Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Aerenden Series by Kristin Taber - Virtual Tour and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kristen will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn grand prize winner via the Rafflecopter at the end of this post, and audiobook will be issued to 10 runner-up winners. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
Book One: The Child Returns

Seventeen-year-old Meaghan has no idea her perfect life has been a lie — until she witnesses her parents’ brutal murders at the hands of red-eyed creatures.

After nearly sharing their fate, she escapes with her best friend, Nick, who tells her the creatures are called Mardróch. They come from another world, and so does she. Now that the Mardróch have found her, she must return to her homeland of Ærenden or face death.

Left with little choice, she follows Nick into a strange world both similar to Earth and drastically different. Vines have the ability to attack. Monkeys freeze their victims with a glare. Men create bombs from thin air. Even Meaghan’s newly discovered empath power turns into a danger she cannot control.

But control becomes the least of her worries once the Mardróch begin targeting her. When Nick confesses he knows the reason they want her, she learns the truth behind the kingdom's fifteen-year civil war — a long-buried secret that could cost Meaghan her life.

Enjoy an excerpt:

THE WALLS fell in first. A flash of light and smoke came next. Or could it have been the other way around? It happened so fast, she could not remember. The air smelled funny, like when Papa put out the fire before bed. It filled her mouth and her nose. It stuffed her lungs and clogged her breathing. Then it turned thick and black so she could not see. She coughed. She tried to stand, to run, but her legs sagged beneath her. Tugging on a curtain, she pulled three times before she grew tired of toppling over, and crawled toward her bedroom. She called for her mama, but heard only the sound of distant screams through the smoke. None of them was Mama.

“Mama? Mama?” she cried again, feeling her way along the floor. Her fingers brushed a rug, soft and cool compared to the stone floor. A glowing fire consumed part of the room, heating the stone. It crept toward her. Fires hurt. Papa had told her she should not touch them. Sometimes she thought about trying to see if he was right, but she did not want to try with this one. It seemed angry. Its flames popped and snarled.

The couch began to glow, and then disappeared as the fire swept over it. It folded in half, crashing to the floor with a loud bang. She yelped. Tears stung her eyes and wet her cheeks. Her arms shook. Her legs trembled. She backed away, and found the table that usually stood in the middle of the living room. It must have toppled over too. It lay on its side next to a body that looked like Mama.


Book Two: The Gildonae Alliance

Several months after Meaghan’s return to Ærenden, the kingdom’s war has taken a turn for the worse. The Mardróch army hunts the new King and Queen, destroying villages in its wake. And Meaghan and Nick, training for battle in their remote section of wilderness, are far from safe. Danger hides in shadows and behind innocent faces. Allies become foes. Each day is a fight to survive. But in the end, only one threat matters. And it’s a threat they never see coming.

Enjoy an excerpt:

THE WORLD streaked past, brown bark and evergreen mixed with the dirty sludge of winter. Meaghan leaped over the remains of a fallen spruce, and then dodged around a thorn bush. Her stride never broke. An ice patch appeared in front of her, pressing red and orange leaves into the ground, and she veered left to avoid it. She had almost missed this one, though heightened adrenaline had saved her at the last moment. She could not fall. She could not slow. Her life depended on it.

Wind burned her cheeks and whipped her hair behind her. She ignored it. She also ignored the way her breath seared her lungs. She pushed harder, further than she had before. And she focused, straining her ears and eyes. An attack would come soon. She expected it, though she wished she had Nick’s sensing power to warn her when it neared. Without it, she had to rely on her training alone. She hoped it would be enough.

Up ahead, vines hung motionless across her path. They could be harmless, but she could not take the chance. Without changing her pace, she grabbed a stick from the ground and threw it into the curtain of green stretching in front of her. The vines reacted, snapping and curling around the branch until it crumbled into splinters. She swerved off the path, circled around the creeper vines, and then hurdled when she realized a log blocked her path. An inch shy of clearing it, she caught her foot on a protruding branch.

She hit the ground and rolled before springing back to her feet and pushing forward once more. Her ankle ached where she had broken it months before. Cold weather often brought a familiar pang to her old injury and tripping had increased that ache, but she could not allow it to stop her. She tightened her arms at her sides, increased her speed, and set her eyes on her goal—a white flag. Safety.


Book Three: The Zeiihbu Master

Separated and on opposite sides of the kingdom, Nick and Meaghan face different pursuits which could change the balance of power in Ærenden forever.

While Nick trains the villagers to be soldiers, Meaghan and a small rescue party venture into Zeiihbu to find Faillen's young son, before Garon can use the boy's power to destroy those still fighting against his rule.

Everyone knows Meaghan could be on a suicide mission, but when Nick stumbles upon a secret concealed in one of the southern villages, he realizes that Garon might not be Meaghan's greatest foe. The enemy most likely to kill her is someone who has also promised to keep her safe.

Kristen spent her childhood at the feet of an Irish storytelling grandfather, learning to blend fact with fiction and imagination with reality. She lived within the realm of the tales that captivated her, breathing life into characters and crafting stories even before she could read. Those stories have since turned into over a hundred poems, several short tales, and five manuscripts in both the Young Adult and Adult genres. Currently, Kristen is completing the five-part Ærenden series from her home office in the suburbs of Washington D.C.

Website ~ Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Google+ ~ Pinterest

Buy Links for Book 1

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Buy Links for Book 2

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Hazel Tree by Julia Debski - Virtual Tour and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Bewitching Book Tours. There is a giveaway for two print books (US/Canada only) and 5 ebooks via the Rafflecopter at the end of the post.

