Friday, 28 February 2014

Blog Tour, Character Interview & Review - Banished!


Title: Banished
Author: Liz de Jager
Series: The Blackhart Legacy (book 1)
Release Date: 27 Feb 2014
ISBN-13: 978-1447247654

 Sworn to protect, honour and slay. Because chaos won’t banish itself…

Kit is proud to be a Blackhart, now she’s encountered her unorthodox cousins and their strange lives. And her home-schooling now includes spells, fighting enemy fae and using ancient weapons. But it’s not until she rescues a rather handsome fae prince, fighting for his life on the edge of Blackhart Manor, that her training really kicks in. With her family away on various missions, Kit must protect Prince Thorn, rely on new friends and use her own unfamiliar magic to stay ahead of Thorn’s enemies. As things go from bad to apocalyptic, fae battle fae in a war that threatens to spill into the human world. Then Kit pits herself against the Elder Gods themselves – it’s that or lose everyone she’s learnt to love.
  


Character Interview -
ACT 1

FADE IN:

EXT: GREENWICH - AN ABANDONED WAREHOUSE - NIGHT

Two cars pull up. One is a red Mini Cooper. The other is a black SUV with tinted windows. The

doors open and close in unison. Two people get out. From the Mini Cooper, a pretty tall brunette,

dressed in dark grey form fitting combat trousers and black ankle boots. The black polo-neck she’s

wearing is partly covered by a military stab vest. She carries a sheathed sword in one hand. This is

KIT BLACKHART. She looks over at the youth who got out of the SUV and gives him a slow nod

of acknowledgement.

The youth - AIDEN GARRETT - returns the nod with one of his own and moves towards her.

Although Kit is tall (at least 6ft in her socks) Aiden is taller still with broad shoulders and a lean

physique. He’s dressed in dark jeans, boots and a v-neck Henley. Unlike Kit he carries no weapons.

You got the call too?

AIDEN

I did. Not happy about this though, you know? I was heading into town to hang out with Leo. We

had plans. Clubbing, kissing girls. And now this.

(annoyed)

Sorry to cramp your social life. Let’s go see what she wants.

AIDEN

Ladies first.

(scowling at him as she unsheathes her sword)

Watch your six.

AIDEN

Are you ever not armed to the teeth? And convinced people are out to get you?

They walk towards the half-open doors of the warehouse. The whole area looks unsafe and

unsavory. A place where bad things happen. The shadows are thick near the door and both Kit

and Aiden go into tactical mode as they crouch low before entering the warehouse. They clear the

corners but there’s not sign of anyone.

AIDEN

Did you bring a gun?

I didn’t think I’d need it. You know, she said she just wanted to talk.

AIDEN

(mutters darkly)

Good, because you suck at shooting. I still have the scar where you hit me the last time.

Shut up. You weren’t even supposed to be there. It’s not my fault you’re allergic to silver, wolf

boy. Can you smell anything?

Aiden moves away from Kit, further into the dark and echoey warehouse, his head raised, drawing

the air into his lungs.

AIDEN

No, but someone’s been here. Check that out.

Kit walks up to him and follows the line of his arm as he points. She still couldn’t quite make it

out. Annoyance crosses her features as she closes her eyes. There’s a faint HUM and we suddenly

see the world from Kit’s perspective. The darkness in the warehouse has taken on a green sheen,

very much like you’d see through night vision goggles.

A table with a TV and camera has been set up, along with two chairs and a single light, like on a

photo shoot.

What the hell is this about?

AIDEN

I have no idea, let’s go check it out.

Keeping an eye on the shadows around them, they move swiftly to the table. There’s a NOTE on

the table, written in a neat hand.

She’s kidding, right?

AIDEN

No, she’s serious! (sighs)

Writers, they’re all off their heads on power or something. Lording it about. (mimics) If you don’t

toe the line I will kill you or torture you in my next book.

They look annoyed but eventually they get the camera working and linked to the TV screen. They

settle down on the chairs, shifting about uncomfortably.

AIDEN

She could’ve left a heater or something in here. I’m freezing.

God, you must be the whiniest werewolf I’ve ever come across. She didn’t say how long the

interview was supposed to be, did she? How about five questions each? That should cover it.

They high five to that before settling down and fiddling with the camera so that the red light shows

that it’s recording. They can see themselves on the TV screen. Kit reaches up to tidy her hair but

then shrugs and lets her hand drop. Instead she fiddles with her sword until Aiden nudges her.

AIDEN

You go first. You’re the star of the show.

Uh, hi. My name is Kit Blackhart and I’m the main character in Banished and this is just really

awkward and weird and I basically hate Liz right now. But uh, well, we got to do what she says.

So with me today is Aiden. He’s a secondary character in Banished. And he’s a friend. (she

narrows her eyes at him) Unless he annoys me then I may have to shoot him full of bullets or

something.

(continued)

So, as I’m the one starting this, my question to Aiden is about your werewolf shape: why do you

change into a wolf and not some half man-beast like in Wolfman?

AIDEN

Smooth, Blackhart, really smooth. Hi guys, nice to meet you. The reason I don’t look like a

Hollywood freak, is well, I’m a purebred werewolf. My shape is either human or wolf. It’s usually

the guys who get bit who turn into these rabid half-human beasties you hear about in the news. Oh,

hold on a second. (he leans closer to Kit to hear what she’s whispering) Oh right, those things you

hear about in the news? Not really real. Sorry.

AIDEN

(continued)

My turn to ask a question now, to Kit. Uhm, Kit. (laughs) Sorry, everything I can think about is

really inappropriate. Okay, how about this: out of all your cousins and uncles and aunts, who’s your

favourite and why?

Crap question, wolf boy. Thanks for that. (thinks a bit) I think I will have to say my Uncle Jamie. I

mean, he’s the one who came to find me in hospital after my Nan died. He’s the one who told me

who I was. What the Blackharts did. He’s also the guy who’s been training me and my cousins. So

yeah, right now? Uncle Jamie is my favourite.

AIDEN

Are those tears, Blackhart?

Is this my fist in your face?

