Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Farewell to Charms by Lindsey Leavitt

A Farewell to Charms by Lindsey Leavitt
"Desi Bascomb is a princess substitute prodigy—she's the fastest employee ever to advance to level three in the Facade Agency, and the youngest to ever be a full-time sub. But now with all eyes on Desi, the only thing she wants is a moment alone to talk to Reed, who's a Façade legacy and secretly a sub for princes!

As Desi trains for her new role, she spies more than a few cracks in Façade’s perfect appearance. But uncovering the agency’s dark past might require more than a princess sub can handle by herself. Desi is no damsel in distress, but sometimes a girl needs a knight in shining armor."- summary from Amazon

This series is SO ADORABLE and I hate to see it go, but I do think Leavitt left it in a great place. I felt very satisfied after finishing this book. I loved returning to Desi's voice and world; it's such an interesting concept and learning more about Facade and how it works was very cool. Desi's first princess adventure in this book was very fun and action-packed too.

I liked her relationship with Reed and felt it was pretty realistic in dealing with all the obstacles and secret-keeping that arose. I also liked this specific moment with Kylie, Desi's best friend, and of course the general friendship they have. There's a couple great twists at the end too that worked perfectly.

Overall, this is a fantastic end to a wonderful trilogy. It's a perfect middle-grade series and if you haven't read it yet, do so now!

FTC: Received hardcover from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Me, Him, Them & It by Caela Carter

Me, Him, Them and It by Caela Carter
"When Evelyn decided to piss off her parents with a bad reputation, she wasn't planning to ruin her valedictorian status. She also wasn't planning to fall for Todd-the guy she was just using for sex. And she definitely wasn't planning on getting pregnant. When Todd turns his back on her, Evelyn's not sure where to go. Can a distant mother, a cheating father, an angry best friend, and a (thankfully) loving aunt with adopted daughters of her own help Evelyn make the heart-wrenching decisions that follow?"- summary from Amazon

Wow. This was a really well-written book, and Evelyn made for a great main character. Carter wrote her in such a way that she's defiant, vulnerable, witty (I did laugh out loud a couple times), and so much more. She felt like a real person and how I imagine many teen moms feel when they learn they're pregnant.

Evelyn has a wonderful emotional arc over the course of the book, and I loved reading along, watching her grow, regress, and grow again. It's a difficult book to put down and I was scrolling through pages faster than usual. I liked the inclusion too of the different types of parents and parenting styles; there's her parents, her Aunt Linda and her partner Nora, her friend Lizzie's mom, a fellow pregnant teen and her boyfriend as well as her family. It was interesting to see all these, and Evelyn comments on all of them, wondering if she'll be like them as a parent.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and reading about these characters' lives. Carter is a fantastic new voice in YA and I can't wait to read what she writes next!

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Altered by Jennifer Rush

Altered by Jennifer Rush
"Everything about Anna's life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch, at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There's Nick, solemn and brooding; Cas, light-hearted and playful; Trev, smart and caring; and Sam . . . who's stolen Anna's heart.

When the Branch decides it's time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape. Anna's father pushes her to go with them, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs.

On the run, with her father's warning in her head, Anna begins to doubt everything she thought she knew about herself. She soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they're both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away."- summary from Amazon

I LOVED this book. I had so much trouble putting it down, even when it was clearly time for me to sleep. There's a lot of twists and turns throughout this book, and Rush does a good job pacing the reveals and building this world.

Anna and Sam's relationship was interesting to read, and it certainly wasn't an insta-love sort of thing. It was always a nice little break from all the action and suspense going on. Rush also isn't afraid to kill characters off, which was good to see, even though I wasn't always happy about it.

Overall, a great debut thriller (also, no cliffhanger which was AWESOME) and I'm really intrigued to see how Rush continues the story in the next book.

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson + Contest

The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson
"After her near-fatal run-in with the Jack the Ripper copycat, Rory Devereaux has been living in Bristol under the close watch of her parents. So when her therapist suddenly suggests she return to Wexford, Rory jumps at the chance to get back to her friends. But Rory’s brush with the Ripper touched her more than she thought possible: she’s become a human terminus, with the power to eliminate ghosts on contact. She soon finds out that the Shades—the city’s secret ghost-fighting police—are responsible for her return. The Ripper may be gone, but now there is a string of new inexplicable deaths threatening London. Rory has evidence that the deaths are no coincidence. Something much more sinister is going on, and now she must convince the squad to listen to her before it’s too late."- summary from Amazon

I really enjoyed Johnson's first book in this series and had been looking forward to this book basically ever since I finished Name of the Star. This book does not disappoint at all. I absolutely loved it.

