☄ Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Blog Tour: Rise by Jennifer Anne Davis - ARC Review + Giveaway

Rise Jennifer Anne Davis


Author:
Jennifer Anne Davis
Publication Date: May 17, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books
Reviewer:

The people of Nelebek live in fear of persecution from the evil Morlet, who reigns with a dark and destructive magic. The kingdom’s only hope lies with the Order of the Krigers—twelve warriors with mysterious powers linked to magical weapons.

For over a century, Morlet has been annihilating the Order, picking them off one by one. Eleven Krigers have been hunted down, tortured, and imprisoned in his dungeon. Now, only one remains.

Sixteen-year-old Kaia survives by keeping her head down and minding her own business. But when she finds herself in the middle of a public execution where the mysterious Morlet is in attendance, an odd compulsion she can’t resist comes over her.

Kaia looks into Morlet’s eyes.

Soon, an ancient power awakens and Kaia can no more blend into the scenery. Will she heed the call of the Krigers or will Morlet’s dark magic destroy the last of the Order?
Advanced copy provided by the publisher for the blog tour – thanks!

Well, now that school's over, time to get back into the swing of things.... I think. But really, I'd like to apologize to anyone and anybody I've bothered because of the lack of motivation over here (the slump is real and it's horrible, and I think 2.5 years of "consistent" blogging is finally catching up and smacking me upside the head).

Moving on, but fair warning: this review might be short.

I feel like Rise falls a little short – but I really can't do much comparing aside literally one book (Cage of Deceit). The first book in the series starts off a little slow and draggy – lots of preparing for Kaia to step into the role of a Kriger, so there is plenty of walking, talking, and training going on for awhile. But despite the feel of slowness and dragginess, I actually found a lot of the talking really interesting, because the world Jennifer Anne Davis builds in her newest series is just intriguing to learn about. It also helps that Kaia has this interest of learning as much as she can about the Krigers.

But anyways, while Rise felt like a slow start to the series, I don't think Jennifer Anne Davis will fail to deliver in future books. In fact... I think the slowness of the first book will be well worth it.

4 Owls
(Please excuse the lack of formatting currently. A brief disclaimer: this tour is hosted by Chapter by Chapter)

Author Bio

Jennifer Anne Davis is the award-winning author of the bestselling TRUE REIGN series. After graduating from the University of San Diego with a degree in English and a teaching credential, she married her high school sweetheart. Jennifer is currently a full-time writer and mother of three highly energetic children. Her days are spent living in imaginary worlds and fueling her own kids’ creativity.

Giveaway

  • Five Digital Copies of Rise (INT)
  • One Scrabble Tile Book Cover Charm (US)
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☄ Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Blog Tour: Spark - Guest Post + Giveaway

Tour Schedule

Title: Spark
Author: Holly Schindler
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Book Depository
Publication Date: May 17 (TODAY!!!)
Publisher: HarperTeen
Other Books by Holly Schindler: Feral

The local Avery Theater was just a run-down building to Quin—until her mother told her the tragic love story of Nick and Emma that played out on the theater’s stage all those years ago. Quin is convinced it’s the perfect story to rewrite for her drama class, but when she goes searching for more information, she makes a startling discovery—the Avery is rapidly regaining its former splendor and setting the stage for her classmates Dylan and Cass to relive Nick and Emma’s romance. Quin can see the spark between them, but it’s up to her to make sure her friends—and the Avery—can both be saved this time around.


Book Trailer

The Spark of Inspiration (Plus Sneak Peek!)

No two books ever begin the same way. I’ve had books that began by seeing the main character in my mind (that happened with my MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, a book about a young girl who becomes a folk artist). I’ve had books begin with a scenario—a WHAT-IF (that happened with my first YA, A BLUE SO DARK—a book about a girl dealing with a schizophrenic mother). But SPARK, more than any other of my books, really came to me in waves.

To begin with, I wanted to write a book about two obviously “flawed” characters who—in the beginning—really had an obvious dislike for each other. (In a way, I was kind of playing with the whole love-makes-you-see-the-other-person-in-a-new-light feeling.) But then I began to realize that I wanted them to literally see each other—and themselves—without their perceived shortcomings. Where could that possibly happen?

