Month: July 2016

Mary E. Pearson on Building the World of The Remnant Chronicles | The Beauty of Darkness Blog Tour

Posted July 31, 2016 by Jana in Blog Tour, Guest Post / 1 Comment

Mary E. Pearson on Building the World of The Remnant Chronicles | The Beauty of Darkness Blog Tour

This is a really exciting day on the blog! I LOVE LOVE LOVE The Remnant Chronicles, and cannot believe it’s all coming to an end with The Beauty of Darkness. I’ve read it already, so keep an eye out for my review in the coming weeks!

Today Mary E. Pearson, the author of this amazing trilogy, is stopping by the blog to tell us about her inspirations for the world of the series as part of the official blog tour hosted by Macmillan! I love her post because it really brings everything to life for me. I love traveling and I love settings, so I’m really excited that she included pictures! Following her post, read more about Mary and The Beauty of Darkness!

I asked Mary: The world in this series is so dynamic, with so many different locations and types of people. Were you inspired by any places or people in our own world when you created Morrighan, Terravin (the small village Lia fled to), and Venda, not to mention the terrain they crossed traveling between locales? 

Mary: Yes, I was inspired by many real places. Several years ago I visited the small island of Burano, just a ferry ride away from Venice, Italy.  I adored the beauty of it—including the houses painted in all kinds of bright colors.  I was told by a local that originally, the homes were painted with different colors so they would stand out from the rest and the fishermen who were out at sea could see their own home distinctly as they returned, and would watch for their loved ones who might be waiting and waving to them. It was all so beautiful and charming and inviting that I knew I wanted to base Terravin, in part, on this tiny colorful Italian island.


I also visited the coastal town of Avila Beach in California, just north of Santa Barbara. It is tucked away behind hills and down a winding road, and it has a beautiful little jewel of a bay. The town is quite small and out of the way, like Terravin.


I’ve also visited various deserts, from California to Utah, so I drew from that experience to create the desert scenes in the first book.

MCEscherVenda, the Sanctum in particular, was based partially on overcrowded cities and slums that I researched, and in part from my love for the artist M.C. Escher. His play with perspective and depictions of architecture are a mad mix of whimsy and razor sharp calculation. Trying to follow a path can unsettle you, or at the very least, lead you in circles, very much like the Sanctum. Stairways and paths come out of nowhere. It also came from my travels and observations of old European architecture (I’m one of those people who takes pictures of walls–details fascinate me) and how centuries of stone and brick are sewn together like a piece of fabric, old meeting new, doorways bricked up, materials reused, a trail of clues left that hint to generations re-purposing what came before and adding to it.

The Sanctum is also based on one particular city—but I imagined it as it would look  centuries after cataclysmic events had caused it to fall into ruin.

In The Beauty of Darkness there are more familiar cities, Civica for instance with its unique features, including the rocky island of lost souls in the middle of the bay and the leaning spire of Golgata. We’ll also revisit the book that Aster stole from the caverns which will reveal another clue about this long ago world. Many details that may seem offhand and imaginary, actually have roots in a concrete world.

If you visit my Pinterest board for The Remnant Chronicles, you will find tons of other images that helped inspire “moods” and atmosphere for the story.

Thank you for having me at your blog Jana!

How much did you LOVE Mary’s post? I’ve been to Murano, Italy, which is very close to Burano… but now I want to go visit Burano! Thanks so much for writing such a fun post for us, Mary!

Are you even more excited for The Beauty of Darkness now? Or maybe Mary’s post has made you want to give the trilogy a try? You really should.

The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #3
My reviews of the trilogy: The Kiss of Deception, The Heart of Betrayal, The Beauty of Darkness
Published by Henry Holt & Co. BYR on August 2, 2016
Pages: 688
Add to Goodreads
Amazon • B&N • Book Depository

Lia and Rafe have escaped Venda and the path before them is winding and dangerous – what will happen now? This third and final book in The Remnant Chronicles is not to be missed.

Bestselling author Mary E. Pearson’s combination of intrigue, suspense, romance and action make this a riveting page turner for teens.


The Kiss of Deception | The Heart of Betrayal | The Beauty of Darkness

The Kiss of Deception Synopsis

A princess must find her place in a reborn world.

She flees on her wedding day.

She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor’s secret collection.

She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can’t abide. Like having to marry someone she’s never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.

About Mary E. Pearson

Mary E. Pearson is the author of bestselling, award-winning novels for teens. The Miles Between was named a Kirkus Best Book of the Year, and The Adoration of Jenna Fox was listed as a Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year, an IRA Young Adult Choice, NYPL Stuff for the Teen Age, and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year. She is also the author of A Room on Lorelei Street, David v. God, and Scribbler of Dreams. Pearson studied art at Long Beach State University, and worked as an artist before earning her teaching credential at San Diego State University. She writes full-time from her home in Carlsbad, California, where she lives with her husband and two dogs.

