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In Bookish News: Celebrate Scholastic’s #12DaysofYA Sweepstakes

I READ YA is celebrating the holiday season with the #12DaysofYA! Enter for a chance to win YA books every day from December 1st to December 12th. (See the image below for details.)

Visit IReadYAGiveaway.com to enter daily!


Follow @ireadYA


ROOK Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway


I am super excited to be a part of the ROOK Blog Tour and to have been able to read this ahhhh-mazing book just a little bit early. I have not read The Scarlet Pimpernel, which I understand this story is somewhat a retelling of, but having read that book’s description I know I would have loved this story more.

It is epic and awesome and suspenseful – I’m talking of the nail-biting variety – and nerve-wracking and chilling and romantic and heartbreaking and sad and full of all sorts of twists and turns. And if you’d like to know a little bit more about what I thought, my review is below.

The tour includes a few guest posts, interviews and reviews. So if you want to get to know the author and story a bit more, be sure to check out all the stops.

This tour also includes an awesome giveaway for a copy of the book to five winners. So if you’d like a chance to win, scroll down to the Rafflecopter.

And if you want to connect with the author online, links to her website and social media outlets are below.

About ROOK


Add to Goodreads

Title: ROOK
Author: Sharon Cameron
Release date: April 28, 2015
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 464
Formats: Hardcover, eBook


History has a way of repeating itself. In the Sunken City that was once Paris, all who oppose the new revolution are being put to the blade. Except for those who disappear from their prison cells, a red-tipped rook feather left in their place. Is the mysterious Red Rook a savior of the innocent or a criminal?

Meanwhile, across the sea in the Commonwealth, Sophia Bellamy’s arranged marriage to the wealthy René Hasard is the last chance to save her family from ruin. But when the search for the Red Rook comes straight to her doorstep, Sophia discovers that her fiancé is not all he seems. Which is only fair, because neither is she.

As the Red Rook grows bolder and the stakes grow higher, Sophia and René find themselves locked in a tantalizing game of cat and mouse.


The Trailer

Note: This review is based on an eARC received from the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.

The Review

ROOK is an epic and thrilling and absolutely riveting, action- and suspense-filled story packed with hidden agendas, twists and turns, chilling punishments, lethal foes, romance, betrayal and heartbreak. It’s a story that takes readers into a future that is reminiscent of the past, with ruthless and bloodthirsty rulers, where madness, slaughter, mobs and treachery abound, and where rebellion is the only way to effect change.

With everything that’s been happening in the Sunken City – the mass executions, the mobs, families and friends turning on one another – Sophia Bellamy can hardly be bothered by the fact that she will have to marry René Hasard, a boy she’s never met, in order to save her family’s land and her father from debtor’s prison. Especially when she’s the one freeing as many of those imprisoned in the Tombs as she can before they have to face the Razor.

But when the boy she’s to become wed to turns out to be more than just the shallow, simplistic socialite she first thought him to be, she’ll have to make sure to cover her tracks, guard her secrets, keep an eye on him, and find out what his motivations are. Because if he were ever to discover what she’s done, what part her family and friends have played, and who she really is, she would be the next one to face the Ministre of Security’s justice. And those who need a savior cannot afford to lose the Red Rook.

Author Sharon Cameron has created a story, that while loosely based on another, feels very much an original. It is interesting, exciting and full of the unexpected. It introduces a wide array of characters to like, despise, mistrust, be charmed by, be fearful of, be heartbroken by. It is set in a distant future where little is known about the past, where many are fearful of technology and the harm it may have caused, where artifacts are revered or destroyed, where fate serves as a guide to some, and where many of history’s mistakes seem to be repeating themselves.

Told from multiple points of view, the author gives peeks at what’s happening with several key characters – sometimes just teasing their thoughts and actions, plans and schemes, building tension and suspense. She gives readers a heroine in Sophia Bellamy who is fierce, loyal, daring, and at times reckless. Sophie is someone who defies convention, who craves excitement, and who has a need to do what’s right, even if it’s dangerous. And she puts her in a number of volatile situations that could either destroy her and everyone she loves or turn her into a leader and savior.

ROOK is a nerve-wracking and nail-biting and gripping read. It pays homage to the past while envisioning a new and fascinating, if somewhat scary, future. It is imaginative and captivating and dramatic and enthralling. It delivers a touch of romance, along with plenty of action and deception and heartache. It is a must for readers who love to be transported into a story that grabs hold and won’t let go until the very last page.

The Rating


Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.

