Current Giveaways

Review + Giveaway: Sealed with a Curse by Cecy Robson (ends 01/21)
Enter to win an ARC of Sealed with a Curse.

Please Note: New Holiday Review Policy! (extended indefinitely)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Interview + Giveaway: The Darkest Minds Blog Tour

Today, I have the unique opportunity to interview the artist behind the cover for The Darkest Minds. Marci Senders is the Lead Designer for Disney-Hyperion, and is here to answer some of my questions. I've never done an interview with a cover designer before, and I really enjoyed learning more about the process. I hope you do to! And stick around, there's a giveaway at the end of the post.

Sara: Do you read the novels you design for beforehand, or are you given a sort of primer to work with?

Marci: Yes, I read the novels before I get started. We also get an Art Form from the editors that include a summary, character descriptions, comparative titles, etc.

Sara: Do you plan your cover designs beforehand, or do you wing it?

Marci: The best covers are the ones that are well thought out. I do sketch and collect inspiration before I get started. I also look for illustrators and freelancers who can create the perfect artwork for the project. Working with outside artists helps us keep our covers unique.

Sara: Can you describe your design process? What are the steps you normally take when designing a cover?

Marci: First I read the book. Second, I do research and look for inspiration. Then I discuss and brainstorm with the editor. From there I either sit down and get started and work with an illustrator. For The Darkest Minds, I worked with freelance designer/photo-illustrator Sammy Yuen who I know could give us that intense cover we were looking for.

Sara: Is there a certain genre you like to design for more than others? Is there a certain genre you find harder to design for?

Marci: I think designers are natural problem solvers so I like to work on all genres. I would get bored to always work on the same type of books.

Sara: The cover of The Darkest Minds is very striking in its simplicity. Was this the direction you wanted to take from the beginning, or were there other designs before the cover was chosen?

Marci: Our very first comps had the Psi symbol... they were pretty and more colorful. We also tried showing figures and more conceptual directions. Ultimately, we went back to the Psi symbol but in a much grittier way.

Sara: Did you find the cover for The Darkest Minds to be easier or more difficult than your average design?

Marci: It did take a lot of elbow grease to get this just right. There is a lot going on in this story and so many directions we could have gone in. Sometimes you have to try a bunch of things to find the right combination. This is also a popular genre so it had the added challenge of making it stand out from some tough competition.

Sara: What is your favorite thing to design outside of book covers?

Marci: Stuffed animals

Sara: What are your artistic influences?

Marci: I think I will always be an art history buff at heart.

Thanks Marci for stopping by and giving us all a look into what goes into making a gorgeous cover! Now, for the giveaway. Thanks to Disney-Hyperion and Authors on the Web, I have one (1) copy of The Darkest Minds to give away to one lucky reader.

To enter, just comment on this post and tell us what you think of the cover for The Darkest Minds.

The giveaway is open to the US only and will run through 11:59pm on Friday February 1st. The winner will be chosen via and announced shortly after.

About The Darkest Minds

When Ruby awakened on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government "rehabilitation camp." Because Ruby might have survived the mysterious disease that's killed most of America's children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby knows that she is one of the dangerous ones and, when the truth comes out, she barely escapes Thurmond with her life. On the run and desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her, Ruby joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can't risk getting close. Not after what she did to her parents.

When they arrive at the safe haven, East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work too, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. And soon Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

The heart-pounding first book a near-future dystopian series, Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds will leave you begging for the next installment.

Alexandra Bracken was born and raised in Arizona, but moved east to study at the College of William & Mary in Virginia. She recently relocated to New York City, where she works in publishing and lives in a charming apartment overflowing with books. You can visit her online at or on Twitter (@alexbracken).

The Darkest Minds Blog Tour Schedule

January 6th:
January 7th: Mundie Moms
January 8th: Laura’s Review Bookshelf
January 9th: The Book Smugglers
January 10th: Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf
January 11th: The Book Muncher
January 14th: The Compulsive Reader
January 15th: Anna Reads
January 16th: Emily's Reading Room
January 17th: *Headdesk*
January 18th: BlookGirl
January 21st: Once Upon a Twilight
January 22nd: Sara's Urban Fantasy Blog
January 23rd: Good Choice Reading
January 24th: Novel Novice
January 25th: Tynga's Reviews

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (24)

Thanks to Tynga at Tynga's Reviews for hosting Stacking the Shelves and making this awesome graphic!

Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process! --Tynga

I'm tentatively back. For those of you who don't follow me on twitter, I have recently been going through a break up. It has been hard (we were together for over six years) and my reading/blogging suffered even more than I thought it would during the holiday season. Now the holidays are over and I'm slowly putting my heart back together. This post may seem like a lot of books, but remember I haven't posted one of these since November and it also includes Christmas.

Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout [Buy Now]
Beta by Rachel Cohn [Buy Now]
Reached by Ally Condie (signed) [Buy Now]
Touched by Corrine Jackson [Buy Now]
The Farm by Emily McKay [Buy Now]
Black City by Elizabeth Richards [Buy Now]
Renegade by J.A. Souders (signed) [Buy Now]
Undeadly by Michele Vail [Buy Now]
Beta was super marked down on Black Thanksgiving (I went in at 8:45, it was not Friday yet...) I found a signed copy of Reached at one of the local used bookstores. Renegade is by a local author, so I was able to make one of her signings.

The Better to Hold You by Alisa Sheckley [Buy Now]
Moonburn by Alisa Sheckley [Buy Now]
I've seen these around for years and finally decided to grab them when I traded in some books.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner [Buy Now]
Entice by Jessica Shirvington [Buy Now]
Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder [Buy Now]
These titles were $1.99, $0.99, and $1.99 when I purchased them, but may no longer be those prices.

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken ARC [Buy Now]
Shadowlands by Kate Brian ARC [Buy Now]
Cinders & Sapphires by Leila Rasheed ARC [Pre-order]
I received a copy of The Darkest Minds for review via Authors on the Web. I did not request the other two ARCs, they just showed up. They aren't genres I would normally read, but I will give them a shot.

The City's Son by Tom Pollock [Buy Now]
I won via a giveaway on twitter.

Dark Companion by Marta Acosta [Buy Now]
Blood on the Moon by Jennifer Knight [Buy Now]
Redemption by Veronique Launier [Buy Now]
Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson [Buy Now]
Dead is a Killer Tune by Marlene Perez [Buy Now]
Demon Eyes by Scott Tracey [Buy Now]
The Temptation by Alisa Valdes [Buy Now]
Blood Fever by Veronica Wolff [Buy Now]
I always find awesome YA titles at the library.

$25 B&N GC from dad
Indigo Awakening by Jordan Dane [Buy Now]
The Trouble with Fate by Leigh Evans [Buy Now]
Sealed with a Curse by Cecy Robson [Buy Now]

$25 Amazon GC from dad
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken [Buy Now]
Conjure by Lea Nolan [Buy Now]
The Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent [Buy Now]

$30 Amazon GC from brother
The Druid Stone by Heidi Belleau & Violetta Vane
Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard [Buy Now]
Worlds Apart by Barbara Elsborg [Pre-order]
Necromancing Nim by Katriena Knights
Everblue by Brenda Pandos [Buy Now]
Half Blind by Christine Price
The Healing & the Dying by L.A. Witt

Friday, January 11, 2013

Review + Giveaway: Sealed with a Curse by Cecy Robson

Title: Sealed with a Curse
Author: Cecy Robson
Series: Weird Girls #1
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: 12/31/12
Reviewed by: Sara
Buy the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Celia Wird and her three sisters are just like other 20-something girls -- with one tiny exception: they're products of a backfired curse that has given each of them unique powers that make them, well, weird...

The Wird sisters are content to avoid the local vampires, werebeasts, and witches of the Lake Tahoe region -- until one of them blows up a vampire in self-defense. Everyone knows vampires aren't aggressive, and killing one is punishable by death. But soon more bloodlust-fueled attacks occur, and the community wonders: are the vampires of Tahoe cursed with a plague?

Celia reluctantly agrees to help Misha, the handsome leader of an infected vampire family. But Aric, the head of the werewolf pack determined to destroy Misha's family to keep the region safe, warns Celia to stay out of the fight. Caught between two hot alphas, Celia must find a way to please everyone, save everyone, and oh yeah, not lose her heart to the wrong guy -- or die a miserable death. Because now that the evil behind the plague knows who Celia is, it’s coming for her and her sisters. This Wird girl has never had it so tough.

Plot: 4 Stars
The powers that the four Wird sisters received through a curse are very interesting. I really liked how they were able to work together with their different abilities when fighting bad guys. I really enjoyed the fresh, new take on vampires and werewolves that the author brought to the table. And the bloodlust plaguing the vampire community kept everyone, including me, on their toes. Over and over, the sisters' found themselves in tight situations that I didn't think they'd find a way out of. The suspense had me on the edge of my seat for most of the novel.

