Ashes of a Black Frost (11/1) | The Shattered Vine (11/3)
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drey's Giveaway Policy

FTC Disclosure: I am an affiliate at IndieBound, The Book Depository, and Amazon, and any purchases made by clicking on covers or links here may result in monetary compensation.

Winner: First Daughter and Blood Trust!

May 31, 2011
I hope you all had a wonderful long weekend. It was soooooo sunny and muggy here, but I'm not complaining--it was 40-degrees only a week or so ago! Anyway. On to more winner announcements!

The lucky duck getting a copy of Eric Van Lustbader's First Daughter is... Nicole!!

And the lucky duck getting a copy of Eric Van Lustbader's Blood Trust is... Erika!!

Congratulations!! Email's on its way, please reply with your mailing information before the end of day Thursday. Thanks for stopping by!

Review: 70. The Color of Water by Kim Dong Hwa...

I really enjoyed Kim Dong Hwa's The Color of Earth when I picked it up on a whim, so I went looking for the other books in this graphic novel trilogy.

Title: The Color of Water (The Color of Earth #2)
Author: Kim Dong Hwa
ISBN-13: 9781596434592
Paperback: 308 pages
Publisher: First Second, 2009
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Waukesha Public Library

drey's thoughts:
In The Color of Water, Ehwa is now sixteen. She meets Duksam, and spends her free time daydreaming about him and about love. Is he the one for her? When his employer sees her, though, the old lech decides to set the matchmaker to pursue Ehwa's hand in marriage.

In the meantime, Ehwa's mother still pines for the picture man, as Ehwa pines for Duksam. And all of the longing, and the joy when they are able to see each other, is delicately drawn in this beautiful graphic novel.

As in The Color of Earth there's a lot of cultural nuances in The Color of Water, along with the explanations. The artwork and dialog are spare and simple, but completely beautiful. I am glad I picked this up, and will return for The Color of Heaven to find out where Ehwa's story goes from here...

drey's rating: Excellent!

Winners Galore!!

May 26, 2011
I have sooooooooooo many winners to announce!! o.O But I'm finally getting my act together, and thanks to, here they are...

Laura Lippman's What the Dead Know: Anita Yancey!!
Laura Lippman's The Girl in the Green Raincoat: Rachel W!!
Laura Lippman's I'd Know You Anywhere: ellie!!

Laura Griffin's Deadly Promises: Martha Lawson!!

Jenna Black's Dark Descendant: Teresa Warner & whitewolfreads!!

Margaret Mallory's The Guardian: Melissa V., Priya Kamdar, & Erika!!

Sarah Jio's The Violets of March: Lisa Garrett!!

Congratulations, y'all!! Emails have gone out, please get me your mailing information before the end of day Sunday. And thanks for your patience!

May's FEATURED AUTHOR: Titles...

May 25, 2011
Today our Featured Author Sarah Jio stops by with a little ditty on why The Violets of March. Enjoy!

The Real Story Behind the Title of My Book

A lot of people ask me how I arrived at the title of my book, The Violets of March. And the truth is that this wasn’t the initial title for the book. It was actually first called “The Waters of March.” I was completely in love with (and still am) this title as it is also the title of a beautiful and haunting jazz song by the late Susannah McCorkle that inspired my story (if you haven’t heard it, you must download it on iTunes!). But, the sales team at Penguin felt that the title was a bit too somber, so, we had to pick a new one.

As I was working on revising the novel, I was out in my yard with the kids and a guy I’d hired to do some weeding called me over to take a look at these mysterious little flowers that cropped up in my garden. He told me they were called “wood violets” and that he could weed them out if wanted. “No!” I said. “Keep them!” I immediately began to envision violets being a theme of reconciliation and forgiveness in my story. And, sure enough, on my afternoon jog that day, I spotted more of those purple flowers along the roadside. When I got home, I emailed my editor and agent and proposed a new title for the book with a new plot theme. They loved it, and The Violets of March was born! Every time I see a violet, I now think of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Thank you so much, Sarah, for stopping in all this month! I really enjoyed reading The Violets of March, and this lil' spotlight sent a few more people your way. Come back and visit anytime!

Splash into Summer Hop!

Welcome to the Splash into Summer Hop, hosted by I am a Reader, Not a Writer and Page Turners Blog! For this giveaway, I thought I'd offer up a couple of books from my just-read list. The books:

how to flirt with a naked werewolf
 How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper
Northern Exposure
Even in Grundy, Alaska, it’s unusual to find a naked guy with a bear trap clamped to his ankle on your porch. But when said guy turns into a wolf, recent southern transplant Mo Wenstein has no difficulty identifying the problem. Her surly neighbor Cooper Graham—who has been openly critical of Mo’s ability to adapt to life in Alaska—has trouble of his own. Werewolf trouble.
For Cooper, an Alpha in self-imposed exile from his dysfunctional pack, it’s love at first sniff when it comes to Mo. But Cooper has an even more pressing concern on his mind. Several people around Grundy have been the victims of wolf attacks, and since Cooper has no memory of what he gets up to while in werewolf form, he’s worried that he might be the violent canine in question.
If a wolf cries wolf, it makes sense to listen, yet Mo is convinced that Cooper is not the culprit. Except if he’s not responsible, then who is? And when a werewolf falls head over haunches in love with you, what are you supposed to do anyway? The rules of dating just got a whole lot more complicated. . .
dark descendant
 Dark Descendant by Jenna Black
Nikki Glass can track down any man. But when her latest client turns out to be a true descendant of Hades, Nikki now discovers she can’t die. . . . Crazy as it sounds, Nikki’s manhunting skills are literally god-given. She’s a living, breathing descendant of Artemis who has stepped right into a trap set by the children of the gods. Nikki’s new “friends” include a descendant of Eros, who uses sex as a weapon; a descendant of Loki, whose tricks are no laughing matter; and a half-mad descendant of Kali who thinks she’s a spy. But most powerful of all are the Olympians, a rival clan of immortals seeking to destroy all Descendants who refuse to bow down to them. In the eternal battle of good god/bad god, Nikki would make a divine weapon. But if they think she’ll surrender without a fight, the gods must be crazy. . . .
wickedly charming
Wickedly Charming by Kristine Grayson
Cinderella's Prince Charming is divorced and at a dead end. The new owner of a bookstore, Charming has given up on women, royalty, and anything that smacks of a future.
That is, until he meets up with Mellie...
But she may be the key to happily-right-now...
Mellie is sick and tired of stepmothers being misunderstood. Vampires have redeemed their reputation, why shouldn't stepmothers do the same? Then she runs into the handsomest, most charming man she's ever met and discovers she's going about her mission all wrong...
It's only natural that sparks fly and magic ensues when these two fairy tale refugees put their heads-and vulnerable hearts-together...

The number of winners will be determined by the number of people who enter. Up to 100 entries = 1 winner, up to 200 entries = 2 winners, and 200+ entries = 3 winners. Book selection will be based on Randomizer's picking order, and all three books could be going to new homes!

To enter, fill out the form below before 11:59pm CST May 31st. Good luck!

There are 311 blogs participating in this hop! Stop at all of 'em!

Review: 69. India Black by Carol K. Carr...

May 24, 2011
I saw this cover and liked the dress, so I picked it up. Then I added it to my library pile to take home...

india black
Title: India Black
Author: Carol K. Carr
ISBN-13: 9780425238660
Paperback: 296 pages
Publisher: Penguin, 2011
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Waukesha Public Library

drey's thoughts:
India Black is a madam, and she makes absolutely no excuses for it. Multiple times, in fact... And there's no escaping it, either--she is the title character after all. In this Carol K. Carr offering, the madam becomes embroiled in espionage when an unfortunate patron departs this life while in the clutches of one of India's "ladies"...

I'm not sure why she decides to dump the body, but she's discovered by a British agent while doing so, and finds out that the poor departed had something very important in his possession--a case that the Russians simply cannot be allowed to get their hands on. Next thing you know, India's engaging in subterfuge all over England trying to recover the case as it ping-pongs between India and her agent, the Russians, and the Prime Minister's opposition.

I wanted to like India Black. I thought the premise was promising, and I like India's dry humor. But somewhere between the first and last page, I got bored, and really didn't care if they recovered the case or not. I still love the cover, though!

drey's rating: OK

Review: 68. The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge...

May 23, 2011
I picked this out because the cover called to me. There's such a haunting look to the cover girl that I had to find out what she's all about...

the iron thorn
Title: The Iron Thorn (Iron Codex #1)
Author: Caitlin Kittredge
ISBN-13: 9780385738293
Hardcover: 492 pages
Publisher: Random House, 2011
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Waukesha Public Library

drey's thoughts:
Caitlin Kittredge's The Iron Thorn is a YA steampunk/horror/fantasy set in the city of Lovecraft, where the Engine grinds all to dust and the necrovirus is blamed for the rampant madness and fantastical creatures that roam the nights. Aoife Grayson is about to turn sixteen, and everyone's watching to see if she'll succumb to the madness as her mother and brother did. Even her best friend Cal.

Then Aoife receives a letter from her brother Conrad, telling her to go to their father's estate in Arkham. So she sets off--Cal in tow--to find her brother.

I really enjoyed this first in Kittredge's Iron Codex series. There are airships and clockworks; faeries, elves, and ghouls; hideously scary monsters; and adventure galore along with the requisite time constraint. The world is fascinating, the storytelling crisp and descriptive. And of course, the numerous references to Lovecraft and Arkham tickled my fancy. Not because I've read his works (shame on me!), but because I've played Arkham Horror so many times that the monsters that show up remind me of the game. Yes, I'm a geek...

In addition to the above, I like Aoife. She's brave (going off to find her brother) yet scared (of succumbing to the madness, or failing in her quest), honorable (stands by her friends), and honest. And when she finds out she might've made a mistake, she sets off to set things right. What's not to like?

I am looking forward to the sequel--there is a sequel, right?

drey's rating: Excellent!

Review: 67. Outside In by Maria V. Snyder...

May 22, 2011
I loved Maria V. Snyder's Inside Out, so when the sequel came out, I had to pick it up.

outside in
Title: Outside In (Insiders #2)
Author: Maria V. Snyder
ISBN-13: 9780373210114
Paperback: 326 pages
Publisher: Harlequin, 2011
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Waukesha Public Library

drey's thoughts:
The sheep have won their revolution, and Trella's taken a step back to let others run things on Inside--she's busy exploring the Expanse. But things don't magically change, and people still aren't happy. You'd think after all she's done for them, they'd be grateful, pick up the slack, and leave her in peace...

Instead, the scrubs aren't doing any work because they don't think the uppers are. The Committee can't agree on anything. And someone is sabotaging Inside. The thing is, nobody knows why... Until they figure out that there are others Outside, and they're trying to stage a takeover. Who are these Outsiders? Why do they want Inside? And who's helping them? Trella has no choice but to investigate, only this time she can't be sure who's trustworthy...

I didn't like Outside In as much as I liked Inside Out. Trella was brave and unwavering in Inside Out, and it seemed like she'd abdicated responsibility in Outside In. Just because you think others are more qualified to do something, doesn't mean you don't step up if nobody's actually doing anything. That's just an excuse to avoid the potential of failure, and it put me off Trella for most of Outside In. She does redeem herself by the end, which is the reason I'll pick up the next book if there's one.

drey's rating: Pick it up if you want to find out more about this Inside that's traveling through space.

Review: 66. Divergent by Veronica Roth...

May 21, 2011
I said I was on a roll, right? Well, I was not wrong! If you liked Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games, you'll love Divergent!

Title: Divergent (#1 of a trilogy-to-be)
Author: Veronica Roth
ISBN-13: 9780062024022
Hardcover: 487 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins, 2011
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Waukesha Public Library

drey's thoughts:
Beatrice Prior is about to turn sixteen, and has to make a choice--one that will define her life, her friends and family, her future. Growing up in the Abnegation faction means the first part of her life was spent being selfless and serving others. Not that she's great at it, but still. The other four factions are now open to recruits, as it is. And Beatrice has to decide whether to stay in her faction with her family and friends, or find a faction that is a better fit for her.

She chooses. And the next part of her life becomes extremely complicated--nobody's ever told that there's an initiation process to survive. Yes, survive. Because initiation is really just a nice label covering a dangerously competitive hazing ritual.

Renaming herself Tris, Beatrice now has to figure out who's friend or foe--which isn't too hard to do, actually--and remember to hide her true nature. As initiation progresses, Tris finds out that her faction isn't all it's cracked up to be and that some of the faction leaders are planning to stage a coup against Abnegation. By the time all the pieces fall into place, it's almost too late to do anything. But she's Tris, she loves her family, and she'll do anything she can to save them.

Tris reminds me a lot of Katniss Aberdeen. They grow up in a future society where your faction/district determines your whole life. Here, you at least have the option to switch factions, but most don't. The government isn't covered much here, but it seems to be more benevolent than the Capitol. And while she's not fighting for her life à la the gladiators, there are still those who'd kill her, just for being her.

