Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Valentine Files....Halloween Edition *gulp*

Eeek! It's Halloween! A night full of fright and all things spooky. In honor of the day's creeptastic feel, today we're spilling some scary sekrits about our main characters!!!!

Yup, you read that right. WE'RE SPILLING BOOK SEKRITS.:) HERE. 


Sekrits that make our characters feel like this:

"Hold me."

Or this:


Or maybe the sekrit is that our MC would just like to dress like Johnny Depp for Halloween, because Johnny Depp is just THAT awesome.:)  

But don't you want to find out ALL THE SCOOP?

We thought so.:) 

Here we go! *cracks open The Valentine Files*

Two questions. 
One choice. 
Fourteen Answers. 


Question #1: What is your main character most afraid of?

Sara L. (DEFY, January 2014)

"Alexa lives in the jungle kingdom of Antion. Though she can acknowledge how beautiful it is, she has a love/hate relationship with the rainforest because of the dangers she knows it harbors, including one of the things that scares her the most: snakes. Alexa hates snakes."

Lynne (NIL, March 2014)

"Tough question, because I actually have TWO main characters, but today I'll pick Charley since NIL opens with her. :) Since Charley lands on Nil, where you have exactly one year to escape or you die, the obvious answer is that she's afraid of dying. But she's also afraid of losing Thad before they've ever had a real chance. And she just might be BFF with Alexa from DEFY because Charley also hates snakes. I can't tell you why...I don't want to spill ALL THE SEKRITS just yet.:)"

Jen (DAUGHTER OF CHAOS, March 2014)

"Darlena is most afraid of being weak. She hides her vulnerability and her true feelings from everyone, but especially her ex, Justin. She can't bear to let him know how she really feels about their break-up!"

Bethany C. (SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS, April 2014)

"Shopping at discount stores. If you can't afford name brand clothes, just stay inside."

Kristi (BURN OUT, April 2014)

"My MC Tora's greatest fear is loving someone else, because everyone she's ever loved or cared about is dead."


"Gretchen's fears really change throughout the course of PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG. In the beginning, she's a Nazi and Adolf Hitler is a close family friend. She's afraid of the people that Hitler has warned her are their biggest enemies--the Jews and the Communists. Once she starts questioning her beliefs, though, she's terrified of something else entirely... And I can't tell you what it is without spoiling the mystery!"

Amy (OF BREAKABLE THINGS, Spring 2014)

"Alex is afraid of being alone. She's always had the Lasalle brothers to protect her from anyone and anything, so after they're gone, she doesn't hold up very well. In a way, that sheltering has made her afraid of life."

Philip (THE BREAKUP ARTIST, April 2014)

"Well, in context with the story, Becca is most afraid of being ditched by her best friend for a guy. But really, she's most afraid of rats because obviously. They're gross and freaky. *shudders*"

Paula (THE ART OF LAINEY, May 2014)

"Lainey is terrified of frogs and has been since she was ten and had her first birthday sleepover party. Her older brother and his friends caught a bunch of frogs out in the backyard and sneaked them into Lainey's sleeping bag while the girls were in the kitchen making microwave popcorn. When they went back downstairs, they were talking and giggling too much to hear the frogs croaking, and Lainey didn't discover them until she crawled into her bag and felt these slick hopping things all over her."

Lindsay (THE MURDER COMPLEX, June 2014)

"My MC is most afraid of dying."

Kristen (TABULA RASA, Fall 2014)

"Finding out who she really is! She's afraid that she might just be a monster and that's why she got herself locked up in a high-security research hospital in the first place."

Sara R. (SNOW LIKE ASHES, Fall 2014)

"For the MC in SNOW LIKE ASHES, Meira, life is not without its share of things to be afraid of -- she's one of the last eight Winterians who escaped enslavement, and the king of the Spring Kingdom would like nothing more than to make the remaining refugees beg for death. And while Meira is afraid of this fate (but she'd never let you know that), the thing she most fears is one of her overarching struggles in the book: not mattering.