AIDEN

Is that my question? Then yes, it is your fist in my face. Put it away, Kit. Here’s a handkerchief.

You cry ugly; no one wants to see that.

Kit turns away from the screen after accepting the handkerchief to wipe her eyes before turning

Stupid allergies, sorry about that. (crappy smile) Okay, Aiden, I must know: if my cousin Megan

ever said yes to a date with you, where would you take her and what would you do? I mean,

basically I want to know what your idea of a romantic date would be?

AIDEN

(he looks terrified)

Megan? Why are you even asking this? Do you think she’d go out with me if I asked her? Did she

say she liked me like that? Kit? Stop laughing. Ow, that hurts. Okay. Fine. I’d take her for dinner

at one of the really swanky places in Mayfair. Then I’d take her dancing at Milton’s. Then, when

she got bored of dancing, I’d take her to St Paul’s and we can sit on the roof and watch the sun rise.

Then, because I know you Blackharts have a thing about eating, I’d take her to Brick Lane and feed

her fresh bagels. Then I’ll get a taxi and we’ll head back to your place. Where I will leave her with

a chaste kiss on the cheek and then I will go home to my place.

AIDEN

What do you think of that? I’m a classy guy.

You’ve got it bad. (laughs) Okay, what’s your next question?

AIDEN

But seriously, feel free to tell Megan I’d like to take her out. Any time she’s in the mood, you

know? Man, she does things to my head. (sighs) Okay. Next question: if you never found out

about being a Blackhart and if your magic never manifested, what would you do with your life?

I’d be a set designer, working in movies or TV. Or a costume designer. Something creative like

that. How about you? What if you were Aiden Garrett bad ass werewolf, what would you be? What

would you do with your life?

AIDEN

I don’t know. I’ve not actually ever thought about it. I suppose it would be weird being just a

normal guy. With no pack to relate to. Maybe I’d be a doctor? I think I’d like to work with kids.

You know? Look after the kids who really have no one else to look after them.

You’re just a big old softie, aren’t you? Ouch! Okay, stop, I won’t laugh at you anymore. Sorry.

Your turn now. I’ve lost count how many we’ve done now. How about two more?

AIDEN

Each? Or me one and then you one?

Me one then you one. If Liz isn’t happy with this then she can just you know forget about screwing

with my life some more cos I’m done. Done. (determined stare to camera)

AIDEN

That’s fighting talk, crazy girl. Okay. My turn.

He narrows his eyes at her thoughtfully.

AIDEN

What is the thing you miss most about your normal life? Your life pre-Blackhart?

Seriously? Do you enjoy being an idiot? (heavy sigh) Okay, so...I really miss being honest with my

best friend, Karina. She lives in Germany. We had all these great plans to travel after school, doing

a gap year. Travel in Europe and then go on to America, you know? Now, that’s not possible. I’ve

not ever been able to tell her about what I do really. Can you imagine the postcard: Dear Karina,

just hung out in Prague for the weekend. Fought a gargoyle and went to dinner with a werewolf.

Wish you were here. All my love, Kit xo xo

AIDEN

(after a few seconds) So, on a scale of one to ten, how hot is Karina?

Oh my god, Aiden, seriously? Are you even for real?

AIDEN

What? Enquiring minds need to know, Kit. Come on. Is Karina hot?

Her brother is super hot. I’ve been half in love with him all my life it seems like. (stupid grin on

her face before she remembers herself and sits upright in her chair) Okay, forget about Karina for

now. Last question, then we’re outta here. My turn.

AIDEN

I can’t wait.

If you could change anything that happens in Banished, what would it be?

AIDEN

(huffs out a breath)

Wow. That’s not a loaded question at all. I think I’d change the whole thing with Scarlet. That

was really unpleasant and made me feel powerless and useless.

I know. Our lives are messed up.

AIDEN

Look, wanna get out of here? Leo’s waiting at Milton’s. We can party till dawn?

Sounds like a plan. Kyle’s not expecting me back at the house. Uncle Andrew’s calling from

New York in the morning though. Apparently there’s a rumour of faerie drugs doing the rounds in

nightclub. No doubt he expects me to investigate it.

AIDEN

Oh great. Faerie drugpushers. That’s all the human world needs.

END OF ACT 1

Thanks so much for letting me hang out! This little Q&A takes place between Banished and the

second book Vowed out in November this year, if all goes well. Hopefully it’s given you an idea as

to who the characters are and the way I set the scene is fun and aimed to be read as if it’s a movie.

Oh my goodness that was awesome - thanks Liz (and of course thanks to Kit and Aiden!)

My Review

I got sent a copy of this from the publisher (THANK YOU!). I had  heard of Liz online from her blog and I believe met her at an author event in London once, so was excited to see a name I knew on a book. The blurb sounded awesome too, really my sort of read. I couldn't wait to get stuck in.
Meet Kit Blackhart, tough girl and monster killer. Until recently Kit was what you could call 'normal' she had no idea about her family past or her magic powers, but when her nan is killed in a house fire her Uncle Jamie comes for her and explains it all. With lots of training and sleepless nights she is now part of their team to track down dark fae and other creatures. This book really has all you could want - fae, trolls, dragons, magic, goblins, etc. An awesome blend of magic and myth brought to reality.
Then we are introduced to Thorn, a Fae Prince who is on the run and ends up being attacked outside Kit's house. She rushes to his rescue not knowing who he is, the pair then end up travelling together to stop a Fae war that could end all wars!
I loved Kit, she is uncertain at times and totally not perfect, she can be indecisive, makes some silly decisions and gets in no end of trouble, but she is also brave, loyal, feisty and a real tough girl, she won't give up no matter what. She is really relate-able and I felt myself routing for her almost right from the start.
Thorn is a bit more of a mystery, he seems to hide parts of his personality, he's a bit more guarded but this means that you get to know him gradually throughout the book and in a way I liked him more for it. He remained a bit elusive which intrigued me and I wanted to get to know him better.
The whole host of characters are well represented and enough is given about the side characters to keep you interested in them and wondering what is happening with them. 
This book is exciting and will keep you on the edge of your seat, with excellent settings and descriptions you will picture yourself running right alongside Kit and Thorn, totally immersed in the world. Trust me, you won't be able to put it down. A perfect mix of adventure, magic, fighting and romance presented for your enjoyment!
I am so excited for book 2 which comes out in November - a whole 9 months away!

