe Meg'll get a pink streak.
Char Bennardo: Um, actually don't know. (Cerebus is Hades' dog, which the characters might end up caring for... Has 3 heads. Is he 1 dog, or 3?)
Jenn: I think Cerebus counts as one because there's only one body to snuggle up to. <3
Jenn: And dogs = snuggle buddies for me, hehe. (:
Nat: Maybe I will... LOL Cerebus <3
Jenn: YEAH, Meg should get a pink streak.
Char Bennardo: As long as it's one pile of poop. That will be the girls' job.
Jenn: or a rainbow streak!
Jenn: LOL.
Char Bennardo: Meg gets some fashion redo, so maybe it's only fair that Shar gets some too.
Nat: Hahaha! OK Gave up looking for Selena pic. I think MEG should makeover SHAR > : )
Jenn: *gasp* :o
Char Bennardo: THAT could be scary. Black is reserved for turtlenecks and little black dresses. And shoes!
Nat: We could build on that.
Char Bennardo: Now I'm getting nervous... But as long as Meg gets PINK somewhere, good!
Nat: Pink streak--see how easy that was?
Char Bennardo: This is basically how our characters react. Give & take, snark and insult, but in the end. Oh, can't tell you that.
Jenn: Lol, what about YOU guys getting pink streaks?
Char Bennardo: :D
Jenn: Matching ones!
Nat: Said I would do. Or maybe blue...
Char Bennardo: I could go for that.
Nat: For book cover, someone "suggested" I do that.
Char Bennardo: Be fun for our pics. Then future fans would know our trademark!
Jenn: Haha, I can tell who's the daring, bossy one in this relationship... *ahemCHARahem* ;)
Nat: And what will you be doing? Also a pink/blue/rainbow streak?
Nat: Will bring camera. Will take photos. Will SHARE photos...
Jenn: YES!
Char Bennardo: Gee, I didn't make that hard on you, did I?
Nat: All bark no bite! I will be the one with rainbow hair!
Char Bennardo: You can't blackmail me, Nat. I know YOUR secrets...
Nat: But I agree with bossy (giggles!)
Jenn: You guys could get a blue and red streak, like the cover. With feathers! xD
Char Bennardo: Feathers! I'll wear a feather dress. And someone's got to lead this posse. On occasion.
Nat: Yes, I let her think she's in charge, but secretly I have this lab...
Char Bennardo: I'm happy with my delusions.
Jenn: Lol.
Nat: The secret is the chickens...
Jenn: Have you guys ever made clothes yourself? Am I sensing a chicken feather dress? :o
Nat: I've altered clothes--Char is a whiz with a sewing machine. She's made a lot of cool stuff.
Nat: Once I had a chicken purse--don't tell anyone!
Char Bennardo: Put together outfits, make, not anymore. My next project is sewing a new cover for lounge chairs.
Char Bennardo: Nat's had some really freaky 'accessories.'
Nat: Like what?
Jenn: o_o
Nat: Oh wait. Never mind.
Char Bennardo: Pink cowboy boots with skulls. Chicken purse.

