Tuesday, 30 September 2014

September Reading Wrap-Up!

The Dying of the Light (Skulduggery Pleasant, #9)I started with an ending! The final book in the Skulduggery Pleasant series held me captive from beginning to end, and I was so sad when it was over. I've followed this series from the beginning, and Derek Landy's fast-paced writing style, witty dialogue and vivid characters kept me coming back for more. These books start off as MG but definitely stray into YA towards the end. Superb books - I can't recommend them enough!
Trial by Fire (Worldwalker, #1)

Next up: Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini! This book surprised me and surpassed my expectations! After being publically humiliated at a high-school party, Lily wishes she could disappear, and is literally transported to a parallel dimension in which her double, Lillian, is a powerful ruling witch, and wants to use Lily to take over the world.

The blending of magic and science is different to any fantasy book I've read before, meaning this is sure to stand out from the crowd. The depth to the alternative world, the characters and the plot made this a stellar read which zipped along at a page-turning pace. I'd thoroughly recommend this to fans of witch-themed books and anyone looking for original YA contemporary fantasy!

The Emperor's Edge (The Emperor's Edge, #1)I read the Emperor's Edge series by Lindsay Buroker, which mixes epic fantasy and steampunk in a hugely entertaining adventure series. I really enjoyed it and read all seven books in a week!


The Iron Trial (Magisterium, #1)I also read The Iron Trial. I couldn't resist the combination of the talents of two of my favourite authors, Holly Black and Cassandra Clare, and this exciting middle-grade adventure is sure to be a hit!
Rites of Passage

Rites of Passage  intrigued me even though it isn't the kind of book I usually read, but I loved it! It's about a kickass girl who enrols at a formerly male-only military academy. It was tense and exciting and kept me turning the pages!

AfterworldsI also loved Afterworlds by Scott Westerfield! Two stories are told side by side - a teen writer who's achieved her dream of a publishing deal, and the book itself, a paranormal thriller. I was totally glued to the pages throughout, and Darcy's struggles as a soon-to-be-published author were very relatable. Meanwhile, Lizzie's haunting tale had me spellbound!

Unmade (The Lynburn Legacy, #3)Finally, I read Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan, the last in the Lynburn Legacy series. It was both funny and heartbreaking, a fantastic series conclusion!

Monday, 29 September 2014

Fall Into Fantasy Week 6


Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!

Week 6: The Ragnarök Prophesies
Book One: Fade
Book Two: Fall


What do you do when you realize nothing in your life is what you’ve believed it to be?

When Arionna Jacobs loses her mother in a tragic accident, her world is turned upside down. She’s forced to leave her old life behind and move in with her father. Dace Matthews, a teaching assistant at her new college, is torn in two, unable to communicate with the feral wolf caged inside him.

When they meet, everything they thought they knew about life unravels. Dace has intimate access to Arionna’s mind, and something deep within her fights to rise to the surface. They don't understand what's happening to them or why, and they're running out of time to sort out the strange occurrences around them.

Their meeting sets an ancient Norse prophesy of destruction in motion, and what destiny has in store for them is bigger than either could have ever imagined. Unless they learn to trust themselves and one another, they may never resolve the mystery surrounding who they are to one another, and what that means for the world.

FADE is available from Curiosity Quills Press at Amazon US | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | Barnes and Noble | Kobo.


How do you save someone who doesn't want to be saved?

Those called to stand guard against the end are broken, and Sköll and Hati run free. Now Arionna Jacobs and Dace Matthews face a threat unlike any before. Ragnarök is coming and they aren't strong enough to stop it.

Arionna thought she understood sacrifice, but she never counted on her destiny tearing Dace apart. Ever since she nearly died, he has been consumed with guilt. Now it threatens to turn him into the monster he always feared.

It's up to Arionna to stop him before it's too late, but the path to hell is paved with good intentions, and Dace is hurtling toward self destruction. This time, Arionna isn't sure she can save him from himself. Can she convince him to let the past go, or is her true destiny to sacrifice her heart in exchange for the lives of the people she loves?

You can read the official prologue to FALL here.

FALL – The Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. You can add it to your TBR list on Goodreads here.


