Friday, May 31, 2013

Review for "Embers" by Amy Keen


Embers (Foresight, #1)Embers by Amy Keen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Who would have thought that a YA novel about witches could be so fascinating and deliciously dark? I was slated to feature Amy Keen within the month and eagerly devoured the first in her series. Most supernatural/paranormal YA reads dance on the campy side of the fence, without daring to delve into the darker side of things. Ms. Keen has no trouble doing just that, however, with tasteful excellence. I enjoyed getting the in's and out's of real life, from classic teen experiences like moving homes, first day jitters and new friends and the introduction of "the hot guy." I felt that Keen did a good job wrapping us up in Scarlett's fears and concerns. She didn't come right off as a bad ace, instantly able to control her "gift," or too much of a cliche, either. Instead she had real, albeit at times annoying traits that inevitably endeared her character to me. One of my favorite aspects of this novel is the web of history surrounding the town of Salem. Many have tried to depict it with differing methods. I have honestly never read a book like Embers, where past, present and future collide so effortlessly. Evil villians are top knotch here as well, when Scarlett isn't being her own worst enemy. What makes these bad guys terrifying, is that they're simply men with narrow minded passion. The love interest, Jake "Mc-Hotterson" wasn't too unapproachable. Like all of these three-dimensional characters, he has quirks and he is completely gorgeous without seemingly aware of the fact. I loved how real his relationship with Scarlett became, though half the time I was holding my breath, worried over the heartache I was convinced was to come.
Keen's writing is somewhat abstract at times, glossing over trivial conversations much as we tune things out in real life. I haven't read dialogue quite like hers before and once I was used to it, appreciated how her method sucks you into her storytelling. Use of the supernatural was not overdone, and kept mysterious. Twists and turns lead you down many paths in this novel, ending in a beautifully unexpected way.
I read Embers in one day, counting the late hours into the night and tonight. Don't just take my word for it. Take a chance to be engrossed in this rich, haunting novel by a unique and promising new voice.

View all my reviews

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Book Blogging

Hey peeps! Hope everyone's having a marvelous Thursday. Found this awesome post I wanted to share with y'all by "Ficktshun." Click on the pic below to follow the link:



Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Bit of Silliness

Today's post has almost absolutely nothing to do with actual writing. I've been checking out Tumblr lately, as I find exceedingly addicting in a mind-numbing, fun way...like video games, yeah?... and decided to post some random fun.
Pictured below are my favorite fandoms/couples in pop culture today and past. Comment below if you can list them all without looking them up first ;)

 

 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Guest Post: Author, E. R Arroyo + Giveaway!


I'm so excited to be hosting another Indie author today! E.R Arroyo is the author of "Sovereign," a post-apocalyptic novel set in a dystopian future. Here's a bit about the book:

***
SOVEREIGN

“…because of this book I kinda want to create some sort of special shelf for books that go above and beyond genre tropes or something, I’ll think on that more later.”
-          WhimsicallyYours.com

“…this is a well written book with plenty of twists and unexpected turns that will keep you up at night reading under the light of the moon.”

WEBSITE / FACEBOOK / TWITTER / AMAZONNOOK  / GOODREADS

ABOUT E.R. Arroyo
E.R. Arroyo is an entertainment junkie, equally passionate about books, movies, and music.  In October 2012 she self-published her debut novel, Sovereign.  She looks forward to the future of her career and connecting with more people in the years to come.  E.R. especially hopes to publish more books, and maybe even land a traditional book deal some day   (dream big!).  

ABOUT  Sovereign (Book #1) 
Chemical warfare has obliterated most of the world, including America, and the survivors have turned into feral beasts, save one colony, Antius, the last remnant of civilization. Seventeen-year-old Cori (aka Citizen 1206) only longs for wide-open spaces and freedom. But Antius has no use for such things, just mindless drones to serve in a place with walls, fences, and laws. A lot of laws, which Cori constantly breaks. So she’s spent years plotting her escape, which is the only thing that will save her from the colony’s deranged leader, Nathan. She isn’t looking to be a hero, and she certainly isn’t looking to fall in love, but she just might do both.