disclaimer: NOT actually Nat's
 Nat: I never actually carried the chicken purse.
Char Bennardo: Saw it. That was enough.
Nat: Love the skully boots though. <3
Char Bennardo: My goal is to get Nat into a pink cashmere sweater. Couldn't get her character to do it, so maybe I'll have better luck with her. Although not likely. :D
Jenn: No to the pink and the cashmere? Or just to the pink?
Nat: Depends on the pink. Shocking pink, yes. Pastel, not happening. Always yes to cashmere!
Char Bennardo: It's fun living thru your characters. Can't wait to torture them some more.
Jenn: Mm, living vicariously = always awesome.
Nat: They really have their butts handed to them in book two.
Jenn: So, any extra hints on what's happening? (; (I'm so subtle, I know...)
Char Bennardo: Bk 1 - it ain't over till it's over, and it ain't over. Bk 2- Here we go again. Haha how's that for vague!
Nat: Book 2--revisit old friends, make some new ones.
Jenn: Lol, those sound like perfect song titles. Any SIRENZ theme song?
Nat: WOW. I have a playlist for just about every chapter... but don't think there's a total package song...
Jenn: Want to share? :D
Nat: Char can't listen to music while revising/writing.
Char Bennardo: But I will hear a song and think, that would be good, like Duffy's "Begging you for Mercy."
Nat: I listened to a lot of Muse and Lady Gaga... especially for Back In Fashion. Paparazzi comes to mind.
Jenn: Ohh, all awesome songs. LOVE Muse and Duffy's "Begging You for Mercy.” Though Lady Gaga.,. I only really like “Born This Way.” xD
Nat: Saw Muse and Gaga last year--awesome shows!
Jenn: Ohh, jealousss.
Char Bennardo: I can see that music playing especially in bk 2 when Shar & Hades have a lot of 'alone' time...
Jenn: :o Darn, book 2?!! I want to see that in book 1, lol. I'm such a romance-junkie.
Char Bennardo: Gaga would fit with Meg in bk two at that concert she goes to with a certain someone...
Char Bennardo: Good things come to those who wait. Or, don't rush in like a fool! Esp. with Hades....
Nat: I'm thinking of a different scene. There's a concert scene based on Muse. For Gaga, it's the "essence" of Paparazzi that captured my imagination...
Char Bennardo: There's more music in scenes with Meg, cause her character is really into it. It gives Nat room to funk out.
Char Bennardo: Wait till you see our trailer! Coming soon.
Nat: Indeed--hopefully by the end of the month!
Char Bennardo: Original music by Nat's nephew Jesse. If I was going to be a music groupie...
Jenn: You guys would make an awesome advertising team, lol. (:
Nat: LOL!!!
Jenn: "Wait til you see this!"
Jenn: "Coming soon!"
Jenn: <3
Char Bennardo: Just so people know, it's a clean read- there is no sex. Only 1 bad word (not F). We didn't feel the need for it.
Char Bennardo: But that doesn't mean that there aren't hints of something more...
Jenn: ... I'll just stare at Ian in the meantime, to placate myself. ;_;
Jenn: So, to wrap up: What's the top one reason to read SIRENZ?
Nat: It's FUN.
Char Bennardo: It's a humorous read in a sea of dark or serious titles.\
Nat: What's with the stick at the end of your line there, Char?
Char Bennardo: Clumsy fingers.
Jenn: Lol, I think a stick gives character. ;)
Jenn: Thanks for the cool chat! /
Char Bennardo: Thank YOU!
Nat: We had a blast! Thank you!!!!!
Nat: and /
Char Bennardo: Haha, torment the dumb blonde.
Nat: I believe I'm the blonde now.
Char Bennardo: Yes!
Nat: :D
Jenn: BUT YEAH, thanks again! :)
Char Bennardo: k. bye! Thanks! Adios! Bonjour! :D
Jenn: Looking forward to reading SIRENZ and seeing those trademarks. :D
Nat: Excelent! See ya. <3
Nat: Excellent, I mean! Ga--spelling...


Bickering frenemies Meg and Shar are doing some serious damage at a midnight sample sale when the fashionistas find themselves arguing over a pair of shoes-with fatal consequences. One innocent bystander later, the girls are suddenly at the mercy of Hades, Lord of the Underworld himself. To make them atone for what they've done, Hades forces the teens to become special-assignment Sirens, luring to the Underworld an individual whose unholy contract is up.

Finding that delicate balance between their fashion addiction and their new part-time job in the eternal hellfire biz turns out to be harder than Meg and Shar expected, especially when an entire pantheon of Greek deities decides to get involved. Then there's the matter of the fine print in their own contracts...



Courtesy of Courtney at FLUX books, I have one finished copy of SIRENZ to giveaway! For an extra point, answer this question that Char, Nat, and I talked about earlier: does Cerebus count as one dog or as three?

To enter, fill out the form below. Open to U.S., Canada, and Mexico addresses.

TFFOS: Jenna Burtenshaw -- Guest Post & Giveaway

QUICK NOTE: What's that? My followers bar says 1001?... I LOVE YOU GUYS. I don't want to disrupt TFFOS so I'll keep this short, but it feels nice to be appreciated. So thank you. <3 I'll see about having a follower giveaway (may just wait until my blogoversary in August), but in the meantime *passes out celebratory cake*.

To find out more about The Four Flavors of Summer and to view a master-list of all features and giveaways, click HERE.

Third in the fantasy line-up is JENNA BURTENSHAW! Her debut novel, SHADOWCRY, released in the US on June 21st, though it's known in the UK as WINTERCRAFT. Read on to learn about the inspiration behind the dark and fantastical world of SHADOWCRY.

Very Clickable Links: {blog} · {goodreads} · {amazon} · {book depository}



Graveyards, shadows, whispers in the dark... those were the things I wanted to explore when I started writing about Kate Winters and her world.  