The Hazel Tree by Julia Debski
Genre: YA Fantasy Romance
Available at Amazon and BN

Book Description:

The Hazel Tree revisits a classic Cinderella tale of abuse and sought after freedom from the confines of a cruel life.

Ivy Lune is not your ordinary girl for within her blood flows the secrets of an ancient species of werewolf; a secret that also foretells of a great war and a struggle for ultimate supremacy.

Ivy lives a life of isolation torment at the hands of her aunt and cousins for the majority of her life. Mistreated and neglected, she longs to escape the shackles of her prison-like life. And in that longing, she learns the truth of her identity. She learns her place in a long line of events that were set into motion many years ago. She finds intimacy and belonging in a much larger family.

All the while, unknown to her, there are dangerous forces are at work; old blood ties and murderous plots threaten her chance at happiness beyond her current life.

The Hazel Tree is a tale of mystery and romance set against a supernatural backdrop of terrifying and awesome power.

Book Trailer:

Now enjoy an excerpt:


Nestled deep within the dark mountains that neighbor the Black Sea lay an ancient castle in a valley, forever hooded by a swirl of thunderous clouds. It looked as though some god or deity had taken an inkbottle and poured the contents into the dip between the mountains. It cloaked the ground, the water, the stone, and even the air. To each molecule of oxygen clung a droplet of shadow, tinting the air so black no torch could pierce it. The air hung heavy, masking Waelwulf Castle and its residents. Any sign of Mother Nature’s beauty had long escaped this land, all vegetation long gone. In its place resided an evil force, something far more vicious and deadly than any visitor could imagine. It belonged to the family who lived within the impenetrable stonewalls: the royal family of Wulf, the head of the Black Sea Pack, the sole survivor of the Great Wars, the most ancient and powerful pack on planet Earth.

In front of their home was a vast plain, stretching deep into the darkness. Two massive wolves emerged from the shadows simultaneously. Upon catching sight of each other’s glittering eyes in the blackness, their hackles rose and growls erupted from deep within their chests. Circling slowly with teeth bared, each step was calculated, measured, carefully placed. Wolves crossing paths on the barren grounds that surrounded the castle were rare. A direct challenge such as this was always met with death for the offending party. Both wolves had this in mind as they faced each other off.

A howling wind brushed across them then, curling around their paws and tails and the hills of their tense raised shoulders before sweeping into the darkness. With it though the wolves caught each other’s scents and relaxed with recognition. They moved in unison towards the castle.

They reached the scarred metal gates that stood a few dozen paces from the castle’s front door. For centuries all that had stood between the foe in battles and the castle had been these gates, somehow untouchable by the enemy. Warriors believed it was protected by magic.

The wolves shifted into their human forms. "Axel," one said, nodding. His appearance was much like his wolf: black hair, confident brown eyes, square jaw, long legs and a tall frame. Even his gait was like his wolf’s, the slow cadence of a predator.

"Robinson," Axel said in return. He was short with a brush of red hair across his head and jaw, and small, nervous eyes. He didn’t have any of the grace his comrade had, due to his short stature.

After the brief exchange, they took the time to make themselves presentable, straightening the rumples in their clothing. The old gate creaked open, allowing them to pass and approach the castle’s front doors. Robinson stepped forward then and knocked evenly three times.

After a long pause, one of the doors slowly creaked open, revealing a thin young man dressed in plain black clothing with royal red embroidering, leaning heavily on a wooden cane. Recognizing the two men, he quickly hobbled aside. They strode past him without any acknowledgement. It was later, after they had moved out of earshot of the handicapped porter, that Axel said something.

"Learn a lesson from Dane, Robinson. Never ever question your superiors. Look at him, once one of the kingdom’s finest warriors. And now condemned to a life of servitude, and with a damaged leg! He doesn’t even have the option of marrying, poor fellow."

Robinson merely nodded. There was not much too be said, in any case, as he knew more about Dane’s offense than Axel thought or knew himself.

Any chance to continue the conversation was ended as they reached the end of the cold corridor. Axel reached out almost hesitantly, and knocked a specific beat on the plain little door. A peephole was opened, revealing a menacing eye staring down upon the two men.

“I am here to see King Cronan. He is expecting me,” Robinson said confidently, silently challenging the eye to deny him.

“I am also here to see His Majesty,” Axel added, a slight quaver to his voice.

The eye flickered from one spy to the other several times before taking a few slow, long blinks. After a long minute, the eye finally withdrew itself and the peephole slammed shut. Then the door opened to reveal the owner of the eye, a large man, taller than Robinson and thicker than Axel’s height, with an array of battle scars that shone in the light as he grunted at them and led them down a narrow hallway.

It eventually opened into a large, majestic room. The walls were covered in looted swords, shields, heads of enemies, and other treasures; priceless paintings of the kings who had ruled over Waelwulf Castle long ago were hung over the multiple crackling fireplaces. Yet even with the candlelight and the fires burning, the room was still dark, darker than much of the castle Robinson and Axel had traveled through.

The most ornate chandelier hung over a painting of a bearded man standing beside a dark brown wolf, their shoulders touching. In the center of the room was almost an exact replica of the portrait, minus the wolf, who had simply been the same man posing in his other form. In fact, it appeared as if the King had barely aged a day since the portrait was finished over sixty years ago.

"Axel. Robinson. I trust you bring news?" King Cronan asked, sipping wine from a silver goblet.

"Yes, Your Highness. I have returned with information of the Orarius Pack, as you requested," Axel announced puffing his chest out grandly.

"And you, Robinson? What do you return with?"

"I return with good news, Your Highness," Robinson replied with a shadow of a smirk. Cronan chuckled slightly, mildly impressed by Robinson’s word choice. Axel didn't find it amusing.