***
Now you know a bit about this up-and-coming author and her book, here is her lovely guest post. I'm a huge advocate of music and arts in general. But I'm always fascinated by how music affects different authors. Today I've asked E.R to share her thoughts on the subject. 

***

GUEST POST #4
TOPIC: Music and Writing

What a great topic! Many art forms play off of one another, and music is, in my opinion, the greatest universal art form. Imagine watching a movie with no soundtrack. What happens to the impact of the film? Honestly, it’s all but ruined, and I say that as someone who’s watched preliminary cuts of film projects before soundtrack is added, and I can tell you, it’s a different creature. Put music in the mix, and suddenly that dry scene is magic.

With books, you don’t have this luxury. The writing really has to stand alone, and the reader is subject to the sounds in his or her own environment. I, the author, have no control over setting the environment for the reader. What I do have control over, is setting my own environment for writing, and trying my best to have my writing set the mood the reader needs to be drawn into the book.

As a writer, music is a powerful tool, particularly for mood setting. For me, the goal is to find music that is soothing and calm, that puts my mind in the best setting to foster my creativity. This does not mean I’m looking for songs to set the tone for a certain scene. What I’m listening to while writing rarely has anything to do with the subject matter of what I’m writing. It’s all about setting the mood for my mind, for my creativity.

I remember a particular night while writing Sovereign when I was extremely productive, and it was good stuff. That night I was listening to all my Coldplay albums on random. It worked because their music is soothing to me, and there are minimal distractions within the music, whereas if I put my entire iTunes on random, something is bound to pop up that is too loud, or too upbeat, and it’ll break my concentration. Coldplay gave me good vibes that helped me stay in the zone. Coldplay had nothing in particular to do with the subject matter of Sovereign, it just gave me the writing environment I needed.

Occasionally, I write with my entire collection on random because I want to discover songs within my collection that maybe I haven’t thought of in a while, but I find myself more focused on the music than the writing because something comes on that is too distracting and I have to go to iTunes and skip the song. Sometimes I get so irritated, I even delete the song. How did I get all this music??

So, to simplify, my goals for a writing playlist are these: calm, soothing sounds, nothing too upbeat, nothing with distracting drums patterns or random electronic noises. Sad songs also really help tap into my emotions.

Making a playlist or ‘soundtrack’ for the actual book is a different story. These songs need to be relevant to the story or the characters. In the case of Sovereign, I slowly compiled this list throughout the course of writing and editing. I would hear a song and it would resonate so I would add it to the list. Sometimes I would listen to this track list while writing or editing, and if something didn’t feel right, I took it off the list. This list was originally over twenty songs long, but many of the songs were good writing songs, but not really relevant to Sovereign, so I took them off. I feel like the remaining ten songs capture a lot of what’s happening in the novel, so without further ado, here is my official Sovereign playlist. Enjoy!

Sovereign Playlist

1. Prelude 12/21 by AFI
2. The End by Kings of Leon
3. Apocalypse Please by Muse
4. Soil, Soil by Tegan & Sara
5. Say When by The Fray
6. Sparks by Coldplay
7. Misguided Ghosts by Paramore
8. All I Need by Radiohead
9. On Fire by Switchfoot
10. Beautiful Things by Gungor

You can listen to the playlist here: http://mixtube.org/playlist.php?id=16476

Jennifer, thanks so much for hosting my blog tour on your site!