There's no triangle here (sorry guys, no team buttons). Just a girl and a boy figuring out who they are, who they want, in the midst of all the chaos and danger. You'll be shocked to see where the danger leads, and what losses Tris must face, before you get to the end of this story. And if you're like me, you're anxiously waiting for the next book, and hoping it's every bit as good as this one.

drey's rating: Excellent!

Review: 65. The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook...

May 20, 2011
I have to admit I was slightly hesitant to pick up The Iron Duke even though I'd heard it was good. But I don't normally associate steampunk with half-naked men like this has one on the cover... I'm glad I finally read it though, it's fabulous!

the iron duke
Title: The Iron Duke (The Iron Seas)
Author: Meljean Brook
ISBN-13: 9780425236673
Paperback: 378 pages
Publisher: Penguin Group, 2010
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Waukesha Public Library

drey's thoughts:
I must be on a roll with my reading, or maybe I'm just plumb lucky! But I'm not complaining, oh no... *grin*

The Iron Duke of the title, Rhys Trahearn is a hero--the hero actually, who freed England from the Horde. I never quite got what the Horde were or where they came from, only that they controlled the population by implanting nanoagents that they could then control with frequencies emitted by short-range towers. All emotions are controlled by the Horde... I guess you're effectively an android then, or something like it.

The world is completely interesting--there are bounders (those who've returned to England from the New World, and aren't infected), buggers, bugs, zombies, airships, and clockwork devices, all populating this Victorian England setting. I am amazed at how Meljean Brook makes everything work together, and so well at that.

Mina Wentworth was born during the Horde occupation, and while she's the daughter of a Peer, she's still frowned upon and spat on, all because of the Horde blood in her. She's a detective, which puts food on the table, and her work puts her and the Iron Duke together when a body's found on his lawn. Trying to identify the victim eventually takes them to the Admiralty, where their source is murdered. Next thing you know, Mina and Rhys are chasing down rumors of a doomsday weapon across the Channel, and racing against time to take it down before it reaches England's shores.

I like Mina and Rhys. She's stubborn, opinionated and sarcastic. Having dealt with a lifetime of hatred, she's got a pretty thick skin. And she cannot believe that Rhys would--no, could--want her. She doesn't let the crap get to her, and she doesn't let anyone off the hook, whether they're peasant or titled. Scum is scum, after all.

The Iron Duke is a captivating story that just works. The romance & mystery, the technology & history--they all play a part without one element overshadowing another. And all the parts make up a whole that you'll need to check out.

drey's rating: Excellent!

Review: 64. Wickedly Charming by Kristine Grayson...

May 19, 2011
Wickedly Charming is a contemporary romance with fairy-tale characters--and not exactly the ones you'd think of...

wickedly charming
Title: Wickedly Charming
Author: Kristine Grayson
ISBN-13: 9781402248481
Paperback: 379 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc., 2011
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Sourcebooks

drey's thoughts:
Ah, fairy tales. Ever read them and wondered what happened after the Prince marries the girl? Did they really live happily ever after? Well, here's one version where it didn't. Divorced with two children, Prince Charming now runs a bookstore. A man after my own heart--he reads! *wink*

One thing about the cover. The dude on it is delicious--the parts we can see, anyway! *grin* But the book describes him as slightly paunchy, and "paunchy" doesn't equal yummy abs to me.

Ok, back to the book! Prince--or Dave as he prefers to be called--runs into Mellie at a Book Fair, where she's protesting archetypes. Specifically, the evil ones, as in the evil stepmother, the big bad wolf, etc. This being a romance novel, you won't be surprised to find sparks flying between Dave and Mellie. And this being a romance novel, you won't be surprised that there are obstacles to surmount before they get their happily-ever-after.

Wickedly Charming is a darling story about second chances when your happily-ever-after doesn't quite work out. Mellie gets stuck in an insecurity rut too many times for my liking, but overall this sweet story will bring out the warm fuzzies.

drey's rating: Pick it up!

Have you read Wickedly Charming? What did you think?

May's FEATURED AUTHOR: Sarah's favorite books...

May 18, 2011
Today our Featured Author shares four of her favorite books with us... Any more might be too revealing! *wink*

My Favorite Books
I have a confession to make: I always get shy when people ask me what my favorite books are. I always feel like my answer will reveal so much about myself or I’ll forget to include a favorite book. Silly, you say? I know, I know. But, while I tend not to list books as favorites, I do keep a running lists of books that moved me for one reason or another. I’ll share four:

The Thorn Birds: A NovelThe Thorn Birds by Colleen McCollough: I read this book while I was on my honeymoon in Moorea (a small island near Tahiti) in 2001. This was a mere three weeks before the tragic events of September 11th, a time when the world was a lot calmer. I’ll always remember the calmness I felt sitting on the porch of the little beach bungalow my husband and I shared, sipping French coffee, eating fresh pineapple and reading this beautiful book. It is packed with such emotion.

QuentinsQuentins by Maeve Binchy: I love all of Maeve Binchy’s books, especially this one. She is the ultimate storyteller. And her characters feel like friends.

Sarah's KeySarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay: This book moved me so deeply that I had to set it down for a few days to “recover” emotionally before I could continue.

Years of Grace by Margaret Ayer Barnes: I read this book while working on my novel, The Violets of March. It’s the Pulitzer Prize winner from 1931, and I absolutely fell in love with it. I recommend it to everyone now. It’s a gem of a book that will have you thinking about the characters long after you finish.

Thank you for sharing your four, Sarah. I loved The Thorn Birds when I first read it, maybe it's time to revisit it... I haven't read any of the other three, but they're now on my list to grab when I get a break from my TBR pile. :)

Have you guys read these books?

Review: 63. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness...

May 17, 2011
This is another book I've been meaning to pick up for quite a while, and now that I've read it, I wonder what was I waiting for??

a discovery of witches
Title: A Discovery of Witches
Author: Deborah Harkness
ISBN-13: 9780670022410
Hardcover: 579 pages
Publisher: Penguin Group, 2011
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Penguin

drey's thoughts:
Witches, Vampires, and Daemons, oh my!! Diana Bishop has been fighting her family's lineage for her entire life. Who wants to be known as being related to that Bishop? So she turns her energies to science, and focuses on research instead of spells. When one of the manuscripts she pulls from the depth of Oxford's Bodleian Library sparks with magical energy she quickly takes her notes and sends it back, not knowing that she's been the only one who's been able to unlock its magical bonds.

Next thing you know, Diana is surrounded by the supernatural--including the irrepressibly charming Matthew Clairmont. All of them want her to recall the manuscript, all of them want to possess it. But Diana can't. And that inability puts her life in jeopardy, because nobody believes it. When Matthew offers his help, she refuses (of course!). But eventually she has to accept, even as she's questioning his motives--what does he want with Ashmole 782?

