"To find out what a story's really about,' the Librarian said,

'you don't ask the writer. You ask the reader."

- SNOW & ROSE by Emily Winfield Martin

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday #36: Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by  Breaking the Spine. 
This is were we get to 'spotlight' books that we are anxiously waiting to be released! The ones that we are dying to get our hands on and read into the wee hours of the night and, quite possibly, to make our shelves look all pretty too :)

What I'm waiting on... 

by Elizabeth Eulberg
Expected release date: March 1st, 2013
Published by: Point (Penguin)
Genre: YA Contemporary


A hilarious new novel from Elizabeth Eulberg about taking the wall out of the wallflower so she can bloom...

Don't mess with a girl with a Great Personality.

Everybody loves Lexi. She's popular, smart, funny... but she's never been one of those girls, the pretty ones who get all the attention from guys. And on top of that, her seven-year-old sister, Mackenzie, is a terror in a tiara, and part of a pageant scene where she gets praised for her beauty (with the help of fake hair and tons of makeup).

Lexi's sick of it. She's sick of being the girl who hears about kisses instead of getting them. She's sick of being ignored by her longtime crush, Logan. She's sick of being taken for granted by her pageant-obsessed mom. And she's sick of having all her family's money wasted on a phony pursuit of perfection. 

The time has come for Lexi to step out from the sidelines. Girls without great personalities aren't going to know what hit them. Because Lexi's going to play the beauty game - and she's in it to win it. 

Why I'm waiting on Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality...

I just know that I am going to love Lexi and root for her until the very end!
Sounds like an awesome contemp to get into!
And I adore Elizabeth Eulberg! Had the pleasure of meeting her this past summer at a signing with Jen Calonita and Susane Colasanti - and we had so much fun!

Release date is so faaaaar awaaaay, ugh!!!

SO, what are you waiting for this week???

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Blog Tour: THE TWISTED TRAGEDY OF MISS NATALIE STEWART (MAGIC MOST FOUL #2) by Leanna Renee Hieber (Guest Post, Review AND Giveaway!)

Today, I have the wonderful privilege of having the author of the Magic Most Foul series stop by today and tell us how she juggles her life as a bestselling author and working actress!...

Triple Talent
by Leanna Renee Hieber

It's no secret that bestselling author Leanna acts, writes and even combines the two to create a play. Leanna describes what it's like to be a working actress while also making a bestseller book...

"I wear many different hats. And I don't just mean cute little Victorian hats, though I do have quite a collection. I've always been a Jack of All Trades and it's my varying interests that have kept me busy, employed in the arts and happy in always having a project or two to work on. The trick to doing anything well is time and discipline, it's very hard to juggle theatrical pursuits and writing and promoting your books full time. I have to pick and choose and shift focus. 
While I was a full time professional actress on stage in various regional theater productions around the country, my writing took a back seat. Today my writing is at the foreground and I do theatrical and/or film projects sporadically. The ability to shift focus from one priority to another depending of one's own time. It's something I struggle with day in and day out. Storytelling is at the core of all my interests, and while I'm very selective now about the stories I tell and the mediums I use to tell them, I'm blessed to have several different avenues to pursue the stories that intrigue me. 
One of the most fascinating ways that my worlds have blended is in adapting my first novel into a musical theater production with Broadway talent on board. My time as an actress and brief stints as a playwright made it easier for the production company behind the musical adaptation of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker to approach me to on the collaboration team. I'm uniquely suited as having experience in all these fields to weave a story together in an entirely new medium  a show. And it's that process of adaptation and collaboration that then allows me to have fresh insights and new tricks to make an engaging story come to life when I return to my novels, such as THE TWISTED TRAGEDY OF MISS NATALIE STEWART." 

A very big thank you to Leanna for stopping by and sharing her time with us today.
And thank you to Sourcebooks Fire for making it happen!

The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart
(Magic Most Foul #2)
by Leanna Renee Hieber
Release date: November 1st, 2012
Published by: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Young Adult - Historical Fiction, Paranormal/Mystery, Romance
Format read: Paperback 


"I'm coming for you."

The whispers haunt her dreams and fill her waking hours with dread. Something odd is happening. Something... unnatural.

Possession of the living. Resurrection of the dead. And Natalie Stewart is caught right in the middle. Jonathon, the one person she thought she could trust, has become a double agent for the dark side. But he plays the part so well, Natalie has to wonder just how much he's really acting. 

She can't even see what it is she's fighting. But the cost of losing is her heart, her sanity... her soul. 

BOOK TRAILER - The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart


(You can see my review to book one of the series, Darker Still here!)

Leanna Renee Hieber has done it again!
This time, she re-imagines the classic Frankenstein by Mary Shelley -
with her own gasping twists and turns!