About Sharon Cameron


Sharon Cameron was awarded the 2009 Sue Alexander Most Promising New Work Award by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators for her debut novel, The Dark Unwinding. When not writing Sharon can be found thumbing dusty tomes, shooting her longbow, or indulging in her lifelong search for secret passages. She lives with her family in Nashville, Tennessee.


The Giveaway

There is a tour-wide giveaway for…

  • FIVE (5) winners will receive a finished copy of ROOK courtesy of Scholastic – US ONLY

Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Tour Schedule

Week One

Apr. 20th – Xpresso Reads – Interview

Apr. 21st – The Starry-Eyed Revue – Review

Apr. 22nd – The Eater of Books – Guest Post

Apr. 23rd – Mundie Moms – Spotlight

Apr. 24th – Two Chicks on Books – Guest Post

Week Two

Apr. 27th – Fiktshun – Review

Apr. 28th – Bookish – Guest Post

Apr. 29th – Bumbles and Fairy-Tales – Review

Apr. 30th – Chapter by Chapter – Interview

May 1st – Winterhaven Books – Review


VENDETTA Dark Valentine’s Blog Tour: Guest Post + Giveaway

Vendetta Banner

I have an amazing guest post from Author Catherine Doyle to share for my stop on the VENDETTA Dark Valentine’s Blog Tour in which she talks about creating the criminal underworld in VENDETTA. It will make wish you had the book to read right this minute. Fortunately its release date is not too far away – it releases on the 24th – so the wait won’t be too long.

If you like your stories dark, danger-filled and romantic, then this is definitely a series to check out.

The tour runs through VENDETTA’s release day and if you’d like to follow along, check out the schedule at the bottom of this post or by clicking the banner above. You can also follow along on social media via the #bloodforblood hashtag.

There is also an amazing giveaway going on for US residents. Scroll down to the Rafflecopter to enter for a chance to win.

But first, here’s some information about the book…


Vendetta cover

Add to Goodreads

Title & Series: VENDETTA (Blood for Blood #1)
Author: Catherine Doyle
Release date: February 24, 2015
Publisher: Chicken House
Pages: 352
Formats: Hardcover, eBook


Think Romeo and Juliet meets The Godfather. Oh yeah. #bloodforblood #Vendetta

Blood Will Spill, Hearts Will Break: With a fierce rivalry raging between two warring families, falling in love is the deadliest thing Sophie could do. An epic debut set outside modern-day Chicago.

For Sophie, it starts as just another slow, hot summer in Cedar Hill. Then a new family moves into the long-abandoned mansion across the street: the Falcone family, with its five mysterious brothers. Unable to resist bad boy Nicoli, Sophie finds herself falling for him–and into his world. But just as the dark secrets of the Falcones begin to come to light, the skeletons of her own family, the Gracewells, rise to the surface, too. And soon Sophie is torn between the desires of two warring dynasties: the one she was born into and the one she’s now in love with. But she’ll have to choose between passion and honor. And when she does, blood will spill and hearts will break. Because in this twisted underworld, loyalty can mean the difference between life and death.



Even Victoria Scott said this about it: “Fan-freaking-tastic…I honestly can’t say enough good things about it! I would read anything Cat Doyle writes after flying through Vendetta!!”

Check Out the Video

The Guest Post

Creating the Criminal Underworld in VENDETTA

When I first had the idea for Vendetta it was a simple one. I was trying to fall asleep when an image popped into my head. It was of five boys doused in shadow, standing side-by-side in front of an old, crumbling house. I knew who I wanted them to be, and the kind of story I wanted to write. I wanted to explore the criminal underworld. I wanted to drop them in a land of blood feuds and revenge, and just for good measure, I wanted to throw in an unassuming teenage girl with bucket-loads of sass and sarcasm too. Almost straight away, I had my characters; now I needed my underworld.

My mother is from Chicago, and she used to take me home to visit it when I was growing up. I have always had a great fondness for the city, and being a long-time enthusiast of crime movies and documentaries, I knew something of its history with organized crime too. The Chicago Outfit is a syndicate that dates back to the 1910s and began a period of crime marked by illegal distribution of banned substances as well as gang wars and family rivalries. The city was also famously home to Al Capone, one of the most notorious American mafia figures in history, and someone who has maintained a high level of popularity in fiction and on the big screen thanks to movies like The Untouchables. I did my research – I watched countless movies (not such a chore, if I’m honest) and documentaries. I read articles on the history of Chicago, of the mob, of the hierarchies in organized crime families, and finally, finally, I was sure about my setting: Chicago. I just had to build Sophie’s insular world, which was, unbeknownst to her, sitting right smack in the middle of an underworld.