Pace: 4 Stars
This novel started out with a bang as the sisters were dragged into vampire court to defend themselves. From there, it was a non-stop journey as they dealt with the vampire bloodlust. One of the things that made the novel really flow for me was how the sisters went to work at the hospital in between the fight scenes. And sometimes the danger met them at the hospital. There was never a dull moment as the sisters ran into danger at every turn as they tried to help Misha and his vampires, along with Aric and the werewolves.

Characters: 5 Stars
The Wird girls are some of the best characters I have read. All four of them were strong in their own ways with their own powers. No one overshadowed everyone else. This book was balanced between the four of them in a way I haven't read before. Most series that involve larger groups of main characters focus on a different character in each book. Although Celia narrated this novel, she never overshadowed the Taran, Shayna, or Emme. All four sisters had a moment in which I said to myself, "She's my favorite!" I'll have to read the next novel to figure out which one is actually my favorite because right now they're all tied. I wish we could've seen more of Bren and Danny because I really enjoyed their interactions with the sisters. Although I thought the some of the relationships with the wolves seemed a bit rushed at first, but soon grew to enjoy the wolves and their protective instincts.

Cover: 4 Stars
There are many details to this cover that I really enjoy. I like how the color is kinda purple and kinda blue because it reminds me of twilight (the time of day, not the book). I really enjoy the swirls on the title. I like the full moon showing through the branches in the background. I like the claw marks on the cover model, and I think she's a great interpretation of Celia. I think the only thing keeping this cover from being great to me is the fact that I'm missing the other three sisters. I realize there isn't room on a cover for four people, but I enjoyed all four sisters and would've really liked for them to be represented.

Overall: 4 Stars

Disclosure: I received an eARC of this novel from via Netgalley and also purchased a finished copy with a GC I received as a gift.

Now, for the giveaway! Cecy has offered up an advanced reader copy (ARC) of Sealed with a Curse to one lucky winner. To enter just leave a comment with a valid e-mail address. For extra entries, you can follow Cecy on Twitter or Facebook. The giveaway will be open until 11:59pm on Monday 01/21. I will choose a winner using

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Giveaway Winner

There were a total of 8 participants and 12 entries in the giveaway for a Weird Girls swag pack from Cecy Robson. Using, I have randomized the entries and the winner chosen is...


Congratulations! Please respond to my e-mail with your mailing information within 72 hours.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Review + Giveaway: The Weird Girls by Cecy Robson

Title: The Weird Girls
Author: Cecy Robson
Series: Weird Girls #0.5
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: 12/04/12
Reviewed by: Sara
Buy the Book:
Celia Wird and her three sisters are just like other 20-something girls -- with one tiny exception: they're products of a backfired curse that has given each of them unique powers that make them, well, a little weird...

The Wird sisters are different from every race on earth -- human and supernatural. When human society is no longer an option for them, they move in among the resident vampires, werebeasts, and witches of the Lake Tahoe region. Could this be the true home they’ve longed for? Um, not quite. After the sisters accidentally strip a witch of her powers in a bar brawl, they soon realize the mistake will cost them. Because to take on a witch means to take on her coven. And losing the battle isn’t an option.

Review: This novella was the perfect introduction to Celia and her sisters' world. I can't wait to read Sealed with a Curse because I want to learn more about the sisters and their curse. Each sister had such a unique personality and they worked together very well. The plot of this novella was excellent. The witch coven had a number of things up their sleeves that I wasn't expecting, and it kept me on the edge of my seat. The cover was nice and simple, while tying into the cover for book #1. I really liked that it was purple because that color just seems to fit the sisters. Anyone that likes magic and curses and interesting takes on the paranormal should pick this novella up immediately!

Plot: 4.5 Stars
Pace: 4.5 Stars
Characters: 5 Stars
Cover: 4 Stars
Overall: 4.5 Stars

Disclosure: I received an ARC of this novella from the author.

Now, for the giveaway! Cecy has offered up a lovely water bottle, dragon fruit lip balm, and official (well, not really) SEALED WITH A CURSE magnets to one lucky winners. To enter just leave a comment with a valid e-mail address. For extra entries, you can follow Cecy on Twitter or Facebook. The giveaway will be open until 11:59pm on Monday 12/10. I will chose a winner using