First off, I like that Johnson's signature voice is still on display even with all the creepy, thriller stuff going on. There's quite a bit of humor that made me giggle out loud while reading. Rory is a wonderful character and her voice is just really compelling and fun. I loved being able to see all the secondary characters again; Johnson always does a great job making all her characters memorable.

The plot takes a lot of twists and turns, and where the story ends up is not where I expected to be when I started the book. It's interesting how Johnson plotted this whole story arc and it was great fun to be along for the ride.

Overall, please check out this series if you haven't already. It's simply awesome, funny, and creepy. The book is out next Tuesday, and Maureen is doing a pre-order campaign where you can win some great prizes. Check out her website for details!

I also have a copy of the book to giveaway, courtesy of Penguin! Just leave a comment on this post by Wednesday, Feb 27 at 9pm EST if you want to be entered. US residents only! If there are any questions, let me know.

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Blog Tour- Hysteria by Megan Miranda

Hysteria by Megan Miranda
"Mallory killed her boyfriend, Brian. She can't remember the details of that night but everyone knows it was self-defense, so she isn't charged. But Mallory still feels Brian's presence in her life. Is it all in her head? Or is it something more? In desperate need of a fresh start, Mallory is sent to Monroe, a fancy prep school where no one knows her . . . or anything about her past.But the feeling follows her, as do her secrets. Then, one of her new classmates turns up dead. As suspicion falls on Mallory, she must find a way to remember the details of both deadly nights so she can prove her innocence-to herself and others."- summary from Amazon

Damn, this book was good. I really liked Miranda's debut and with this sophomore effort, she hit another home run. I had problems leaving this book's world every time I sat down to read it. Miranda lets the book go back and forth between present day and the past, many of the flashbacks going back to the night of Brian's death. It's an interesting way to tell the story and really makes it compelling. Toward the climax, I was on the edge of my seat, flying through the pages, trying to get to the end. There's some great twists and turns throughout the book.

Mallory's voice is done really well, and I liked reading from her perspective, especially when there's doubts about the reality of the situation. It becomes an interesting point of view, to have the narrator constantly questioning her sanity. But there's also some good humor in the book too, which I liked, particularly between her and Reid.

Overall, another fantastic book from Miranda. This is definitely one to check out and if you haven't read Fracture, do so now!

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Signing Recap- Hooray for Books Author Panel

So I did something really crazy. I drove a total of 7 hours in one day for a book signing (well, and also to do taxes at my parents' place but the signing spurred the idea). I was up early and back late, but it was so worth it. I loved seeing my parents for a bit and meeting a new author (Megan Shepherd) and seeing many others another time.

The signing was for Jodi Meadows, Meagan Spooner, Megan Shepherd, and Lenore Appelhans and held at Hooray 4 Books in Alexandria, VA. This is my fourth time meeting Jodi, so I had both her books signed already (as well as my copy of Dear Teen Me). I had met Meagan at BEA and she signed my copy of Skylark then, so I only had books for Lenore and Megan. When I showed my ARC of Level 2 to Lenore, she kept being like "Didn't I sign this already?" I had gotten my copy at BEA, but had only told her I'd gotten a copy but she didn't sign it at that point.

I got to the signing a bit before it started, but there were already plenty of people there. I was able to grab a seat and be my usual shy self by having my nose in a book (Skylark, to be exact, since I hadn't yet read it, which I still feel terrible about since Meagan helped so much in securing me a copy at BEA last year). Ellen Oh bumped into me while she was trying to find a seat, and we did a half-hug. It was great seeing her again. Lenore also came and visited me in the audience before the panel started and it was great to have a little chat with her. She was caffeinated and even more witty than she usually is.

