Friday, June 28, 2013

CUPID'S ARROW: Avocado Chocolate Cake!

This arrow is courtesy of Eli Yanti!  Eli wanted me to profess my love for avocado chocolate cake!  Ok, yes, I had my reservations as well, but really, it is super delicious, sort of healthy and vegan (if that's your thing.)

The recipe is courtesy of Joy the Baker.  (And I apologize in advance for all the 1920's music.  It was the only royalty free music I could find that didn't involve a synthesizer.)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Amazing BURN OUT Cover Reveal + GIVEAWAY!!!

And the epic Valentine cover reveals continue!

Today I'm super-stoked to reveal our very own Kristi Helvig's sweet cover (and by sweet, I mean, KILLER) for her debut novel, BURN OUT. Because it's that AMAZING.:)

But before we get to the BURN OUT cover-awesomeness, let's talk about the book itself. A fresh YA sci-fi, I can't wait for BURN OUT's release.



Most people want to save the world; seventeen-year-old Tora Reynolds just wants to get the hell off of it. One of the last survivors in Earth's final years, Tora yearns to escape the wasteland her planet has become after the sun turns "red giant," but discovers her fellow survivors are even deadlier than the hostile environment.

One of the last survivors? Hostile environments? And escape?

I'M SO IN. :)

Okay, on to the brilliance that is Kristi's cover.


I thought so.:)

So without further delay...


The epic cover of Kristi Helvig's BURN OUT:

OMG, *cover swoon.* The colors! The graphics! And did you catch that tagline?

The last girl on Earth . . . just got company.



BURN OUT will officially be released April 8, 2014. But if you're as excited as I am, you can go add BURN OUT to your Goodreads shelves now. :) Shoot, you can even pre-order it if you want to!

To hold you over, we're giving away an epic prize pack: the YA book of your choice PLUS a copy of DEFY THE DARK, a short-story anthology by an amazing group of YA author, including Aprilynne Pike, Carrie Ryan, and Beth Revis, just to name a few.  Enter the drawing* below and the cover-reveal-YA-goodness can be yours! :)

Want to know more about Kristi? Check out her blog for the latest scoop on BURN OUT and find out what she's up to when she's not writing about the apocalypse.:)

And if you have time, check out the other Valentines sharing Kristi's cover love. We're throwing BURN OUT confetti and cover love all over the blogosphere!

Jaye Robin Brown
Bethany Hagan
Sara B. Larson
Lynne Matson
Jen McConnel
Sara Raasch

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Ends July 9, 2014 at midnight. Giveaway open to U.S. Residents only, but Valentine hugs and love spread internationally.:) 

Friday, June 21, 2013


**UPDATE** The winner of the DEFY Cover Reveal Giveaway is...LIZZY BROCKBANK!! Congratulations, Lizzy! We'll be contacting you shortly :D

"Thanks for getting my undies back."

 "Does Barry Manilow know you raid his wardrobe?"

"I'd rather be with someone for the wrong reasons 
then alone for the right."

Memorable characters.
Quotes that last a lifetime.

Let's face it, guys, John Hughes was the master of Young Adult fiction. 
True, his stories were told on the big screen rather than small print, 
but it doesn't lessen their awesomeness or the influence they've had on multiple generations.

Personally, I've been a Hughes junkie since I was first introduced 
to a certain hot, humble senior with a red Porsche and the 
swagger to make Topsiders look cool. 
(Mmm hmm, you know who)
And because my devotion for all things Hughes,
 I nearly wet myself the day I saw a 
Cupid's Arrow submission asking one of us
to profess our love for John Hughes.
(Seriously, I squealed like a school girl)

Jessica R.'s submission actually requested a profession of
love puppet show style, but since I'm not allowed to handle puppets
(the statue of limitations runs out soon)
I thought I'd present this video instead:

For the Love of Hughes
by: rookieriter

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Sweet Six Interview with Brigid Kemmerer!

Happy Tuesday! There's more excitement in the world of the YA Valentines! In fact, the news was so fabulous that each of our email inboxes exploded last night! (Many whoops, hollers, and exclamation points were exchanged!) 

You're curious?