The theater. Of course! When a person steps out on the stage, they become a new person. They get the freedom to step outside of themselves.

As I continued to brainstorm and draft chapters, a new phrase kept hitting me: the magic of the theater. The book began to take a new turn...because I knew I was going to explore that aspect in a literal way. So rather than writing a purely contemporary book, I was writing a piece of magical realism…

Just as no two books ever begin with the same kind of spark, they also don’t move through the writing process in the same way. I wrote and rewrote SPARK—deleting passages, reworking sections, finding a new idea to jumpstart the action on page one, etc.

The section of the book that I reworked more than any other is that first section in which the theater comes to life—it’s such a balancing act, bringing in magic without overwriting. Here’s a small passage from that scene:
     The late-afternoon sun is brutal. That is, until a cloud slides between me and the sun, dragging a silky-cool breeze across my skin.
     My smile vanishes when I find myself staring at a midnight darkness that has inexplicably appeared over the square. Night has fallen. Stars glitter. The moon hovers.
     “What—?” I mumbled as I shudder against a sudden child. What is this?
     I tremble, confused and startled, as a tiny yellow light flashes. A firefly, blinking adamantly. It shouldn’t be here—no more than a night sky should appear in the middle of the day.
     The firefly zips away. And then it rises—higher, higher, toward the empty marquee and the broken neon Avery Theater sign.
     A sudden pop from the front o the Avery sends a shower of orange sparks exploding across the night sky.
     The old dilapidated neon Avery Theater sign flicks to life, glowing yellow. The marquee buzzes, emitting a high-pitched electric hum.
    It can’t be! The Avery is young again. She’s risen from the dead.

About the Author

Holly Schindler’s work has received starred reviews in Booklist and Publishers Weekly, has won silver and gold medals in ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year and the IPPY Awards, respectively, has been featured on Booklist’s Best First Novels for Youth and School Library Journal’s What’s Hot in YA, and has been a PW Pick of the Week. She is owned by a Pekingese named Jake, and can be found working on her next book in her hometown of Springfield, Missouri. She can also be found at hollyschindler.com.

Author Links:


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☄ Monday, May 16, 2016

Novel Newcomers: Guest Post Takeover by Whitney @ Imaginary Book Club


Happy Monday!

A legit and truly happy Monday because I have well... reading time on my hands. Which means I should be going back into blogging, right? (It also means Fangirl Friday is sort of back... because Lupe and I aren't trying to catch up to our brains.)

Anyhoo, today we have Whitney from Imaginary Book Club taking over the blog with a guest post about the comic, Lumberjanes (and just comics in general...)!

Reflecting on Lumberjanes

I’m a long time lover of comics. Not to age myself too much, but I spent the better part of the 1990s and early 2000s with my nose buried within an ever growing collection of Archie, Betty & Vernoica and Jughead comics. I loved the short stories, full of high schoolers.

Now, Archie has made some serious strides recently (Archie featuring a gay character, finally naming Jughead’s asexuality, and the Betty & Veronica reboot focuses on gentrification rather than fighting over boys), but back in the day they were nothing like that. The primary features, with Reggie and Archie’s constantly forgiven infidelity, Betty and Veronica’s frequent fighting over, girls pressuring Jughead with unwanted affection, regressive ideas on wealth and power - it was nothing I’d want to be reading today.

Enter Lumberjanes.

Exactly what I wish I had been reading!

I read issue one of Lumberjanes while solidly ignoring my best friend who I had driven four hours to see. To be fair, she put Issue 1: Beware the Kitten Holy in my hands, so I supposed she had to know what she was getting herself into. I sat reading, and grinning and laughing, and read the whole thing cover to cover.

Created by Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, and Noelle Stevenson and published via the Boom Box! Imprint of Boom! Studios, Lumberjanes follows the story of a group of teenagers living out full summer camp goals at Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types. Known as Lumberjane Scouts, the five inhabitants of Roanoke cabin - Jo, April, Molly, Mal and Ripley - show exactly what it means to be a mystery solving, monster fighting team.

Why in the world would I have tolerated Veronica’s spoiled princess behavior when I could be watching Jo kick some monster butt?