The Twisted Tragedy of Natalie Stewart immediately picks up where Darker Still left off, not a moment or minute was spared in between these two books! Right from the beginning we're on another journey with Natalie and Lord Denbury, leaving New York City to try to leave behind the nightmare and dark magic that had tried to kill them both. But as soon as they get to their destination they learn of more gruesome things that are at play due to the demons they thought they had destroyed and Natalie must return to New York as soon as possible while Lord Denbury returns to England to further investigate what had happen to him, his family and their estate and who is responsible for all of their misfortunes.
Leanna Renee Hieber's storytelling is impeccable! This story is just as eerie, dark and mysterious as the first -  and the Frankenstein references had me at the edge of my seat!
If I say anymore, I will truly be spoiling it for you!
All fans of classic gothic-type horrors will truly appreciate this book, this series!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Leanna Renee Hieber

An Author, actress and playwright, Leanna grew up in rural Ohio, graduated with a BFA in Theatre, a focus in the Victorian Era and a scholarship to study in London. She adapted 19th Century literature for the stage and her on-act plays have been produced around the country. Her novella "Dark Nest" won the 2009 Prism Award for excellence in Futuristic, Fantasy, or Paranormal Romance. The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, first in the "Strangely Beautiful" saga of Gothic Victorian Fantasy novels (Barnes & Noble bestseller) won two 2010 Prism Awards (Best Fantasy, Best First Book) and was optioned for musical theatre adaption currently in development. 
DARKER STILL: A Novel of Magic Most Foul, begins a Gothic paranormal saga set in 1880 New York City, named an INDIE NEXT title; a recommended buy by the American Book Association, a Scholastic book fairs "Highly Recommended" title and is a finalist in the 2012 Daphne du Maurier awards for excellence in Mystery/Romantic Suspense. 

Leanna is a proud member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and the International Thriller Writers. She is a proud co-founder of Lady Jane's Salon Reading Series in New York City. A member of Actors Equity Association and SAG=AFTRA, Leanna works often in television and film. She is playing the role of Deputy Kellion in Auror's Tale web-series. When not writing or on set, she loves a good Goth club, adventuring about her adopted hometown of New York City, where she resides with her real-life hero and their beloved rescued lab rabbit. 

Official WebsiteBlogGoodreadsFacebookTwitter 


Enter to win a paperback copy of 

- Please fill in the Rafflecopter below. 
- U.S. and Canada only, sorry.
- Must be 13 years old and older to enter. 
- Prize offered by Sourcebooks Fire.

Good luck :) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A "Nobel Beehive Award" Review: DARKER STILL, A NOVEL OF MAGIC MOST FOUL by Leanna Renee Hieber

Darker Still
A Novel of Magic Most Foul
by Leanna Renee Hieber 
Release date: November 8th, 2011 
Published by: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Young Adult - Historical Fiction, Paranormal/Mystery, Romance
Format read: Paperback 


I was obsessed. 

It was as if he called to me, demanding I reach out and touch the brushstrokes of color swirled onto the canvas. It was the most exquisite portrait I'd ever seen - everything about Lord Denbury was unbelievable... utterly breathtaking and eerily lifelike. 

There was a reason for that. Because despite what everyone said, Denbury never had committed suicide. He was alive. Trapped within his golden frame. 

I've crossed over into his world within the painting, and I've seen what dreams haunt him. They haunt me too. Ha and I are inextricably linked - bound together to watch the darkness seeping through the gas-lit cobblestone streets of Manhattan. 
Unless I can free him soon, things will only get Darker Still

BOOK TRAILER - Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber


I could not put this book down!
Leanna Renee Hieber has an amazing ability to bring her writing to life: everything about Darker Still was dark, alluring and perfect. The storytelling, the characters, the scenery, the time period - everything was so spot on I felt like I was reading a classic. This has to be one of the best re-imaginations I have ever read - and I applaud her for taking on the famous The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.

Darker Still is told through journal entries by Natalie Stewart, a 17 year-old girl who lost the ability to speak when her mother died right before her eyes when she was only 4 years old. Because of her disability  Natalie's father did the best that he could and sent her to a 'school' to, hopefully, regain her speech, but to also get her the best schooling a girl in her condition in 1870's can get. Natalie kept company with many books, learned sign language and kept herself busy with getting into trouble and being somewhat of a prankster at her school, all very harmless things, but Natalie showed enough spirit that everyone around her expected to just open her mouth and speak out loud as if she was never silent.
But as time moved on and she got older, she never did say anything to anyone.
Now that Natalie's schooling is over, she is determined to expand her world and join her father in his work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as a consultant. And her first request is to acquire the portrait mentioned in the newspaper - Lord Denbury's painting.
The moment any one lays eyes on Lord Denbury's painting, they are instantly entrance by how realistic it is and can't help but join in on the bidding war to own the one-of-a-kind masterpiece. But there a few people that know that there is something much more to this piece of art, and in the wrong hands, bad things can happen to very good and innocent people. Especially after Natalie's discovers the true nature to Lord Denbury and his portrait. And she will do anything to protect it and its owner.
Natalie is such a strong person, motivated by love, she is determined to protect and save those she cares for no matter how dire the situation is. And Lord Denbury, Jonathon, is just as strong and loyal and willing to do what is necessary to protect Natalie and be her guardian angel in her nightmares and more...