I have always loved ghost stories, so the idea of writing about a girl who could see into the realm of the dead was very exciting.  When her abilities draw the attention of the soulless Silas Dane, Kate’s life is thrown into turmoil as she is forced into dark and dangerous situations in vast, gothic-touched locations that were often inspired by my own past.

When I was younger, I walked through a Victorian graveyard every day.  Inside those cemetery walls, the rest of the world seemed a long way away, with the spirits of the dead wandering between the gravestones, watching the living pass through.  That cemetery and its forgotten chapel helped to inspire the graveyard city where Kate spends much of her time in Shadowcry.  The chapel spire grew into Fume’s grand skyline, shaped by clusters of towers that were built as memorials to the dead, and a single grave became the point where Kate’s story first begins, with a book being unearthed from its secret hiding place.

I do not have to travel far from home to explore fantastic castles, abbeys and cathedrals.  My local area is filled with ancient buildings.  I grew up visiting those places and was left wondering about the people who had once walked, worked and breathed the air around the places where I now lived.  The gargoyle-watched streets of the graveyard city crept in from statues and carvings I have seen on castles and cathedrals, and the building on the cover of Shadowcry is in fact the 12th century Rievaulx Abbey, which stands just 25 miles from my home.  It is a magical, ancient place, and it’s strange to discover that somewhere I have visited and drawn inspiration from has found its way onto the cover of one of my books.

I love looking into the past.  There is always something interesting waiting to be found if you scratch beneath the surface of the present day.  

Looking back, it is interesting to see how much of my world has seeped into Kate’s, but inspiration really does come from unexpected places.  Little memories that lurk in my mind, half-forgotten, often rattle loose when I’m getting to know a new character or exploring a new place within a story.  For me, that is all part of the magic and excitement of writing.      

Shadowcry is a story of friendship, loyalty and honour, set a world where the dead are always watching.  I loved writing this book and I think I have been very lucky.  With so much ancient history around me and so many local treasures to draw upon, it really was impossible not be inspired.  

From left-to-right: Raby Castle, Alnwick Castle, Rievaulx Abbey



Ten years ago Kate Winters' parents were taken by the High Council's wardens to help with the country's war effort. Now the wardens are back...and prisoners, including Kate's uncle Artemis, are taken south on the terrifying Night Train. Kate and her friend Edgar are hunted by a far more dangerous enemy. Silas Dane -- the High Council's most feared man -- recognises Kate as one of the Skilled; a rare group of people able to see through the veil between the living and the dead. His spirit was damaged by the High Council's experiments into the veil, and he's convinced that Kate can undo the damage and allow him to find peace. The knowledge Kate needs lies within Wintercraft -- a book thought to be hidden deep beneath the graveyard city of Fume. But the Night of Souls, when the veil between life and death is at its thinnest, is just days away and the High Council have their own sinister plans for Kate and Wintercraft. To help Artemis, Edgar and herself, Kate must honour her pact with a murderer and come face to face with the true nature of death.



Jenna has offered up one signed copy of SHADOWCRY to giveaway! For an extra point, answer this question: If you were to write about one place you've visited, what would it be? *sigh* Those gorgeous pictures make me want to visit the UK (and JK Rowling while I'm at it, of course ;))...

To enter, fill out the form below. Open to U.S. and Canada only.

TFFOS: Legacy by Cayla Kluver Giveaway

To find out more about The Four Flavors of Summer and to view a master-list of all features and giveaways, click HERE

Courtesy of Lisa at Harlequin Teen, I have one finished copy of LEGACY by Cayla Kluver to giveaway! No feature here, but you can find out more about Cayla and LEGACY on her The {Teen} Book Scene tour.

Very Clickable Links: {blog} · {goodreads} · {amazon} · {book depository}



The first boy disappeared on the day of his birth, on a night when the pale yellow moon of the nighttime sky turned red and bathed the heavens in the ghastly color of blood, on the same night the Kingdom of Cokyri abruptly ceased its merciless attack.

Across the land of Hytanica, under the shadow of the crimson moon, infant boys continued to vanish. Not until the blood had faded from the sky did the disappearances stop and the bodies of the murdered infants were found outside the gates of the city, a final word from the greatest enemy Hytanica had ever known. For the next sixteen years, peace reigned, but one mystery remained unsolved. The Cokyrians had abducted forty-nine newborns, but returned only forty-eight bodies.

