[PR] Meet Ellen Hopkins in Ann Arbor September 25th!

Here’s your chance to see Ellen Hopkins live and in person!  She will be in Ann Arbor, MI on September 25th @ 6:00pm for an event at LITERATI BOOKSTORE (124 E Washington St, Ann Arbor).   Here is the info from Literati’s website, followed by a press release about her latest book SMOKE.  Anyone planning on going?

New York Times bestselling author Ellen Hopkins will be signing and reading from her new book, Smoke (Simon & Schuster). Ellen Hopkins is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Crank, Burned, Impulse, Glass, Identical, Tricks, Fallout, Perfect, Tilt, and Smoke, as well as the adult novels Triangles and Collateral.

Free. 6pm.  Location:  124 E. Washington St.  Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104

SMOKE: A Novel

By Ellen Hopkins

Margaret K. McElderry Books/ S&S Children’s; September 10, 2013; $19.99


Two sisters concealing huge secrets set fire to their lies in order to rebuild their futures in the riveting sequel to the New York Times bestseller Burned….

For nearly a decade, #1 New York Times bestseller Ellen Hopkins has captivated readers and changed the lives of countless teens with her emotionally powerful storylines told in free verse that take a piercing and honest look at the serious issues facing today’s young adults. With 4.5 million copies of her books in print, Ellen Hopkins has undoubtedly established herself as one of the biggest stars in fiction. This September, she returns with SMOKE (Margaret K. McElderry Books; September 10, 2013; $19.99; hardcover), the highly anticipated sequel to her bestselling second novel Burned (2007).

In SMOKE, Hopkins continues the story of Pattyn von Stratten, one of eight children in a Mormon household who, along with her mother and sister Jackie, have suffered years of physical, emotional, and psychological abuse at the hands of her father. Trapped in tragic circumstances, Pattyn and Jackie cling to one another for support and a sense of normalcy, but when their father takes the abuse too far one evening and winds up dead, Pattyn is forced to flee. Jackie is left behind with their mother, who allows the truth of what happened that night to be covered up by the domineering leaders of their rigid Mormon community.

Although their father is gone, the dysfunction is not, as Jackie struggles to cope with her mother’s blatant disregard of her suffering and of the disappearance of her oldest child.  Alone and in disguise, Pattyn attempts to start a new life as a migrant worker on a California ranch. But is it possible to rebuild a life when everything you’ve known has burned to ash and lies seem far safer than the truth? 

“This book was a long time coming,” says Hopkins. “A sequel I never intended. But far too many of my readers needed closure to the story I told in Burned.” Told from the points of view of Pattyn and Jackie, SMOKE addresses questions of family and faith, domestic abuse, rape, identity, grief and loss, and the ability to love and be loved. It’s a riveting story that explores what it takes to rise from the ashes, put ghosts to rest, and step into the future.

In addition to the release of SMOKE, Hopkins has founded Ventana Sierra, a non-profit youth housing and resource initiative designed to help highly motivated young people build solid career paths toward a more positive future. Ventana Sierra’s mission is to provide necessary services that allow disadvantaged youth (17-25) to become productive citizens. “Over the years, I’ve had the occasion to meet young people who, because of whatever circumstances, wound up on the street,” says Hopkins. “Several were highly motivated, and wanted to finish high school and go on to college, but simply didn’t have the resources to accomplish this goal. I founded Ventana Sierra to help youth-in-need.” Ventana Sierra’s first house opened on June 1st, 2013 in Nevada and a second house is to follow before the end of the year. Their long-range goal is ten houses, five for young women and five for young men.

Ellen Hopkins is the #1 New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of eight young adult novels, including Crank, Glass, Fallout, Perfect, and Tilt, as well as the adult novels Triangles and Collateral. She lives with her family in Carson City, Nevada, where she has founded Ventana Sierra, a nonprofit youth housing and resource initiative. Be sure to visit her online at ellenhopkins.com; https://www.facebook.com/ellenhopkinsya; and twitter.com/ellenhopkinsYA

Review: Midnight Secretary Vol 1 by Tomu Ohmi


Title: Midnight Secretary Vol 1

Author:  Tomu Ohmi


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:


Mad Men meets Vampire Diaries

Kaya Satozuka prides herself on being an excellent secretary and a consummate professional, so she doesn’t even bat an eye when she’s reassigned to the office of her company’s difficult director, Kyohei Touma. He’s as prickly—and hot—as rumors paint him, but Kaya is unfazed…until she discovers that he’s a vampire!!Kaya quickly accustoms herself to scheduling his “dinner dates” and working odd hours, but can she handle it when Kyohei’s smoldering gaze starts turning her way?!


