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)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (22)

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

Crimson Frost by Jennifer Estep ARC [Pre-order]
Sealed with a Curse by Cecy Robson eARC [Pre-order]
Thanks to Jennifer Estep, Cecy Robson, and Signet for these awesome books!

Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama ARC [Buy Now]
Thanks to Suzanne Johnson for hosting this awesome giveaway on her blog! And I think I like the old cover on the ARC a little more than the one they published.

Bought by Christen:
Mate Claimed by Jennifer Ashley [Buy Now]
Poison Princess by Kresley Cole [Buy Now]
Necromancing the Stone by Lish McBride [Buy Now]
These are not pictured because the books are in NC with Christen and she keeps forgetting to send me a photo.

Kindle (Christen):
North of Need by Laura Kaye [Buy Now]
This title was $2.99 when Christen purchased it.

Glitch by Heather Anastasiu [Buy Now]
Child of Darkness by Jennifer Armintrout [Buy Now]
The Mephisto Kiss by Trinity Faegan [Buy Now]
Erasing Time by C.J. Hill [Buy Now]
Everlost by Neal Shusterman [Buy Now]
Foretold anthology [Buy Now]
I always find interesting titles at the library.

Birthday Gifts:
$25 Amazon Giftcard from Christen
$25 Amazon Giftcard from Zack
$50 Amazon Giftcard from Dad
$50 Barnes & Noble Giftcard from Dad
Library sign from Mom
My girlfriend and family are amazing! I've already spent all of my giftcards and will post all of the awesome titles when the print books I ordered arrive. Not gonna lie, I think I'm most excited for the library sign from my mom. I have been eye-balling it at work for months, and can't wait to hang it up in the spare bedroom aka the library.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Mini-Review: Out With A Fang by Jessica Sims

Title: Out With A Fang (The Undead In My Bed anthology)
Author: Jessica Sims (includes Katie MacAlister & Molly Harper)
Series: Midnight Liasons #1.5
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: 09/25/12
Reviewed by: Sara
Buy the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Under the covers, these lovers come alive!

Katie MacAlister conjures supernatural sparks in Shades of Gray

A TV crew is filming a paranormal reality show on the grounds of an imposing old Czech Republic estate. But the electric passion behind the camera is what’s out of this world. When Noelle, a Guardian, meets vampire Grayson, who has roamed for three centuries, she awakens an aching hunger in him that only her touch can relieve...

Molly Harper cooks up laughter and thrills in Undead Sublet

After overworked Chicago chef Tess flips out (can everyone hear that arugula talking, or is it just me?), she rents a quiet house in Half-Moon Hollow for a month of R & R. But when she finds the place occupied by a drop-dead gorgeous vampire, Tess’s tastes -- for comfort food, for small Kentucky towns, and for her irresistible lover -- become nearly insatiable!

Jessica Sims excites the senses in Out with a Fang

When lonely were-jaguar Ruby consults a paranormal matchmaker, she hopes to finally move on from a heart-wrenching breakup with her one true love, a forbidden human. Nervously agreeing to a blindfolded first date with a vampire, she finds the spicy scent of him intoxicating, his voice low, sexy, and so very familiar...

Mini-Review: Out with a Fang was the perfect short story to tide me over until the release of Desperately Seeking Shapeshifter. I absolutely love the idea of a paranormal dating service, so this series is definitely one of my favorite paranormal romance series. I liked that this story was in the same world, but introduced us to new characters. I really enjoyed Ruby as she dealt with the curveballs this blindfolded first date had in store for her. There were some surprises that left her dealing with feelings she had buried away. The cover screams paranormal romance, but I wish the title could've been a different color that went with the rest of the image a little better.

Plot: 4 Stars
Pace: 4.5 Stars
Characters: 4 Stars
Cover: 4 Stars
Overall: 3.5 Stars

Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this novel for my reading pleasure.

Giveaway Winners

There was a total of 33 entries in the Break My Heart 1000 Times by Daniel Waters Giveaway. The winner chosen by Rafflecopter is...

Katie W.!

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

The original winners of Fathom by Merrie Destefano never e-mailed me, so I have chosen new winners:

bn100 & erin!

I have forwarded your e-mail addresses to Merrie and she should be contacting you soon about Fathom.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (71)

This book blog meme is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Title: The Darkest Minds
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Publisher: Hyperion
Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
Release date: 12/18/12
Chosen by: Sara
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
When Ruby woke up 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 gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her -- East River. She 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 happened to her parents.