A Discovery of Witches has something for everybody... Do you like mysteries? Well, come along as Diana tries to unravel the mystery behind Ashmole 782--what secrets is it hiding, why the magical binding? If you like history then there's a lot of that covered here too. After all, Diana is a professor of history, and when another major character is a centuries-old vampire, you get quite a bit of history-telling... Of course, paranormal fans will enjoy the detail of magic and the backstory of why the vampires, witches, and daemons aren't allowed to interact. Romantics at heart will love watching Diana fall in love. Let's see, have I left anyone out?

I really enjoyed Diana and Matthew, and even Matthew's assistant Miriam, and his very-scary mother Ysabeau. Deborah's writing makes you care for her characters, and she surrounds them with lush landscapes and detailed histories. I loved this book, and cannot wait for more.

drey's rating: Outstanding! A Discovery of Witches is an engrossing story that will have you hooked 'till the very last word.

Review: 62. Hard Bitten by Chloe Neill...

May 16, 2011
I love Chloe Neill's Chicagoland Vampires series, so is it any surprise I had to get my hands on Hard Bitten to find out what happens next?

hard bitten
Title: Hard Bitten (Chicagoland Vampires #4)
Author: Chloe Neill
ISBN-13: 9780451233325
Publisher: Penguin Group, 2011
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Purchased

drey's thoughts:
I'll start by saying that if you haven't read Hard Bitten yet, please do yourself the favor of chomping at the bit for a few(!) more months. Drink Deep comes out later this year, and you will definitely want to--no, NEED to--read that as soon as you're done with this. Don't say you haven't been warned...

We start out with Cadogan House repairing the physical damage inflicted in Twice Bitten, but the psychological damage isn't quite so easy to take care of. The humans of Chicago are not so happy with their vampire neighbors--what with the violence of the attack, and now reports are surfacing of the raves where humans are disappearing--and have started staging protests. And when the humans aren't happy, the mayor's not happy either (elections and all that), and he's issued an ultimatum to Ethan: fix the problem or go to jail.

So Merit goes investigating, and does not like what she finds. The raves are big, loud, and violent. The Ombudsman's office is not receiving information from the Mayor's office. And somebody is using one of Celine's nom de guerres.

To make things just a wee bit more difficult for Merit and Ethan, the head of the Greenwich Presidium shows up, and delivers his own threat: cease investigating Celine or he'll place Cadogan House under receivership. Will the fun never cease?

This installment has a lot of Merit in it, which is awesome because I love Merit. Yes, even if she dog-ears her books. I like that her sassiness hasn't abated, even with all she's experienced. I like that she and Mallory are talking again. I like that she has at least one other romantic possibility in the wings--even if she's not interested (yet?). And I like that even though she still wants Ethan, she wants him on her terms, and isn't going to settle for less. I like Ethan here, too. He's much nicer when he's flirting and flattering. *grin*

Unfortunately, the fun and games don't last. As Merit goes deeper in her investigation, she uncovers a web of deceit so tangled that you won't believe who's involved. Chloe Neill paces things really nicely, adding in new characters (who'll show up in future installments, I'm sure) and throwing in plot twists that remain plausible even as they make your jaw drop. But she's an evil evil author for the last few chapters. Evil.

drey's rating: Excellent! Except for the ending, that is. But don't let that stop you from reading this series if you haven't yet. Start with Some Girls Bite...

Have you read Hard Bitten? What did you think?

Another Eric Van Lustbader giveaway!

May 14, 2011
If you're a fan, all I can say is "lucky ducks!!" because I have another Eric Van Lustbader giveaway for y'all! This one's for a copy of First Daughter and the freshly-released Blood Trust from Tor Forge Publishing!

To enter, fill out the form below before 6pm CST May 27th. This one is for residents of the US or Canada only (no PO Boxes please).

Fun stuff:
In honor of the paperback release of Last Snow, here's a new trailer for y'all to check out-

More about First Daughter, Last Snow, and Blood Trust

Tangled Threads winner!

May 13, 2011
Aargh!! I'm so very very sorry I'm late with this--I know how much you want the book! I finally got my behind in gear, and worked the Randomizer magic to pick a winner. The lucky duck is...

Anne Jolly!!

Congratulations, Anne! Email's on its way, please reply before the end of day Sunday.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by to enter!

Michael Malone's Four Corners of the Sky is FREE until Sunday!

Sourcebooks is offering the eBook edition Michael Malone’s Four Corners of the Sky for FREE May 13 through May 15.

four corners of the sky
In small towns between the North Carolina Piedmont and the coast the best scenery is often in the sky. On flat sweeps of red clay and scrub pine the days move monotonously, safely, but above, in the blink of an eye, dangerous clouds can boil out of all four corners of the sky…The flat slow land starts to shiver and anything can happen.

In such a storm, on Annie Peregrine’s seventh birthday, her father gave her the airplane and minutes later drove out of her life. Thus begins an enchanting novel that bursts with energy from the first pages, and sweeps you off on a journey of unforgettable characters, hilarious encounters, and haunting secrets.

The Four Corners of the Sky is master storyteller Michael Malone’s new novel of love, secrets, and the mysterious bonds of families. Malone brings characters to life as only he can, exploring the questions that defy easy answers: Is love a choice or a calling? Why do the ties of family bind so tightly? And is forgiveness a gift to others…or a gift we give ourselves?

“Fans of Malone’s 1986 picaresque bestseller Handling Sin have something to celebrate with Four Corners of the Sky… A former soap opera writer, Malone understands the art of great storytelling: There's humor and action aplenty, but Four Corners is also a warmhearted Iook at how we love and forgive. Five hundred and forty-four pages never seemed so short.” —People (4 STARS, People Pick)

“Devoted Michael Malone fans have been waiting more than 20 years for another Handling Sin, perhaps the greatest road novel since Tom Jones. The wait is over.” —Booklist (Starred Review)

ALSO, anyone who writes in to on FRIDAY MAY 13 will be entered to win a selection of Michael Malone backlist, including his bestselling novel, Handling Sin. Include “Malone Giveaway” in subject line please.

Purchase at Amazon

Review: 61. The Violets of March by Sarah Jio...

May 12, 2011
Update (5/15): Blogger maintenance has lost my original post, and I've had to re-do this review. I apologize for this being off-air while I regathered my thoughts.

I want to say "thank you" to Sarah Jio for visiting us this month, and for my copy of her lovely debut novel The Violets of March...

the violets of march
Title: The Violets of March
Author: Sarah Jio
ISBN-13: 9780452297036
Paperback: 293 pages
Publisher: Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Sarah Jio

drey's thoughts:
Sarah Jio's The Violets of March is a touching story of heartbreak and hope entwined with a long-buried family secret.

