Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day 2016!

Yes, I know we said good-bye.

But we're the YA Valentines...and we do what we want.;)

And the truth is, this blog is done, but the YA Valentines are just getting started! So . . . here's some Valentine's Day love from us, and a glimpse of what we're up to now!


*hopes your day is filled with love and Brach's hearts*


Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Valentines . . . Say Good-bye


A little over two years ago, we Valentines banded together over a love of YA and candy and swoon and all things awesome as we worked toward our debut year. And since we are the Valentines, our very first post was exactly two years today: February 14, 2013.

So it's totally fitting that, two amazing years later, our last post is today: Valentine's Day.


On this blog, we've interviewed amazing authors like A.G. Howard, Veronica Rossi, and Mary Pearson, just to name a few. (Check out the interview tab for a full list of interviews.) We've hung out with incredible agents like Jennifer Unter and Tracy Adams, and we've shared memorable moments like cookie raps and dream casts through Cupid's Arrow shenanigans.

And we've shared our books!

We've reveled in our cover reveals and ARCs, and we've shared bits of ourselves and our characters through The Valentine Files. And those book birthdays when our debuts actually hit the wild? OH MY LAND, we held parties on this blog and cheered wildly for each other through the inter web.:)

One perfect example? This killer collage JRo made for us, celebrating books present and future:

Cool right?!

You may know all of that. You may have read every post, maybe even read all our books. Many of ya'll have cheered right along with us, AND WE'RE SOOOOOO GRATEFUL! Our readers and #ValPals have been incredible. More amazing than we could have ever dreamed. *HUGS ALL OF Y'ALL*

But what you may not know is that the Valentine love behind the scenes RUNS STRONG.

Together we have laughed and cried with each other every step of the way toward our debut releases. We've celebrated good reviews and helped each other shake off the bad . . . we've cheered each other on when we couldn't cheer on ourselves . . .  we've encouraged each other when we had writing funks or publishing setbacks, and we've sent love and hugs and prayers and good Val karma when personal crisis made Val hearts heavy. We've celebrated love and life and loss together over the past two years, swooning over Val weddings and babies and puppies, and mourning deaths of family members, (furry, feathery and all-too-human ... and all very loved and missed). We've meet IRL and toured together . . . shared hotel rooms and cross-country travel and pizza in limos and more. And we've loved every minute we've had. We're friends for life, a gift to each other we never dreamed of either.:)

So for us, this post is a good-bye to the blog, but not to writing and definitely not to each other. Summer tour planning full of Valentines is in the works. Like last summer's Mighty Mississippi Book Blast, this summer we're touring in June! Look for the #SSBB (The Southeast Summer Book Bash) coming to a city in the Southeast near you! Check out our individual blogs/IG/Twitter pages/Tmblrs/FB/websites for the latest Val scoop!

In the meantime, this blog will stay here, we just won't be posting anymore. We're turning over the debut author reigns to the 2015 debut groups and authors, and we're cheering for each one.

We're also still cheering on each other, and our books.

We are Valentines forever, and we're just beginning!


We love you, readers!


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Announcing . . . 2015!

Hello lovelies! It's 2015.



Where did 2014 go????!!!! 


Oh that's right! 2014 flew by in a haze of books . . . including our 14 debut novels. :)

And now there's some cool new kids in town. Have you checked out all the awesome 2015 debut groups? Like . . . The Fearless Fifteeners, the Freshman Fifteens and Class of 2K15?

Go! Meet the authors! Check out their books! And give them a chance like you gave us.:) 
We're ever grateful. *hugs all of our readers*

So . . . 

we Vals are no longer debut novelists. 

After much talk and emailing and shared feels among our Valentine group, we have an announcement: we've decided to end our blog. 


But we're not going anywhere! All of us have projects and plans in the works, and we're not taking down the blog. You can still pop in here and find us, or go directly to our websites. We just won't be posting here anymore.

And to ease this info in slowly, TODAY WE'RE NOT EVEN SAYING GOOD-BYE! We're saving all the tears and good-byes and hugs and thank you for next month . . .

because shouldn't the YA VALENTINES end on VALENTINE'S DAY?! 
Of course we should. :) 

Pop over and hang out with us next month, on February 14th, for our last -- and naturally epic -- post.

In the meantime, go check out the new kids in town.:)

*sends all the Val love* 

Saturday, December 27, 2014


Because visual imagery will convey my sentiments better than any words my eggnog-laden brain could dare attempt, I invite you to relax and enjoy this .GIF-heavy post as we look back on the debut year of The Valentines.