Natalie's journal records a month worth of events in a past, but almost present, tense with letters and copies of police reports - all of the entries are very well thought out and piece the story at a strong and fluid pace. The writing is detailed enough to understand everything that is happening and the characters are all reachable, likable and imaginable - all so realistic.
Natalie and Lord Denbury's story is dark, consuming, exciting but is also romantic, believable and enduring. This book has made me a new fan of historical/paranormal stories! I highly recommend reading this one, and soon!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Leanna Renee Hieber

An Author, actress and playwright, Leanna grew up in rural Ohio, graduated with a BFA in Theatre, a focus in the Victorian Era and a scholarship to study in London. She adapted 19th Century literature for the stage and her on-act plays have been produced around the country. Her novella "Dark Nest" won the 2009 Prism Award for excellence in Futuristic, Fantasy, or Paranormal Romance. The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, first in the "Strangely Beautiful" saga of Gothic Victorian Fantasy novels (Barnes & Noble bestseller) won two 2010 Prism Awards (Best Fantasy, Best First Book) and was optioned for musical theatre adaption currently in development. 
DARKER STILL: A Novel of Magic Most Foul, begins a Gothic paranormal saga set in 1880 New York City, named an INDIE NEXT title; a recommended buy by the American Book Association, a Scholastic book fairs "Highly Recommended" title and is a finalist in the 2012 Daphne du Maurier awards for excellence in Mystery/Romantic Suspense. 

Leanna is a proud member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and the International Thriller Writers. She is a proud co-founder of Lady Jane's Salon Reading Series in New York City. A member of Actors Equity Association and SAG=AFTRA, Leanna works often in television and film. She is playing the role of Deputy Kellion in Auror's Tale web-series. When not writing or on set, she loves a good Goth club, adventuring about her adopted hometown of New York City, where she resides with her real-life hero and their beloved rescued lab rabbit. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Blog Tour: THE LIAR SOCIETY: LIES THAT BIND by Lisa and Laura Roecker Guest Post and Giveaway!

Good morning! I am so very excited to have the authors of THE LIAR SOCIETY series,
Lisa and Laura Roecker, visit my blog today...

My review of both books will be up sometime in December :) 

The Only Way to Keep a Secret is by Using a Dead Language

Lisa and Laura discuss why they used secret societies to drive the mystery in The Liar Society series. Plus, learn their opinions (we know Kate's!) about secret societies. You'll find out if they believe secret societies improve campus life, history, involvement - Or, if they encourage exclusions and dangerous happenings. 

There are three girls in the Roecker family and when each of us turned thriteen, we were sent to board at an all-girls' school in upstate New York. It was within these prep school's walls where we first fell into secret-society-like all-girls' clubs. This experience is no doubt the inspiration behind not only Pemberly Brown, but the secret societies as well. 

Just kidding. 

All of us graduated from Solon High School. Picture scuffed tiled floors, institutional grey walls and those uncomfortable chair/desk units that make your butt fall asleep. Solon was a fabulous school system and we were more than prepared for college, but we wore regular clothes, hung out with regular people and learned regular things (Latin? Um... no). We weren't exactly infiltrating secret societies in order to solve the mystery of our best friend's death. More like applying concealer to the gigantic pimple on the tip of our nose. 

But that's the whole point. Pemberly Brown is for all the girls (and boys!) out there who go to those boring high schools. Anything can happen at PB and every time we write a new story, the school grows larger and a bit more magical. Kate stumbles upon the Sisterhood and Brotherhood in THE LIAR SOCIETY because we wanted to play around with sororities and fraternities at the high school level as well as hazing and competitiveness. The societies stand for everything Kate wants to destroy because the inadvertently killed her best friend, but you'll see in THE LIES THAT BIND, the struggle she faces when she's not sure who to trust. She gets it wrong. She's not perfect. And even though she's fighting much greater problems than we faced in high school, she's relatable and fun. Plus, she makes us thank our lucky stars we weren't sent away to that boarding school in upstate New York. 