She is the youngest Winterian refugee, one of the only girls, and can't even remember what the Kingdom of Winter was like. She's afraid her only role in life is to, as the refugees' leader, Sir, puts it, "exist" -- to stay alive long enough to one day repopulate Winter. But Meira wants to be connected to this kingdom, to matter to it in ways that make her feel like it matters to her. That is the root of her biggest fear -- that, despite how hard she tries to help everyone else save their kingdom, Winter really doesn't mean much to her beyond the mysterious kingdom she hears about in bedtime stories."

Question #2: What would your MC dress up as on Halloween and why?

Bethany H. (LANDRY PARK, February 2014)

"My MC would dress up as Guinevere of Camelot because she loves Arthurian legends and has spent her entire life fantasizing about knights and ladies and castles. Also she would look really great with a crown."

JRo (NO PLACE TO FALL, Fall 2014)

"At the time of Halloween in my book, Amber would probably be grounded (and worse!) and wouldn't get to dress up at all. But she'd for sure help her nephew, Coby, who's two and a half, dress up like a caboose. That's what Amber's daddy has always called her, what with her being the youngest of the family and him working for the railroad. But Amber's ready to pass on that torch because she doesn't want soft words from a man who's treating her mama so hard."

And there you go! The Valentine Files are officially CLOSED. :)  Until next time...

we have treats. :)


Here you go...

Read an early review of BURN OUT over at YA Bound! Then be sure to add it to Goodreads as there will soon be an ARC Giveaway of BURN OUT.

Win an ARC of THE BREAKUP ARTIST at Forever 17 books!

Check out the super-sweet cover reveal of PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG over at YABC!

Want to join THE ART OF LAINEY street team? Deets here!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN from the Valentine crew!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Book Rave & Giveaway: AG Howard's, THE MOTH IN THE MIRROR


SPLINTERED fans, I know you're jonesing for the January '14 release of UNHINGED, (the second installment in AG Howard's creepy, Alice in Wonderland inspired trilogy) but don't get your panties twisted up trying to navigate the impending holidays without Jeb by your side. I've got the remedy for your Wonderland woes! 

AG's new novella, THE MOTH IN THE MIRROR, is the perfect UNHINGED tide-me-over and will keep even the most faithful Morpheus fans flapping their wings with delight. 

Told from both Jeb and Morph's perspectives, this story offers a deeper look at what makes Alyssa's main men tick, and also hints of the excitement that's to come in UNHINGED. And as someone who's read UNHINGED, I can tell you with all honesty, the excitement is just beginning...

THE MOTH IN THE MIRROR is available now, but in celebration of this spooktacular time of year, we're giving away three downloads of this scrumptious little ditty. Enter below for your chance to win. The contest is short & sweet, so don't dilly dally...or we'll make you drink the Tumtum juice.

(AND CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WINNER OF LAST TUESDAY'S GIVEAWAY OF THE BURNING SKY - Commentor #6 (of Non Vals) - DistinctLeigh! - we'll contact you soon!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for all who entered in the contest. The winners have been notified. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

A CUPID'S ARROW about J.R.R. Tolkien? Seriously?

Today I catch Cupid’s Arrow like a javelin to the chest! 


This arrow was launched by Dialma Jensen. She asked one of the Valentines to do an epic ballad to profess her/his love for J.R.R. Tolkien. 
No sweat, right?

I was instantly attracted to this arrow because I am an outlandishly large LOTR fan. HOWEVER. I wasn’t sure about the "epic ballad" part because I thought it meant I’d have to do something like "Total Eclipse of the Heart". (And just so you're aware, do not even tell me you that love that song or else I will pretend I don’t know you when we pass on the street.)

But then! Very fortunately I discovered that an epic ballad originally meant "an extended narrative poem in elevated or dignified language, celebrating the feats of a legendary or traditional hero."

Now THAT I can do. Nobody does dignified and elevated like yours truly, and while I know you’re disappointed to not hear me sing, hopefully this will make up for it. Here we go!

An Epic Ballad in Honor 
of J.R.R. Tolkien

My man Tolkien, he invented the high fantasy genre,
And for that we all say, "Hey, awesome! Good on ya!"

He wrote of wizards, of elves, of Hobbits and Orcs,
 We fans love them all because we're really huge dorks.