Or, more specifically, the emotions we endured over the course of the last twelve months...

First there was,

excited photo: excited 2n7ihd-gisellehappy.gif

OHMYGAWD! No feeling on earth could match how it felt to wake up on January 1, 2014, and realize that this year your book was going to be published.

That euphoric feeling lasted about...three seconds because FEAR came storming in the room and ruined everything!

scared photo:  tumblr_lx9j3ewKFf1qdrpdr.gif
As delicately as a brick chucked at your face, it suddenly dawned on us that all of those words we pieced together in the safety of our home offices were going to be available for the entire effing world to read. The ENTIRE. EFFING. WORLD.

...and enter the FREAK OUT. 

freak out photo:  colbertreportfreakout.gif
The FREAK OUT manifested in different ways for every author. In some cases tears and foot stomping were involved, in other cases the  repetitive mumbling of, "There's no f*cking way I can't do this!" could be overheard. No matter how the FREAK OUT presented, it was a scary moment that none of us ever want to encounter again. (even though we know we will--if we're lucky enough).

With the help of peer encouraging emails/chocolate/alcohol, we were somehow talked off of the ledges we were ready to leap from and able to gain a wee bit of perspective. Somebody liked this book enough to buy it, right? Maybe it's not that bad...
And so the BUSY began.

typing photo:  tumblr_ls3yngPeTK1qdkq0f.gif

Hours upon hours disappeared as we tweeted, tumbled and street-teamed. We answered interview questions (the same ones, so many times) and guest-posted, we Facebooked and Rafflecoptered. We pimped our books until our  fingers were bloody stumps and we'd, at some point, evolved into people we'd never seen before...

exorcist photo: Exorcist exorcist1.gif
But we did it because we were debut authors and we wanted our books to be a success.

We plotted along this course until the day our ARCs arrived.

And then...HOLY CRAP!
excited photo: excited despicables 2 exciteddespicables2.gif

Seeing your  name on the spine of a book is one of the most thrilling sights in the world. Each one of us oozed all of that Valentine-laden thrill into the world until the day our first negative reviews showed up and brought along with it  DEPRESSION and SADNESS.

crying photo:  image2.gif crying photo: Love crying tumblr_lktblkcz581qc0shi.gif

The same emails/chocolate/alcohol we depended on just a few hours/days/weeks ago, were called upon once more, and we suckled from them until we were strong enough to show your faces on the Internet again, or until a glowing review came out and our grief was replaced with ENTHUSIASM! because clearly, someone recognized that our book was just as awesome as we'd always known it was.

happy photo: happy jadsleld13.gif

This viscous, exhausting cycle continued, and continued, and continued, until the day each of our books were finally released. And after a fair amount of attaboys from your family and friends,

clapping photo: Clapping GG ClappingOscar.gif

and some well-earned booty-shaking,

dancing photo: DANCING Zoolander-1.gif

the only two emotions we were left with were EXHAUSTION 

tired photo: tired Collapse2.gif

and complete and udder GRATITUDE.

 blowing kisses photo: Blowing Kisses. tumblr_miujsh1vYy1s2sa96o1_400_zpsf9a0c666.gif

Despite  the emotional roller coaster that threatened to claim our collective sanity on more than a million one occasion, the one constant feeling has been our gratefulness for the encouragement and support offered by bloggers, readers and our fellow writers. Without you, 2014 never would have happened for us.

From the bottom of the Valentines hearts, we'd like to say,
thanks photo: Thanks Thanks-13-1.gif

We can't wait to see you in 2015!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Cupid's Arrow: I Heart Books

Jen here, ready to offer my epic love of all things bookish with poetry (thanks so much to Beth for shooting us this arrow!).

An Ode to Books

Piled on the coffee table
stacked upon the shelves
paperbacks and hardcovers
precariously balance themselves
books from the local library
titles from the small bookstore
invisible copies of eBooks, too
waiting on devices
and yet, 
there's always room for more!

Titles of adventure
and stories of days of old
brand new books with unbroken spines
itching for me to hold.
Fiction and nonfiction
cozied up together
stories of romance, or murder,
or danger,
perfect to read
in any weather!

Oh, my precious beauties,
my wonderful little friends,
I love our time together,
even when the story ends.
Books, you have fed my soul
and nourished my heart, too
there will never be another
that I love as much
as you...

