Friday, June 20, 2014

The Valentines Files (Friday Edition): #SummerReads Val-Style + Giveaway


*Kermit flail*

And we haven't opened the Valentine files lately so I thought…. IT'S TIME. *cue Imagine Dragons song* *dances in grass skirt*

Ok, I'll stop.:)


Today we're going to have a Valentine Files meets  #Fridayreads + #Summerreads mash-up. WHO's IN?!:)

First question: "Where would your MC go on a summer vacation and why?"

Anne Blankman (PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG) says . . .
Gretchen has never been on a summer vacation, other than visiting her grandparents in nearby Dachau. But she's always dreamed of going to Spain or France, which is why she tacked postcards of Paris and Barcelona on her bedroom walls... Just don't tell anyone. Most of the adults in her life wouldn't approve.

Sara B. Larson (DEFY) says . . .
Alexa isn't really sure what "summer" is. In the jungle there's hot, really hot, so-hot-you-want-to-die and rain. She's pretty used to the heat. Now if she ever came into contact with snow, that would be quite the shock.

Jaye Robin Brown (NO PLACE TO FALL) says . . .

Amber's family doesn't have a lot of money so fancy far-flung vacations are probably out of the question. But, she'd probably catch a ride with her friend C.A. to do some shopping in Pigeon Forge, TN and than spend some time at Dollywood riding roller coasters. If she's extra lucky, she'll talk her friends Devon and Will into hanging out at the Blue Plum Festival in Johnson City, TN. But mostly summer's about swimming down at the river, partying at the hiker barn with the AT through hikers, and being a little bit bored stuck at home in between all that.

Second Question: What does your MC love/hate about summer and why?"

(Note: this questions *may* be just a little PERFECT for sweet Sara Raasch who's debut SNOW LIKE ASHES is all about the seasons… and for lovely Kristi Helvig who's debut BURN OUT has an excess of heat . . .:D)

Sara Raasch (SNOW LIKE ASHES) says  . . .
Meira HATES heat -- actually, all Winterians do. Their natural Winterian blood makes them comfortable in frigid temperatures, so even the idea of summer makes Meira cringe. Give her a nice, relaxing vacation to Antarctica over Jamaica any day!

Lynne Matson (that's me!:D) (NIL) says . . .

Charley still loves summer, but the searing hot days give her goosebumps…the kind of days where the pavement shimmers from the heat. Why? Because those days remind her of being swept up by a gate--a  shimmering wall of blistering hot air that swept her into a vacuum of fire and ice and then dumped her on the mysterious island of Nil. Then again, if it weren't for the gate, she never would have met Thad…:)

Kristen Lippert-Martin (TABULA RASA) says . . .

My MC Sarah loves summer because she thinks she'd be a nice toasty brown if she could just get some sun on her skin. Instead, she's got the semi-sickly pallor of someone who spends all her time under fluorescent hospital lights. Also, the massive blizzard going on outside isn't helping matters. She feels like she's got a permanent case of the shivers.

Jen McConnel (DAUGHTER OF CHAOS) says . . .
Darlena LOVES everything about the summer, even the boiling North Carolina heat. Her birthday's in August, so she's got that to look forward to. Plus, she'd never turn down a break from school...that is, until she got kicked out. Nowadays, she'd give anything to be stuck back in a class at Trinity, but she's too busy trying not to destroy the world.

Bethany Hagen (LANDRY PARK) says . . .
Madeline hates the summer--it always means an unending vista of garden parties, picnics, outdoor brunches and lots of other dull events. She'd much rather be reading!

Kristi Helvig (BURN OUT) says . . .
Everything. Summer doesn't even begin to describe the never-ending season of scorched hell that the Earth has become. Since the oceans are long gone and she's only seen pictures of the beach on her tablet, she'd love to go to a planet that has a body of water—any body
of water, even a puddle, would make her year. :)

Amy Rolland (OF BREAKABLE THINGS) says . . .
When Alex was alive, she hated her limitations during summer. EDS prevented her from doing anything active. Her bones broke easily, and she bruised like an old banana. Her best friends, the Lasalle brothers, would go wakeboarding and tubing, and she could only watch from the boat. They went to sports camps while she stayed home. Summer always made her feel like an outsider.

Third question: "What is your favorite #summerread and why?"

Paula Stokes (THE ART OF LAINEY) says . . .
ANYTHING by the lovely and talented Rachel Harris. Her YA historical trilogy is the perfect mix of past and present goodness. It's full of romance and laughter and I have My Not So Super Sweet Life loaded onto my Nook for beach reading. [Sidenote: Holy crap! I live sorta near the beach now!] If you're feeling like a grownup book (it's okay--it happens to all of us occasionally :-D) Rachel's got you covered with her Love and Games series. Two Words: hot firefighters.

Bethany Crandell (SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS) says . . .

My all-time, favorite summer read is FIFTEEN, by Beverly Cleary. It’s got just the right amount of first-time swoons for a young reader. (The fact that my husband shares a last name with the leading man is just icing on the Crandell cake.)

Lindsay Cummings (THE MURDER COMPLEX) says . . .
I always read Delirium during the summer! :)

Philip Siegel (THE BREAK-ARTIST) says . . .