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

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mini-Review: Perception by Kim Harrington

Title: Perception
Author: Kim Harrington
Series: Clarity #2
Publisher: Point
Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
Release Date: 03/01/12
Reviewed by: Sara
Buy the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
When you can see things others can't, what happens when someone is watching you?

Everybody knows about Clarity "Clare" Fern. She's the psychic girl in school, the one who can place her hands on something and see hidden visions from the past.

Only, Clare would rather not be a celebrity. She prefers hanging back, observing. Her gift is not a game to her.

But then someone starts playing with her head and heart. Messages and gifts from a secret admirer crop up everywhere Clare turns. Could they be from Gabriel, the gorgeous boy who gets Clare's pulse racing? Or from Justin, Clare's hopeful ex-boyfriend who'd do anything to win her back?

One thing is certain. Clare needs to solve this mystery, and soon. Because the messages are becoming sinister, and a girl in town has suddenly disappeared. Clare needs to see her way to the truth -- before it's much too late.

Mini-Review: This was a great follow up to Clarity, which I read and enjoyed last summer. I am a big fan of paranormal young adult novels that include a psychic element, and Clare Fern is one of my favorite psychics. Fans of The Body Finder series and the Touch series will love Clare also. This novel was a quick read in all of the right ways, just like its predecessor. I really enjoyed jumping back into this world. I also enjoyed learning more about the characters and watching them grow. I really liked the new cover model because she looks a bit more like how I imagined Clare. I also like that the cover has a lot of white. It's bring a brightness that helps it stand out against all of the other dark covers in paranormal young adult.

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

Disclosure: I purchased a used copy of this novel.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Giveaway Winners

There was a total of 6 participants in the Mysterious Madam Morpho by Delilah S. Dawson giveaway. Using, I randomized the list of entries, and then random selected the winners. The winners are...

donnas & JenM!

I have sent both of you an e-mail about the giveaway.

There was a total of 5 participants in the Fathom by Merrie Destefano giveaway. Using, I randomized the list of entries, and then random selected the winners. The winners are...

SandyG265 & Catrina Bradley!

I need both of you to e-mail me at sara_UFblog [at] yahoo [dot] com so that I can pass your e-mail addresses along to Merrie so that she can send your copies of Fathom.

Congratulations! You have 72 hours to respond to my e-mail/e-mail me, otherwise I will choose new winners.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (21)

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

Death and the Girl Next Door by Darynda Jones [Buy Now]
Alchemystic by Anton Strout [Buy Now]
I'm excited foe both of these novels, and felt I needed a reward after this past week at work. My direct supervisor quit and he was one of the few people in the store keeping me sane.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Guest Blog + Giveaway: Daniel Waters

Today, I would like to welcome Daniel Waters to Sara's Urban Fantasy Blog. His latest book, Break My Heart 1,000 Times, released yesterday. He is here today to talk about his writing process, and if you stick around until the end, there's a giveaway.

On the writing process

I am a process junkie. I'll read every word I can find from individual writers and their various processes, even if I don't particularly like the writer's work. I'll also read about artists and their creative processes; also musicians, cartoonists, chefs, architects -- if you create something, I want to know about how you do it.

Possibly all that reading on process has led me to alter my own processes dozens of times. Sometimes I write my first draft in longhand on a legal pad. Sometimes a spiral bound. I've written a first draft on a laptop, an iPad, a desktop computer and an Alpha Smart Neo. Sometimes I invest certain pens with totemic significance. I will occasionally outline extensively before writing but sometimes I don't see the structure until I write fifty pages or so. I've begun editing my first drafts immediately after typing "The End" and others I've edited after they sat in a drawer for months. I sometimes don't finish what I start, I sometimes blow up what I've started. I've rewritten a single chapter 13 times and once I wrote one that I did not change a single word of (my editor was not as impressed as I was). I've written in a caffeine fueled passion at 2 a.m. and I've taken an hour to write one sentence when first sitting down at my desk. I like to write in my home office, but I've done decent work in fast food restaurants, libraries, the allergists', and especially airports and airplanes.

With so much of my process in flux, I realize that only two things remain constant:

1. Discipline: I write every day. I'll do it wherever, whenever, and however I can. I'd rather write than do almost anything, so that helps me be disciplined. It doesn't matter if what I'm writing at the time is unusable garbage, what matters is the writing itself, the process.