ABOUT A.K. MORGEN:
A.K. Morgen lives in Little Rock with her husband, three dogs and two cats. She has a graduate degree in Criminal Justice and Law, and plans to save the world someday. When she’s not working or writing, she spends her time teaching her niece and nephews how to cause mischief. You can also find her dancing in the grocery store, building a spork army, and fundraising for nonprofits close to her heart.

You can learn more about Ayden at http://akmorgen.com or by following her on Twitter, Goodreads, or Facebook.



Want to get involved with the Fall Into Fantasy promotional tour?
  • Don't forget to join us at the Facebook party here
  • If you are interested in joining up as a blogger, you can always sign up here. We are happy to welcome more bloggers into the fold as the promotion continues. 
  • If you are an author or blogger and want to sign up to help with the party, please fill out this form.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 26 September 2014

Review - City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6)In this dazzling and long-awaited conclusion to the acclaimed Mortal Instruments series, Clary and her friends fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary's own brother.

Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures out of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell.

The embattled Shadowhunters withdraw to Idris - but not even the famed demon towers of Alicante can keep Sebastian at bay. And with the Nephilim trapped in Idris, who will guard the world against demons?

When one of the greatest betrayals the Nephilim have ever known is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec must flee - even if their journey takes them deep into the demon realms, where no Shadowhunter has set foot before, and from which no human being has ever returned...

Love will be sacrificed and lives lost in the terrible battle for the fate of the word in the thrilling final installment of the classic urban fantasy series The Mortal Instruments!


Amazon
Amazon UK


It’s so hard for me to review this book. I’ve been looking forward to it for so long, and it absolutely didn’t disappoint. I was riveted throughout all 700+ pages. Sebastian unleashes a deadly attack on Shadowhunters worldwide, using the Infernal Cup to transform them into his obedient servants. The Shadowhunters make their final stand in Idris, but even that isn’t enough, and the only way to win may be to venture into the demon realms, from which no one has returned alive.

Clare expertly weaves together all the different storylines in a finale that easily rivals that of Clockwork Princess, the conclusion to her Infernal Devices series (which I’d recommend reading before this!). The character development is superb, and this book outshines the previous two by a long way. The plot races along and I found myself turning pages well into the night, unable to stop. There’s the usual perfect blend of drama, romance, action and suspense characteristic of Clare’s novels, with the bittersweet flavour of an ending.

But it isn’t just an ending, it’s a beginning, as we’re introduced to the main characters of the next series set in the world of the Mortal Instruments. I’m so happy with this ending, and I’ll definitely be picking up Lady Midnight!

Rating: 5 stars.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Follow Fest 2014!

Blog button designed by Carrie Butler.
Name: Emma L. Adams

Fiction or nonfiction? 

Fiction. :)

What genres do you write? 

Fantasy, in all its various sub-genres! I mainly write contemporary fantasy with magic and monsters, for various audiences.

Are you published?

Yes - my upper-YA urban fantasy Darkness Watching is published by Curiosity Quills Press, and I've signed contracts for four sequels and a novella.

Do you do anything in addition to writing?


Tell us a little about yourself.

I live in the UK, and I'm a book-addicted literature graduate with an obsession with the written word! I also love gaming, anime, Studio Ghibli, The Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, Sherlock, travelling (going to Iceland in two weeks!), and wandering around walking into furniture because I can't put down my Kindle.

I may also be a little eccentric.

What are you reading right now?

Right now I'm reading Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan, which will no doubt leave me in a crumpled sobbing heap on the floor.

Which authors influenced you the most?

Diana Wynne Jones is my literary heroine, and I love both her writing style and the fantastical worlds she creates. Other authors whose stories I love are J. K. Rowling (of course!), Philip Pullman, Neil Gaiman, Brandon Sanderson, Garth Nix, Cassandra Clare, Derek Landy... too many to count, really!

Where can people connect with you?

Blog
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads (personal)
Google+
Pinterest
Tumblr

Author pages:
Goodreads
Amazon

Do you have a newsletter?

I do - you can sign up here! I don't send more than one every 1-2 months, but my subscribers are always the first to hear the latest news about my books and get to see the covers and teasers before anyone else does!