The panel started and the authors introduced themselves and their books, then we attempted to launch into a QnA, but the bookseller wanted a reading first. So they answered the first question, then there was a little game where someone in the audience gave a page number (out of 288, as that was the length of Lenore's book; the others are longer) and the author would read a short bit from that page. It surprisingly worked out well and then we went into the QnA session. Jodi and Lenore bribed the audience with various swag to get them asking questions.

There were a lot of questions, and here's my notes that I wrote down at work the next day:

- Both Meagan and Megan share the same agent, and they originally wrote their debuts as stand-alone titles and were going to sell them as such. Their agent basically thrust the trilogy idea onto them once it sold, and they had to come up with ideas for the next 2 books. It's interesting to know that because, in the case of Madman's Daughter, I was trying to figure out how a trilogy would work since it's inspired by the 1-book Island of Dr. Moreau. So, Megan came up with the idea to use other gothic novels as inspiration for these characters' arcs. Book 2 will be inspired by Jekyll and Hyde.

- Jodi bribed with mittens, and tried to throw them. It didn't really work, so the third time, she just walked the prize over but shocked the person who won it. Someone joked that now no one would ask any questions.

- Someone asked about books-to-movies. Lenore and Megan both have movies in development, and there's a script done for Madman's Daughter already, which is good progress considering most options end in nothing happening.

- In answer to a question regarding writing advice, Megan stole Meagan's quote that she wanted to use. This was apparently the second or third time this has happened.

- In talking about upcoming books, Lenore is working on a picture book with her husband about cats. I am so hoping this gets published. I would totally buy a copy.

- Lenore talked about how she gets ideas and figures out plot problems in two different showers- one in Pompeii where she got the Level 2 idea, and her shower at home.

- Someone asked about how the authors chose their characters' names. Jodi mentioned how when she first wrote Incarnate, she came up with names that could be either male or female, but that didn't really work out. So she had to go through and change almost everyone's names.

- Lenore showed off Level 2's shiny spine underneath the dust jacket.

After the QnA, the authors signed. I spotted a TON of authors in the audience; aside from Ellen Oh, there was Jessica Spotswood, Miranda Kenneally, Jodi Lynn Anderson, and Diana Peterfreund. I had actually brought my copy of Diana's last book in case she showed up; I would've brought Star Cursed if I'd gotten an ARC by that point. So I had to run out to the car and grab the book so Diana could sign it. It was so great seeing her again and getting to chat for a minute. While we were waiting in line, she mentioned about how she was at a Melissa Marr event at Library of Congress a while ago trying to be incognito, and it was just her and 4 LoC members in attendance. Melissa recognized her, which she was surprised about. When she talked about being incognito, I thought she was going to mention being at Maggie Stiefvater's launch for Lament in Richmond, which I was at as well but didn't really know who she was then. But anyway, Diana's a sweetheart. I also said hi to Jessica Spotswood, who I wasn't sure if she remembered me since it had been like a year since we first met in person and there was a bit of an awkward moment when I first crossed paths with her in the crowd. But then when we were up at the table with the authors, she said I was awesome, which made me happy.

I got my books signed, and Lenore tried to get out of signing mine by saying she'd already signed it, which she hadn't. I'd only told her at BEA about getting the ARC but didn't get it signed then. I talked with Megan about my review for Madman's Daughter, which had gone up that day. She hadn't had a chance to read the review, but had seen the tweet and was excited about it. I got a picture with Lenore and Megan, and then almost left (like I had said goodbye to everyone and was outside the store) without getting a pic with Meagan. For some reason, I had equated already having my book signed with having gotten a picture with her, which was not the case. So then I left and made the long drive back down to Lynchburg. I went up and back in the same day; it was craziness, but so totally worth it.

Picture 1- Outside of Hooray for Books, where the event took place.
Picture 2- The authors on the panel; that person in front is blocking Jodi.
Picture 3- Me with Lenore and Megan.
Picture 4- Me with Meagan

Monday, February 11, 2013

Also Known As by Robin Benway

Also Known As by Robin Benway
"Being a 16-year-old safecracker and active-duty daughter of international spies has its moments, good and bad. Pros: Seeing the world one crime-solving adventure at a time. Having parents with super cool jobs. Cons: Never staying in one place long enough to have friends or a boyfriend. But for Maggie Silver, the biggest perk of all has been avoiding high school and the accompanying cliques, bad lunches, and frustratingly simple locker combinations. Then Maggie and her parents are sent to New York for her first solo assignment, and all of that changes. She'll need to attend a private school, avoid the temptation to hack the school's security system, and befriend one aggravatingly cute Jesse Oliver to gain the essential information she needs to crack the case . . . all while trying not to blow her cover."- summary from Amazon