2. Love: I love writing. I love the scratch of pen on paper, the tap of my fingers on keys (I can't type; I'm sort of a two finger, one thumb writer. My fingers strike the keys with force, like I'm trying to stab out an infestation particularly chitinous bugs), and I love story. I'm a writer who loves both writing and having written. This isn't to say that every single moment is pure ecstasy; writing can be frustrating. It can break your heart, 1000 times and more.

But love is like that.

(Note: For the fellow process junkies out there, I wrote Break My Heart 1,000 Times in longhand, with a blue fine line pen of totemic significance. Much of it was written in airports and airplanes while drinking iced coffee and listening to a playlist called "Blast" on my iPod. Then I wrote an outline, and then I typed the second, more structurally sound draft, which went into the desktop computer in the sunroom office at my last house. Then it sat in a drawer. For a loooong time. When I printed it out I also made a cover for it, which is something I do for all my manuscripts-in-progress. The cover, for no discernible reason, was a photograph of a pheasant running through my backyard. Pheasants are not native to Southeastern Connecticut, I'm told, so this one was likely released in time for hunting season from a breeding farm a good twenty miles away. You can see the photo if you look in the archives of my website, I had exceptional editorial guidance first from my agent, Al Zuckerman, and then my editor Catherine Onder. Hayley Wagreich helped me with final touches and helped me fix some continuity errors I'd made. I did my last edit pass with purple ink, but the pen I used had no totemic significance. It was just a cool pen. It is my most fervent wish that this note will help you in your own artistic endeavors, but I don't see how it possibly could).

Thanks Daniel for stopping by! Now, for the giveaway. Thanks to Authors on the Web, I have one (1) copy of Break My Heart 1,000 Times to to give away to one lucky winner. The giveaway is open to US/Canada. I'm going to try Rafflecopter out for the first time, so please you the following Rafflecopter form to enter the giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Title: Break My Heart 1,000 Times
Author: Daniel Waters
Living in the aftermath of the Event means that seeing the dead is now a part of life, but Veronica wishes that the ghosts would just move on. Instead, the ghosts aren’t disappearing -- they’re gaining power.

When Veronica and her friend, Kirk, decide to investigate why, they stumble upon a more sinister plot than they ever could have imagined. One of Veronica’s high school teachers is crippled by the fact that his dead daughter has never returned as a ghost, and he’s haunted by the possibility that she’s waiting to reappear within a fresh body. Veronica seems like the perfect host. And even if he’s wrong, what’s the harm in creating one more ghost?

From critically acclaimed Generation Dead author Daniel Waters, comes a delectably creepy and suspenseful thriller. Break My Heart 1,000 Times will leave readers with the chills. Or is that a ghost reading over the page?


Waiting on Wednesday (70)

This book blog meme is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Title: Crimson Frost
Author: Jennifer Estep
Series: Mythos Academy #4
Publisher: Kensington Teen
Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
Release date: 12/24/12
Chosen by: Sara
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Gwen should have known that her first official date with Logan Quinn was destined to end in disaster. She was prepared to get into a swordfight, or be ambushed by Reapers. But getting arrested mid-sip at the local coffee hangout? She didn't see that one coming. Gwen is accused of purposely helping the Reapers free the evil god Loki from his prison - and the person leading the charge against her is Linus Quinn, Logan's dad. The worst part is that pretty much everyone at Mythos Academy thinks she's guilty. If she's going to get out of this mess alive, she'll have to do it herself...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mini-Review: Widow's Web by Jennifer Estep

Title: Widow's Web
Author: Jennifer Estep
Series: Elemental Assassin #7
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 08/21/12
Reviewed by: Sara
Buy the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
I used to murder people for money, but lately it’s become more of a survival technique.

Once an assassin, always an assassin. So much for being plain old Gin Blanco. With every lowlife in Ashland gunning for me, I don’t need another problem, but a new one has come to town anyway. Salina might seem like a sweet Southern belle, but she’s really a dangerous enemy whose water elemental magic can go head-to-head with my own Ice and Stone power. Salina also has an intimate history with my lover, Owen Grayson, and now that she’s back, she thinks he’s hers for the taking. Salina’s playing a mysterious game that involves a shady local casino owner with a surprising connection to Owen. But they call me the Spider for a reason. I’m going to untangle her deadly scheme, even if it leaves my love affair hanging by a thread.

