Review + Spotlight: Labyrinth Lost

NER REVIEWS (labyrinthlost)

Author: Zoraida Córdova
Release Date: September 6th, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 336 (Hardcover)
Format: PDF
Genre:
 YA | Magic | Witches
Idiom: English
Series: Brooklyn Brujas #1
Read: from August 19 to 23
Source & Shelf: NetGalley | Kobo
ISBN: 9781492620945
(Hardcover)
Cups:
4 Cups
GoodreadsTBDAmazon

Synopsis

“Enchanting and complex. Every page is filled with magic.”-Danielle Paige, New York Times best-selling author of Dorothy Must Die

Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…

My Opinion

Disclaimer: Thank you NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Let me begin by just saying that I never read anything like this before. At first I thought this was a different kind of witchcraft, of religion and when I finally picked it up and submerged in the story, I realised I was wrong. And I loved it because it made me enjoy the story even more.

Labyrinth Lost is about Alex who is a Bruja – a specific kind of witch based on the Latin witchcraft. On her Deathday (in celebration of her powers finally appearing), she casts a spell to eliminate her powers but instead she sends her family, dead and alive, to Los Lagos, a parallel dimension where Gods, spirits, strange beings and much more dwell. With the help of a strange boy, Alex embarks in an adventure that will surely change her.

Alex was a great character to read about. Her past helps build her trepidation when it comes to her abilities but the way she develops throughout the story made up for her fears. When we first met her she’s a scared teenager who kept her powers hidden from her sisters because she’s scared of them. What she doesn’t know is that her powers are special and she’ll need them later on the book in order to save her whole family. In Los Lagos we see this other side of Alex that was hidden behind her fears and I adored watching her grow, watching her develop not only this amazing magic she has but also herself as a person.

I have to admit that I’m super curious about Nova, the boy Alex meets and tells her about what to do to block her power during her Deathday. He’s a lost soul who is trying to find himself in the world and what we find towards the end of the book was, for me at least, completely unexpected. I’m pretty sure there’s much more to his character than meets the eye and I hope he’ll be able to redeem all his wrong-doing in the upcoming books.

The romance in this book wasn’t your typical boy-meets-girl love. This book explores a romance that grew from friendship and tries to break boundaries. It wasn’t the romance I was expecting but I was so happy with what I got. I’m trying not to spoil you because I found it refreshing to discover it by myself instead of instantly knowing what it was about. Zoraida Córdova really broke some lines writing this romance and I can only respect her for doing so and doing it amazingly well.

The magic, as I mentioned right in the beginning of the review, wasn’t what I was expecting nor was it something I knew in details. This particular kind of witchcraft, more based on the Latins beliefs and religions, centred in Gods and spirits, was a gulf of fresh air. There are so many kinds of magic in the world and being able to emerge myself in a different felt amazing. At times I would be slightly lost since I am not accustomed to this particular kind of witches. But then Alex would explain it and as soon as I found the flow, it was easy to be mesmerised by it.

I dare say that even though I enjoyed this book, only when Alex and Nova enter Los Lagos did I became completely hooked in it. Los Lagos sounded like such a thrilling rollercoaster of fantasy. This parallel world was filled from top to bottom with everything fantastical. It reminded me of the movie Book of Life minus the songs.

The book ended in a cliffhanger that had me gasping for more. It ended with a figure from the past that I’m pretty sure will have a huge impact in Alex’s life. This might sound a little bit unfair but one of the reasons I couldn’t rate this book higher than 4 cups/stars was the cliffhanger. So many questions! So many theories! So little answers and I have no idea when the sequel comes out.

Zoraida Córdova‘s writing was easy and it flew with the story. The author managed to give Alex a voice that some of us could relate to and at times her sarcasm was a delight to read. The little bits of excerpt from songs, prayers and others at the beginning of each chapter was a nice touch since it connected really well with what was going to happen.

Overall I think Labyrinth Lost was a great read set in a different spectrum of magic. There is loads of fantastic elements to the story, some creepy moments, characters that are unique since they are so different and a lesson at the end that I think pretty much everyone will relate to. I recommend this book if you want something magical yet different and if you like pure and raw fantastical adventure in a completely different universe.  

Book Spotlight

NetGalley and Sourcebooks were kind enough to send me material to host a Spotlight for Labyrinth Lost and I’m super excited to share an excerpt of the book and a giveaway. There’s also the booktrailer to present you to this creepy and magical world 😀

In the meantime, if you guys like colouring like I do, check out the amazing colouring page that Sourcebooks has available for Labyrinth Lost here. Need to print my own so I can colour it! If, or when, you have coloured it, leave me a link down below on the comments so I can see it 😉

Praise for Labyrinth Lost:

“This work is a magical journey from start to finish… A compelling must-have for teens” –School Library Journal, STARRED review

Córdova’s (the Vicious Deep series) magic-infused, delightfully dark story introduces readers to an engrossing, Latin American–inspired fantasy setting and an irresistible heroine” –Publishers Weekly

A brilliant brown-girl-in-Brooklyn update on Alice in Wonderland and Dante’s Inferno.Very creepy, very magical, very necessary.” Daniel José Older, New York Times bestselling author of Shadowshaper

 “Labyrinth Lost is more like reading Paradise Found. Zoraida Córdova brings us a new generation of witches, enchanting and complex. And every page is filled with magic.” Danielle Page, New York Times bestselling author of Dorothy Must Die

Córdova’s world will leave you breathless, and her magic will ignite an envy so green you’ll wish you were born a bruja. Delightfully dark and enchanting. An un-putdownable book.” -Dhonielle Clayton, author of The Belles and Shiny Broken Pieces

“Córdova’s rich exploration of Latin American culture, her healthy portrayal of bisexuality and her unique voice allow this novel to stand out among its many peers.” –RT Book Reviews

“Cordova draws inspiration from Ecuadorian, Spanish, African, Mexican, and Caribbean folklore and mythology to craft a page-turning tale about a young bruja unsure of her place in the world.”Bustle.com

“Córdova pulls elements from Greek mythology and Spanish and Latin American legends to craft a memorable world in Los Lagos, a supernatural realm that is as fascinating as it is threatening. The history and customs of Alex’s family’s type of witchery are also carefully constructed, giving readers a complete world to sink into with satisfaction and wonder.” -Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“This succeeds with its lush use of Latin American mythologies, an unexpected love story, and, above all, in Alex’s complicated relationship with her family. Alex is a necessary heroine, and this dark fantasy nicely” -Booklist

Excerpt:

1

Follow our voices, sister.
Tell us the secret of your death.
—-Resurrection Canto,
Book of Cantos

The second time I saw my dead aunt Rosaria, she was dancing.

Earlier that day, my mom had warned me, pressing a long, red fingernail on the tip of my nose, “Alejandra, don’t go downstairs when the Circle arrives.”

But I was seven and asked too many questions. Every Sunday, cars piled up in our driveway, down the street, and around the corner of our old, narrow house in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Mom’s Circle usually brought cellophane–wrapped dishes and jars of dirt and tubs of brackish water that made the Hudson River look clean. This time, they carried something more.

When my sisters started snoring, I threw off my covers and crept down the stairs. The floorboards were uneven and creaky, but I was good at not being seen. Fuzzy, yellow streetlight shone through our attic window and followed me down every flight until I reached the basement.

A soft hum made its way through the thin walls. I remember thinking I should listen to my mom’s warning and go back upstairs. But our house had been restless all week, and Lula, Rose, and I were shoved into the attic, out of the way while the grown–ups prepared the funeral. I wanted out. I wanted to see.

The night was moonless and cold one week after the Witch’s New Year, when Aunt Rosaria died of a sickness that made her skin yellow like hundred–year–old paper and her nails turn black as coal. We tried to make her beautiful again. My sisters and I spent all day weaving good luck charms from peonies, corn husks, and string—-one loop over, under, two loops over, under. Not even the morticians, the Magos de Muerte, could fix her once–lovely face.

Aunt Rosaria was dead. I was there when we mourned her. I was there when we buried her. Then, I watched my father and two others shoulder a dirty cloth bundle into the house, and I knew I couldn’t stay in bed, no matter what my mother said.

So I opened the basement door.

Red light bathed the steep stairs. I leaned my head toward the light, toward the beating sound of drums and sharp plucks of fat, nylon guitar strings.

A soft mew followed by whiskers against my arm made my heart jump to the back of my rib cage. I bit my tongue to stop the scream. It was just my cat, Miluna. She stared at me with her white, glowing eyes and hissed a warning, as if telling me to turn back. But Aunt Rosaria was my godmother, my family, my friend. And I wanted to see her again.

“Sh!” I brushed the cat’s head back.

Miluna nudged my leg, then ran away as the singing started.

I took my first step down, into the warm, red light. Raspy voices called out to our gods, the Deos, asking for blessings beyond the veil of our worlds. Their melody pulled me step by step until I was crouched at the bottom of the landing.

They were dancing.

Brujas and brujos were dressed in mourning white, their faces painted in the aspects of the dead, white clay and black coal to trace the bones. They danced in two circles—-the outer ring going clockwise, the inner counterclockwise—hands clasped tight, voices vibrating to the pulsing drums.

And in the middle was Aunt Rosaria.

Her body jerked upward. Her black hair pooled in the air like she was suspended in water. There was still dirt on her skin. The white skirt we buried her in billowed around her slender legs. Black smoke slithered out of her open mouth. It weaved in and out of the circle—-one loop over, under, two loops over, under. It tugged Aunt Rosaria higher and higher, matching the rhythm of the canto.

Then, the black smoke perked up and changed its target. It could smell me. I tried to backpedal, but the tiles were slick, and I slid toward the circle. My head smacked the tiles. Pain splintered my skull, and a broken scream lodged in my throat.

The music stopped. Heavy, tired breaths filled the silence of the pulsing red dark. The enchantment was broken. Aunt Rosaria’s reanimated corpse turned to me. Her body purged black smoke, lowering her back to the ground. Her ankles cracked where the bone was brittle, but still she took a step. Her dead eyes gaped at me. Her wrinkled mouth growled my name:Alejandra.

She took another step. Her ankle turned and broke at the joint, sending her flying forward. She landed on top of me. The rot of her skin filled my nose, and grave dirt fell into my eyes.

Tongues clucked against crooked teeth. The voices of the circle hissed, “What’s the girl doing out of bed?”

There was the scent of extinguished candles and melting wax. Decay and perfume oil smothered me until they pulled the body away.

My mother jerked me up by the ear, pulling me up two flights of stairs until I was back in my bed, the scream stuck in my throat like a stone.

Never,” she said. “You hear me, Alejandra? Never break a Circle.”

I lay still. So still that after a while, she brushed my hair, thinking I had fallen asleep.

I wasn’t. How could I ever sleep again? Blood and rot and smoke and whispers filled my head.

“One day you’ll learn,” she whispered.

Then she went back down the street–lit stairs, down into the warm red light and to Aunt Rosaria’s body. My mother clapped her hands, drums beat, strings plucked, and she said, “Again.”

Book Trailer:


About the Author:

zoraida-head-shotZoraida Córdova was born in Ecuador and raised in Queens, New York.

She is the author of the Vicious Deep trilogy, the On the Verge series, and the Brooklyn Brujas series.