When Emily Wilson's marriage crumbles, she heads out to her great-aunt Bee's to get some time to think and heal. It doesn't take long before she meets a gorgeous artist, and reconnects with an old summer fling. Then she finds a diary in her room, and is engrossed in the owner's tale of loss and regret. As she reads Esther's tale, Emily can't help but wonder who she is and why that diary was in her room.

The Violets of March is a story of two women's hopes and dreams, and heartaches. About the choices you make and the actions you take when you love so deeply that when something threatens that love, you either fight like heck for it, or run like hell to save your heart. One chose to run, and the ramifications reach to the present day. The other has a choice to make--what will it be?

This book will tow you under its spell and barely let go even when you've turned the last page. And as Sarah Jio brings it to a close, you'll find yourself wanting the characters to hang around for just a bit longer--if only to reassure yourselves that they're doing alright.  

drey's rating: Excellent! Add this poignant tale to your summer reading, and don't forget the tissues...

Have you read The Violets of March? What did you think?

May's FEATURED AUTHOR: Sarah Jio's The Violets of March...

May 11, 2011
Today's spotlight is on May's Featured Author Sarah Jio, and her book The Violets of March...

the violets of march

In a mystical place where violets bloom out of season and the air is salt drenched, a heartbroken woman stumbles upon a diary and steps into the life of its anonymous author.

In her twenties, Emily Wilson was on top of the world: she had a bestselling novel, a husband plucked from the pages of GQ, and a one-way ticket to happily ever after.

Nearly a decade later, the tide has turned on Emily's good fortune. So when her great-aunt Bee invites her to spend the month of March on Bainbridge Island in Washington State, Emily accepts, longing to be healed by the sea. Researching her next book, Emily discovers a red velvet diary, dated 1943, whose contents reveal startling connections to her own life.

A mesmerizing debut with an idyllic setting and an intriguing dual story line, The Violets of March announces Sarah Jio as a writer to watch.

Watch the book trailer:

Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository

Blog Tour: 60. The Guardian by Margaret Mallory...

May 10, 2011
Today's first tour is for a historical highland romance from Margaret Mallory, The Guardian, the first in her new Return of the Highlanders series. Thanks go out to Hachette Book Group for organizing!

About Margaret Mallory:
MARGARET MALLORY surprised her friends and family by abandoning her legal career--and her steady job--to write tales of romance and adventure. At long last, she can satisfy her passion for justice by punishing the bad and rewarding the worthy-in the pages of her novels, of course. She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband, a silly dog and an ornery cat.

With her two children off to college, Margaret spends most of her time working on her new Scottish historical series, The Return of the Highlanders. She loves to hear from readers.

Find Margaret online at her website,, on facebook, twitter, and Goodreads!

About The Guardian:
Four fearless warriors return to the Highlands to claim their lands and legacies. But all their trials on the battlefield can't prepare them for their greatest challenge yet: winning the hearts of four willful Scottish beauties.

After years of fighting abroad, Ian MacDonald comes home to find his clan in peril. To save his kin, he must right the wrongs from his past . . . and claim the bride he's long resisted.

As a young lass, Sìleas depended on Ian to play her knight in shining armor. But when his rescue attempt compromised her virtue, Ian was forced to marry against his wishes. Five years later, Sìleas has grown from an awkward girl into an independent beauty who knows she deserves better than the reluctant husband who preferred war to his wife. Now this devilishly handsome Highlander is finally falling in love. He wants a second chance with Sìleas - and he won't take no for an answer.

Title: The Guardian (Return of the Highlanders #1)
ARC: 354 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Hachette Book Group

drey's thoughts:
I haven't picked up a good ol' highlander romance in a while, and am very happy that I decided to sign up for this blog tour! Why, you ask? Well, because it's so dang romantic! Well, duh, you say. Of course it's romantic, it's a romance novel... To which I say that there are different kinds of romance novels. Regardless of genre, there are the mushy romances, the sweet awwwww ones, the hot and sexy burn-up-the-sheets type, etc. You know what I mean.

Anyway. Ian and his best friends Connor, Duncan, and Alexander have been a group since they were children. Sileas is his little shadow then, five years younger and totally in awe of her protector and playmate. Clan politics turn ugly, and Ian is forced to marry Sileas when she is just thirteen years old to save her from her stepfather's plotting. Resentful of his duty, Ian takes off to France with his posse.

Five years later, and Ian is returning home, possibly to start a clan war for Connor's rightful place. Five years later, and Sileas is wondering if she should give up on waiting for the husband who didn't want her.

I love Sileas. She grows into a young woman very sure of her place--except for the husband bit, that is. She's aware of her worth, and is determined that this time, Ian will earn her love. What was once freely given has faded from neglect. And if he doesn't earn it back or if he still doesn't want her, well, she has options. As for Ian, he's what I'd imagine a twenty-three year old 1800s highlander warrior to be--brash, cocky, and bossy. He knows men and warring. Women, not so much. And it shows in his actions and his conversations...

In The Guardian, Margaret Mallory deftly weaves a tale of two childhood friends who have to get past the hurt and the humiliation and learn to reconnect with each other. Will they find their way to each other before second chances are buried in politics and intrigue? Will the heart forgive and the head forget?

drey's rating: Excellent! Historical romance fans should add this to their summer reading... Want more? Read an excerpt, then sign up for the giveaway!
The room fell away as Ian stared at the young woman who stood in the glow of the firelight. Her hair was the most beautiful shade of red he had ever seen. It fell in gleaming waves and framed a face so lovely it squeezed his heart to look at her.

When she lifted her gaze and met his, the air went out of him. There was something very familiar about this lovely, green-eyed lass, but Ian could not place her.

"Ian." Alex jabbed him in the ribs.

Ian knew he should stop staring at her, but he couldn't help himself.

"Hmmph," Alex grunted as he pushed past Ian. He strode across the room and greeted the young woman with a kiss on her cheek, as if he knew her well. "Ach, you are a sight to behold," Alex said. "If I were your husband, Sìleas, ye can be sure I wouldn't have kept ye waiting a single day."

Sìleas? Ian shook his head. Nay, this could not be...

The young woman was nothing like the scrawny thirteen-year-old he remembered. Instead of gawky limbs and pointed elbows, she had graceful lines and rounded curves that made his throat go dry.

"Welcome home," the young woman said to Alex in the kind of throaty voice a man wanted to hear in the dark.

