Blog Tour: Jennifer Estep Guest Post

Gah, sorry for the later post; scheduling and I have relationship issues. And I just got home from Otakon, which was AMAZING. So much so that I'm suffering from post-Otakon depression right now. SO SDP(U()#*$RHOSDFH AMAZING. Cosplaying, raving, eating, sleeping in weird positions... I miss it, sob. I'll post about it sometime when I get some pictures from my friend. :3

Anyways, on behalf of The {Teen} Book Scene TOUCH OF FROST tour, I present JENNIFER ESTEP to give you an inside peek on her daily life. First, here's the official version:

Jennifer Estep writes the Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series for Kensington. The books focus on Gwen Frost, a 17-year-old Gypsy girl who has the gift of psychometry, or the ability to know an object’s history just by touching it. After a serious freakout with her magic, Gwen is shipped off to Mythos Academy, a school for the descendants of ancient warriors like Spartans, Valkyries, Amazons, and more.

Touch of Frost, the first book in the series, was published on July 26. First Frost, a prequel e-story to the series, is available now as a 99-cent download. Kiss of Frost, the second book, will hit shelves on Nov. 29. Visit for excerpts and more information.

Visit Jennifer here.


Greetings and salutations! First of all, I want to thank Jenn for having me on the blog today. Thanks so much, Jenn!

So today, Jenn asked me to talk about some of the things that I do when I’m not writing. With four books out this year, along with some short stories, it seems like I’m always writing these days or working on revisions or blogging or doing the thousand other things that authors do. LOL. But I do make time to relax in between my various book projects. So here are a few things that I do on my down time when I’m not writing:

Spending time with my family and friends: I love hanging out with my family and friends, whether we’re going out to eat, watching a movie, doing a little shopping, or just relaxing at home.

Watching TV: I watch waaay too much TV. Some of my favorite programs this summer are Burn Notice, White Collar, Covert Affairs, Leverage, The Closer … Did I mention that I watch waaay too much TV? LOL. 

Action movies: I love a good action movie, and I really like summer because of all the fun movies in theaters. This summer has been really great for superheroes, with movies like Thor, Green Lantern, and Captain America coming out in the past few months.


Playing Dungeons & Dragons: Yes, I’m a total geek, but I like to play D&D-type games. It’s fun to create your own character, take her through an adventure, watch her powers grow, and hopefully get some cool treasure at the end. If only all that gold were real …

Cooking: I have a serious sweet tooth, and I like trying out new recipes, especially for desserts. I like everything about cooking – except cleaning up and washing the dishes after the fact.

Reading: I love to read, and it always seems like I have about twenty books stacked up waiting for me in my to-be-read pile. I wish I had more time to read.

So there you have it. Some of the things that I do when I’m not writing.

What about you guys? What are some of your favorite books, movies, TV shows, and hobbies?



My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Acad­emy — a school of myths, magic and warrior whiz kids, where even the lowli­est geek knows how to chop off somebody’s head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spar­tan guy in school, also hap­pens to be the deadliest.

But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jas­mine Ash­ton was mur­dered in the Library of Antiq­ui­ties. Then, some­one stole the Bowl of Tears, a mag­i­cal arti­fact that can be used to bring about the sec­ond Chaos War. You know, death, destruction and lots of other bad, bad things. Freaky stuff like this goes on all the time at Mythos, but I’m deter­mined to find out who killed Jas­mine and why – espe­cially since I should have been the one who died…

Review & Giveaway: My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody

Jessica Brody's website here // $12.74 from {amazon}
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (June 7, 2011)
Hardcover: 320 pages
Source: Publisher (ARC)


Okay, maybe that was a bit melodramatic, but I’m sorry, I’m feeling a bit melodramatic at the moment.

Here’s the deal. My name is Brooklyn Pierce, I’m fifteen years old, and I am decisionally challenged. Seriously, I can’t remember the last good decision I made. I can remember plenty of crappy ones though. Including that party I threw when my parents were out of town that accidentally burned down a model home. Yeah, not my finest moment, for sure.

But see, that’s why I started a blog. To enlist readers to make my decisions for me. That’s right. I gave up. Threw in the towel. I let someone else be the one to decide which book I read for English. Or whether or not I accepted an invitation to join the debate team from that cute-in-a-dorky-sort-of-way guy who gave me the Heimlich Maneuver in the cafeteria. (Note to self: Chew the melon before swallowing it.) I even let them decide who I dated!

Well, it turns out there are some things in life you simply can’t choose or have chosen for you—like who you fall in love with. And now everything’s more screwed up than ever.

But don’t take my word for it, read the book and decide for yourself. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll scream in frustration. Or maybe that’s just me. After all, it’s my life.

My Thoughts:  

If you’re thinking MY LIFE UNDECIDED sounds like just about every other chick lit, then, hey, great minds think alike. The only reason I read MY LIFE UNDECIDED can be summed up in one word: blogging (which, FYI, is pretty freaking awesome).  So imagine my surprise when I found MY LIFE UNDECIDED to be a novel that, while light and occasionally over-the-top, revealed frank honesty and precious nuggets of wisdom.

If I had to pinpoint what makes MY LIFE UNDECIDED more than another read, it’s definitely the voice. Brooklyn has an undeniably strong 15-year old voice, whether it’s talking about burning homes, the elderly, clothes, or boys. On the plus side, it promises to be extremely relatable to pre-teens and younger teens, especially with a never-ending stream of humor. Some of Brooklyn’s ideas and actions are insane, but with willing suspension of disbelief, they make for a fast-paced and entertaining read. On the other hand, Brooklyn’s often superficial thoughts had me going “Really? Really. MAN UP.” Not out of true irritation, but it’s obvious Brooklyn’s a good kid; she just needs to make the right decisions.