She loves black coffee, snark, and still believes in magic. Send her a tweet @Zlikeinzorro or visit her at zoraidacordova.com.

Author Website | Labyrinth Lost Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Author Tumblr | Labyrinth Lost Tumblr | YouTube

Giveaway:

  • 2 (two) copies of Labyrinth Lost with signed Labyrinth Lost bookmarks (ends September 19th – US & Canada only)

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Ner

Book Blitz: Heartborn by Terry Maggert {Excerpt + Giveaway}

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Book Blitz
Excerpt  + Giveaway

Heartborn

Author: Terry Maggert
Publication Date: September 1st, 12th, 2016
Genre: Fantasy | YA
Buy Book: Amazon | Barnes & Nobels

Synopsis:
Her guardian angel was pushed.

Keiron was never meant to be anything other than a hero. Born high above in a place of war and deception, he is Heartborn, a being of purity and goodness in a place where there violence and deceit are just around every corner.

His disappearance will spark a war he cannot see, for Keiron has pierced the light of days to save a girl he has never met, for reasons he cannot understand. Livvy Foster is seventeen, brave, and broken. With half a heart, she bears the scars of a lifetime of pain and little hope of survival.

Until Keiron arrives.

In the middle of a brewing war and Livvy’s failing heart, Keiron will risk everything for Livvy, because a Heartborn’s life can only end in one way: Sacrifice.

Fall with Livvy and Keiron as they seek the truth about her heart, and his power, and what it means to love someone who will give their very life to save you.

Excerpt – Chapter 1:

The Leap

The relentless wind cooled his skin as he mustered the courage to jump. It was a long way to fall, and he’d been poised on the edge for nearly an hour. It wasn’t fear that kept him rooted to the spot, but the effort of reaching through time to see what consequences his action might bring. To think of leaving was akin to dropping a boulder in the pool of his own history; there was no way to foresee what the ripples might cause. Or the waves, since this would make waves, not ripples. It was all an undiscovered thing.

No one had done what he meant to do; at least not in the memory of his House.

Under the points of his boots, featureless mist curled away to reveal an enticing glimpse of color and life so unlike his own home. Gray, he thought. I am so very tired of all the gray in these clouds. The longer he looked at the myriad of colors below, the more acute his hunger to see what mysteries rolled beneath him, unknown and vibrant. The land looked like a fairy tale made real, its hills and rivers gleaming like a promise in the early morning light. The sheer distance and appeal of it all clutched at his chest like a physical thing, making him cover his heart. His body fizzed with excitement and fear, and he liked it.

“You won’t go, you know.” His brother’s voice was bored to the point of insolence, a tone he’d perfected from years of practice. Like others who kept their face an impassable mask, he’d lost much of the joy in his life, if ever he knew it. Brother Garrick appeared from the sullen gray mist that hid the secret columns and towers of their home. Walking toward Keiron, a smile quirked at the cruel lips, so unlike his own. “We’ve already been to the edge of the scrying pool. You won’t go. It is known to us.” A look flickered across the impassive face, something ugly and hot. His control was slipping. That was new, as was his belief that he was equal to their parents. Or older siblings, at that.

“Yes. I will.” Keiron’s voice sounded small in the silence. Even the wind died out of respect for what he was about to say, and if his resolve held, what he would then do.

A sad shake of the perfect head said that was a lie. Garrick was beautiful to the point of distraction. His pupils were nearly colorless in a face framed with fine blonde hair that called sunlight to mind, so different from his brother. Garrick was light, while Keiron was dark, with skin golden from the sun and eyes the black of a starless night. A long, aquiline nose gave him a regal quality that Garrick, for all his perfection, could not possess. His hair was curled and ebony to the point of being liquid, a black mass that he pushed back with irritation at Garrick’s verbal assault. Keiron was lean and tall, and in the stages of bloom where men first leave boyhood behind when they are no longer concerned with a young man’s things.

Garrick spoke again, substituting arrogance for wisdom. “No. There is no escaping that which has passed. Even if you were to—”

A swift cut of Keiron’s hand broke the thought. His brother looked shocked, then amused, and then angry.

He didn’t like being spoken to that way. “I can, and I will. I know how to shift the light of days, and I know when to do it, too.”

“Really? A secret of that size, and you, a minor son, have figured it out? Do tell, fledgling.” He loved using Keiron’s youth as an insult, even though he was barely a year older.

“If you paid attention to anything other than yourself, you’d know that there is logic behind the Moondivers. There have been others, you know.” A hint of smugness colored Keiron’s defense, but his brother had it coming.

The reaction was volcanic.

Real anger spat forth from Garrick now, contorting his features into something crude and ugly. It was, Keiron thought, the first honest thing he’d seen of his brother in all these years. It was the face of fear and rage, and he knew why. This entire outburst was about power, or the lack of it. To control time was the province of elders, not some child who thought that he could move the forces of worlds to right a wrong. It was arrogance of a kind unlike anything he’d ever embraced, and his brother’s hate for him grew by the second because he knew that for all his perfection, the younger of them was more pure. The elder boy was ambition personified, but without courage and purity he would never control the clocks. For that matter, Garrick would not even control himself, a fact that dawned on him as he sputtered with rage.

Keiron squared his feet and repeated his intentions like a prayer. “The days will bend for me. I can feel it, and your anger will not change the truth.” His words rang with a kind of surety that made his legs shake, if only briefly.

It was something Garrick would say, and for that he was frightened and proud, since unlike his brother, Kieron meant every word of it and aimed to see it through.

In two long strides, his brother came close enough that he could smell the wind herbs on his breath. They were sour with hate, just like the expression contorting his face. “She’s already dead.”

Keiron went rigid, but fought mightily to gain control of the anger that bloomed in his chest. Heat spread like sunlight, and he took three long breaths to contain his next words. “She is now, but she won’t be when I get there. I told you. I can do it.”

“You think falling through time and distance can save her? Landing in that mud-spattered wallow that they crawl about in like feral swine? You don’t even know why they were driven from the land, let alone if death awaits you. What about you? Who can save you?” His brother barked with laughter, a short noise of jealousy and fear. “What if she doesn’t want to be saved? You’re a child. A favored pet who is loved because of his youth. You’re nothing but an amusement to this family.”

The wind blew harder as spots filled Keiron’s vision. He could not lose control, not now. He worked his jaw to let the words out. The sounds followed each other, chastened by the force of his will. “I have watched. I have learned. And I tell you, I am going, and she is worth saving.”

Garrick shrugged as the boredom returned to his face, now a mask of beautiful disinterest. “You actually care about them, don’t you? Those things down there? Those glorified cattle? Do you think they’re even capable of understanding us? We are not the benign, soft creatures that have been reshaped by their pitiful legends. We were born for war, not love. We are made to hurt, not heal.” He shook his head with a mocking grin. “You’ve always been weak, but this is beyond anything the family expected. It’s practically—”

“It’s decent, that’s the word you’re looking for.” Keiron’s voice was like iron, despite a small quiver at the end of his words. His jaw set again, and for an instant Garrick saw their grandfather’s stern profile there, lurking like a boulder under the surface of a still pool.

“You’re not even worth saving, let alone one of them.” Garrick’s eyes flicked down to the vista that unspooled under their feet, or perhaps it was above. It was difficult to tell with the curving horizon and shifting light. Part of what he saw was green, unlike their home. There were blue rivers, brown and green fields, and stony places worn by wind and weather. It was alien, but enticing. He let a woven cord of animal hide fall into his hand. On either end, a heavy molar prized from the jaw of a Windbeast acted as a weight. The teeth were well worn, and tied in with strands of fine leather. It had been a mature beast, killed to make things that the people of the wind needed. Like teeth. And rope.

“Then I belong with them, don’t I?” Keiron’s question was rhetorical.

Again, Garrick shrugged, this time with one shoulder. His lips peeled back to reveal perfect teeth, but there was no kindness in the gesture. “Fine, but you’ll need to know something first.” The cord spun outward from Garrick’s hand in a blur, spinning around Keiron’s wings with brutal efficiency. The weight of the heavy teeth spun the strand tight to bind him, flightless, as Garrick drew his sword and cut downward in a wicked blow that sent Keiron’s wings spinning away into the clouds below.

Paralyzed by pain and betrayal, Keiron stood swaying as Garrick stepped calmly forward, placing both hands on his brother and pushing him into a chaotic tumble from the ledge of House Windhook. Spatters of blood swept up and away in the swirling winds, the last sign of a boy who had been bound, and cut, and sent into the sky in less time than he had to register the sensation of being flightless and wounded.

Keiron’s stomach raged upward as glare and shadow coursed around him in a never-ending circle of dizzying light, and he began the long, cold fall through layers of sky and time that tore the scream from his throat even as it began.

From above, he heard Garrick’s last words, mocking and fat with poisonous joy. “Let us see if you can truly fly.”

About the Author – Terry Maggert:

Left-handed. Father of an apparent nudist. Husband to a half-Norwegian. Herder of cats and dogs. Lover of pie. I write books. 

I’ve had an unhealthy fascination with dragons since the age of– well, for a while.

Native Floridian. Current Tennessean. Location subject to change based on insurrection, upheaval, or availability of coffee. 

Nine books and counting, with no end in sight. You’ve been warned.

Website | Facebook | TwitterGoodreads

Giveaway:

Blitz-wide giveaway (INT)
  • $25 Amazon gift card

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Good luck everyone 😉


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Ner

Blog Tour Stop: Guest Post + Excerpt: Zaria Fierce and the Dragon Keeper’s Golden Shoes by Keira Gillett (+ Giveaway)

Blog Tour Stop:
Guest Post + Excerpt + Giveaway

Zaria Fierce and the Dragon Keeper’s Golden Shoes

Hi guys! Today I’m bringing you a stop for Keira Gillett‘s Blog Tour for Zaria Fierce and the Dragon Keeper’s Golden Shoes. If you don’t know, I’ve been following Keira’s adventure of Zaria and her friends throughout Norway and I love this trilogy. So when Keira asked me if I wanted to be part of this tour, I immediately accepted!

There’s a guest-post where Keira shares with us some fun facts about the third book in the Zaria Fierce series, an excerpt and a giveaway at the end – keep an eye out on that!

My review for the book can be read here if you want to know what I thought about this last adventure. To be honest, I just highly recommend you pick up these books if you like fantasy, Norwegian folklore (or would like to know), friendship, adventure and magic! And you can download the first book – Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest – on Kindle for FREE till August 9th. Go get your copy here (you won’t regret it, trust me :D)

Zaria3Author: Keira Gillett
Illustrator: Eoghan Kerrigan
Narrator (aubiobook): Michele Carpenter
Release Date: July 1st, 2016
Publisher: Keira Gillett
Pages: 300 (Kindle)
Format: 
Epub
Genre:
 MG | Fantasy | Adventure
Idiom: English
Series: Zaria Fierce #3
Get the Book:

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Synopsis

“Nothing can save you now, Princess.”

How can anyone be tricked twice? Isn’t there even a saying about that? Zaria Fierce is determined to get things right this time and with the Drakeland Sword in her possession she’s ready to take on trolls, dragons, and whatever else may come… but first she and her friends are going to have to figure out just how much trouble they’re in at home.