Blog | Website | Twitter

Visit the rest of the tour stops!

July 20 – What Sarah Read
July 21 – Vilma’s Book Blog
July 22 – Good Books & Good Wine
July 23 – Adventures of a Book Junkie
July 24 – Bookiemoji
July 25 – Step Into Fiction
July 26 – Tales of the Ravenous Reader
July 27 – Dark Faerie Tales
July 28 – Stuck in YA Books
July 29 – Two Chicks On Books
July 30 – The Book Hookup
July 31 – That Artsy Reader Girl (You’re here!)
August 1 – Jenuine Cupcakes
August 2 – My Friends are Fiction
August 3 – Mundie Moms
August 4 – The Eater of Books!
August 5 – Belle of the Literati

Top Ten Books Set Outside The USA

Posted July 18, 2016 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 11 Comments


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at the other blog I write for, The Broke and the Bookish.

I LOVE reading books that take place in other countries and/or have some kind of a travel theme in them, so I am so excited about this TTT prompt!

If I’m missing any awesome books that you think I should read, please tell me! My favorite thing about reading is escaping to a new place, so throw all the recommendations at me!



Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard • Mistletoe and Mr. Right by Lyla Payne • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins • Starry Nights by Daisy Whitney • Love, Lucy by April Lindner • Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae • Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson • Just One Day by Gayle Forman • Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill • Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare

What are your favorite books set outside the USA? Leave your links and I’ll come visit!

My Dream Heist Crew | Smash & Grab Blog Tour (+ Giveaway)

Posted July 18, 2016 by Jana in Blog Tour, Giveaway / 3 Comments

My Dream Heist Crew | Smash & Grab Blog Tour (+ Giveaway)

Welcome to my stop along the Smash & Grab blog tour, hosted by The Irish Banana Review! In honor of this heisty, exciting new book by Amy Christine Parker I get to tell you all about the heist crew I’ve dreamed up! I don’t know about you, but I’d love to have a crew of awesome peeps who would drop everything at a moment’s notice to help me take over the world. My crew consists of characters from the big screen, the TV screen, and my favorite YA books because these are my rules. Make sure you hang around to read more about the book, the author, and enter for a chance to win a copy of Smash & Grab for yourself!

Jana’s Heist Crew

Neal Caffrey from White Collar
Ok, so every crew needs a little eye candy but Neal is SO much more than that! He’s a master con artist, art forger, smooth talker, and killer dresser. He’s sweet, loyal, makes you feel good about yourself, loves fine things, and would always be in it for the long haul. This guy is not going anywhere, and who would want him to? (And seriously. He’s gorgeous.)

Nikolai Karimov from The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye
Every heist crew needs a little magic and enchantment, right?

Tamlin from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
He’s pretty powerful, plus he’s the perfect blend of loyalty, protectiveness, chivalry, bravery, nobility, angst, and fierceness.

Scarlet from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
This girl gets things DONE. She stops at nothing, and will put everyone in their place.

Cress from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Universe-class hacker right here, ladies and gents! All heist crews need hackers.

Maggie Silver from Also Known As by Robin Benway
She’s an expert safe cracker. So is Neal, but since he’s super versatile it’s nice to have another one so he can do something else.

Mal from Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
He’s awesome at tracking things!

Jason Bourne from the Bourne films
Do I even need to explain?

Marguerite Caine from A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
Someone with a Firebird who can travel between parallel dimensions would be PRICELESS.

Kari from Two Lies and a Spy by Kat Carlton
She will stop at nothing to clear the names of those she loves, so basically we need her for her loyalty and her determination. She also has connections, and we could totally use those.

Who would be in your heist crew?

Smash & Grab by Amy Christine Parker
Published by Random House BFYR on July 19, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Add to Goodreads
Buy: Amazon • B&N

Ocean’s Eleven meets the star-crossed lovers of West Side Story.Grab some popcorn and get ready for an adrenaline-filled heist!

LEXI is a rich girl who loves a good rush. Whether it’s motorcycle racing or BASE jumping off a building in downtown Los Angeles, the only times she feels alive are when she and her friends are executing one of their dares. After her father’s arrest, Lexi doesn’t think twice about going undercover at his bank to steal the evidence that might clear his name. She enlists her hacker brother and her daredevil friends to plan a clever heist.

CHRISTIAN is a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. The local gang has blackmailed him and his friends into robbing banks, and he is desperate for a way out. When the boss promises that one really big job will be the last he ever has to do, Christian jumps at the chance for freedom. In fact, he’s just met a girl at the bank who might even prove useful. . . .