"Your Highness, the descendant we have been watching—his mate is with child," Axel said, disgruntled.

The King’s expression grew somber once more and he focused a penetrating gaze on Axel. "And do you know the sex of the child?"

Axel hesitated before bowing his head. "I do not, Your Highness. My deepest apologies."

"Your apologies will not tell us the gender of the offspring, Axel, no matter how deep they may be," the King said in a cold, detached voice. Axel swallowed audibly.

Suddenly the King snapped his fingers and a dozen wolves emerged from the shadows of the room. They prowled forward, snarls erupting from them one by one as they closed in on Axel.

"It will be a she-wolf, Your Highness," Robinson said calmly, as if the proceedings around him didn't bother him in the slightest—which, knowing Robinson, actually didn’t. He knew that in light of Axel’s disappointing performance, he would be rewarded for the morsel of information.

King Cronan held up a hand, signaling the wolves to halt and return to their designated spots. "And do we know anything about the garden?" he asked, looking thoroughly pleased at the vague wording of his question.

But Robinson understood perfectly. "The tree has sprouted, but it can barely be distinguished from the weeds," Robinson replied.

"So we will have to wait," said the King, making it sound more like a statement than a question. He locked his eyes onto his spy’s. Robinson did not waver, holding his gaze calmly as the atmosphere in the room grew tense until, finally the King began to chuckle and they both looked away at once.

With a flick of his wrist, King Cronan dismissed the two men. Axel was the fastest to bow and turn his back on the king. Eager to leave the room, he didn’t notice the change of his superior’s expression.

Robinson had been slower, and paused at the subtle shift in the air. “You must be wondering why I told both of you to report to me at the same time.” While the question was directed at both of them, the king’s gaze did not waver from Axel’s back. The ginger man had frozen, eyes closed, still facing the door, though there was no denying the fear that trembled through his body. Cronan continued as if he had not noticed. “You see, I suspected that one of you was, perhaps, a spy. An infiltrator.”

Robinson froze as well, despite his best efforts. No, surely no…

Another snap of Cronan’s fingers and the wolves re-emerged, more aggressive and terrifying than before. Half moved towards Axel, the others towards Robinson. Axel turned to his king. “Your Highness—please—I don’t understand.” The words slipped from his tongue and into the room before he had a chance to stop them.

That was a mistake.

Cronan’s nostrils flared and a hand twitched towards the goblet. “How can I be more clear, Axel?”

“Yes Axel, what has His Majesty said that you find so difficult to understand?” Robinson said, against his better judgment. The king’s eyes snapped to Robinson, growing ever more black but still holding a sparkle of amusement. What boring company he must keep for Robinson’s words to hold such humor.

Axel looked at Robinson, eyes full of betrayal and fear. In return Robinson looked back with remorse.

A second snap of fingers signaled two wolves to grab each of Axel’s arms. The cries echoed around the room as sharp teeth sunk into tender flesh. “You see, I think that you know more than you are revealing to me. If Robinson was able to discover the gender of the child and find the tree, surely you would be able to as well. So why not tell me? Ah, yes. Because you had something to protect. Because your loyalties lie elsewhere—with the Orarius Pack, the Coastal Pack,” Cronan spat at Axel.

“You are mistaken, Y-your Highness.” Axel’s voice hitched as the wolf holding his right arm tightened his grip, sinking his teeth deeper into the muscle. Axel’s knees gave out, and his face paled.

“I am not mistaken, Axel. You are. You pledged allegiance to the wrong pack,” the King deadpanned before drinking the rest of the liquid in his goblet. He smacked his lips a couple of times before returning his gaze to the man on his knees, now quietly sobbing. Robinson discreetly bowed his head, but turned it at a slight angle so he could catch Axel’s eye. Through the tears, the doomed man watched as Robinson mouthed sacred words to him: Father Moon, may you carry my brother’s spirit and his wolf safely to the Sacred Land and may you-

Robinson stopped and turned his head away as droplets of blood splattered across his face and screams pierced the air. The sound of tearing flesh was not unfamiliar, but it still made Robinson feel a deep, inconsolable sadness. He finished the prayer in his head, hoping it caught onto Axel’s spirit in time. Soon the screams stopped and silence fell, except for the quiet drip-drop of blood. Robinson slowly raised one hand and wiped away the red stain on his cheek. It smeared instead.

“Well then, I suppose we will just have to pay them a visit. Go find Prince Naples and tell him to get ready,” Cronan, said, continuing the conversation as if nothing had happened. And indeed, it appeared as if nothing had, the wolves having returned to the shadows while King Cronan and Robinson stood facing one another. The stench of death was easy to ignore if you tried hard enough. The sound of dripping blood, however, still echoed.

“Yes, Your Highness,” Robinson said. He stowed away his remorse and grief for Axel. They had only known each other briefly and compassion was not welcome in the Mara Negra’s court. Turning his head away, Robinson allowed himself a small triumphant smile. Everything was going according to plan.

The king rose from his seat, empty goblet in hand. He approached Axel’s torn and mangled body and lowered the goblet into one of the deeper pools of blood, making sure to fill it as much as he could before he took a sip. So perhaps it had not been wine.

Julia Debski was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1996. Her family moved around a lot during her childhood before finally settling down in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It wasn't until the 8th grade that she found her passion for writing. It was thanks to a particularly inspiring English teacher and a story that needed to be told. So she began to write, and she never stopped.

Four years later she found herself with nearly a dozen started novels and short stories. As junior in high school she was introduced to Greg Wilkey, a self-published independent author of four novels. He soon became a mentor to her as she worked to write and self-publish her own novel. After two years of hard work, and a nearly a year of mentorship The Hazel Tree was published in October 2013.