I've been a fan of Robin Benway since her debut, even though I have yet to read her second book and this is her third. Her writing is so witty and compelling that I have trouble putting the book down. I absolutely loved returning to her writing and reading this awesome book. Maggie is a wonderful character and I loved her wit and sarcasm. Benway also has a great gift of really fleshing out secondary characters and making them extremely memorable. I will say that Maggie's parents didn't benefit from this though; I just didn't feel the same way about them as I did about Roux, Jesse, and Angelo. I loved seeing them in scenes and reading their interactions with each other. Roux especially made me laugh out loud multiple times.

The spy aspect wasn't as thorough as maybe it could have been, but maybe Ally Carter has just spoiled me. It just didn't feel like a big part of the plot, even though it should be. It was a bit in the background for most of the novel, I felt, and then busted out for the climax, so it was a bit out of place. But I didn't think that's too much of a big deal; plus, there were some interesting twists and turns I wasn't expecting. The romance was amazing; loved Jesse and Maggie's interactions and how they got to know each other throughout the book.

Overall, a fantastic new book from Benway and now I really need to read her second book. So go get this book on Feb 26 when it's released. You won't regret it. It's a fast, hilarious, and intriguing read.

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

In My Mailbox- Week of February 4 + Retrospective

I did another vlog. It was longer than expected. Hope you all enjoy!

Books Shown:

If I Should Die by Amy Plum (ARC, May 2013)
The End Games by T. Michael Martin (ARC, May 2013)
Zits: Chillax by Jim Borgman and Jerry Scott (ARC, May 2013)
Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith (ARC, May 2013)
Night School by C.J. Daugherty (ARC, May 2013)
Parallel by Lauren Miller (ARC, May 2013)
September Girls by Bennett Madison (ARC, May 2013)
Transparent by Natalie Whipple (ARC, May 2013)
Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans and The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd (got signed at an event!)
Escape from the Pipe Men! by Mary G. Thompson (ARC, June 2013)
The Look by Sophia Bennett (ARC, March 2013)
Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg (ARC, March 2013)
The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson (ARC, March 2013)
Hide and Seek by Kate Messner (ARC, April 2013)
My Totally Awkward Supernatural Crush by Laura Toffler-Corrie (ARC, August 2013)
Starring Jules (As Herself) by Beth Ain (ARC, March 2013)
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (hardcover, Feb 2013)
Crash and Burn by Michael Hassan (hardcover, Feb 2013)
Pivot Point by Kasie West (hardcover, Feb 2013)
Out of Sight by Amanda Ashby (paperback, Oct 2012)
Demonosity by Amanda Ashby (ARC, August 2013)
2 Fancy Nancy books
Andrew Jenks: My Adventures as a Young Filmmaker (ARC, March 2013)

and here's my retrospective:

Monday- I reviewed both A Million Suns and Shades of Earth by Beth Revis, which are out now!

Wednesday- I blogged about the contest Gretchen McNeil is running for the cover reveal of her next book!

Thursday- I reviewed The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd, which is out in stores now!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
"Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father's gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father's handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father's madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island's inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father's dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it's too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father's genius—and madness—in her own blood."- summary from Amazon

This was such an interesting book, and such a compelling read, at least by the time Juliet gets to the island. I will admit that the beginning part was a bit boring for me. But jeez, once the island pops up, I was absolutely riveted and a bit repulsed. I mean, this is a creepy island with plenty of things that scare and yet fascinate.

The climax had me on the edge of my bed the whole time (that's where I read). I could not put the book down; it's a crazy ride and I loved being a part of it. Shepherd wrote an amazing debut and honestly, I'm having a hard time putting into words why I liked this book. I'm interested to see where the next two books go because it seemed to me that this could be a stand-alone and this book ended in a bit of a sad place but it's a good, solid ending.

Overall, if you're into creepy and gothic atmospheres, read this book. I haven't read Island of Dr. Moreau, but this made me want to; I'm curious to see the parallels.

