5/08/2015

Expanding Horizons: New Adult Lit

Today we're going to tackle a rather new topic for Read My Breath Away: New Adult.

I love my YA, don't get me wrong. I think I always will. But lately I've been thinking that maybe I should read some stories that are centred around the stage that I'm in in my life right now as I start thinking about my last year of university and what lies beyond. This is where you guys come in.

I have a couple of NA experts in my life, so a lot of the recommendations I've gotten so far have come from them. I'm really excited about the titles they've put forward but I also wanted to put the call out generally to see if there are any fantastic NA that have slipped by my experts.

I really want to read NA that has substance. I know a lot of them seem to focus significantly around dark, troubled relationships and sex. I want NA with more than that. Obviously I have no issue with reading sex in my books if I'm taking this leap, but I don't want that to be the only thing carrying the book. Also, I really don't want abuse romanticized, which I've heard can be an issue in some NA, so please don't steer me towards those. You will have a very unpleasant Jess on your hands if you do that to me.

So far, I have a few lined up for me. One that I've been meaning to read for AGES is Cora Carmack's Losing It (and I hope I love it because she's got lots more to dive into afterwards). At the insistence of rec-ing ball Dahlia, I picked up Unteachable by Leah Raeder (and I have a good feeling I'll be reading more of what Leah puts out because I've heard nothing but great things about Black Iris as well) and I also recently bought Dahlia's own NA debut, Last Will and Testament. The Ottawa bloggers each got a copy of Ann Aguirre's I Want It That Way (hello earworm!) at our meetup -- thanks Harlequin! And from my NA Expert #1, Emilie, I borrowed Karina Halle's Where Sea Meets Sky, which I can't wait to dig into mostly because it's set in New Zealand. Two others on my radar are Boomerang by Noelle August (I see you, Veronica Rossi) and Swimming to Tokyo by Brenda St. John Brown.

Last Will and Testament (Radleigh University, #1) 

All of these are NA books that I'm planning to read soon as part of my efforts to read a little more in my age zone (even though I don't really like the way that sounds... YA forever!!!)

Have you read and loved any of these? Do you have any other NA faves that you can recommend? Lay 'em on me!

5/05/2015

Underrated YA: "Genre Novel" Edition

Part Two!

I've talked about this before but in response to this crazypants Buzzfeed list, today I'm going to tell you about some actual underrated YA (in my humble opinion, anyway) that you should probably go get your hands on ASAP. This follows along the lines of Twitter's response to the same article which took place under #quietYA.

Note: Since I'm being all adamant about the fact that I want to shed light on truly underrated books here, I've put some rules in place for myself. 1, Nothing that's been on the NYT Bestseller list (because guys, that's not underrated). 2, Nothing that currently has a fancy (major) "Award Winner/Nominee" medal on its cover (like for the Morris Debut Award - sorry, In the Shadow of Blackbirds and Charm & Strange! I still love you!) because that can definitely help with exposure. 3. Nothing that I've seen talked about constantly on social media/blogs within my slice of the book world because I figure you're all exposed to similar chatter and then those books aren't really underrated to you anymore, are they?

When I started writing this, I realized that I had so many recs there was no way I could have fit all the books I wanted to rec into one post. So I decided to turn this into a mini-series type deal, hence the second part of the title. This is part two and will cover (my interpretation of) "Genre novels," so in this case: fantasy, paranormal(ish - no straight paranormal here, actually), sci-fi, and magical realism novels. I already featured historical fiction here and I'm also going to have an installment for contemporary novels.

With all that said, here are my genre fiction picks!

