Thursday, July 31, 2014

Cover Reveal: Breaker by Emma Raveling + Author Interview

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This is the cover reveal for Breaker by Emma Raveling, the fourth book in the Ondine Quartet, an upper Young Adult Urban Fantasy series. I've never heard of this series or the author but I must say the covers are gorgeous. Don't you think? The series sounds really excited too. 


War. Prophecy. Freedom.

She fought for herself. She fought for friendship and love. Now, Kendra Irisavie fights for the survival of her world.

War rages on, leaving no one untouched. Destruction rips through elemental communities and terror flourishes in its wake. Suspicion soars, order fractures, and loyalties crumble despite Kendra’s desperate attempts to protect everyone she holds dear.

 When an organized Aquidae army launches a series of merciless assaults, Kendra and her friends set out to end the bloodshed once and for all. With the fate of elementals hanging in balance, the Shadow and sondaleur hunt each other down in a brutal match of cunning and will.

 Kendra has trained for this her entire life. But in a ravaged world where trust is scarce and no life is sacred, she soon realizes her battle may be against an invincible enemy and that her darkest days lie ahead.
 Twists and turns shape her harrowing odyssey, leading to a stunning climax that challenges everything she believes in.

 Torn between destiny and autonomy, Kendra must finally decide whether the cost of freedom is too high.

 Heartbreaking decisions, turbulent alliances, and shattering revelations collide in Breaker, theexplosive conclusion to the Ondine Quartet.

Tell us about the covers in this series.

The main novels of the Ondine Quartet (Whirl, Billow,Crest, Breaker) have conceptual covers. Each cover’s imagery captures a particular theme or motif in the book, and the coloring conveys a sense of the story’s mood and emotional arc.

The shorter works/novellas in the series (Ondine,Chevalier, and Warrior Prince) are essentially character portraits and are told through the eyes of different characters in the series. Those covers use models.

The goal for Breaker’s cover was to visually convey high stakes, explosive energy, and a brilliant, sharp intensity.This is the epic finale to the series and everything that has happened in previous books has led to this moment.

Out of all the covers in the series, this one took the most amount of work. My designer and I went back and forth multiple times, going through several drastically different versions before finally arriving at the right
imagery and coloring.

How does it feel to end a series?

It’s bittersweet. A part of me is thrilled to share the end of Kendra’s journey with readers. I’ve had the entire series planned since the very beginning so finally releasing what’s been in my head is a relief.

But the process of writing this final book has been a highly emotional one. There’s a personal attachment to the work itself. I’ve spent countless hours thinking and living with these characters and with this world over the past four years. It’s difficult to bring not only Kendra’s story, but my journey with her story,to an end.

A few easy questions:

Top 3 books?

Only 3?? Argh! There are so many books I love for different reasons and my list of favorites is always changing, depending on what’s going on in my life. Right now, if I had to name three, they’d be:

1. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy

2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

3. And of course, the Harry Potter series

Top 5 movies?

1. Aviator

2. Mulholland Drive

3. The Matrix

4. The Breakfast Club

5. Okay, I couldn’t just pick five. So the last one is a tie between The Usual Suspects, Reservoir Dogs, Star Wars (ep. 4-6), and Catch Me If You Can.

Top 5 places in the world you enjoy visiting?
1.New York City
4.Kauai Island (Hawaii)

Top 5 foods?
1.Fresh basil pesto – I’ll add this on anything
2.Sashimi (Japanese-style raw fish)
3.Dark chocolate
4.Jamón ibérico(Spanish ham)
5.And my terrible guilty pleasure: pizza

Author Bio:
Emma Raveling writes a wide variety of fiction for teens and adults. Hopelessly addicted to coffee and diet coke, she is the author of the Ondine Quartet and Chancer young adult series, and is currently working on the first book in her new Steel Magic series for adults.

 Previous Novels:


Previous Novellas:

This event was organized by:


Review by Hillary: Laila and the Witches of Kalazar by Salimah Dhanani

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Title: Laila and the Witches of Kalazar
Author: Salimah Dhanani
Published: June 5th 2014 by author
Paperback, 201 pages
Genre: YA & NA > Romantic Fantasy
Source: Author/Paperback

Laila has a secret. She is the granddaughter of one of the most powerful witches of Pakistan, Shakil Kalazar. Ever since she was ten years old and the Kalazars killed her mother, Laila vowed to resist her own supernatural powers and lead a life devoid of witchcraft. She is now nineteen. Everything changes the day that her father is shot, when she realizes that her powers have become stronger and darker, now that she is able to transfer life energy using transkinesis. That is also the day that Laila meets Mark Mousakes, the young American surgeon who operates on her father. Mark is witty, thoughtful and painfully handsome. As much as Laila tries to avoid Mark, she finds their paths crossing and their mutual attraction impossible to deny. With her mother's killer in pursuit, Laila becomes embroiled in a plot of kidnapping and child trafficking, and a maelstrom of dark and dangerous witchcraft. Laila must now embrace her unique abilities as she sets off for a remote part of Pakistan to face the Kalazars in this gripping tale of magic, sacrifice, family secrets and the power of love.
Purchase @ Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Smashwords

