Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Blog Tour: Secrets of Skin and Stone by Wendy Laine Excerpt, Review and Giveaway

Secrets of Skin and Stone is a new YA romance featuring a gargoyle hero who travels to a small Southern town to deal with a haunting. I thought it sounded so unique and wonderful I just had to check it out. And I really enjoyed it! Here's a little more about the book along with my full review. There's even a chance win an Amazon gift card to buy your own copy at the end of the post.


With Piper pressed up against my back, every rise and shallow of her body brushed mine as the bike bumped along the dirt roads around Hidden Creek. She had her fist bunched up in the fabric of my shirt. Was she scared? Her sudden burst of laughter ratchetted up my body’s temperature and then she yelled, “Go faster, Gris!” 
I went faster. Her excitement was nearly tangible. Her fidgety shifting was for a whole different reason. A good reason.
The sunlit fields full of newly blooming wildflowers seemed to match Piper’s new mood. She was carefree—something I hadn’t seen in her yet, and I liked it. That I’d thought of this and dragged my bike over made me like it even more. It was feeling more like a date and less like an attempt to interrogate her.
Piper laughed again, tightening her legs on either side of me.
Even though it was still cool and not even noon, I started to sweat under my helmet. The humidity and heat of summer would be unbearable, but I planned to be long gone before this spring season had passed. I shouldn’t get too attached to the girl with me.
I was up to about 95 percent certain she wasn’t roping in the fiends—purposefully. The curse pouches I’d removed from her room last night had different ingredients than the one I’d found at the mill—nothing uncommon or unusual. But they still drew in fiends. I’d killed three outside her room and shoved two more out her window.
Piper somehow managed to scoot even closer. Her legs were right up against my thighs, and I could see her knees out of the bottom of my helmet. 
I went faster.

34388622Secrets of Skin and Stone
Wendy Laine
Release: June 5, 2017
Goodreads Amazon
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley
Something is wrong in Hidden Creek. The sleepy Alabama town is more haunted than any place fiend hunter Grisham Caso has ever seen. Unearthed graves, curse bags, and spilled blood all point to an evil that could destroy his gargoyle birthright. The town isn’t safe for anyone, and everyone says fiery Piper Devon knows why.

Piper wants to leave Hidden Creek behind. She’s had enough of secrets—they hide in the shadows of her room and tell her terrible things are coming. Too-charming city boy Grisham might be her only chance to save herself.

To survive, Piper and Grisham have to shed their secrets and depend only on each other. But what lurks in Hidden Creek still might take everything away from them, including each other.


I might have mentioned before how much I love a spooky small town story. I really loved Hidden Creek, Alabama! I got kind of a Beautiful Creatures vibe when Gris arrived in town and I loved how he continued to discover more supernatural connections as he peeled back the layers of the mystery.

The book is not heavy on mythology though. The Watchers, including Gris, are gargoyle-like shifters who hunt Fiends, which are sort of a cross between ghosts and dementors. And there are humans who practice dark magic (the version in the story is a little like voodoo) which can summon the Fiends.

I don't always enjoy teen romances - they tend to be angsty and triangular - but I loved Piper and Gris together. They take some time to trust each other so it doesn't feel like instalove, but I was rooting for them the whole time. I would like to meet more of the people in Hidden Creek, though. I don't think we ever actually see any of the girls in Piper's class or her teachers.

I really want this book to be adapted for TV! It would feel something like a cross between Teen Wolf and Riverdale. I kept thinking of the early episodes of Buffy when Angel was just this mysterious older guy in the first scenes between Piper and Gris. And I'd love to see Gris's gargoyle form on screen.

I understand that the finished copy includes a trigger warning about Piper's cutting, though it wasn't in the ARC. I thought the instances of self harm were handled well in the story, not sensationalized or glorified. It's just a part of Piper's OCD, which she describes in comparison to her mother's more familiar version. I hope that the way Gris accepts it and helps Piper to as well will be helpful to readers who are struggling with something similar.

Secrets of Skin and Stone works well as a standalone, but I'd love to see more of Piper, Gris and Hidden Creek.

Recommended for fans of: Beautiful Creatures, Teen Wolf and Riverdale


About the Author

Wendy Laine is the penname of author Wendy Sparrow. Writing is in Wendy’s blood as are equal parts of Mountain Dew and chocolate. Wendy has been telling tales since she was a child with varying amounts of success. Her parents clearly anticipated her forays into the paranormal because she heard “The Boy Who Cried Wolf" over and over. She lives in Washington State with a wonderful husband and two quirky kids and is active in Autism and OCD support networks. She can usually be found on Twitter where she’ll talk to anyone who talks to her and occasionally just to herself.

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