Now, as seventeen-year-old Princess Alera of Hytanica is besieged from all sides by suitors vying for the Throne, a teenage Cokyrian boy, Narian, is encountered within the walls of her Kingdom, a boy who will show Alera a world where women serve a purpose and not just a husband. As Narian helps Alera find her voice, she struggles against an arranged marriage that will shatter the life she has scarcely begun to live. And when Narian’s shocking past is uncovered, and war with Cokyri looms once more, he must fight to defy a fate ordained at his birth.


To enter, fill out the form below. Open to U.S. and Canada addresses.

TFFOS: Karyn Henley -- Interview & Giveaway

To find out more about The Four Flavors of Summer and to view a master-list of all features and giveaways, click HERE

Kicking off week two, fantasy week, is KARYN HENLEY! She debuted with her first YA novel, BREATH OF ANGEL, last week on June 21st, though she's no newcomer to the writing scene, having written many children's books, preschool musicals, CD's/DVD's, and more. Find out more below! :)

Very Clickable Links: {website} · {blog} · {goodreads} · {amazon} · {book depository}


1. Can you summarize BREATH OF ANGEL in an acrostic poem? 
Birthed in mystery,   
Raised as a priestess, Melaia yearns for freedom,
Even as she is drawn into a world of feuding immortals 
And earthbound angels hoping to restore their stairway to heaven.
True love, first love, and Melaia’s destiny
Hinges on an ancient debt to be repaid by breath of angel, blood of man. 

2. Can you give us a bit of insight on how BREATH OF ANGEL's cover relates to the story?
The cover of Breath of Angel shows Melaia near the temple in the city of Redcliff, home of the king’s summer palace. Overhead is the hint of an angel shape in the night sky, but Melaia looks warily over her shoulder, not knowing who is worthy of her trust. At the top center of the border design is the three-pronged sign of the Tree, which is used by angels and their friends to greet one another. The sign of the Tree can be drawn as it is on the book cover, or it can be made by raising three fingers, usually over the heart, although in situations of danger, the sign is made more subtly. 

3. If you were in the story, who do you think you would be? A spectator, Melaia, an angel?
I would be an angel spectator, probably of the rank of Exousia, because these angels have two main duties. They are warriors, but they are also the keepers of history, recording events on scrolls and storing them safely in hidden libraries.   

4. How would you draw the line between paranormal and fantasy in BREATH OF ANGEL?
Technically, “paranormal” simply means supernatural, not explainable by science. In that sense most fantasy is paranormal, including Breath of Angel. But these days the term “paranormal” seems to apply more to a popular genre of fiction in which the major plot conflict comes from characters experiencing the supernatural and unexplainable within a contemporary setting. Since Breath of Angel takes place in an ancient world in which the supernatural is more accepted and expected, it’s more of what we might call “high fantasy.”  

5. On your blog, you said that you altered the angel hierarchy created by Pseudo-Dionysius. How so? And what other research went into writing BREATH OF ANGEL?

world tree // source
I renamed some of the angel ranks. According to Pseudo-Dionysius, 6th century CE, (and Thomas Aquinas in the Middle Ages), the three top ranks are Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones. I changed Thrones to Ophanim, which technically is the same as Cherubim. I put Thrones (which I call Thronos) into the second triad. For Dionysius’s rank of Dominations, I used the title Kuriotes, a later word used for that level. The Virtues I called Archae. For Principalities I used the Greek name Exousia. I also tweaked the responsibilities of the angel ranks according to the needs of my story.

My other research falls into two categories. One is myth and legend. I looked into legends surrounding harps, and I researched myths of the World Tree, which appears in the ancient lore of many cultures. Both make fascinating studies, and I incorporated them into the major plot of the story. You can find more information about world trees and harps on the Breath of Angel website.

The second category of research I did was on ancient Mediterranean culture. The world of the Angelaeon Circle novels is roughly comparable to ancient Rome, Greece, and Palestine. I’ve used many of the elements of these ancient cultures in the setting of the story. For example, Melaia carries a small pouch of anise seed on her journeys. Ancient people had no toothpaste or toothbrushes, so they would often crunch on a pinch of anise seed to sweeten their breath. In the next few weeks, I’ll be blogging about other interesting facts of the ancient world that I’ve incorporated into the setting of the Angelaeon Circle novels. 