Twitter: (@juliadebski)




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Thursday, April 24, 2014

What Books Made You Cry?

I have STRONG EMOTIONAL BONDS with my books. There has been many a time where I will be reading and I will throw the book against the wall, or slam it down, or drop it on my face...the run over and pick it up and hug it. Then I'll spend a considerable amount of time talking to friends who are reading along with me while posting and blogging on Facebook and Tumblr all the pain I went through.

However, there weren't too many books that made me cry. Only four, really.

The first? Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. (I am such a TID and TMI fangirl. Ugh.)
THAT ENDING WAS NOT OKAY. NOT. OKAY. I suppose it was meant to come, and the epilogue only added to my damaged feels (it sort of patched them up) but I was bawling like a little girl.

Second? Allegiant by Veronica Roth.
See what I said above? Ditto that. Only it was twenty times WORSE. (I threw that book clear across the room. After reading the last few chapters about eight hundred times to make sure I was seeing correctly.)

Here's how I see the cover: Once choice will break you. "Heart Snapper" by EVIL TROLL who wishes to eat your heart out *cue evil laughter*

Third? The Fault in our Stars by John Green.
Ugh UGH UGH EVIL HEARTBREAKER TROLL AUTHOR STRIKES AGAIN. Not only did he get me so undeniably attached to these people but HE BROKE MY FEELS to the point where I was like..................................for three days. *sobs uncontrollably* NOT OKAY it will NEVER be okay EVER.

Fourth? A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
I don't usually read classics for this exact reason....someone ALWAYS DIES and it DOESN'T PLEASE ME.  Oh wait...that happens anyways. *buys all the classics in the world* READ THEM ALL! Hahaha :D

This time, while I was reading, I was banging the book down on the table chanting "Please don't do what I think you're going to do!" until I got to the end where I burst into tears and ran away from the book. ( I LOVE IT THOUGH :D )

I do usually end up getting really annoyed or a little violent with my books, but few really made me cry. So, if there's an author out there who wrote one of these books reading this right now, good job. You broke me. You broke my feels.  You  broke my heart. You broke EVERYTHING. Permanently. Are you happy now?

Feel free to let me know what books made YOU cry. I might just go out and read them. :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Characters Who either Broke or Stole my Heart.

This week's Top Ten is....Top Ten Characters Who either Broke or Stole my Heart.

For me, book characters are my life. So, I'd like to start off the list with...

10. Sydney Carton from Charles' Dickens A Tale of Two Cites. Let's just say I felt perpetually bad for him and his situation, but I love his manner towards Miss (Or Mrs.) Manette and her family. At the end of the book...though it was fitting for his situation and character, it made me sad and I felt my heart snap in two.

"I am a disappointed drudge, sir. I care for no man on earth, and no man on earth cares for me"
-Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

"‎And yet I have had the weakness, and have still the weakness, to wish you to know with what a sudden mastery you kindled me, heap of ashes that I am, into fire."
—  Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Sydney Carton*

9. Sebastian Verlac from Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series....I have NEVER had someone make me so angry before. *COUGH* spoilers that I can't talk about *COUGH COUGH* It broke my heart learning just how he really was, and I wish he could change back.

"If I cannot move Heaven, then I will raise Hell.”  Clare, City of Lost Souls

"Your boyfriend's dead. I thought you should know."  Clare, City of Heavenly Fire

Art by Cassandra Jean*
8.  Will Herondale from Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices series stole my heart! Sarcastic and witty, he is always making offhand remarks about ducks and demon pox. However, the jokester outside is hiding years of hurt and heartbreak. A dashing British teen, Will might just steal you heart...or break it.
“Astriola. That IS demon pox. You had evidence that demon pox existed and you didn't mention it to me! Et tu, Brute!' Will rolled up the paper and hit Jem over the head with it.”
― Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Prince
“Love potions? For Will Herondale? T’aint my way to turn down payment, but any man who looks like you has got no need of love potions, and that’s a fact.”
― Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Prince
"Nice work in there, Herondale, setting the place on fire." Gabriel observed. " Good thing we were there to clean up after you, or the whole plan would have gone down in flames, along with the shreds of your reputation."
“Are you implying that shreds of my reputation remain intact?" Will demanded with mock horror. "Clearly I have been doing something wrong. Or not something wrong, as the case may be."

He banged on the side of the carriage. "Thomas! We must away at once to the nearest brothel. I seek scandal and low companionship.”
― Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel    
Art by Cassandra Jean*

7. Tris Prior from Veronica Roth's Divergent series is one of the toughest, most admirable characters I have met since Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. She is willing to do whatever it takes to free her society and her people from total control...even if it means someone dies. Her sacrifices, spirit, and fiery, dauntless heart is something every teenage girl should come to know. She broke my heart after making one final choice in Allegiant that would change everything as we knew it.
 "And I'm the kind of person who does not let inconsequential things like boys and near death experiences stop her."
— Veronica Roth (Divergent (Divergent, #1))
Official Movie Still*
6.  Anna from Kendare Blake's Anna Dressed in Blood is certainly someone who makes me smile and cringe all at the same time. Though she is known for ripping people limb from limb, and though she is dead, she can be seen as either a goddess of death or a sweet sixteen year old girl who is just trying to fight a curse put on her decades ago. She broke my heart after making a sacrifice in the sequel to protect everyone else.
“I peek over the back of the couch and there she is, my goddess of death, her hair snaking out in a great black cloud, her teeth grinding hard enough to make living gums bleed.”
― Kendare Blake, Anna Dressed in Blood
“God, living people are irritating.”
― Kendare Blake, Anna Dressed in Blood
5. Peeta Mellark from Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games is the second sweetest, most caring fictional character I've read about. His heart and love for Katniss shows throughout the series, and his selflessness for her and others is something I admire. He breaks my heart because he tries so hard to keep everyone he loves safe and protected, no matter the cost.
“I wish I could freeze this moment, right here, right now and live in it forever.”
― Suzanne Collins, Catching Fire
Official Movie*