Decisions, decisions. Jessica Brody really touches on the greatest fear and the greatest power that most, if not all, teens have – or anyone for that matter. In MY LIFE UNDECIDED, Brooklyn turns over the decision-making power to her blog readers, which is integrated in an aesthetically pleasing and easily readable format. I don’t want to ruin the story, but ultimately, your decisions are always right, even when you’re wrong. And it’s comforting to have that reminder, that it’s your life and whatever way you choose to live it is right.

That lesson, along with valuable others concerning friendship, forgiveness, and more, are what make MY LIFE UNDECIDED special. Its young voice and exciting plot will resonate with younger readers as it sneaks in some key lessons that even I am still struggling to come to terms with. Overall, MY LIFE UNDECIDED isn’t a contemporary bucketful of tears or fuzzies, but who really cares when you’ve got humor, life lessons, romance, and soul-searching wrapped in a cute package? I’ll take books over buckets any day.

(…God, I made myself sound like I’m 61 instead of 16 in this review.)

My Rating: 4 out of 5

Bottom Line: To quote CoverGirl: Easy, breezy, beautiful! Or just read the last line of my review.

Cover: It's simple, it's cute, and the bling really reminds me of Brooklyn's attitude. I can't say much on the physical accuracy, since there wasn't much physical description in MY LIFE UNDECIDED -- but that's a good thing. Jessica Brody puts just enough detail to satisfy and not enough to bore. (Maybe I've been reading too many epic fantasy stories lately...)



I have one ARC of MY LIFE UNDECIDED to giveaway, courtesy of Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 

To enter, please fill out the form below.
** You must be at least 13 years old to enter.
Open to U.S. and Canada addresses only
Contest ends Friday, August 5th at 11:59 EST 
• For more information, please view my contest policy.

7 Random Facts: Victoria Schwab

VICTORIA SCHWAB is back again for the last remotely TTFOS related post (you can win a copy of THE NEAR WITCH here). And, man, I only wish I was as much of a daredevil as she obviously is.

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


Seven Random Facts About V:

-I'm a stress baker. Seriously. Cookies will show up in friends' mailboxes, or on their doorsteps. Sometimes I even go on Twitter and shout out "Who wants cookies??" and then I bake and send them. Baking lets me switch gears, turn off plot-brain and simply fall into the familiar action of making food. Plus there's just enough science to keep me focused.

-I changed my focus in college more than most people change their clothes. Areas of interest to date: Physics, Film, East Asian Studies, Set Design, English, Creative Writing, Art History, Communications Design.

-A month before I was born, my grandmother had a prophecy cast for me by a psychic. I wasn't allowed to read it until I turned 18. It is, to this day, the most accurate thing that's ever been written or said about me.

-The first time I got paid for writing, I was 16. It was for an online poetry competition, and my winning poem was:

Perhaps the moon is in the sea,
Reflecting up against the sky
As night beams bathe in ocean waves
And all the stars
Swim by.

-I jumped out of an airplane on my 18th birthday.

-I got picked up for hitchhiking in France.

-I have a dream to walk across the United States. Because walking is the only time I feel fully sane.


The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

And there are no strangers in the town of Near.

 These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.

But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab’s debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won’t soon forget. 

TFFOS Updated

I'll have some substantial posts this week, but here's what I've updated last night:
And that's it. Have fun entering, and get braced for a Victoria Schwab feature tomorrow, reviews, and randomness. <3


AGH, sorry I'm been so MIA. Everything's  been extremely busy with my friend and I prepping our cosplays and the logistics for Otakon, an anime convention in Baltimore, MD that's NEXT WEEKEND. So exciteeeed. 8D

But anyways, that and my rediscovered tetris addition are why I've been seriously lacking in commenting and posting. I can't promise that I'll comment more often this week, since we're still prepping, but I swear I'll update all the contest info later this evening. (This evening because I'm off to Borders soon. It's closing, CRRRRYYY, but I'm not one to pass up a sale.) FYI, all contests will end this coming Friday, July 29th at 11:59EST. Again, more info coming soon. Really.

Have an awesome weekend! :) 

forgive me?

puss in boots gif Pictures, Images and Photos
and another, just cause puss in boots is so adorable. <3

TFFOS: Ilsa J. Bick -- 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.

It's been a good ride, and here to wrap it up is ILSA J. BICK. She attached a little author blurb that I'm sure will do her more justice than I ever could:

Ilsa J. Bick is a child psychiatrist, former Air Force major, film scholar—and an award-winning, best-selling author of short stories and novels.  Her 2010 paranormal mystery and first YA novel, DRAW THE DARK (Carolrhoda Lab), earned a starred review from SLJ; won the 2011 Westchester Fiction Award; was named a 2011 Best Children’s Book of the Year by Bank Street College; and made VOYA’s 2010 Perfect Ten List.  ASHES, the first novel in her new YA post-apocalyptic thriller trilogy, appears this September from Egmont USA.

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



Picture this: Saturday night . . . no, Sunday.  Sunday?  You have to think a second, no mean feat because you’ve been up since five the day before and everything’s starting to blur.  But, yeah, it’s Sunday, early, a little after one and you’ve stepped outside for a quick break because the last patient—a guy whose Harley lost a close encounter with a two-ton semi—was a real horror-show.  Honestly, they don’t call bikers without helmets organ donors for nothing. 