A very big thank you to Lisa and Laura for visiting today;
And thank you to Sourcebooks for making it happen!

AND, a video on why Lisa and Laura Roecker LOVE Kate so much :)

More about THE LIAR SOCIETY series... 

The Liar Society
(The Liar Society #1) 
by Lisa and Laura Roecker 
Release date: March 1st, 2011
Published by: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Young Adult - Mystery, Thriller 


Since when do the dead send emails?

Kate Lowry's best friend Grace died a year ago.
So when she gets an email from her, Kate's more than a little confused.

To: KateLowry@pemberlybrown.edu
From: GraceLee@pemberlybrown.edu
Subject: (no subject)

I'm here... sort of.
Find Cameron. He knows. 
I shouldn't be writing. 
Don't tell. They'll hurt you.

Now Kate has no choice but to prove once and for all that Grace's death was more than just a tragic accident. She teams up with a couple of knights-in-(not so)-shining armor - the dangerously hot bad boy, Liam and her lovestruck neighbor, Seth. But at their elite private school, there are secrets so big people will do anything to protect them - even if it means getting rid of anyone trying to solve a murder.

The Lies That Bind
(The Liar Society #2) 
by Lisa and Laura Roecker 
Release date: November 6th, 2012
Published by: Sourcebooks Fire 
Genre: Young Adult - Mystery, Thriller


Just when Kate Lowry thought she had life at elite private school Pemberly Brown figured out, she cracks open a fortune cookie to find a message from her best friend Grace - who's supposed to be dead.

Another Sister Gone

A classmate has gone missing, and Kate soon realizes that the disappearances is tied to the secret societies that rule her private school. Her best friend died for their secrets, and there's no way she'll let them get away with it twice. It's up to quirky Kate to get some answers, but in a school where every answer leads to more questions and nothing's as it seems, who can she trust?

ABOUT THE AUTHORS - Lisa and Laura Roecker

Lisa and Laura Roecker are sister-turned-writing-partners with a love of all things Young Adult.
Some call it arrested development, but the sisters claim it keeps them young.
Plus, its cheaper than Botox. Lisa and Laura live in Cleveland, Ohio in separate residences. Their husbands wouldn't agree to a duplex.
THE LIAR SOCIETY is their first novel.

Official Website, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter

Enter to win a paperback copy of LIES THAT BIND (The Liar Society #2) 
by Lisa and Laura Roecker from Sourcebooks Fire!!!
- U.S. and Canada Only, sorry!
- Must be 14yo and older to enter. 

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Beehive Book News #27

Happy belated Thanksgiving!!!

To all of you who celebrated, 
I hope you had a wonderful weekend full of family, friends, food and fun :) 

What I received for review...
Once Again a Bride by Jane Ashford (Adult)
- ReAwakened (Angel Creek #2) by Ada Adams (YA)
- Derailed (Clayton Falls #1) by Alyssa Rose Ivy (YA)
- Veer (Clayton Falls #2) by Alyssa Rose Ivy (YA)

What I purchased...
Mirror Mirror by Gregory Maguire
- Smart Girls Get What They Want (eBook) by Sarah Strohmeyer (YA)
The Ivy (eBook) by Lauren Kunze and Rina Onur (YA)
- City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments #4) by Cassandra Clare (YA)
- Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King (The Guardians, Book One) by William Joyce and Laura Geringer (MG)

Mentions and THANK YOU's...
- Zoraida Cordova, author of The Vicious Deep :)
- Konstanz of No Thought 2 Small via ARCycling :)
- Sourcebooks Casablanca

Thank you SO very much for stopping by today!
Please be sure to leave a comment/link so I can visit you too :) 

(I'm linking up to: The Sunday PostShowcase Sunday and Stacking the Shelves)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Book Trailer Reveal!!! OPAL by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I am SOOO excited to be a part of today's book trailer reveal for...
Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout!

Gasp! is an understatement... watch... now!!!

(A Lux Novel, #3)
by Jennifer L. Armentrout 
Expected release date: December 11th, 2012
Published by: Entangled Publishing 
Genre: Young Adult - Paranormal, Romance 


No one is like Daemon Black

When he set out to prove his feelings for me, he wasn't fooling around. Doubting him isn't something I'll do again, and now that we've made it through the rough patches, well...
There's a lot of spontaneous combustion going on.

But even he can't protect his family from the danger of trying to free those they love

After everything, I'm no longer the same Katy. I'm different... 
And I'm not sure what that will mean in the end. When each step we take in discovering the truth puts us in the path of the secret organization responsible for torturing and testing hybrids, the more I realize there is no end to what I'm capable of. 
The death of someone close still lingers, help comes from the most unlikely source, and friends will become the deadliest of enemies, but we won't turn back. Even if the outcome will shatter our worlds forever. 