Praise for Zaria Fierce and the Dragon Keeper’s Golden Shoes (Book #3):

“That’s the great thing about the Zaria Fierce trilogy: adventure is fast, furious, and loaded with Norse mythology, but the friendship between Zaria and her group of friends is the heart that drives this story.” Rosemary, Mom Read It

“I think the Zaria Fierce series mixes together all the things that I love about reading fantasy books, there is a sense of good versus evil, strong friendships, dragons, gorgeous illustrations, a captivating world, a perfect middle-grade book for someone looking for an action packed story filled with Norse mythology.” – Brenda, Log Cabin Library

“Zaria Fierce and the Dragon Keeper’s Golden Shoes was a spectacular conclusion to a great trilogy (though the ending left the door open for more adventures). Filled with magic, a great story line, amazing and real characters, wonderful settings and beautifully explored themes, Keira Gillett created a trilogy that I will always cherish and will visit anytime. If you like The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit, The Spiderwick Chronicles or simply love a book filled with Norwegian folklore and fantasy, then this is the ultimate series for you to read, devour and lose yourselves in.” – Ner, A Cup of Coffee and a Book (that’s me guys ^_^)

Guest Post:

10 Fun Facts About Zaria Fierce and the Dragon Keeper’s Shoes:

Good day everyone! My name is Keira Gillett and I’m so glad to be invited back to talk more about the Zaria Fierce Trilogy. Briefly, the trilogy is about a young girl who moves to Norway, meets a troll, and goes on a quest to save her friend. Ner’s asked me to share some facts with you about the final instalment, Zaria Fierce and the Dragon Keeper’s Golden Shoes. I hope you enjoy this behind the scenes look. Let’s dive in!

1. The first draft of Zaria Fierce and the Dragon Keeper’s Golden Shoes was completed in eight months on 2/5/2016. According to the document information I spent a total of 3 days 3 hours 3 minutes writing time on the book. How funny is that? I couldn’t have planned that. LOL;

2. The ending sequence in the epilogue is there purely because I have amazing beta readers who demanded more from me and the books than where I had originally left it. They wanted more and on reread I agreed, so I gave it to them. The final result? They were so right!! The book is so much better;

3. The Gjallarbrú Bridge in folklore is a covered bridge with a gold roof. If you’ve been to Lake Lucerne in Lucerne, Switzerland the bridge will feel familiar to you. Crossing the water is a beautiful covered bridge and it was my inspiration for the bridge in the book.

4. I wrote Hector’s scene down in the Under Realm before anything else in book three. About halfway through the book I jumped ahead again and wrote half of Zaria’s encounter with Koll. These scenes just demanded to be written and wouldn’t wait their turn!;

5. The palace grounds for the Under Realm are based on a real place, called Uranienborg Castle. The grounds are shaped like a quatrefoil, which coincidentally is also one of my sorority’s symbols. It’s super fancy looking with four circles and a large central diamond. It was a no-brainer to add it into the books;

6. I’ve actually tried cloudberry preserves. The description Zaria applies to them in the book is exactly how I think they taste. I’m glad I didn’t go with the flavors others were ascribing to them on the web, because I didn’t think it tasted that way at all. Of course, maybe that’s the difference between eating them fresh in the field and eating a preserve. I found that they’re very mild for a berry. I’m also told that it’s great served warm on vanilla ice cream. Have you tried it?

7. My dog Oskar was a big help although we both didn’t know it at the time. His behavior and personality inspired pint-sized Vingar’s behavior and personality. If you knew my dog, you would agree. I saw it clearly during the edits and added a few more antics to seal the deal. He’s a cheeky fellow – playful and mischievous.

8. 16 gorgeous illustrations are in the third book, just like the first two books. Eoghan actually did 18 drawings, two each of Granny and Hector. I thought all four drawings were great! I had a tough time choosing the version for each character that would be in the book. The Granny I picked reminds me of my cousin’s grandma with her apple cheeks and sweet smile. I absolutely adore them both.

9. Michele Carpenter is finishing her narration of the third book. I got to hear a preview with Granny. LOVED IT. Her voice is perfect and cracks me up every time I hear it;

10. Michele also told me she started a new process to keep track of all the voices she’s using for the series so she’d be able to draw upon them again quickly for this book and the next books in the series. I think that’s so cool, and yes, that does mean there are more books coming! Yay! The next books focus on Aleks Mickelsen, but all our favorite characters will be back.

Thanks for having me! This was great! If you stick around there’s giveaway information at the end! One lucky person has a chance to win a Zaria Fierce audiobook package.

Thank you so much Keira. I loved knowing all these facts about book 3; it makes the reading experience far more interesting when knowing certain details about how the author wrote it. Am I right fellow readers?!

Also, the bridge in Lake Lucerne looks so beautiful – adding it to my endless list of places to visit. And your dog is the cutest; can I adopt him?! 😉

Excerpt:

Hector was right that the group wasn’t far from Malmdor. They reached the entrance before night fell, and in the gloomy dusk that slipped around them like a cloak, they reached the edge of the forest and stopped. Below them in a wide clearing was an abandoned quarry filled with water.

The lake was nestled at the bottom of a deep, steep pit. Its deep blue water was smooth and glassy, protected from wind by the rocky walls and surrounding forest. Zaria could see the lakebed in the shallower areas. Something large swam in the center, too deep to see clearly.

“What is that?” asked Filip, having spotted the creature at the same time.

Hector said, “It’s a water-wyvern.”

“Is that like the Loch Ness Monster?” asked Christoffer. “Cool. No wonder they can’t find it in Scotland.”

“You haven’t seen a winter-wyvern,” Zaria said. “I bet it’s more like Norwick.”

“The flying snow leopard-bear-bat thing you told me about? Even better,” Christoffer said, rubbing his hands together in glee. “Do we get to meet it?”

“Is it friendly?” worried Geirr.

“The beastie is not friendly,” said Hector, grimly. “And yes, we will be meeting it. Water-wyverns are wild, unpredictable creatures. This one is particularly nasty. It was captured and transported to this quarry lake over a century ago. It can’t escape – water-wyverns aren’t able to live out of water for very long. This makes it very angry. The lake is too small for him.”

“That’s what I was afraid of,” Geirr said, stuffing his hands into his pockets. “So, can it eat us?”

Hector nodded. “It once devoured an entire legion of dwarf handlers because they smelled bad. They’ve showered regularly ever since.”

Geirr looked at Zaria. “Why?” he moaned. “Why do we have to meet it?”

“Look on the bright side, mate,” Filip said, clapping Geirr on the back. “Maybe we get to ride it.”

Hector shook his head. “The water-wyvern is the guardian of Malmdor. Its job is to keep out all trespassers.”

Christoffer sighed, disappointed. “Too bad. I would have loved to ride him.”

“Will we have to feed it to get by it? What does a water-wyvern eat?” Aleks asked, readjusting his backpack and bow.

“It eats whatever it can catch,” Hector said forebodingly. “We’ll have to be careful as we near the shoreline. A water-wyvern might not have much in the way of limbs, being adapted to the water, but it has enough leg-power to propel itself onto the shore and attack.”

“At least it can’t fly,” said Geirr, relieved. “Small favors.”

Zaria and her friends gasped as it breached the surface, blowing out a large stream of air. The water-wyvern was magnificent with a gray-and-white pattern. It had a seahorse face, with a long snout, and no ears. The top of its head bore a wavy crest that trailed down its neck.

As the creature dove beneath the water, it flipped its body into the air. There were no scales anywhere on it, as far as she could see. Zaria half-expected a whale fluke, but its tail looked like an eel’s. The thing was massive, at least four times bigger than Norwick, and hideous.

They stood there, watching the shifting, undulating, shadow in the water. Aleks wore a pensive frown, his brown eyes narrowed. “Does it have a name?”

“The dwarves call it Vingar.”

Giveaway:

One lucky winner will win a Zaria Fierce Audible Package (codes for the first two books) – INT (Ends: 14th August)

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Good luck everyone 🙂

About:

Keira Gillett (Author):

Keira_Gillett_Author_2Keira Gillett is a technical publications librarian, book blogger, world traveler, artist, and now author.

She graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Drawing and Painting.

From an early age her mother instilled a love of the written word, as such she has always been a big reader.

Her first book, Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest, is about a young girl who must complete a quest to save her friend from a nasty river-troll.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest 

Eoghan Kerrigan (Illustrator):

Eoghan_Kerrigan_Illustrator_1Eoghan Kerrigan is an illustrator from Kildare, Ireland who draws primarily fantasy characters and creatures.

He studied illustration in Ballyfermot College of Further Education and has produced work for various independent projects.

He has two cats and a soft spot for trolls.

Website Twitter | Facebook

Michele Carpenter (Narrator):

Michele_Carpenter_Narrator_2Michele Carpenter is an artist at heart, with a passion for acting.

She and her husband (also a voice actor) often work on projects together and help one another through the journey.

Together, they have three kids. Michele’s children love to hear her read stories and beg her to edit her narrations in the same room with them so they can listen too.

It’s partially for this reason that Michele has come to feel a personal responsibility to only record books that aren’t inappropriate for children or young adults–at their respective age levels and according to the maturity levels of the books they’re able to read.

“We never know how long we have on this earth and I’d rather leave behind a legacy of books that I’m not ashamed to have my friends, family and even future grandchildren, listen to forever.”

Website | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube
Ner

Blog Tour Stop: Review + Guest Post + Excerpt: Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword by Keira Gillett

Blog Tour Stop:
Review + Guest Post + Excerpt

Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword

ZariaAuthor: Keira Gillett
Illustrator: Eoghan Kerrigan
Narrator (aubiobook): Michele Carpenter
Release Date: November 6th, 2015
Publisher: Keira Gillett
Pages: 270 (Paperback)
Format: 
Epub
Genre:
 MG | Fantasy | Adventure
Idiom: English
Series: Zaria Fierce #2
Read: from November 1 to 5, 2015
Source: Author | Kobo
ISBN: 9781942750031
Rating:
4cups1

Get the Book:
Amazon (e-book) | Amazon (print)
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Synopsis

Princess, you are needed.

If Zaria Fierce had her say, being a princess would mean you’d never have to wait for news. In the eight months since Olaf tricked her, Zaria has felt a near constant mixture of restlessness, listlessness, and hopelessness. When the time comes to fix past mistakes, she is more than ready to climb aboard the ship sailing towards the giants. Summertime in Norway promises many more adventures, but also many more perils… something sinister lurks beneath the surface following her every move, haunting her, disturbing her dreams, and stealing her peace. Can Zaria figure out what it is and stop it before it’s too late?

NER REVIEWS

Disclaimer: Thank you again Keira Gillett for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I was honoured to be invited by Keira Gillett to be part of her debut book blog tour, Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest, a fantastic book set on the Scandinavian folklore. It was a delightful book with beautiful illustrations and a story that had me hooked. The sequel is just as good as the first one, perhaps better and I’m so happy to be part of Keira Gillett‘s Blog Tour for Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword.

This sequel happens a few months after the events of the first book and Zaria and her friends are of to try to find a sword that will help them rescue Hart. One of the things I found amazing was the fact that the characters developed a great deal since the first book. I found them quite mature and definitely determined and loyal. Their friendship is something quite remarkable to read and Keira did an amazing job portraying each individual character. I had previously adored them all but in this book I became truly connected with them.