Mini-Review: This was yet another fantastic installment to one of my favorite urban fantasy series of all time. Even after seven books, the author still surprises me every time. I really enjoyed getting more of Owen's backstory, since until now only bits and pieces have been hinted to. This novel was yet another tangled puzzle for Gin to figure out, and it had its fair share of twists and turns. As always, I was glued to my kindle as I gobbled the story up. The author provides just enough backstory that I don't feel lost as I get back into this wonderfully gritty world. Salina was definitely an interestingly evil character, and I liked learning more about her water elemental powers. I think one of my favorite parts of this series is how the author introduces us to at least one new elemental power per novel, and after seven novels they feel almost real because of all that I have learned about them. The secondary characters are what really makes this series. As much as I love rough and tough Gin, Finn and Sophia may be my favorite characters. As far as the cover, I'm not sure if I like the stepback idea as much as everyone else. The white does stand out very well on my bookcase. Plus, the image under the stepback fits in with the rest of the series. I think it just boils down to the fact that I don't really like change.

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

Disclosure: I received an eARC for review from the author.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mini-Review: Blood and Silver by James R. Tuck

Title: Blood and Silver
Author: James R. Tuck
Series: Deacon Chalk, Occult Bounty Hunter #2
Publisher: Kensington
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 08/07/12
Reviewed by: Sara
Buy the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Deacon Chalk normally has no trouble telling innocent victims from real monsters. So protecting an abused pregnant were-dog is a no-brainer... until a vicious lycanthrope leader and his brotherhood target Deacon, other shape-shifters, and any humans in their way. Suddenly, Deacon is outnumbered, outgunned, and unsure who -- or what -- to trust. The only edge he has left is a weapon hungry for his soul and his most savage impulses. And using it will exact a price even this hell-raising hunter fears to pay...

Mini-Review: This installment in the Deacon Chalk, Occult Bounty Hunter series was just as strong as the first. I really enjoyed the twists and turns, as Deacon once again went in guns blazing. There was a shocking were-creature near the end that left me speechless. It was totally awesome and believeable. I won't give anything away, but you must read this book for that awesome shifter alone! Once again, the author gave us a fast-paced book that I could not put down. The novel kept me on the edge of my seat, eagerly awaiting what would happen next. It never felt rushed, and it also never slowed down. I really enjoyed watching Deacon grow as a person throughout this novel, and I hope the next installent continues in the same direction. The cast of secondary characters in this series are realistic and strong, and really bring a lot to the stories. The oranges and reds of the cover fit this novel perfectly, and the cover model looks very kick-ass. Whoever chose the cover model, definitely channeled Deacon and his toughness.

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

Disclosure: I received an ARC for review from the publisher via the author.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (20)

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

The Weird Girls by Cecy Robson
Thanks to Cecy and Signet Eclipse for binding this novella up for readers! It looks so cute.

Lightning Rod by Vaughn R. Demont
I won an e-copy of this novel from the author via twitter. I really enjoyed Coyote's Creed, and can't wait to read this title.

Unwind by Neal Shusterman [Buy Now]
Unwholly by Neal Shusterman [Buy Now]
The Undead in My Bed by Katie MacAlister, Molly Harper & Jessica Sims [Buy Now]
Neal Shusterman did a signing at a local B&N last Sunday. It was a great event. His flight was delayed and he was a tiny bit late, so the publisher overnighted posters for him to sign and paid for everyone to get a drink. I was originally only going to purchase Unwind, but ended up grabbing Unwholly because the excerpts and his inspiration really intrigued me. I also had to grab the anthology because my review of Jessica Sims' Beauty Dates the Beast was quoted! It's not pictured because it's currently on its way to Christen so that she can read it and show everyone.

Dragon Actually by G.A. Aiken [Buy Now]
The Mysterious Madam Morpho by Delilah S. Dawson
Redemption by Susannah Sandlin [Buy Now]
Grabbed these titles because of the prices. When I purchased them they were $1.00, $0.99, and $1.99 respectively, and may not still be those prices. And if you're interested in The Mysterious Madam Morpho, I'm currently giving away two copies. The link is up at the top of the page.