Vendetta takes place in Cedar Hill, a sleepy town perched on the edge of Chicago, where long hot summers seem to stretch into eternity, and there is nothing for the local teenagers to do. Yet everything is not quite what it seems. As the story unfolds it becomes clear that just beneath the surface of Cedar Hill, there is another crueler world in flux. Mysterious people are arriving, old grudges are rising to the surface, and that means the careful façade of Sophie’s stagnant little town is starting to crumble.

The boys are the first clue that something dark is coming to Cedar Hill, or perhaps that it was always there, bubbling beneath the surface, hiding in plain sight. They arrive in the middle of the night, and when they emerge, they are nebulous, with inky black hair and dark eyes. We see hints of the criminal underworld in Luca, Valentino, Dominico, Giorgino and Nicoli, in their background, in how they speak to one another, in what they wear and carry with them everyday. They hail from a very different place – they have the kind of bloodline that stretches far beyond somewhere as ordinary as Sophie’s little town and she knows that. They’re after something.

Other clues crop up as Sophie spends more time in the company of the brothers. Cars with blacked out windows, dramatic artwork and a suspect family crest hints at their sinister upbringing, while misplaced weapons, bruised hands, explosive arguments and uncovered newspaper articles reveal the danger about where they come from.

Slowly, like a snake uncoiling, the criminal underworld emerges. By the time Sophie is surrounded by the darkness, it’s too late. Masks come off and she is faced with members of an old and feared Sicilian underworld. A senior member of the hierarchy informs her that Nic, her love interest, has been her Hades, and now that she has fallen into his underworld, she will find it difficult to escape. High stakes, powerful weapons and warehouse warfare ensues as she desperately tries to claw her way back to her old life. If she can, that is. Because in the criminal underworld, the way is dark, but there is no going back.

About Catherine Doyle

Catherine Doyle 2

Catherine Doyle lives in the west of Ireland. She holds a bachelor’s degrees in psychology and a master’s degree in English from the National University of Ireland, Galway. Vendetta is her first novel.


The Giveaway

There is a tour-wide giveaway for…

Enter to win one of ten copies of VENDETTA – US residents only

  • You must be 14 years or older to enter
  • Prizes are provided by Scholastic

Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Tour Schedule

Feb. 14th – Two Chicks on Books – Author Interview

Feb. 15th – Fiktshun – Guest Post

Feb. 16th – Novel Novice – Review

Feb. 17th – Chapter by Chapter – Guest Post

Feb. 18th – Fangirlish – Excerpt

Feb. 19th – Curling Up With A Good Book – Favorite Quotes

Feb. 20th – Lost In Ever After – Author Interview

Feb. 21st – Bumbles and Fairy-Tales – Review

Feb. 22nd – Page Turners Blog – Review

Feb. 23rd – YA on My Mind – Guest Post

Feb. 24th – Mundie Moms – Review

Review: FIRE & FLOOD

Fire & Flood


FIRE & FLOOD by Victoria Scott will be released in the U.S. on February 25, 2014 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

Published by Scholastic Press, the print edition is 320 pages.

FIRE & FLOOD is the first book in a new series by Author Victoria Scott.

Note: This review is based on an eARC and printed ARC received from the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.



A modern day thrill ride, where a teen girl and her animal companion must participate in a breathtaking race to save her brother’s life—and her own.

Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can’t determine what’s wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She’s lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she’s helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It’s an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother’s illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there’s no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can’t trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?



Victoria Scott’s FIRE & FLOOD is a wonderfully addictive and immensely entertaining first book in a series of the same name. It offers a unique twist on a theme that is hugely popular, making for a story that is both instantly appealing and incredibly exciting.

The author invites readers into a world filled with deadly threats, unknown enemies and hidden agendas. She builds tension, nail-biting suspense and excitement in this action-packed adventure with a ticking clock, a mystery, uncertain and uneasy alliances and an environment that at times proves to be the biggest challenge of all.

When Tella Holloway is given the opportunity to save her brother, even if it means putting herself at risk, she leaps at the chance. Being isolated, in the wilderness that is her new home, and powerless to do anything but watch him get sicker, she is more than ready to throw caution to the wind and do whatever she can to help him get better.

Even if it means following the instructions of the recorded voice on a device her parents clearly didn’t want her to listen to. Even if it means running away from home in the dead of night to meet their deadline. Even if it means entering a competition where everyone is hoping to win the same prize.

Even if there can be only one winner.