4. Edward Cullen from Stephanie Meyer's Twilight makes me want to GAG. (No offense, Twi-hards.) God, is he creepy. I almost have no words besides the fact that he almost scares me, and though he's seen as this hero, I suppose...It breaks my heart to see a character developed like this. Bonus points on just being sketchy.
“I coveted you. I had no right to want you--but I reached out and took you anyway. And now look what's become of you! Trying to seduce a vampire.”
― Stephenie Meyer, Eclipse
Official Movie*
3. James "Jem" Carstairs from Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices is definitely one of my favorite characters I've ever read about...simply because he stole my heart! *swoons* :)
His sweet, caring, forgiving air is so much more to me than anything else. Though he is terminally ill and massively weakened  from demon poisoning, he doesn't make excuses. He fights alongside the rest of his friends the same as anyone else would.
“Will has always been the brighter burning star, the one to catch attention — but Jem is a steady flame, unwavering and honest. He could make you happy.”
― Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Prince
“Jem spoke with enormous care; talking to Will about anything personal was like trying not to startle away a wild animal.”
― Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel
Drawing by Cassandra Jean*
2. Augustus Waters from John Green's The Fault in Our Stars....Wow. Okay. I think Augustus would be my best friend in the entire world. Seriously. I love this kid. He's smart, funny, philosophical, and the best part...he READS *gasp* I would totally go meet him...if he was real, of course. *cue sobbing* He has most definitely stolen my heart.
"Oh, I wouldn't mind, Hazel Grace. It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you."
— John Green The Fault in Our Stars
"Tell me my copy is missing the last twenty pages or something.

Hazel Grace, tell me I have not reached the end of this book.

— John Green, The Fault in Our Stars              
Ansel Elgort as Augustus Waters*
1. Ruth Berger from Eva Ibbotson's The Morning Gift would totally be another best buddy. I find her to be both reasonable and funny in all the right spots, and boys are not her first priority (though she appears to be married). She is yet another heroine I admire as she struggles through the second World War back in the 1940's. She is one of the only characters who both broke my heart in half, then patched it back up by making a better final choice in the end.
"I want to live like music sounds."
— Eva Ibbotson, The Morning Gift
File:The Morning Gift (novel).jpg
*Disclaimer: I own none of these pictures. All rights go to those who created or drew them.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Protostar by Braxton Cosby - Virtual tour and giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly chosen winner will receive a signed copy of PROTOSTAR (US Shipping Only) via the Rafflecopter at the end of the post.

Why YA (or Middle Grade) fiction? What draws you to it?

Young Adult! I love to read a good series that takes you into another world and gives you characters that you can fall in love with. It’s what first got me into writing. My love for young people also drove me. There is so much potential in encouraging and inspiring young people to do great things. The more we are able to poor into one another, the better off the entire planet will be. I also got a lot of my inspiration to write from God. He is the voice in my head that keeps me going. He supplied the base for The Star-Crossed Saga series from its conception and now I have been able to take it forward with the trilogy and the screenplay for movie adaptation. It has become more than just a book, but now it is a franchise.

 Pretend your protagonist is at school and opens his/her locker – what will we see inside?

William will see a picture of Sydney, some bounty hunter hand gun, a comb, and a timer. The timer is the critical piece that you’ll have to read Protostar to find out why.

 What books were your favorite as a youth and why?

I loved those Choose Your Own Adventure books. They were very cool. Although, I must admit that I was the type that skimmed to the end to peek and cheat if the decision was the wrong one.

What’s your favorite sweet treat?

Cheesecake. I bake them from scratch. I am very tough on restaurants that make them. Oftentimes, they cut way too many corners on good cheesecaking.

What candy do you give out at Halloween?

I’m a Snicker’s fan, but I give out M&Ms. Who can pass up chocolate.

What superpower would you love to have? Why?

Make me invisible. Some days I’d go without clothes, just to feel the sun on my skin. Then of course is the nice notion that I can escape from work when I want to.

What book is on your nightstand currently?

I’m reading The Maze Runner right now. It’s a pretty good story and he world building is engaging.

Hunger Games or Twilight? Why?

Easily Hunger Games. I respect what Meyers did, but Collins really laid out an impressive story that focuses on the importance of decision and accountability of young people in the face of despair.

Sum up your book for Twitter: 140 characters or less.

StarCrossed lovers, sci-fi romance you can feel, see, and touch. Protostar is the Readers Favorite YA book of the year.

Playlist for your current book.

Anything Maroon 5, John Mayer, John Legend, or Bruno Mars.

The Star-Crossed Saga
Book 1
Braxton A. Cosby

Genre: Young Adult/Sci-fi Romance

Publisher: Winter Goose Publishing
Date of Publication: April 16th, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-941058-01-5
ASIN: 1941058019

Number of pages:346
Word Count: 99k

Cover Artist: Winter Goose Publishing

Book Description:

On the brink of civil war, the Torrian Alliance continues with its mission to obliterate Star-children across the universe in order to suppress an intergalactic evil. Following the recommendations of his council, King Gregorio Derry reluctantly agrees to send his only son William on a mission to restore honor to his family name.