Tune in next Tuesday for an announcement...  *smiles sweetly* Yes, you have to wait.

I now bring you a Sweet Six interview with the incredibly talented Brigid Kemmerer! She's a fellow Marylander and YA author, whom I had the pleasure of meeting during Read Across America this past March. Spirit, the third installment in The Elemental Series, released in May! 

1) Tell us about your book!

I write The Elemental Series for Kensington Books, about four brothers who control the elements of earth, air, fire, and water, and their battle with those who want them dead. While the stories are paranormal on the surface, they're really about family and brotherhood and growing up. 

2) What scene in your book do you LOVE the most?

Michael Merrick is the oldest brother, and at twenty-three, he's been raising his younger brothers for five years, since his parents' death during his senior year of high school. He's bitter, and jaded, and exhausted from working all the time. Throughout much of Storm, he's surly and snappish. But there's a scene where he's been hurt, and he goes to the home of his youngest brother's girlfriend, and her mom starts patching him up. He's eating pancakes, and he basically says, "I forgot what it was like to have a mother." It's one of the first times in the book where Michael shows his vulnerability, and I loved writing it. 

3) If you had to pick a character you LOVE (and not your own!), who would you pick and why?

I just finished reading Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg, and Rafe, the main character, was probably one of the best written YA boys I've read in a long, long time. I loved it. 

4) What's the craziest/most memorable valentine you've ever received?

I don't know that I've ever received a Valentine. But the most memorable Valentine's Day was this one year when I didn't have a boyfriend, so I went to the bookstore. I was sitting in the cafe reading, and this guy came up and asked if he could join me. We started talking books and hit it off immediately. I started thinking, "OMG, this is going to be the cutest how-we-met story EVER. We met in a bookstore on Valentine's Day, because we were both single and lonely. This is SO AMAZING." And just as I was completing that thought, he finished his coffee and said, "Well, it was nice meeting you." And he walked out.

(Don't worry. I later met my amazing husband.) 

5) If you were a Brach's Heart, what phrase would be written on you?

I ... have no idea. BAMF? :-P

(Note: I asked Brigid if BAMF meant what I thought it meant... it sure does!)

6) The all-important choice: flowers or candy?

Candy! Come on. No contest. 

I completely agree! Brigid, thank you so much for swinging by!

You can visit Brigid online via her website, Goodreads, Amazon, or Twitter!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Cover Reveal Epicness: Sara B. Larson's DEFY + a Giveaway!

Today is the 14th day of June and, in true Valentines' fashion, we decided to do something EPIC.

I mean really, truly EPIC.

Valentine Sara B. Larson's YA Fantasy DEFY will be the very first Valentine book to debut next year. Like the VERY FIRST. How so? Her official release date is...

JANUARY 1, 2014!!

That's kind of the best way to celebrate the new year, yes? We couldn't be more excited! Just check out this description:

A warrior and a protector, the prince's best guard is also a girl in hiding. No one knows who she really is--or so she thought. But when her world suddenly changes, and two men begin vying for her heart, one girl must stand up against a terrible evil or risk losing everything.

Right? RIGHT?? A girl warrior-in-disguise, a steamy romance, court intrigue. All the fixings of a kick-butt, edge-of-your-seat, swoon-so-hard-you-fall-over fantasy that is, as mentioned above, EPIC.

But I know what you're here for. You're here for the equally epic cover reveal, so without further delay, behold the second cover to grace a Valentine book -- the lush and deadly cover for Sara B. Larson's DEFY!


**BREAKING NEWS** DEFY is now available for preorder!!

To help sustain you until 2014, we're giving away a prize pack of books with the same kick-butt elements as DEFY: GRACELING and SHADOW AND BONE! Obey the Rafflecopter gods below for your chance to win the gloriousness!