Two heists. One score. The only thing standing in their way is each other.

Told in alternating points of view, this caper is full of romance and fast-paced fun. Hand to fans of Perfect Chemistry, The Conspiracy of Us, and Heist Society.

About Amy

AMY CHRISTINE PARKER writes full-time from her home near Tampa, Florida, where she lives with her husband, their two daughters, and one ridiculously fat cat. Visit her at and follow her on Twitter @amychristinepar.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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Tour Schedule:

7/11: Fiction Fare – My Heist Crew
7/12: Who R U Blog – Novel Secrets
7/13: Bookish Escapes – Review
7/14: Paperback Princess – My Heist Crew
7/15: Bookiemoji – Review
7/18: That Artsy Reader Girl – My Heist Crew
7/19: In Wonderland – Review
7/20: Live to Read – Review
7/21: Go Read a Book – Review
7/22: Bibliobuli – Q&A

Rebellion by J.A. Souders | Blog Tour Book Review (+ Giveaway)

Posted July 15, 2016 by Jana in Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway, Young Adult Fiction / 8 Comments

Rebellion by J.A. Souders | Blog Tour Book Review (+ Giveaway)Rebellion by J.A. Souders
Series: Elysium Chronicles #3
Published by Tor Teen on July 12, 2016
Genres: Dystopia, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 288
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher (Mail)
Add to Goodreads
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository
3.5 Stars

The thrilling conclusion to J. A. Souders’s riveting SF psychological thriller series for teens

In this conclusion to J. A. Souders’s thrilling, twist-filled Elysium Chronicles series, Evie Winters and Gavin Hunter return to the isolated, dangerous underwater city that they fought so hard to escape.

Back in Elysium at last, Evie has finally found her true self hidden under layers and layers of false memories implanted by the woman she knew as Mother. Thanks to the intervention of her father, she knows the horrible truth about Mother and her insidious plans for her city. With the help of the love of her life, Gavin, and her best friend, Asher St. James, she’s determined to free her people from the cruel dictatorship of Mother’s laws. But how do you free people who don’t know they need rescuing?

Working with the growing Underground rebellion, Evie tries to remove Mother from her position by force—with disastrous results. As the body count rises, Evie must find a way to save Elysium before Mother destroys them all.

Welcome to my stop along the official blog tour for Rebellion by J.A. Souders! Rebellion (released on July 12, 2016) is the final book in the Elysium Chronicles, which is a trilogy I absolutely LOVE (see my reviews for the first two books here and here). This concluding story has been a long time coming, and I’m excited to share my thoughts with you today! I’m going to keep things as spoiler free as possible, which is why my review will be shorter than some, but please be aware of the fact that my review might end up spoiling parts of the first two books in the trilogy.

Many of my points in my reviews for Renegade and Revelations apply to Rebellion as well. The city of Elysium is amazing, and we get to experience more of it in this book. I was really happy to be back here, rather than in the Outlands (which was the dangerous stretch of land Gavin and Evie crossed in Revelations). I just love cities beneath the surface of the ocean. Souders does a wonderful job of describing the setting and the scenery.

Again, the story is written in dual perspectives from Evie and Gavin. I really enjoyed reading both their thoughts, and felt it enriched my reading experience. Our beloved characters have gone through some changes, and it was fun to see them grow. Evie, who started out as a naive, brainwashed, lightweight of a girl has transformed into a stubborn, kick-butt heroine who essentially holds the world of Elysium in her hands as she leads the rebellion against Mother. Gavin is the same old knight-in-shining armor I fell in love with in the first book, and will stop at nothing to make sure Evie is safe. Asher is still the sweet older brother figure, and Mother has reached new levels of insanity. We even meet some new people along the way.

The action is non-stop, heart-pumping, and ends in a way I’m not sure anyone will see coming. Rebellion is a strong conclusion to an even stronger series, and I will miss this world and the characters I’ve enjoyed so much. I definitely recommend this trilogy to anyone looking for a unique sci-fi reading experience. I’m excited to see where J.A. Souders takes us next.

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Tour Schedule

July 11 – Chapter by Chapter
July 12 – Seeing Double in Neverland
July 13 – Short n Sweet Reviews
July 14 – Gizmo’s Reviews
July 15 – That Artsy Reader Girl
July 16 – The Nocturnal Library

3.5 Stars

Happy 4th of July 2016!

Posted July 4, 2016 by Jana in Personal / 3 Comments


I love the 4th of July because it’s all about family and food! My family is having a barbecue tonight and then my mom, sister, and I are having a Bachelorette viewing party! Then we’re sitting outside and watching fireworks. :)

How are YOU celebrating today?