Win a signed copy of Sinister Sweetness! Details at the end of this post.

When my mom was alive, she read me stories every night. “Use your imagination, Lorelei,” she’d say, “and your whole life can be a fairy tale.” I wanted that to be true. But I should have paid more attention to the fairy tales.

Because not all of the children in them come out alive.

And sometimes there are witches hiding in the woods.

My soon-to-be stepmother was a witch, I was sure of that. I wasn’t quite certain whether she wanted me to die, but it was looking possible. Die of humiliation, if nothing else.

Somehow, she had convinced my dad to make me wear a peach-and-white petticoat dress, with white shoes that looked like they’d been stolen off an American Girl doll. They were about that big, too. I could feel the blisters coming up as I walked to the minivan.

“Hurry up, Lorelei,” Dad shouted from the front seat. He already had the engine on. “I don’t want to be late for my own wedding. Molly will kill me!”

“Molly’s already trying to kill me,” I murmured as I shut the door. I hadn’t been quiet enough. Dad had heard.

“Lorelei,” he warned. “Molly is not trying to kill you. Why do you insist on being so negative about her? She’s going to be your new mother–”

A rude noise came from the back seat. Bryan, my older brother, had pulled out his earbuds to listen in. “Stepmother,” he said. “She’s not Mom.”

Mom. The word hung in the air like sparkles of dust in the sunlight, bringing with it memories and pain. My heart thumped hard against my seat belt. Nobody said anything for a few seconds. Nobody breathed. I closed my eyes so I wouldn’t have to see if Bryan was giving me the look he’d given me over a year before.

The day I had destroyed our family.

Excerpt copyright © 2012 Nikki Loftin

About the book:

Lorelei is bowled over by Splendid Academy–Principal Trapp encourages the students to run in the hallways, the classrooms are stocked with candy dishes, and the cafeteria serves lavish meals featuring all Lorelei’s favorite foods. But the more time she spends at school, the more suspicious she becomes. Why are her classmates growing so chubby? And why do the teachers seem so sinister?

It’s up to Lorelei and her new friend Andrew to figure out what secret this supposedly splendid school is hiding. What they discover chills their bones–and might even pick them clean!

Mix one part magic, one part mystery, and just a dash of Grimm, and you’ve got the recipe for a cozy-creepy read that kids will gobble up like candy.

What people are saying:

“A mesmerizing read…a fantasy that feels simultaneously classic and new.”—Publishers Weekly

“A pinch of Grimm, a dash of Greek mythology and a heaping helping of fresh chills make for an irresistible contemporary fairy tale…Deliciously scary and satisfying.”–Kirkus

“A wickedly intriguing, deliciously eerie read.”–Cynthia Leitich Smith, NYT Bestselling author

 Released: August 21, 2012

About the author:

Nikki Loftin lives with her Scottish photographer husband just outside Austin, Texas, surrounded by dogs, chickens, and small, loud boys. Her debut middle-grade novel, The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy, is available now. You can visit her online at


Nikki has been kind enough to contribute a signed copy of The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy for a giveaway!

The contest is open in the US and Canada, and ends on December 12th at midnight EST.

Just comment on this post to enter.

For extra entries:

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Please list your extra entries in the comments.

Good luck and happy reading!