My Rating
 
  

Book Review - Goodnight Mister Tom

Title: Goodnight Mister Tom
Author: Michelle Magorian
Publisher: Puffin
Release Date:12 Sep 2003
ISBN-13: 978-0140315417

Synopsis
The gruff and surly Mr Thomas Oakley is less than pleased when he is landed with a scrawny little city boy as a guest, but because it is compulsory that each villager takes in an evacuee he reluctantly agrees. It soon becomes obvious to Mister Tom that young Willie Beech is hiding something, and as the pair begin to form an unlikely bond and Willie grows in stature and in confidence he begins to forget the past. But when he has to return to war-torn London to face his mother again he retreats into his shy and awkward ways once more.

My Review
This book was recommended to me by my boyfriend who said I would enjoy it. I never really went for books with war stories in them as I found them quite depressing but over the last few years my tastes have changed a bit, and as he assured me it was a good story I decided to give it a go and I am glad I did. I found myself really enjoying this book and that I couldn't put it down. I wanted to know more about young Willie Beech and the mysterious Mister Tom. 
Willie is sent to the country as an evacuee, all the residents have to take in a child and he is placed with Mr Tom Oakley, a bit of a recluse. No one seems to know much about him as he mostly keeps to himself. But Willie helps to draw Mr Tom out of his shell and Mr Tom works wonders with Willie too. Willie has been badly treated by his mum and is a very shy, quiet and frightened little boy when he arrives at Tom's house, but he soon breaks out of his shell and under his care the pair grow and develop. 
I really liked the growing relationship between Will and Tom, the understanding and care between them, and the way they both start to see value in themselves through each other. Will's new friends are great too and really bring the story to life, Zach is a laugh, Carrie had me routing for her all the way through. 
The book does deal with some very difficult issues - obviously war which then brings the view of death, grief and danger, then there is also the child abuse Willie suffers from his mum, this book can be quite dark in places and would maybe not be suitable for children under thirteen (despite the fact the main character is 9, but it actually works quite well), as certain parts may upset a younger/more fragile reader.
The setting is very well portrayed and I could completely visualise Little Wierwold and it's surrounding area. The characters really come to life and the storyline will have you hooked. 
I am glad I read it and am looking to watch the film too which I have heard fabulous things about. Overall it is a very sweet and heart-warming story.

My Rating
     

Monday, 24 February 2014

Book Promo - Fairy, Texas


Blurb:

Fairy, Texas. A small town like any other.

Laney Harris didn't want to live there. When her mother remarried and moved them to a town

where a date meant hanging out at the Sonic, Laney figured that "boring" would have a whole

new meaning. A new stepsister who despised her and a high school where she was the only topic

of gossip were bad enough. But when she met the school counselor (and his terminal bad breath),

she grew suspicious. Especially since he had wings that only she could see. And then there were

Josh and Mason, two gorgeous glimmering-eyed classmates whose interest in her might not be

for the reasons she hoped. Not to mention that dead guy she nearly tripped over in gym class.

She was right. Boring took on an entirely new dimension in Fairy, Texas.


Buy Fairy, Texas

Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/Fairy-Texas-Margo-Bond-Collins-ebook/dp/B00I7BTMJ4/


About the Author:

Margo Bond Collins is the author of a number of novels, including Waking Up Dead, Fairy,

Texas, and Legally Undead (forthcoming in 2014). She lives in Texas with her husband, their

daughter, and several spoiled pets. She teaches college-level English courses online, though

writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of

any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies,

werewolves, and other monsters.

Connect with Margo

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/margobondcollins

Email: MargoBondCollins@gmail.com

Website: http://www.MargoBondCollins.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MargoBondCollin @MargoBondCollin

Google+: https://plus.google.com/116484555448104519902

Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/vampirarchy

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/MargoBondCollins

Facebook Novel Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Waking-Up-Dead/502076076537575

Tumblr: http://vampirarchybooks.tumblr.com/

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/mbondcollins/

Manic Readers: http://www.manicreaders.com/MargoBondCollins/

Be sure to add Fairy, Texas to your Goodreads bookshelves: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19502285-fairy-texas

Excerpt:

Fairy High could have fit into one wing of my old school. The three-story, red brick

building looked like it had been around for at least a century—it actually had carvings over two

of the doorways that read “Men’s Entrance” and “Women’s Entrance.” I was glad to see that

none of the kids paid any attention to those instructions.

“Counselor’s office,” I muttered to myself. At least I wasn’t starting in the middle of a

term—though given the fact that there were fewer than 500 students in the entire high school, I

didn’t think I was going to be able to go unnoticed, even in the general bustle of the first day

back from summer vacation.

I walked through the door marked “Men’s Entrance,” just be contrary, and faced a long

hallway lined with heavy wooden doors. The spaces in between the doors were filled with

lockers and marble staircases with ornate hand-rails flanked each end of the long hallway.

Students poured in behind me, calling out greetings to each other and jostling me off to the side

while I tried to get my bearings. None of the doors obviously led to a main office; I was going to

have to walk the entire length of the hallway. And people were already starting to stare and

whisper.

God. I hated being the new kid.

I took a deep breath and stepped forward. I made it halfway down the hall without seeing

anything informative—all the doors had numbers over them and many of them had name

plaques, but neither of those things did me any good since I didn’t know the name or office

number for the counselor. I was almost getting desperate enough to ask Kayla, but of course she

was nowhere to be seen.

I turned back from scanning the halls for her and caught sight of the first adult I’d seen—

and almost screamed. As it was, I gasped loudly enough for a guy walking past me to do a

double take. The man standing in the open doorway was tall, over six feet, and way skinny—so

emaciated that it looked like you ought to be able to see his ribs through his shirt, if his shirt

didn’t hang so loosely on him. He had white hair that stuck out in tufts, thin lips, a sharp nose,

and pale blue eyes that narrowed as he watched the kids walk past—and all the kids gave him a

wide berth without even seeming to notice that they did so. He stood in an empty circle while

students streamed around him in the crowded hallway.