In this second book the friends and Hector travel through various different realms in search of this enchanted sword. I loved reading about these magical realms. The Norwegian folklore and lore are really present in these books, the fairytale side of Northern Europe simply giving the story a remarkable side that is unique. I’m beginning to get really interested in the Norwegian folklore because it’s so rich and so vast. Simply wonderful and Keira really knows how to transport it into her stories.

I liked having the opportunity to met new characters and go even deeper into the story. We slowly begin to unfold several things that were not explained in the first book. The pieces of the puzzle are fitting together and it only makes me super excited about the third book. I admit that I created a bond with these characters and with the story that can only be explained by recommending you the book.

Of course that Eoghan Kerrigan did a fantastic job with the illustrations again. They makes us not only visualise the story, but they also make the story real and alive, to me at least. I adore books with illustrations. Check them out:

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I loved how he portrayed Mrs. Brown, a character I hope to get to read more about in the continuation.

In my opinion, I think Keira‘s writing in this book also developed. Her descriptions of not only the characters and their feelings but also of the setting was more detailed and, in a way, more beautiful. Just like the characters and the story are growing, her writing is also becoming quite amazing.

I congratulate Keira Gillett because her series only gets better. Not only are the characters growing with their adventures as we are as readers. As I mentioned on my previous review, this is definitely a story worth sharing with our family. And if I had previously said that this series was a delight to Narnia and Spiderwick fans,I will consider The Enchanted Drakeland Sword as a potential children’s version of The Lord of the Rings.

PS – just a side note: my blog is quoted on this book. Thank you so much Keira Gillett for such an honour ❤

Guest Post:

Magical Norway by Keira Gillett:

Hi everyone! I’m so grateful to be back at Ner’s wonderful blog. My name is Keira Gillett and I just published my second novel in the Zaria Fierce Trilogy. The trilogy is about a thirteen year old American girl who is transplanted to Norway and encounters the magical world when a river-troll kidnaps her best friend.

I love the world of Zaria Fierce, which crisscrosses all over Norway. In Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword, Zaria and her friends learn more about the magical realms hidden from human view. There are so many things to see, to do, and to discover. I thought I would give a brief description of each of the places Zaria and her friends have visited or heard about in the course of their travels.

Nicer map of #ZariaFierce world with glimpses into the adventure that is book two.

A post shared by Keira Gillett (@keiragillett) on

Glomma – The Glomma is a river that bisects the city of Fredrikstad and is the home of a nasty river-troll named Olaf. It was somewhere along this river where Christoffer was held captive in Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest.

Trolgar – The mountain-troll kingdom is hidden from humans. It lies deep underground and is formed from the cave system. The Wild Hunt is a tradition amongst these trolls. Don’t give them a reason to call one on you.

Álfheim – This royal city is home of the elves. They’re located north of Trolgar and near their allies, the ellefolken. The city is built into the trees themselves and the walkways look like spun spider webs. They’re masters of illusions, so who knows exactly what trickery they’ve done to keep humans out.

Under Realm – Not to be confused with the underworld, this magical void was the result of a great collaboration to imprison the dragons of the world. Why dragons? Because they are truly terrible and evil beings.

Jötunheim Is the region at the top of Norway where the sharp eyed observer can spot a giant. There are five tribes, three of which reside in Norway’s borders, the greatest of which is the Seiland Court. The other two Norwegian tribes are located even more northerly and touch the borders of Niffleheim and Jerndor.

Niffleheim – Once upon a time Niffleheim was connected in many places to the world, but after the Vikings and the Dragomir Wars they cut off the world, except directly over their territory.

Jerndor – As the High Court of the Dwarves, Jerndor is a gem of a city located just shy of Vadsø. They work closely with the southern dwarf society known as Malmdor to produce magical items from a special ore.

Malmdor – Not a very nice group of dwarves, they use slaves to run their mighty forges and furnaces. They also equipped a certain river-troll with chains to capture a young prince of the ellefolken.

To learn more about these magical kingdoms read Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest and Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword. Or check out my website.

Which kingdom is your favorite?

Thank you so much Keira for this amazing post about these wonderful places. It was one of my favourite things in this book to know these realms. Jötunheim and Niffleheim are two places I would love to see for real but I have a great attraction for the Under Realm… I blame the epic darkness 🙂

Excerpt:

Filip slung his window open and tossed out his backpack. It landed in a thump in the hedgerow. Aleks pulled it out and slung it over his shoulder with his own bag.

“How’re you getting down?”

“Hopefully with your stargazer.”

“Then why toss down your bag?” Aleks asked, exasperated.

“Just in case,” Filip said with a wink at Zaria.

She suppressed a smile. She looked to the others, “Does anybody have rope?”

Aleks and Geirr both nodded. Then Geirr unzipped his bag and pulled out a neat coil from on top. He tossed it to Filip, who snatched it up as it sailed by the window. He disappeared into his bedroom and reappeared moments later slinging the coil out the window. It unraveled to the ground.

“Good,” Filip said briskly. “It’s long enough. Now let’s see if it holds.”

Filip quickly scaled the side of the house and they gathered their belongings preparing to dash. Without warning, Mrs. Storstrand stuck her head out of a bottom window and shrieked at the sight of them.

“Just what do you think you’re doing?” she demanded.

“Run!” Filip shouted, grabbing his friends’ sleeves and rushing for the street.

Aleks cursed and threw Filip his backpack while slinging his own around to the front and unzipping a pocket. He looked frazzled as he dug inside the opening. Mrs. Storstrand was quick. She was already out of the house and chasing after them. She threatened life and limb and the most terrible of all – letting Filip’s father know what he was about.

At last Aleks found the stargazer – a shiny purplish egg-shaped object perforated with stars – and almost dropped it in his haste. After a brief fumble, Aleks located the largest star, and hastily jabbed his finger into the hole. Just like that, Mrs. Storstrand froze mid-run. But so too did Christoffer, Filip, and Geirr.

Aleks looked at Zaria and to the others. “Damn,” he hissed. “Wait! How are you not frozen too?”

About:

Keira Gillett (Author):

Keira_Gillett_Author_2Keira Gillett is a technical publications librarian, book blogger, world traveler, artist, and now author.

She graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Drawing and Painting.

From an early age her mother instilled a love of the written word, as such she has always been a big reader.

Her first book, Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest, is about a young girl who must complete a quest to save her friend from a nasty river-troll.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest 

Eoghan Kerrigan (Illustrator):

Eoghan_Kerrigan_Illustrator_1Eoghan Kerrigan is an illustrator from Kildare, Ireland who draws primarily fantasy characters and creatures.

He studied illustration in Ballyfermot College of Further Education and has produced work for various independent projects.

He has two cats and a soft spot for trolls.

Website Twitter | Facebook

Michele Carpenter (Narrator):

Michele_Carpenter_Narrator_2Michele Carpenter is an artist at heart, with a passion for acting.

She and her husband (also a voice actor) often work on projects together and help one another through the journey.

Together, they have three kids. Michele’s children love to hear her read stories and beg her to edit her narrations in the same room with them so they can listen too.

It’s partially for this reason that Michele has come to feel a personal responsibility to only record books that aren’t inappropriate for children or young adults–at their respective age levels and according to the maturity levels of the books they’re able to read.

“We never know how long we have on this earth and I’d rather leave behind a legacy of books that I’m not ashamed to have my friends, family and even future grandchildren, listen to forever.”

Website | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube
Ner

Release Day Celebration: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson {Excerpt & Giveaway}

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I am so excited that WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER by Rae Carson releases today and that I get to share the news, along with an awesome giveaway!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful new series by Rae Carson, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a set of the GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS series (in paperback format). US only. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

About the Book:

WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER
Author: Rae Carson
Pub. Date: September 22, 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pages: 448
Find it:
 Amazon | B&N | iBooks

Add Goodreads

Synopsis:
The first book in a new trilogy from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Rae Carson. A young woman with the magical ability to sense the presence of gold must flee her home, taking her on a sweeping and dangerous journey across Gold Rush–era America.

Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety? Rae Carson, author of the acclaimed Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, dazzles with this new fantasy that subverts both our own history and familiar fantasy tropes.

Walk on Earth a Stranger, the first book in this new trilogy, introduces—as only Rae Carson can—a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance. Includes a map and author’s note on historical research. 

Excerpt:

I hear the deer before I see him, though he makes less noise than a squirrel – the gentle crunch of snow, a snapping twig, the soft whuff as he roots around the dead grass. I can hardly believe my luck.

As quietly as falling snow, I raise the butt of my daddy’s Hawken rifle to my shoulder and peer down the muzzle. A crisscross of branches narrows my view. The deer must be allowed to wander into my sights, but that’s all right. I am patient. I am a ghost.

I’ve tucked myself into a deadfall, the result of an ancient, dying oak looming above me. Snow fills the cracks between branches, creating a barrier to the wind. I can barely see out, but I’m almost warm. The snow around me clinks and tinkles like bells, melting in the early morning warm snap. The hem of my skirt and the petticoats underneath are ragged and soaked. If the girls at school saw me now, I’d hear no end of it, but it doesn’t matter. We have to eat.

You can read the rest of the first chapter annotated by Rae Carson on the original excerpt here.

About the Author:

raecarsonRae Carson is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the acclaimed Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy.

Her next book, Walk On Earth A Stranger, will be available September 22, 2015.

She lives in Arizona with her husband.

Website | Twitter Facebook Goodreads

Giveaway:

1 (one) winner will receive a set of the 3 GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS series (in paperback). US Only. Ends on September 30th at Midnight EST!

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Good luck everyone 🙂



Ner

Release Week Blitz: Sweet Temptation by Wendy Higgins {Excerpt + Giveaway]

SweetTemptationBanner

I am so excited that SWEET TEMPTATION by Wendy Higgins releases today and that I get to share the news, along with an awesome giveaway!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful series by Wendy Higgins, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a a paperback of the book with a signed bookplate and bookmarks! US only. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

About the Book:

SWEET TEMPTATION
Author: Wendy Higgins
Pub. Date: September 8, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 485
Format: Paperback | ebook | audiobook 
Find it:
 Amazon | B&N | iBooks

Add Goodreads

Synopsis:
Bad boy Kaidan Rowe has never wanted for anything – money, popularity, musical talent… hot girls – but seducing them is part of his duty as a Nephilim, slave to the demon Dukes. As the son of the Duke of Lust, Kaidan has learned his father’s ways, becoming a master of passion, a manipulator of chemistry. Disobeying his father would mean certain death. Thankfully for Kaidan, he’s good at his job. And he enjoys it.

Until he meets Anna Whitt – sweet, smart, feisty, and inexplicably good – the one girl seemingly immune to his charms. The daughter of a guardian angel and a fallen one, she has a certain power over him, one that makes him wish for more than he could ever deserve.

Determined to save all the Neph from their dark lives as the influencers of sin, Anna joins forces with Kaidan to overcome the demons’ oppressive ways. In the light of her affections, Kaidan must undergo his toughest test of all, a battle of the heart.