6. Did/do you have any particular sources of inspiration (i.e. place, event) when writing?
I’ve discovered that the mind is a treasure trove of all the experiences of the past, not only places and events, but more important sensations and emotions. As I write, these places, events, sensations, and emotions surface when I need them, which is a delightful experience in itself. When Melaia and her traveling companions had to make camp one night, I saw hot springs at the site, steaming into the cool night air. I’m sure that inspiration came from the hot springs I saw at Yellowstone as well as smaller ones I saw on the grounds of a private college in Murietta Hot Springs, California. 

7. If you could invent anything you wanted, what would it be and what would you name it?
I would invent a system of transportation that included vehicles that would never crash into each other so that no one would ever be hurt in a traffic accident. I would call it the GTS system: Get There Safely. 

harp! // source unknown
8. What would you be if you were an:
animal: a cat
color: blue
musical instrument: harp
tree: willow 

9. To wrap it up, what would your advice be to aspiring writers?
Three words: Enjoy the process. Most of a writer’s life is spent in the process of writing, which frankly is hard work. The more glamorous part of being an author (seeing the cover for the first time, seeing your name on the book, seeing the book in stores, signing copies) lasts for a very short time. Then you’re back to the process again, which in many ways is a learning process, because you’re always learning to write whichever book you’re working on at the moment. Each book brings its own challenges. So if you enjoy the actual learning and writing – or at least if you can be content during the process – you will find the writer’s life to be very satisfying and rewarding.

Thanks, Karyn! I love how she somehow managed to make her acrostic poem actually a poem (says this girl who fails at acrostics *hint*). And WOW, that research. Kudos.


Melaia, a young priestess, witnesses the gruesome murder of an emaciated stranger in the temple courtyard. Just after she discovers wings on the stranger, the murderer enters the temple, and what Melaia has known only through song and story suddenly takes on flesh. Angels and shape-shifters were myths and stories . . . until now.

Melaia finds herself in the middle of a blood feud between two immortal brothers who destroyed the stairway to heaven, stranding angels in the earthly realm. When the feud turns violent and Melaia becomes a target, she finds refuge with a band of wandering angels attempting to restore the stairway. But the restoration is impossible without the repayment of an ancient debt, the “breath of angel, blood of man,” a payment that involves Melaia’s heart, soul, and destiny.


Karyn has kindly offered one finished copy of BREATH OF ANGEL by Karyn Henley to giveaway! Again, comments and following aren't necessary but appreciated. If you do want to comment, here's a question for you: If you were an angel, which one would you be (either by name, job, or rank)? You can find the angel hierarchy HERE.

To enter, fill out the form below. Open to U.S. only!

Giveaway: Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott

... I don't know how it's possible but between work, events, and upcoming college stress, I'm even more busy during the summer. GAH. I was going to reserve Sundays during The Four Flavors of Summer event for IMMM/randomness/brain spew, but since I'll be helping out at a pharmaceutical conference all day today (aka 12 hours), I've just scheduled a giveaway. Hopefully no one's too disappointed... <3

What's up for grabs? An ARC of SHADOWS ON THE MOON by Zoe Marriott (UK version). You can find my review HERE. I didn't think it was breathtaking, but I really, really recommend reading it. Really.



Suzunne is a shadow-weaver. She can create mantles of darkness and light, walk unseen in the middle of the day, change her face. She can be anyone she wants to be. Except herself.

Suzume died officially the day the Prince's men accused her father of treason. Now even she is no longer sure of her true identity.

Is she the girl of noble birth living under the tyranny of her mother’s new husband, Lord Terayama? A lowly drudge scraping a living in the ashes of Terayama’s kitchens? Or Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Lands?

Everyone knows Yue is destined to capture the heart of a prince. Only she knows that she is determined to use his power to destroy Terayama.

And nothing will stop her. Not even love.


To enter, fill out the form below.
** You must be at least 13 years old to enter.
Open internationally
Contest ends Friday, July 8th at 11:59 EST
• For more information, please view my contest policy.


Couldn't resist a bit of randomness. I've been following the NBC show "The Voice" from the beginning and it's finally wrapping up with the FINAL FOUR. *cue spazzing* For me, The Voice > American Idol. Check it out.

Here are some of my favorite, recent performances (skip to 1:10 or so to hear the song portion): 

(I'm not such a fan of her (I think she lacks major stage presence and personal style... please don't bash me), but I love the song and her voice.)