But look! There's something new
waiting on my shelf-
thus begins another love,
and each story becomes part of 


May you find lots of magical books waiting for you this holiday season!

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Valentine Files: Thankful Version

Hi sweet readers!

Yesterday was the American Thanksgiving, and as we Vals nommed turkey and dressing and embarrassing amounts of pie, we wept with thankfulness. (We also may have wept because we can no longer fit into our skinny jeans but whatevs. THAT IS SO NOT IMPORTANT.;D)

In this epic year of 2014 . . .


How we feel whenever we see our books in the wild…:)
Not kidding.

We are all so incredibly grateful that our agents took a chance on us… and our editors . . . and our publishing houses . . . but most of all, we're grateful for you, sweet readers! We're thankful that you chose to pick up our books out of the hundreds thousands on the YA shelves, and we're thankful you took a chance on a new author. We're thankful you read our stories and shared them with others, and we're so, so grateful for your support.


We're also incredibly grateful for each other. In your honor, we got together and cracked open the Valentine files to give you a little extra insight into our characters. (We're also eating virtual pie in your honor because we're all about you.:D)

Ready? Here's our question:

What is your character thankful for at the start of the novel…and what is he/she thankful for at the end?

Kristi Helvig, BURN OUT:
At the beginning of the novel, 17-yo Tora is just grateful to be alive in a world where most have died. By the end of the novel, she's still grateful to be alive but she's even more grateful to know that she's no longer alone. 

At the beginning of the novel, Alex is thankful for death. At the end, Alex is thankful (ironically) for life, for a second chance, and for Chase.

Bethany Crandell, SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS:
At the start of the novel, Cricket is thankful for good cell service. At the end, she’s thankful for an uncomfortable summer.

Kristen Lippert-Martin, TABULA RASA:
At the start of TABULA RASA, Sarah is grateful for forgetting and at the end, she's grateful for remembering.

Lynne Matson, NIL:
At the start of NIL, Charley is grateful for basic necessities like clothes and food. At the end, Charley is thankful to have contributed something meaningful to help those trapped on Nil, she's thankful to have a chance to live without an expiration date, and she's thankful that she found her soul mate . . .  even if Nil won't let Charley keep him.

Bethany Hagen, LANDRY PARK:
At the beginning of LANDRY PARK, Madeline is thankful for almost everything about her life. But by the end she is thankful that she was able to learn to see past it and find the truth.

Lindsay Cummings, THE MURDER COMPLEX:
At the start of TMC, Meadow and Zephyr are thankful for enough food to survive on. At the end...they're not feeling very thankful at all.
 Philip Siegel, THE BREAK-UP ARTIST:
Becca is thankful at the beginning for being single, and by the end she's grateful for her best friend.

Sara B. Larson, DEFY:
At the beginning of DEFY Alexa is grateful for anonymity, to be hidden in plain sight, but by the end she is grateful to be truly seen.

 Paula Stokes, THE ART OF LAINEY:
Lainey starts out thankful for her industrial flat iron and smoking hot boyfriend. She finishes the book thankful she has not gone bald from all of the flat ironing, and also for her true friends and even more smoking hot new boyfriend :)

Jaye Robin Brown, NO PLACE TO FALL:
At the beginning of the novel, Amber is thankful for her best friend, Devon, because he keeps her life from being complete drudgery. At the end, she's thankful for him and a whole lot more but telling would be spoilery! :)

At the beginning of PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG, Gretchen's grateful for her friendship with her honorary "Uncle Dolf"--aka Adolf Hitler. By the novel's end, she's incredibly grateful that she's seen through him.

At the beginning of SNOW LIKE ASHES, Meira is thankful for her chakram and any food that isn't something she had to scavenge in the prairie lands where she lives with the other Winterian refugees.

At the end of SNOW LIKE ASHES, Meira is thankful to BE one of the Winterian refugees, instead of one of the Winterians enslaved in a Spring work camp. She comes to be thankful for a number of other things that border on spoiler-land, so the only other thing I'll say is that she becomes very, very aware of how good her life was -- and how much better it could still be.

At the beginning of DAUGHTER OF CHAOS, Darlena's thankful for an evening to herself. By the end of the book, she's just thankful she's still alive!

And there you have it! :) The Valentine Files….thankful version. *closes files* *hugs all the readers*

What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Sweet Six Interview with Author Mary Pearson!

I'm SO honored today to be chatting with the lovely and talented Mary Pearson! 