In fact, my next is scheduled to go out tomorrow, and I'll be sharing the cover for Walking Shadow (Darkworld #2) and an update on the series, as well as hinting at a VERY exciting announcement coming later this year! :)

Is there anything else you’d like us to know?

I post an author interview every other week here on the blog, so if you're a published or soon-to-be-published author, I'd love to interview you! The questions are here.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Fall Into Fantasy Week 5!


Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!

Week 5: The Dark Choir Series
Book One: The Curse Merchant
By J.P. Sloan

Dorian Lake spent years cornering the Baltimore hex-crafting market, using his skills at the hermetic arts to exact karmic justice for those whom the system has failed. He keeps his magic clean and free of soul-corrupting Netherwork, thus avoiding both the karmic blow-back of his practice and the notice of the Presidium, a powerful cabal of practitioners that polices the esoteric arts in America. However, when an unscrupulous Netherworker interferes with both his business and his personal life, Dorian's disarming charisma and hermetic savvy may not be enough to keep his soul out of jeopardy.

His rival, a soul monger named Neil Osterhaus, wouldn't be such a problem were it not for Carmen, Dorian's captivating ex-lover. After two years' absence Carmen arrives at Dorian’s doorstep with a problem: she sold her soul to Osterhaus, and has only two weeks to buy it back. Hoping to win back Carmen's affections, Dorian must find a replacement soul without tainting his own. As Dorian descends into the shadows of Baltimore’s underworld, he must decide how low he is willing to stoop in order to save Carmen from eternal damnation... with the Presidium watching, waiting for him to cross the line.

Buy it from: Amazon  Barnes & Noble
Add it Goodreads

ABOUT J.P. SLOAN

J.P. Sloan is a speculative fiction author, primarily of urban fantasy, horror and several shades between. His writing explores the strangeness in that which is familiar, at times stretching the limits of the human experience, or only hinting at the monsters lurking under your bed. 

A Louisiana native, Sloan relocated to the vineyards and cow pastures of Central Maryland after Hurricane Katrina, where he lives with his wife and son. During the day he commutes to the city of Baltimore, a setting which inspires much of his writing.

In his spare time, Sloan enjoys wine-making and homebrewing, and is a National-ranked beer judge.

Find J.P. Online:
J.P. Sloan's Fistful of Fiction  Facebook  Twitter  Tumblr


Want to get involved with the Fall Into Fantasy promotional tour?
  • Don't forget to join us at the Facebook party here
  • If you are interested in joining up as a blogger, you can always sign up here. We are happy to welcome more bloggers into the fold as the promotion continues. 
  • If you are an author or blogger and want to sign up to help with the party, please fill out this form.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 19 September 2014

Author Interview with J. P. Sloan

Tell me three interesting facts about yourself!

Wow. I'll try to dig deep into the stupefying banality that is my personality, here… let me see:

1. I'm a National-ranked Beer Judge, which means I've trained to taste and evaluate beer for competitions.

2. I have a birthmark in the shape of the state of Ohio. No, I won't tell you where it is. (ok, ok, I'll tell you where it is… it's between the states of Indiana and Pennsylvania, just underneath Lake Erie)

3. I used to play the doumbek (a Middle-Eastern goblet drum) for belly dancers at Renaissance festivals. We'd meet once a month at a reggae bar for "hafla night," and aside from the atrocious well drinks they poured there, I always had a fantastic time doing it.

Summarize your book in one line.

"Dorian Lake has two weeks to save the soul of the woman he loves… good thing he's the best damned hex-peddler in Baltimore!"

Tell me something cool/crazy/quirky about the book – it can be anything!

The character of Edgar Swain (the main character's best friend) is based on a real-life person, also named Edgar. I described him as he looks and dresses, and even emulated his speech patterns for the character. And yes, the real Edgar knows he's in the book.

Why did you decide to write this particular book?

I was struck with the whole concept as I commuted in and out of Baltimore. The idea of sinister goings-on transpiring down dark alleys and in basement offices just beneath our feet titillated me. I tried my best to keep the supernatural elements of the Dark Choir series as near to reality as I could manage, in order to sell that same feeling I had driving through the city.

Best part of the writing process?