The Archived and The Unbound by Victoria Schwab
Most people know V.E. Schwab for her adult titles (with major crossover appeal), Vicious and A Darker Shade of Magic. While those books absolutely deserve their hype, people who ignore her true YA stuff, especially this duology (to hopefully one day be a full trilogy) are truly missing out not only on more of her incredible storytelling but also on some wonderful characters and a truly unique idea.
(My review of The Unbound here)


Pantomime by Laura Lam
I haven't had a chance to read its sequel, Shadowplay, yet but I'm sure when I do it'll go right on this list as well. But on Pantomime for now: this is a book with a circus (which is such a fun and interesting setting, by the way), magic, and a protagonist working through finding their place and identity. This book is different from pretty much anything else I've read and I really recommend it.
(My review here)

17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma
All you people who are flailing over her newest release, The Walls Around Us, and wondering who this wonderful author is need to get the heck on the backlist train! 17 & Gone is Suma's third book (I believe) and wow, is it ever a doozy. I wrote an entire post about how this book made me reflect on the way my depression and social anxiety affected me throughout high school and continues to affect me now in university. It played with my mind and truly got into my heart, all with Suma's wonderful prose that seems to be a staple in her work.
(My review here)



Nil by Lynne Matson
Teens dropped on an island paradise that might actually be somewhat sentient and turns out to be far from paradise? A year each to try and escape before their time runs out? Sounds like ingredients for an exciting and suspenseful and unique sci-fi, right? RIGHT. Throw in some fun and really enjoyable characters and some fantastic female agency in Charlie and I call Nil a total winner!
(My review here)

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
I feel like a lot of things about the description of this one might scare people off... strong magical realism, a generational aspect, etc, but it's actually a beautiful and compelling read that explores themes in family and religion, and looks at when devotion turns obsessive in a very memorable way. This is not the kind of book I'm normally drawn to but it really surprised me and I'd love to see more people give it a shot!
(My review here)

Did I miss one that would be on your list of underrated genre fiction? Are any of these on your TBR?

4/24/2015

Engage Grabby Hands Upon...

Inspired by this post at BookRiot, today I wanted to share the keywords or phrases that, when found on books, immediately make my grabby hands start to tingle. And, like Maddie at BookRiot, I basically transform into Fry when I find that some of these things have been combined into one glorious promise of a book.

I actually have a lot in common with BookRiot's Maddie and thus I must agree with her on the following that she mentioned in her post:

- "a pair/group of [young] women must work together"
You want to give me a girl gang? I want that girl gang. Seriously though, I love when women (I specified young women there because I'm focused on YA here) have to team up to get things done. Also, it means more awesome lady characters to enjoy and hopefully wonderful friendships to eat up. Win/win/winwinwin.

- "set in 19th century London"
I don't limit myself to the 19th century or to London - I am a fairly equal opportunity hist. fic. lover - but there's just something about the atmosphere so often found in books about this time and place that sucks me right in.

- "murderess/lady assassin" and my addition, "lady spies"
As if I could even pretend that these ones don't immediately catch my attention.

In addition, here are some of the other things that make me drool for a book right off the bat:

- "Greek/Roman/Egyptian/Norse mythology"
I'm sure I've told this story here before, but I was totally that kid in elementary school who sat in the library and read absolutely everything about mythology that I could get my hands on. I literally did a whole posterboard project on the Egyptian gods (Isis, Ra, and Set, if you're wondering which ones) FOR FUN. And *nerd alert* one of my favourite PC strategy games has always been Age of Mythology. So what I'm saying is that I want all the mythology YA, please and thank you.

- "Tudor"
Yes, seriously, the word Tudor is basically all it takes. I'm a little obsessed with the Tudor line, especially around the rule of King Henry VIII, so I jump all over books that promise

- "witches in historical-leaning fantasy"
I don't really gravitate so much towards modern witch stories but you give me witches in a historical-fantasy-like world and I am so in.

- "WWII"
Dark? Maybe. But honestly, WWII fiction is like cat nip. It's another one of those historical periods that I have always had an interest in and so since I've done lots of studying of the facts side of things, I love reading the stories that people imagine go along with it.

- "girl disguised as a boy"
When girls have to disguise themselves as guys to survive and there's always the risk that they could be discovered and there's usually tension galore? Yeah, gimmie. I think I might have Mulan to thank for loving this trope so much.

- "pirates"
There are not enough pirates in YA these days. Every time I hear about a pirate story I almost start to drool. Pirates are ruthless, exciting, adventurous, and usually a couple of them are pretty sexy (in literature, anyway), and those things are all so much fun to read about. Plus there's often lots of travel in pirate stories, which, honestly, you can't go wrong with.