But none of that was what made me almost scream.

For a moment, just as I’d turned toward him, I could have sworn that I’d seen the shadow

of two huge, black, leathery wings stretched out behind him.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Book Review - Origin of the Sphinx

Title: Origin of the Sphinx
Author: Raye Wagner
Series: Sphinx (book 1)
Publisher: Studio Opolis LLC; 1 edition
Release Date: 6 Jun 2013
ASIN: B00D9627O4

Synopsis
In Ancient Greece, the invocation "May the Gods watch over you" was more than a spoken blessing. It was an entreaty for divine benevolence.
When Damon sees a beautiful woman alone, far from civilization, he can’t help but be drawn to her. But his life–as it should have been– is altered and twisted by the immortal touch of deity.
Damon’s daughter, Phoibe, is raised to be wary and distrustful of the gods.
And so she must choose–
If Phoibe marries a mortal, she risks eternal solitude for a moment of love.
If she follows her heart, she risks spurning a god.
The gods are powerful, and their knowledge is vast.
But the gods…
The gods are far from perfect. 


My Review
I was sent an e-copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. 
I have to be honest, I have had this for quite a while and pretty much forgot about it, but looking for a quick read tonight I loaded this up, at approx 70 pages it is actually a novella.
I tend to enjoy things based on greek mythology and gods which is why I accepted this, I don't really know much about the Sphinx, it's not been an area I've really looked at so thought this would bring a new light to it.
I started reading and wasn't really sure what was going on in the prologue, but once the story itself started I found myself wanting to know more. Damon meets a beautiful woman and falls in love, after a couple of weeks she disappears, later he is presented with a baby by a woman called Artemis, he is told that the baby is his and is a Demigod. The woman he had loved was Hera.
This is the short story of Phoibe's life as she grows up and experiences first love and a first encounter with real Gods. 
I actually really enjoyed the story, but as it is a novella everything is very quick and there isn't much detail, I think this could actually make a really good full length novel, i certainly wanted to know more.
Phoibe is likable enough, from what you know of her she has a good heart and a good sense of adventure, I would liked to have known more about her.
Apollo is well presented and really makes your skin crawl, you just know he's going to feature more. 
I'm curious enough to want to find book 2 and find out what happens, you only get the Sphinx introduced right at the end of this book, so I still want to know more. 
This is well written and captivating, but I am more of a novel person, I need more detail!

My Rating
    

Book Review - Fracture

Title: Fracture
Author: C.J. Daugherty
Series: Night School (book 3)
Publisher: Atom
Release Date: 15 Aug 2013
ISBN-13: 978-0349001715

Synopsis
Cimmeria has been more than a school for Allie, it's been a safe haven. But no longer.

A nefarious group - one that is tied up with Allie's family in ways she could barely imagine - is trying to destroy everything Cimmeria stands for.

Even worse, it's clear that somebody they eat with, sleep with, train with is betraying them. There's a spy in Night School. As the paranoia grows and the fights begin, it's not an attack from outside they need to worry about . . .

My Review
I read book 1 and 2 in this series last year and really enjoyed them, I have been looking out for book 3 since and finally a copy came in at the library for me. 
I couldn't remember exactly what had happened in the previous books but odd bits stuck in my memory and I hoped that when I started reading this one that things would come back to me, and thankfully it did. Quite quickly actually.
Once again we are at Cimmeria with Allie, but things are not as they used to be. After seeing her best friend be killed on school grounds Allie is finding it hard to cope, and when no one seems to be doing anything to find those responsible she starts to break down a little bit. But with a traitor in their midst she doesn't know who she can trust.
I like the fact that these books look and feel magical, but they are actually just a 'normal' school (well in most aspects) there is no paranormal storyline or hidden magic. Just people, but they manage to create their own world and it's exciting. I almost expect something unusual to spring out, maybe a werewolf or something, but it doesn't and when the bad guys do pop out, they are just as menacing and threatening. 
I started this book this morning and had finished by just after lunch, it is so easy to read and so captivating that I didn't want to put it down. The pages just flew by and I was swept up with the storyline.
I like Allie, she is feisty and willing to fight for those she loves, she has great sarcastic humour but can also show a vulnerable side. I really felt for her in places and wanted to see her come through.
The other characters are also really well written and I feel like I know most of them, could happily go and talk to them in the common room. 
The only downside of this book is that they are trying to identify the 'spy/traitor' and after 374 pages you still don't know who it is. It's not revealed, guess you have to wait for the next book to find out for sure. I mean, I have some ideas of who it could be, but I really wanted that to come to light, but it also didn't bother me as much as I thought it would.
I just really want the next part of the book, I read this so quickly it left me feeling like I should have more.
Really easy to read but will keep you hooked and on the edge of your seat. A series you can get carried away with.

My Rating
 
 

Book Blast - First Frost Series


First Frost
The Frost Series Book # 1
By-Liz DeJesus
Publication Date- June 22, 2012
Published By- Musa Publishing  

Fairytales aren’t real…yeah…that’s exactly what Bianca thought. She was wrong. 

For generations, the Frost family has run the Museum of Magical and Rare Artifacts, handing down guardianship from mother to daughter, always keeping their secrets to “family only.” 

Gathered within museum’s walls is a collection dedicated to the Grimm fairy tales and to the rare items the family has acquired: Cinderella’s glass slipper, Snow White’s poisoned apple, the evil queen’s magic mirror, Sleeping Beauty’s enchanted spinning wheel… 

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Frost wants none of it, dreaming instead of a career in art or photography or…well, anything except working in the family’s museum. She knows the items in the glass display cases are fakes because, of course, magic doesn’t really exist.

She’s about to find out how wrong she is.

  
  

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Book Promo & Author Interview - A Maiden's Legacy


A Maiden’s Legacy: Destiny comes calling…again.