Writing the last sentence of the first draft. Sometimes it's one final declarative "I DID IT!" Other times it's a long, petering re-write that culminates in a "well, yeah… that's probably it." In any case, it's just the best feeling… putting the first draft to bed.

Share one thing you learned writing this book.

My greatest education in writing The Curse Merchant was in the cooperative nature of beta-readers and editors. Merchant is my eighth completed novel, but the first to get "shopped." My first beta-readers, my first editors, my first feedback from a literary agent… Receiving input from so many outside sources was new to me. New, and exhilarating!

Tell me about one strange experience you’ve had. Again, it can be anything!

I went through a period of time when I practiced various forms of neo-paganism, often with organized groups. I won't call them Wiccan, because none of them could be strictly described as such. At one point I drove into the back country of Southern Louisiana between Baton Rouge and Hammond to buy some materials for a ritual. Turns out the fellow who owned the shop was a practicing vodoun. Halfway through a conversation with this fellow, he began to… well, I suppose the best way to describe it was he was "ridden." It was a slow switch, but after the space of several sentences I realized I was speaking to someone else entirely. This other "someone" had a lot to say about the state of things in general. Regrettably, very little of it was of any specific use to me in my situation. Alas. Got a good price on charcoal plugs, though.

Name one fictional place you’d love to visit.

If I were to take a salacious turn with this, I'd say that crazy party mansion in Eyes Wide Shut… but instead, I think I'll take the high road and say "Biblical Eden." Something about a nice outdoorsy locale where the weather is perfect, never having to work for anything, and the fact that you can cozy up to apex predators like they were cuddly kittens just appeals to me.

Name one real place you’d love to visit.

Somewhere in the South Pacific like Tahiti or Bora Bora. I'd love to find a white sand beach with crystal-blue water, soak up sunlight, and drink all of the available rum.

Share one sentence/mini-excerpt from the book!

How about the opening line?

"The tricky thing about screwing with other people's karma is, from time-to-time, it screws you back."


J.P. Sloan
J.P. Sloan Bio:

J.P. Sloan is a speculative fiction author … primarily of urban fantasy, horror and several shades between. His writing explores the strangeness in that which is familiar, at times stretching the limits of the human experience, or only hinting at the monsters lurking under your bed.

A Louisiana native, Sloan relocated to the vineyards and cow pastures of Central Maryland after Hurricane Katrina, where he lives with his wife and son. During the day he commutes to the city of Baltimore, a setting which inspires much of his writing.

In his spare time, Sloan enjoys wine-making and homebrewing, and is a certified beer judge.

Links:
Website http://jp-sloan.com/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000439460903&fref=ts 
Twitter https://twitter.com/J_P_Sloan
Tumblr http://jpsloan.tumblr.com/


Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6569197.J_P_Sloan
The Curse Merchant

Dorian Lake spent years cornering the Baltimore hex-crafting market, using his skills at the hermetic arts to exact karmic justice for those whom the system has failed. He keeps his magic clean and free of soul-corrupting Netherwork, thus avoiding both the karmic blow-back of his practice and the notice of the Presidium, a powerful cabal of practitioners that polices the esoteric arts in America. However, when an unscrupulous Netherworker interferes with both his business and his personal life, Dorian's disarming charisma and hermetic savvy may not be enough to keep his soul out of jeopardy.

His rival, a soul monger named Neil Osterhaus, wouldn't be such a problem were it not for Carmen, Dorian's captivating ex-lover. After two years' absence Carmen arrives at Dorian’s doorstep with a problem: she sold her soul to Osterhaus, and has only two weeks to buy it back. Hoping to win back Carmen's affections, Dorian must find a replacement soul without tainting his own. As Dorian descends into the shadows of Baltimore’s underworld, he must decide how low he is willing to stoop in order to save Carmen from eternal damnation... with the Presidium watching, waiting for him to cross the line.