The Diviners by Libba Bray [Buy Now]
Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard [Buy Now]
Dangerous Boy by Mandy Hubbard [Buy Now]
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater [Buy Now]
The Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent [Buy Now]
The Curiosities by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton & Brenna Yovanoff [Buy Now]
Another crazy haul from the library. I'm gonna be sad when I move or get cut off (after this year, they will no longer have the awesome free card I use as a resident of a different county), whichever happens first. I was waiting for my birthday to purchase most of these. I may still pick up keeper copies if I enjoy them, but I was excited to check them out now before my birthday.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Guest Blog + Giveaway: Merrie Destefano

Today, I would like to welcome Merrie Destefano to Sara's Urban Fantasy Blog. Her latest book, Fathom, released on October 1st. She is here today to talk about how speculative fiction is categorized, and if you stick around until the end, there's a giveaway.

Is it Paranormal or Is it Fantasy?
By Merrie Destefano

“What genre is this book?”

This is a question that authors ask themselves frequently while writing. Agents ask it when considering representation. Editors ask it when acquiring. Marketing departments ask it while trying to promote the book. Bookstore staff members ask it when trying to categorize the book and when speaking to customers. Readers ask it before buying the book and when telling their friends about the book.


The problem is, when you’re writing speculative fiction, all the boundaries seem to blur until you feel like you’re cross-eyed. To give you a brief example, when I wrote my first novel, Afterlife, I saw it as science fiction. When my editor acquired it, however, she asked for a few changes -- not many -- and the book was then marketed as an urban fantasy. To me, that book will always be sci-fi. But to many readers, it’s urban fantasy.

My current novel, Fathom, probably falls into the category of paranormal romance. But to me, it’s fantasy. I never saw the paranormal romance elements when I was writing the book. They’re probably there, but to me it was like a math equation:

Overarching coming of age theme + legendary creatures + mythological elements = FANTASY.

But then, I’m just the writer. Writers don’t usually get to decide what category their novels fall into. They just write the best book they can and try not to worry about things like markets or categories or the dreaded Latest Hot Topic.

So, just for fun, I put together a little Cheat Sheet for helping to define what category the book you’re currently reading might fall into. Now, these are just suggestions, not hard, fast rules. Here goes...


FANTASY: May take place in another world and often contains magic or supernatural elements. Does not contain scientific themes (otherwise, it would be science fiction.) Usually has a battle of good versus evil. May or may not have romance.
Books: The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones.

HORROR: Can contains supernatural themes; meant to scare, startle or terrify. Sometimes rooted in folklore. May have vampires, werewolves, etc. Also may have a gothic tone. Sometimes written very beautifully, despite horrific subject matter.
Books: The Shining, Dracula, The Haunting.

PARANORMAL ROMANCE: May blend elements of science fiction, fantasy and horror. Takes place in our world, but often has otherworldly creatures, like vampires, ghosts, shape shifters, etc. A sub-category of fantasy and/or a sub-category of romance that contains experiences outside the normal or supernatural aspects.
Books: Highlander, Twilight, The Vampire Diaries.

URBAN FANTASY: Usually has a contemporary urban setting -- although the urban setting can be in another time period. Set in our world, which is often populated by otherworldly creatures or immortals. May or may not have romance. Is usually written in first person, and is often graphic, gritty and/or noir in tone. Considered a sub-genre of fantasy.
Books: Small Favor, Moon Called, Dead Until Dark.

FANTASY: The creature lives in another world and is beautiful.
HORROR: The creature is scary and wants to kill you.
PARANORMAL ROMANCE: The creature is a little scary, but wants to kiss you.
URBAN FANTASY: The creature is horrid, and you need to hunt/kill/destroy it.

FANTASY: Creature—yay!
HORROR: Creature—boo!
PARANORMAL ROMANCE: Creature—smooch!
URBAN FANTASY: Creature—thwack!

So, just out of curiosity, what are you reading right now and what category does it fall into? I’ll answer first: I’m currently reading Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick and the category is horror.

Thanks Merrie! I really enjoyed the super simplified version. And for those wondering, I'm currently reading The Undead in My Bed by Katie MacAlister, Molly Harper, and Jessica Sims and the category is paranormal romance.

Merrie has generously donated two (2) ebook copies of Fathom to two lucky readers. Just answer the question asked at the end of the guest blog and leave a valid e-mail address. The giveaway is open to the US only and will end on Thursday 10/18 at midnight (winners announced Friday 10/19).

Title: Fathom
Author: Merrie Destefano
Everything is changing...