William seeks to complete his assignment, the elimination of a Star-child named Sydney on planet Earth, but when the assassination is delayed he begins to realize an emotional connection with his target.

With conspiracy threatening his home planet, and a hidden menace on Earth seeking to secure a vested interest, William finds himself torn between irrevocable duty and sacrificing everything he stands for to defend Sydney.

As William and Sydney struggle to overcome their impossible circumstances, they start to wonder if the connection of two Star-Crossed lovers will be enough to save them from certain doom.

Available at Amazon

Now enjoy an excerpt:

Sarah stood atop the mountainside looking out into the sky. The expanse of rich darkness and scattered stars reminded her of home. She desired to return there someday, but knew that she couldn’t. Things had been set in motion. There was no way to turn back now, even if she tried.

Still, something within her body felt wrong.

Is this the right place, right time? she thought.

Maybe the details got skewed, blended together, lost amongst all the immaculate planning. Even they were known to be wrong sometimes. She hoped against all hope that they weren’t. But stars never lie. She gazed into the sky. Their configuration—constellation after constellation, linked like a chain, with the Star of David perched in the center—was picture perfect. This had to be it. All she had to do now . . . was wait.

And wait she did.

Hours passed as the moon slid by. Just as her mind began to fill with doubt, it finally happened. The ground underneath her shifted, rocking her from side to side, up and down, as the stars burned brightly. She braced herself, running down from the mountain the best she could. Her old bony legs wobbled, struggling to keep her upright as she negotiated the uneven layers of rock and grass. A loud crashing noise like the banging of cymbals lit her ears on fire as the sky parted, sending a tiny bright shard screaming across the black canvas, growing larger as it drew near.

Her eyes snapped to the road—the projected point of impact. But one detail had been missed.

Unaccounted for.

Someone else was there.

A vehicle sped down the dusty road, on a straight collision course with the object, which continued to grow larger and larger as time ticked on. Sarah waved her hands as wildly as she could screaming, “Hey, you have to stop!”

But her screams went unnoticed. She gasped as the object crashed to the earth, tearing the car into pieces. She squinted, filtering the heat from the explosion as she moved in closer to examine the wreckage.

A gaping hole where the roof used to be greeted her, revealing the charred remains of the female passenger. She scanned the rest of the vehicle for survivors, finding only the shell of the driver white-knuckled to the steering wheel.

Her heart dropped.

The muffled sound of a baby crying tickled her ears, urging her to examine the object in the passenger seat more closely. It resembled a meteor, covered in craters and black ash that sent her into a coughing panic. A small crack in the outer shell provided just enough space for her to look inside. Reaching out for the door handle, she grabbed it with both hands—wrinkled fingers trembling as she ripped the car door free—tossing it by the wayside. With a sigh of relief, she peeled back the shell. Black smoke stung her eyes as her hands burned from the heat. But Sarah ignored them both, pressing forward with her mission. Nothing would stop her now. With wet eyes she smiled, finally finding what she was so desperately looking for—a baby girl.

About the Author:

Braxton A. Cosby is a dreamer with a passion for inspiring others to love, in spite of circumstance and convenience.

His calling to pen a young-adult series that is smart, witty, and thought provoking, has challenged readers to answer the question: What would you choose, love or irrevocable duty?

Braxton lives in Atlanta, GA, where he co-hosts a local radio show on WAOK which is a mash-up of current events and health and wellness. He also has a blog where he discusses everything from health and entertainment to spirituality and relationships.






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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Bookish Things

This week's top ten is...Top Ten Bookish Things (That Aren't Books) That I'd Like To Own (new bookshelves, bookends, cool bookmark, a bookish shirt, etc.

So, of course, I'd like to start with number ten...

10. I would really love to get bookshelves built into the walls of my room, so I don't have these huge, towering things hogging up so much space in my personal areas.

9. I think some really neat looking bookends always add a little touch of personality to your shelves, SO I would get these next.

8. BOOKMARKS! I read so many books, these would be, I notice many that are different and unique from your original piece of paper.

7. Any kind of merchandise related to my books. I'm particular to clothing and decorations that I am likely to use again and again, like coffee mugs or phone cases.


6. Giftcards to bookstores...getting one of these is like Christmas morning for me.

5. A unique bag to carry all those books in! Not only would it be more convenient for me to haul the non-ebooks in, but it adds style and flare to my personality.

4. Accessories for my e-reader...I mean, look at all the neat covers and things they have in stock for me to buy!

3. I desperately want a bedspread with my books printed on it...though they do make comforters with book covers on them, I was unable to convince the "higher authority" to let me have one.

2. The movie...occasionally. I do have to admit they tend to butcher books when they make them into movies, so I usually don't like to watch them, but even so it's still neat to see your characters brought to life, in the right way, of course.

1. A book nook! I always wanted a small area that I could hide away in and read by myself...I'd love to have some windows involves in it, as well. :D

Friday, April 11, 2014

The House of Chalice by T.T. Escurel - Book Blast and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly chosen commenter will receive a $20 Amazon gift card, an autographed copy of AURONIA, and an autographed copy of THE HOUSE OF CHALICE. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Vartan is lost. His fiancé has just run off with his mortal enemy and now his mother, the Queen of the House of Rose, has disappeared. Venturing into a land with no magic, no army and no fiancé, will he be able to survive?

Lia is in trouble. Clashpeak has a new king who requires a bride, one who has eyes for the young baker’s daughter. During a violent coup, Lia seizes her chance to escape. With every soldier in the kingdom looking for her, nowhere is safe.