The outside air’s heavy and thick as cobwebs; the day’s heat, still radiating from the sidewalk, cooks a discarded wad to the sole of your sneaker.  Prying the gum off takes energy you don’t have, so you leave it.  Sleep would be good, but the bars let out at two and things will only get worse because these are the small hours of a hot Sunday at the ass-end of August: a time when a half dozen belts make otherwise sane human beings a little cranked, a little reckless, a lot violent—and, frequently, all three.  

As if on cue, you hear the siren first, thin and sharp.  If sound had a shape, this would be a stiletto and you flinch, your heart kicking up a notch.   Well before the ambulance screams around the corner and races up the hill, you’re already pivoting, getting ready, expecting the worst, and not daring to hope for the best. 

Most importantly, though, you take your own pulse.  Not really, but it’s the idea of the thing.  Panic, your chief resident said, and you’re no good to anyone.

Now why do I bring this up?  I mean, this is supposed to be a post about YA post-apocalyptic novels, right? So what does my book, ASHES, have in common with my memories as a surgical intern working the ER?

Here’s what I think.  (Bear in mind that since I am a shrink and a tad navel-gazey by nature, this might seem a little loopy, but it makes sense to me.  Which might not be saying much.)  A lot of the work I did back then was ordered around a survivalist’s mentality: steps taken in a specific order to address an immediate problem and everything geared toward keeping the patient alive long enough to make it out of the emergency room.  (Me, too, I guess.  When I trained, the hours were twenty-four on, twenty-four off; the pace could be brutal; and—yes, it’s true—I lived in a Monty Pythonesque hole in the middle of the road, ate gravel and frequently woke up before I went to sleep.)  What happened once the patient was transferred to a ward or surgery or what-have-you, I rarely knew because my focus remained on a narrow, very discrete and specific window in time: just get through this job, and move on to the next.

Survival’s a lot like that, and living under the shadow of looming disaster is on people’s minds these days.  Some is tongue-in-cheek, but even the CDC got the hint. (  I do think there’s a reason for all this attention, too.  In another venue (, I wrote that the world feels as if it’s accelerating from bad to worse: global warming; overpopulation; diminishing resources; ongoing threats of terrorism; a crummy economy; mass extinctions . . .  Heck, if you don’t like the disaster du jour, well then, it’s like the weather: wait five minutes and see what turns up.


In such a mélange of dread, hopelessness, and fear, it’s not such a surprise that so many dystopian and apocalyptic novels are floating around.  There have been similar historical epochs—the Communist threat and nuclear arms race jump to mind—when survival, how to live through The Bomb or escape the mind control of those nasty Reds, was front and center.  I remember these silly and yet deadly serious drills they had us do in school: the alarm would sound, and we’d dive under our desks.  All that good, heavy-duty made in the U.S.A. plywood, don’tcha know.   I recall stories about folks building bomb shelters and, of course, you could never be sure about just exactly what your neighbors might be up to.  Not surprisingly, that same time period saw scads of apocalyptic and cautionary, dystopian films and novels. Think the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers, A Wrinkle in Time, the first Night of the Living Dead.  Really.  Check out Amy Sturgis’s excellent post if you don’t believe me.  (

Now, a very smart psychiatrist once taught me that, all those fancy names aside, there are only so many human emotions: love, hate, envy, compassion, to name a few.  Focus on the basics, he said; keep your eye on what lies in and at the heart.  The rest is window-dressing.


The same holds true with disasters, whether they happen in the ER or on a hiking trail.  No matter what their shape or size, the steps you take to survive are pretty much the same across the board.  Beyond a fondness for acronyms—only military and government circles seem to love them more—working an emergency room has a lot in common with survival.  In medicine, we talk about ABCs (airway, breathing, circulation); there are algorithms galore for which med to give when and under what circumstance.  Above all, there are always rules and decision trees, one step following another and then another. 

It’s the same in survivalist circles where people talk in terms of threes: what you must do in those first three minutes, three hours, three days, three weeks to have any hope of making it.  These parameters all make good sense, too, because there are certain tasks that must be accomplished in a fairly specific order.  You can’t skip one and hope to make it up later because new and more problems will crop up. 

So the first order of business—if, say, you’re lost or your canoe’s overturned and all your gear’s on the bottom of the river or there’s a storm headed your way and you’re still five hours out from any kind of shelter—is pretty straightforward.  For those first three minutes, calm down.  Take your own pulse.  Hug a tree, if you have to.  (Former Boy and Girl Scouts out there know what I’m talking about.)  But get control of yourself, or you’re toast.

Once you’re calm, then you can afford to let go of the tree (or, in the ER, glove up and slap in that CVP line, push in that med, whatever).  If you’re out in the wild, you move on to the next three hours when you must find shelter and get dry and warm, or you’ll become hypothermic and die.  (Okay, okay, there’s some wiggle-room but not much.)  In three days, you’d better have found water, or you’re dead.  By three weeks, give or take, you need some kind of food supply, or all the water in the world won’t save your life.

After that, there are no rules, no guidelines, no nothing in the books or manuals because survival is the goal and endpoint.  You reach a kind of stalemate with nature: things might get better, but what you’re most worried about is that they shouldn’t get worse.  But it’s not as if you’re going to set up shop in the wilderness and live out the rest of your days because, long-term . . . well, you’re only waiting around to be rescued.  (Unless you manage to stagger back behind your front lines, the military’s the same.  During my Air Force survival training exercise, our final task was to vector in the helicopter that would airlift us to a shower and beef stew.)