(This one starts from 0:00. And sorry for the poor quality; I couldn't find a better one. ):)

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND! If you still want to tell me what you got for IMM this week, go ahead. I might not have time to comment, but I promise to check it out. :)

TFFOS: Carrie Harris -- Guest Post & Giveaway

To find out more about The Four Flavors of Summer and to view a master-list of all features and giveaways, click HERE

CARRIE HARRIS is debuting with her novel BAD TASTE IN BOYS very, very soon. Like July 15th soon. Why should you read it?
1) It has a delicious cover.
2) It's zombies with snark and what not.
3) It has a cute trailer.
4) Carrie made many, many sacrifices in the name of writing (such as the loss of a bodily part), which you can read about below. *gasp*

Very Clickable Links: {website} · {blog} · {goodreads} · {amazon} · {book depository}



I’ll admit it—sometimes when I read author biographies, I’ll think, “No way is that all true. I cannot believe that this guy worked as a lion tamer, a reality TV assistant in charge of spray tanning, and a vampiric sparkle applicator.” Am I the only person who approaches these things with skepticism? Well, I WAS one of those people, anyway. But then I looked at my own list of past jobs…

You couldn’t come up with a better combo for a zombie writer. Like, for a while, I sold knives. I wasn’t very good at it. One time, when I was demonstrating the cutting power of cutlery, I sliced the tip off my finger. And there I am, spurting all over the cutting board, going, “Oh, it’s not that bad! And it just goes to prove how sharp these knives really are! You could dismember somebody with this thing!” For some reason, those people didn’t buy anything. I don’t understand why.

So that job accounts for my expertise in detached body parts.

And then, I coordinated autopsies. I’ll tell you one thing about working in a job like that—you get over your death related heebie-jeebies really quick. Most people in pathology make REALLY inappropriate jokes all the time. It’s the only way to stay sane when you’re always surrounded by dead people. I’ll never forget the first time I heard my pathologist refer to the deceased as a “corpsesicle” because the cooler had been set too high. And then he did an impression of a corpsesicle. To this day, I’m still shocked.

And that job accounts for my expertise in dead things.

Then I managed a lab in which there were actually human brains in jars on the counters. NOT KIDDING. And new brains would arrive every day, and people would call me to verify receipt of specific brains, which meant that at least once a week, I would walk down the hallway, yelling, “HAS ANYONE SEEN MY BRAIN?” I think after a few weeks, it wasn’t funny anymore, but I had to keep up the tradition. So I’ve seen fresh brains and frozen brains and pickled brains and brain slices under microscopes and even presented on brains to a bunch of European guys who kept calling me Carrie Fisher by mistake. And I swear I wasn’t wearing Princess Leia buns. Not that day, anyway.

So that job accounts for my brain expertise.

my vision of Carrie in a previous life... // source unknown
 Really, when you look at that list of past jobs, I think there’s no way I could have been anything else. Zombie writing is in my blood, or at least my job history. Although if you hear about a job in vampiric sparkle application, please let me know. I’ve got my resume all ready.

Based on your job history, what kind of books should you be writing?



Someone's been a very bad zombie.

Kate Grable is horrified to find out that the football coach has given the team steroids. Worse yet, the steriods are having an unexpected effect, turning hot gridiron hunks into mindless flesh-eating zombies. No one is safe--not her cute crush Aaron, not her dorky brother, Jonah . . . not even Kate! She's got to find an antidote--before her entire high school ends up eating each other. So Kate, her best girlfriend, Rocky, and Aaron stage a frantic battle to save their town  . . . and stay hormonally human.


Carrie has offered one signed copy of BAD TASTE IN BOYS to one lucky winner! Comments aren't required but if you have an awesome-holy-god answer for the question Carrie posed in purple, there may be an extra entry heading your way... entertainment points, you know. ;)

To enter, fill out the form below. Open internationally!

Blog Tour: Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz -- Giveaways!

I'm taking a quick breather from The Four Flavors of Summer to spotlight upcoming YA debut, SPELLBOUND by Cara Lynn Shultz! Thanks to Kismet Book Touring for the great opportunity and you can stop by HERE for the rest of the tour stops. Scroll down for my review and giveaways! :)

You can find Cara on her: {website} · {twitter} · {facebook}

You can find Brendan on his: {twitter} · {facebook}


What’s a girl to do when meeting The One means she’s cursed to die a horrible death?

Life hasn’t been easy on sixteen-year-old Emma Conner, so a new start in New York may be just the change she needs. But the posh Upper East Side prep school she has to attend? Not so much. Friendly faces are few and far between, except for one that she’s irresistibly drawn to—Brendan Salinger, the guy with the rock-star good looks and the richest kid in school, who might just be her very own white knight.