"Ye two must be hungry after your travels. Come, Sìleas, let us get these men fed," his mother said, taking the lass by the arm. His mother gave him a wide-eyed look over her shoulder, the kind she used to give him when he was a lad and had committed some grievous error in front of company.

When Ian started to follow the two women to the table, Alex hauled him back. "Are ye an idiot?" Alex hissed in his face. "Ye didn't even greet Sìleas. What's the matter with ye?"

"Are ye sure that's Sìleas?" Ian said, leaning to the side so he could see past Alex to the red-haired lass.

"Of course it is, ye fool," Alex said. "Did ye no hear your mam just say her name?"

From the corner of his eye, Ian saw the back of Sìleas's skirt disappearing up the stairs. It occurred to him he had the right to follow her up and take her to bed. Tonight. Right now. Before supper, if he wanted. And again, after. The part of him between his legs was giving him an emphatic "Aye!"

His reaction startled him. For five long years, he had planned to end the marriage as soon as he returned. He'd harbored not a single doubt.

But he made that plan before she turned into this enchanting lass with curves that would have him dreaming of her naked as soon as he closed his eyes.

Aye, he most definitely wanted to take Sìleas to bed. Any man would. The question, however, was whether he wanted her to be the last woman he ever took to his bed.

Thanks to Hachette Book Group, I have three copies of The Guardian for you, if you live in the US or Canada (no PO Boxes please!). One winner per household. To enter, just fill out the form below before 6pm CST May 23rd. One entry per person, multiples will be disqualified (you may want to comment after filling out the form so you know you've already entered)... Good luck!

Now that you're done with that, here's MORE fun stuff for you: We Love Scotland: The True Tales Behind Our Hottest Scottish Historicals, from Sue-Ellen Welfonder, Kira Morgan, and Margaret Mallory.

Blog Tour: 59. Dark Descendant by Jenna Black...

Jenna Black first caught my eye with the cover for Siren Song, due out in July. Then I found out she has a new UF novel, and when Pocket Books organized a blog tour, I had to sign up...

jenna blackAbout the author:
Jenna Black is a typical writer, which means she's an "experience junkie." She received B.A. degrees in physical anthropology and French from Duke University. She once dreamed of being the next Jane Goodall, until she realized that primates spend eighty percent of their time not really doing anything. She moved on to such pastimes as grooming dogs and writing technical documentation before creating the popular Morgan Kingsley urban fantasy series and The Guardians of the Night paranormal romance series. She lives in North Carolina.

Find Jenna online at her website, and on twitter

dark descendant
About Dark Descendant:
From the acclaimed author of the Morgan Kingsley, Exorcist books comes the gripping first novel in a new series about a private eye who discovers, to her surprise, that she’s an immortal huntress.

Nikki Glass can track down any man. But when her latest client turns out to be a true descendant of Hades, Nikki now discovers she can’t die.... Crazy as it sounds, Nikki’s manhunting skills are literally god-given. She’s a living, breathing descendant of Artemis who has stepped right into a trap set by the children of the gods. Nikki’s new “friends” include a descendant of Eros, who uses sex as a weapon; a descendant of Loki, whose tricks are no laughing matter; and a half-mad descendant of Kali who thinks she’s a spy. But most powerful of all are the Olympians, a rival clan of immortals seeking to destroy all Descendants who refuse to bow down to them. In the eternal battle of good god/bad god, Nikki would make a divine weapon. But if they think she’ll surrender without a fight, the gods must be crazy...

Title: Dark Descendant (Descendant #1)
Author: Jenna Black
ISBN-13: 9781451606799
Paperback: 325 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2011
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Simon & Schuster

drey's thoughts:
I was really looking forward to Dark Descendant--so much so that I picked it up as soon as I received it... Nikki Glass bounced around the foster care system when she was a child, until she landed with the Glass family and they adopted her. Now grown up, she's a private investigator suffering through her sister's matchmaking (non-)abilities when a client calls for help. Ignoring her gut instinct, she heads out, only to have her entire world turned upside down faster than you can say "oops".

I'm not sure if I like Nikki much. There's nothing specific that makes me not like her, but there's nothing specific that makes her stand out, either. Instead, I find myself more interested in Jamaal, the half-mad one, and in Anderson, the leader. The bad guys are almost laughably incompetent--even while they're powerful.

While I did like the premise of descendants of the old gods starring in a new series, I felt like  Dark Descendant was just a teaser. There has to be more to this world than the descendants of gods duking it out with each other.

drey's rating: OK: There's a lot of promise in this series, but I'll wait for the next one to see if it bears fruit...

Have you read Dark Descendant? What did you think? And if you hadn't, here's your chance to pick up a copy...

Thanks to Pocket Books, I have two copies of Dark Descendant for you! US only, no PO Boxes please. To enter, fill out the for before 6pm CST May 23rd. One entry per person, multiples will be disqualified (you may want to comment after filling out the form so you know you've already entered)... Good luck!

Review: 58. Love Drunk Cowboy by Carolyn Brown...

May 9, 2011
I love me some good ol' Carolyn Brown cowboy romances! And was very happy to get my hands on a copy of her latest--Love Drunk Cowboy. How could you not want to read a book with that title?

love drunk cowboy
Title: Love Drunk Cowboy (Spikes & Spurs #1)
Author: Carolyn Brown
ISBN-13: 9781402253584
Paperback: 391 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks, 2011
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Sourcebooks

drey's thoughts:
I love cowboys. Or rather, I love the idea of cowboys. The hats are just sexy (anyone watch The Amazing Race? I ❤ Jet!), they can two-step and (boot-scootin') boogie, and they're muscled from hard work, not a workout bench... Alright, alright, I'm wiping off the drool now...

Carolyn Brown's characters are always a hoot, full of sass and vinegar, stubborn as a mule, and sexy as hell. And Love Drunk Cowboy is no different. Here we have a big city gal who's in town to take care of her departed grandmother's affairs. Right across the street is the sexy cowboy who's been on the phone every Thursday night for so long she's sure she knows him inside and out. Then girl meets boy and girl is completely flummoxed. Who knew he was young? Or sexy? Well, other than you & I that is... Oh, and Carolyn too! *wink*

Of course, he's always around, pointing out things that need to be taken care of like planting this year's crop (she rides a tractor!), paying the hired help, buying supplies, and making her grandmother's wine... Slowly but surely this little town nudges its way into the big city gal's heart. And she's torn--does she go back to her big city job with the promotion she's worked so hard for? Or does she stay with the little town, the farm, and the sexy cowboy?

I'm not giving away any answers. And you know the journey to the answer is going to be fun to read, so pick this up and prepare to be entertained!

drey's rating: Pick it up! Carolyn Brown's cowboy romances are must-reads for those who love their contemporary romances amidst ranches, rodeos, sassiness, sexiness, and spunk!