Every single character is delightful - quirky in their own way, and with attitudes only appropriate to a rambunctious crew of teens. Adventuring off in the night, breaking rules, and having wild hijinks, the Lumberjane Scouts are everything I would have been inspired to be as a teen.

Of course, my teen adventures probably wouldn’t have included three-eyed foxes, creepy spirits, or defeating statues in feats of strength.

Happily, Lumberjanes offers a level of complexity and intrigue that I have absolutely no issue recommending Lumberjanes for readers of any age. It’s a book perfect for people looking for something going well beyond a “strong female character” box - this is about an amazing group of women who created an amazing world with awesome characters.

I’ll be happily stocking my shelves with Lumberjanes (and maybe some of those modern Archie Digests for nostalgic value) for when my nieces and nephews come to visit. Or maybe more for myself, if I’m being honest.

Be sure to visit Whitney over at her blog, Imaginary Book Club, and find her on Goodreads and Twitter (@ImaginaryBC)!

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☄ Monday, May 2, 2016

Novel Newcomers: Interviews with Tanaz and MC

Hey everyone and happy May!

It's a little scary how time is going by so fast - Lupe and I are graduating high school in just a few weeks. Of course, we've lost motivation to do anything, but NN for me is important, so here I am. Plus, I'm not that mean enough to make Nori do all the work simply because I don't feel like it (because I did "drag" her into this after all).

Anyways, that aside, today we have MC from Blame It On the Books and Tanaz from Bookish Freaks! (Both of them are lovely people, even though I've recently just met them.)

Outside of blogging and reading, what other interests do you have?
MC: Umm...gazing longingly at books? In all honesty, reading and blogging are my biggest hobbies outside of work, which is tied into my other big hobby. I’m a professional ballroom dancer, so dance is obviously something that is really important to me, too! (But I get paid to do it!)

Tanaz: Writing, dancing in the rain, and stealing flowers from my neighbor's gardens. I am just a leeetle bit unusual as you can see. No worries. There's no such thing as normal, as I like to say. :)

What is your most unusual accomplishment?
MC: I definitely don’t consider this an accomplishment, but I am well known for my ability to get hurt while barely moving. I sprained my ankle once while standing completely still. I hurt myself all the time without actually doing anything….not something to be proud of, but it’s what I’m known for!

Tanaz: My most unusual accomplishment would be when one of my graphics--a quote illustration from the YA Fantasy Shattered Blue by Lauren Bird Horowitz--was picked by the author and turned into book swag! I was incredibly honored and most certainly did not see it coming.

What is your favorite food?
MC: Ice cream! Or chocolate! Or cookies! I like junk food……. And so does everyone else. Chocolate for the win, though. ;)

Tanaz: I really, really love eating so choosing my favorite food is like choosing my favorite book characters and we all know that feels like choosing your favorite kid. YOU JUST CAN’T DO IT! Though if I really had to pick one I’d say anything that is smothered in cheese.

In the short time you've been blogging, have you encountered any hilarious bloopers you've committed? (It's okay. It happens.)
MC: I still laugh about this one….I had met and chatted with a lovely author on Twitter for months before I embarrassed myself tremendously. See, somehow, I missed the fact that she was an author - just thought she was another blogger. So I recommended a book to her one day, saying “Oh, you’ll really love this one if you like sci-fi, I’m not sure what you like to read,” and she goes, “Um, I WRITE sci-fi.” Oops. We laughed and we have formed a lovely friendship since then, but I still get a little mortified when I think of that moment.

Tanaz: I kinda wish I did so that I can look back and laugh about it! But no, not really.

Let's spread some blogger love! Name three bloggers you don't know who are participating in Novel Newcomers and give them a compliment.
MC: Sarah and Gab at Girl Plus Book and Emily at Emily Reads Everything! When I first started blogging, these ladies seemed like veterans and role models to me, and I couldn’t believe that they had been blogging less than a year! Their blogging prowess blows me away! (I have to admit, I have become friends with Emily, so she doesn’t really count as someone I don’t know, but I love her to death!)

I also want to shout out Paloma at Pages and Pineapples. We have interacted a tiny bit on Twitter and she seems so lovely. It would be great to get to know her better!