“Bad memories haunt you and good memories taunt you.”—The Scarlet Omen, 2012

The second book in The Scarlet Omen trilogy, A Maiden’s Legacy charts Anjeli Xavier’s return home after saving the Valley of the Hornbills from three centuries of torture under the vampire reign. In this young adult fantasy novel by newcomer Cinthia Koeksal, the seventeen year-old Anjeli tries to live a normal teenage life but fails miserably as all she can think about are her glory days back in that parallel world of dragons and fairies.

Just as she thinks she is about to go mad from restlessness, she discovers an ancient journal that will shed new light on the prophecy that she was supposed to have already fulfilled in the valley. Anjeli sets out on yet another adventure to Eagle Bay, a place on the other side of Hornbill Mountain. She is entrusted with uniting the Guardians of the Seven Maidens, artifacts that promise to close the gateways between the worlds forever.

What she does not know is that Wan Terakhir, the son of the dead vampire queen, will do whatever it takes to stop her. With the help of his assembled army of pirates, demons, djinns and fallen angels, the sorcerer crosses the gateway to Eagle Bay…and waits for his chance at revenge.
Will Anjeli be able to fulfill her destiny or is black magic something no one can stand up against? Parker Publishing presents A Maiden’s Legacy by Cinthia Koeksal: to be released in April 2014.

About the author
Cinthia Koeksal was born and raised in Malaysia. She now lives in Germany as a Business English Trainer. She has a degree in Business Commerce with majors in Marketing and Management from Monash University but much prefers spending her time "making up almost preposterous stories and sharing them with the world". This is her second novel.


Praise for The Scarlet Omen
“This book has every element of fantasy and surprise you could ever ask for or want. Each character just comes to life while reading this book.”—Tammy Hall, Book Blogger

"The Scarlet Omen transports readers on a fantastic journey to Malaysia and beyond. Cinthia Koeksal cleverly weaves ancient myth into a thoroughly modern teen's life to create an engrossing supernatural saga.”—Peggy Tibbets, Author

“Her style is vividly descriptive, bringing the characters to life, it made me want to visit Malaysia, and Lembah Kenyalang and see the beauty for myself.”-- Gwen Bourgeois, Paranormal Romance Guild

Interview

1) When you write, do you plan the storyline or just go with the flow and see where it takes you? Plotter or Panster?

I have my beginning and my ending in mind before I write a book. I usually have the moral conflicts all mapped out that my protagonist will be facing and his/her opponents. However, the rest is just going with the flow. Sometimes a character will turn around and say, “I’m not doing that!” so I’ll have to figure out how I get to an end which will satisfy all of us J

2) Where do you do most of your writing? Do you have a special spot?

I like writing at airports when I travel! Other than that I make sure I write in as many different parts of the house as I can because I get bored really fast and no one wants to see me bored.

3) Are any of your characters based on people you know?

My characters are a fusion of many people I know, have met and have just passed by. If I see an interesting characteristic in someone I get my Character Notebook out and jot everything down.

4) Who was your favourite author as a child? Who is it now?

I read everything from Enid Blyton when I was a kid. Now I can’t really say who my favourite writer is because there are so many of them. I haven’t come across a writer whose complete set of books has caught my attention so no one shall be put up on a pedestal quite just yet

5) Did you always want to be an author? If not what was your ambition?

Author, astronaut, drummer, singer, engineer, fashion designer, Robert Pattinson’s wife...I had many ambitions. I ended being a Business English Trainer who also writes for fun J

6) A lot of authors have playlists for their books. Do you like to listen to music whilst you write and if so can you give us any recommendations?

That is an awesome question. Yes, I listen to Babel by Mumford & Sons, American Idiot by Greenday, Invaders Must Die by The Prodigy and, yes I’m a geek, Enya for those extreme otherworldly scenes.

7) Can you tell us a bit more about your book and how it came about?

My first novel The Scarlet Omen came about after I realised that there were not many books out there about my home country, Malaysia. We have a very diverse range of myth and legend about our country and I wanted to share it with the world. There were also some issues which I was dealing with at the time and I decided to wrap them all up in a YA Fantasy novel. It is basically about a Malaysian teenager who tries to be a good daughter but daily temptation keeps getting in the way. She constantly fights with her very strict Indian mother and just wants her freedom. Finally, a tragedy befalls her family and Anjeli goes off on a trip with her boyfriend to Borneo to try and clear her mind. She ends up slamming head on into her destiny...a destiny that was carefully placed 300 hundred years ago in the form of a very dubious prophecy.

 My second novel A Maiden’s Legacy is the continuation of Anjeli Xavier’s adventures where she starts to question her “saviour” status. My prologue for it is up on my website (www.thescarletomen.com) under A Maiden’s Legacy Prologue if your readers would like to take a look.

8) What made you want to write for the YA market?

I love YA myself and writing about how Malaysian teenagers go through the same issues as everyone else and how they handle them seemed like a good idea at the time J

9) Do you ever get writers block and if you do, how do you beat it?

Oh, dislike button alert!! Having writer’s block is like taking a walk in a beautiful world on another planet, enjoying the miracle of creation and suddenly being taken captive by sadistic aliens who keep forcing you to walk into a brick wall the whole day. Luckily you kind of learn to escape your alien cell (and climb over that horrible wall) with many years of writing. I take 2 weeks off writing, read something totally unrelated to my genre and then start writing again, even if what comes out is pure gibberish. After a few tries, I’m back in my element and then my friends have to start looking for me again because my fingers have glued themselves to the keyboard.

10) If you could take only 3 things with you onto a desert island what would they be and why?

That depends on how long I’m going to be there. But off the top of my head I’d say a book, a pen and paper. I know, I’d starve to death but I’d rather starve than not have anything to read or write with ;)


Friday, 21 February 2014

FF (154)


Follow Friday is an opportunity to discover and follow other book related blogs! Want to join? Check it out at Parajunkee or Alison Can Read

This week's question feature is
Teen Book Hoots

What was the last book that made you cry?