***

You're so welcome, E.R! I've enjoyed getting to host you on my site. :) Thanks for sharing your thoughts on how music affects writers and the mood of novels. I've already checked out these songs and love the mellow and soulful ambiance (for all you music buffs ;p)

Be sure to check out the music and the book asap! And enter the giveaway HERE:


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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Suddenly Royal Review and thoughts on "Prince Yummy" ;)

Suddenly Royal (Suddenly, #1)Suddenly Royal by Nichole Chase
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I discovered this title under Amazon's newly instated "New Adult" category and was intrigued from the get go. I had high hopes this wouldn't just be some Princess Diaries rip off and I wasn't disappointed. We begin in the typical college town atmosphere in the heart of winter. There are the usual formulas, the best friends and the smart-ace whiplash kind of heroine that tends to populate this genre. But Sam is much more than your typical heroine. She's got a tender and fragile heart underneath, and a bucket of brains that can hold their own to any royals. Then came the shocker. I wasn't expecting for the tables to be turned and Sam and Alex to find such a strong connection. I confess I was waiting for the typical plot devices. He would be a playboy (which he...emphasis-WAS). Or the queen would disapprove and try to split them up. Nope. Neither was there any political intrtigue or trouble with the Steward or the half dozen other directions Chase could have taken her novel. I found my respect for her as an author growing for daring to tell so simple a realistic fairy tale. But then the wonderful thing happened. I found myself falling in love with Lilaria and its people. And then of course there is Alex. It's a beautiful thing watching him sincerely chase after her. It's also refreshing to read about a guy who's tired of the b.s and actually work to win a girl he wants to marry. Not just jump in the sack with, but actually be with. They were hot and heavy yet sweet and endearing as a couple to read about, without getting over the top. I'll end this without rambling on as I am inclined to do. This is just that sort of a book. Unexpectedly, when I wasn't looking, Suddenly Royal wormed its way into my reader's heart and doesn't look to be jumping ship anytime soon. Team Prince Yummy! ;)

View all my reviews

"Falling Ashes" Review

Falling Ashes (The Fire Mage Trilogy, #3)Falling Ashes by Kate Bloomfield
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Falling Ashes has it all, action, adventure, romance, and lots of warfare and magic of course. I loved this book simply because it brought back both old and new characters for a return visit. As well as introduced a huge plethora of Mages I had never met, my favorite of whom being Dagon and the water Mages and Fae who was a skewed version of "Brave" lol. This trilogy and its companion pieces have been a breath of fresh air, like the rest of Bloomfield's writing. You can rest assured that you won't read anything like this anytime soon, nor have you before. You simply have to dive in and let it soak you into this unique, dystopian world. While there are many things that were left unanswered or unexplored near the end, I felt satisfied if not sad. This book tugged at my heartstrings more than once, particularly the ending. Take a chance and dive into Bloomfield's imagination and prepare yourselves for one epic ride.

View all my reviews

Saturday, May 18, 2013

"The Black Shard" Giveaway


CALLING ALL FANTASY FANS!

You might have missed your chance to win a copy of "The Magic Warble," but wait! More magic is coming and now is your chance to snatch some of it up...

For a limited time only, you have the chance to win a FREE copy of Victoria Simcox's illustrated, middle-grade (9-13) epic sequel to "The Magic Warble."

"The Black Shardis 255 pgs long, with 1-2 pics per chapter, which means a lot of fun illustration.

To learn more, check out this blurb:

"Kristina's stay at summer horse camp is horrible to say the least, and it's all because Hester and Davina are there as well, making her life miserable. When Hester's cruel prank goes terribly wrong, it's actually what sends the three girls back to the magical land of Bernovem. In Bernovem, Kristina is very excited to see her former friend, Prince Werrien. When he invites her to sail with him on his ship to his homeland Tezerel, putting it simply, Kristina can't refuse. Reunited with her gnome, dwarf, animal, fairy friends ... and best of all, Werrien, things seem like they couldn't get any better for Kristina. But when Werrien becomes fascinated with an unusual seeing stone, the "Black Shard," Kristina is haunted by a ghostlike old hag. Struggling against suspicion, guilt, illness, and ultimately the one who wants to possess her soul, Kristina will see it's in her weakest moment that she will encounter more strength than she has ever known."