Turning sixteen can be hell, especially if everyone in town thinks your mother killed herself and your sister. All Kira Callahan wants to do is swim, hang out with her best friend, Sean, and ignore the kids who torment her at school. That is, until one day when she gets invited to a party. For three minutes her life is wonderful -- she even kisses Sean. Then somebody spikes her drink and some girls from out of town lure her into the ocean and hold her underwater.

Kira soon discovers that the group of wild teenagers who have come to visit Crescent Moon Bay are not as innocent as they seem. In fact, nothing is as it seems -- not the mysterious deaths of her sister or her mother, not her heritage, not even her best friend. And everything seems to hinge on the ancient Celtic legends that her mother used to tell her as a child.

About Merrie Destefano:
With twenty years’ experience in publishing, Merrie Destefano left a 9-to-5 desk job as the editor of Victorian Homes magazine to become a full-time novelist. Her first two novels, Afterlife: The Resurrection Chronicles and Feast: Harvest of Dreams were published by HarperVoyager. Fathom is both her first YA novel and her first indie published novel. When not writing, she loves to camp in the mountains, walk on the beach, watch old movies and listen to alternative music -- although rarely all at the same time. Born in the Midwest, she now lives in Southern California with her husband, their two German shepherds and a Siamese cat.

[Fathom excerpt][Author website][Author blog][Twitter][Facebook]

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Life Happens Sometimes

My personal life has gotten in the way of my reading and blogging lately, and I feel I owe everyone an explanation. Two weeks ago, Christen (for those of you who are wondering who this random person I always talk about is, she's my girlfriend of almost six years) was offered a job in her hometown and given one day to decide because they would be putting an ad in the newspaper if she didn't take it. She took it.

So for the past two weeks, I have not only been dealing with the realization that she is moving back home without me (she's moving into her mom's house, who didn't feel comfortable with me joining) and all of the packing that involved, I have also dealt with everyone at work asking me all sorts of questions. For the past two weeks, I haven't been able to work a shift without someone asking me why? where? when? for how long? without you? It's been really hard, because the solitude of the first half of a work day is normally when I think about books and the story I'm ever so slowly writing. It's supposed to be my escape. But since Christen and I have worked at the same store the whole time she was down here, I couldn't separate home and work.

Well, Christen left yesterday. With Wade, her big fat cat (Rupert and Riley miss him already). She starts her new job tomorrow. She will be saving up money so that she can get an apartment in (hopefully) 4-6 months, and then I'll be moving up there to join her.

I'm happy for her, don't get me wrong. This whole things has just left me in a state of blah. I don't want to read, I don't want to write, I don't want to watch tv. I am currently half-way through two review books. I have put each of them down, because I don't want my personal life to interfere with how I end up feeling at the end of the book. I would hate to not enjoy a book because I'm depressed that I would love if the circumstances are different. I have put them aside and have tried reading other books that I have not made commitments to read. I'm hoping that as I get used to these changes in my personal life, I'll also come across a book that gets me back into my love of reading.

Basically, for the past two and a half weeks, I have read the first half of two books. It has put me very far behind on my list of review commitments and I would like to make a big apology to everyone I owe reviews to. I'm working on it, just a bit slower than usual. I promise that the books I have received for review are my top priority and I have not forgotten about anyone.

And I would also like to apologize for my lack of posting. I could've easily filled some of the gaps with quick Waiting on Wednesday, Top 5 Sunday, and Stacking the Shelves posts, but I don't like when they outweigh the posts with more substance (ie. reviews and author posts). I enjoy the memes, but I like to keep it balanced.

I think I may be getting back into the reading groove. I had an awesome surprise yesterday that has reinvigorated my love of reading and blogging. Last night, I received an e-mail from Anna @ Anna's Book Blog that my review of Beauty Dates the Beast by Jessica Sims was quoted in the new anthology The Undead in My Bed (Katie MacAlister/Molly Harper/Jessica Sims). This is the first time one of my reviews has been quoted in print, and I got way more excited than I thought I would. I hadn't gotten a chance to pick up a copy, but ran to B&N today because I had to see it with my own eyes. I'm surprised how something so little can make my day.

It may take another week or two for me to get back into my normal reading and blogging levels, but I will get there. The next six months are going to be tough for me, but I'm hoping reading will help the time go by a bit faster.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Author Interview + Giveaway: Delilah S. Dawson

Today, I'd like to welcome Delilah S. Dawson back to the Sara's Urban Fantasy Blog! This past Tuesday, she celebrated the release of The Mysterious Madam Morpho a novella that should keep readers satisfied until Wicked as She Wants comes out next spring.