Midnight Secretary is a very fun, fluffy read.  I wasn’t expecting much from it, and I wasn’t really in the mood for it, so I kept shuffling it from the top of my reading pile, and now I’m sorry I did.  Once I got it in my hands, the cover kind of turned me off.  I don’t find it appealing at all, so here is another instance where I misjudged the book by it’s cover.

Kaya takes pride in her job, and she wants to be the best executive secretary possible so she can get a great job, and so her mom won’t have to work so hard.  After her father died, her mother got a job at Tohma Corporation, and she worked hard to put Kaya through school.  She even helped get her a job at Tohma, and now that Kaya is getting her big break, she’s going to make her mother proud.  The big break turns out to be a mixed blessing.  She’s assigned to be Kyohei Tohma’s secretary.  Kyohei is the younger son of the senior director, and he’s a jerk.  He is a demanding boss, who works long hours, and his exacting expectations have caused countless secretaries to quit.  Kaya is determined to succeed, though, but his dismissive attitude is hard to deal with.

Kyohei has a reputation for being a ladies man, and Kaya quickly discovers that this is true.  He juggles the ladies with consummate skill, arranging meetings with them in his office after dark.  He is quick to disparage Kaya’s looks, and he grumpily complains that she’s not good looking enough to work for him.  Kaya ignores every complaint and quickly proves that she is efficient and dedicated to her job.  When she suspects that Kyohei and his girlfriends are using drugs in the office, she doesn’t hesitate to get to the bottom of her suspicions.  She’s afraid that if there is illegal drug use going on that he’ll get caught, the company will suffer, and she’ll lose her job.  What she discovers is that he’s a vampire, and that the hanky panky in his office  is Kyohei drinking the blood of his beautiful lady friends.  The illegal drug use would probably have been more welcome than working for a blood-sucking playboy!

I enjoyed Midnight Secretary because Kaya is so unflappable.  She takes the discovery that her boss is a vampire in stride, and quickly decides that she’s going to defend his secret and make sure that he is taken care of so that he can continue to perform his job duties.  Well, that and he’s threatened to have her mother fired if  Kaya quits, so she doesn’t really have much choice.  Meeting every challenge that he throws at her head-on, Kaya quickly proves that she is indispensible.  Despite Kyohei’s gruffness, she can’t help but find him attractive, especially after his secret weakness is revealed and he is forced to drink her blood.

The art is very attractive and reminded me of Mayu Shinjo.  The delicate lines are expressive, and the characters are attractive, even Kaya, who hides her baby face behind ugly glasses and a severe hair style.Midnight Secretary is fun and flirty, and I can’t wait to read the next volume. 

Grade:  B+

Review copy provided by publisher

Interview with Sarah Ballance, Her Wicked Sin and Giveaway!

Please welcome today’s special guest, Sarah Ballance! Sarah is here to chat about her latest historical romance Her Wicked Sin, and after the interview, enter for a chance to win a $50 gift card!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Sarah] Wife of amazing man. Accidental author. Perpetually frazzled homeschooling mom of six. Sprouts random gray hairs and calls them highlights.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Her Wicked Sin?

[Sarah] It’s set in Salem, MA 1692 during the Salem witch trials. The story kicks off when my heroine comes upon the hero fallen from his horse. She has enough sense to be wary of a stranger, but since he’s hurt she figures she’s got the upper hand if he tries anything. With that in mind, she takes him back to her nearby home to convalesce for the night. When she and the hero are subsequently caught in a compromising—albeit innocent—position, he takes a false identity, acting as her husband to protect her from accusations of adultery, the punishment for which was often death. What starts as a fake relationship leads to real feelings, but when the heroine is arrested for witchcraft, he’s got a terrible choice to make. Fighting for her freedom means revealing his true identity at a time when any association with a witch could lead to his own arrest, to say nothing of the ruin it would bring to his family and his business. Walking away means saving himself and his reputation—and possibly her life—but at an unbearable cost.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Sarah] ERMAGERD. Totally by accident. I saw a mention of Salem on the Entangled Scandalous submissions page, and, well, I love Salem. (Easy for me to say because no one tried to hang me there, right?) So I went caterwauling to my editor over how I should TOTALLY write a Salem historical one day. ONE DAY. She ignored that last part and asked the historical peeps if they wanted Salem. And they did, so my editor told me to write a story proposal. Erma, what? I’d never even attempted to write historical so I panicked a little, then spent some time balled up in a corner sobbing. And everything that happened after that moment has been an absolute blur. I didn’t even know what I was going to write until I saw it on the screen, but the ideas all stemmed from that one very strange moment when I said something in jest and ended up with a contract. (INORITE?)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Lydia?

[Sarah] Decisive, persevering, and heartfelt.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Henry had a theme song, what would it be?

[Sarah] For this book, it’s got to be Hey Pretty Girl by Kip Moore.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Lydia is never without.