Laura Griffin's Navy SEAL bonus content & Deadly Promises giveaway!

May 7, 2011
This week has just flown by! And what a week it was. In honor of the US Navy SEALs' successful mission, Laura Griffin offers you a thought (or more) on the SEALs. Read on:
"I will never quit" By Laura Griffin

Several years ago I stood knee-deep in the Pacific Ocean, teeth chattering, wondering what on earth would possess a sane man to join the Navy SEALs. I was on Coronado Island that day, and my mission was partly tourism and partly research. I had decided to write a SEAL character in my next book, and had spent the past few months researching what many would call the most elite fighting force in the world.

Coronado is a place where young men who aspire to be SEALs suffer through a ruthless training regimen that boggles the mind. For weeks on end, bands of SEAL trainees run with telephone poles, do five-mile ocean swims, undergo “drown-proofing,” endure sleep deprivation. They are systematically broken down—pushed beyond all limits, both physically and emotionally—and if they survive, they’re built back up again. Few make it through, and that is the point. Those who do come out stronger and more deeply committed to their jobs than most of us can imagine.

It takes a special sort of man to become a Navy SEAL, which is precisely why I had decided to write a SEAL character in my next story. I want my heroes to be, well, heroic. I had recently finished reading Lone Survivor, a book about Marcus Luttrell, the SEAL who managed to live through a deadly firefight in the mountains of Afghanistan. Three of his teammates died. After being blown off a mountain by a rocket-propelled grenade, Luttrell--severely injured--crawled and walked seven miles to a village where he was taken in by a local tribe.

How did he do this? The man is a SEAL. The word “impossible” is not part of the SEAL vocabulary. Men who become SEALs share a special vision of what it means to stand in the face of adversity.

I will never quit…If knocked down, I will get back up, every time…I am never out of the fight. Sound hardcore? It is. It’s straight from the SEAL creed.

A man such as this—one who is unwilling to give up under the most dire circumstances—was just the sort of hero I needed for my story, UNSTOPPABLE, which involves a terrorist plot on American soil. After months of research, I started writing about U.S. Navy SEAL Gage Brewer, and I’m still writing about him today.

I thought about the SEAL creed this week as I watched the news about Osama Bin Laden. I am never out of the fight. It seems fitting, and not altogether surprising, that SEALs were the ones to finally track down the world’s most wanted man. They risked their lives, in an operation that could have ended in disaster, in order to make the world a safer place. These guys are tough, they are committed, and they never give up—not even after ten years. They are heroes. And it’s a good thing we have them in real life, and not just in books.

Laura's right--these men are heroes, as are all the men and women who fight for this country. We thank you.

Laura Griffin's UNSTOPPABLE appears in the Pocket Books anthology Deadly Promises, and I have one copy up for grabs, if you live in the USA (no PO Boxes please).

deadly promises


New York Times bestselling authors Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dianna Love, and Cindy Gerard and rising romance star Laura Griffin mix seduction and suspense in three irresistible romantic adventures. From sultry international jungles to the rugged terrain of the American Southwest, join the larger-than-life, scorching-hot alpha heroes of the Bureau of American Defense, Black Ops, Inc., and the U.S. Navy SEALs for all the pulse-pounding, heart-racing, toe-curling excitement. They're cool under pressure, steamy under the sheets, and when the enemy strikes, there's not a lethal mission these gorgeous men can't handle. . . .
Read an excerpt

To enter, fill out the form below before 6pm CST May 20th. One entry per person, multiples will be disqualified (you may want to comment after filling out the form so you know you've already entered)... Good luck!

Find Deadly Promises at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository

Recycle your books--Donate them to our troops.

Review: 57. The Color of Earth by Kim Dong Hwa...

May 6, 2011
I picked this one up on a whim the last time I was at the library, and now I'm hoping I remember where from so I can get the next two!

the color of earth
Title: The Color of Earth (The Color of Earth #1)
Author: Kim Dong Hwa
ISBN-13: 9781596434585
Paperback: 312 pages
Publisher: First Second, 2009
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Waukesha Public Library

drey's thoughts:
I love the cover of The Color of Earth, and it's the reason I even picked it up at all. Then I opened the book and was swept away by the captivating story of a little girl who is growing up and learning about love and life.

Ehwa is seven years old when we meet her, and she's found out that the villagers in her town can be cruel and thoughtless, men can be pigs, and little girls don't have the same parts as little boys... Two years later she wonders about babies, her widowed mother falls in love, and she meets a shy young monk. We follow along as Ehwa navigates her way through the changes in her body and the unfamiliar pangs of infatuation and young love.

The art is simply drawn, yet evocative of the Ehwa's feelings. There were pages where I could just tell where she was at emotionally, without reading any of the words on the page. Which would've been a pity, as the words themselves flow together beautifully. I loved the characters, I loved the artwork, and I loved the story.

drey's rating: Outstanding! I'm going to pick up The Color of Water for one of my travel reads next week.

Blog Tour: 56. I'd Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman...

May 5, 2011
I'd read Laura Lippman's Baltimore Blues on my nook a while ago, and liked it, so when offered a chance to participate in the tour for I'd Know You Anywhere, I said "yes!"

I’D KNOW YOU ANYWHERE is a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award (mystery category) and for the 2011 Edgar Award in the Best Novel category. The book was also nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award. I’D KNOW YOU ANYWHERE was included on numerous “Best of 2010” lists, including Stephen King's list in Entertainment Weekly. Lippman has previously won Edgar, Shamus, Anthony, Gumshoe and Quill Awards for her work. The Washington Post calls her “One of the best novelists around, period.”

About the book:
ISBN-13: 9780062070753
Paperback: 370 pages
Publisher: Harper Collins, 2011 (reprint)
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Authors on the Web

There was your photo, in a magazine. Of course, you are older now. Still, I'd know you anywhere.

Suburban wife and mother Eliza Benedict's peaceful world falls off its axis when a letter arrives from Walter Bowman. In the summer of 1985, when Eliza was fifteen, she was kidnapped by this man and held hostage for almost six weeks. Now he's on death row in Virginia for the rape and murder of his final victim, and Eliza wants nothing to do with him. Walter, however, is unpredictable when ignored—as Eliza knows only too well—and to shelter her children from the nightmare of her past, she'll see him one last time.