Sara: Could you describe The Mysterious Madam Morpho in your own words, for readers who haven’t heard of it before?

Delilah: It’s the best 130-page novella you’ll ever read about a sexy butterfly circus! Ahem. Just kidding. The Mysterious Madam Morpho is set in the Sang world of my Blud series from Pocket. Taking place after Wicked as They Come, it follows a magical new act in Criminy’s caravan, a stranger from London with a dark past who meets the artificer responsible for the clockworks. Fun and circus-type sexytimes ensue.

Sara: In three words, how would you describe your main characters?

Delilah: Imogen: Blunt, damaged, brave.
Henry: Creative, reclusive, smoldering.

Sara: Are there bludbunnies in The Mysterious Madam Morpho?

Delilah: The little monsters are unavoidable! But they’re not the thing that goes for Imogen. All of my stories include at least one exciting encounter with Sangish creatures, and this one is... kinda funny, kinda terrifying.

Sara: What inspired the creation of Sangland?

Delilah: The entire world sprung from a scene in a dream -- the one in which Tish meets Criminy in Wicked as They Come. I knew Criminy was a blood drinker but not a vampire, so I had to figure out exactly what a Bludman was. The rest of the world-building involved following logical (and slightly magical!) conclusions from that point. Other big influences include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Tim Burton, Alice in Wonderland, and the album Like Vines by The Hush Sound.

Sara: Can you give us a little taste of Wicked as She Wants to hold us over until April?

Delilah: If you haven’t read Wicked as They Come, Wicked as She Wants is a steamy adventure involving a vicious, blood-drinking princess and a passionate piano player knocking heads and boots as they race across the country in an airship brothel. If you have read book 1, this is my attempt to make Casper Sterling the sexiest man ever.

Sara: Are there any genres you would like to branch out to in the future?

Delilah: Several! My first YA, a creepy paranormal about natural disasters, demons, and Savannah called SERVANTS OF THE STORM, will be out in spring 2014 with Simon Pulse. I also have a clockwork Robin Hood romance in the works, not to mention some more YA. If it’s fast-paced and involves first kisses, I’ll write it. >

Sara: What are you currently reading?

Delilah: Redshirts by John Scalzi, Blood and Silver by James K. Tuck, and The Taker by Alma Katsu. I keep them strategically placed around the house and car so there’s always something available. And I just finished Enclave by the marvelous Ann Aguirre, so I can’t wait to pick up the sequel, Outpost.

Thanks so very, very much for having me! <3

Thanks for stopping by, Delilah! Now, for the giveaway! Because I love the world that Delilah has created in this series, I am giving away two (2) copies of The Mysterious Madam Morpho to two lucky Kindle readers! (If B&N has made an option for gifting Nook books and someone can explain it to me, they can also be Nook copies. I'm still relatively lost when it comes to ereaders and stuff...)

To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment and your e-mail address! The giveaway will run through Monday 10/15 at midnight, and the winners will be chosen and emailed on Tuesday 10/16.

Title: The Mysterious Madam Morpho
Author: Delilah S. Dawson
Series: Blud #1.5
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Steampunk
Release Date: 10/02/12
Taking place after Wicked as They Come, this original eBook features a mysterious lady and a reclusive mechanical genius who find love and danger in a traveling circus.

An elusive woman arrives at Criminy’s doorstep with a steamer trunk, begging for a position in the caravan to perform her unique new act. She opens her trunk to reveal a menagerie of brilliantly colored butterflies. The woman, who calls herself Madam Morpho, is on the run from a dark past in London, where she was forced to leave her equipment behind and abscond with only her tiny performers. Playing a hunch, Criminy hires Madam Morpho on the spot. Taking her down to meet Mr. Murdoch, the reclusive talented engineer who keeps the carnival’s clockworks running, Criminy instructs them to work together to design and build a groundbreaking new circus for the butterflies. Amid the magical ambiance of the circus and the hint of danger from Madam Morpho’s pursuers, she and Mr. Murdoch soon find that their scientific collaboration has produced chemistry of a more romantic kind.

Giveaway Winner: The Night Beat

There was a total of 9 participants in The Night Beat by Gini Koch Giveaway. Using, I randomized the list of entries, and then random selected the winner. The winner is...

Melissa (My words and pages)!