[Sarah] The burdens of her past. But if you meant something tangible, her medical bag. (She’s a midwife).

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find on Henry’s pocket?

[Sarah] Oh, MAN, this is tough. If he were a modern hero, I’d say you’d never find phone numbers from other women, so 300+ years ago I reckon you wouldn’t find him with directions to their houses, LOL. You’d also never find tobacco on him. And, erm, a riding crop. Not that a crop would fit in a pocket to begin with, but he wouldn’t carry one.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Lydia’s greatest regret?

[Sarah] The loss of her child.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Sarah] Talking with my editor about a story always gets me SO fired up. And music sets the mood and really propels me into a story, so whichever artist I’m hung up on at the moment gets credit. (Lately, that would be Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan). No single author or book, but reading also gets me going. When I read a great book, I’m incredibly inspired to write. Problem is, if it’s a great book I won’t want to put it down. J

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Sarah] This is probably the most boring answer ever, but here you go: my laptop (preferably with an internet connection for research), background noise (so I’m not distracted by the kids…but the background noise can’t BE the kids), and a drink (usually ice water).

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What was your biggest distraction while working on Her Wicked Sin?

[Sarah] The research! I’d look for something like marriage rituals and end up reading about Puritan sex scandals. I mean, I’d barely come to terms with the fact Puritans HAD sex (they came across as so chaste when I was in school, lol) when I discovered all the naughty, freaky things they did. SO DISTRACTING!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Sarah] I’ve read so many great ones. I think the last one I could NOT stop reading was “Ripples Through Time” by Rosalie Stanton. Every chapter ends on a huge cliffhanger, so needless to say I was up all night. Amazing book.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Sarah] I’ve read fiendishly for as long as I can remember, so I can’t really say. But the first book that really affected my writing career was “Crime Scene at Cardwell Ranch” by BJ Daniels. It was my first Harlequin Intrigue. I read it and immediately fell in love with romantic suspense, which is still my favorite genre to write.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Sarah] Boating (though writing ON the boat at the marina is amazing), hiking, walking, hanging out at the beach, or—don’t laugh—watching re-runs of The Golden Girls or Mama’s Family. I also love to cook, bake, decorate cakes, and ride around in the car. Traveling is fantastic (though not always feasible, lol), but when the kids are driving me NUTS I just love to throw them in the car and drive. (It’s legal—and required—to strap them down in the car. Doing so in the house is frowned upon. I’m just sayin’…)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Sarah] You can find me hiding under the bed, hoping for five minutes of peace from the kids. Also at my links, which are as follows: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Find HER WICKED SIN @ Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes | Goodreads, and if you like haunted asylums, stay tuned for my upcoming supernatural novella RUBY HILL, which releases September 30 from Entangled Publishing.

Thanks so very much for allowing my visit today!

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Thank you for stopping by!

Her Wicked Sin  by Sarah Ballance

Genre: Historical Romance

Publisher: Entangled Publishing

Number of pages: 147

Book Description:

Salem, MA 1692

On a moonless night, he rides into the winter forest on his beast as black as midnight…

Dashing stranger, Henry Dunham, comes to Salem on a mysterious errand, but is thrown from his horse in the dead of night and rescued by the local Puritan midwife, Lydia Colson.

Haunted by her past, Lydia is running from her own dark secrets, avoiding intrusive questions by pretending her dead husband is simply… away. But when she and Henry are caught in a compromising situation, one punishable by Puritan law, he saves her from scandal by claiming to be her errant spouse… and claiming her bed.

Forced to fake a marriage, Lydia and Henry find their passion overwhelming and their vows a little too real. As their lies become truths, a witch hunt closes in on Lydia, threatening not only their burgeoning love, but her life.

About the Author:

Sarah and her husband of what he calls “many long, long years” live on the mid-Atlantic coast with their six young children, all of whom are perfectly adorable when they’re asleep.

She never dreamed of becoming an author, but as a homeschooling mom, she often jokes she writes fiction because if she wants anyone to listen to her, she has to make them up. (As it turns out, her characters aren’t much better than the kids).

When not buried under piles of laundry, she may be found adrift in the Atlantic (preferably on a boat) or seeking that ever-elusive perfect writing spot where not even the kids can find her.

She loves creating unforgettable stories while putting her characters through an unkind amount of torture—a hobby that has nothing to do with living with six children. (Really.) Though she adores nail-biting mystery and edge-of-your-seat thrillers, Sarah writes in many genres including contemporary and ghostly paranormal romance.

Her ever-growing roster of releases may be found on Amazon , Barnes & Noble, Kobo, For the Muse Publishing, and coming soon to ENTANGLED PUBLISHING.

Website: http://www.sarahballance.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SarahBallance

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/sarah.ballance.author.news

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4103362.Sarah_Balance


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