But even when Brendan inexplicably turns cold, Emma can’t stop staring. Ever since she laid eyes on him, strange things have been happening. Streetlamps go out wherever she walks, and Emma’s been having the oddest dreams. Visions of herself in past lives—visions that warn her to stay away from Brendan. Or else.


My Thoughts:

Honestly? I wasn’t that excited going into SPELLBOUND. As much as I love me some “rock-star good looks,” there wasn’t much that really popped out at me. New girl attracting the school’s “it” guy, true love reincarnated, and a prep school setting in NYC? What else is new? Actually, Cara Lynn Shultz had a few new tricks tucked up her sleeve...

The first third didn’t do much to prove me wrong. Brendan is hot and all, but he plays the hot-and-cold game à la Katy Perry. And like many YA girls out there, Emma falls for him in that inexplicable and annoyingly-superficial manner. The love-at-first-sight thing is my largest issue with love reincarnated plots and SPELLBOUND seemed to only serve as justification for my wariness. Everything else didn’t get off to a much better start. Emma quickly gets close-and-personal with the ice bitch, the gay friend, and the man ho and proceeds to feel lonely and isolated. Right.

BUT then I saw the light. I saw the sweet, understanding of Brendan and true basis for their feelings for each other. I saw Emma being brave and proactive. I saw then clinging on to that hope. I saw the plot thickening and moving away from an elite prep school and towards the more sinister paranormal workings. SPELLBOUND is definitely one of those books that had me on the brink of sighing in defeat but realy redeemed itself in the latter portion. The plot was fleshed out nicely and I had a hard time putting it down.

What I loved the most was SPELLBOUND's authentic teen voice. Cara Lynn Shultz is spot on with her humor and jokes, so spot on that it feels like I’m talking to a high school friend. The bits of funny kept me plowing through the dark times and shine as one the more memorable aspects of the book.

Ultimately, SPELLBOUND isn't exceptionally amazing, but it’s enjoyable. I didn’t connect that deeply with any of the characters and the ending was slightly anticlimactic, but it was a light, fun read that flowed easily in both writing and plot. And, hey, it's a standalone with a satisfying ending. :)

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5



 ·  In order to enter to win a iPod nano  including the Spellbound Playlist and covered in a GelaSkin of Spellbound's cover art, you must collect the pink highlighted words the text messages between Brendan and Emma that are provided each day at the individual tour stops.  The daily words can be joined together in sequential order to create the winning secret message.  Once you've constructed the winning secret message, you will need to enter that message on Spellbound's tour home page .

·  No purchase, affiliation, status as follower to a certain blog or any other association is required to enter.
·  Full rules for the contest can be found at the Spellbound tour home page 

·  Winner of the iPod give-away will be announced on Cara's homepage  on Tuesday, July 5th.

The rest of the tour dates:
June, 13th - The Page Turners / Character Interview , Brendan
June 14th - Candace's Book Blog / Guest Post
June 15th - Baffled Books
June 16th - Hooked To Books /Guest Post, Playlist
June 17th - Truly Bookish

June, 20th - Paranormal Opinion
June 21st - Mission to Read /Interview with Cara
June 22nd - Reading Angel / Character Interview, Emma
June 23rd - Miss Page Turners
June 24th - Books At Midnight

June, 27th - Pure Imagination
June 28th - (Spellbound Book Birthday!) - The Unread Reader special Guest post
June 29th - Bookish Delights
June 30th - Mimosa Stimulus / Guest post
July 1st - writers write, right? /special Guest post

Tuesday, July 5th: Announcement of the big prize winner on Cara's Site!


In addition to participating in the grand prize giveaway, I also have the chance to giveaway one finished copy of SPELLBOUND!

To enter, fill out the form below.
** You must be at least 13 years old to enter.
Open to U.S. and Canada addresses
Contest ends Friday, July 1st at 11:59 EST
• For more information, please view my contest policy.