Now that I've shared by book kryptonite with you, I want to know what yours are! What keywords or phrases set your bookish heart aflutter?

4/23/2015

Giveaway: Beautiful Girl by Lida James

Today in partnership with the wonderful Paper Lantern Lit, I'm excited to offer up the chance to win an e-copy of Lida James' Beautiful Girl, a PLL The Studio title. I'm hoping to be reviewing this one soon but people have been saying some really great things about it! So if you have an Apple-compatible product on which you can read e-books, make sure you enter for your chance to win below!

Beautiful Girl by Lida James

Published: October 28, 2014.
Published by: The Studio, a PLL imprint.

Goodreads Synopsis:
Darkness has a way of catching up...

Sophomore year at Dutchess College has just begun, and Nicole is still haunted by memories of her first love, Zach. As the changing leaves fall on the stately Hudson Valley campus, she takes solace in running—pushing herself to go harder, faster, to be the best. With the wind blowing through her hair, she can almost convince herself that she is beautiful, that she will find love again.

So when Nico runs, quite literally, into the maddeningly elusive Justin, she’s convinced she’s found the guy to make her forget her ex—despite the warnings of her friends and her straight-edged running partner, Luke.
But when Nico is attacked in the woods after a wild night of partying, everything changes. Suddenly, Nico begins receiving anonymous threats, and she no longer knows where to turn for help—or whether even her close friends can be trusted.

All she wants is to be one of the beautiful girls—the ones who never have to chase perfection. But in order to uncover the truth, she’ll have to face a past she had hoped to leave behind forever. She thought she could outrun the darkness, but darkness has a way of catching up…and only one boy can save her.

Please Note:
This giveaway is open to anyone with an Apple-compatible e-reader or device (void where prohibited). Paper Lantern Lit is handling the giveaway, so by entering you are providing them with any information you put into the Rafflecopter.

Good luck!

4/14/2015

Underrated YA: Historical Fiction Edition

I've probably talked about this before but in response to this crazypants Buzzfeed list, today I'm going to tell you about some actual underrated YA (in my humble opinion, anyway) that you should probably go get your hands on ASAP. This follows along the lines of Twitter's response to the same article which took place under #quietYA.

Note: Since I'm being all adamant about the fact that I want to shed light on truly underrated books here, I've put some rules in place for myself. 1, Nothing that's been on the NYT Bestseller list (because guys, that's not underrated). 2, Nothing that currently has a fancy (major) "Award Winner/Nominee" medal on its cover (like for the Morris Debut Award - sorry, In the Shadow of Blackbirds and Charm & Strange! I still love you!) because that can definitely help with exposure. 3. Nothing that I've seen talked about constantly on social media/blogs within my slice of the book world because I figure you're all exposed to similar chatter and then those books aren't really underrated to you anymore, are they?

I started writing this and realized that I had so many recs there was no way I could have fit all the books I wanted to rec into one post. So I decided to turn this into a mini-series type deal, hence the second part of the title. This is just the first post and will cover historical fiction. I'm also going to have installments for "genre novels" and for contemporary fiction.

With all that said, here are my historical fiction picks!


GiltTarnish, and Brazen by Katherine Longshore
These three Tudor YA stories centred around real figures in King Henry VIII's court are moving and authentic and only get better as they go on. I really enjoyed Gilt, I absolutely loved Tarnish, and I actually wept during Brazen. They take seemingly almost untouchable people and turn them into sympathetic and understandable characters that are so easy to relate to.
(My review of Tarnish here)

A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller
This one is basically a giant feminist romp through the early 20th century with art and romance and suffragettes (oh my)! How you could not want to let this book into your life is completely beyond me. Honestly, just take me at my word on this one.
(My review here)


Sekret and Skandal by Lindsay Smith
Soviet Russian psychic spies. Seriously, what more do you need? The settings are excellently grounded so that the interesting characters and all their psychic spy ways (and related adventures and mishaps) can send your mind reeling without it all being too much. Really great stories and both with exciting conclusions!
(My review of Sekret here; Skandal upcoming)