An ancient curse lingers in the air, still working its magic. Madness has seized the blood of the royals of the House of Chalice. A battle for power, the likes of nothing Auronia has ever seen, is about to begin…

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Ever since I was a boy, my father would tell me such stories about his adventures. He’d describe this epic battle and detail how he defeated the Raven Queen to save my mother. He’d talk of making pacts with the wood imps and the tree lords. He’d talk of the ancients and how magic was an important part of the land. But,” he says, looking at his reflection in the shining metal, “he never talked to me about what it is like to lose someone.”

Vartan pauses to glance down at the crown of my head, all that he can see of me in the tiny, dark space. I give him no sign that I am listening, yet he continues.

“That’s the one thing we can’t escape, magic or no magic: Loss. Death is one thing. Death I can handle. My life is my own and hopefully my death will be glorious, but still, it will be my death. Loss… Loss ripples out, bashing against the people you love like waves crashing on rocks. It wears them down, turning them to dust and carries them away into a vast sea of nothingness.”

Another pause. He holds his blade to the light. “I saw what losing my mother did to my father. I chased her here, not just to find her for myself, though I desperately wish to know she is alive and safe. It’s my father, you see... I’ve seen your sorrow before. He wears it, curling up in it like a cloak in the dead of winter, but instead of keeping him warm, it only freezes his heart. I can see him becoming bitter and cruel. Without her, we will fall apart. I can’t let that happen. I love my kingdom too much. I love my mother too much. And, above all, I love my father too much to watch him do it.”

He sheathes his sword and grabs me in his arms.

“I know that you want to give up. It is painfully hard to carry on. I may have had an entire kingdom relying on me, but I felt alone in my loss. The thing is…” he pauses, furrowing his brow as he searches for the right words. “…I think the hardest thing to do is to continue on. To die for them would be too easy. Living for them… continuing on… that is the hardest thing of all.”

“So why should I?” I snap, turning away. I can’t bear to look at him. His words hurt me more deeply than my own pain. “Why not let Baston take me? Why not fling myself from the tower window?”

“Because,” Vartan says, resting his hands on my shoulders, “that isn’t the kind of life your parents wanted for you.”

“What do you know about what my parents wanted?” I growl.

Silence. I feel a twinge of guilt, but I can’t get past my own selfish need to lash out at him.

“I don’t,” he says finally. “But… I know it isn’t what I want for you.”

I lift my head and our eyes meet. His words are there, trapped behind those green eyes.

About the Author:
Science Fiction/Fantasy writer in Southern California where the sun shines, the waves roll in and the roads become a backdrop for an apocalypse movie every time the word "precipitation" is mentioned.

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?

I grew up on a sailboat. That did something odd to my imagination, I think. There is a certain type of surreal serenity that comes with living aboard a boat. That undercurrent seems to run through all my books, even though most of my characters have far more conventional backgrounds. Growing up on a boat helped teach me a stable world evolves not from your environment as much as from your perspective. My books are full of strange worlds and even stranger people, but all my main characters seem to have that grip on reality despite being dropped in the heart of chaos.

Barnes and Noble:

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dragon's Fool by Aldred Chase - Virtual Tour and Giveaway

Aldred Chase is visiting with us today as part of his virtual book tour for hisYA book, Dragon's Fool.

Aldred will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Click the tour banner for dates.

Why Middle Grade fiction? What draws you to it?

The stories can be inventive, humorous and playful, while at the same time they can tackle big, important issues. Children at middle grade age are full of potential, and it’s exciting to write stories about characters that are discovering who they are in the world.

What books were your favorite as a youth and why?

My favorite books were Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit and ‘The Lord of the Rings’. The feeling of having such a richly imagined new world open up inside my head was exhilarating. I loved all of Roald Dahl’s children’s books, especially ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’. My favorite series was the ‘Just William’ books by Richmal Crompton. I liked the way that William, with the best intentions in the world, always managed to get himself into trouble, and I think a little of that has rubbed off onto my hero Keth.

What did you want to be when you grew up? Why?

I wanted to be a writer because I loved reading and I thought it would be an amazing buzz to be one of the people who created these stories. When I grew up I did become a writer but I wrote computer programs. It was satisfying work and financially more secure. However my young self had it right, writing stories is a huge buzz and I feel extremely lucky to be living my childhood dream.

Ideal summer vacation?

I like to visit foreign countries and my favorite form of travel is any long distance train journey. I get two bites at the cherry when I travel because I enjoy the planning almost as much fun as the actual trip. I like to read on my journeys and I love my Kindle as it saves me dislocating my shoulders lifting heavy, book-filled bags.

What’s your favorite sweet treat?

I have a terribly sweet tooth. I eat choc-chip cookies as if I’m inhaling them. If I had to pick a favorite it would be apple crumble with ice-cream or chocolate fudge cake with caramel sauce or baked cheesecake with blackcurrant topping. I’ll have to stop now as I’m drooling all over my keyboard.

Favorite TV show from your childhood?

My favorite TV show was the original Doctor Who and my favorite Doctor was Tom Baker. I’m also a big fan of the rebooted version and I can’t wait to see where the show will go with the new Doctor.

What four literary characters would you most like to have over for dinner?

Ratty from Wind in the Willows because he is such relaxed company and we could go boating on the river after dinner was finished.

Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings because he has a sly sense of humor and he would have lots of wonderful stories.

Nanny Ogg from the Disc World because she knows how to make any dinner party a roaring success, but please don’t ring me the morning after.

Willy Wonka because he is bringing the dessert. Did I mention earlier that I have a terribly sweet tooth?

Keth has become the most powerful person in the city of Russett. He is both Prince Dawyn's fool and his most trusted adviser. The secret of Keth's success is listening to the tart, sour comments that the turnip on the end of his fool's stick pours into his mind, which no one else can hear.