TFFOS: Amanda Ashby -- Field Guide & Giveaway

To find out more about The Four Flavors of Summer and to view a master-list of all features and giveaways, click HERE

AMANDA ASHBY is joining us today to talk about her recently released novel, FAIRY BAD DAY, a lighthearted paranormal read that promises supernatural beings, romance, and kickass moves. Read on to get the insider on all things Burtonwood Academy so when you do read FAIRY BAD DAY, you're all ready to face on snarky teachers and unruly dragons. ;)

Very Clickable Links: {website} · {blog} · {goodreads} · {amazon} · {book depository}



To the outside world Burtonwood Academy, which is where my book Fairy Bad Day is set, looks like a regular school with its Spanish Mission style buildings, its white walls and its inconspicuous sports fields, but once you walk inside you quickly realize that it’s anything but regular. The stuffed jungler demon in the corner of the reception is probably the first give away, not to mention that as well as learning Math and English, students all have to learn how to dismantle bombs, clean their swords as well as the best way to stop a three hundred pound goblin from eating an unsuspecting picnicker.

So, to celebrate the release of Fairy Bad Day I thought I would let you in on some of Burtonwood’s deepest darkest secrets.

pheonix girl // source

1)      Mrs. Barnes (or Barney as everyone calls her) is the school secretary and Principal Kessler’s right hand woman. She also has an uncanny ability to always know when a student is sneaking off campus and despite thorough snooping, no one has figured out how she does it. Of course I would tell you but Barney would kill me for giving away her secrets and the kids of Burtonwood aren’t the only ones who are scared of her.

2)      Burtonwood was set up to help train sight-gifted students to fight the elemental creatures that came through from the Gate of Linaria. The four fire elementals are: salamanders, dragons and phoenixes. The four earth elementals are: goblins, demons and ogres. The four sky elementals are: fairies, elves and griffins and the four water elementals are: selkies, sirens and krackens. Oh and most students would much prefer to fight all of the above rather than be caught by Barney. Told you they were scared of her!

3)      Emma’s favorite subject is Dragon Studies and How to Find Their Kill Spot Without Getting Burnt. Her least favorite subject is math.

4)      Most of the teachers at Burtonwood are pretty cool, though they don’t take kindly to having anyone do unauthorized slaying while out on field trips since it leads to extra paper work.

5)      Like all schools, there are definitely cliques at Burtonwood. There are the over-achievers like Brenda Vance who is more interested in reading theory books and making sure that she is an authority on the steel content of her sword and how many times it was folded rather than actually knowing the best way to stalk a demon without it picking up your scent (cover yourself in mud for those who are curious). Then there are the jocks like the Lewis Twins who are beefy and can fight anything, normally with their fists, but don’t bother to learn more than they have to—apart from how to clog up the girl’s showers since they live in hope that one day they will seen a bunch of towel clad girls running down the hallway. And finally there are the beautiful people like Curtis, with his stupid curls that flop in his eyes who thinks that he can just waltz in (okay limp in since he’s on crutches) and steal other slayer’s designated spots. Obviously, it’s the beautiful people that Emma hates the most. Well, one beautiful person in particular . . .
6)      Burtonwood Academy is protected by hundreds of tiny wards to stop any elemental creatures from getting through the borders. Which would explain Emma’s surprise when she actually sees something fly across campus!

7)      Most of the students from Burtonwood will go on to work for The Department of Paranormal Containment. Sometimes it can be dirty, dangerous work but they do offer a great dental plan, which can be surprisingly handy when you’re fighting creatures who like to kick you in the teeth.

8)      The student parties at the bottom of the practice fields are the worst kept secrets ever. However the teachers don’t mind since it gives them time to watch America’s Funniest Home Videos without being interrupted.

9)      There is a very large statue of Sir Francis in the quad and because slayers are incredibly superstitious, they always have to touch the statue for good luck. Personally Emma thinks that Sir Francis is a bit over-rated since not only was it his guidelines that meant she was stuck with slaying fairies, but he also has an alarming lack of information about fairies in the handbook that he wrote many moons ago.

10)  Unless you are gifted with the sight to see elemental creatures than you will unfortunately never be invited to see Burtonwood, which is a pity because on Tuesdays the cafeteria do really great nachos.



While most students at Burtonwood Academy get to kill demons and goblins, fifteen-year-old Emma gets to rid the world of little annoying fairies with glittery wings and a hipster fashion sense. She was destined to be a dragon slayer, but cute and charming Curtis stole her spot. Then she sees a giant killer fairy - and it's invisible to everyone but her! If Emma has any chance of stopping this evil fairy, she's going to need help. Unfortunately, the only person who can help is Curtis. And now, not only has he stolen her dragon-slayer spot, but maybe her heart as well! Why does she think it's going to be a fairy bad day?



Amanda has offered up one finished copy of FAIRY BAD DAY for YOU to win! Again, comments not required, but appreciated. :)

To enter, fill out the form below. Open internationally.