Together we're stronger... and they know it. 

BOOK TRAILER - Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout 


Wow, it seems like there are going to be a lot of emotional things going on in Opal!
I love seeing Daemon and Katy so together and in love, but I feel a sadness too, especially towards the end... and who's excited to meet and get to know Dawson?!?! I know I am! I am!!!

This is going to be the best birthday present ever!!!
(It's being released the day after my birthday, hee hee!!!)

What do you think of the OPAL trailer??? 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Jennifer L. Armentrout

USA TODAY Bestselling author, Jennifer L. Armentrout, lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell, Loki. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class where she spent most of her time writing short stories… which explains her dismal grades in math. 
Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She also writes adult romance under the name J. Lynn.

Find Jennifer on: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Website | Blog

Waiting On Wednesday #35: The Art of Wishing by Lindsay Ribar

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by  Breaking the Spine. 
This is were we get to 'spotlight' books that we are anxiously waiting to be released! The ones that we are dying to get our hands on and read into the wee hours of the night and, quite possibly, to make our shelves look all pretty too :)

What I'm waiting on... 

by Lindsay Ribar
Release date: March 21st, 2013


He can grant her wishes, but only she can save his life. 

Margo McKenna has a plan of attack for everything, from landing the lead in her high school musical to dealing with her increasingly absent parents. But when she finds herself in possession of a genie's ring and the opportunity to make three wishes, she doesn't know what to do. Especially since Oliver - not blue-skinned, not bottle-dwelling, but a genie nonetheless - can see more than what she's willing to show him. With one peek into her mind, he can see the wishes that even Margo herself doesn't know she wants. 

But Oliver comes with more than just mind-reading abilities, a flair for magic, and the prettiest eyes Margo's ever seen. Someone from his past is hunting him - someone bent on killing him, along with all the other genies in the world, for the sake of honor. And as Margo soon discovers, it will take more than three wishes to save him. 

A whole lot more. 

Why I'm waiting on THE ART OF WISHING... 


Seriously, you had me at genies!!!
It's definitely different than all the other YA books out there right now - 
I am SO looking forward to this one :)

SO, what are you waiting on??? 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Beehive Book Update #26: The Third Wheel Edition :)

Good day to you!!! Hope everyone is doing well :)
I am fighting a cold, and you can see how terrible I look, lol! 
But I did not want another week to go by without an update, so here it is... 

I'm also participating in Tynga's "Stacking the Shelves" this week!!!

What I received for review...
- Mia's Heart by Courtney Cole (YA)
- Hysteria (NG) by Megan Miranda (YA)
- Also Known As (NG) by Robin Benway (YA)
The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart (Magic Most Foul #2) by Leanna Renee Hieber (YA)

What I bought, won, traded, etc...
- Eve & Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate (YA)
Easy by Tammara Webber (New Adult)
The Art of Wreck-It Ralph by Maggie Malone (E)
- Endlessly (Paranormalcy #3) by Kiersten White (YA)
Something Like Normal by Trish Doller (YA)
- Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (YA)
Darker Still (Magic Most Foul #1) by Leanna Renee Hieber (YA)
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid #7: The Third Wheel by Jeff Kinney (MG)

Mentions and THANK YOU's too...
- Danny of Bewitched Bookworms :)
- Lili of Lili's ReflectionsKeertana of Ivy Book Bindings and Krista of Nawanda Files via YA Book Exchange :)
- Bloomsbury and Sourcebooks Fire
- Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan) and Chronicle Books

Current Giveaways...
A Royal Pain by Megan Mulry (Adult)
The Epic Giving Thanks Scavenger Hunt!
- Signed ARC of Prodigy (Legend #2) by Marie Lu (YA)

Thanks so much for stopping by today :) 
Please leave your links/comments below, I'd love to visit everyone too!!!

Happy reading!!!

Blog Tour: Miss Fortune Cookie (Excerpt) by Lauren Bjorkman

by Lauren Bjorkman
Release date: November 13th, 2012
Published by: Henry Holt and Co. 
Genre: Young Adult - Humor 


Meet Erin.
Smart student, great daughter, better friend, 

Secretly the mastermind behind the popular advice blog Miss Fortune Cookie. 
Totally unaware that her carefully constructed life is about to get crazy. 

It all begins when her ex-best friend sends a letter to her blog - and then acts on her advice. Erin's efforts to undo the mess will plunge her into adventure, minor felonies, and possibly her very first romance. 

What's a likely fortune for someone no longer completely in control of her fate?
Hopefully nothing like: You will become a crispy noodle in the salad of life. 