Maid of Secrets and Maid of Deception by Jennifer McGowan
This historical series set in the court of queen Elizabeth I focuses on a special group of her ladies recruited as spies for the queen herself. The first two books focus on pickpocket extraordinaire Meg and beautiful charmer Beatrice respectively and they're both such fantastic and unique narrators. McGowan really has a great grasp on both the objective view of her setting and of each girl's personality and position and she crafts these stories so well to reflect it all.
(My review of Maid of Secrets here)


The Caged Graves by Dianne K. Salerni
This book has one of the most unique takes on the love triangle trope and on the idea of instalove that I've ever read. Put that into a historical period that hasn't been featured all that much in YA and this slower-paced, character based mystery is a real treat.
(My review here)


Born of Illusion by Teri Brown
A magician who can do real magic is the daughter of a famous illusionist in 1920s New York. You're in already, right? This one explores the strained mother-daughter relationship so well, something that doesn't seem to get a ton of attention in YA. It also has a fun mystery plot to keep you hooked!
(My review here)

The Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats
If you're looking for a seriously authentic feeling historical fiction novel, look no further. This one takes you right out of the present day and plunges you into late 1200s Wales with absolutely no holding back. The language, the setting, the details that make it come alive - they're all here. It also has two really interesting, complex, often unsympathetic and even frustrating female characters narrating, which was something quite different.


Unspeakable by Caroline Pignat
If you're fascinated by the story of the Titanic, you should give this book about the so-called "Canadian Titanic disaster" a try. At its heart is a slow romance between Ellie and Jim as Ellie recounts her story to a journalist who holds the last thing Ellie can find of Jim's after he goes missing when the ship sinks - his journal. You really get a sense of what it must have been like living and almost dying on that ship, and you can't help but root for the romance and hope against all hope that they'll find each other again.

Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher
This is an older one (2008), so I can see why a lot of people haven't read it or heard of it and aren't really talking about it. However, I wish they would. This was one of the first books I reviewed here on this little blog (so I'm not going to link to it... yikes) and I still remember it fondly as a story that placed me firmly in the time period (1940s in the USA) and immersed me fully in the main character's life and struggles and joy. Also, I described Ruby (the mc) as a "strong, outspoken, independent spitfire of a female lead," so that's a pretty great sign as well! 


As a bonus: an upcoming book that I truly hope doesn't slip under the radar:


The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough
I'm going to (try to) review this one in full soon but honestly, this is one of the most beautiful books I've read in a while. It became an instant new favourite and I sincerely hope that everyone gives it a chance.

What are your favourite underrate YA historical novels? Are any of these ones on your TBR?

4/13/2015

Blog Tour Interview + Giveaway: Skandal by Lindsay Smith


I'm extremely excited to welcome Lindsay Smith to the blog today. You may remember when she was here last year chatting a bit about her debut, SEKRET. Well, now she's coming back around as part of the blog tour for its follow-up, SKANDAL and she has come armed with some excellent answers to my questions!

First, here's a bit about the book:

Skandal by Lindsay Smith.

Published: April 7, 2015.
Published by: Roaring Brook Press.

Goodreads Blurb:
The dramatic sequel to Sekret, this psychic Cold War espionage thriller follows Yulia to Washington, DC, where she fights to discover the truth about her family without losing control of her mind.

My mind is mine alone.

Life in Washington, D.C., is not the safe haven Yulia hoped for when she risked everything to flee communist Russia. Her father is reckless and aloof, and Valentin is distant and haunted by his past. Her mother is being targeted by the CIA and the US government is suspicious of Yulia's allegiance. And when super-psychics start turning up in the US capitol, it seems that even Rostov is still a threat. Ultimately, Yulia must keep control of her own mind to save the people she loves and avoid an international Skandal.

And now for an interview with Lindsay!

Jess: Welcome, Lindsay! Thanks for joining me today. To start you off with something easy, can you give five words to describe SKANDAL?