FIRE & FLOOD invites readers to follow along as Tella enters the competition known as the Brimstone Bleed. A competition that pits Contenders against one another for the smallest chance to save someone they love. A race that challenges them to not only survive the threats from each other, but from the elements and natural predators in each ecosystem they are made to endure. A contest that forces them to put their trust in others who may not be the allies they appear to be.

A game that puts each participant’s willingness to do whatever it takes to the test again and again for a reason that is undisclosed. Put together by individuals who are unidentified. For a virtually unattainable prize whose effectiveness is unproven.

Danger, thrills, adventure, secrets, heartbreak and loss, shocks and surprises await readers in this riveting first installment in a series that promises more of the same. It introduces a main character who is compassionate, caring and loyal, albeit a bit naïve, but who has moments of fearlessness and strength, and who continues to grow throughout the story. It delivers an intriguing male protagonist whose agenda and motives are a mystery. And it delights with the enormously likable Pandoras.

Captivating from beginning to end, FIRE & FLOOD is an utterly enchanting and unputdownable must read.

Reviewer gives this book…


On a personal note…

I heard the buzz about FIRE & FLOOD long before I received a copy for review. I love the author’s writing so I knew that I’d end up reading this first book in her new series, but I wasn’t chomping at the bit to get a copy as I always try to steer clear of hyped books until the frenzy dies down.

But after I read the description I just knew I’d want to check this out early. Even with all the hype. Because I was curious to see how this particular author would deal with this type of story – a deadly contest, an incredible prize, contenders potentially battling it out to be the winner of said prize.

It’s a story that’s been done before and is kind of hot right now. So I was curious to see whether or not FIRE & FLOOD would come close to being as good as the story I compare all of these to – King’s The Long Walk.  I wondered if it would feel redundant or unoriginal or boring. I wanted to know if I would be captivated by it in spite of its similar theme.

And I fell in love with this story and its characters. It was a contest, there were tremendous risks, the Contenders did have to face deadly threats, they were forced to make decisions that put their lives and others’ lives on the line. But the way the author told the story, the main character she created to bring it to life, the elements she added that were all her own made this story riveting, exciting, memorable.

I probably should have guessed that I’d like this story solely based upon the name of the contest – the Brimstone Bleed. I think it’s one of the coolest titles ever. But I wasn’t entirely sure I’d like Tella, so I reserved judgment.

Tella wasn’t instantly likable. I don’t think the author meant for her to be. But over the course of the story some of the characteristics that made her likable began to shine through. And as the story progressed she grew as a character. By the story’s end I utterly adored her and am fully prepared to root for her in the sequel.

Before that connection, there was all sorts of stuff to keep me engaged – the mystery behind this contest, Tella’s fellow Contenders, the Pandoras, Guy Chambers. I fell in love with the Pandoras immediately, maybe even before I started to like Guy.

I would love to talk about what I found to be the most fascinating about this story, but as that is very much a spoiler, I can’t. Nor can I talk about what made it quite original – the Pandoras. And there’s no way I could talk about who made it swoon-worthy – Guy.

And while I was left with one question at the end of FIRE & FLOOD that I had hoped would get answered in that first book – I couldn’t figure out what drew Guy to Tella in the first place – reading a short scene from his POV that was outside of the story explained it perfectly.

FIRE & FLOOD is a super quick and totally addictive read – I devoured it in just a few short hours and immediately wanted the next book in the series to dive into. It’s incredibly exciting, with moments that are absolutely heartbreaking and those that are heart-stopping. It kept my interest from beginning to end and left me desperately wanting to remain in this world with these characters. To me that’s a win.

Favorite passage…

Choosing just one – and a semi-non-spoiler-y one at that – was so hard. Of course most of my favorite passages involve Guy Chambers. Though a few involve a certain Pandora.

And while the one I am revealing is a bit… revealing… I didn’t include the entire passage.

My eyes find his, but he’s not looking at my eyes. He’s looking at my mouth. Before I can protest, he raises a hand and runs his thumb over my lips. I close my eyes and shiver beneath his touch. I feel him shift beside me, and then his warm palms wrap around my face. I pull in a breath.

Note: This review is based on an eARC and printed ARC received from the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.

FIRE & FLOOD Blog Tour: ‘Top Ten’ Guest Post + Giveaway


I am so excited to be on the blog tour for FIRE & FLOOD and to be able to help spread the word about this amazing book. So. Freaking. Excited. And I’m just as excited to be able to share this post from Author Victoria Scott on the Top Ten Things Every Brimstone Bleed Contender Should Have.

Emphasis on the should.