Sensual and swoon worthy, this companion volume to the acclaimed Sweet Evil series from New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins, told from the perspective of the irresistibly sexy and mysterious Kaidan Rowe, gives readers revealing insights into his struggle, his intense connection to Anna, and most of all, the true emotions that drive him.

Author Note:

Sweet Temptation will encompass the entire trilogy in a condensed version, beginning with Kai’s life before he met Anna, and taking readers through the epilogue of Sweet Reckoning. Sweet Temptation is a companion novel, not meant to be a stand alone story. It will definitely be a richer experience for those who have read the original trilogy.

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Excerpt:

“I wanna hate every part of you in me…
You say that I’m privileged but my gift is my curse.”
– “Bite My Tongue” by You Me At Six

“Sit down, son!”

Young Kaidan did as his father asked, obediently sitting in the oversized leather chair beside him in the sitting room of their London home. Kai’s stomach buzzed with nervousness. He rarely had his father’s full attention, so he felt heavy and exposed under his intense stare. Kaidan savored Pharzuph’s eyes on him, and for a moment let himself pretend this meeting was something more than business – he let himself imagine his father’s smile was born of concern for him, rather then the glee of malice. He wanted to tap out a beat on his leg to soothe himself, but his father couldn’t stand fidgeting of any kind so remained still.

Original excerpt from Epic Reads – click here to read the whole excerpt which consists of 103 pages of the book!

About the Author:

WendyWendy Higgins is the USA Today and NYT bestselling author of the Sweet Evil series from HarperTeen and her independently published Irish fantasy, See Me. She is a former high school English teacher who now writes full time, and lives on the Eastern Shore of Virginia with her veterinarian husband, daughter, son, and doggie Rue. 

Wendy earned a bachelor’s in Creative Writing from George Mason University and a master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from Radford. Writing Young Adult (YA) stories gives her the opportunity to delve into the ambiguities of those pivotal, daunting, and exciting years before adulthood.

Website | Twitter Facebook Tumblr | Pinterest | Instagram | Goodreads

Giveaway:

1 (one) Paperback of SWEET TEMPTATION and a signed bookplate and bookmarks. US Only. Ends on September 18th at Midnight EST!

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Good luck everyone 🙂



Ner

Release Day Blitz: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas {Giveaway}

QueenofShadowsBanner

I am so excited that QUEEN OF SHADOWS by Sarah J. Maas releases today and that I get to share the news, along with an awesome giveaway!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful series by Sarah J. Maas, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a set of the first 3 books in the series (in paperback format). US only. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

About the Book:

QUEEN OF SHADOWS
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Pub. Date: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Pages: 656
Find it: Amazon | B&N | iBooks
Add Goodreads

Synopsis:
Sarah J. Maas‘s New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series reaches new heights in this sweeping fourth volume.

 Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

Read Chapters 1-5:

Chapters 1-5 of QUEEN OF SHADOWS HERE!

About the Author:

Sarah1Sarah J. Maas is the author of the New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling Throne of Glass series – Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, and Heir of Fire, and the series’ prequel, The Assassin’s Blade – as well as the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Court of Thorns and Roses. She wrote the first incarnation of the Throne of Glass series when she was just sixteen, and it has now sold in twenty-three languages. Queen of Shadows, the fourth book in the Throne of Glass series, will release worldwide on September 1st, 2015.

A New York native, Sarah currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and dog. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hamilton College in 2008 with a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Religious Studies.

Website | Twitter Facebook Tumblr | Pinterest | Instagram | Goodreads

Giveaway:

1 winner will receive the first 3 books (in paperback) in the THRONE OF GLASS Series. US Only. Ends on September 11th at Midnight EST!

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Good luck everyone 🙂



Ner

Book Blitz: The Viper and the Urchin y Celine Jeanjean {Excerpt & Giveaway}

TheVer

Book Blitz
Excerpt+ Giveaway

The Viper and the Urchin

Author: Celine Jeanjean
Publication Date: July 27th, 2015
Genre: Steampunk | Sci-fi
Buy Book: Amazon | Barnes & Nobels

Synopsis:
Being Damsport’s most elegant assassin is hard work. There’s tailoring to consider, devilish poisons to concoct, secret identities to maintain… But most importantly, Longinus must keep his fear of blood hidden or his reputation will be ruined. So when Rory, a scrawny urchin girl, threatens to expose his phobia unless he teaches her swordsmanship, he has no choice but to comply.

As if being saddled with a dirty, grammatically incorrect girl isn’t bad enough, a copycat assassin begins to imitate Longinus’ kills and threatens both his and Rory’s lives. Arguments have to be set aside, and Longinus and Rory are forced to work together to unmask and stop the copycat. But darker forces than they realise are at play, and with time running out, the unlikely duo find themselves the last line of defence against a powerful enemy who seeks to bring the city of Damsport to its knees.


Excerpt:

Rory congratulated herself on her timing. She and Jake had just reached the end of the lane and, peering around the corner, she could see the mark a few yards away. He was a trader with a belly that hung over his belt and a self-satisfied air. She could already tell how pleased with himself he would look when he stepped in to save the poor, scrawny urchin girl from a beating.

Moron.

She counted down silently with her fingers. Three, two, one.

Rory launched herself into the trader’s path with a shriek. Startled, the man jumped back just as Jake burst into the street, his face contorted into a perfectly fearsome mask. He grabbed Rory with his paddle-sized hands, lifting her off the ground.

“Help!” she screamed, kicking her legs in the air, careful to miss Jake.

Jake drew back a meaty hand as though to strike her. She screeched again, waiting for the mark to react. Any moment now, he would step forward, his face a sneer, his rapier drawn, and he would tell Jake to ‘let the girl go.’

Jake snarled, and raised his hand further behind him. Rory cowered in his grasp.

“Please not again, please no, please…” she gabbled.

The target stood aside, gawking, as though seagulls had pecked out his brains.

“Teach you to try and run away,” Jake grunted.

Still nothing.

Crap.

Rory had picked a dud.

Nothing for it, Jake was going to have to follow through and hit her or the game would be up.

Jake’s hand came down in a wide arc, just catching her cheek. Rory let her head snap to one side, howling out to make it seem more painful than it was. Still the merchant stood watching.

She cursed under her breath. If he was going to be cowardly, the least he could do was leave and be cowardly somewhere else so they could end this charade.

Jake raised his hand again.

“Not so fast now.”

At last, the melodious sound of a rapier being pulled out of its scabbard. The trader pointed his blade at Jake.

“Put the girl down.”

“Not your gods-damned business,” Jake grunted.

“I’ve just made it my business. Put her down.”

Jake glowered ever so convincingly at the man, and let Rory drop to the ground. She made a show of collapsing onto the cobblestones before scrambling up towards the trader.

“Now go.” The man raised his chin haughtily behind his rapier.

Jake grunted again, and skulked off down the lane from which they had come, making it look all the more narrow as he squeezed his massive frame through it.

“Thank you, sir, oh thank you!” Rory grabbed the trader’s distended waistcoat as she pulled herself up. “I been trying to escape for months sir, months!” She squeezed out a few tears for good measure and sniffled loudly. The mark she could feel on her cheek no doubt made it look all the more realistic. Maybe having Jake hit her wasn’t such a disaster after all.

“Now see here —”

“I got no one, sir,” Rory continued, still clinging to him as though she was drowning and he was the last plank of wood left in the world. “I’m an orphan and all alone, my family died.” At this she began to wail loudly.

The trader extricated himself from her clutching fingers, his philanthropic aspirations rapidly vanishing.

“There, there…I’m sorry but, er, I can’t do anything for you. I’m only passing through Damsport, you see.”

That was a lie, he was clearly a Damsian.

“Please, sir!” She wailed louder, clutching at him faster than he could remove her hands. Her fingers felt his purse, and she was delighted to find that it was as fat as he was.

“Now see here,” said the trader. “I have to leave, my ship… Will you just…get off!”

He gave her a shove and she staggered back, the purse vanishing into one of her pockets. She gave the trader a forlorn look, cutting a pathetic figure in her rags, mess of rope-like hair, and snotty nose — the gods be thanked for her ability to sniffle on demand.

The trader hurried away without looking back.

When he had turned the corner, Rory spat once on the cobblestones.

“Hypocrite.”

Saving the girl always worked, but no one wanted to actually save the girl. They only wanted that brief moment of glory when they pointed their rapier at Jake. That was fine by Rory, they just had to pay the price of their purse for the privilege of feeling like a hero for a few minutes.

She hurried after Jake, grinning. He was waiting for her at the rendezvous point.


About the Author – Celine Jeanjean:

Celine Jeanjean







Author Links:
Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook


Giveaway Time:

Blitz giveaway:
  • Two (1) ebook copies of The Viper and the Urchin (INT);
  • A paperback copy of The Viper and the Urchin (US);

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Book Blitz: Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book of Wonders by Julianna Baggott {Excerpt & Giveaway}

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Book Blitz
Exclusive Excerpt + Giveaway

Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book of Wonders

I am so excited that HARRIET WOLF’S SEVENTH BOOK OF WONDERS by Julianna Baggott releases today and that I get to share the news, along with an exclusive excerpt! 

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Julianna Baggott, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for 5 hardcovers of the book courtesy of Little Brown, and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

Author: Julianna Baggott
Publication Date: August 18th, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pages: 336
Find Book: Amazon | Barnes & Nobels | iBooks

Synopsis:
A brilliantly crafted saga about three generations of women and their secrets, including the discovery of a final unpublished book by the family matriarch, a revered and reclusive author.

Harriet Wolf has a final confession. It can be found only in the final book of the series that made her a famous writer. But does that book exist?

This absorbing novel spans the entire twentieth century, telling the moving story of a mother, her daughter, and two granddaughters, one of whom is the only person alive who knows the whereabouts of Harriet’s final book. When a hospitalization brings the family back together, the mystery not only of Harriet’s last book, but also of her life, hangs in the balance. Will the truth ever be known, or is Harriet’s story gone forever?

A multi-generational tale of long-lost love, motherhood, and family secrets, this is Baggott’s most sweeping and mesmerizing novel yet.


Exclusive Excerpt:

Chapter One
The Baby, Twice Born
Harriet

This is how the story goes: I was born dead—or so my mother was told.

According to the physician, good old Dr. Brumus, I didn’t cry. I wasn’t capable of even this innate reflex. I was mute and sallow and already a bleeder, one red bead poised at each nostril. Imagine my exhausted mother—the saint, Irish and Catholic—her legs sagging wide beneath the bloody sheet like two pale, bony wings.

The year was 1900. The world was taking a new shape: the Paris Exposition’s moving sidewalks, Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams, and a tunnel being dug for the subway at Borough Hall, Manhattan. But in our house near the Chesapeake, not far from bustling Baltimore—with its canneries and foundries, its harbor of moaning steamboats, its tenements teeming with typhoid—there was little to do for either my mother or me, medically. Science had come only so far.

But given that Dr. Brumus—winded, permanently overwhelmed—had delivered three stillborn babies from my mother already, it seemed, for the moment, he’d finally won something. He was always watchful, however, always squinting as if in bright sun, even at dusk, the hour I was born, mosquitoes whining past an ear. And Brumus knew, what with my bleeding nose and my pallid, lightly furred skin, that something wasn’t right. He wrapped me in a blanket—though the summer hung wet and steaming outside. Like an aging football captain, he shuttled me down the stairs to the porch, where my father, the banker, was pacing. Dr. Brumus presented me to my father and gave the news: “It isn’t fit.” I wasn’t a girl yet. I was still dangling before my father, midair, a lost pronoun, and it would take years before I would become a child in any real form in my father’s eyes.

