Monday, November 25, 2013

First Three Chapters Release + Giveaway: Afterparty by Ann Redisch Stampler

Ann Stampler is one of the sweetest authors around. So I'm more than happy to do this for three-chapter reveal for Afterparty! Of course, thanks to Simon & Schuster, Elana and Ann, there will be a giveaway for you guys. It's gonna be an ARC and it's gonna be signed, just the way you like it.


A toxic friendship takes a dangerous turn in this riveting novel from the author of Where It Began.

Emma is tired of being good. Always the dutiful daughter to an overprotective father, she is the antithesis of her mother—whose name her dad won’t even say out loud. That’s why meeting Siobhan is the best thing that ever happened to her…and the most dangerous. Because Siobhan is fun and alluring and experienced and lives on the edge. In other words, she’s everything Emma isn’t.

And it may be more than Emma can handle.

Because as intoxicating as her secret life may be, when Emma begins to make her own decisions, Siobhan starts to unravel. It’s more than just Dylan, the boy who comes between them. Their high-stakes pacts are spinning out of control. Elaborate lies become second nature. Loyalties and boundaries are blurred. And it all comes to a head at the infamous Afterparty, a bash where debauchery rages and an intense, inescapable confrontation ends in a plummet from the rooftop...

Buy Links: Amazon | Book Depository | Indiebound

About the Author:

Ann Stampler was the mild mannered author of literary picture books when she broke out, tore off her tasteful string of pearls, and started writing edgy, contemporary young adult novels set in Los Angeles, where she lives with her husband and writer’s-helper rescue dog – without whose compelling distraction she would have no doubt penned dozens of novels by now.

Follow Ann: Twitter | Facebook | Website : Blog | Goodreads


On to the giveaway, you can win a signed ARC of Afterparty by Ann Stampler!

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Release Day Blitz + Giveaway: Dangerous Depths by Karen Amanda Hooper

Title: Dangerous Depths
Series: The Sea Monster Memoirs #2
Author: Karen Amanda Hooper
Release Date: November 20, 2013 

✳ BUY 

Barnes & Noble


Hell hath no fury like a selkie separated from his true love.

The gate to the sea creature realm is finally open. Yara wants to bask in the glow of her budding relationship with Treygan and explore Medusa’s world, but as the new leader of Rathe her powers are needed to save a sea creature she’s never met. 

Rownan assumes the worst is behind him when he returns home to be reunited with his wife, Vienna, only to discover she’s gone. She traveled to the evil realm of Harte to find another gateway to Earth and was never heard from again. Rownan claimed he would go through hell to be with her, and now he must prove it. 

Rownan, Yara, and Treygan will put their lives and souls at risk by traveling to the most dangerous realm of all. Love is supposed to conquer all, but no one has ever conquered Harte.



Karen was born and bred in Baltimore, frolicked and froze in Colorado for a couple of years, and is currently sunning and splashing around Florida with her two beloved dogs. She's addicted to coffee, chocolate, and complicated happily-ever-afters.

Karen has been making up stories for as long as she can remember. Due to her strong Disney upbringing, she still believes in fairy tales and will forever sprinkle magic throughout all of her novels.


You can win this:

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Giveaway: Time Between Us + Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone

Hi lovelies! So I'm just popping in to give you a treat. I've been in an alternate (work/no free time) world and I'm sorry. But I've been reading up so expect reviews this month.

For the 10th month of the 2013 Time Travel Reading Challenge, Dianne and I are offering you a chance to win Time Between Us and Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone.

Book Description:

Hardcover, 368 pages
Published October 9th 2012 by Hyperion

Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet: she lives in 1995 Chicago and he lives in 2012 San Francisco. But Bennett has the unique ability to travel through time and space, which brings him into Anna’s life, and with him a new world of adventure and possibility.

As their relationship deepens, the two face the reality that time may knock Bennett back to where he belongs, even as a devastating crisis throws everything they believe into question. Against a ticking clock, Anna and Bennett are forced to ask themselves how far they can push the bounds of fate, what consequences they can bear in order to stay together, and whether their love can stand the test of time.

Fresh, exciting, and deeply romantic, Time Between Us is a stunning, spellbinding debut from an extraordinary new voice in YA fiction.

Book Description:

Hardcover, 368 pages
Published October 8th 2013 by Disney-Hyperion

Calling Anna and Bennett’s romance long distance is an understatement: she’s from 1995 Chicago and he’s a time traveler from 2012 San Francisco. The two of them never should have met, but they did. They fell in love, even though they knew they shouldn't. And they found a way to stay together, against all odds.

It’s not a perfect arrangement, though, with Bennett unable to stay in the past for more than brief visits, skipping out on big chunks of his present in order to be with Anna in hers. They each are confident that they’ll find a way to make things work...until Bennett witnesses a single event he never should have seen (and certainly never expected to). Will the decisions he makes from that point on cement a future he doesn't want?

Told from Bennett’s point of view, Time After Time will satisfy readers looking for a fresh, exciting, and beautifully-written love story, both those who are eager to find out what’s next for Time Between Us's Anna and Bennett and those discovering their story for the first time.

Two winners
US/CA only
*if you have an address in US/CA, you can join

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Sunday, November 03, 2013

Happy Birthday Dianne + Giveaway Event!

As the title says, November 3rd is the birthday of a dear friend of mine, Dianne from @ Oops I Read a Book Again! She is one of the most awesome bloggers on the face the planet. Graduating from the same university at the same time, we more or less had the same background and with our love for books, I just found her to be the sister I never had. A dependable multi-tasker, blogger, blog tour coordinator and professional mad scientist (she studied Molecular Microbiology), she now sends out waves of love with her event (and lotsa giveaways). So drop by on her blog and greet her:

My message:

Happy Birthday, girlie! I know it gets hard to talk these days what with us living in different "time zones" but I just wanted to thank you for everything. You're the best listener and commenter and adviser and second-thought-checker. I love how you send out emails and tweets with !!!!! You're an enthusiastic and charming person. You deserve all the awesome in the world. Can't wait to email you 30 seconds after this. Happy birthday and lots of love!