Tanaz: Oh that’s tough! There’s the lovely and talented Regina from SheLatitude, the super genius CW from Read, Think, Ponder and of course Queen of Sass Lydia from 22 Is Still Young Adult.

What are some of your favorite retellings? Any retellings you would love to see in the future?
MC: Like so many others, I love the Lunar Chronicles. They are fantastic retellings and so much fun. I know there have been a bunch of Aladdin retellings coming out recently, but I haven’t read any of them yet. That’s something I would definitely like to check out.

Tanaz: As far as retellings go, The Lunar Chronicles is the best one I have read so far (admittedly there are many more retellings that I have yet to read). And yes I would love to see a retelling that is based on some of Hans Christen Anderson’s stories such as The Eleven Swans. That would make a beautiful story!

Okay, now I feel bad for not getting around to The Lunar Chronicles... even though I have the first book in my room right now.

Although the year is still a little young, what are some of your top reads this year?
MC: Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin and More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera. I also really enjoyed Incarnate by Jodi Meadows. I’m searching for my next five star read right now! Haven’t had one in a while! Neither have I, to be honest. I think my last one was back in February.

Tanaz: That’s quite easy actually. There’s Red Queen and its sequel Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard. I know I have read other amazing books too this year like These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly but Red Queen and Glass Sword is at #1 on my list right now. I agree! Red Queen is phenomenal. I've yet to read Glass Sword, though.

You can find MC on Blame It On the Books, Twitter (@blamethebooks), Instagram (@blamethebooks) and Goodreads.
You can find Tanaz over at Bookish Freaks, Twitter (@TanazMasaba), Instagram (@TanazMasaba) and Goodreads.

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☄ Friday, April 29, 2016

Blog Tour: Demigods and Monsters - Excerpt + Giveaway

Tour Schedule
Well hello there. No Fangirl Friday, right?

No...

Ultimately, senioritis is catching up to both Lupe and me and well... we kind of decided to go and wing our next few posts (and taking a brain break, which sort of carries over to blogging)... including Fangirl Friday.... unless we feel like it.

Title: Demigods and Monsters (Sphinx #2)
Author: Raye Wagner
Publication Date: April 25, 2016
Publisher: Self Published
Goodreads | Amazon

Summary:
Can Apollo’s curse be broken?

Seventeen-year-old Hope Nicholas is done running. Apollo’s curse has ruled her entire life, limiting her choices and robbing her of the things that matter most. But she refuses to live in fear any longer. In fact, she’s ready to do whatever it takes to break the god’s power over her existence. 


When the goddess Artemis instructs Hope to impersonate a demigod and infiltrate a conservatory to get access to the Olympian library, she doesn’t hesitate. As she sees it, there’s nothing left to lose. 


But once inside, Hope discovers the only way to get what she needs is to work with her sworn enemies. As the lines between demigod and monster are crossed again and again, Hope has to dig deep for the courage to accept her fate or fight for the freedom to save herself.


Demigods and Monsters is the second book in the Sphinx series.


Excerpt
The terrifying creature had the torso of a man with dozens of arms extending out like legs of a spider. A true giant, the monster was well over twenty feet tall. Instead of a single head, the beast had several thick necks and heads stacked in a conglomerate mass like the compound eyes of an insect.
Hope cringed.

His arms moved in a blur, pulling books down and putting them back up in a slightly different order. Next to him sat a mammoth-sized trolley, and several other hands were shelving books from it. The sheer number of his hands and heads allowed him to be moving at all angles at all times.

She’d heard of such creatures, other monsters created by the gods, but had never seen one. She shifted in an attempt to sneak away.

“Ho there, young demigod.” The creature bellowed his greeting in a chorus of voices halting her retreat.

She swallowed back her nervousness and faced him.

 “You must be new.” He stepped down from the ladder and shrunk a couple of feet.

“Uh, yeah.” She shifted from foot to foot then extended her hand, hoping it wasn’t too sweaty. “I’m Hope.”

“Aptly named, young immortal.” He smothered her hand with several of his own. “I am Briareus, the librarian. May I help you find something?