“No, it isn’t fit,” my father agreed, perhaps expecting as much, given the three lost before me.

“It may only live long enough for her to get attached,” Dr. Brumus said, teary now.

“The baby’s mother isn’t fit either,” my father said. “Mary has those dark moods. You’ve seen them. She couldn’t withstand that kind of attachment and loss.”

Dr. Brumus tried to hand me to my father, whose face was poised above mine, his nose fat and squat, a boxy fender, though he was youngish and handsome in his taut pink skin and glossy hair. He didn’t like what he saw. “Take it with you,” he said.

Dr. Brumus oversaw the Maryland School for Feeble Minded Children in Owings Mills, long before Baltimore started spilling into it with such ferocity. My father was betting that I wouldn’t make it—but what if I did? Was he asking Dr. Brumus to be my father, or at least my warden? The two men had known each other since they were boys.

“Jackie,” Dr. Brumus said, using the pet name normally reserved for times when he’d drunk a Scotch and soda and was looking slack and heavy-lidded. But that wasn’t his mood now. His eyes raced. “I can’t take the baby with me—”

“You said it’s going to die. You said so!” And my father became a little boy, his face plump and sweaty.

“Where’s the baby?” my mother called, her voice carrying from the open bedroom window above, her Irish accent heavier because she was too tired to fight it. She could have been calling to them from reeds, a marsh with a fog rolling in.

My father shook his head. “No,” he whispered to the doctor, fiercely.

And then my father marched upstairs, past the water stains on the wallpaper and into the bedroom. “No,” he said to his wife in a lilting voice of his own. Was he going to sing to her? “Darling, no.”

And so, for my mother, I was dead.

But still there was a baby. And this other baby with its dim pulse was bundled and taken away to start its other life at the Maryland School for Feeble Minded Children.

In just over a decade’s time, this child would become a supposed Girl Genius, and, more important, she would find Eppitt in the laundry and love him too much. (You don’t know Eppitt yet, dear ones, but you will.) And then this same child would make her way back here again—to this very porch, to her mother’s bed.

Some of us are born dead, some never really born at all, and others are born fresh every day—as if they’ve had new eyes stitched on overnight—which is the best way to live.

I hope you will understand eventually why I’ve denied all of this for so long. Are you reading this, my Eleanor? My Ruthie? My dear Tilton? Are your eyes catching on these words, fastening one to the next, aware of my life collecting on the page? Are you here with me?

I still desire the veil of fiction, the means to monkey and fidget with the details so I can convince myself that I’m writing about another baby, another mother, another life. If not that, then I wish it were lovely. But what did I learn in writing out the lives of my characters Weldon and Daisy? You can’t have love without knowing sorrow; you can’t have miracles without desperation.

Here, then. My desperation.

Excerpted from Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book of Wonders by Julianna Baggott. Copyright © 2015 by Julianna Baggott. Reprinted by permission of Little, Brown and Company, New York, NY. All rights reserved.


About the Author – Julianna Baggott:

JuliannaCritically acclaimed, bestselling author, Julianna Baggott — who also writes under the pen names Bridget Asher (The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted) and N.E. Bode (The Anybodies)  – has published 17 books, including novels for adults, younger readers, and collections of poetry.

Her latest novel, PURE, is the first of a trilogy; film rights have sold to Fox2000 — www.pure-book.com. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Best American Poetry, Best Creative Nonfiction, Real Simple, on NPR.org, as well as read on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” and “Here and Now.”

Her novels have been book-pick selections by People Magazine’s summer reading, Washington Post book-of-the-week, a Booksense selection, a Boston Herald Book Club selection, and a Kirkus Best Books of the Year list. Her novels have been published in over 50 overseas editions.

She’s a professor in the Creative Writing Program at Florida State University and the founder of the nonprofit Kids in Need – Books in Deed. For more, visit www.juliannabaggott.com.

Connect with the Author:
Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook


Giveaways Time:

  • 5 (five) copies of Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book of Wonders (US Only – ends August 24th):

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Book Blitz: Lumière by Jacqueline Garlick {Teasers & Giveaways}

Lumiere

Book Blitz
Teasers + Giveaways

Lumière

Author: Jacqueline Garlick
Series: The Illumination Paradox #1
Publication Date: Deember 12th, 2015
Genre: Steampunk YA
Buy Book: Amazon | Barnes & Nobels

Synopsis:
Even in a land of eternal twilight, secrets can’t stay hidden forever.

Seventeen-year-old Eyelet Elsworth is no stranger to living in the dark. She’s hidden her secret affliction all of her life—a life that would be in danger if superstitious townspeople ever guessed the truth. After her mother is accused and executed for a crime that she didn’t commit, the now-orphaned Eyelet has no choice but to track down the machine—her last hope for a cure. But Eyelet’s late father’s most prized invention, the Illuminator, has been missing since the day of the mysterious flash—a day that saw the sun wiped out over Brethren forever.

Alone and on the run, she finds the Illuminator—only to witness a young man hauling it away. Determined to follow the thief and recover the machine, she ventures into the deepest, darkest, most dangerous part of her twisted world.

GruesomeTwosome


Teasers:

Noir.July'15.Teaser1Noir.July'15.Teaser2Noir.July'15.Teaser3


About the Author – Jacqueline Garlick:

JacquelineAuthorI’m Jacqueline Garlick, author of young adult and new adult fiction. I love strong heroines, despise whiny sidekicks, and adore a good story about a triumphant underdog. (Don’t you?) 

I love to read, write, paint (walls and paper). I have a love/hate relationship with chocolate, grammar, and technology and would rather hang out with a dog, than a cat. I prefer creating things to cleaning things, and believe laughter is a one-stop-shop solution to all that ails you. You will always find a purple wall (or two) in my house (currently in my writing room), and there may or may not be a hidden passageway that leads to a mystery room. (Okay, so you won’t find a hidden passageway, but a girl can dream, can’t she?) Oh, and tea. There will always be tea. 

My writing style has been described as edgy and rule-breaking, and by some–a touch Tim Burton-esque. Because of this, I am often referred to as the Quentin Tarantino of YA among writing friends. 

In my former life, I was a teacher (both grade school and college-don’t ask), but more recently I’ve been a graduate of Ellen Hopkin’s Nevada Mentor Program and a student of James Scott Bell, Christopher Vogler and Don Maass. An excerpt from Lumière earned me the 2012 Don Maass Break Out Novel Intensive Scholarship. 

Lumière–A Romantic Steampunk Fantasy–my debut novel, is the recipient of an indieBRAG Medallion!!! B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree October 15, 2014) I am so proud! (LUMIERE by Jacqueline E. Garlick is a B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree. This tells a reader that this book is well worth their time and money!) Book II of the ILLUMINATION PARADOX SERIES, is out January 26th, now on pre-order.

Also, check out my young adult contemporary romantic/mystery serial, IF ONLY, where reluctant telepathic sleuth Kyla Cooper must embrace her powers and risks all to solve the mystery of what happened to her boyfriend Denver Munro, becoming his voice of truth, before he has no voice at all…

I love hearing from READERS! Please contact me, either at my website, or catch up with me on twitter, or on facebook.

I’m open to reviews and interview, requests for skype visits, guest blogs, pod casts and book club meetings! I LOVE TO HEAR FROM READERS!

You can also find me here:
Blog | Goodreads | Pinterest


Giveaways Time:

1 (one) ebook copy of Lumière by Jacqueline Garlick (INT – ends September 4th):

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Blitz-wide giveaway (INT – ends August 20th):
  •  A signed copy of LUMIERE, a signed copy of NOIR, + Swag (necklace with matching earrings and some collector’s cards with excerpts on them)

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Book Blitz: Silverwood by Betsy Streeter {Excerpt & Giveaway}

MermaidBlitz

Book Blitz
Excerpt + Giveaway

Silverwood

Author: Betsy Streeter
Series: Silverwood #1
Publication Date: March 15th, 2015
Genre: Sci-FiYA
Buy Book: Amazon | Barnes & Nobels

Synopsis:
A story of finding where you belong, even if it involves time travel, shape shifting, and hacking.

Helen Silverwood, fourteen, is sick of life on the run with her mom and her younger brother. Nothing makes sense. She doesn’t understand why she has recurring dreams of shape-shifting creatures, why her mother is always disappearing, and how her brother can draw things that haven’t happened yet. Most of all, Helen longs to know what happened to her dad—is he imprisoned, a fugitive, or gone forever?

When someone blows up the apartment where Helen lives, the stories of the ancient Silverwood clan—and her role in it—begin to unravel. All Helen wants is to feel like there’s someplace she belongs—but getting there will prove very, very complicated.


Excerpt: Tromindox

A young couple stumbles out the back door of a nightclub into a narrow alleyway that would look a whole lot worse in the daytime. Distant streetlights reveal a hint of the garbage strewn around, and the shadows mask the dilapidated state of the surrounding buildings. The door itself sits in the mouth of a giant, cartoonlike face spray painted on the wall.

Deafening music and red-orange light shoots out the door while it is open, bouncing off the alley walls, and muffles again as the door closes to just a crack. There is no knob on the outside of the door; someone has wedged in a piece of wood to hold it open.

The couple start out laughing and joking, leaning on each other – their shape is all skinny jeans and mohawks mixed with the glint of jewelry – but shortly their voices turn more argumentative. Maybe someone committed an offense, perhaps there’s a breakup in progress. Soon the young woman breaks away from her date, pries open the door, and storms back into the club. Loud music and lights again, muffled and dark again. The young man leans his back against the wall, his arms crossed in anger. He needs a minute to collect himself.

A lone figure comes down the alley. Unusually tall, dressed in a dark coat, crushing garbage under its motorcycle boots. Lit from behind by the street lights, it resembles a shadow that has come loose from the wall. The young man is too distracted with replaying the conversation of a few minutes ago in his head, trying to figure out what he said wrong, to notice that the figure has come within a few feet of him.

“You know you really ought not to be out here at this late hour,” the figure says. 

The young man jumps, then regains himself. “Yeah, whatever.” Who is this guy telling him what to do. The only people who go out back by themselves are the ones who want to be, by themselves.

Before the young man can add anything – like a string of expletives – a needle-like protrusion shoots out from the figure’s forearm and directly into the young man’s abdomen.

The young man freezes, stares straight ahead, then looks his assailant in the face. It’s a pale face, the face of a Tromindox that has not fed in some time. The victim tries to push off from the wall, but the venom deadens his arms and legs. He slides downward into a sitting position. His skin turns black, his spiky hair becomes a mass of tentacles.

Soon there is nothing left of him but a terrified pair of eyes in a puddle of writhing black.

The Tromindox reels in its prey, like a glob of oil pulling in a wayward drop.

Satisfied that it has the upper hand, the creature takes on a more humanlike form, turns and shuffles away. It is already buzzing with energy from all of these new thoughts.