Chapter One Excerpt from MISS FORTUNE COOKIE:

My friends and I were riding home from school on Muni, clinging to an assortment of slippery handholds, when Linny almost blew my secret identity. Intentionally. 
"Listen to this one," she said, reading off her iPhone, a faint but smirky glint in her eyes. "Dear Miss Fortune Cookie. My cousin thinks I'm chasing her boyfriend. Her boyfriend and I never flirt, but sometimes we text. What can I do to make her believe me? Just Friends."
In fact, I - Erin Kavanagh, alias Miss Fortune Cookie - had posted this very letter on my anonymous advice blog, and Linny happened to be the only person in San Francisco to know that, the only person in the whole world, except for some random administrator at WordPress. She takes every opportunity to harass me about keeping my blog a secret. "What advice would you give, Erin?" she asked, winking this time. 
I kept my face as neutral as possible. Luckily, Darren and Mei were only paying attention to each other. As usual. 
Personally speaking, I think nano-deceptions are a good thing. I regularly use them to protect my friends from unpleasant truths. Should I tell Linny that her favorite knit hat makes her head look like a furry meatball? Or nudge Mei whenever Darren winces at her hyena laugh? Absolutely not. Sincere lies keep everyone happy. 
I blew the hair out of my eyes. "The cousin will never stop suspecting the two of them," I said to Linny, "so Just Friends has to stop the texting. She could get her own boyfriend. Or move to somewhere far away like Moldavia." 
Muni, a sort of bus powered by electric wires overhead, jerked to a halt. A seat opened up, and Linny took it. "Exactly!" She has the happiest smile ever, so bit it barely fit on her face.
Metaphorically speaking. "Mei, don't you think Erin is a natural at giving advice?"
"Hmm?" Mei said. She was somewhat entwined with Darren and therefore distracted. 
"Nothing." I jabbed Linny in the ribs to get her to stop talking. Gently of course. The three of us - Mei, Linny, and me - made an enviable friendship trio. I was the lesser third, maybe because Mei and Linny were gorgeously Chinese-American, while I was just Boring-American. A Person of Irsih. 
Mei knew nothing about my connection to Miss Fortune Cookie. We used to be best friends, and by best friends I mean we spent every afternoon and weekend together until eighth grade, when things fell apart between us. The truth is, Mei dumped me. then Linny brought us together again during freshman year, inviting us both to eat lunch with her, forming a little group. A few months later, I mustered the courage to bring up the dumping incident with Mei, except she didn't want to talk about it. 
So we became friends again without dealing with the past. Pretty much. 
Except I didn't trust her like I used to. 
And she didn't share any intimate details about herself with me. 
Linny beckoned me closer to whisper in my hear. "I have a question for Miss Fortune Cookie. A very personal one. But you can't tell Mei."
"Why not?"
She lowered her voice more. "You just can't, 'kay?"
I nodded. Linny usually let both of us in on every detail about her life, although lately she'd been secretive about her new boyfriend. Whatever it was, it wouldn't be boring. I turned my back toward Mei and said in my quietest voice, "Go ahead. I'm listening. What is it?"
Linny shook her head. "Not now."
Just then, the Muni driver made the sharp turn into Chinatown, and three things happened almost simultaneously: a bicyclist veered into the road, the driver slammed on the brakes, and I fell into another passenger. We came to a halt fifty feet from the stop, and the bicyclist escaped unscathed. I could tell by the vigorous way he flipped off the driver. Then I caught sight of Mrs. Liu, bundled against the fog, among the passengers waiting to board.
"Your mom!" I whispered to Mei. "She's getting on!"
Mei's eyes widened. "What the what?"
Which demonstrates a problem with sincere lies - in this case, Mei's lie to her mom about not having a boyfriend. They can be found out. Darren dropped his arm from around Mei's waist and grabbed his backpack. "Bye," he mouthed before zipping to the back and catapulting out the rear door. He's considerate like that. 
Mrs. Liu's grocery bags thumped against the handrail as she marched up the steps. She has sharp, high cheekbones and is tall like her daughter. She and Mei both have blunt-cut hair that reaches their shoulders. Our favorite salon in Chinatown sometimes offers two-for-one specials. 
Mei hurried to the front to take the two largest bags. "Ma, let me."
Mrs. Liu stretched her swan neck toward the window. "Who is that with you?"
Mei shook her head nervously. "No one. Just Erin and Linny. I invited them to help with the turnip cakes."
"No. I see boy before." Mrs. Liu believed with every sinew in her heart that a boyfriend would distract Mei from her schoolwork, ruining her chances of getting into the number one university in the country, Harvard. So when Mei fell in love with Darren last spring, she kept it a secret from her mom. For thirteen whole months. Which showed amazing ingenuity and skill on her part, but once you start a lie, it's hard to escape it.
"Who is boy?"
"Oh, him," Mei said. "Someone from AP Chem. We were discussing the homework. Chemical reactions." She blinked fast. "And stuff like that."
To be fair, most people have trouble lying to Mrs. Liu. Her eyes bore right through your skull and read your thoughts as if you accidentally uploaded them onto Facebook. It's her superpower. 
Linny stood up to offer her seat to Mrs. Liu. "Mr. F assigned loads of homework over the weekend. He wants us in top shape for the AP test."
Mrs. Liu ignored the seat. She had just turned forty and didn't appreciate the senior-citizen treatment. "Very good. Homework make you smart."
"Ma, please sit down. Ni shi lao." That means you are the elder, a show of respect. It also means you are old