Cover Reveal - I Heart Robot by Suzanne van Rooyen

M9B-Friday-Reveal
Welcome to the Cover Reveal for

I Heart Robot by Suzanne van Rooyen

presented by Month9Books!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!
I HEART ROBOT Cover Art from Suzanne van Rooyen
I'm not the most artistically inclined. While I do love art and have been known to bust out the pencils and paints myself, it's not an area where I'd consider myself particularly talented. In short, I knew that cover design was something best left to the professional and I had every confidence in Month9Books.
I am so grateful to Georgia McBride for allowing me to have the amount of input I did when it came to cover creation for I Heart Robot. This is a novel that is as much about a civil rights struggle in a futuristic, post-war city as it is about romance, and we wanted a cover that reflected both elements. Finding the right balance between romance and science fiction was a tall order, but Month9Books delivered in spades by presenting me with two stylistically different covers. I loved elements of both, and by working closely with the cover artist and with Georgia we managed to combine all the best parts of both original covers into what we have today: a cover that reflects the gritty world my characters live in while emphasizing the fact that this is above all, a love story.
I Heart Robot
Sixteen-year-old Tyri wants to be a musician and wants to be with someone who won't belittle her musical aspirations.
Q-I-99 aka 'Quinn' lives in a scrap metal sanctuary with other rogue droids. While some use violence to make their voices heard, demanding equal rights for AI enhanced robots, Quinn just wants a moment on stage with his violin to show the humans that androids like him have more to offer than their processing power.
Tyri and Quinn's worlds collide when they're accepted by the Baldur Junior Philharmonic Orchestra. As the rift between robots and humans deepens, Tyri and Quinn's love of music brings them closer together, making Tyri question where her loyalties lie and Quinn question his place in the world. With the city on the brink of civil war, Tyri and Quinn make a shocking discovery that turns their world inside out. Will their passion for music be enough to hold them together while everything else crumbles down around them, or will the truth of who they are tear them apart?
add to goodreads
Title: I Heart Robot
Publication date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Suzanne van Rooyen
Chapter-by-Chapter-header---About-the-Author
SV
Suzanne is a tattooed storyteller from South Africa. She currently lives in Finland and finds the cold, dark forests nothing if not inspiring. Although she has a Master’s degree in music, Suzanne prefers conjuring strange worlds and creating quirky characters. When not writing, she teaches dance and music to middle schoolers and entertains her shiba inu, Lego. Suzanne is represented by Jordy Albert of the Booker Albert Agency.
Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Chapter-by-Chapter-header---Giveaway
Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!
(Winners will receive their book on release day)

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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

What's Up Wednesday - Harry Potter Edition!

It's time for What's Up Wednesday, a weekly meme run by Erin L Funk and Jaime Morrow. Here's what I've been up to this past week!

What I'm reading

I've been rereading the Mortal Instruments series, because it's awesome. ^_^ I've been doing so much writing, I haven't read as much as I normally do!

What I'm writing

I FINISHED SHINY NEW WIP!!! Yes - I somehow wrote a 78K word novel in 24 days. o.O I... wow. I don't usually write anywhere near as fast! Two 7K writing days? In a week? And this is the longest first draft I've ever written! :D (Perhaps I've broken the habit of writing ridiculously short drafts? I hope so!)

What am I doing now? Well, I'm doing my first self-edit. I'm also working on a spinoff prequel-type novella. I'm not ready to let this story go! I really hope my CP's/beta readers love it as much as I do! :)

What works for me

I'm working on a longer post for IWSG about how I wrote a draft so fast, but one of the things that worked was writing as much as possible down before I started. I've always outlined (at least, ever since I realised that I could never finish a book unless I had at least the main plot written down beforehand... both for motivational reasons, and because my memory is really horrific), but literally, everything I wrote down before I started saved SO much time. I spent two months outlining the whole 6-book series and figuring out the worldbuilding, with the most detailed outline I've ever written - one with whole scenes and bits of dialogue sketched out. 

And it worked! I raced from one scene to the next without having to stop and head-scratch and agonise in between, and even though some extra scenes did arise and take me by surprise, I had enough detail in my outline to make sure the story didn't wander off track. It was like the dream draft. I didn't even experience the mid-draft self-doubt crash which usually sets in around 1/3 of the way through. It was pure magic from start to finish. ^_^

What else I've been up to

Well, last Wednesday, I went to the Harry Potter Studio Tour ! :D I don't want to spoil the magic by sharing too many photos... but it was AMAZING!!!


 EPIC decorations! ^^


 I got to fly on a broomstick! Woohoo! :D

 A souvenir - Marauder's Map mug!