Mary is the author of the highly acclaimed Jenna Fox Chronicles, which is one of my all-time favorite series. And now Mary has a new high fantasy series, The Remnant Chronicles, which is equally fabulous! The Remnant Chronicles starts off with THE KISS OF DECEPTION, and oh my land, WHAT A BOOK.

Before I go any further, here's the book scoop:


A princess must find her place in a reborn world.

She flees on her wedding day.

She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor's secret collection.

She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can't abide. Like having to marry someone she's never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.


From the gorgeous cover to the beautiful writing inside, THE KISS OF DECEPTION is one of my favorite reads of 2014, and I'm not alone. THE KISS OF DECEPTION has received quite a few starred reviews . . . like this one:
"Pearson is off to an extraordinary start with her fantasy series . . . an alluring world and romance that’s ideal for fans of Kristin Cashore and Megan Whalen Turner . . . a formidable heroine at its core . . .  masterfully crafted." --Publisher's Weekly *starred review
And this one:

"Harrowing, romantic, and full of myth and memory, fate and hope . . .  This has the sweep of an epic tale, told with some twists; it’s a book that almost doesn’t need a sequel, but readers will be thrilled if it continues on."--Booklist, *starred review

Now don't you want to find out a little more about the amazing author who penned this amazing book? I thought so!:)

Without further ado, here's Mary!


1) Mary, tell us about your book!
The Kiss of Deception in the first in a series about a princess who bolts on her wedding day because her parents are perpetrating a sham about her "abilities" to another kingdom, and also because she wants to marry for love and not be used as a political pawn. She flees to a small fishing village and begins life anonymously and anew along with her friend and attendant. All is well until the jilted prince and an assassin from a neighboring kingdom who is sent to kill her show up looking for her--under assumed identities. She begins to fall for one of them but doesn't know who they really are--and the reader doesn't know who is who either. Prince or assassin? But all this deception is just the tip of the iceberg. The Kiss of Deception is also about how whole kingdoms are deceived, and the many ways truths are twisted. It is also about how history repeats itself over and over and how the freedoms we earn can vanish in the breadth of a one generation.

2) What scene in your book do you LOVE the most?
I have several favorite scenes, but most are spoilers--especially the reveals in the middle and ending. But another scene which is less of a spoiler I really love too, and that is the burial scene. Princess Lia show incredible strength in the face of such tragic loss as she digs graves and during edits, every time I reread the part where she bends down and kisses a "certain" character on the forehead, a knot twisted in my throat. I loved that scene from start to finish. It was a defining moment that irrevocably changed Lia.
Mary, this scene is one of my favorites too! Very, very powerful, and it changes how certain people in the book view Lia as well.:) <3!

3) If you had to pick a character you LOVE (and not your own!), who would you pick and why?
There are so many, and strangely, I usually fall in love with the secondary characters--maybe because we see less of them and I always want more--but one recent character I fell in love with was Beast from Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers. Oh, how I love him! He was actually in the whole His Dark Assassin series but in Dark Triumph he got more of a starring role. He was, as his name suggests, on the beastly side--ugly and fiercesome. But his heart and bravery won me over. I would put Beast and Sybella in my all-time Top Ten Couples of love stories.
*nods* All great choices!

4) What's the craziest/most memorable valentine you've ever received?
When I was eight month's pregnant with my first child my husband sent me a dozen red roses--but I also got another delivery that day--a single pink rose in a tiny white vase with a note that said, "For my little Valentine." God, if I didn't already love that man to the moon and back.
Aw, very swoony! He's a keeper.:) (Y'all, see Mary's answer to number 6 below as to why this Valentine is doubly perfect for her.:D)

5) If you were a Brach's Heart, what phrase would be written on you?
I suppose, considering the title of my book it would have to say: 

6) The all-important choice: flowers or candy?
Flowers without a doubt! Any kind! But I especially adore hydrangea, peonies, gerber daisies, and lisianthus. I always have fresh cut flowers in my house. It is one of my indulgences. (Full confession--I usually always have candy in the house too.)

Thank you so much, Mary, for hanging out with us today! *sends virtual bouquets of gerber daisies* Best of luck with The Heart of Betrayal coming out in 2015! Count us in!:) #TeamRafe #TeamLia

Mary E. Pearson is the award-winning author of The Jenna Fox Chronicles, The Miles Between, A Room on Lorelei, and Scribbler of Dreams.  She writes full-time from her home office in California where she lives with her husband and two golden retrievers.

You can find out more about Mary at her website and check out all of her books on Goodreads.