Lindsay: That’s the easy one?! Hmm…
Psychic American grass questionably greener.
Psychic Cold War: Hotter, Louder
Beatniks, Bolsheviks, and Weaponized Telepathy


J: Haha those are good! The second one almost sounds like a parody movie title for an action sequel. I love it! And a book titled Beatniks, Bolsheviks, and Weaponized Telepathy, I would probably be all over.
You introduce a few interesting new characters in SKANDAL. Which new addition are you most excited for readers to meet and why?

L: I’m really excited for readers to meet Staff Sergeant Winnifred Davis, Yulia’s English tutor. Winnie’s a talented Air Force linguist and a no-nonsense teacher who isn’t shy about introducing Yulia to both the good and bad in her new home country. She’s one of the highest-ranking enlisted women and African Americans in the Armed Forces, and she’s also not a psychic, so she sits in that uncomfortable in-between ground of having already accomplished a great deal of things but also feeling like she’s never been able to prove herself enough to her detractors.

I also love Donna Willoughby, one of Yulia’s fellow teammates, a sunny California girl with a mean streak and tendency toward exaggeration. Donna’s not an easy girl to like, but I think she embodies a lot of authentic teen emotions, wavering between an easy confidence and a desperate need for acceptance. She definitely has some growing pains to contend with in SKANDAL.


J: I adored meeting both of these ladies, but especially Winnie. Yulia is certainly lucky to have her.
SKANDAL brings with it a lot of growth for main character Yulia. Without giving too much away, what do you think she would say is her greatest personal step forward since the end of SEKRET? What would she consider the biggest personal challenge she faces in SKANDAL?

L: I think the greatest lesson Yulia has to learn in SKANDAL is that there is no perfect solution. Leaving Russia hasn’t magically solved her every problem, and she can never go home again—her father isn’t the man she remembers, and after what happened to Valentin at the end of SEKRET, he can no longer be her rock. Yulia’s very hard-headed, so learning to be flexible proves to be a major challenge for her in SKANDAL.


J: In SKANDAL we move from the Soviet Union to Washington, DC. How did you get into the mindset of approaching 1960s American culture as a Soviet who has just arrived in the US? Was that hard for you to create or capture?

L: While I could only imagine the specifics of Yulia’s circumstances, I think we’ve all experienced the aftermath of a difficult choice that thrusts us into a new setting—like choosing to attend a different school than our childhood friends, or changing jobs, or moving to a new city. I wanted Yulia to struggle with that decision and doubt herself, as I think that’s only natural; even leaving behind as awful of circumstances as she had, there was still some bittersweetness in leaving Russia for her, and the grass wasn’t always 100% greener.

Beyond that, I tried to present her life in 1960s America as a counterpoint to what we saw in 1960s Russia in SEKRET. The cold, gray winters gave way to garish, sticky springtime; the hunched-over workers and shifty eyes yielded to loud, overly friendly people in bright-colored clothing. She traded the culture of extreme secrecy, stability, and unquestioning loyalty to the Communist Party to an oversharing, sarcastic, and restless American populace at the crossroads of a cultural shift.


J: Was the research for SKANDAL tougher than for SEKRET, or was it easier because you already had a base to draw from? Did you come across anything especially strange or interesting during your research?

L: I found it much easier, with a few notable exceptions—I’d never done much research before into the origins of the Vietnam War or the Civil Rights movement, both of which figure into the backdrop of SKANDAL but had been absent in SEKRET. Also, ever since I’d decided to write SKANDAL, I’d been super stoked to visit the Washington, D. C. Historical Society, only to find that their building was under renovations the entire time I was drafting and revising. I was still able to dig up tons of cool old photos at the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian, however, and went drinking with a DC native and her dad and got him to tell me more than I ever wanted to know about the District in the 1960s!

As far as strange things turned up in researching—I don’t think anything will top the rumors of hapless CIA office workers finding LSD in their morning coffee, courtesy the Science division researchers.


J: I often hear authors say that sequels are especially tough to write. Did you find that with SKANDAL? Was there any part of the process that was particularly difficult this time around?