My Answer: I actually cry quite easily at books. I get involved in the story and characters so they feel more real to me and then it makes me cry when bad things happen. But saying that, I can't actually remember what the last book I cried at was. I felt my eyes tear up whilst reading 'Fault in our Stars' but I didn't actually cry. I honestly can't remember which book made me cry last. oh dear!

Happy hopping and Blogging!

 

 

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Michelle Madow Mini Interview & Promo

 
 Savannah. Courtney. Peyton.

The three sisters grew up not knowing their father and not quite catching a break. But it looks like their luck is about to change when they find out the secret identity of their long-lost dad—a billionaire Las Vegas hotel owner who wants them to come live in a gorgeous penthouse hotel suite. Suddenly the Strip's most exclusive clubs are all-access, and with an unlimited credit card each, it should be easier than ever to fit right in. But in a town full of secrets and illusion, fitting in is nothing compared to finding out the truth about their past.


Add on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17160608-the-secret-diamond-sisters

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0373211090/ref=as_li_ss_tl? ie=UTF8&camp=211189&creative=373489&creativeASIN=0373211090&link_code=as3&tag=yabore0f-20

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-secret-diamond-sisters-michelle- madow/1116411550?ean=9780373211098&itm=1&usri=9780373211098

Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.com/Secret-Diamond-Sisters-Be-Announced/9780373211098

iBookstore: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-secret-diamond-sisters/id771362355?mt=11


Praise:

"Sexy and often electrifying ... Gossip Girl meets The Princess Diaries in a city that never sleeps." --Booklist

"This quick and entertaining read is filled with glitz and glamour ... get ready for one crazy and fabulous ride." --RT Book Reviews


“Highly addictive! Hold on tight, because The Secret Diamond Sisters throws you head first into the Vegas fast lane. Three every day teens navigate the slippery slope of wealth, popularity, and too much freedom, along with family drama, cat fights, and more gorgeous guys than should be legal. A fun ride not to be missed!"– Rachel Harris, author of My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century
 
 
Michelle Madow has visited Las Vegas every year since she was fifteen years old, and was inspired to write The Secret Diamond Sisters while walking through the beautiful Wynn Hotel. She grew up in the suburbs of Baltimore, then went to Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. She wrote her first novel, Remembrance, in her junior year of college, and later went on to self-publish it as book one in the Transcend Time Saga. She wrote The Secret Diamond Sisters in the year following graduation, and is so happy to finally share it with the world!

Michelle lives in Boca Raton, Florida, where she is writing more novels for young adults. She loves reading, spending time with family and friends, traveling, shopping, sunshine, Disney fairy tales, and Broadway musicals. She loves connecting with readers online, so be sure to follow her on Facebook (facebook.com/MichelleMadow), Twitter (@MichelleMadow), and Instagram (@MichelleMadow).

Website: www.michellemadow.com

Interview!!!
 
1) What was it like to start an entirely new project? Scary, Exciting, Difficult?

I first came up with the idea for The Secret Diamond Sisters in September 2010, and finished the first draft in early 2011, so it’s been nearly four years since I started it! But it was exciting to create all new characters in a completely new setting. The story switches between the points of view of four very different characters—Savannah, Courtney, Peyton, and Madison. Savannah is optimistic and innocent, Courtney is kind and practical, Peyton is rebellious and outspoken, and Madison is a queen-bee who might not be as confident as she appears. It was fun getting into their heads, and it was great working with a setting as glamorous and glitzy as Las Vegas!


2) Where did the inspiration for this book come from?

I visit Las Vegas every year because of a family event, and I was walking through my favorite hotel — The Wynn — when I thought, “What would it be like to live here?” From there, the idea for The Secret Diamond Sisters formed! I love how the city bursts with magic and excitement. Vegas does everything as big as possible, so being there is like entering a fantasyland. My favorite part is definitely all the different hotels. Each one is a different theme, and they all have such distinct personalities. A few of my favorite hotels are mentioned in The Secret Diamond Sisters (Paris, the Venetian, and many implications to the Wynn), so hopefully readers are transported into these magical hotels while they’re reading the book!


3) Any plans for another book tour?

Yes! Starting on March 1st, I will be appearing at events throughout the country. My tour schedule is listed here on my website: http://blog.michellemadow.com/2013/03/appearances.html. I look forward to meeting fans and signing books!
 

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Book Review - Secret Diamond Sisters

Title: The Secret Diamond Sisters
Author: Michelle Madow
Series: The Secret Diamond Sisters (book 1)
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: 1 Mar 2014
ISBN-13: 978-1848452879

Synopsis
Savannah. Courtney. Peyton.
The three sisters grew up not knowing their father and not quite catching a break. But it looks like their luck is about to change when they find out the secret identity of their long-lost dad—a billionaire Las Vegas hotel owner who wants them to come live in a gorgeous penthouse hotel suite. Suddenly the Strip's most exclusive clubs are all-access, and with an unlimited credit card each, it should be easier than ever to fit right in. But in a town full of secrets and illusion, fitting in is nothing compared to finding out the truth about their past.


My Review
I am a huge fan of Michelle Madow, I loved her 'Transcend Time' series and became friends with her online, she's a really cool person. So when I heard that she had released a new book I was itching to get my hands on it. I was lucky enough to get a copy through NetGalley and got stuck in as soon as I could. I knew it would be very different from her other series but I was still just as excited to see what this book would bring.
This book is told from different characters point of views, you have the 3 Diamond sisters - Savannah, Courtney and Peyton, and then we also have Madison, a rich privileged girl who lives in the Diamond hotel in Vegas. But I'm getting ahead of things here, let me introduce you a bit to the story first.
The 3 sisters have grown up in Fairfield, attended public school and basically struggled to make a living. Their mum has a drinking problem and pretty much leaves the girls to it. Each has their own role to play, Peyton takes a lot of the responsibility as the oldest but the other 2 don't really know just how much she does. Courtney is the sensible one, the one who always gets good grades at school but spends a lot of her time trying to organise the family, and then Savannah is the youngest and is pretty sheltered from the problems, she is more concerned with sneaking out to parties and hanging out with her best friend. When things take a turn for the worst the girls are told they have to go and live with their father, a man they have never met or been told anything about, he could be anyone. But he's not just anyone, he is Adrain Diamond the owner of the prestigious 'Diamond Hotel' in Vegas, right on the strip. The girls lives are about to change in a very dramatic way. That is when we meet Madison, she's used to having her own way and doesn't like the 3 sisters invading her world.