This implies, of course, that there is something to return to: a life, your home, the world as you knew it.  But what if there’s no hope of rescue? Worse, what if there’s no home—no world—to which to return?   

That’s where my post-apocalyptic novel, ASHES, comes in.  To be fair, I guess you could call the book an apocalypse on top of an apocalypse.  Alex Adair is only seventeen, but the world’s already blown up in her face twice over.  Her parents are dead; she’s got a brain tumor that’s only biding its time.  Sick of endless rounds of failed chemo, she takes off on a last backpacking trip, pretty much determined never to return—

And then the world comes crashing down around her ears.

All of a sudden, this kid is working hard to stay alive.  She’s completely, totally focused on those first three minutes/hours/days/weeks, and everything she does—building fires, making debris shelters, all that survival stuff—is a means to that end. 

But what happens next?  Having a life isn’t the same as struggling to stay alive.  So I’m curious about the compromises people are willing to make and the rules they’re willing to break in order to survive—and where surviving leaves off and living begins.  Conversely, what’s truly worth dying for?  Where are the heroes when the world ends?  What places will emotions like compassion and love and hate—or traits like courage, loyalty, and self-sacrifice—occupy? 

At the end of the world as we know it, logic fails.  Chaos rules.  There is no good or evil, only life or death.  Our side versus theirs.  No one can tell you what to do, which side to choose or how to prepare for life the second after you realize that you’ve survived.  Other than the basics, there are no acronyms, no algorithms, and there will be no single, new normal. 

There will be only what rises from the ashes. 




It could happen tomorrow...

A cataclysmic event. An army of "The Changed."
Can one teen really survive on her own?

An electromagnetic pulse sweeps through the sky, destroying every electronic device and killing billions. For those spared, it's a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human...

Desperate to find out what happened and to avoid the Changed, Alex meets up with Tom---a young army veteran---and Ellie, a young girl whose grandfather was killed by the electromagnetic pulse.

This improvised family will have to use every ounce of courage they have just to survive.



Ilsa J. Bick has offered up one finished copy of ASHES (available now because Ilsa's gets her lovelies early) to giveaway! For an extra entry, comment with your thoughts on Ilsa's musings, in purple up above.

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

TFFOS: Christine Seifert -- 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.

Quick Notice: Sorry for the mess. I'll be putting up some deleted posts, updating the masterlist, and extending the duration of the contests. More info soon.

Today I have with me CHRISTINE SEIFERT, the debut author of THE PREDICTEDS! She's been amazing to work with and I'm sure you'll all find her guest post just as relateable... ;)

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



It turns out that everybody has a favorite bad boy. I posed the question on Facebook and got hundreds of answers from a pretty wide range of people (from guys and girls, from my family, from my former professors, and from my students).  The weirdest choice was Kronk from the Emperor’s New Groove.  A close second was Ernest T. Bass from Andy Griffith. (Bonus points to anyone who actually knows who that is).The most baffling was a tie between Hulk Hogan and Jesse Venture. (But those answers came from a guy.) The most surprising (to me, anyway) was Charlie Sheen. Does anybody actually like Charlie Sheen? I thought we just sort of tolerate him, but we all secretly think he’s just creepy. And kind of sad. 

Not everyone went for famous bad boys. A few people voted for themselves, including my husband. And my dad voted for the weird kid who used to live behind us and wash his car in his underwear.  We called him “Mean Boy” because we were apparently children who lacked creativity. 

There were definitely some bad boys who stood out as the most popular. Ryan Atwood from the OC got a few of votes, though one person said he’s not really bad; he just has bad social skills. Jess from the Gilmore Girls was a popular choice, as was Chuck Bass from Gossip Girl. Eric from True Blood got a couple of swooning votes. If you watch the show or read the books, you understand why.  Most of the bad boy votes, though, went to iconic bad boys, the ones who have been with us for at least a decade (and in some cases, a century or more). 

One thing was clear, though: We generally like bad boys who have rough exteriors with emotions that they rarely show—usually only in the presence of the girl they love. It appears that we like our bad boys like a good dinner roll: crusty on the outside, ooey-gooey in the center. With just a few exceptions, all of the bad boys on the list are actually decent at heart—they are just misunderstood. Nobody picked Freddy from A Nightmare on Elm Street, for example. Nobody picked Ted Bundy or the Unabomber. We like bad boys who are secretly good. We like our bad boys smart, cocky, swaggering, good looking, and, most of all, lovable. 

So, based on my totally unscientific Facebook poll, I present you a list of ten bad boys of film, TV, and books that we love to love.

10. Fonzie, Happy Days—The leather-jacket-wearing, motorcycle-driving bad boy is the only reason to even consider watching Happy Days re-runs. Richie and Potsie and the rest of the gang were bores; Fonzie had it going on. Aaay.

9. Jordan Catalano, My So-Called Life—Those big Jared Leto eyes made all of us want to make out with him in the janitor’s closet.  Who cares if Jordan’s band never took off?

8. Randy, Valley Girl—My best friend since elementary school, Camille Etter, reminded me how much we loved the movie Valley Girl. We rented it on VHS enough times to memorize the dialogue. An awkward Nicholas Cage played bad-boy Randy from the valley who wins over rich-girl Julie, even though her friends warn her to stay away from a “dude from the valley.” But Randy turned out to be totally “tripendicular.”

7. Mr. Rochester, Jane Eyre—Sure, he’s cranky and moody—oh, and he’s keeping his wife hidden in the attic—but he’s also soulful and passionate and in love with Jane even though she is plain! My friend Amy told me Mr. R makes her swoon.