But Walter is after something more than forgiveness: He wants Eliza to save his life . . . and he wants her to remember the truth about that long-ago summer and release the terrible secret she's keeping buried inside.

drey's thoughts:
Eliza is happy to be an anonymous suburban mother with a temperamental teenager and a sweet eight-year-old. Then one day a letter shows up and throws her into a tizzy, raking up memories of her past--one where she'd been kidnapped by a serial killer and lived to tell the tale. And now he's found her from behind bars, but why?

I'd Know You Anywhere starts with Walter trying to get a girlfriend, then swings between Eliza's current day and her time with Walter. It's a tense tale, told in spare language--sometimes so spare I didn't really get a feel for Walter or Eliza. Why did he do it? What was his justification (to himself, if nobody else)? Did she have Stockholm syndrome, or did she really believe him when he said he'd kill her and her whole family? Usually there's a lot more background on the sociopath and what drives him, but this isn't a police procedural crime novel. I have to admit I felt a bit lost, and I didn't really care what his motives are, or what Eliza does.

Rather, this is an after-the-fact story, and also a tale about relationships--the ones between a victim and her captor, between a victim and her loved ones, and the ones between the perpetrator and those who believe him innocent. To me, how these emotional tangles are navigated is what makes this a good read.

drey's rating: Pick it up!

Check out this video with Laura Lippman:

Thanks to Authors on the Web and the publisher William Morrow, THREE lucky ducks will be getting a copy of one of Laura Lippman's books: What the Dead Know, The Girl in the Green Raincoat, and I'd Know You Anywhere! This is restricted to US/Canada only, no PO boxes please. To enter, fill out the form below before 6pm CST May 18th! One entry per person, multiples will be disqualified (you may want to comment after filling out the form so you know you've already entered)...

Click on the covers to find out more about the three books at Amazon, and click on the excerpt links to browse the first pages at HarperCollins:
What the Dead Know: A Novel
The Girl in the Green Raincoat: A Tess Monaghan Novel
I'd Know You Anywhere: A Novel

May's FEATURED AUTHOR: Say Hello to Sarah Jio!

May 4, 2011
Wow. I blinked, and it's May. Where did the first four months of the year go? o.O Anyway, it's May, and it's time to introduce our Featured Author of the month to you--please welcome the lovely Sarah Jio! Sarah took the time to answer a few questions, and there's a giveaway at the end!

drey: Hello Sarah! Welcome to drey’s library! I appreciate your taking the time to visit us this month.

Sarah: Thank you so much for having me, Drey!

drey: Tell us about yourself...

Sarah: I’m a Seattle-based magazine writer-turned-novelist. I’ve written for Glamour, Redbook, O, The Oprah Magazine, Cooking Light, Self, Health and many other magazines, and for the last three years, I’ve been the health and fitness blogger for I’m incredibly excited about a new direction in my career, too, as a novelist. My first novel, The Violets of March, is out this month from Penguin (Plume), and I recently sold my second, The Bungalow, again to Penguin, and it will release in April 2012. I’m also hard at work on a third book. Oh, and last but not least, I’m also the mom to three little boys--Carson (4), Russell (2), and Colby, our newest addition, born in January.

drey: Congratulations on your newest addition! I have no idea how you manage to write, with three under 4 in your house!! I am in awe! *grin* Oh, and congrats on the books, too--I can't wait to read The Bungalow. 

How old were you when you started writing? What made you decide to continue?

Sarah: I wrote my first “book” when I was in first grade, and I’ll embarrass the heck out of myself and tell you the name of it, “A Tug Boat’s Dream.” (I had a little fascination with tug boats back then.) So, yes, I was obsessed with writing books from an early age. The dream has stayed with me since.

drey: Tugboats are cool! My son loved 'em for all of two weeks or so... 

What is the ONE reason you’d never give up writing?

Sarah: Because I would be incredibly unhappy without it. I write every day, and I can’t imagine a day, or a life, without it. I always tell people that I feel so lucky that when I sit down to work, it oftentimes feels like play.

drey: Describe The Violets of March. Where did you find the inspiration for it?

Sarah: The Violets of March takes place in two time periods, present day and 1943 on Bainbridge Island, Washington, a small and storied island just a ferry’s ride away from Seattle, where violets bloom out of season and secrets drift in the salt-drenched air. It is here where a recent divorcee finds an old red velvet diary tucked into the guest bedroom of her great aunt Bee’s home. It is only when she reads this diary, written by an anonymous woman, and unlocks its secrets (long-kept since 1943), that she’s able to heal the wounds in her own life and find love again.

I have always loved Bainbridge Island, where the book is set. In fact, I grew up just a few miles from its shores and spent many happy hours there as a child. So, the book is partially inspired by the island, and also inspired the most beautiful jazz song by the late Susannah McCorkle called “The Waters of March.” I head the song years ago and began to think about what type of story I could create that would fit the song. (You should download the song on iTunes—you will love it)

drey: I will definitely have to check out that song--especially if it inspired the very lovely story in The Violets of March!

What do you do for fun?

Sarah: I love to cook, especially for friends and family, and I adore gardening. I’m also crazy about running, and have been slowly starting getting into races. I have my eye on a 10K later this summer. (I recently had a baby, so we’ll see how that goes!)

drey: Good luck with the races if you're doing them this summer. I'm tired just thinking about it! :P

Smackdown: Pick two favorite characters to face off in a cage match. Who are they, who wins, and why?

Sarah: Oh this is so funny to think about! Hmmm. I’d pick Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables and maybe Nellie Olson from the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. Anne would win of course. Her wit and red hair give her the advantage.

drey: I never liked Nellie much anyway, so go Anne!! 

What’s up next for you?

Sarah: I recently sold my second novel, The Bungalow, to Penguin, and I’ll be gearing up for its release in April of 2012. I’m also hard at work on book #3, which I’m so very excited about and can’t wait to share more about!

drey: Ooooh! Yet another book!! Hurrah for us readers! *grin*

And, last but not least, the quickie 5:
  1. If you had to pick one, which 80’s fad would you resurrect?
    Crimped hair. Don’t laugh.
  2. What single thing should every aspiring author have in their arsenal?
    A good coffee maker.
  3. Board, video, or card game?
    Cards, all the way!
  4. Jazz or alternative rock?
  5. Best ice-cream topping?
    Lately I’ve been putting cocoa nibs on vanilla ice cream. Yum!
Thank you so much for stopping in for a visit, Sarah. I really appreciate the time you're taking to do this!
Everyone, find Sarah online at her website,, on facebook, and on twitter.

Sarah & her publisher have a lovely giveaway for you, if you live in the US. One lucky duck will win a copy of Violets of March, and trust me--it's a lovely lovely story indeed! To enter, fill out this form before 6pm CST May 25th! One entry per person, multiples will be disqualified (you may want to comment after filling out the form so you know you've already entered)...

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