This was a quick but very enjoyable read. I liked the characters, they all had very distinct personalities but they were all believable and I felt like I could relate. My favourite character was probably Courtney, but then she is the book worm and therefore most like me. Savannah irritated me at times, she could be very immature and made some stupid decisions that could have put her in danger, she also comes across as quite shallow, but she is also fun and you can't help but want to know what she will do next.
I also wanted to slap their father a few times, I hope we will see him soften up a bit in the next book, I didn't feel like we could really get to know him in this one, but I think that was deliberate.
This book is fun, moving, exciting and addictive. My biggest complaint is that I can't read book 2 for months and I want to know what happens, this book leaves everything very open ended and I want more!!!
The perfect book for a cold day snuggled inside, it will take you away and let you explore Vegas - the settings are very good in this book too, you can really tell that Madow has been to Vegas and it feels like the she is giving you a tour, I could picture all of it. 


My Rating
      

Friday, 14 February 2014

FF (153)


Follow Friday is an opportunity to discover and follow other book related blogs! Want to join? Check it out at Parajunkee or Alison Can Read

This week's question feature is
Literary Chameleon

Find a “new to you blogger” and feature their button on your post this week. Tell us why this blogger stands out to you.

My Answer: 

Go Book yourself
 

 I picked this one just because I liked the name. Go Book Yourself! sounds like a great thing to shout, and great advice.

Happy hopping and Blogging!

 

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Book Promo: The Awakening

 

Synopsis

Do you believe in vampires? Ghosts? The supernatural world?

Meet Lauren who instantly clicks with Gavin at a friend’s BBQ. Everything goes well until Lauren starts to experience strange things and hears a weird voice. It seems like a warning but from what? Lauren eventually makes the... startling discovery that Gavin is a vampire and it has profound consequences for herself. The arrival of Daniel makes things even more confusing for Lauren as she is warned he is bad news from a ghostly source. Laurens life is turned upside down as things she thought were myths and legends become real and she struggles to cope with everything she has discovered.
Will Lauren and Gavin’s relationship survive and what about the mysterious Da

Biography

Hi, I'm Emma. I have always absolutely loved reading and remember reading The Worst Witch, Judy Blume and Point Horror when I was younger. I have dabbled in writing for 6 years but only recently decided to dip my toe into the self publishing world after months of deliberation. My writing started as a hobby whilst on maternity leave but over the last 18 months has become my passion. I love all things vampire so naturally my first book is based on this theme. My first book is called The Awakening and is out now and a short story called Origins which focuses on Drake and Emily was published 2nd January and accompanies The Awakening.
 
Where you can find me to say hello, comment and share

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/BooksbyEmmaJones
Blog http://booksbyemmajones.blogspot.co.uk/
Twitter https://twitter.com/booksemmajones


Book Excerpt
 
In the next bar, me and Gavin ended up in a corner together and I suddenly began to get an awful headache. “You ok?” Gavin asked gently holding my arm but my headache suddenly intensified and I shook him of my arm. Images started to swarm through my mind, shadows, light, and whispers that were getting louder and louder. “Lauren are you ok?” I could hear people speaking but couldn’t make out where it was coming from and then black.
I woke up with bright lights around me and in an unfamiliar room, it took a few minutes to realise I was in a hospital bed. I tried to sit up, my head thumped, and I rested back down. I looked about and then realised Gavin was sleeping sat up in a chair near my bed. I was just about to speak when a nurse come over “You’re awake.” she smiled kindly “I think you gave your friends a bit of a shock. Passed out and gave you quite a bang on the head.” It was only as she said this I realised I had a bandage on my head and raised my hand to touch the dressing. “You had to have a few stitches and as you were so drowsy we decided we’d better keep you in but you should be able to go home this afternoon,” the nurse informed me. “Your friend here insisted on staying in case you woke up and was confused. Oh look he’s just waking now, would you both like a cup of tea?”
“Um yes please that would be lovely,” I croaked and tried again to sit up. Gavin got up from his chair and stood at the end of the bed looking pale and worried,
“Do you remember much about last night?” he asked his voice full of concern,
“Not really, I remember getting a headache and that’s it.”
“Oh right that’s good then.”
“Why what happened?”
“You just passed out but you said some weird things that are all but don’t worry.” At that point, the nurse returned with two cups of tea and Gavin said he just had to pop out for a minute to make a call. I drank my tea and dozed back to sleep waking to find Gavin back in the room. “The nurse said once your blood test results are back and they check your blood pressure again you will be able to go home.”
“Oh that’s great I really need a shower and my own bed. What a weird night. I think it’s you Gavin.” I joked, “You seem to have a weird effect on me headaches and nose bleeds and now I pass out. Must be your super manliness!” I laughed. Gavin smiled back but looked anxious and the smile didn’t reach his eyes “I’m ok you know it’s only a joke.” I said trying to reassure him,
“I know. You just worried me that am all.” he replied.
Later that day I was discharged and Gavin took me home, insisted on making me some dinner, and stayed for a while although the whole time he kept some distance and seemed worried I might collapse at any time. After a few hours, he left and I rang my friends to let them know I was ok and apologised to Sophie for ruining her birthday night out and I decided an early night was in order. Thankfully, I slept with no problems and woke feeling much better although my head was still thumping slightly so I phoned work and explained I wouldn’t be in for the day and chilled out at home instead. Gavin called and although I assured him I was feeling fine now he insisted on coming round to check on me as soon as he finished work. When he arrived, he looked nervous and as we chatted, he kept his distance, which caused me to worry. I made a cup of tea and then sat on the sofa sensing he wanted to discuss something important. He moved forward and for the first time in over 24 hours touched me. He gently touched my arm, my head suddenly felt terrible again, and images much clearer flashed before my eyes. Gavin removed his arm and looked at me with alarm and worry, the images came faster and faster, and I felt a sudden rush of power and clarity. I put my head in my hands and squeezed my eyes tightly shut and concentrated on the images flying through my mind. I suddenly gasped and felt my heart rate speed up and then pop. The light bulbs in the living room smashed and fizzed. In the darkness, I said, “I know what you are.”
“I was worried you were going to say that.” he softly said.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Book Review - Chain Reaction