6. Dylan McKay, Beverly Hills 90210—So he was a James Dean rip-off—and he was scrawny and pale with a receding hairline when he was supposed to be a junior in high school—but that scar on his eyebrow was something else. When he fell for Brenda, we all fell for him.

5. Bart Simpson, The Simpsons—You probably don’t want to date him, but you have to admit that he sounds more fun to hang out with than Milhouse or Martin. Unlike Nelson, Bart’s got a heart of gold buried in that impish exterior. 

4. Oscar the Grouch, Sesame Street—Elmo is cute, Ernie is funny, Big Bird has low self-esteem, the Count has OCD, but what they all have in common is an annoyingly positive outlook. After a while, you’d probably want to tape their furry mouths shut. Nobody but Oscar has the kind of un-self-conscious courage to tell it like it is. One of these days, someone is going to melt that icy heart.

3. Barnabus Collins, Dark ShadowsDark Shadows is a soap opera from before our times, but I’ve seen a couple of episodes on DVD. My dad’s cousin, Ann, reminded me that an entire generation of girls ran home after school to catch Vampire Barnabus terrorizing the people of Collinsport, Maine.  Ann notes that Barnabus is “much cooler” than Edward Cullen! (Good news: Barnabus is a bad boy coming to a megaplex near you soon. Johnny Depp is slated to play him in a move version coming out in 2012).

2. Danny Zuko, Grease—There’s something charming about Danny trying to turn into a jock for Sandy, but it’s not until Danny hangs up his cleats and goes back to his T-Birds jacket and pegged jeans that we really see the appeal. We like Danny just the way he is: bad.

1. Captain Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the CaribbeanPirates of the Caribbean couldn’t exist with Johnny Depp as Captain Jack. There’s something about his pirate garb, his off-kilter walk, his boozy accent, and his kohl eyeliner that makes you think he could definitely save you if you happen to be taken prisoner on the high seas. 

Honorable Mentions: Damon from the Vampire Diaries, Dennis the Menace, Mr. Big from Sex and the City, Sawyer from Lost, and Mal Reynolds from Firefly.
Bonus Bad Boy:  Jesse Kable

In my book, The Predicteds, Daphne, falls for someone who just might be bad. The question for Daphne is whether or not Jesse is a bad boy bad boy (and thus irredeemable) or just a misunderstood guy with a bad boy’s heart.

So who’s your favorite bad boy (or girl)?


Daphne is the new girl in town and is having trouble fitting in. At least she has Jesse... sort of. He wants to be more than "just friends," but there's something he's not telling her about his past. Something dangerous. When a female student is brutally attacked, police turn to PROFILE, a new program that can predict a student's capacity for drug use, pregnancy, and violent behavior, to solve the case. As the witch hunt ensues, Daphne is forced to question her feelings for Jesse -- and what she will do if her first love turns out to be a killer.



Christine Seifert has been doubly awesome and is offering up both an ARC of THE PREDICTEDS and a cute nebula keychain from Etsy, which represents the luck and fate involved in THE PREDICTEDS. For an extra entry, answer the question Christine posed in purple.

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

TFFOS: The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab Giveaway

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

First, a quick apology that I haven't been able to update the contest list recently and that my posts are going up very, very late. The program's been much busier than I anticipated, though I'll be back on Friday -- and hopefully much more up-to-date.

Anyways, Victoria Schwab is here today, offering up a pre-order of THE NEAR WITCH and some THE NEAR WITCH swag.

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



The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

And there are no strangers in the town of Near.
 These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.

But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab’s debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won’t soon forget.


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TFFOS: The Relic Master series by Catherine Fisher Giveaway

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

Thanks to Chelsy at Big Honcho Media, I have one complete Relic Master set by Catherine Fisher to giveaway! If you've read INCARCERON or SAPPHIQUE, you know who I'm talking about. ;)


Welcome to Anara, a world mysteriously crumbling to devastation, where nothing is what it seems: Ancient relics emit technologically advanced powers, members of the old Order are hunted by the governing Watch yet revered by the people, and the great energy that connects all seems to also be destroying all. The only hope for the world lies in Galen, a man of the old Order and a Keeper of relics, and his sixteen-year-old apprentice, Raffi. They know of a secret relic with great power that has been hidden for centuries. As they search for it, they will be tested beyond their limits. For there are monsters-some human, some not-that also want the relic's power and will stop at nothing to get it.

RELIC MASTER is a four book series. Each book will be released over four consecutive months this summer:
  • Book One: The Dark City, May 17
  • Book Two: The Lost Heiress, June 14
  • Book Three: The Hidden Coronet, July 12
  • Book Four: The Margrave, August 9

Each book will include a piece of the map of Anara, the world of RELIC MASTER, on the reverse of the jacket. Collect all four books and you will have the complete map.

To enter, fill out the form below. Open to US addresses only. To enter, comment below with your email address.

TFFOS: Rosemary Clement-Moore -- 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.

ROSEMARY CLEMENT-MOORE is here today to talk about her novel TEXAS GOTHIC that debuts TODAY. So, how did she get hooked on ghost stories?...

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


I’d say I love a good ghost story, but that’s a lie. I’m a big chicken, and always have been.

It’s my imagination, you see. Say we’re out in the woods around a campfire, or even in a tent pitched in your own back yard (which we often were on a weekend at my house growing up). And someone, like, for instance, your Dad, who just loves to tell a story, plants the idea in your head of...

...a lady dressed in white, waiting forever for the fiance who left her.

...a Mexican soldier from the Texas Revolution, wandering the South Texas hills looking for his comrades.