L: I think part of the scary part of writing a sequel is that, for many authors, it’s the first book they’ve had to write under contract, which is a whole new and terrifying experience unto itself. I also thought that the middle of my deadline would be a great time to change day jobs and buy a house, because I like doing everything on Hard Mode. SKANDAL was not without its challenges—I had to force myself to read early reviews for SEKRET, against my better instincts, so I could focus on the elements readers really loved and ditch the ones they didn’t. But a lot of the tough work of worldbuilding was already done for me, which relieved the considerable mental load that’s usually present when writing in a new universe. I knew these characters and how their world operated. I just had to make it better, different, and more. Easy, right? ;)


J: Finally, I have to ask: I know that your next release is this fall's DREAMSTRIDER (which sounds incredible), but do you see more historical fiction in your future?

L: Fantasy and historical fiction are my two favorite genres, so I suspect everything I do will have elements of one or both! I love DREAMSTRIDER—it is high fantasy, through and through—but I’m pleased that I was able to make it into a standalone, which gives me flexibility for exploring new worlds and settings in future books.

I don’t have a title or teaser blurb for you yet, but my Fall ’16 release does take place in both contemporary and Edo-period Japan (circa 1860). And I always have more ideas for Russian books, too!


J: Whoa, does that ever sound fantastic. I can't wait to hear more about that! And the fact that you think you'll always have fantasy and/or historical elements in your work... you're a writer after my own heart. Thanks so much for answering all my questions!  

Make sure you check back soon for my review of SKANDAL and while you're here, check out Lindsay's links, follow the rest of the blog tour to see what else Lindsay had to say about SKANDAL, and enter the giveaway!

Lindsay's Info



Full Blog Tour Schedule
April 8-Icey Books
April 9-Exlibris Kate
April 12-Fly Leaf Review
April 15-The Bookrat

The kind folks at Macmillan have graciously offered up a copy of SKANDAL to one lucky US/Canada resident. Just enter via the Rafflecopter below. Good luck!

Some Rules (aka the not so fun but important part):
~ This giveaway is open to residents of US and Canada only (void where prohibited).
~ No P.O. boxes.
~ Must be 13 or older to enter.
~ Winner will be chosen randomly and contacted. The winner has 48 hours to respond, otherwise they forfeit their prize and I will choose another winner, who must abide by the same rules.
~ Macmillan will be shipping the prize, thus you must be comfortable with providing me your address to pass along to the publicist at Macmillan.
~ Macmillan and I are not responsible for lost or damaged packages.
No cheating! In this case, I have the right to disqualify entries as I see fit.
~ By entering the giveaway, you are agreeing to these rules.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

4/09/2015

Anne Blankman's Famous Historical Detectives + Giveaway

Today I'm thrilled to welcome Anne Blankman back to the blog. She's here in honour of her upcoming sequel to the fabulous PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG and she's going to share some of her favourite detectives through history.

First, here's a bit about the much-anticipated sequel:

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman.

Published: April 21, 2015.
Published by: Balzer + Bray.

Goodreads Synopsis:
The girl known as Gretchen Whitestone has a secret: She used to be part of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle. More than a year after she made an enemy of her old family friend and fled Munich, she lives with a kindly English family, posing as an ordinary German immigrant, and is preparing to graduate from high school. Her love, Daniel Cohen, is a reporter in town. For the first time in her life, Gretchen is content.

But then, Daniel gets a telegram that sends him back to Germany, and Gretchen’s world turns upside-down. And when she receives word that Daniel is wanted for murder, she has to face the danger she thought she’d escaped-and return to her homeland.

Gretchen must do everything she can to avoid capture and recognition, even though saving Daniel will mean consorting with her former friends, the Nazi elite. And as they work to clear Daniel’s name, Gretchen and Daniel discover a deadly conspiracy stretching from the slums of Berlin to the Reichstag itself. Can they dig up the explosive truth and get out in time-or will Hitler discover them first?

And now, welcome, Anne!