"I am comfortable," Mrs. Liu said.
Mei continued arguing politely. Though most Chinese immigrants to San Francisco speak Cantonese, a dialect common in the south of China, Mrs. Liu emigrated from the north, where they speak Mandarin. I was fluent enough to follow their conversation. 
"Ma, ni zuo." Ma, just sit
"Gaosu wo ta de mingzi." Tell me his name
Before they resolved anything, the driver pulled into the stop by Mrs. Liu's restaurant, and we all got off. Hay Fat occupies a prominent street corner in Chinatown. Mrs. Liu's heightened culinary sensibility has turned it into a legend, luring in the more adventurous tourists and fussy locals. She serves authentic dishes with ingredients such as fermented bean paste, whole fish with eyeballs intact, and lotus. Her menu also includes beef broccoli in case people with less sophisticated palates wander in by mistake. 
We entered the kitchen through the alley. The dinner rush had yet to begin, which meant we had the place to ourselves. After setting me up with the grater and Mei with the bacon to steam, Mrs. Liu tossed a handful of sesame seeds into sizzling oil at the bottom of the wok. I closed my eyes to better appreciate the scrumptious smell. 
"What should I do?" Linny asked. I looked at her appraisingly, wondering about her secret. Not that we could talk here in the kitchen. 
Mrs. Liu handed her a bowl. "Cut mushrooms. Very small pieces."
I consider Hay Fat my second home. Mom and Mrs. Liu met when Mei and I were in preschool and have been good friends ever since. We live one floor below them in an apartment a few blocks from here in a quieter part of Chinatown. Mrs. Liu has always welcomed me into her kitchen, even during that black year when Mei and I barely spoke. 
What I know of her life before America comes though Mom. Twenty-three years ago, Mrs. Liu studied cooking at a special school in China that trains workers for American restaurants. After finishing the program, she immigrated to San Francisco, where she met Mei's dad.  He soon left her, and she has remained single ever since. Which could explain some of her gruffness. 
"No lollygagging," Mrs. Liu said. The cloth she wore over her hair fell askew, and my fingers itched to straightened it. I didn't stop grating for a second, though, because sometimes when I slacked off from a job she's given me, she'll pinch my arm. Not hard, but still. 
Linny held out her cutting board for inspection. "Are these pieces small enough?"
Mrs. Liu took the board and tossed the mushrooms into the wok. "Almost. Watch. This is secret part. Very important. Not in recipe."
Smoke rose from the hot metal. While Mrs. Liu stirred up a storm, I took the chance to rest my aching muscles. As I was standing there, I noticed that the photographs hanging over the sink had been dusted recently. One showed four-year-old Mei holding a pen and scroll, a minscholar. Next to it hung a picture of me dressed as a sunflower for our preschool play. 
The turnip cakes were for a party next week, an event to celebrate Mei's acceptance into Harvard. Mrs. Liu had planned it out a long time ago. I think she decided on which dishes to serve before Mei started high school. Last July, she bought boxes of scarlet and black decorations  She mailed the invitations a month ago. Harvard's acceptance emails, though, wouldn't go out until tomorrow, April 1, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. 
Now Mei just had to get in. 
The three of us attend Lowell, a high school for academic types - nerds in the best sense - a rare public school that students compete to get into. At Lowell, we have a popular crowd, hipsters, and partiers like everywhere else, but we worry more about SAT percentiles and college choices than our counterparts. For us, the first of April is bigger than the Academy Awards. Tomorrow, hopes would be mangled and dreams decapitated. 
Mrs. Liu spun around to face Mei. "Meihua! That boy on bus. Shi bu shi boyfriend?"
Meihua blinked. "He's not, Ma."
Linny and I exchange glances. 
full denial = a lie of omission x 10 3
Mei's sincere lie had gone bad, turned slimy and evil smelling like leftovers jammed to the back of the fridge behind the sauce jars. 
"The stove!" Linny yelled. 
Flames shot upward. Mrs. Liu calmly fetched a small broom and beat out the fire in three precise strokes. She's efficient like that. "You are young. You cannot know love."
Except Romeo and Juliet were young, and though Darren had not declared his devotion publicly from the alley or climbed a trellis to the window leading to Mei's bedchamber, Romeo had nothing on him when it came to passion. I'd seen more of that than I cared to, in fact. 
Mei laid the steamed bacon on a clean bamboo chopping block and commenced mincing it into molecule-sized bits. Mrs. Liu waved her spatula. "Harvard most important thing. Future more valuable than useless boy. You tell me, Erin. Who is boy?"
My hand flew across the grater, and the mound of turnips grew. "The boy on Muni?"
Mrs. Liu growled with exasperation. "The Master say give elder no reason for anxiety."
Mei ducked her head. "You're right, Ma."
"I am not right," Mrs. Liu barked. "The Master is right." By the Master, she meant Confucius, the spiritual grandfather of China, born more than five hundred years before Jesus. Arguing against the Master would be futile. The main dinner chef arrived, and Mrs. Liu dismissed us. "Skedaddle. Do homework. Good bye."
Grateful for the reprieve, I slipped out of my apron. Mei planted her feet by the stove and lifted her chin. She looked exactly like she used to long ago when we shoved cooked rice and fruit under the stove to feed the hungry ghost that lived there: scared but determined. She turned to Linny and me. "I'm staying to help Ma. Wait for me." 
Which meant Linny and I would get a little time alone and she could finally tell me what she started to say on Muni. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Lauren Bjorkman 