Because sadly not all contenders have all (or even one) of these ten handy items. And I’m not entirely sure anyone has item #8. I suppose I’ll have to ask the author about why that is. Everyone should have those. Always.

Anyway… I’m not going to spoil what the ten items are that the contenders should have. You can read about all of that below. And I won’t spoil what happens to Tella – what happens on the Brimstone Bleed stays on the Brimstone Bleed.

I won’t reveal more about the Pandoras – how awesome they are, how much I adore them. I won’t talk about the very swoon-worthy boy – step aside Dante Walker there’s a new, fierce, and infinitely hotter boy your creator has introduced. I won’t give away any hints about the different ecosystems – certainly not about how deadly they are. I refuse to reveal who seems trustworthy – or if anyone does….

And I absolutely will not discuss what I think is going on behind the scenes of the Brimstone Bleed. Not that I know anything about THAT… Well, not exactly….

FIRE & FLOOD releases next week – less than a week to go, oh my gosh! – so the wait is finally almost over. But if you can’t wait until then to get more F&F goodness, be sure to check out all the other stops on this tour. And especially the stop in which a scene from Guy’s POV is revealed. It explains so much. SO MUCH!

And if you’re in the US and you’d like to try and win a copy, scroll down to the Rafflecopter form toward the bottom of this post and enter for a chance. There are TEN copies up for grabs.

But now, after that way-too-long introductory ramble, let me turn the blog over to Victoria Scott so she can share the list of Brimstone Bleed should haves. Take note. Because you never know if you’ll be forced to be selected as a Contender.


Top Ten Things Every Brimstone Bleed Contender Should Have

by Victoria Scott


A Pandora – This bugger will keep you alive, so be sure and choose your egg carefully at the Pandora Selection Process.


Boots – Trekking. Get used to that word because you’ll be doing a lot of it. Jungle, mountains, desert, ocean—regardless of what ecosystem you’re in, you need footwear.


Good underwear – Other Contenders are going to see you in your skivvies. Make an impression.


Toothpaste – Your meals will now consist of smoked snake and the occasional beetle. Better come packing to wash that flavor out of your mouth.


A knife – Hopefully your Pandora will render this tool useless, but you never know.


Tissues – There might come a time when you hear from your loved one back home, who you are trying to save. Prepare for waterworks.


A Lie Detector Test – Contenders may not claim to be who they say they are. Better safe than sorry.


M&Ms – Not sure why on this one. It just sounds like something that might be pleasant when you’re at your wits end.


A Canteen – Water is your friend in this race. Trust me; you don’t want to rely on others for it.


Your game face – Because really, this is the Brimstone Bleed.


About Fire & Flood

Fire & Flood



A modern day thrill ride, where a teen girl and her animal companion must participate in a breathtaking race to save her brother’s life—and her own.

Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can’t determine what’s wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She’s lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she’s helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It’s an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother’s illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there’s no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can’t trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?

Series: Fire & Flood #1
Publication date: February 25, 2014
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 320
Formats: Hardcover, eBook



About Victoria Scott


Victoria Scott is a teen fiction writer represented by Sara Crowe of the Harvey-Klinger Literary Agency. She’s the author of the FIRE & FLOOD series published by Scholastic, and the DANTE WALKER trilogy published by Entangled Teen. Her books have been bought and translated in eleven foreign markets including the UK, Turkey, China, Poland, Israel, Germany, Australia, Brazil, Taiwan, New Zealand, and the Netherlands.

Victoria lives in Dallas with her husband and hearts cotton candy something fierce.



The Giveaway

This tour includes an awesome giveaway for 10 finished copies of FIRE & FLOOD – US only.

Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Tour Schedule

Week One

Feb. 17 – Two Chicks on Books – Guest Post

Feb. 17 – Curling Up With A Good Book – Review

Feb. 18 – No BS Book Reviews – Review

Feb. 19 – Fiktshun – Guest Post

Feb. 19 – Ketch’s Book Nook – Review

Feb. 20 – Step Into Fiction – Review

Feb. 21 – Bewitched Bookworms – Interview

Feb. 21 – Seeing Night Reviews – Review

Week Two

Feb. 24 – Bookish – Interview

Feb. 24 – Nerdophiles – Spotlight

Feb. 25 – The Book Cellar – Review

Feb. 26 – The Irish Banana Review – Review

Feb. 26 – Cuddlebuggery – Guest Post

Feb. 27 – Obsession with Books – Review

Feb. 28 – Mundie Moms – Interview + Review

Feb. 28 – Icey Books – Review


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