Chapter Two Excerpt


Hester brought her horse’s speed up to a canter, and the rest ofthe girls’ horses did the same. All the girls handled the cantering fine, except for Davina, who had let go of the reins and was holding on to the front of the saddle for dear life. Her legs were flopping haphazardly at the horse’s sides, causing the horse to buck up. Then Davina lost control altogether, and her horse headed straight for a jump in the middle of the arena. Ms. Oldham, who was standing in the middle of the arena, scurried out of the horse’s way to avoid being trampled. Kristina felt compelled to help Davina, and she charged with her horse directly behind Davina’s horse. Luckily,Davina’s horse didn’t bound over the jump, but instead, when about a foot away from it, took a sharp left and headed for the arena door. The saddle slid down the horse’s left side with Davina still init. Then the horse made an abrupt stop at the arena door, causing Davina to fall to the ground.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Victoria was born in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, to an Austrian immigrant mother, and a Dutch immigrant father. She now lives in Western Washington with her husband, Russ and their three children, Toby, Kristina, and William. Her other family members are a Chihuahua, named Pipsy and two cats, named Frodo and Fritz. Besides being an author,
Victoria is a home-schooling mother of twelve years and an elementary school art teacher
of eleven years. In her spare time, Victoria enjoys managing her two older children's Celtic band. She also loves writing, reading, painting watercolors, hiking, good movies, and just simply hanging out with her family and friends.

AUTHOR LINKS

Blog: www.victoriasimcox.blogspot.com,
Victoria Simcox on Twitter: http://twitter.com/VictoriaSimcox



So why are you still staring at this screen? Don't hesitate to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway below, so you, too can share in Kristina's continued adventures. See y'all in Bernoven!


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Friday, May 17, 2013

Coming Up Next...

I realized this week that I've been booking myself up and haven't let y'all really know what's what! Since I'm now officially a book tour host for Gliterary Girl Media (woohoo!) I'm helping host more tours than I had originally intended, lol. But it's all in good fun.
Some might wonder how I have the time to juggle two daytime jobs + writing+ networking and now this! But if you think about it, blogging and hosting is networking. Except the awesome possum part is I get to have these loverly ladies and their books represented here and it saves me coming up with something to write, haha.

UPDATES

ME :B (rabbit grin)
click me
I'm currently working on Vynasha with GG Media head, Sara O'Connor and my beta, Allison. I'm really excited about the direction this story is taking and I think you will too. For those of you who don't know much about Vynasha, check it out on Goodreads :)

HOSTING

I'm hosting four different authors this coming month.

First up is friend and fellow author/blogger Victoria Simcox. I'll be hosting a raffle giveaway for the sequel to her first illustrated, Middle-Grade novel, "The Magic Warble" called, "The Black Shard."
Doesn't that title just give you shivers? Great stuff! Love it, lol. The post will be up starting tomorrow.

Second is for GGMedia, already on tour, Sovereign, a dystopian novel by E. R. Arroyo.
I'll be sharing a guest post with y'all on the 22nd :D

Third will be friend and fellow author, Melissa Wright's new YA novel, "Bound by Prophecy." Having already read this one, I can promise you some serious awesomeness! I'll host her Playlist and Dream Cast (get ready for some eye candy ;) on June 3rd.

Fourth up we have "Armored Hearts," a Steam Punk novel by Pauline Creeden and Melissa Turner Lee! I've never read an actual legit steampunk novel so I'm really excited about this one! Here's her Goodreads page: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17736129-armored-hearts

Last will be "Ashes," sequel to "Embers," by Amy Keen. I'm really excited to review this one! Though I need to read the first book in the series, of course. I'm not sure on the date I'll be hosting her just yet, but stay tuned for more info.




As y'all can see it's gonna be a busy month and half, but I"m excited to give back to the lit community who have been so wonderful to me. :) And to you lovely readers, I love ya'll for being simply you!

Have a great weekend!



Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Books, Books and More Books: Qeya - Jennifer Silverwood - BOOK REVIEW

Books, Books and More Books: Qeya - Jennifer Silverwood - BOOK REVIEW: Book one in the Heaven's Edge series Qeya has spent her life set to drift on heaven's edge. Being Royal means more than b...

A book review for Qeya! And probably the longest, most honest and indeed most flattering of any I've received for my first Indie book so far. It's a rare reviewer who not only praises and author and calls them out on their weaker points, but who teaches us at the same time. Thanks Sharon for your thoughts! And for finding the time to read around your excitable five year old ;) I work with children so I completely understand. :)

Qeya is FREE right now on Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes & Noble.


"I'm the Doctor..." "Doctor who?"

Tonight I finished watching series one of Dr. Who. So many feels, ack! I had to post a few Tumblr related goodies in honor of the Ninth doc, the fantastic Mr. Eccleston.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tuesday Teaser: Silver Hollow Revisions

Yes, it's true, I am revising Silver Hollow again, lol. More like tweaking it, but mainly fine tuning. And shipping it off to my editor to brush up a lot, no doubt! Here's the latest.




Rain couldn’t possibly pour in such copious amounts without bringing on the Flood. She had been trying to hail one of those strange black London taxis to no avail and was now effectively drenched. Her summer clothes were far too thin for this kind of rain. It was a biting enough chill, she wouldn’t have been surprised if sleet and hail were next.
Just my luck!
Holding her map so it was tented comically over her head and officially useless by the time it had finished agreeing to keep her dry, she looked for Henry’s symbol. Neither the crowds nor the rain had let up. Blinking past the sting of ruined mascara, she looked for whatever it was she was supposed to be looking for while her skin grew pruned and chilled. Of all the people pushing through the airport, she was the only one without some kind of protection from the storm.
Except him, she thought with piqued interest and then dread.
Forgetting to blink, forgetting to breathe, Amie gasped her disbelief. She could have sworn she had glanced across the street seconds ago and hadn’t seen him anywhere close! Yet it was undeniably her stalker, the one who had pulled her back from the brink of death. He stood immobile in a sea of nameless sheltered faces. Rain had plastered his shock of black hair to his forehead and poured over an unremarkable face. His unsettling stare had formed a new intensity since their last encounter. Even in the distance, his eyes seemed to glow.
Cold gave way to heat, the kind of heat she had not felt in years, not since before the crash.
A taxi appeared before her feet with a screeching halt and splattered her with a wall of dirty water. Confused at its arrival, after she had been trying to get a taxi for the last hour, she glanced around for the person who signaled it. Instead the taxi driver tapped his horn and through the foggy window a rough-looking man peered up at her.
When she looked to the street, her stalker and savior was gone.
Laughing as she let down her ruined map, she tried to shake the troubling feeling that this was all becoming way too real. Of course the mysterious tall, dark and handsome man vanished into the night, leaving the heroine in suspense over their next encounter. It was an easy plot turn she had used multiple times.
Amie jumped when the taxi horn blared loudly in her ears. She frowned, eyes falling onto the stickers littering the side bumper of the cab. “Keep your panty-hose on! I’m coming!”
She froze when a very familiar symbol met her eyes, so tiny only someone intimately familiar with it would recognize the Celtic knot. She shivered. The strange interweaving crest she had seen a hundred thousand times in her memories was glaring her obscenely in the face. The same symbol she had only ever seen on her father’s old ring and which was now hanging between her breasts on a silver chain. The cool metal brushed recently healed skin.
Beep! Beep!
The horn startled her from her thoughts and something in her agreed with the cabbie’s insistence. The sooner she left this place the better. This was getting too Outer Limits for her taste.