...a cowboy cursed to ride the devil’s herd of red-eyed, steel-hoofed cattle until the end of time.

...a woman who walks the hills in a long dark veil, restless with remorse letting her lover hang to save her reputation.

...a weeping woman who drowns her own children in the river in vengeance on the Spanish officer who fathered them and deserted her.

...ghostly bugles sounding over the fallen walls of The Alamo, calling the dead soldiers to rise again.

Okay, maybe that last one was peculiar to where I grew up. But my dad was full of spooky stories. It seemed wherever we went camping, he knew a story about a ghost nearby. And even when we were kids, he didn’t much hold back.

No wonder I spent so many nights lying stiff and watchful in my sleeping bag, jumping at every crack of a twig or rustle of leaves. And heaven help me if the wind luffed the sides of the tent like it was trying to get in to our canvas sanctuary.

So Texas Gothic is all my dad’s fault. Not only did he teach me the joy of being scared silly. (Because why else would we tell ghost stories or ride roller coasters?)  He also showed me that there’s a story--a spooky one--under every rock, if you just turn it over.

The novel concerns Amy Goodnight who, while ranch-sitting for her Aunt, encounters a feud with a (handsome) neighbor, a skeleton in a pasture, mysteries both ancient and modern... and of course a ghost who wants to collect a debt.  I tried to capture the feel of my dad’s tales. The creepy parts, but also the emotional bits, the sense of history, the idiosyncrasies of the state I love... along with a modern mystery and some not-so-tragic romance that doesn’t involve drowning children or anyone getting hanged.

Or does it?



Amy Goodnight knows that the world isn't as simple as it seems—she grew up surrounded by household spells and benevolent ghosts. But she also understands that "normal" doesn't mix with magic, and she's worked hard to build a wall between the two worlds. Not only to protect any hope of ever having a normal life.

Ranch-sitting for her aunt in Texas should be exactly that. Good old ordinary, uneventful hard work. Only, Amy and her sister, Phin, aren't alone. There's someone in the house with them—and it's not the living, breathing, amazingly hot cowboy from the ranch next door.

It's a ghost, and it's more powerful than the Goodnights and all their protective spells combined. It wants something from Amy, and none of her carefully built defenses can hold it back.

This is the summer when the wall between Amy's worlds is going to come crashing down.



Courtesy of Rosemary, I have one finished copy of TEXAS GOTHIC to giveaway! For an extra entry, comment with your favorite ghost story OR why you don't like them.

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

TFFOS: Sara Grant -- Character 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.

SARA GRANT is here today to discuss her upcoming YA debut DARK PARTIES, which was published earlier this year as NEVA in German. She's here today to give us an exclusive one-on-one with Neva, so welcome! :)

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1. Hey Neva! Let’s start off with something simple: If you could be anything (non-human) in the world what would you be?
I would love to be as free as a bird. I’d fly to the highest point of the Protectosphere. (That’s the electrified dome that locks me inside my country of Homeland. It’s supposed to protect us from the outside world, but it feels more like a prison.) Maybe I’d feel less trapped if I could soar to the projected clouds.

My grandma and I used to visit the bridge that crosses the river in the middle of the City. We would stand with arms out stretched and pretend to fly. I wish I could fly with my grandma again, but she’s been missing since I was six. Maybe if I could fly, I could search for her.

I suppose it doesn’t matter what I am. I’d still be trapped. And people would still be missing.

2. What’s it like living in Protectosphere? What do you do for fun?
That’s a hard question to answer. It’s all I’ve ever known – all anyone in Homeland has known for generations. The government says there’s nothing out there, not anymore. But my grandma believed they were lying. She couldn’t believe that everything ended.

I feel as if I live a recycled life. There are no resources for anything new anymore. All we do is recycle the life out of everything. I wear someone’s hand-me-downs. Everything is breaking down and falling apart. Now they tell us what job we will have after we graduate. All the government cares about is increasing our dwindling population. Our citizens are growing to look more alike. My best friend Sanna’s brother says we are inbred.

For fun? Now that I’m sixteen and just graduated, it doesn’t feel like I’m allowed to have fun anymore. It feels like my life is more about work. Even my relationship feels like work. The government wants my boyfriend Ethan and I to get married and start having kids. Ethan has changed. We used to want the same things, but now he seems more than happy to go along with whatever the government has planned for us.

Sanna and I have plans, too. We want to make a change. We want to demand the government open the Protectosphere. It’s dangerous, probably stupid and most likely futile. But we’ve got to do something.

3. How’d you meet your best friend Sanna? Do you have any cool escapes to share?
The first time I met Sanna we were little kids. She was playing on the merry-go-round at this park not far from our houses. She held on to one of the bars and ran as fast as she could, then dived on. As her spin slowly dwindled, she’d jump off and race around again. She’d scared all the other kids away with her mad dashes. I watched her for a while until I knew the rhythm. Then as the merry-go-round slowed, I hopped on. She made me dizzy with all her wild whirls on the merry-go-round. Even now, being with her feels like that first wild, dizzying ride.

Sanna makes anything we do together feel like the first, last or only time. We mostly like to hang out and talk. She also has great ideas for pulling little pranks to piss off the government. We painted our white graduation robes pink. Another time we made these tie-dye t-shirts with the slogan: The Skies the Limit. Mom laughed when she saw it but Dad made me take it off and recycle it. Sanna has loads of great ideas like that.