When an earthquake strikes Russett, it is only the first in a series of disasters to devastate the city. Superstitious folk say that these are signs that a dragon is coming and only the golden prince of legend can save them. Keth's turnip tells him that these are only natural events and dragons don't exist, but he can use peoples' fears to his own advantage.

In the ruined city, Keth has to decide who he will trust and what he will believe. The fate of his friends and the survival of the land depend on the choices he makes.

Dragon's Fool is book four in the Nobody's Fool Quartet, the gripping climax to a tale of comedy and adventure.7:56 PM 1/14/2014

The roar of the water was now deafening. It had wiped out all the other sounds. Urchin and Grub had got hold of Wilbert’s arms and Smiley and Bead were clinging to them to stop them toppling over, but Wilbert was too heavy for them to drag up. Wilbert’s foot pushed down against my shoulder but he didn’t have the strength to boost himself up. My last view before the water engulfed me was going to be of Wilbert’s bum.

I had an idea. I raised my turnip stick. I wedged the turnip head against Wilbert’s backside. I shoved hard. Wilbert shot up. The others hauled him on to the roof tiles. I climbed up after him.

“I hate you,” Turnip said inside my head. “I’m glad you’re going to drown.”

I scrambled onto the corner of the roof. Urchin, Grub and Smiley were crawling up to the ridge of the roof. Wilbert was lying, gasping like a stranded fish and clutching his bum. Bead was kneeling over him, checking he was okay.

From up here, I had a much better view of the wave than I wanted. A great wall of water swept towards us with terrible purpose. It ripped up the wooden pier beyond the stone quay and tossed the timbers high in the air. It blasted over the top of the city wall and collapsed the buildings on the other side as though they were made of paper.

About the Author

Aldred Chase’s first experience of fantasy fiction was reading ‘The Hobbit’ at school, and he has been hooked on the genre ever since. His favorite places for writing are cafes and park benches, but he does most of his work sitting at his desk. His best ideas come to him when he is travelling by train or walking by the sea.

Aldred has just released Dragon’s Fool, the final installment of the Nobody’s Fool Quartet, a tale of adventure and comedy with some scary bits, aimed at children age 9 to 12. He vacated his desk to give his brain and keyboard a rest, but during a recent train ride the idea for his next novel arrived, and the desk is calling him back.


Aldred’s website:
Aldred on Facebook:

Dragon’s Fool can be purchased at:

For readers who would like to begin the series from the beginning, Apprentice Fool, book one of the Nobody’s Fool Quartet, is available free at Amazon in the USA, Canada, and UK, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo and Barnes and Noble. I’ve included the links below:

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Understudy by Cheyanne Young - Virtual Tour and Giveaway

LRS is visiting with us today as part of her virtual book tour for her YA book, Understudy.

The author will be awarding a $20 Amazon GC and five ebook copies of Understudy during her tour. Enter below using the rafflecoter at the end of this post.

Why YA (or Middle Grade) fiction? What draws you to it?

I started writing YA books because I was in the YA age group at the time and that was all I read. Now that I’m almost 30 (ahhhh!!!) I’m still passionate about young adult books because I feel that being young is the most important part of your life. Being a teenager is about experiencing the “firsts” in life, and that’s what I like writing about. Plus, I’m still a teenager at heart and I’m not sure if I’ll ever actually grow up.

What books were your favorite as a youth and why?

I read every single Babysitter’s Club book (My teacher had over 100) when I was in 5th grade and then quickly moved on to RL Stine’s Fear Street series. I loved reading about characters I knew and going on exciting adventures.

What candy do you give out at Halloween?

I recently started giving out glow stick bracelets and I quickly became the cool house in the neighborhood. Kids get a ton of candy anyway and the glow sticks make for a spooky scenery when everyone is walking glowing at night. The best part about Halloween is hitting up the store the day after and then consuming ridiculous amounts of discount chocolate.

What reality show would you love to be on? Why?

I would want to have my own reality show. Something about the crazy and sometimes boring life of a writer. The main reason I’d want this is because I feel like having a camera in your face would be great motivation to quit watching TV and get back to writing my books.

Sum up your book for Twitter: 140 characters or less.

Directing a play with a hot guy can’t possibly go wrong. Or can it?

Favorite hot beverage. Why?

I am in love with coffee. I think my obsession came from being a child who spent the summers with my grandmother. She had a 2pm coffee and cookies break every day and although my coffee was mostly milk, it was tradition and a tradition I still keep to this day.

You’ve just won a million dollars and you’re not allowed to save any of it. What do you spend it on?

I’d pay off my mortgage, my parent’s mortgage and my best friend’s student loans. Then I’d take my family on an epic vacation that only ended when the last penny was spent.

The high school play is in two months and senior Wren Barlow just became director. Wren still isn't over the fact that she got stiffed as a stagehand instead of the lead role that she totally deserved. Now she is in charge of rehearsals, costumes, navigating around cast member hookups and managing the real life drama at home.

The principal counts on her to succeed because tickets have been sold and the money has been spent. But when he drops a gorgeous bad boy on her and wants him to help the play for extra credit, she falls hard for someone she knows she can't date.

With everything spinning out of control, the mysterious and secretive detention king named Derek has a few tricks up his sleeve and wants to help—too bad Wren is scared to give him a chance to prove himself.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cheyanne is a native Texan with a fear of cold weather and a coffee addiction that probably needs an intervention. She loves books, sarcasm, nail polish and paid holidays. She lives near the beach with her family, one spoiled rotten puppy and a cat who is most likely plotting to take over the world.

She also writes under the pen name Amy Sparling.

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