DANGEROUS GIRLS by Abigail Haas is the perfect book to plow through on the beach this summer. Exotic locale, murder, mayhem. Lather up on sunscreen because you won't be able to pull yourself away from this book.

Hmmmm. . .


*bias alert*

Because I think the Vals books already out are the PERFECT #summerreads!  Here's why: 

Kick-butt sexy guards, steamy jungles, a cool MC, and MAGIC? DEFY rocks it ALL. Pack a fan.:) <3

Ball gowns, SWOON, and an epic GONE WITH THE WIND vibe? LANDRY PARK. *happy sigh*

Mysterious island, deadly animals, shirtless hotties, and only 1 year to live? NIL.  #LOSTvibe #perfect

Witches? Red magic? CHAOS?!! *gulp* Yes, please! DAUGHTER OF CHAOS>> your beach bag!

Hilarious LOL moments, wit, and a camp setting MADE FOR SUMMER? Yup.:)  SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS. #nobrainer

HOTTEST setting ever with equally hot and badass characters? BURN OUT. Duh.:) #amazing SF

Gorgeous writing, swoon, and historical fiction FTW! PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG. #notyouraveragebeachread #starredreview

Ethereal writing, a family of boy hotties and an MC stronger in death than in life? Heck yeah!:) OF BREAKABLE THINGS. 

Scheming, witty, relatable MC in a LOL comedy just right for the beach? THE BREAK-UP ARTIST. <3

A swoon-worthy hottie who cooks plus a smart MC with a master plan? Hawt!!! #TeamMicah THE ART OF LAINEY. #packitnow

Murder + swoon + OMG-I-can't-put-this-down-to-even-put-on-sunscreen? THE MURDER COMPLEX is 4 u.:)

Okay, for the rest of the Vals book, you'll just have to wait. *sad face* TABULA RASA is coming out next…in September, so be sure to pre-order it along with all the other Vals book! #shameless plug ;)

In the meantime, want to win the Val book of your choice? Leave a comment below telling us which Val book you want and why. If we get more than 100 comments, we'll pick 2 winners!

*Contest open for one month. Ends Friday, July 18th. Open to North Am residents only.:)

Happy Friday and happy reading!!!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Release Day for THE MURDER COMPLEX by Lindsay Cummings

Hi all--I'm so excited to help celebrate the release of THE MURDER COMPLEX by the awesome Lindsay Cummings! How excited, you ask?

Yeah, Kevin Bacon excited! I read Lindsay's ARC awhile back and loved everything about the book, from the kickass heroine Meadow to the tragic world she inhabits. Lindsay herself is adorable and sweet, which makes it even cooler that she wrote about such a violent world. The cover of this book says it all:

Here's the description from Goodreads:

An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young’s Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

Bottom Line:
This book kept me flying through the pages until the very end and I can't wait for the sequel (seriously, Linds, it better be on the way to me!) You should go out today (like now) and buy it if you haven't already. Seriously. Go. :)

Here is Lindsay (told you she was adorable):

Lindsay Cummings is the 20-year-old author of THE MURDER COMPLEX, as well as its sequel, coming 2014 from Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins, and the MG trilogy THE BALANCE KEEPERS, coming Fall 2014 from Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins.

Lindsay deals with chronic fatigue, can’t get enough of her two pesky German Shepherds, wolf cub, and two horses. She's still waiting on her letter from Hogwarts--it was probably just lost in the mail. You can follow Lindsay on twitter at @lindsaycwrites.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Cupid's Arrow: Thank you for the music

Happy June, Val Pals! Jen here, ready to profess my Gif-filled love of music, thanks to an arrow shot by Kierra.  Challenge accepted!

We've had a musical few Cupid's Arrows lately (y'all saw Sara's awesome post last week, right?) No, I'm not even going to try to top that, but I will let my nerd flag fly and let y'all into my super secret world of bizarre musical tastes.


First, a little background: I'm a child of the 80s, but you wouldn't know it based on my favorite music. I was an only child for 9 years, and my mom and I have always been super close; that matters because I see HER favorite musicians dominating the list of MY favorites, plus a few strange boy bands thrown in for good measure. So, without further ado, here are a few of the singers and groups who make me swoon.

Billy Joel

He's always at the top of my list, because come on, the Piano Man can crowd surf! I actually got to hear him in concert recently, which was beyond a dream come true. And yes, I have The Stranger...on vinyl.


Freddie Mercury for the win!! Whenever I need to rock out, head bang, and sing myself hoarse, I turn to Queen. <3

The Mamas and the Papas


Totally blame Mom for this one. And yes, I will blast the heck out of "Make Your Own Kind of Music" on a regular basis. It was my anthem in high school.

Barenaked Ladies

NO WAY am I doing a GIF search for them! You'll just have to be content with my newest earworm from this group.


Frank Sinatra (with Gene Kelly for good measure)

I grew up on musicals (and in them), so I have a total addiction to all the old school performers, but Old Blue Eyes takes the cake. Sigh...that smile!

Yup. Totally random music nerd over here. Thanks for shooting us this arrow, Kierra; I had a blast divulging all my strange secret loves! Want your chance to make the Vals confess deep, embarrassing secrets? Shoot us a Cupid's Arrow!

Jen, over and out. Have a great weekend, y'all! <3