And to check out other Valentine's RAVING about this gorgeous cover, pop over to any of the below just-as-awesome blogs:

Jaye Robin Brown
Lynne Matson
Kristi Helvig
Lindsay Cummings
Bethany Hagen
Bethany Crandell
Jen McConnel

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Book Rave--NERVE by Jeanne Ryan

I loved things that scared me as a teen. Whether watching Michael Myers wreak havoc on unsuspecting babysitters or Jason wreak havoc on fornicating teens, I was hooked. There was this 80's movie where a babysitter was asked via phone call if she had "checked the children," and then found out the call was coming from inside the house--yes, I realize this tells you how incredibly old I am ;) As a frequent babysitter, I jumped every time the phone rang after watching that movie. Anyway, it's hard to name a book that gave me the creeps the way those movies did, but NERVE (Dial Books) by Jeanne Ryan had me on the edge of my seat until the end. NERVE is about a teen girl who gets sucked into a high-tech truth-or-dare game that is very, very different than the version I played as a youth, e.g. nobody's dare in the book involves ringing a neighbor's doorbell and running. The book is much more subtle than those slasher movies from my childhood, but the tension is high and I won't even mention the reason for the rubber floors during the final dare. Ewwww. In full disclosure, I have to say that Jeanne is one of my critique partners, but there's a reason for that--she's awesome! These days, I don't usually watch those kind of movies, but I still like a good scare once in awhile. If you're in the mood for a fast-paced thriller, check out NERVE. You won't look at your cell phone the same way again.

Friday, June 7, 2013


Another Cupid's Arrow was shot, this time by Nora at Nora asked for a skit, and well, though this technically is probably NOT a skit, I still hope she'll be super happy with the result of her request.

You see, I enlisted some help from EIGHT amazing Young Adult authors to share why they love readers.

So enjoy, Nora!
And for this awesome arrow, I have a bit of swag to send your way donated by these kind folks.

And what's more, for the rest of you, please take this opportunity to fill out the Rafflecopter below for our July prize! A huge package of swag and books from the authors on this video, which includes Nerve bookmarks, a signed Denise Jaden book and bookmarks, buttons and excerpt booklets from Jennifer McGowan, and a signed copy of Megan Shepherd's The Madman's Daughter, plus more! You've got until July 16th to shoot an arrow our way! That's when Megan Shepherd will be stopping by for her Sweet Six Interview.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Sweet Six Interview with Mary Gray

Hey, everyone!  Happy June; can you believe we're already into the summer?   Before we get to our next Sweet Six, I wanted to announce the winner from Friday's Cupid's Arrow Spin:

Emily Rachelle, you're the lucky winner!  We'll be in touch via email with you this week to work out the details.


Now, I'm thrilled to bring you a Sweet Six interview with Mary Gray.  Her YA debut, The Dollhouse Asylum, will be out in October from Spencer Hill Press.  She's a delightful lady and a great writer, and I'm so excited to be able to introduce her to y'all.  Enjoy!

1) Tell us about your book!

It's about a group of teenagers who are granted asylum from the apocalypse, only to be forced to re-enact tragic, literary couples... or die. It's half dystopian, half subtle horror told by an eighteen-year-old girl, Cheyenne, who's trapped by the man she both loves and hates.

2) What scene in your book do you LOVE the most?

Hard question! I would probably have to say the second kissing scene. It's reeking of duality in that Cheyenne's feeling so many things at once. Plus, it happens in the rain, which is always nice. I remember writing it in the library, then wanting to jump my husband's bones when I got home. A nice memory.

3) If you had to pick a character you LOVE (and not your own!), who would you pick and why?

Well I just finished watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and I would have to say Buffy because she has this amazing inner strength, and Spike because he's so complex, is hilarious while trying to be so terrifying, and he grows so much.

4) What's the craziest/most memorable valentine you've ever received?

My husband proposed to me on Valentine's Day eleven years ago. I didn't see it coming. I was so in shock when he had the ring that I just kept saying "Oh my gosh," over and over again until he had to ask again since I forgot to say yes.

5) If you were a Brach's Heart, what phrase would be written on you?

"Massage Me." Because I need more of those. I'm a mom.

6) The all-important choice: flowers or candy?

Chocolate baked goodies or flowers/plants in the ground! I've planted so many fun plants this year (first time ever) and am obsessing on how they're doing. Banana trees, cannas (flowers that grow five feet tall!), a palm tree, and many others. I'm loving it! Chocolate goodies if I don't have to keep the calories.

Catch up with Mary online: