Category Archives: Blog tour

Blog Tour Giveaway: Loop by Karen Akins

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Today, we’re excited to be hosting a stop on the official blog tour for Loop by Karen Akins, a fantastic new science fiction, time-traveling adventure. Learn more about the book here, and then keep reading for your chance to win a copy!

loop karen akinsAt a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels…at screwing up.

After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.

But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future.

Loop is available now. But here’s how you can win a copy:

Get started by filling out the Rafflecopter entry form here!

Contest is open to the U.S. only, and runs through midnight (PT) on Wednesday, November 5th.

Blog Tour Q&A + Contest: The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

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Today, we are so pleased to be hosting the first stop on the official blog tour for The Walled City by Ryan Graudin — a thrilling story based on a REAL walled city, and the crime that thrived there. The book is a fantastic read, made all the more compelling when you learn that it’s based on something that really existed.

We talk to Ryan about the real-life inspiration and more in our exclusive Q&A below. Then keep reading for more about The Walled City and your chance to win a copy of the book & other cool prizes!

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walledcity_final coverTHE WALLED CITY is set in this very dangerous labyrinth, where teens are forced to run drugs or sell themselves into prostitution. Tell us about the real-life Walled City that inspired your book’s setting?

The Kowloon Walled City was a neighborhood in 1980s Hong Kong that housed over 33,000 people in its 6.5 acre borders. The buildings were so thickly stacked that the sunlight couldn’t reach the streets. The passageways through the city were a labyrinth of tunnels. There was always water leaking down the building’s walls since there was no proper drainage. Conflicts between Britain and China ensured that police had no jurisdiction there, so anyone who wanted to do anything illegal flocked to the Kowloon Walled City. Dentists who were licensed to practice in China but couldn’t work in Hong Kong set up shop there. Dozens of manufacturers set up factories there to escape taxation and quality control. The place was crammed with noodle-makers, steel factories, seafood restaurants…. Anything and everything. The Triad maintained a large presence there, which accounted for much of the drugs and brothels.

What came first: the Walled City, or the characters?

The Walled City came first! I learned about it back in 2011 when I met a woman named Jackie Pullinger, who worked in the Kowloon Walled City for over twenty years before it was torn down in the early 90s. As I listened to her talk about the neighborhood I was amazed that such a place existed, much less that I’d never heard of it before! I went home and fell into a rabbit-hole of research: watching documentaries about the city, reading biographies of people who lived there. The more I found out the more I wanted to know. As I researched I started to imagine the different people who lived there, and the stories they might tell. Thus Jin Ling, Mei Yee and Dai all came into being.

ryan graudinYou’ve done lots of traveling. Did you travel at all to the Kowloon Walled City Park, or to Hong Kong, while writing THE WALLED CITY? Have any other real-world locations inspired this book?

Traveling is one of my passions, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to do a good deal of it. My husband and I did go to Hong Kong and visit the Kowloon Walled City Park in January (it was at the very tail end of the book writing process). The park was so fascinating! They have a museum there dedicated to teaching visitors about the former lawless neighborhood. They also have some of the original cannons and the remains of the Old South Gate (both of which make an appearance in the novel).

Other travels helped inspire this novel as well. In 2007 I spent six weeks living and working in the slums of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Meeting the children there and seeing what they did to survive had a huge influence on Jin Ling’s storyline. I probably would never even have had the courage to attempt Mei Yee’s brothel storyline if I hadn’t spent several weeks in El Alto, Bolivia with my sister-in-law, who works with a non-profit that provides women in the red light district with health classes, child care and the opportunity to leave prostitution through microbusinesses. Setting the book in Asia was also a very daunting task, which I probably wouldn’t have tried to tackle if I hadn’t lived in South Korea for a year. (Chinese culture and Korean culture are, of course, very different, but spending time in Korea gave me the courage I needed to research Chinese culture thoroughly.)

You have a lot of very cinematic music on the playlist for THE WALLED CITY on your website. Do you listen to music while you write? While you brainstorm? How does music influence your writing?

Music is a must for me. I almost never write without it. (It’s been that way for me as long as I can remember. I used to do all my homework with my headphones on.) I create different playlists for each of my novels. The songs I pick usually reflect the mood of the novel in some way, as listening to them helps put me in the mood I’m trying to create on the page. For THE WALLED CITY I actually created three separate playlists, one for each character.

A lot of Jin Ling’s songs were frantic and fast, suited to her chase scenes and choppy voice. (“Mombasa” by Hans Zimmer from the Inception Soundtrack, “Love is Gonna Save Us” by Benny Benassi, “Kodo – Inside the Sun Remix” by Yoshida Brothers.) Mei Yee’s tracks were much slower. Soft and full of longing. (“Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by Emily Browning, “Any Other Name” by Thomas Newman.) Dai’s songs were a little more lyrical and desperate. (“Some Nights” by Fun. , “Pompeii” by Bastille, “Idioteque” by Radiohead.) Other albums, like Zack Hemsey’s The Way, held an overarching feel for the story and made it onto all three characters’ playlists!

THE WALLED CITY has three rules: run fast, trust no one, and always carry your knife. What would you say are “the three rules” of being a writer?

Don’t give up. Don’t be afraid of what people think. Get Macfreedom and use it mercilessly when you’re procrastinating on the Internet.

FLASH QUESTIONS:

Must-have writing snack?

Does black coffee count as a snack?

Favorite Disney movie?

Mulan!

The beach or the mountains?

Beach. I’m fortunate enough to live a short drive from one.

Song that can always get you dancing?

Gangnam Style by Psy. Or really any K-Pop.

Favorite Halloween candy?

Mallowpumpkins.

Starbucks beverage of choice?

Grande, non-fat, no water dirty Chai latte.

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Title: THE WALLED CITY
Author:
Ryan Graudin
Pub. Date: November 4, 2014
Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads

There are three rules in the Walled City: Run fast. Trust no one. Always carry your knife. Right now, my life depends completely on the first. Run, run, run.

Jin, Mei Yee, and Dai all live in the Walled City, a lawless labyrinth run by crime lords and overrun by street gangs. Teens there run drugs or work in brothels—or, like Jin, hide under the radar. But when Dai offers Jin a chance to find her lost sister, Mei Yee, she begins a breathtaking race against the clock to escape the Walled City itself.

About Ryan:

Ryan Graudin grew up in Charleston and graduated from the College of Charleston with a degree in Creative Writing in 2009. She is the author of All That Glows and The Walled City. She resides near Charleston with her husband and wolf-dog. You can find her online at http://www.ryangraudin.com.

Her work is represented by Josh Adams of Adams Literary.

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Tumblr

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(1) Grand prize pack: It includes: A finished copy of THE WALLED CITY, rice candy, a miniature lucky cat, a traditional Chinese paper cutout of a dragon, and a pamphlet from the real Walled City Park! US ONLY

(9) winners will receive: A finished copy of THE WALLED CITY. US ONLY.

Enter by filling out the Rafflecopter form HERE!

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Blog Tour Schedule

Week One:

Week Two:

Blog Tour Q&A + Contest: Pennyroyal Academy by M.A. Larson

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Today, I am so pleased to be hosting a stop on the official blog tour for Pennyroyal Academy by M.A. Larson, featuring an exclusive Q&A with the author about his whimsical new middle grade series.

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pennyroyal academyI love the idea that a princess can be a hero. How did your definition of a princess, as we see in PENNYROYAL ACADEMY, come about?

Pennyroyal Academy began as an animated television series. In the early days, it was a pretty straightforward parody of “Disney princess culture.” The initial idea I had was that Cinderella and Princess Peach (of MarioKart) lived together as roommates, and then it became “What if all the princesses lived in the same place?” which then led to the idea of a military-style princess training academy. But as I started planning to write it as a book, I realized there might be a way to do the idea with a bit more substance. So I tried to strip away a lot of the parody elements and general silliness and create a more substantial world around the idea of a princess training academy. I focused in on Grimms’ Fairy Tales because they’re such dark, rich, substantive stories. I knew that if the girls in my book were going to train to become princesses, they would need an enemy to fight against. That led me to the idea that only a princess can defeat a witch. They are the last line of defense for the people of this world when the witches start rolling in. What I particularly liked about this as an overarching conflict was that it allowed me to create a world that joined all the Grimms’ tales together. Cinderella and Snow-White both live in the world of Pennyroyal Academy. Maybe not at the same time or in the same place, but the characters in my book have heard of and idolize these princesses of the past. Think of them as the George Patton and Douglas MacArthur of this world. Legendary military heroes, only in horse-drawn carriages instead of tanks.

MALarson_authorphotoYou’ve written a lot for children’s television, including Disney. Did your experience in children’s TV influence your work on PENNYROYAL ACADEMY? In what ways?

I never would have thought of the idea if not for my television writing. Before I moved to Los Angeles, I was writing dark, indie screenplays that no one would ever want to produce or probably even watch. When I moved out west, a friend of mine who I’ve known since kindergarten was an animator at Cartoon Network, and the show he was on needed writers. I wrote a couple of spec scripts and got the job. I’ve never been particularly picky about what age level or genre I write for, so animation writing, happily, became my job. And the best way to have longevity in a TV career is to create your own show. I was constantly trying to think of ideas to pitch, and Pennyroyal Academy was one of them. In more general terms, writing for children’s animation has been invaluable. You have to churn out so many scripts and concepts that you quickly learn to not be too precious about your ideas. And you deal with so many notes from so many different parties that you learn to accept rejection as just something that happens. A lot. It’s not personal, it’s just part of the day when you’re someone who comes up with stories. Some will work, some won’t.

Family was a theme that really stuck with me, reading PENNYROYAL ACADEMY—both the family you’re born with, and the family you make for yourself. What sort of impact did your family have on PENNYROYAL ACADEMY?

Even thought I’ve spent my career up until now writing for film and television, I always wanted to write books. My mom took my brother and I to the library all the time when we were kids. At first I would leave with a stack of Garfield books or whatever, but then on one visit I noticed a book with a picture of a rabbit on the front. It was Watership Down. I read that book over and over again, not even really understanding what it was about. I just knew it was magic. That was the switch flip that made me want to write books. My mom has done home daycare my entire life, so there were always dozens and dozens of books around the house, but it was those regular trips to the library that got me hooked. My dad was a radio DJ and a massive movie buff, so he was the driving force behind my love of cinema and music. To this day, Apocalypse Now is one of my top three films, and my dad showed that to me at a very young age. So his love of story also influenced me pretty heavily. I also have one brother who is just under two years older than me so needless to say, his interests were my interests. He introduced me to Stephen King when I was very young, and I became addicted to that sensation of being scared by a book. There’s a short story of his called “Graveyard Shift” that haunts me to this day. My brother also got me into Bunnicula and countless other more age-appropriate books. But you can see how vividly I connect stories to each member of my family.

We hear a lot about different fairy tales throughout PENNYROYAL ACADEMY. What were your favorite fairy tales growing up?

I have to admit, my exposure to fairy tales came primarily through Disney. I love most of the Disney fairy tales, actually. I think they get a bit of a bad rap these days. Sleeping Beauty is one of the most gorgeous things ever put on film, and The Little Mermaid will always be my favorite animated film. I didn’t sit down and read Grimms’ Fairy Tales until I started writing this book. And then I completely fell in love. Now I’ve read them all multiple times in multiple translations, and gotten into the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen and Charles Perrault and Oscar Wilde. There are little fairy tale Easter Eggs all throughout Pennyroyal Academy, most from fairly obscure Grimms’ stories. Everything from character names to scenes to subplots. I wanted the reader to be able to feel the fairy tales throughout the story, even if they aren’t familiar with the fairy tale itself.

I am hopeful that there will be a sequel to PENNYROYAL ACADEMY—it feels like we still have SO much to learn. Assuming there will be another book, what can readers expect?

I don’t want to say! I’m such a proponent of going in cold, knowing nothing. I guess I’ll say that there are even more Brothers Grimm elements in the second book, so fairy tale fans will have lots more Easter Egg hunting to do. And there might be giants. Maybe. We’ll see.

FLASH QUESTIONS:

Song that can always get you dancing?

I loathe dancing. And yet “Groove is in the Heart” gets me every time.

Favorite Halloween candy?

Anything with peanut butter. In fact, hold the candy and just give me a jar.

Starbucks beverage of choice?

Boring. Venti Americano.

French fries or tater tots?

Tater tots are the one true prepared potato form.

Skill you wish you possessed?

Dancing.

Favorite member of the Avengers?

EMMA PEEL. I know that’s not what you meant, but there is no denying she is the greatest Avenger of all time.

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Pennyroyal Academy: Seeking bold, courageous youths to become tomorrow’s princesses and knights….Come one, come all!

Enlist today at PennyroyalAcademy.com!

Blog Tour Schedule:

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You can enter to win a Pennyroyal Academy Recruitment Kit by filling out the Rafflecopter form here!

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about the bookAnd here is more about Pennyroyal Academy, which is in stores now:

pennyroyal academyPennyroyal Academy: Seeking bold, courageous youths to become tomorrow’s princesses and knights….Come one, come all!

A girl from the forest arrives in a bustling kingdom with no name and no idea why she is there, only to find herself at the center of a world at war.  She enlists at Pennyroyal Academy, where princesses and knights are trained to battle the two great menaces of the day: witches and dragons. There, given the name “Evie,” she must endure a harsh training regimen under the steel glare of her Fairy Drillsergeant, while also navigating an entirely new world of friends and enemies. As Evie learns what it truly means to be a princess, she realizes surprising things about herself and her family, about human compassion and inhuman cruelty. And with the witch forces moving nearer, she discovers that the war between princesses and witches is much more personal than she could ever have imagined.

Set in Grimm’s fairytale world, M.A. Larson’s Pennyroyal Academy masterfully combines adventure, humor, and magical mischief.

about the authorM.A. Larson (www.malarson.com) is a film and television writer who lives with his wife, daughter, and two dogs in a canyon in California. Larson has written for Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney UK, Discovery Kids Channel, The Hub, and Nickelodeon. As a writer on the cult sensation “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic”, he has been a guest at “brony” fan conventions from Paris, France to Dallas, Texas. Pennyroyal Academy is his first novel.

Blog Tour Guest Post + Contest: Compulsion by Martina Boone

Today, we have the pleasure of hosting an official stop on the blog tour for Compulsion by Martina Boone. Martina is stopping by with a guest post today – thanks, Martina!

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Leah Cypess, today’s Compulsion for Magic tour stop guest author, knows a little something about characters with limited magic. Her main character in Death Sworn—who Booklist called a “a heroine at the intersection of Tamora Pierce’s Alanna and George R.R. Martin’s Arya Stark”—is losing her magic at the same time that she’s supposed to be teaching magic to a group of deadly assassins. The more she uses her magic, the less she has, and the less she has, the more danger she is in. Since she is one of the authors who said generous things about Compulsion, she’s here today to share Ileni’s thoughts on “small magic.”

But what about you? For a chance to win the HUGE tour mega prize of books and the $100 gift card, tell us about the magical gift you’d like to have or one you wouldn’t wish on yourself.

Here’s what Leah had to say . . .

If you could have any “everyday” magical gift, like finding lost things or knowing what people want, what gift would you want and why?

I’d settle for being able to recognize peoples’ faces and names when I meet them! My 7-year-old daughter has this gift, and I’ve trained her to whisper people’s names into my ear, since I have terrible facial recognition skills. But to go for something a little more magical – I would want the ability to do things super-fast, so I could actually get to the end of my to-do list before 3 a.m.

What everyday magic would your characters wish they had and why?

I don’t know if Ileni of DEATH SWORN would settle for everyday magic — she used to be a powerful sorceress, and nothing but true magic would satisfy her. That said, I think she would like the ability to tell when people are about to try to kill her. That would be immensely useful in the Assassins’ Caves.

Eight, Barrie’s love interest in Compulsion, has inherited his family’s gift of knowing what people want and feeling compelled to give it to them. What’s one gift you’re glad you don’t have? Or your characters would be glad they didn’t have?

I don’t think Ileni would want the gift of being able to tell what people think of her — useful though it would be, it would also be incredibly depressing, since most of the people around her don’t think much of her. For someone used to being honored and admired, that would plunge her into a depression that even a hot assassin guy might not be able to pull her out of.

Barrie is tied to her family’s plantation, Watson’s Landing, in a magical way, and the whole landscape becomes magical for her. What’s the one place in your book that you wish you could bring to life?

Most of the caverns described in DEATH SWORN are actually based on real caves — so they already exist! I do wish I could visit the ones I haven’t made it to yet, especially Lechuguilla Cave in New Mexico.

If you were going to a Halloween party and you had to dress as a character from a Southern Gothic or a Gothic romance, what would your costume look like?

Like my pajamas, because I would probably make an excuse to stay home and work on copyedits or something. (Sorry to shatter any illusions about authors’ exciting lives….)

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Hah! I think most writers can relate—if not to the pajamas then at least to yoga pants. The glamorous life indeed . . .

Now your turn! Tell us about your magic.

 And/Or . . .

Bonus option: If you’ve already left a comment on another tour stop about what kind of magic you’d like or you just want to do something different for extra entry points, show us your magical, gothic, or Southern gothic costume! How would you do a character like Ileni from Death Sworn or a character a gothic romance like Jane Eyre or Rebecca du Maurier’s Rebecca? How would you do Scarlet from Gone with the Wind? Or show us an“everyday magic” as part of a Halloween costume! Post a comment with the URL to your photo and we’ll share it. Use tag #CompulsionMagic.

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Here’s more about Compulsion, in stores October 28th:

compulsionThree plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.

All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead–a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family’s twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.

Pre-Order Compulsion:

IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Book Depository (free worldwide shipping)

Signed copies are available for pre-order from One More Page Books. You can also pre-order with the special I have a Compulsion for readingbookplate from Eight Cousins. Pre-Order Incentives Going on here.

Early Praise for Compulsion:

“Darkly romantic and steeped in Southern Gothic charm, you’ll be compelled to get lost in the Heirs of Watson Island series.”

— #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Jennifer L. Armentrout

“A fresh twist on the Southern Gothic — haunting, atmospheric, and absorbing.”

— Claudia Gray, New York Times bestselling author of A Thousand Pieces of You and the Evernight and Spellcaster series

“Compulsion is a stunningly magical debut with a delicious slow burn to be savored. I want to live in this story world!”

— Wendy Higgins, USA Today and NYT bestselling author of the Sweet Evil trilogy from HarperTeen

About Martina Boone:

Martina Boone was born in Prague and spoke several languages before learning English. She fell in love with words and never stopped delighting in them.

She’s the founder of AdventuresInYAPublishing.com, a Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers site, and YASeriesInsiders.com, a site devoted to encouraging literacy and all things YA Series.

From her home in Virginia, where she lives with her husband, children, and Auggie the wonder dog, she enjoys writing contemporary fantasy set in the kinds of magical places she’d love to visit. When she isn’t writing, she’s addicted to travel, horses, skiing, chocolate flavored tea, and anything with Nutella on it.

Website | Blog | Tumblr | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Twitter

 

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Do you have a Compulsion for Reading? Then you don’t want to miss what Martina Boone is giving away! 5 lucky winners will each win the following:

Grand Prize Winner – will win EVERYTHING pictured above! That’s the right! That entire bag of books will go to 1 reader!! *US residents only

Next Winner – will win a $100 gift card to the book store of their choice! *open internationally

3 Additional winners will each win a Compulsion prize pack which features a signed copy of Compulsion, a Compulsion necklace and bookmarks. *open internationally

To enter to win, please fill out the Rafflecopter form here!

Atlantia by Ally Condie: True Playlist & #AtlantiaBelow Contest

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Today we bring you an exclusive stop on the official blog tour for Atlantia by Ally Condie, and we are representing #AtlantiaBelow (as in … below the surface of the ocean!)

As part of the blog tour, we’re giving away a beautiful Atlantia-inspired necklace – so check out the contest details below for that. Meanwhile, here is Ally’s playlist for the character True in Atlantia:

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atlantiaThe character True was one of my favorites to write in ATLANTIA—he is a bit like the character Xander from MATCHED in that he is a very good person—but True is also very different. He has been keeping a secret all his life, like Rio, and he recognizes in her someone strong and interesting, someone with whom he is able to feel true empathy. If you want to know how I imagine True looking, just Google the Olympic swimmer Nathan Adrian, and you’ll have an idea. J

  1. Be the Song by Foy Vance

I feel like this is a great introduction to True as a character, and to how he feels about Rio. The part that is especially perfect is “I’ll take the weight,/but I won’t speak/I will refrain and be the song, just be the song.”

  1. Read All About It, Pt. III by Emeli Sande’
Photo credit: Erin Summerill

Photo credit: Erin Summerill

A beautiful song that I know True would love for Rio. The first stanza could be about Rio word-for-word: “You’ve got the words to change a nation/But you’re biting your tongue/You’ve spent a lifetime stuck in silence/Afraid you’ll say something wrong/If no one ever hears it how we gonna learn your song?”

  1. Suburban War by Arcade Fire

This is one of those pieces of music that just FEELS absolutely right for the story, and for True’s part in it. I love the build in this song—it starts out beautiful, and then breaks your heart in this gorgeous, epic manner at the end.

  1. Runaway by The Melodic

I think this one has a lot to do with True and Rio, and how they both have to turn their backs on what they know in order to do what is next. I love the beat of this song as well—truly a great song for running away.

  1. Shadowplay by The Killers

In this song, we hear about the ocean, about the center of the city at night, and I can picture this for True as he waits for Rio. I also like the urgent feel of the music—it’s perfect for the book.

  1. Manchester by Kishi Bashi

“I haven’t felt this alive in a long time.” This line and the music behind it are what I picture playing in the background during a certain scene between Rio and True in the book. And that’s all I can really say about that. ;)

  1. When You Come Back Down by Nickel Creek

Don’t confuse this band (Nickel Creek) with Nickelback. ;) The lead singer has a beautiful voice that I just love, and, again without saying too much, this song matches almost exactly with the end of ATLANTIA.

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Now it’s your chance to win one of these amazing Atlantia-inspired necklaces! There are LOTS of ways you can win: commenting below, sharing on social media, etc. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form HERE to get started.

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Contest is open to the U.S. only. Contest ends at midnight (PT) on Sunday, October 26th.

Be sure to visit the other stops on the #AtlantiaBelow Blog Tour for more goodies & chances to win:

September 28 – Katie (Mundie Moms) – Long Q&A
September 30 – Jen (I Read Banned Books) – Guest post
October 2 – Katie (Katie’s Book Blog) – Short Q&A
October 4 – Lea (YA Book Queen) – Review
October 6 – Taschima (Bloody Bookaholic) – Fancasting
October 8 – Jeremy (Novel Thoughts Blog) – Guest post
October 10 – Erin/ Flo (Fangirlish) – Review
October 12 – Nancy (Ravenous Reader) – Review
October 14 – Sara (Novel Novice) – Playlist
October 16 – Jess (Gone with the Words) – Short Q&A
October 18 – Rachel (Paper Cuts) – Guest post
October 20 – Georgia (Eve’s Fan Garden) – Playlist
October 22 – Gabby (Queen Ella Bee Reads) – Long Q&A
October 24 – Andrea (Reading Lark) – Review
October 26 – Tirzah (The Compulsive Reader) – Playlist

 

Book Review + Blog Tour Giveaway: Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios

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Today’s review is part of the official blog tour for Exquisite Captive — see the full blog tour schedule here, and be sure to scroll down for your chance to win a copy of the book!

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Dark and seductive, Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios will have you rethinking wishes — and every genie story you’ve ever heard, whether it’s that lovable blue guy in Aladdin or Barbara Eden in “I Dream of Jeannie.”

Exquisite CaptiveForced to obey her master.
Compelled to help her enemy.
Determined to free herself.

Nalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power, the only survivor of a coup that killed nearly everyone she loved. Stuffed into a bottle and sold by a slave trader, she’s now in hiding on the dark caravan, the lucrative jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their human masters’ every command. She’d give almost anything to be free of the golden shackles that bind her to Malek, her handsome, cruel master, and his lavish Hollywood lifestyle.

Enter Raif, the enigmatic leader of Arjinna’s revolution and Nalia’s sworn enemy. He promises to free Nalia from her master so that she can return to her ravaged homeland and free her imprisoned brother—all for an unbearably high price. Nalia’s not sure she can trust him, but Raif’s her only hope of escape. With her enemies on the hunt, Earth has become more perilous than ever for Nalia. There’s just one catch: for Raif’s unbinding magic to work, Nalia must gain possession of her bottle…and convince the dangerously persuasive Malek that she truly loves him. Battling a dark past and harboring a terrible secret, Nalia soon realizes her freedom may come at a price too terrible to pay: but how far is she willing to go for it?

Inspired by Arabian Nights, EXQUISITE CAPTIVE brings to life a deliciously seductive world where a wish can be a curse and shadows are sometimes safer than the light.

Exquisite Captive is fascinating, multi-layered story — with a sinister undertone to each new facet, and a mystery that continues to grow — even as new information comes to light. It’s an enticing mix that makes for a compelling, hard-to-put-down book.

Demetrios has woven a lush and darkly sexy mythology, placing her characters in very dangerous, very precarious situations. A lot is at stake for each of them, and the tension only builds as the story unfolds. Exquisite Captive makes for a mesmerizing read — one that captures readers much in the same way Nalia was captured by the jinni slave traders. Consider yourself a captive of Demetrios’ magical writing.

Exquisite Captive is in stores October 7th.

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Exquisite Captive
Dark Caravan Cycle #1
Author: Heather Demetrios
Release Date: October 7th, 2014
Publisher: Balzer+Bray

Goodreads | B&N | Amazon

Demetrios Author PhotoABOUT THE AUTHOR:

When she’s not traipsing around the world or spending time in imaginary places, Heather Demetrios lives with her husband in New York City. Originally from Los Angeles, she now calls the East Coast home. Heather is a recipient of the PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award for her debut novel, Something Real, which Publisher’s Weekly calls “[An] addictive yet thoughtful debut” about reality TV stardom. She is the author of the upcoming EXQUISITE CAPTIVE, a smoldering fantasy about jinn in Los Angeles and what Kirkus called in its starred review “an intoxicating, richly realized realm of magic, politics, spirituality and history” (#1 in the DARK CARAVAN CYCLE). She is also the author of the upcoming I’ll Meet You There (Winter 2015). I’ll Meet You There is a love story about a young combat veteran and a girl trapped in their small town, both struggling to escape the war at home. Heather is the founder of Live Your What, an organization dedicated to fostering passion in people of all ages and creating writing opportunities for youth of limited economic means. She is proud to have an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. You can always find her on Twitter (@HDemetrios), ogling the military dogs she wants to adopt (but can’t because her NYC apartment is way too small). Find out more about Heather and her other books at www.heatherdemetrios.comand www.darkcaravancycle.com

GIVEAWAY:

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Must be 13+ To Enter | Ships to US only.

23 Winners will get a signed finished copy of Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios

Enter using the Rafflecopter entry form HERE!

 

 

Blog Tour Book Review & Contest: The Fall by Bethany Griffin

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Today, I am pleased to be hosting an official stop on the blog tour for The Fall by Bethany Griffin. Below you’ll find our review, then keep reading for your chance to win a pretty fantastic prize pack, plus check out other stops on the blog tour.

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fall, theThe Fall by Bethany Griffin is a chilling re-imagining of an Edgar Allan Poe classic, “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Chronicling the isolated life of Madeline Usher, The Fall shows her unavoidable spiral into madness — haunted as she is by the eerie presence within her family home. The same presence that has haunted the Usher family for generations.

This is not Griffin’s first time drawing inspiration from Poe, and her expertise shines through her mastery of the Gothic horror genre. The Fall is a truly terrifying story; Griffin’s prose oozes with horror and spine-tingling chills. (It’s truly a perfect read as we approach Halloween). Reading the book at night made every creak and other innocent nocturnal sound seem suspect, even with my husband snoring in bed beside me!

But this is not simply horror for horror’s sake. The strong literary influence of Poe’s work shines through as Griffin weaves her own inspired tale of the house of Usher. Though the book is packed with creep factor, the story illustrates a story of madness, and Madeline’s determination to escape her family curse. It’s a truly captivating struggle, and the psychological aspect of her story is what sets this above your typical horror story.

At times both chilling and seductive, The Fall is a story that Poe himself would be proud to see published. Look for it in stores October 7th.

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Title: THE FALL
Author:
Bethany Griffin
Pub. Date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pages: 432
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads

Madeline Usher is doomed.

She has spent her life fighting fate, and she thought she was succeeding. Until she woke up in a coffin.

Ushers die young. Ushers are cursed. Ushers can never leave their house, a house that haunts and is haunted, a house that almost seems to have a mind of its own. Madeline’s life—revealed through short bursts of memory—has hinged around her desperate plan to escape, to save herself and her brother. Her only chance lies in destroying the house.

In the end, can Madeline keep her own sanity and bring the house down? The Fall is a literary psychological thriller, reimagining Edgar Allan Poe’s classic The Fall of the House of Usher.

BethanyAbout Bethany:

Bethany Griffin is a high school English teacher who prides herself on attracting creative misfits to elective classes like Young Adult Literature, Creative Writing, and Speculative Literature. She is the author of HANDCUFFS, MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH, DANCE OF THE RED DEATH, GLITTER AND DOOM, and THE FALL. She lives with her family in Kentucky.

Website/Twitter/Facebook/Goodreads

Giveaway Details

1 Grand Prize- A Poe Prize Pack with a Raven Scarf, Necklace, Candle, and a signed hardcover of THE FALL and a signed bookmark! (US Only)

3 Signed Hardcovers of THE FALL and signed bookmarks (International)

Enter by filling out the Rafflecopter form HERE!

The Fall Blog Tour Tour Schedule:

Firebug by Lish McBride Blog Tour Guest Post & Contest: Why Write Paranormal

Firebug BlogTour
Today, I am pleased to be hosting a stop on the official blog tour for Firebug by Lish McBride — which is in stores TODAY, and is one of my favorite books of the year.

Today, we have an exclusive guest blog from Lish, as well as your chance to win a copy of Firebug. So check out Lish’s post below, then keep reading for more on the contest!

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Why Write Paranormal
By Lish McBride

firebugMy thesis advisor asked me a similar question when I was in graduate school. Oh, it was phrased differently and her question was laced with concern, but it was there. She couldn’t understand why I wanted to write fantasy and horror and whatever and not literary fiction. Why else would I be in such a program? Why wouldn’t I see that anything less than literary fiction would be a waste of my time and talent? She was—and is—a wonderful teacher, and very straight forward, which I appreciated. To her the literary novel was the pinnacle, the brass ring, that thing that we should all grasp for. She loves it, and she couldn’t quite understand why I didn’t.

I think, and this is purely speculation, that genre fiction is all the same to her. It doesn’t fire her passion like literary fiction does. What she didn’t get was that was how I felt about literary fiction. I’m not saying it’s terrible or anything. I have no problems with it, just that when I sit down to write, those aren’t the kinds of stories I want to tell. Often, when I read, it’s the same thing. If you give me two stories, and one has a sea monster or a cyborg in it and the other is a coming of age tale with no magic whatsoever, guess which one I’m going to pick? I didn’t read Jane Austen until after I read Pride & Prejudice & Zombies and Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters. Usually I need the lure of magic to spark my interest. Only when I read those stories did the source material intrigue me. Regular fiction just doesn’t interest me. So when I wrote “serious” stories in class, I often wrote them as straight and kept the paranormal elements to myself. “This story appears to be about three women who killed an abusive husband, but they’re all secretly witches.”

I write paranormal because those are the stories that come out when I reach for my laptop and when I reach inside my mind for characters. Those are the stories my brain likes to create. Those are also the stories I like to read. I have always loved mythology and fairy tales. Why wouldn’t my writing reflect that? Stories are often sparked by our interests and what we absorb of the outside world. What we read, see, eat, smell—the people we meet, the relationships we have, all of this blends together and becomes fodder for the worlds we create.

I love the way magical worlds can interweave with the everyday, how sometimes it takes seeing something through the eyes of a monster to really understand it, to process it. Frankenstein is an excellent example of this. Mary Shelley used the monster to reveal truth and beauty, to expose certain unsavory things about humanity. Good writing—paranormal or literary or whatever the flavor may be—can do this. I just seem to like my truth with a little bit of magic.

This is not to say that I don’t ever read anything that isn’t paranormal. I read all kinds of things. Fantasy is just the most common genre I read. I have written stories without any magical elements in them. So I know it’s possible for me to do so, but to be honest, they don’t feel finished to me. They don’t feel full. I guess magic, or the paranormal, is the catalyst I need to bring a story to life. And I’m okay with that. There are a lot of writers out there to handle all the other kinds of books. People who really like literary fiction. People who are great at writing it. More power to them. They will spin their tales while I spend my time with gnomes, werewolves, faeries and other beasties. Nothing would make me happier.

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More Firebug Goodies:

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Want to win a copy of Firebug? Just tell us in the comments below why you want to read it, and then fill out the Rafflecopter form here.

Contest is open to mailing addresses in the U.S. or Canada only. Contest ends at midnight (PT) on Tuesday, September 30th.

Blog Tour & Contest: The Clockwork Dagger by Beth Cato

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Today, we’re excited to be hosting a stop on the official blog tour for The Clockwork Dagger by Beth Cato. Keep reading to learn more & your chance to enter a pretty awesome contest!

clockwork daggerAbout The Clockwork Dagger:

An extremely fun and very commercial fantasy debut, in the bestselling vein of Trudi Canavan and Gail Carriger. THE CLOCKWORK DAGGER is an enchanting fantasy debut about a young healer with incredible powers setting off on her first mission, when a series of strange occurrences (including murder) rock the airship she is traveling on. But the dashingly attractive steward may be one of the infamous Clockwork Dagger assassins, her cabin-mate hides secrets, and the conspiracy may reach the crown itself.

Published by: Harper Voyager
Released on: September 16th, 2014
Add it to Goodreads
Get it From: Amazon | B&N

Praise for The Clockwork Dagger:

“The Clockwork Dagger was just what I needed: A steampunk adventure with an uncommon heroine, a fascinating magic system, and a young gremlin! I’m hooked and can’t wait for more Octavia and Leaf!”
—New York Times bestselling author Kevin Hearne

About the Author:

beth catoBeth Cato resides in the outskirts of Phoenix, AZ. Her husband Jason, son Nicholas, and crazy cat keep her busy, but she still manages to squeeze in time for writing and other activities that help preserve her sanity. She is originally from Hanford, CA, a lovely city often pungent with cow manure.

clockwork dagger parasolGiveaway:

Enter to win a copy of The Clockwork Dager, complete with a gorgeous black-and-gold paper parasol, for your very own steampunk adventures and cosplays!

Enter by filling out the Rafflecopter form HERE!

Book Birthday Blog Tour: I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

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Today is the release day for I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson — and we’re celebrating with our book birthday stop on the official blog tour! Plus, be sure to scroll down for more goodies & a chance to win a copy of Jandy’s first book, The Sky is Everywhere.

The theme of today’s post is a BOOK BIRTHDAY! So to celebrate, we whipped up some I’ll Give You the Sun-themed CUPCAKES! But first, here’s more about the book:

i'll give you the sunA brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.

For this occasion, I put my own spin to the ever-popular and always-delicious “sprinkle cupcakes.” I thought the colorful cupcake was a perfect combination with the bright cover for I’ll Give You the Sun.

sun10I started with my favorite white cake recipe from the good ol’ Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook — then mixed multi-colored sprinkles into my batter. (You can also use a boxed cake mix, too … some even come with the sprinkles already mixed in). Once mixed, I poured the batter into paper cupcake liners and baked according to the recipe’s instructions.

Once out of the oven, it’s time to let the cupcakes cool … frosting warm cupcakes is a big no-no. Once cooled completely, I pulled out a tub of my favorite vanilla frosting (yes, here’s where I cheat … I hate making frosting from scratch, and I think the store-bought kind is just fine).

sun7I spread an even layer of frosting on each cupcake using a butter knife. If you have an actual frosting knife, even better — if not, a regular butter knife works just fine. Be sure to smooth the frosting on in an even layer here — you don’t want a fancy, swirled frosting like you often see in cupcake shops.

sun5That’s because … to decorate, you’re going to want several tubes of frosting gel in assorted colors (red, orange, yellow, lime green, blue, purple, and pink).

Once my cupcakes were frosted in white, I arranged them on a circular tray — and then began adding colorful “rays” using the gel frosting, mimicking the artwork on the cover of I’ll Give You the Sun.

Now, I also like my sprinkle cupcakes with extra sprinkles on top — so I went ahead and scattered some more on top of the frosted cupcakes. Adds just a nice little extra dash of “sunshine,” no?

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And the final step: curl up with your copy of I’ll Give You the Sun (in stores today) and EAT CUPCAKES while you read!!!

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Photo by Sonya Sones

Photo by Sonya Sones

Jandy Nelson, like her characters in I’ll Give You the Sun, comes from a superstitious lot. She was tutored from a young age in the art of the four-leaf clover hunt; she knocks wood, throws salt, and carries charms in her pockets. Her debut novel, The Sky Is Everywhere, was on multiple Best Books of the Year lists, was a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults pick, earned numerous starred reviews, has been translated widely, and continues to enjoy great international success. Currently a full-time writer, Jandy lives and writes in San Francisco, California—not far from the settings of The Sky Is Everywhere and I’ll Give You the Sun. Visit her online at www.jandynelson.com or find her on twitter at @jandynelson.

Got a question for Jandy? @PenguinTeen is hosting a Twitter chat with Jandy Nelson, Stephanie Perkins, and Gayle Forman, tonight, Sept. 16th, at 7:00 PM ET!

I’ll Give You the Sun is on shelves now! Signed / personalized copies are available from Books Inc.

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Enter the Rafflecopter form HERE for your chance to win a paperback copy of The Sky is Everywhere. U.S. only.

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Be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour, featuring guest posts, interviews, giveaways, and more!

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