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Contest for the 3:59 Cover Reveal

(Note: I completely stole this entire post from Gretchen's blog. It was easier that way, lol.)

It's coming.

*cue JAWS music*

February 13, 2013 at exactly 3:59pm EST (get it? get it?), the cover for 3:59 will go live at Me, My Shelf and I.

And there is going to be an EPIC contest attached. Details in a moment, but for now, do you want a teaser? I know you do....

That's it. That's all you get until next week.

3:59 Cover Reveal Contest!

Amber from Me, My Shelf and I and I (okay that made me giggle), wanted to make this cover reveal as massive as possible. So we have devised a multi-tiered contest to go along with it. Here's what we're looking at:

One (1) Grand Prize winner will win a signed, annotated unbound galley of 3:59

One (1) Runner Up will win the first signed ARC of 3:59 (out sometime in March)

The first five (5) commenters on the reveal post on February 13th at Me, My Shelf and I (not here! not now!) will win a signed copy of the first chapter of 3:59 from the unbound galleys.

The first twenty (20) commenters on the reveal post on February 13th at Me, My Shelf and I (not here! not now!) will win signed 3:59 bookmarks

And IF the cover reveal post reaches 5,000 page views, I will add three (3) additional signed ARCs to the booty, the first ten (10) commenters will win signed copies of the first chapter, and the first forty (40) commenters will get signed bookmarks

Yep, more entries = more prizes, so the more you spread the word, the better it is for everyone.

How about if we sweeten the deal further and tell you that spreading the word about the upcoming cover reveal could win you something RIGHT NOW!? A little something to tide you over until all those awesome prizes above are available?

Use the Rafflecopter below (click on the link to go to Gretchen's blog for the Rafflecopter) to tell us how you spread the word about the upcoming cover reveal and giveaways and you could win:

ONE Official 3:59 T-shirt, size Large (in either a Men’s or Woman’s fit, winner's choice)

Must be 13+ to Enter

Shipping In US and Canada Only

*t-shirt in photo is a sample to show the design. You will not receive this exact t-shirt*

So go and enter the contest!

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Million Suns & Shades of Earth by Beth Revis

A Million Suns by Beth Revis
"It's been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. Everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed. But there may be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He's finally free to act on his vision--no more Phydus, no more lies. But when Elder learns shocking news, he and Amy must race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed, all the while dealing with the romance that's growing between them and the chaos that threatens to tear them apart."- summary from Amazon

Shades of Earth by Beth Revis
"Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They're ready to start life afresh--to build a home--on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience.

But this new Earth isn't the paradise Amy had been hoping for. There are giant pterodactyl-like birds, purple flowers with mind-numbing toxins, and mysterious, unexplained ruins that hold more secrets than their stone walls first let on. The biggest secret of all? Godspeed's former passengers aren't alone on this planet. And if they're going to stay, they'll have to fight.

Amy and Elder must race to discover who--or what--else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. They will have to look inward to the very core of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed--friends, family, life on Earth--will have been for nothing."- summary from Amazon

I love this series and am actually glad I ended up waiting for the final book to be released before reading books 2 and 3. It was nice to be able to go straight to Book 3 right after finishing Book 2. There was such a cliffhanger at the end of A Million Suns; I was eager to see where Amy and Elder's journey would take them after getting on the shuttle.

I will say though that I enjoyed Shades of Earth a bit more. I think it was because there were new characters and a new setting with some familiar faces, so it was refreshing and more compelling for me to read. But A Million Suns had its fair share of mystery and twists and turns. I'm amazed at how Revis writes this series and keeps everything tied together and also calls back to things mentioned earlier in the book. I also want to say that there's a character in Shades of Earth that I didn't trust from the beginning and I was right not to. I was proud of myself for that.

I loved also returning to Amy and Elder's voices; Revis does a great job writing them and keeping the two distinct as the story flips back and forth between them. Their romance is fun to read and there's always obstacles in their way that they have to fight through; it feels like a real relationship.

Overall, this is seriously a fantastic trilogy that's amazingly compelling and written extremely well. Go check these books out!