 4. Can you give us the insider on your “dark party”? How do you get in, and what do you guys do? Any secret initiation rites?
Sanna and I planned it for weeks. It’s what kept us sane. We wanted one final rebellion before we took our places as respected members of society. It was another of Sanna’s brilliant ideas. We wanted to discover who we are without the burden of sight. It’s easy to believe we are the same inside because we look so similar. Sanna said only in the dark can we know the truth, but, boy, was she wrong.

Sanna wanted me to host the party. A Dark Party at the Minister of Ancient History’s house. That’s how she talked everyone into it. The greater the risk, the greater the thrill. We made my living room completely lightproof. It’s a strange sensation to be in total darkness. The blackness feels almost solid around you. You lose all sense of direction.

It was amazing at first. But our party didn’t turn out like we planned. We wanted to start a rebellion but instead our party turned out to be the end of so many things. It’s started an avalanche that neither one of us could have ever imagine or stop.

5. So, I heard something about you falling for your best friend’s boyfriend…
Who told you that? I mean, no one could possibly know that I … I mean no. Absolutely not. Braydon Bartlett? You’ve got to be kidding me. He’s so…well, he’s….I mean he just moved here from somewhere up North. We’d don’t really know much about him. He always wears these red pointy-toe boots. Even though he’s got the right last name with a direct genetic line to one of the founding fathers of Homeland, there’s something about him that I don’t trust. And he’s my best friend Sanna’s first real boyfriend.

What kind of person would kiss her best friend’s boyfriend? Even in the pitch black of a Dark Party. Even if she didn’t know it was him. Even if it was an accident. Even if it made her feel like her life could be different…

I don’t know what you’re talking about.

6. And, finally, if we were living in the Protectosphere, what words of advice would you give?
Life would be so much easier for me if I could just believe the government’s lies and accept my limits and be happy with getting married and having kids. But there’s got to be more to life. There’s got to be something out there.

So I guess I would say either learn how to live like a caged animal or never stop trying to change the government and find a way out.



Sixteen-year-old Neva has been trapped since birth. She was born and raised under the Protectosphere, in an isolated nation ruled by fear, lies, and xenophobia. A shield "protects" them from the outside world, but also locks the citizens inside. But there's nothing left on the outside, ever since the world collapsed from violent warfare. Or so the government says...

Neva and her best friend Sanna believe the government is lying and stage a "dark party" to recruit members for their underground rebellion. But as Neva begins to uncover the truth, she realizes she must question everything she's ever known, including the people she loves the most.



Courtesy of Sara, I have one DARK PARTIES latte mug filled with UK candies to giveaway! For an extra entry, tell me the wildest thing you've done with a friend.

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

TFFOS: Dreams of Significant Girls by Cristina Garcia Giveaway

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

Happy Saturday! I know it's been a load of giveaways lately, but errr... right. More features coming soon. I'm leaving for a week-long Bank of America summit tomorrow, so I'll be scheduling the posts for next week (aka the last week of TFFOS. ):). Have a great weekend~

Courtesy of Paul at Simon & Schuster, I have THREE copies of DREAMS OF SIGNIFICANT GIRLS by Cristina Garcia to giveaway!

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



Brought together each summer at a boarding school in Switzerland, three girls learn a lot more than just French and European culture. Shirin, an Iranian princess; Ingrid, a German-Canadian eccentric; and Vivien, a Cuban-Jewish New Yorker culinary phenom, are thrown into each other's lives when they become roommates. 

This is a story of 3 paths slowly beginning to cross and merge as they spend the year apart, but the summers together. Through navigating the social-cultural shoals of the school, developing their adolescence, and learning the confusing and conflicting legacies of their families' past, Shirin, Ingrid, and Vivien form an unbreakable bond.

This story takes readers on a journey into the lives of very different girls and the bonds that keep them friends.


To enter, fill out the form below. One copy is open internationally while the others are limited to US/Canada unless you're willing to pay for shipping (if I had enough money...).

TFFOS: Lie by Caroline Bock Giveaway

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

Thanks to Jessica at St. Martin's Griffin, I have one finished copy of LIE by Caroline Bock (will be shipped when available) to giveaway! Lies always make for dramatic plots, so read on... ;)

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Everybody knows, nobody’s talking. . . .
Seventeen-year-old Skylar Thompson is being questioned by the police. Her boyfriend, Jimmy, stands accused of brutally assaulting two young El Salvadoran immigrants from a neighboring town, and she’s the prime witness. Skylar is keeping quiet about what she’s seen, but how long can she keep it up?

But Jimmy was her savior. . . .
When her mother died, he was the only person who made her feel safe, protected from the world. But when she begins to appreciate the enormity of what has happened, especially when Carlos Cortez, one of the victims, steps up to demand justice, she starts to have second thoughts about protecting Jimmy. Jimmy’s accomplice, Sean, is facing his own moral quandary. He’s out on bail and has been offered a plea in exchange for testifying against Jimmy.

The truth must be told. . . .
Sean must decide whether or not to turn on his friend in order to save himself. But most important, both he and Skylar need to figure out why they would follow someone like Jimmy in the first place.


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

TFFOS: Amanda Cockrell -- 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.

I love the title of the AMANDA COCKRELL's debut YA novel: WHAT WE KEEP IS NOT ALWAYS WHAT WILL STAY. Honestly, it's a bit of a pain to repeatedly type, but after reading the summary, it really seems to fit the book perfectly. Read on for Amanda's just as long, just as awesome answers to my interview questions! :)

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1. WHAT WE KEEP IS NOT ALWAYS WHAT WILL STAY is a title that is as awesome as it is long. If you could rename it into three shorter yet descriptive titles, what would they be? 
I had a terrible time with the title. It was originally called The Untied Church of Dog, from a bumper sticker that Angie sees that says:

Dyslexics, remember that Dog loves you
A Message From the Untied Church of Dog

She’s been worrying a lot about whether God is actually paying any attention to all the awful stuff that keeps happening in the world, and she thinks, “Maybe God really is a dog, and he loves everybody but he can’t help them do things or get things or win the lottery, or wars. That probably isn’t an idea I should talk over with Father Weatherford.”