But of all he created, I rate one thing the highest,
And I know that you’ll probably think I am biased.

But what do I love most about J.R.R. Tolkien?
The dudes he created are totally smokin’!

I could stare at lovely Legolas for hours, I'm lovesick!
Even though, yeah, he does kinda look like a chick.

And of course Aragorn! Manliest of all kings!
I even like his scruffy beard, which is not usually my thing.

And don’t get me started on Thorin Oakenshield,
You say a dwarf can’t be hawt? Bah! No sense do you wield!

And Frodo the Hobbit though obviously short,
Is still, in my book, the most bangable sort. 

Oh, wait! That other guy, he’s played by Karl Urban.
Such smoldering! Dayum. Someone get me a bourbon!

And what can I say to sweet, mistreated Faramir?
How ‘bout, “Forget your jerky dad, and get yo hot self over here!” 

 And, hey, let’s say your tastes run toward evil, disembodied eyes,
Then of course you would think Sauron is some kind of a prize.

 J.R.R., sincerely, I thank you for all of the swoons,
I’ll be rereading LOTR again very soon.

For I love them all, from the kings to the serfs,
Those hottest of dudes from your Middle Earth.

(I totally wasn't kidding about that bourbon, by the way. 
Where is it?)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


As we roll ever closer to the magical year, 2014, our covers keep rolling out, too. And though both of these lovelies debuted their covers on other blogs, it's time to give a great big WE LOVE THE COVER shout-out to two of our very own sweet and lovely Vals.

First to debut was Anne Blankman and the cover for her historical novel, THE PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG.

I ADORE this face. The fear in her eyes, the hot red lipstick typical of the era, the looped curls framing her face, and of course, the fog rolling up about to whisk her away. It speaks of intrigue and romance and danger and to the time period. I think they did a stellar job! And that tag line! "To uncover the truth, she must deny her past..." Shivers, right?

Here's a teaser:

Obey. Smile when Hitler comes closer. And never, never question him.

These are the three rules in seventeen-year-old Nazi Gretchen Muller's life. They've kept her safe since Papa died, protecting old family friend Adolf Hitler during a street fight years ago. Until the night in 1931 when Gretchen meets a young, fearless Jewish reporter she's supposed to despise. But she can't stop herself from listening to his story -- that her father, the adored martyr, was actually murdered. Together, Gretchen and the reporter vow to do whatever it takes to uncover the truth. Even if it means breaking all of Hitler's rules. Especially the most important one of all: don't fall in love with the enemy...

And now for our second beautiful Valentines cover! This one is sassy and spunky much like the author who penned the contemporary romance. It's Paula Stokes' cover for THE ART OF LAINEY!

Doesn't the cover model look like she's made of mischief? That sparkle in her eye? I can tell this girl solemnly swears she is up to no good. And when you read the blurb you can see this is the perfect cover!

Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is used to getting what she wants, and when her boyfriend Jayson breaks up with her for no reason, what she wants is to win him back before the start of their senior year. Lainey and her friend Bianca check the interwebz for tips and tricks, but the online dating advice is all pretty lame. Then the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. Didn't someone once say that love is a battlefield? Jayson isn't going to stand a chance once the girls go all Zhou Dynasty on him... Old school strategy and subterfuge meet modern-day dramarama in the story of a girl who sets out to win at all costs and ends up discovering what's really worth fighting for.

So, what do you think? Awesome covers, right? And as a thank you, and all you need to do is leave a comment and I'll have random generator pick a winner in time for next Tuesday's book rave, I'm giving away an ARC of The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas! (U.S. Only please)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Writerly Habitats, No. 4!

Oh, dear!

Oh, heavens!

Oh, my!

I hope you have a dry hanky at the ready, preferably one that was embroidered with your initials by your arthritic maiden aunt, because we have the saddest of sad tales today on the Valentines blog!

Yes, this is another opportunity for you to guess which author belongs to the “desk” shown below, but I tell you, good people, this particular writerly habitat is, well, it’s terribly, terribly sad!


How, I ask you, does the owner of this work space get anything done when there is no door to close the world out? I know not. I also have it on good authority that while at work, this writer simultaneously watches her children, tends a flock of sheep, and churns her own butter.