About the Author

Raye Wagner grew up in Seattle, the second of eight children, and learned to escape chaos through the pages of fiction. As a youth, she read the likes of David Eddings, Leon Uris, and Jane Austen. Inspired by a fictional character, Raye pursued a career in nursing, thinking to help the world one patient at a time. 

One Summer afternoon, when her young children were playing in the pool, a plot dropped into her head, and she started writing.

She enjoys baking, puzzles, Tae Kwon Do, and the sound of waves lapping at the sand. She lives with her husband and three children in Middle Tennessee. 

Origin of the Sphinx, a novella detailing the story leaving up to the creation of the mythological creature, is her first publication. It is the beginning of the Sphinx series. 

Curse of the Sphinx, the first book in the series, is complete, and set to be released in August 2015.


Author Links

Giveaway 

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☄ Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wizard Talk: Ten Phases for Potterheads

A Guest Post by Next Century Publishing
The votes are in, and in a remarkable landslide, J.K. Rowling has been identified as the top author of Reader’s Legacy! To celebrate Ms. Rowling’s literary triumph, we looked into our Goblet of Fire and pulled these out 10 magical phrases; sure to guarantee any Potterhead the Hogwarts acceptance letter they’ve been waiting for!

1. “It’s no good crying over spilt potion.” – Meaning there is no use in worrying about events that have already taken place, and that cannot be undone.

2. “In the name of Merlin.” – An expression of bewilderment. EX: “What in the name of Merlin, are you doing?”

3. “Like bowtuckles on doxy eggs.” – Meaning to stick to someone or something, incredibly close. Used in a sentence, “She took to potions like bowtuckles on doxyeggs.”

4. “I’ll take Cadogan’s Pony.” – Meaning to make light of a dark situation.

5. “The fire’s lit but the cauldron’s empty.” – Meaning someone seemingly functions in a proper manner, but is actually socially inept.

6. “The tip of the dungheap.” – Synonymous to the muggle idiom, ‘Tip of the Iceberg’, it symbolizes a smaller piece of a larger picture.

7. “To have a hairy heart.” – Meaning, someone bitter. To have a cold and unforgiving way about you.

8. “Don’t count your owls before they are delivered.” – Meaning to not plan on anything expected to happen in the future, as said to Harry Potter by Dumbledore in ‘The Half-Blood Prince’.

9. “Hanged for a dragon as an egg.” – A larger punishment for a minor offence in order to bring the point across stronger to the offender.

10. “Time is Galleons.” – Meaning, time is money.

As an added perk of Reader’s Legacy’s Rowling celebration, we will be holding a special 20% off sale for each of her novels from April 25th to April 30th – ReadersLegacy.com/JKRowling.

The sale not only celebrates J.K. Rowling, but was also brings attention for a special grant program we have created in order to give away 1 million physical books in support of literacy programs! Spreading a love of books, and ending illiteracy aroud the world is 100% possible, and with the help of reader’s on the site, we believe will be one step closer to achieving that goal! Get in on this sale HERE.

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☄ Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Blog Tour: Skypunch - "Deadly" Teases and Giveaway

Tour Schedule
Title: Skypunch (Ascenders #2)
Author: C.L. Gaber
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Publication Date: April 29, 2016
Publisher: Big Picture Media

In the Midst—a place for those who die young—there are no rules except one.

And Walker Callaghan, dead at seventeen, just broke it. She briefly revisited her earthly life . . . and the punishment is eternal. Longing for her rebel love interest, Daniel Reid, Walker finds an ally in Cass, whose attraction to her is as alive as he is. “Life is short,” he tells her. “I’m banking on eternity. With you.”

In the second book of the Ascenders Saga, a realm-jumping journey takes Walker and Daniel back to life again when they search for something buried in history. They team with students from several other schools in the middle realm including a place for teens born with oddities. It’s home to the Claires . . . beautiful, ruthless, and quite dead seventeen-year-old quads who each have a different clairvoyant gift.

Can Walker survive another adventure of an afterlife-time—or will she find herself on the downside of eternity?


Author Bio

C.L. Gaber is the author of the ASCENDERS SAGA and co author of Jex Malone. A well known entertainment journalist, she lives in Nevada with her husband Ron, bonus daughter Sabrina and two unruly dogs. ASCENDERS 2 is due out in early 2016.

Author Links:

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