Anne’s Top 5 Detectives throughout History


I couldn’t dig too far back in time to find my choices—detectives are a fairly modern concept. As recently as the 1700s, London was policed by night watchmen, and the idea of a large, controlled police force was still in the future. Even today, thanks to new forensic discoveries and breakthroughs in the field of psychology, police work continues to evolve, and today I’m excited to present my top five favorites for real-life visionary detectives—people who strove to find the most advanced techniques for putting criminals away. One of them even shows up in my forthcoming book, Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke, the sequel to last year’s Prisoner of Night and Fog!

Without further ado, here they are, in reverse order:


5. Robert Peel. Okay, technically Sir Peel wasn’t a detective, but as Britain’s Home Secretary he began organizing the London police force in 1829 and worked on establishing a penal system that rehabilitated criminals, rather than simply punishing them. Under his watch, prisons were reformed, and death penalties for minor offenses were abolished. This is definitely a lawman who was ahead of his time.


4. Kate Warne. The first female detective in U.S. history was born around
1830. After being widowed, she decided to go into police work to support herself, and joined the legendary Pinkerton private detective agency. She worked on a number of important cases, which included espionage and embezzlement, and managed the Pinkerton D.C. office during the Civil War. Now that was a trailblazer I wouldn’t mind following.


3. Alphonse Bertillon. The next time you hear about a case being
solved through fingerprint evidence, you can thank this Frenchman. The police officer discovered that if you took 14 measurements of any human body—including height, foot, hand, nose and ear size, and so forth—the odds were 286 million to one that any two people would share the same results. This identification system based on human measurements paved the way for fingerprinting. Bertillon also invented the mug shot, and no doubt earned the hatred of hundreds of criminals.


2. Theodore Roosevelt. Yup, you read that right. The 26th Americancouldn’t do?
President was also the New York City Police Commissioner in the 1890s. His sweeping reforms cleaned up what was then considered the most corrupt police force in the country. Roosevelt implemented regular inspections of firearms and appointed police recruits based solely on their physical and mental abilities, not their political affiliations. He also had telephones installed in police stations. Seriously, was there anything this rancher/Assistant Secretary of the Navy/New York Governor/U.S. Vice President/and U.S. President


1. Ernst Gennat. One of the most famous detectives in German history, Gennat served as the chief superintendent of the Berlin police force’s homicide division. This cool-headed man had a brilliant, nimble mind and investigated some of the most notorious crimes in 1920s Germany. He created the world’s first “crime car,” which was akin to a mobile crime lab and contained the tools he needed to inspect crime scenes on the spot. The next time you use the phrase “serial murderer,” you can thank Gennat—he originated the term in a 1931 paper he wrote on Peter Kürten, the so-called Vampire of Düsseldorf. In all, Gennat solved 298 murders. And in an era when your career often depended on your involvement with the Nazi Party, Gennat managed to advance through the ranks without ever joining the Nazis. Definitely a towering genius who has my respect and admiration.


Thanks so much for having me, Jess!


Thank you, Anne! I always love finding new historical fun facts and you had so many in here I don't even know what I want to read more about first! Needless to say, I am very excited to "meet" one of them (Gennat, I'm guessing) in Conspiracy

Preorder Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke:
Amazon US // Amazon Canada // Barnes & Noble // Chapters Indigo // Indiebound // The Book Depository

Anne has very kindly offered up an ARC of CONSPIRACY OF BLOOD AND SMOKE to one lucky US/Canada resident. Just enter via the Rafflecopter below. Good luck!

Some Rules (aka the not so fun but important part):
~ This giveaway is open to residents of US and Canada only (void where prohibited).
~ No P.O. boxes.
~ Must be 13 or older to enter.
~ Winner will be chosen randomly and contacted. The winner has 48 hours to respond, otherwise they forfeit their prize and I will choose another winner, who must abide by the same rules.
~ Anne will be shipping the prize, thus you must be comfortable with providing me your address to pass along to her.
~ Anne and I are not responsible for lost or damaged packages.
No cheating! In this case, I have the right to disqualify entries as I see fit.
~ By entering the giveaway, you are agreeing to these rules.

a Rafflecopter giveaway