So here's the picture. Who do you suppose sits here to write?

I know, right? It’s a dining room table! What is the Victorian equivalent of saying, “I can’t even”? I don’t know, but I wish I did because I would say it right now.

(By the way, is that The Little Mermaid on television in the background? How could anyone work with that kind of distraction going on?)

Please, I beg of you, kind readers, insert a few coins into your USB slot so we might take up a collection to get this woeful writer a desk.

Thank you for your donation.
Oh, and make your guess about who this habitat belongs to in comments below, because a comment enters you to win what's inside this MYSTERY BOX.

I can't tell you what's in there because telling you would give the whole thing away, but I will say that it's a cool thing and no one else you know will have one. 

Get thee to the comment form!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sweet Six with author Kimberley Griffiths Little

I'm so excited that award-winning author Kimberley Griffiths Little is dropping by our blog today! You might know Kimberley as a bestselling middle grade author, but she's jumping into the YA pool with her hugely anticipated FORBIDDEN trilogy. The first book comes out in late 2014, and I can't wait. FORBIDDEN is a sweepingly epic and sensuous novel, a story of peer pressure and cults set against the ancient art of belly dance, in which 16-year-old Jayden's faith and character is tested to her limits. Swoon, right? I'm so eager to read this book that I reread THE RED TENT just to tide me over until next fall.

Kimberley Griffiths Little

The Sweet Six:

1) Tell us about your book!

Belly dance, high stakes romance, tribal warfare, goddess temples of the ancient Middle East . . . well, um, here’s a little synopsis:

FORBIDDEN: It’s 1759 BCE in Mesopotamia, and sixteen-year-old Jayden is feeling reluctant about her future. Forced to give away her twin baby brother and sister after her mother dies in childbirth, Jayden, her sister Leila and their father must make the long and harrowing journey across the desert to a new home. But then a mysterious, wounded boy from the Southern lands shows up at their camp. Dark, handsome and seemingly full of secrets, Kadesh has a way of filling Jayden with a passion and longing she never knew was possible. But Jayden is already promised to Horeb, her sinister cousin, whose evil motives of destruction have Jayden desperate for escape. With the thought of her long-lost baby brother and sister hanging over her head, her forbidden attraction to Kadesh growing stronger, and Horeb’s violent approaches haunting her every move, Jayden must make a deadly trek through the unforgiving elements of the desert in order to save the ones she loves.

2) What scene in your book do you LOVE the most?
I gotta pick just one?! :-)
One of the most tense and romantic scene is while Jayden and Kadesh are in the narrow canyon at Petra and end up caught in a flash flood and barely make it out alive. Jayden is trying to push away these incredibly strong feelings for him (she’s betrothed to someone else and they are in a culture and time period when she’s forbidden to marry out of the tribe) and the way Kadesh just speaks her name and touches her hand sends her into orbit. Of course, there’s also the scene where Kadesh is saying goodbye and may be killed, and they kiss for the first time – SWOON HEAVEN!

Those two scenes are also the ones I revised endlessly.

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

Bella Swan from Twilight because I can IMPRINT on her – and be loved by a vampire and a werewolf at the same time!!

More seriously, I love the indomitable Jane Eyre, because she always stays true to herself and loves others so deeply.

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

The year my husband proposed marriage - with fortune cookies he baked himself –  inserting his own messages. He’s got a very dry wit and they had all kinds of funny wisdom from Confucius. He kept rearranging the plate of cookies to make sure one particular fortune cookie was the last one I chose. When I finally cracked it open it read: “Rusty say: Will you marry me?” Of course, I gasped, and then I said “YES!”
5) If you were a Brach's Heart, what phrase would be written on you?
EPIC!!! (Can you tell I have a particular project on the brain?)
6)The all-important choice: flowers or candy?
A heart-shaped box of caramel pecan Turtles – all to myself!
Perfect answer! Thanks so much for visiting us today, Kimberley! Readers, you can connect with Kimberley online at the below links. And be sure to pick up your own copy of FORBIDDEN (HarperCollins) in fall 2014.