FTC: Received ARCs from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Blog Tour- The Darkness Dwellers by Kirsten Miller

The Darkness Dwellers by Kirsten Miller
"First they ventured deep under New York to save the city itself. Then things got personal as the Irregulars ventured into a haunted mansion in Chinatown to uncover an evil twin. Now, in the third installment of bestselling author Kirsten Miller's Kiki Strike series, this delightful group of delinquent geniuses jump feet first into a fast-paced international pursuit, going underground in Paris to pursue a pair of treacherous royals who have killed Kiki's parents. With a dash of romance, a fresh take on good manners, and loads of butt-kicking bravery, Kiki, Betty, Ananka and the other Irregulars sharpen their amazing skills in this highly anticipated new adventure."- summary from Amazon

So this is the third book in a series, but don't worry, you don't need to necessarily have read the first two books to read this one, though it doesn't hurt. I've been meaning to read the Kiki Strike books for years now, but with the blog, it's hard to fit in library books with review books. I'm so glad I was able to fit this third installment into my schedule and now I REALLY need to read the previous two books. Miller does a great job of catching readers up and introducing everybody and their previous adventures, but this book contains a completely separate adventure.

And what a doozy it was! I absolutely adored reading this book; I flew through it in no time at all. I loved reading about the Irregulars' missions. They all are fully fleshed out characters and even though this is my first time meeting them, I really got a sense of who they were. It's a pretty funny book too, which I really enjoyed.

But the missions throughout the book were filled with intrigue, suspense, romance, and heart. I liked how the book went back and forth between Paris and New York, dropping in on how each plot thread was going. I also really enjoyed the setting of the catacombs in Paris; it's just an interesting choice.

Honestly, I can't recommend this book enough. I am going to have to make time to read the first two books soon.

and here's an interview with Kirsten!

1) How did you get the idea for the Kiki Strike series? What brought you back to the series, since the last book came out in 2008?

I knew Kiki long before I started writing about her. In the early 2000s, I wanted to create a street art “campaign” (along the lines of ANDRE THE GIANT HAS A POSSE) featuring a girl mastermind who’d take credit for the strange things that are always happening here in New York City. The only problem—I can’t draw. And my one amazing artist friend decided to skip town and head back home to Australia. So I was left with this crazy character, and I wasn’t sure what to do with her. That’s when I started writing. The first book was really just a way for me to finally let Kiki Strike out of my head.

Yep, five years passed between book #2 and book #3. I really didn’t intend to stay away so long. I figured I’d write a novel outside of the series then return to Kiki. That one novel ended up being two. (The Eternal Ones series.) Then my Kiki publisher decided to re-release the first two books, so that pushed back the Darkness Dwellers pub date. So what should have been no more than a two-year break ended up being a five-year break.

It was unfortunate—for me, anyway. The Kiki books are an absolute joy to write. (Which was certainly not the case with The Eternal Ones.)

2) What's your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor(s)? Or if you don't like those, what's your favorite snack to have while writing or as a reward for writing?

I do love Jelly Belly jelly beans. I think my favorite flavors are popcorn and pina colada. But truth be told, I prefer savory snacks over sweet. I will sit and eat my weight in pistachio nuts if given an opportunity.

3) What are you currently working on? Can you tell us anything about it?

I’m collaborating on a SUPER SECRET project right now. It’s really exciting—I wish I could tell you more. But I’ve been SWORN TO SECRECY. You’ll find out about it soon enough. Ha.

I also have another book coming out. It’s called How to Lead a Life of Crime (Razorbill, 2/13). While I think it will definitely appeal to older Kiki readers, it is certainly not a book you’d want to give to a nine-year-old. It’s very dark and very disturbing. And it’s one of the two best things I’ve ever written. (The Darkness Dwellers being the other.)

In the course of doing research for Kiki, I discovered that New York was once home to a school for young criminals. The Grand Street School was founded in the 1870s by a woman named Marm Mandelbaum—and it was a roaring success until Marm had to flee to Canada to escape from the NYC police. The premise of How to Lead a Life of Crime is that the Grand Street School never shut down for good. It simply changed its name and became respectable.

4) What book(s) are you reading right now, or are about to start?

I’m just finishing The Omnivore’s Dilemma. (Meat isn’t looking so good to me right now. Darn.)
I’m about to re-read Harriet the Spy. (Yay!)

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.