Well, all my writer friends loved the title but my agent and my editor both said it wouldn’t convey anything to teens, and besides that booksellers would type “United” into their computers instead of “Untied” and they wouldn’t be able to find the book. So that was the last nail in the coffin of that title!

We took What We Keep Is Not Always What Will Stay from a poem that comes toward the end of the novel. It was the only other title I liked. I don’t think I could possibly think of three more!

2. From just reading the summary, WHAT WE KEEP IS NOT ALWAYS WHAT WILL STAY sounds like a blend of wit and deep issues. How do you balance between the humor and the serious? 
I think that you need both, truly. Even very dark novels need some relief, some bit of even dark humor, to provide a place to breathe. And even very light novels need some deeper aspect, some hard stuff touched on, or they aren’t really about anything. I like books that balance both because that seems to be what life does when it’s running along as it ought to. We aren’t promised a life without sorrow, but there is always joy around the next corner too.

3. Your novel boasts a rich variety of characters, from a homeless veteran to family-troubled Angie to recently-back-from-Afghanistan Jesse. What’s it like developing a complex history for each of them? Is there a certain character you relate to most? 
If I think about them enough, the history unfolds itself. I think, “Ah! That’s why he’s the way he is. That’s what happened to him. No wonder.” That was certainly true of Felix. It took me longer to figure out Angie’s mother, Sylvia, but it was the same process. Angie has less history, but what she does have is important to her and has marked her in some ways. I relate to Angie most, since she is my heroine, and it’s her story. But Felix and Sylvia are probably the most real to me besides Angie. There are large chunks of me in Sylvia, and large chunks of men I love in Felix.

4. What song(s) runs through your head when you think WHAT WE KEEP IS NOT ALWAYS WHAT WILL STAY? 
Unfortunately, the Ipana toothpaste song, since I put it in that poem. Now it won’t go away.

5. In your author biography, you mention that you’ve written radio commercials, ads for panty girdles, and obituaries among many other things. How did you branch out so much? And what would be the most interesting/unique/etc. thing you’ve written? 
It has to do with making a living. The only thing I do very well is write, so all my jobs have involved that in one way or another. I’ve been a newspaper reporter, a copywriter for an ad agency and a radio station, and a freelance writer of whatever anyone would hire me to write. I wrote commercials for Custer’s Last Sandwich Stand when I worked at KYNO. They featured Custer’s Famous Singing Pickles, which were the afternoon drive disk jockey singing four-part harmony with himself, speeded up. We mostly adapted classics for the Pickles. At Christmas we did “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”:

Hark the Herald Pickles Sing
Welcome in the Sandwich King
Mayonnaise and mustard mild,
Two for man and one for child

6. Fill in the blank: if you could go back and stick with writing something other than novels, you would be a writer of ___________________. 
I can’t think of anything I would like to have paid more attention to poetry.

it's bottle rocket stealing biscuits!

7. You mention that you live with a “substantial amount” of dogs and cats. Since I’m a pet-lover, I have to ask if you could give us some details. Pictures appreciated. ;) 
We have three cats and two pugs at the moment, which is kind of on the low end of the population scale for me. My mother founded the Humane Society in the town I grew up in and when I was a child we always had some foster critter as well as our own. Once there was a duck with a broken leg living in the bathtub. Later when I was married and Mama was living with us, we had four dogs and six cats, which was the city limit. Right now I am angling to get chickens, just a couple of backyard hens. I keep sending my husband links to prefab chicken coops with coy little subject headings like “Christmas?”

8. If you could win any five awards (writing or otherwise) in the world, what would they be ranked in order of number 1 to 5? 
The first four are not remotely likely...
1. A MacArthur Fellowship
2. The Prinz Award for YA Literature
3. The National Book Award
4. The Pulitzer Prize
5. An NEA Fiction Fellowship (I did get one of those once)

You’ll note that these are all for writing...

9. Lastly, Angie confesses to a statue of St. Felix. If you were to confess to an inanimate object, what would it be? 
Probably one of the little santos and shrines I make to imaginary deities. I’ll send a couple of pictures of those too.

Thanks, Amanda! And Amanda actually sent me a LOT of adorable pictures, but I only included two out of image overload. ):



Fifteen-year-old Angie never used to think much about God—until things started getting weird. Like the statue of St. Felix, her secret confidante, suddenly coming off his pedestal and talking to her. And Angie's mother, who's busting up her third marriage for no apparent reason. Then there's Jesse Francis, sent home from Afghanistan at age nineteen with his leg blown off. Now he's expected to finish high school and fit right back in. Is God even paying attention to any of this?

Against the advice of an increasingly vocal St. Felix (who knows a thing or two about war), Angie falls for Jesse—who's a lot deeper than most high school guys. But Jesse is battling some major demons. As his rages start to become more frequent and unpredictable, Angie finds herself losing control of the situation. And she's starting to wonder: can one person ever make things right for someone else?



Thanks to Marissa at Flux Books, I have one finished copy of WHAT WE KEEP IS NOT ALWAYS WHAT WILL STAY to giveaway! For an extra entry, tell me what inanimate object would you confess your life story to?

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