The door scrapes open again, the bright light temporarily blocked by a fat man in an undershirt heaving a huge bag of garbage into the trash bin. He takes a quick look up and down the alley, wipes his hands on his pants, and goes back in.

Later, the young woman will come back out and see that her date has left. She will take this as a sign that they have broken up, and will not call him for a week. It won’t be until he has missed several days at work that someone will unlock his untouched apartment, see that no one has been there, and file a missing persons report.


About the Author – Betsy Streeter:

BetsyBetsy Streeter grew up on a steady diet of Star Trek, The Muppet Show, Atari, and musical rehearsals in her family’s living room.

Her habits of making up stories and drawing and painting on everything within reach eventually led to degrees in art and communication from Stanford University.

She has worked in film and video production, design, and video games, and has served as president of a community theatre.

She and her family are voracious consumers of books, music, movies, art, action figures, and musical instruments, resulting in inadequate storage space.

Betsy has published single-panel cartoons, comics, art, and short fiction in paper, digital, graffiti, and tattoo form.

She lives in Northern California with her husband, son, daughter, two peculiar and disruptive cats, and a mellow but hungry tarantula.

Official Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Light Messages


Giveaway Time:

Blitz-wide giveaway (INT – ends August 13th):
  • Concept sketches that the author has done, one of a Tromindox and one representing the Guild. These are originals and she can sign them to the winner.
  • 5 iBooks copies of Silverwood;
  • 3 signed copies of Silverwood;

silverwood-sketchcard guild concept sketch tromindox concept sketch

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Book Blitz: How to be a Mermaid by Erin Hayes {Author Interview + Excerpt + Giveaway}

MermaidBlitz

Book Blitz
Author Interview + Excerpt + Giveaway

How to be a Mermaid

Author: Erin Hayes
Series: Falling in Deep Collection, #10
Publication Date: July 7th, 2015
Genre: Fantasy YA
Buy Book: Amazon | Barnes & Nobels

Synopsis:
All Tara ever wanted was to be a mermaid.

So she takes a year off between high school and college to don a fake tail and tour aquariums across the country in a professional mermaid troupe.

Everything’s great until she meets a gorgeous real-life merman named Finn. Suddenly, what she thought was a dream turns out to be a nightmare — she’s turning into a mermaid herself. For real.

Yet when she returns to the sea to seek out Finn and reverse her transformation, she finds herself in the middle of an impending war between the land and sea. Tara may have always wanted to be a mermaid, but now it’s sink or swim. In order to survive, she has to learn how to be one, too.

Summer 2015, award-winning, and best-selling authors will bring you romantic tales of mermaids, sirens, sprites, and other creatures of the deep! Keep in touch as we reveal each title in our collection!


Interview:

What is your favorite mermaid story or myth?

I’ve always loved Disney’s The Little Mermaid, but when I read the original Hans Christian Andersen tale, I fell in love with it. It’s a dark, sad tale that still gives me chills. If you haven’t read it, you should pick it up and read it! You’ll never watch the animated movie the same way ever again.

What was the inspiration for How to be a Mermaid?

I stumbled upon the Weeki Wachee mermaids, a professional mermaid troupe based out of Florida. I wondered what would happen if one of those mermaids ever met a real-life merman and the story flourished from there.

Cast your characters. If How to be a Mermaid was made into a movie, who would play your main characters?

Tara: Katie McGrath is a bit older than Tara in the book, but I think she’d be perfect. I’ve seen her in comedy and I’ve seen her act, and she looks the part too! She’s been in a few things, but I imagine we’re going to see a lot more of Katie McGrath in upcoming movies.

CASTKatie_McGrath

Finn: Liam Hemsworth. Sighs. Imagine him with a mer tail and that’s him!

CASTLiam-Hemsworth

What was most challenging thing writing about mermaids?

The most challenging part, actually, was trying to get a behind-the-scenes perspective of professional mermaids. I went to the Georgia Aquarium to see the Weeki Wachee mermaids in action and did a backstage tour to see how the aquarium worked. After that, I was able to incorporate what I saw into the story.

Ursula or Ariel?

Ursula. Sea witches always have more fun.

What else should we know about How to be a Mermaid?

Pay attention to the character Jordyn – her character is getting her own story coming up!


Excerpt:

“What is this?” a rough, intense voice demanded.

I swam out of unconsciousness, an uncomfortable experience that revealed my entire body aching, my head most of all. It was so dark, and a strange feeling had overtaken my body. Like I was floating. I tried touching a hand to my head, only to find that I couldn’t.

What the-?

My hands were tied behind my back with what felt like…kelp?

The realization hit me and I thrashed about trying to free myself, and I finally opened my eyes.

I paused for a moment, unable to grasp exactly where I was.

I was…underwater?

Air bubbles popped out of my mouth in a flurry when a scream escaped my throat. A thousand thoughts filled my head, none of them making sense except for the overwhelming dread that I was somehow underwater with my hands tied behind my back. From what I could tell, there was no way I could get air to breathe. I’d lost a lot of air when I screamed.

Oh my god, I was going to drown.

My mermaid necklace was thrust in front of my vision, momentarily disorienting me.

“What is this? I demand you to tell me now!”

“What?” I asked out loud. A sharp pain zigzagged across my head from where I’d hit it on the rock.

I was trapped underwater and this man wanted to know…what exactly? What my necklace was?

The necklace came even closer to my face, so much that I’d have to go cross-eyed in order to focus on it.

“Where did you get this? What is it?” the man demanded.

“It’s my…” I was unsure and still terrified of my situation. “It’s my necklace.”


About the Author – Erin Hayes:

ErinSci-fi junkie, video game nerd, and wannabe manga artist Erin Hayes writes a lot of things. Sometimes she writes books, like the fantasy mystery novel Death is but a Dream, the sci-fi middle grade book Jacob Smith is Incredibly Average, and the Her Wolf paranormal series.

She works as an advertising copywriter during the day, and she moonlights as an author. She has lived in New Zealand, Texas, and now in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband, cat, and a growing collection of geek paraphernalia.

You can reach her at erinhayesbooks@gmail.com and she’ll be happy to chat. Especially if you want to debate Star Wars.

Official Blog | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter


Giveaway Time:

Giveaway Picture

Blitz-wide giveaway (INT – ends June 16th):
  • A mermaid care package to help you be the best mermaid:
    • A signed copy of How to be a Mermaid;
    • Tara’s necklace;
    • Two Mermaid Mix soaks;
    • A mermaid mirror compact;
    • Six starfish hairpins;
    • A mermaid wallet;
    • Mermaid perfume;
    • Mermaid Tail Nail Polish;
    • A mermaid makeup bag;
    • Four Little Mermaid Buttons;
    • And one mermaid handbag to carry all your dinglehoppers;

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Blog Tour Stop: Review + Guest Post + Excerpt: Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest by Keira Gillett

Blog Tour Stop:
Review + Guest Post + Excerpt

Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest

ZariaAuthor: Keira Gillett
Illustrator: Eoghan Kerrigan
Narrator (aubiobook): Michele Carpenter
Release Date: March 6th, 2015
Publisher: Keira Gillett
Pages: 224 (Paperback)
Format: 
PDF
Genre:
 MG | Fantasy | Adventure
Idiom: English
Series: Zaria Fierce #1
Read: from June 27 to 29, 2015
Source: Author | Kobo
ISBN: 9781942750017
Rating:
45cups1

Get the Book:
Amazon (e-book) | Amazon (print) | Audible
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Synopsis:

On her birthday, Zaria Fierce finds her usual path to school blocked by an ugly river-troll. At first she’s surprised and curious, but then Olaf threatens to eat her, which is an act Zaria could not in good conscience consent to, so Zaria counteroffers. A deal is struck and she goes to school, but Zaria is about to learn the hard way that one does not trick a river-troll and expect to win.

Ner Reviews - Zaria

Disclaimer: Thank you Keira Gillett for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Based on Scandinavian folklore, Zaria Fierce was an adorable read. Set in Norway, we follow Zaria and her friends through an adventure filled with trolls, elves, changelings, dragons and much more. And what’s more exciting? The book has amazing illustrations to accompany you during your journey. Check out some the illustrations:

ZF_Ch0ZF_Ch12

They are quite amazing, aren’t they? And the details? Eoghan Kerrigan did an amazing job with this illustrations 🙂

On her birthday Zaria is stopped at the bridge by a troll, Olaf, who asks payment so she can cross it. Thinking she tricked him, she’s later faced with the disappearance of her friend and finds out that Olaf is behind it. Setting a deal with the troll, she leaves with a group of friends in search of the heart of the Gloomwood forest and has the adventure of her dreams.

Zaria is the protagonist and a nice character to meet. She’s a bookworm (like me and you, of course :P) and always wanted to be part of an adventure. But, there’s a bit more to her than what meets the eye and though we got a glimpse at why the fairy-people call her Princess, I’m hoping to read more about that in the future. She was funny, brave and an easy-going character to enjoy. Pretty much like her friends. They were hilarious at times and I found their friendship and connection amazing. I enjoyed them all and, have to be honest, can’t really choose a favourite.

The plot is quite quick and easy to follow. It’s pretty much straightforward with fantasy elements that reminded me slightly of Narnia. Actually, I think those who liked The Chronicles of Narnia will eventually enjoy this book. However, there’s no wardrobe to enter this new fairy-tale land. It also reminded me of The Spiderwick Chronicles though I only saw the movie. The trolls were the reason to that 🙂

Keira Gillett‘s writing was also easy to read you basically read an entire chapter without realising it. It wasn’t too childish but it wasn’t also too tricky or too mature. It’s a writing style that can be read by any age and anyone who simply wishes to leave reality behind and enter this fantasy world. The descriptions and the characters were very well developed. I only thought that sometimes, in the dialogue, these kids would use some rather complicated words.

There were a few twists that I didn’t see coming and I thought those were really clever. And I also liked the fact that the protagonist has flaws and makes mistakes. I liked that side of the story.

Now, I have this say because I spent the whole book with this idea in my mind. I couldn’t really take Olaf seriously because I kept picturing him like this:

I believe that Olaf is a typical Scandivanian name and maybe Keira wrote the book before Frozen came out but it’s true. Can you imagine this happy snowman as a river troll? :D. 

Overall, Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest was a great book with a lovely story and amazing characters. It’s a fantasy and adventure book that will be the delights of Narnia fans and those looking for a bit of Norwegian folklore thrown into it. Keira Gillett, and consequently illustrator Eoghan Kerrigan, created an adorable book that I will give to my niece to read in the future.

Guest Post:

Pronunciation Guide by Keira Gillett:

Hello and good morning to everyone! Thanks Ner for letting me take over your blog. I’m so glad I’m joining you today. My name is Keira Gillett and I just wrote and published my first book, Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest, the first book in a new Middle Grade/YA trilogy. It released earlier in March 2015. Because the setting of my book takes place in Norway and involves many Norwegian and Scandinavian words and names, so I thought I would provide a pronunciation guide. Here is how some of the names of characters and places are pronounced.

Disclaimer: The breakdown on syllables is not standardized or proper. Instead, I attempted to provide a phonetic breakdown. You will see short words (which are to be read with an American pronunciation) and conversational gap sounds. Vowels left alone should be pronounced like the letter and not as a sound. A few entries also have variations of the pronunciation.