Title: Chain Reaction
Author: Simone Elkeles
Series: Perfect Chemistry (book 3)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Childrens Books
Release Date: 5 July 2012
ISBN-13: 978-0857077479

Synopsis
Like his brothers, Luis Fuentes is a risk taker; whether he's scaling the Rocky Mountains or dreaming of a future as an astronaut, Luis is always looking for the next thrill.
Nikki Cruz lives her life by certain rules ― don't trust a boy who says "I love you", boys lie to get their own way and never date a boy from the south side of Fairfield. Then she meets Luis at his brother Alex's wedding and suddenly she's tempted to break all her rules.
Getting Nikki to give him a chance is Luis's biggest challenge, until he finds himself targeted by the head of the gang that nearly destroyed his brothers' lives. Will Luis's feelings for Nikki be enough to stop him from entering a dark and violent world that could prove to be the ultimate risk?


My Review
This is book 3 in the series, I read 1 and 2 last year and really enjoyed them. In book 1 we followed eldest brother Alex and Brittany, book 2 was middle brother Carlos and Kiara now in book 3 we follow the youngest brother Luis and Nikki.
Luis has always been the 'good' kid, straight A grades, a dream of becoming an Astronaut and staying out of trouble. Moving to Colorado was a good thing for Luis, he made a fresh start, he still had moments of craziness and rebellion but no real threat, but now he's moving back to Fairfield with his mum he's closer to his brother Alex again who now lives there with Brittany (his now wife) and their first born child. But the past can't be ignored and the Gangs have got their eye on Luis. Alex may have escaped, but Luis is an easy replacement.
Nikki has sworn to stay away from Mexican boys after tough boy Marco broke her heart, but there is something about Luis that she just can't stay away from, no matter how hard  she tries. But learning to trust him and let go of her past proves to be much harder than she thought.
I liked Luis, you can feel the family fire that runs through him and his brother but he's also quite sweet and I liked that he had aspirations and determination to be different. He had a real swagger to him too that occasionally got a bit annoying but it just made him feel more realistic. You could tell he was trying to hide his personality so he would look cool but still stay out of trouble.
Nikki was a bit whiny to me, she does go through a lot and I did feel sorry for her, but my goodness can she hold a grudge and she is so stubborn. She won't listen to anyone else and makes life a lot more difficult for herself and in fact for those around her, but by the end of the book you can't help but kind of like her. 
I really like this book because they are so easy to read. I started this book in my lunch break at work today and finished it tonight, the story is exciting and pulls you in and the writing just flows across the page, sweeping you into the story. An hour will pass before you even notice. The characters are realistic and I love how those from earlier books still feature, it really brings the whole world to life and makes it all link together.
I will definitely look out for other books by Elkeles, she has a wonderful way with words.

My Rating
      

Book Review - The Wysard

Title: The Wysard
Author: Deborah J. Lightfoot
Series: The Waterspell (book 2)
Publisher: Seven Rivers Publishing
Release Date: 2 Jan 2013
ASIN: B00686UJVU

Synopsis
After blundering into the last stronghold of magic, Carin discovers that she is right to fear the wizard Verek. He is using her to seal the ruptures in the void, and she may be nothing more to him than an expendable weapon. What will he do with her—or to her—when his world is again secure? Or has he erred in believing that the last bridge has been broken? The quest may not, in fact, be over … and Lord Verek may find himself not quite as willing to dispose of his fiery water-sylph, Carin, as he once believed himself to be.

My Review
I read book one sometime last year and really enjoyed it. I thought it was a fresh new fantasy story and wanted to read more so naturally when I was asked to review book 2 I said yes. Unfortunately I didn't read it straight away, it got put on my ipad and out of mind. In fact I haven't read an ebook for ages. I feel really bad about keeping people waiting for reviews, I am snowed under with them but trying to catch up a bit now.
However I did start to read this book back in December when I had a weekend away and got about 50 pages in. I did a quick recap of book 1 first so I could remember who everyone was and what had happened and then jumped into this one. Unfortunately though it didn't grab me and I put it down and when I got home I picked up a different book. 
I found it again a couple of weekends ago and decided now was the time. I read a good 150 pages in one go and then the battery on my ipad died so I had to put it down (that's the downside to ebooks!) I picked up another book whilst I waited for it to charge and once again this got pushed back. Over the past couple of weeks I have picked it up occasionally but I have found that I didn't really have an interest in it and struggled to get through it. But I persevered and finally finished it this weekend. 
After enjoying book 1 I was expecting a lot from this book and I just didn't feel it. Something didn't quite grab me, I couldn't make myself interested. Book 1 was fresh and exciting, I wanted to know the characters and see what they would do, but this book just felt quite drawn out to me.
Carin ends up going on a journey with Verek, still not sure of the old mans motives or her part in his plans. Not only that but his assistant Lanse seems to have it in for her, and the Sprite seems determined to cause trouble. I was intrigued by Verek's 'secret' at first and I wanted to know why he need Carin to journey with him, and the mystery behind the Wysard pools had my attention, but it felt really drawn out to me and I just stopped caring. There are a lot of arguments between Carin and Verek, Carin and Lanse, the Sprite and Verek, it was just to much for me. Everything just seemed a little bit slow. 
THere were elements of a good story, I liked the big cat and it's mysteriousness and the ending was a bit more exciting but by that point I just wanted to finish.
I don't know, maybe I just wasn't in the right mood or mind set for it, maybe I read it too disjointedly and should have started it again, I don't know. It just didn't work for me and I am sad to say that.

My Rating