Here are some of the birthday greetings from our fellow bloggers:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DIANNE!!! Thank you so, so much for everything (for the help, the endless questions, for being so cute and nice) I hope you'll have more lovely, lovely days ahead!
– Michelle @ The Twins Read

Happy Birthday! Thanks for being so sweet and nice. This is your day! So enjoy and keep on smiling. I wish you all the best in life and more books to come -wink-

See you on our Christmas Party!
– Dannielle @ Book Whales

Hi Dianne!
Happy happy 20th birthday! Man, times flies, doesn't it? Anyway, make sure to enjoy your day - celebrate with all the people you love! I consider myself really lucky to have someone like you in my life - you're such an amazing person, and I can't wait to bond with you more. See you soon, love!
– Lyra @ Defiantly Defiant

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DIANNE!! ♥ Thank you for being such a sweet and supportive friend! You're definitely one of the people who has made blogging so fun and enjoyable. I love our little talks and fangirl-y moments because let's face it, we all need someone to fangirl with. LOL I wish you more success in life AND blogging and may you be showered with many more blessings. Stay you!
- Louisse @ The Soul Sisters

Well first and foremost happy birthday and congratulations for having a super successful book blog. I am so happy to become part of your blog tours.

I'd like to thank you for being the most cheerful friend that I had and most specially, I'll never forget that I am your "plus one" on Tahereh Mafi's signing event. I'll cherish it for the rest of my bookish life.

I wish you all the best in your career and good health. May God continue to bless with such wonderful things. I am just so happy that I met you.
– Leslie @ Bibliophile Kid

Hi Dianne!

Happy, happy birthday! I hope that this year will be a year filled with blessings, joy, and books(!) for you. Thanks for being someone to talk to on twitter and for hosting all these wonderful blog tours that introduced me to so many amazing new books. Also, don't forget to relax once in a while and de-stress, especially today. =))

Continue blogging and stay awesome! ;)
– Tiffany @ Read, Breathe, Read

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DIANNE! May you have a hundred (?! XD) more birthdays to come. Thanks for being such a great friend - so great, that you gave me a new obsession. You have dibs on the show, but I claim dibs on Mike ;) Love yah, girlie!
– Kazhy from My Library in the Making

Happy happy birthday Dianne!! Here's to many more years filled with everything that makes up every bit of your happiness. I hope you're having a terrific day!

P.S. It's so cool that you've graduated before you turned 20! Idol :))
– Dea @ Teen Reader’s Diary

Happy happy birthday! I know this sounds cliche but I wish you best in your life. Thank you for being really nice and patient. I'm happy to meet you in my life. Thank you for being the best blog event partner ever!
-Michelle @ The Escapist

***Late addition!***

Happy Birthday, Dianne! Wishing you a year full of great reads and hot fictional boys to swoon over. I know this has been a year full of changes for you (graduating and getting a job), welcome to the world of adulthood! Have a good one! :)
-Kai @ Amaterasu Reads

Hi Dianne!

I wish you a happy birthday! MWUAH! I had loads of fun being part of the tours you host, I hope we get to see each again again soon before the year ends. Hehe
-Chyna @ Lite-rate-ture

Friday, November 01, 2013

[Blog Tour] Philippine Folklore and The Aswang Wars: Guest Post by Enita Meadows

Hi guys! I don't normally find YA novels about Philippine folklore but guess what? I did encounter not just a novel but a series that falls under the YA Paranormal field. Yes, it's not just Philippine mythology but "Aswangs" to be specific. That is one of a kind. To make things more interesting, an American author wrote this. So enough with my babbling and let's move on to the Halloween feature!

Book Description:

When amnesiac Jei Rivera wakes up on the streets of Manila in 1982 with nothing but a necklace and a name, he makes a life for himself spending his days in sleep and his nights crippling weaklings in an underground fight club. With a sixth sense and physical abilities surpassing every opponent he's ever met in the decades past, Jei knows he's not normal, but has no way of knowing what he really is. When he meets Malaya, a girl claiming to be an aswang from northern Mindanao and the clan of the Manduruko, Jei is thrust back into their world and their war. Now Jei must travel south with Malaya and the last Mantahungal to rediscover his shapeshifting abilities and play his role in the war. But the Segbin, having discovered Jei's existence, are waiting around every corner as they make their way south, and Jei's sixth sense - with a mind of its own - slowly takes control from the inside out.

Get it on Amazon.

Enita Meadows was born and raised in California before moving to Washington State at the age of 10. She lived there for eight years, absorbing the mis-mash of cultures and people all around her. This diversity and exposure to different ways of life prompted her to write several of her books, which take place in many different and exotic places, with characters as varying in background as the world around her.

In the summer of 2010, Enita was lucky enough to be invited by her best friend, a Filipino, to visit his family in Manila. During the two weeks she spent in the country, she experienced a piece of the lifestyle and culture of the islands both strange and beautiful, and was inspired to write The Aswang Wars. She returned to the states, wrote out the story, and after dozens of edits, she submitted the manuscript and received a contract for the first book, Manduruko.

Follow Amalie: Blog | Twitter | Website

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

[Blog Tour] Review: Waterfell by Amalie Howard

Book Description:

Paperback, 350 pages
October 29th 2013, Harlequin Teen


Nerissa Marin hides among teens in her human form, waiting for the day she can claim her birthright—the undersea kingdom stolen from her the day her father was murdered. Blending in is her best weapon—until her father's betrayer confronts Nerissa and challenges her to a battle to the death on Nerissa's upcoming birthday—the day she comes of age.

Amid danger and the heartbreak of her missing mother, falling for a human boy is the last thing Nerissa should do. But Lo Seavon breaches her defenses and somehow becomes the only person she can count on to help her desperate search for her mother, a prisoner of Nerissa's mortal enemy. Is Lo the linchpin that might win Nerissa back her crown? Or will this mortal boy become the weakness that destroys her?

Reviewer's Copy: eARC from JKS Communications and Print ARC from Harlequin Teen

Source: Samantha + JKS Communications + Harlequin Teen (Thank you!!)

My Thoughts:

Let me start by saying that Waterfell was not what I expected it to be. Instead of the normal mermaid mythology that I was expecting, I got something much more sophisticated and out of this world. Amalie's twist on the deep sea creature mythology was refreshing and original. Both mythology and science fiction readers alike will enjoy this.

Nerissa, was an interesting heroine. There were so many things that made her seem so human to me, like how she thought and acted. She would always fall under the teenager category for me with all the angst, rebellious moves and impulsive decisions. Her inhumanity also came into play with how she carried herself. She might seem like an all-too-selfish brat but as a reader, I considered that she was royalty. She grew up as royalty and was used to getting things her way. She was definitely not a perfect character with her temper and bursts of talk/act-now-think-later-scheme from time to time. But that made her realistic in my eyes.

Let's move on to Lo, the confident and charming surfer boy. He was magnetic with his boyish allure but at the same time, there was a sarcastic, overconfident part of him that just pushes me away. He was quiet though, always in the shadow of mystery. I liked getting to know Lo. He was what I would imagine to be the kind of boy labelled as "delicious," "rebel," and "carefree." I loved it when his enjoy-life-now-do-everything-else-later attitude came up. But what I really loved the most were (1) digging into his life and unearthing bits and pieces of him, to be examined closer under a microscope, and (2) reading about Lo surf. I just wish that Lo and Riss got to know each other in a longer time frame; more relationship development. But don't let that discourage you, there are fireworks when these two are in the same room together.

The secondary characters like Jenna, who I loved to bits, and Speio, who made me think twice, were significantly present. There were novels wherein the story was 95% focused on the main characters. But in Waterfell, we also got to know the secondary cast. They added life to the story and breathed reality onto the pages.

The world of Waterfell was all about vibes. It was 100% atmospheric. Amalie mastered storytelling with vivid descriptions of the water. She made me feel relaxed, thrilled, excited and she even made me sit at the edge of my seat.

Waterfell gave me both sides of the ocean, still and stormy, through the wondrous simplicity of human life and the violent and challenging ups and downs of friendship, love and otherworldly affairs. Beautifully written, atmospheric and out of this world, Waterfell will capture the hearts of readers of mythology and paranormal.


4.5 Cupids = Obsessive book love.
Almost made it as one of my favorites! I strongly recommend this!

AMALIE HOWARD grew up on a small Caribbean island where she spent most of her childhood with her nose buried in a book or being a tomboy running around barefoot, shimmying up mango trees and dreaming of adventure.

An aspiring writer from a young age, Amalie’s poem “The Candle,” written at age thirteen, was published in a University of Warwick journal. She was also a recipient of a Royal Commonwealth Society essay award (a global youth writing competition). A Colby College graduate, she completed simultaneous Honors Theses in both French and International Studies, and graduated Summa Cum Laude/Phi Beta Kappa. At Colby, she was cited for research and criticism in Raffael Scheck’s article, “German Conservatism and Female Political Activism in the Early Weimar Republic,” and his subsequent book, Mothers of the Nation. She also received a distinction in English Literature from the University of Cambridge (A-levels) as well as a certificate in French Literature from the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, France.

Her debut novel, BLOODSPELL, was selected as a Seventeen Magazine Summer Read. She is also the author of the Aquarathi series from Harlequin TEEN (WATERFELL, October 29, 2013 and OCEANBORN, August, 2014), as well as THE ALMOST GIRL from Strange Chemistry in January 7, 2014, and ALPHA GODDESS from Sky Pony Press coming March 2014. Click on the BOOKS page for more information.

Follow Amalie: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Friday, October 25, 2013

YA Unscene + Giveaway: Celia on the Run by Sarah Mandell

YA Unscene is a meme on Fragments of Life that features unseen or deleted scenes of novels that is followed by a short interview and a giveaway. For the second post, I will be featuring Celia on the Run by Sarah Mandell. This is a YA coming-of-age contemporary.

Book Description:

ebook, 173 pages
February 29th 2012, Untreed Reads

Nick Novaczek is a cautious soul, a 17-year old with a boring life, a predictable future, and a quiet thirst for danger. On the eve of his beloved grandmother's funeral, danger finds him by the motel swimming pool. Her name is Celia and she's everything he's not. This foul-mouthed beauty is hitchhiking across the country to make amends with her estranged father and doesn't carry an ounce of fear or hesitation in her tattered suitcase. She's bad news all around, but for a rule-follower like Nick, she's intoxicating.

Twenty-four hours after speaking to Celia for the very first time, following one extremely lucky night, Nick is hopelessly hooked and "borrows" his parents' car to join her cross-country mission, even though her story is full of holes. It's the mistake he's been waiting his whole life to make. Together, they dodge a train, jump off a bridge, and scam everyone in their path. Nick is blossoming into a teenage fugitive, just like Celia, and he's never been happier. She may not be who she says she is, but she's got his vulnerable heart.

After weeks of detours, with hundreds of miles left to go, their wild adventure starts to unravel. The money dries up, Celia's dark secrets begin to surface, and it's clear they both want vastly different things out of this partnership. Celia is all about no strings attached and severing whatever they may have between them once they reach their destination, while Nick is head over heels in love and wanting a future with the girl in his passenger seat. They seem to reach a new low on a daily basis, but she won't turn back, no matter how desperate things get. After all, this is her trip and Nick is just the driver. Celia's got a charming smile to pay her way, a willing accomplice, a hidden agenda, and an endless supply of lies. Not to mention a gun.

Could you tell us about Celia?
Celia is wild and unstoppable, she lives each day as though it could be her last. Her past is dark, and her future uncertain, so she does what she wants, when she wants, and isn't sorry about anything. A girl with a tough exterior like this is hard to love at first, but Celia has the natural ability to charm her way through any situation.

How did she wind up with Nick?
Celia is hitchhiking her way east, and crosses paths with Nick, a shy rule-follower who's never been anywhere and never done anything crazy in his life. It's not just her beauty hooks him, it's her wild ways and the cross-country adventure she's on. The temptation to join Celia's mission is just too much for him to resist.

Describe Celia on the Run?
Celia on the Run is a dark coming of age story that follows Nick Novaczek, a shy teenager with a quiet thirst for danger, on a wild road trip across the US with a foul-mouthed hitchhiker by his side. Celia’s everything Nick is not. She's out of control and reckless, but following after this beautiful girl on a mission that doesn't really add up, is the mistake Nick’s been waiting his whole life to make. Following weeks of detours, their adventure begins to unravel, but there's no turning back, no matter how desperate they get. Their cross country journey is an emotional minefield, and with each chapter, new danger awaits, different outcomes are possible, but the reader may never guess what will become of these two characters by the time they reach their destination.

Celia on the Run would be recommendable for what kind of readers?
Celia on the Run is suited for YA readers, but it's on the mature side of that genre. There's some language and violence, and it's not a rosy story of a picture perfect couple or a fun vacation on the road. This is a novel about the not so well off youth of America, and a few scenes may be disturbing for some readers.

What is it about this deleted scene that made you delete it?
This scene was from chapter 6, when Nick and Celia are in the wild and carefree part of their road trip across the US. They have to lie, cheat, and steal to get by because they have no money and are technically runaways, but they're having a great time at this point in the story. I removed this particular scene because there are an awful lot of scenes with Nick and Celia scheming and stealing, they get into a fair amount of trouble during the course of their trip, and I didn't want the reader to get distracted by all the mischief they get into in order to survive on the road and miss out of the character development. This story is all about the characters, who they are, who they say they are, and who the become during the trip, not about all the laws they break and the people they swindle. In this scene, you really don't learn much about Nick and Celia, so I felt it wouldn't be missed in the end.

As we all saw, Celia was quite talented with subtleness and a quick hand. How did you mold her character in such a way that she would eventually get these characteristics?
Bits and pieces of Celia's background are revealed over the course of the story, so the reader does eventually get the sense that Celia is a survivor and does what she has to do in order to get by. When I was creating Celia's character, I molded her in such a way that anything she did, whether it was mean, wrong, or illegal, wouldn't bring her any guilt because it was all out of necessity.

Sarah Mandell is a professionally trained artist with a background in commercial interior design. She's also the brains and busy hands behind a thriving indie craft business called Once Again Sam. Even with an ever-expanding collection of creative outlets, she's truly the happiest when she's writing. Sarah is represented by Nine Speakers. Her publisher is Untreed Reads.

Follow Sarah: Website | Twitter | Goodreads

One of you will win Celia on the Run. This is a digital copy so it's open internationally.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Dollhouse Asylum Release Day Book Blitz + Giveaway

Hi guys! Today, I'm happy to participate in a release day book blitz for The Dollhouse Asylum by Mary Gray, courtesy of Spencer Hill Press! Stick around for the giveaway at the end. :)

Paperback, 296 pages
Expected publication: October 22nd 2013 by Spencer Hill Press
ISBN 1937053644 (ISBN13: 9781937053642)
Edition language: English

Book Blurb

A virus that had once been contained has returned, and soon no place will be left untouched by its destruction. But when Cheyenne wakes up in Elysian Fields--a subdivision cut off from the world and its monster-creating virus--she is thrilled to have a chance at survival.

At first, Elysian Fields, with its beautiful houses and manicured lawns, is perfect. Teo Richardson, the older man who stole Cheyenne's heart, built it so they could be together. But when Teo tells Cheyenne there are tests that she and seven other couples must pass to be worthy of salvation, Cheyenne begins to question the perfection of his world.

The people they were before are gone. Cheyenne is now "Persephone," and each couple has been re-named to reflect the most tragic romances ever told. Everyone is fighting to pass the test, to remain in Elysian Fields. Teo dresses them up, tells them when to move and how to act, and in order to pass the test, they must play along.

If they play it right, then they'll be safe.

But if they play it wrong, they'll die.


“Makeup is good.” Teo taps lightly on a handheld computer screen. “Hair is so-so.” He continues to scan the device, and I don’t like how he’s picking me apart like he’s Photoshopping me. Where are the other students? Or maybe it’s more than I could ever hope: it’s really just the two—three—of us, and he is finally unveiling his feelings. I never expected to fall in love with a teacher, but when I started at Khabela, the Austin math and science school, Teo was the only one who welcomed me. It took me a moment to understand why a math teacher would care that I read Tristan and Isolde, but soon we were knee-deep in conversation about all our favorite classic stories.

I wish he’d tell me why he brought me here. Maybe he let my mom know, explained what we were actually doing.

But I fail for words, the gray walls seeming to snatch at the fear inside me. My palms break out in a sweat and it’s calculus all over again, where Teo asked me to stand in front of my class to share the index card I had made to memorize last year’s trig functions. While I hate speaking in front of groups, I did it anyway, my heart slamming against the insides of my chest the entire time. When I’d finished, Teo congratulated me, making the fear worth it.
Tapping his computer screen, Teo trains his gaze on me again, softening a little. “I cannot tell you how much seeing you here pleases me.”

My heart flip-flops and it’s hard to say anything. He’s happy to see me. It’s all I can do to keep myself from smiling stupidly.
He takes one step toward me and I long to fill the gap. And when he speaks, his voice rings out in a baritone melody. “I hope you enjoy our little neighborhood, Miss Laurent. The women are on one side of the street, the men on the other. They each have their own houses. Seven again.” His lips perk up into one of those smiles that I love, and I’m reminded of his reverence for the number seven, how he arranges our desks in three rows of seven.
Glancing at the wooden door ahead, I open my mouth to ask if he’ll show me this street, when he says, “That is right. You should desire to go through that door. Of course, the choice is yours.” He gestures behind me. “The back door is always an option.”

I turn to find the back door, only to see plastic shadows, slick and dark—body bags—hanging on a rod by the door. Another one of Teo’s jokes, maybe. A metaphorical exercise. Life without love is not living. See, Miss Laurent, you might as well be dead. But Teo would never hurt me. When we kissed, he held me like a porcelain doll, treasured me.
“Front door, then?” Teo asks when I manage to turn back to him, his tone light, almost happy. He wants to show me this neighborhood that revolves around the number seven. I’m not sure what to make of it, but I want him to show me.

Teo and the albino grab me by the arms and force me up, but there’s no reason to be touchy-feely. Wherever he goes is where I want to be. Teo is brilliant and kind. He would never shatter me.

About the Author:

Mary Gray has a fascination with all things creepy. That’s why all her favorite stories usually involve panic attacks and hyperventilating. In real life, she prefers to type away on her computer, ogle over her favorite TV shows, and savor fiction. When she’s not immersed in other worlds, she and her husband get their exercise by chasing after their three children. The Dollhouse Asylum is her first novel.

Follow Mary: Website | Twitter

To celebrate the release of THE DOLLHOUSE ASYLUM, author Mary Gray is giving away one signed copy of THE DOLLHOUSE ASYLUM (U.S. only) and an unsigned copy of THE DOLLHOUSE ASYLUM (open to all). Ends 10/23/13 (midnight).

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

YA Unscene + Giveaway: When Stars Die by Amber Skye Forbes

Today I'm reviving a year-old blog meme called YA Unscene which lived for a month in 2012. It is a meme that features unseen or deleted scenes of novels that is followed by a short interview and a giveaway. For the first post, I will be featuring When Stars Die by Amber Forbes. This is a YA Paranormal that will be published next week.

Book Description:

Paperback, 267 pages
October 22nd 2013, AEC Stellar Publishing

Amelia Gareth's brother is a witch and the only way to save her family from the taint in his blood is to become a professed nun at Cathedral Reims. However, in order to become professed, she must endure trials that all nuns must face.

Surviving these trials is not easy, especially for Amelia, who is being stalked by shadowy beings only she can see. They're searching for people they can physically touch, because only those they can touch can see them. Amelia soon learns why she is being stalked when she accidentally harms her best friend with fire during the third trial. Fire is a witch's signature. The shadows are after witches.

Now Amelia must decide what to do: should she continue on her path to profession knowing there is no redemption, or should she give up on her dream and turn away from Cathedral Reims in order to stop the shadows who plan to destroy everything she loves?

Pre-order on Amazon

What or who inspired Where Stars Die?
My own imagination pretty much inspired When Stars Die. I know a lot of people have external sources that inspired them, but I simply knew I wanted to write about witches in a unique way and write about convents with witches, and everything else flowed from there. I don't have a Muse, and I don't have some external mystical force guiding me in my writing.

Can you tell us about the paranormal aspect of When Stars Die?
The paranormal aspect of When Stars Die is the witches, of course. There is also a lot of mystery. In the beginning of the book, Amelia sees these shadowy figures, but only she can see them, and she isn't sure why. But they stalk her throughout Cathedral Reims. It isn't until she accidentally sets her best friend on fire does she learn why these shadowy figures are haunting her. These shadowy figures in themselves are paranormal creatures to. They're dead witches, so when witches die they turn into these shadowy creatures. I have an entire elaborate system behind it, and I hope readers can keep up with it.

So Amber was set on becoming a professed nun but showed inhuman (fire) abilities, how does this affect her perception on 'taint' and who she is?
Well, once Amelia learns she is a witch, she starts to feel like maybe she isn't meant to be professed because a witch being a nun is a blasphemous thing. Witches are incredibly despised in her world. And while Amelia believes being a witch is a taint, she is also sympathetic toward them, not only because she finds out she is one, but also because her brother is one. She knows people have been brainwashed into hating witches because her religious texts tells them they should. She knows there is no logical reason to hate them, but she also knows you can't undo the years of socialization people have been put under.

Who is Theosodore Branch and how is he related to Amelia?
Theosodore is an assistant to Mother Aurelia, who is the Mother Superior of Cathedral Reims, the convent Amelia attends. But he is much more than this. Later on he becomes a sort of antagonist against Amelia, but then becomes her ally much later in the book. However, one thing I absolutely have to point out is that in the sequel, Stars Will Rise, Theosodore is the antagonist hands down. He will play an even more major role in the sequel.

What kind of readers do you think would like Where Stars Die?
I think the types of readers who would enjoy WSD are those who love paranormal and paranormal romance in general. Fans of the Infernal Devices, The Forest of Hands band Teeth Trilogy, and fans of other dark books will absolutely love this book. I just know they will.

Would you like to share a few quotable quotes from Where Stars Die?
Quotes: “She is a dance piece in a music box…” (p. 12) – Amelia describing Colette

“People think children are so tender, but they’re resilient. It is we older ones who are tender, already beaten down by life” (p.92) – Amelia comparing herself to Nathaniel

“Yet, even when stars die, they leave a lasting impact through their light, their diamond brilliance as they scatter their material to form new stars” (p. 133) – Amelia reflecting on her future and what if anything she’ll leave behind.

Do you have a favorite scene in this novel? What is it and why is it your favorite?
My favorite scene in the book is actually the third quote. Amelia is ruminating on stars and how when they die, they leave a lasting impact. It's the most literary point of the novel, and it's the scene that determined the title of the book. Amelia basically wants to die leaving that lasting impact.

Any last words?
When Stars Die is available for pre-order on Amazon, though you can technically buy it right now and it's not on pre-order.

Amber Skye Forbes is a dancing writer who prefers pointe shoes over street shoes, leotards over skirts, and ballet buns over hairstyles. She loves striped tights and bows and will edit your face with a Sharpie if she doesn't like your attitude. She lives in Augusta, Georgia where she writes dark fiction that will one day put her in a psychiatric ward...again. But she doesn't care because her cat is a super hero who will break her out.

Follow Amber: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

One of you will win When Stars Die. This is a digital copy so it's open internationally. It ends on October 31st.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Review: Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff

Book Description:

Hardcover, 464 pages
September 17th 2013, Pan Macmillan Australia

The mad Shōgun Yoritomo has been assassinated by the Stormdancer Yukiko, and the threat of civil war looms over the Shima Imperium. The Lotus Guild conspires to renew the nation’s broken dynasty and crush the growing rebellion simultaneously – by endorsing a new Shōgun who desires nothing more than to see Yukiko dead.

Yukiko and the mighty thunder tiger Buruu have been cast in the role of heroes by the Kagé rebellion. But Yukiko herself is blinded by rage over her father’s death, and her ability to hear the thoughts of beasts is swelling beyond her power to control. Along with Buruu, Yukiko’s anchor is Kin, the rebel Guildsman who helped her escape from Yoritomo’s clutches. But Kin has his own secrets, and is haunted by visions of a future he’d rather die than see realized.

Kagé assassins lurk within the Shōgun’s palace, plotting to end the new dynasty before it begins. A waif from Kigen’s gutters begins a friendship that could undo the entire empire. A new enemy gathers its strength, readying to push the fracturing Shima imperium into a war it cannot hope to survive. And across raging oceans, amongst islands of black glass, Yukiko and Buruu will face foes no katana or talon can defeat.

The ghosts of a blood-stained past.

Reviewer's Copy: ARC, 605 pages

Source: Charlotte + Pan Macmillan Australia (Thank you!!)

My Thoughts:

Stormdancer rocked my world, and yet, it was just the tip of the iceberg. In the sequel, Kinslayer, the action, world building, character development went up an entirely different level. The Shiman Empire was on the brink of chaos, war and further corruption. With the throne empty, the Kage rebels and Yukiko had the chance to change the future of their empire. However, with the threat of the new Daimyo, hungry for power and revenge, they needed to fight twice as hard or the rebellion would just as easily be snuffed out.

The story unfolded from various points of view: Yukiko and Buruu, No One, Michi, Kin, and the Daimyo. Although the third-person point of view was maintained, it was easy to hear the distinct voice of each one of these characters. Thus, Kinslayer offered a broader landscape, encompassing the struggle of not only one girl but an entire population, from the Kage rebellion, to the political Daimyo and the Guildsmen, and finally to the people, who stand on neither side, choosing to remain out of it all. I love diversity, not just in color, but in perception and personalities. Kinslayer was deep and dark. Kristoff did an amazing job in making me see, understand and live Yukiko’s time in different skins and minds.

Another thing that I loved about Kinslayer was the character development. Not one character remained the same. Yukiko’s Kenning was getting stronger and stronger, becoming almost uncontrollable for her. It felt like the world was on her shoulders, its great weight bearing down on her, unbearable. The Kage look up to her for support, beyond that they saw her as the Stormdancer and The Girl all Guildsmen Fear. In reality, she was just a girl who lost her father, her brother and her mother. She was alone, save for Buruu who she treated like a brother. In an effort to search for answers about the Kenning, she journeyed far from the Kage and Shima. Would she get back in time, with answers and determination to finish what she started?

Kin was the Guildsman who left everything to help Yukiko. Despite his efforts and loyalty, the Kage members still perceived him as an enemy. He had to live with beatings, never-ending verbal assault, and ever-present looks of distrust and sometimes, even anger. I was really frustrated with how the Kage treated Kin. It simply wasn’t rational and justified. Isao and company was the receiving end of my death glares as I read on. After all these mistreatments, Kin was starting to doubt himself and his place in the Kage. With Ayane, the girl from the Guild, suffering along with him in the village, he had another reason to believe that they did not belong there.

The other characters such as Hana, Yoshi, Jurou, Michi and Ichizo pulled me into their stories and held me captive. I ached, hurt, laughed and worried over them. The trio Hana, Yoshi and Jurou were the closest to me after Yukiko and Buruu. Hana and Yoshi were clanless siblings who fought to survive on a daily basis. All the things that went through and were still going through just pained me. There was also a little bit of LGBT love in Jurou and Yoshi's relationship. They were partners in crime, bound together by their destiny.

Kinslayer was electrifyingly good in earth-shattering proportions. This book has everything that I love: action (the kind that is bloody and movie-like), unpredictability (the kind that leaves you sputtering), epic world-building (the kind that makes your eyes bug out and your jaw drop), ever-changing characters (the kind that surprises you and shocks you), and of course, mythology (the kind that is simply so exotic). I highly recommend this series to dystopian and fantasy readers! If you're looking for Japanese-mythology-related-YA (like Ink by Amanda Sun), then go for Kinslayer.


5 Cupids = Eternal book love.
I will never, ever, ever forget this book. I highly recommend this!

Monday, October 14, 2013

[Blog Tour] Character Interview with Cheyenne + Giveaway: The Dollhouse Asylum by Mary Gray

Hi guys! The Dollhouse Asylum is one of my most anticipated reads for 2013 so I'm excited to be a part of this blog tour, organized by Patrice of Spencer Hill Press. I have a character interview with Cheyenne, the heroine of the story. Stick around for a giveaway later!

Character interview with Cheyenne (as she is at the beginning of the book):

So tell us about yourself.
I'm a senior at Khabela high--a math and science school in Austin my mom's boyfriend, Mayor Tydal picked. I love literature and to get lost in books, and tend to make a few, good friends. I'm in love with someone I wish I wasn't.

What was your first impression of Elysian Fields?
I didn't like it, but Teo knew what was best, so I allowed myself to see what he saw. Instead of maniacally perfect homes and a street isolated in the middle of an all-encompassing woods, he built this paradise where we could be together away from the Living Rot. He kidnapped me to get there, but looking back, I know he must have done it that way to save time. He wanted his world to work and so did I.

Could you describe Teo to us?
He has this amazing dark skin, and the kind of voice that always carefully enunciates every single word. He's not robotic, though. He's so very far from that. He's graceful, and when he moves, it's as if his muscles are connected to music. He was the only person to talk to me at Khabela when I moved in, and we immediately had a connection as we saw that we read the same kinds of books.

When you were younger, have you ever thought that you could have a relationship with one of your teachers? Why?
I never would have dreamed of it, mostly because it sounds so sick and is against the law. But then you think of Medieval cultures where the women married at thirteen and the men were thirty-five, and you look at my mom who's six years younger than Mayor Tydal. Six years is all that separates Teo from me. Six years. When I'm forty-two, he'll be forty-eight. How many of us think there's much of a difference between those two ages? Of course, the nay-sayers would say, "But you're in high school, and he's your teacher." Do you think I chose for it to be like this? One month from now, I'll graduate and he won't be my teacher anymore. According to the law, we'll suddenly be legal, all will be okay. One month. And yet right now my relationship is considered gross. We love who we love. We can't help who we have a connection with. Now, if I was a freshman, and Mr. Richardson hit on me, that would be gross.

What are the things that you value in life?
Quality conversation and looking to history via the classics. (Teo, I might add, is fully equipped to handle both.) I despise small talk. I want to talk to someone about things that matter, depth. I want to learn from the stories of old and bring the lessons the people learned in our lives and become better.

If you could change one thing in your life now, what would it be? Why?
You mean, besides the Living Rot devouring the better half of the earth? And the fact that Teo and the others aren't getting along? That he doesn't know how to lighten up and they don't get him? In my old life, I would say I wanted my mom not to be influenced by Mayor Tydal so much. Now, I just want Teo's and my relationship to be cemented and smooth and for everyone to live in peace with us here.

Could you tell us one thing that you regret?
I regret not saying anything positive to my mom the last time I saw her. We'd barely spoken the past few weeks, and I don't even really remember what we last talked about.

Any last words?
Um... watch out for snakes?

Paperback, 296 pages
October 22nd 2013, Spencer Hill Press

A virus that had once been contained has returned, and soon no place will be left untouched by its destruction. But when Cheyenne wakes up in Elysian Fields--a subdivision cut off from the world and its monster-creating virus--she is thrilled to have a chance at survival.

At first, Elysian Fields,with its beautiful houses and manicured lawns, is perfect. Teo Richardson, the older man who stole Cheyenne's heart, built it so they could be together. But when Teo tells Cheyenne there are tests that she and seven other couples must pass to be worthy of salvation, Cheyenne begins to question the perfection of his world.

The people they were before are gone. Cheyenne is now "Persephone," and each couple has been re-named to reflect the most tragic romances ever told. Everyone is fighting to pass the test, to remain in Elysian Fields. Teo dresses them up, tells them when to move and how to act, and in order to pass the test, they must play along.

If they play it right, then they'll be safe.

But if they play it wrong, they'll die.

Puchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the Author:

Mary Gray has a fascination with all things creepy. That’s why all her favorite stories usually involve panic attacks and hyperventilating. In real life, she prefers to type away on her computer, ogle over her favorite TV shows, and savor fiction. When she’s not immersed in other worlds, she and her husband get their exercise by chasing after their three children. The Dollhouse Asylum is her first novel.

Follow Mary: Website | Twitter


Thanks to Spencer Hill Press, one of you will win a signed copy/print copy of The Dollhouse Asylum!

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Sunday, October 13, 2013

[Blog Tour] The Grand Finale: Hero by Alethea Kontis

The Grand Finale
(In case you missed anything!)

On Tour with Prism Book Tours


by Alethea Kontis

Rough and tumble Saturday Woodcutter thinks she's the only one of her sisters without any magic—until the day she accidentally conjures an ocean in the backyard. With her sword in tow, Saturday sets sail on a pirate ship, only to find herself kidnapped and whisked off to the top of the world. 

Is Saturday powerful enough to kill the mountain witch who holds her captive and save the world from sure destruction? And, as she wonders grumpily, "Did romance have to be part of the adventure?" 

As in Enchanted, readers will revel in the fragments of fairy tales that embellish this action-packed story of adventure and, yes, romance.  Excerpt


Sail Away on the 
Fairy Tale Adventure Tour*
*Family Welcome

Sept 22 - LAUNCH

Sept 23 - The Missing Piece - Althethea Kontis 

Acknowledgements - Alethea Kontis
 I wrote them. And I cried. And I sent them in. And my editor was touched. And then somewhere between then and publication, they fell through the cracks...
 - Video Rant on Debz Bookshelf

Something about Saturday’s story just touched me... and that made my experience reading this book even more powerful. - Debz review

 - Celebration on Deal Sharing Aunt

Sept 24 - Interview with Miss Print 

The plan is for the Woodcutter Sisters Series to encompass 7 books — one about each sister. That’s always been my original plan. The publisher’s plan was for Enchanted to be a solo book...INTERVIEW
Hero is another excellent installment in the Woodcutter Sisters story and a mandatory read for anyone looking for an antidote to the typical princess story.  - REVIEW
Sept 25 - Interview with Carina Olsen  

What was the first fairy tale you remember falling in love with?  I started reading when I was three and was crazy about reading by the age of five. When I was eight, my French grandmother gave me a giant copy of unexpurgated Grimm and Andersen tales. I mark that date as The Beginning of The End...

 - The Grandfather Pirate on Living a Goddess Life

 - Meet the Inspiration Part I on The Wonderings of One Person

I was a normal kind from a REALLY NOT NORMAL family. My biggest feelings of inadequacy came from comparing myself to my parents and siblings and everyone else and just not measuring up...

Sept 26 – Review on Shannon’s Blog

Coming from a large family, I liked the way the author not only made the heroine one of many siblings, but managed to include all her brothers and sisters...  It wasn’t just an interesting biographical fact that Saturday came from a large family; it actually mattered to the story.
Sept 27 – My Amazing Sister on Leeana Me

My little sister, Soteria, always asks me who she is in the Woodcutter stories, but it’s hard to say. She and I were so close growing up–if I am every single one of my characters, then she is always my sister in every scene.
Sept 30 -- USA Today Happy Ever After interview

My 8-year old daughter loves Alethea Kontis. She's never read one of her YA books, but she knows her as "Princess Alethea" who hangs out with Mommy at book festivals. Alethea lives and breathes fantasy, fairy tales and girl power, and it always pours out of the page. The second book in her Woodcutter series, Hero, is out, and this one has all the trademark spunky heroine and swashbuckling (there are pirates!) fantasy adventure you will find in her books. I was fortunate enough to grab a few moments with Alethea to ask her a few questions...
 Hero by Alethea Kontis

Review of Enchantment on Colorimetry

What a deliciously fairy tale filling read… with just enough light-hearted fun, deeply dark antagonists, magic straight out of real fairy-tale-dom with real fairy god mothers… and characters that carry their faults around like real people that accidentally fell into the story.

 - Alethea at Waterworld Mermaids - "Last Minute Wonder"

I can’t even call it procrastination, because it was more like Self-Imposed Ninja Boot Camp...
 - "My Favorite Bit" guest essay by Alethea - Mary Robinette Kowal

...clothes may be an expression of who you are, but they are not the definition.
 - Review at Library of a Book Witch

I think that this series is really good at setting that fairy tale tone with the writing style, being a hard core lover of fairy tales, it makes the books perfect for me. I also love how she weaves in the different stories and pieces it togther like one of Fridays quilts.

- Interview & Review at Tressa's Wishful Endings

Alethea: I have been accused many times of "cramming all the fairy tales into one book like it was some sort of challenge"--and indeed, it sort of started out that way.I just have to ask, what is your favorite fairy tale and fairy tale princess and why?Alethea: Yay! I love answering this question... Interview
Saturday is such a great character! She is struggling with figuring out her place in the world and who exactly she is...  I loved that she isn't dramatic, but rather sarcastic... Review
Oct 2 - Video Rant Geek Girl In Love 

Princess Alethea rants about Petronella 
I found Hero to be a creative and exciting work of fantasy.  The highlight of the book was the exploration of gender roles, and the romance, which was based very much on the idea that people’s differences can complement each other.
  - "The Big Idea" John Scalzi's blog 

Every author wonders if they’ll be able to hack it in a trial by fire. Well, this author knows she’s got what it takes. I wrote that manuscript in three months, and when they didn’t like that, I took the fourth month to rewrite the whole thing. But I did it, against all odds, and what came out was magic.
Ironically, this is exactly what Hero is all about.
  - My Bookshelf on Mel's Shelves

I was intrigued with the summary for this book. I come from a family of 7 daughters (and 2 sons). I line up with daughter number 4, Thursday, who ran off with the Pirate King and sends trunks of gifts back home, haha!  - Review of Enchanted
The Shelf I Can't Live Without

  - Did You See? on Cu's eBook Giveaways

Princess Alethea has had a busy week!

Madeleine DeRondeOct 3 – Hightlighting The Missing Piece on I Am a Reader, Not a Writer 

Last but not least I must thank the members of my very large family... thank you for keeping my feet tied to the ground while I reach for the stars. You are my heart, and I love you all more than these humble words can say. 
 - Review at Books for Kids

I love the way she writes.  Her characters are vibrant and full of life.  Saturday is a fabulous protagonist.  I adore her strength and her stubbornness, her fire and her fight.  I love the way she solves her problems (with her brain) and the way she carries out her plans (with her strength).
Oct 4 - Podcast Anything Goes with Bennet Pomeranz

 - Review of Hero on Colorimetry

The scene with the lake is burned on my memory forever:  Surrounded by icy walls, with water so clear you can see that the lake is deep, so deep you don’t know how deep, heated from molten lava within the mountain. It’s amazing. I want to go there!!
Oct 5 - Hero LAUNCH PARTY at One More Page Books in Arlington, VA

...where you can get a personalized, signed copy from Alethea!!

 - Meet the Inspiration Part II on Bookmarks
...So you see, I didn’t just have family members growing up. I had legends. I may have been destined for greatness, but only because my family set the bar SO HIGH.

Oct 7 - Character interview with Saturday Woodcutter at I Smell Sheep
Troubadour: I’m here today with Saturday Woodcutter, sixth of the seven Woodcutter daughters, and sister to the Queen of Arilland. Princess Saturday, could you tell me--

Saturday: Call me "princess" again and I punch you in the face. 
 -  Craft "Stealing from the Best" on Romance Writers of America & Fantasy Futuristic &Paranormal Chapter

In my teen novels, I retell the classic Grimm and Andersen (and a few others') fairy tales. I don't regurgitate the exact same sequence of events--though as they're public domain, I suppose I could. I prefer, instead, to fill in the blanks I feel the original authors left.
Oct 8 - Families in Fiction at A Backwards Story
In real life, we have families. Some of us have REALLY LARGE AND OBNOXIOUS families. And though we feel alone sometimes in those awkward middle school years, we're never really alone-alone.
Even when we want to be.
 - Review at JL Mbewe
There’s that saying that “it takes a village to raise a child” well, in the publishing world, books are the author’s children. And it takes a village to raise them, too...
The first thing that jumped off the page at me was the author’s style. It’s playful, fun, and fresh filled with an out-of-this-world yet grounded fairy tale experience. I loved it... Review
AK – Beloved is a parallel novel to Hero, chronicling the adventures of Friday and the rest of the Woodcutter crew back in Arilland, in the tragic aftermath of the appearance of Saturday's "impossible ocean." Apprentice seamstress Friday becomes a leader of the children (because that's Friday's thing), and gets caught up in trying to break a curse involving seven swans, a mute girl, and the need to weave seven shirts out of stinging nettles. 
I've always loved all the bird-tales ("The Goose Girl" is my favorite) and I have to say...I am SO IN LOVE with writing this book. Beloved is such an appropriate title.
 - Deleted Scene at Fragments of Life
It was a sad road that led Peregrine to his mother's bedside... 
All in all, Hero was like a tapestry of fairytales interwoven together: vibrant, fun, humorous, tragic and100% magical. I strongly recommend this to readers who love fairytale retellings and fantasy. - Review
Oct 11 - 13 - Caplave

Oct 11-15 - GRAND FINALE

Contact BurgandyIce(at)live(dot)come if you're interested in sharing this Grand Finale!

Hero (Woodcutter Sisters #2)

Tour-Wide Giveaway

Sept 22 - Oct 17

Fairy Tale Gift Basket (US only): Signed copies of both Enchantment and Hero by Alethea Kontis plus swag!

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