First Names:
  • Zaria: – Zar·e·ah (or Czar·e·ah.)

This name could be pronounced like Mariah (Za·rye·ah) or like Maria (Za·re·ah) or Sarah (Zar·ah.)

  • Christoffer: Cris·toff·fir.

This is a variant of Christopher, Chris·toe·fur.

  • Olaf: O·loff.

He doesn’t like warm hugs.
Ner: OMG! I’m laughing so hard at this! Especially after what I wrote on my review 😀

  • Aleks: Al·ick·s.

Or you can think of it like Alex, but you will want to add a bit of an extra “s” sound at the end.

  • Geirr: Guy-air.

This name can also be pronounced like Guy·ear, Gey·er, Gay·ear, or if you must, Gear.
Ner: I actually read this name as Gear because of Top Gear xD

  • Filip: Fill·eep.

This name is very close to Phillip, which is usually said as Fill·lip.

  • Norwick: Nor·wick.
  • Jorkden: Jork·den.
  • Morvin: Moor·vin.
  • Frida: Free·dah.

Choosing this name was a nod to my grandmother, whom I loved dearly (although my grandma preferred Dr. Pepper to tea and M&;M’s to tea cakes.)

  • Edevart: Edh·vart.

This name is a variant of Edward.

  • Koll: Coal.
  • Helena: Hel·lay·nah.

Another way to say her name is Hel·eh·nah, but it sounds less exotic (to me.)

Last Names:
  • Magnusdotter: Mag·nus·dough·tea
  • Mickelsen: Mick·el·Seine.

It’s like Nickel but with an M and the French river that runs through Paris.

  • Storstrand: Store·strand.
Places:
  • Fredrikstad: Freh·drik·stah.
  • Álfheim: Alf·hame.
  • Jötunheim: Yo·ton·hame.

You’ve seen Thor right?
Ner: Yes, I have (who hasn’t?). But it’s one of those name that come out of mouth like this: ARHSKLJDF (yeah, I can never pronounce this name properly :S)

  • Trolgar: Troll·gar.
  • Gloomwood: Gloom·wood.
Mythology:
  • Ellefolken: Elle·foal·kin or Elle·foal·ken.

Not to be confused with Vulcan, but similar enough.

One of the fun things about producing an audio book was getting to hear someone else say how I heard these names in my head. Michele and I would send links back and forth to various sites where these words and names were pronounced just to make sure we were on the same page. She does an absolutely marvelous job narrating.

Ner: Thank you so much Keira for this guide. I admit there were a few names that in my head sounded completely different 😛

Excerpt:

Geirr stooped to pick up some decent-sized sticks, and Zaria bent to grab a few too. They talked amicably and walked, stretching their legs, until they were too burdened by their loads to keep going.

“My arms are going to collapse,” Zaria huffed. Her breath fogged around her face, covering and then revealing a well-pinked nose and cheeks. “Let’s head back to camp.”

“Sounds good to me,” Geirr said and turned around to do just that. Zaria followed and collided into him, dropping her load of kindling all over the ground.

“Hey!” she exclaimed, as she went to gather them. “Why did you stop?”

“I don’t think we’re going to find camp,” Geirr said, worrying his lip. He juggled his armful of wood and pointed haphazardly forward. “It’s like pea soup.”

Zaria looked up from playing fifty-two pickup and saw what worried Geirr. In front of them was a wall of fog, thick, viscous, and impossible to see through. She gulped and carefully set down the pile she’d been working to gather again. Was it her imagination or did the fog seem to be breathing? It crept closer in stages. Not fast enough that she saw it while looking directly at it, but if she looked away and back, it most definitely moved.

“Uh, Geirr,” Zaria said, slowly gaining her feet. “I think we should move and fast.”

Geirr looked at her puzzled. “I don’t think fast is an option here. Now if you pick up your stack and stick near me maybe we can Marco Polo our way back to the others.”

“Geirr,” Zaria hissed, her voice ratcheting higher. “The fog is moving.” He didn’t look impressed. The breathing sounds from within the fog grew louder, distressing Zaria. “No seriously, it’s moving like it’s alive.”

Geirr looked back again and stared hard, trying to penetrate the fog with his gaze alone. Zaria started to ease away, firewood forgotten.

“Come on, Geirr, we have to move. Can’t you hear the breathing?”

“That isn’t you?” he asked, alarmed.

“No!” Zaria shouted. “Run!”

About:

Keira Gillett (Author):

Keira_Gillett_Author_2Keira Gillett is a technical publications librarian, book blogger, world traveler, artist, and now author.

She graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Drawing and Painting.

From an early age her mother instilled a love of the written word, as such she has always been a big reader.

Her first book, Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest, is about a young girl who must complete a quest to save her friend from a nasty river-troll.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest 

Eoghan Kerrigan (Illustrator):

Eoghan_Kerrigan_Illustrator_1Eoghan Kerrigan is an illustrator from Kildare, Ireland who draws primarily fantasy characters and creatures.

He studied illustration in Ballyfermot College of Further Education and has produced work for various independent projects.

He has two cats and a soft spot for trolls.

Website Twitter | Facebook

Michele Carpenter (Narrator):

Michele_Carpenter_Narrator_2Michele Carpenter is an artist at heart, with a passion for acting.

She and her husband (also a voice actor) often work on projects together and help one another through the journey.

Together, they have three kids. Michele’s children love to hear her read stories and beg her to edit her narrations in the same room with them so they can listen too.

It’s partially for this reason that Michele has come to feel a personal responsibility to only record books that aren’t inappropriate for children or young adults–at their respective age levels and according to the maturity levels of the books they’re able to read.

“We never know how long we have on this earth and I’d rather leave behind a legacy of books that I’m not ashamed to have my friends, family and even future grandchildren, listen to forever.”

Website | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube
Ner

Book Blitz: The Apollo Academy by Kimberly P. Chase {Excerpt & Giveaways}

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Book Blitz = Guest Post+ Giveaways
The Apollo Academy

Author: Kimberly P. Chase
Series: The Apollo Academy #1
Publication Date: 22nd February, 2015
Publisher: Harlequin

Genre: New Adult Science-Fiction
Buy Book: Amazon | Barnes & Nobels | iTunes | Kobo

Synopsis:
Take off with this dynamic, thrill-seeking, sexy New Adult Science Fiction series debut. Welcome to the exclusive Apollo Academy, where Aurora is about to discover that achieving her dream is only the first step towards her future.

As the heiress to Titon Technologies, eighteen-year-old Aurora Titon can have whatever she wants—clothes, expensive gadgets, anything money can buy. But all she really wants is to escape her pampered, paparazzi-infested life for the stars. Becoming the first female pilot to train as an astronaut for the exclusive Apollo Academy is exactly the chance for which she has been waiting.
Flying is everything she ever dreamed, her best friend also got into the Academy, and the paparazzi is banned from campus. Everything would be perfect, but for her unreciprocated crush on a fellow student, the sexy astronaut bent on making her life hell, and the fact that someone keeps trying to kill her.

The most important education doesn’t happen in the classroom.


Early Praise for The Apollo Academy:

“I am obsessed with this book! Suspenseful, sexy, and just a great read!” – Cora Carmack, New York Times Bestselling author of LOSING IT.

“Exquisite worldbuilding, thrilling suspense, and a sexy flight instructor! Chase’s exciting debut novel is one you don’t want to miss.” – K.A.Tucker, Author of Ten Tiny Breaths and One Tiny Lie


Book Trailer:


Excerpt:

Exclusive Excerpt from THE APOLLO ACADEMY:
(Chapter 10. Aurora in flight training with Sky, her domineering (and not to mention hot) flight instructor.)

Whoop, whoop. ‘Thrust warning, loss of main engine one.’ Whoop, whoop.

The shrill warning bell caused the hair on the back of Aurora’s neck to stand on end. She thrust the throttles on the remaining two engines full forward. She knew Sky stood behind her simulation panel, probably smiling as she struggled to recover from the engine failure he’d just caused with the flick of a switch.

He’d been overseeing everyone’s progress and of course decided now to come over, waiting until she was at an extremely critical altitude before creating this failure for her to handle.

Whoop, whoop. ‘Stall imminent.’ Whoop, whoop.

Aurora knew she was approaching the aircraft’s stall speed, but the loss of a single engine made it extremely difficult to control the overly large shuttle. Her yoke shook, another warning that a stall was close.

Aurora had to resist the urge to pull the nose of the aircraft up.

“Aurora, you’re going to stall if you don’t increase your airspeed,” he whispered right next to her ear. She jumped, accidentally pressing her foot down on the rudder pedal. She still felt his breath on her cheek. Sky’s constant hissing in her ear was more distracting than being yelled at.

“Shit!” She didn’t even have a chance to alter the course of events because she was at too low of an altitude to recover from the spin she’d just entered.

‘Terrain, terrain.’ Whoop, whoop. Pull up, pull up.’

She wasn’t going to make it. It was like her last simulation flight all over again.

The screen cracked and blacked out when the shuttle hit the ground, killing everyone on board. This was followed by flashing red lights and a loud siren that alerted her and everyone else around her of the failure.

She slammed her finger down on the automatic warning system. The red warning lights swarmed around her, making her cringe in on herself. She already knew she had messed up; she didn’t need the incessant light show. If Sky hadn’t scared her half to death, she wouldn’t have stomped down on the rudder so hard at such a low speed. Okay, so maybe scared wasn’t the right word, but his breath on her face definitely distracted her.

“Damn it, Sky!” she said taking her frustration out on the one who was really responsible for her crash.

Now sitting down beside her, his large frame towered over her. He whispered in her ear, “Tell me why you crashed.”

He was still too close. “Oh, I don’t know, maybe because you scared me half to death by hissing at me.” She touched her ear. “Who does that? It made me stomp down on the rudder.”

Sky grinned, showing off his dimples. “Are you saying you were distracted by my very presence?” He had the audacity to wiggle his eyebrows suggestively.

Heat ran to Aurora’s face, but instead of backing down like she normally would, she decided to wipe that grin off of his face. She’d had it with everyone treating her differently. It might not have been the best idea, but she flirtatiously leaned toward Sky anyway. His eyes widened in surprise.

Now that he was distracted, she discreetly pulled a piece of gum from her bag on the seat next to her. “Here, maybe next time your breath won’t cause so much trouble.”

His mouth opened in shock, and Aurora took the opportunity to place the gum into his mouth. The instant she did it, she felt horrible. What was wrong with her? That was the most immature thing she’d ever done.

Sky calmly shut his mouth and popped a bubble, but the grin on his face was definitely gone. 

Oh stars, he was going to make her regret that . . .


About the Author – Kimberly P. Chase:

KimKimberly P. Chase holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Aeronautical Science from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, which basically means she’s kind of a geek and loves flying airplanes.

Naturally, her books tend to include aviation, hot flight instructors, aviator glasses, and—let’s not forget—kissing!

When Kimberly’s not writing or reading, she’s hanging out with her husband, five-year-old son, and two dogs in Charleston, SC.

Official Blog | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter


Giveaway Time:

Blitz-wide giveaway (INT):
$50 Amazon Gift Card

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Good luck everyone 😉


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