Monday, May 13, 2013

End of An Era


Dark Whispers (Unicorn Chronicles, #3)Dark Whispers by Bruce Coville
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I began reading "The Unicorn Chronicles" when I was in Elementary School. My best friend and neighbor had shared it with me and we both were in love with the world Coville had created. A few years later we were ecstatic to find the sequel, "Song of the Wanderer," and hoped that the rest of the story would be told soon. And then we waited...and waited...and waited, lol. Finally, as a young adult, I realized he was in the process of writing the final book. But I lost track of it and it was difficult to find in bookstores. Imagine my excitement when I discovered it on Amazon! And not just "Dark Whispers," but a fourth book in the series, "The Last Hunt!"
Reading this book has been like reading a piece of my childhood. We grew up with these characters, not unlike Harry Potter. But admittedly, I think I love Cara's world even more because she is a girl and because Luster remains such a magical, wonderful, at times terrifying place. I promised my former neighbor, who is still my best friend, that I'd let her borrow these once I finished. She'll be pleased to hear it so she too can begin to finish the series we started when we were just little girls, dreaming of Unicorns.

View all my reviews The Last Hunt (Unicorn Chronicles, #4)The Last Hunt by Bruce Coville
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

How do you review a book you've been waiting all your life to finally read? I began the Unicorn Chronicles as a Second Grader, and finished them eighteen years later. So much changed with these last two books. A very strange but amazing thing happened as I dove into the final two installments. Cara remained basically the same age, lending an air of timelessness to this tale. It brought me back to my childhood, but the world of Luster expanded so much I felt like this series grew up with me. It is larger than life and I'm convinced no one can write epic Unicorn novels like Bruce Coville. There really are no words to do it justice. You'll just have to read it and discover the mystery behind the magic for yourselves. I finished this book with a hint of sorrow and a sweet satisfaction in knowing our beloved characters will continue to have more adventures. If only we could break into Grimwold's cave and read them ourselves!

View all my reviews

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Spring Indie Giveaway!


Check out this big time cross promotion giveaway! My books are on here too, but all of these are up for grabs! You sign up and stand to win a free ebook or print copy of all these loverly Indie novels!

http://ellecasey.com/promotions/elle-caseys-springtime-indie-book-giveaway/


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Teaser Tuesday: Vynasha



"Echoes of the Past"

“It’s not fair Wyllem!” Adriaa’s golden locks tumbled about her head as she screeched and then stamped her foot to the wooden floor, in a demonstration of her fury. Iona followed en suit of course.

“She’s right! Wyllem it is none of your affair!”

Their eldest brother turned to face them, arms locked over his broad chest, a sound block against the two sisters, and his black brow arched amusedly. “None of my affair? Dear Adriaa, you made it my affair when you set your sites on one of my oldest and least trusted comrades!”

“But you can’t forbid me to see him! You aren’t our father!”

Vynasha thought Adriaa’s pouting lips might tremble and simply fall off her face altogether. Wyllem only laughed and leaned against their mother’s chair.

“Mother, is it not true I spoke with father on this matter?” he said.

Wynyth barely lifted her gentle brow as she continued spin their sheep’s wool and replied, “Yes, and he thought Wyllem’s word as final as his. And that perhaps you might heed your brother’s advice better than his own, Adriaa.” She exchanged a quick grin with her eldest son.

Vynasha fought a secret smile from behind her mother’s skirts where she worked the wool at Wynyth’s feet.

Wyllem turned his eye back to Adriaa and pulled her long mussed braid and said, “See, little sister? What did I tell you? You’re too sweet of a jewel for father to give out to just any cold hearted fool.”

She stamped after him as he headed towards the front door. “But he’s your friend!”

Wyllem threw his hands up in defeat and laughed. “And I am just as cold hearted a braggart as he is.”

Saturday, May 4, 2013

That Girl Reads: Amazon Freebies

That Girl Reads: Amazon Freebies: It's been a good long while since I've last posted up one of these lists for you lovely readers of mine, and since my last post a l...

Yay for freebies! Happy Saturday! I'm trying to get things accomplished so we'll see how successful I am, lol.