"I am the author of two YA novels, MY INVENTED LIFE and MISS FORTUNE COOKIE. 
I also contributed a short story to the anthology THE FIRST TIME. 

Though I grew up on a sailboat and loved traveling the world as a kid, I'm still afraid of the ocean. I much prefer other modes of transportation these days - plane, train, or car. Walking is best. 

I love books with multi-faceted, intriguing characters. The best ones make me laugh, cry and turn the pages long past my bedtime. 

When I'm not reading or writing, I spend time with family and friends, talking about everything under the sun. Add in some good food to the mix, top it off with chocolate, and I'm truly happy." 

 A promo for: 

Friday, November 16, 2012

My #FridayReads {hash}TAG #4

Happy TGIF!!! 
It's been a few weeks since I've done a Friday Reads...

#FridayReads is a hashtag that explodes on Twitter every Friday, 
and Bunny of Reading It brought it over to YouTube and blog world :)
And you can view Bunny's video here!

Here are my reads for today, and this weekend...

- Darker Still (Magic Most Foul #1) by Leanna Renee Hieber (YA)

Have you read Darker Still? What do you think of it??? 

Thanks for stopping by!!!

What are you reading???

Cover Reveal and GIVEAWAY: Forever My Girl by Heidi McLaughlin (Adult)

Good morning! I have the fun pleasure to reveal a new indie book-cover to you today!
I really think they did a wonderful job with it, and love it!
What do you think???

(The Beaumont Series #1) 
by Heidi McLaughlin 
Expected release date: December 27th, 2012
Published by: Self-published 
Genre: Adult Contemporary, Romance, Chic-Lit 


I was never supposed to be a rock star. 
I had my life all planned out for me. Play football in college. Go to the NFL. 
Marry my high school sweetheart and live happily ever after. 

I broke both our hearts that day when I told her I was leaving. 
I was young. I made the right decision for me, but the wrong decision for us. 
I've poured my soul into my music, but I've never forgotten her. 
Her smell, her smile.

And now I'm going back. 

After ten years. 

I hope I can explain that after all this time. 
I still want her to be my forever girl. 


I really loooove this cover! 
It gives us so much insight, and the feel, as to what the book is all about.

There is so much to wonder about these characters already...
Why did he leave her? Why didn't he ask her to go with him? 
Will she forgive him easily? or make him suffer? or blow him off? 
Will there be any song references??? 

I am really looking forward to reading this one!!! 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Heidi McLaughlin 

"My grandma once told me I can do anything I want, so I am. 

Originally from the Pacific Northwest, I now live in picturesque Vermont, with my husband and two daughters. Also renting space in our home is an over-hyper Beagle/Jack Russell and two Parakeets. 

During the day, you'll find me behind a desk talking about Land Use. At night, I'm writing one of the many stories I plan to release or sitting court-side either daughter's basketball games. 

I'm also an active reviewer on The Readiacs - a site I won with my best friend and uber special beta, Yvette." 

A promo blitz for: 

Imagination Designs
Images by LabyrinthofDreams