When Laila and the Witches of Kalazar by Salimah Dhanani first came to my attention, I wasn’t sure whether I’d be able to dive into a new book with a new setting, new people, and basically a new and different culture. At the same time I realized that I needed to change my habits of sticking with stories that are always based on and/or similar to each other in characters, country, and setting. For once, I would be able to travel—story-wise—to Asia and learn the habits of a different culture. Diversity was calling me to this book and as soon as I turned the last page, I was not disappointed.

It’s the eerie silence. It makes me want to turn around and call for help. Instead, I squeeze my eyes closed as I enter the bookshop. When I open them again, my body freezes. (PROOF 2)

From the start, Laila and the Witches of Kalazar had an easy flow that made it a quick and effortless read. From the moment MC Laila Khan found her father wounded with a gunshot at his bookstore, to her first meeting with Mark Mousakes, to hanging out with her best friend Lubna and finding themselves in a dangerous situation, to learning the secrets of the Kalazars and what it has to do with her deceased mother, to meeting her grandfather for the first time, and to meeting Bakhtiar—the antagonist of the story and the man Laila must defeat with her inherited powers—were all interconnected in some way and became a whirlwind of events. It all led up to Laila either accepting herself for who she was born to be or giving it all up.

My powers frighten me sometimes. So I have tried to make myself numb against any strong-emotion—like my mother, I know what is at stake. (PROOF 12)

The story naturally had different words that pertained to the MC’s culture, so every once in a while there were a few foreign words. Thankfully, with quick notes it became easy for me to decipher the meaning of those words when I reencountered it in the text. Besides that, Salimah did an absolutely amazing job of showing, telling, and occasionally distributing feeling from Laila. The entire time I read Laila and the Witches of Kalazar, it was easy to see the events that took place like a movie in my head.

I walk into the dark house and go to the living room window to watch Mark drive away. Just before I turn away, I think that I see a movement in the bushes outside my house. I squint to get a better look. But there’s no one. (55)

As much as Laila was important to the story as a whole, the secondary characters Salimah created were also important. Characters such as Mark and Lubna helped Laila keep herself grounded and not lose herself to the darkness that lurked because of her special powers. Mark was also Laila’s love interest and seeing how their relationship developed and progressed led to a lot of cute moments. Salimah also managed to balance a lot of elements in the story. Laila’s school, home, social, and paranormal life were mostly divided, so it didn’t interfere or cross paths with each other all the time—naturally making it a lot easier to understand those different parts of Laila’s life. What I liked most about Laila and the Witches of Kalazar was the cultural difference. It’s easy to think you know about a certain place because of what you read, hear, and see but reading this story changed all of that. When I finished reading this book, I felt a certain deep respect for every place I thought I knew, but in fact didn’t. I was glad I could learn new phrases and write down what they meant or look up the styles of clothing these characters wore. It was all very humbling. I could only hope other readers would feel the same while reading this story.

 It is not how much practice I’ve had, but the amount of control that I’ve been able to exert over my abilities that makes me strong. (PROOF 105)

Laila and the Witches of Kalazar by Salimah Dhanani was overall an entertaining and unique romantic-fantasy story. Until the moment I finished turning the last page, did the story grab my interest and keep me awake into the late hours of night. From page one I was fully on Laila’s side and admired her growth as the main character of the story. Instead of writing about perfect characters with no fears or flaws, Salimah wrote exactly that; characters with fears and flaws. The cultural difference and language only helped enhance this story into what it is now—an amazing first debut. I would like to see what more there is for Laila and Mark to face together and see their relationship develop even more. Although it felt like the last few scenes of action could have been developed much more, the story left a lot open for readers to wonder about for book two. I can only hope Salimah will bring a lot more of this concept into the next book. I definitely recommend this unique story and hope other readers enjoy it as I did.

4.5 - Totally Awesome! I loved it, would read again.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

FREE TODAY! Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Guess what everyone? Entangled Publishing just announced TODAY ONLY Obsidian (lux) by Jennifer L. Armentrout is FREE! Yep, you heard right, completely free. Grab your copy today. 

I am so excited about taking advantage of wonderful opportunity. I've never read the LUX series but have recently become a fan of Jennifer after reading Don't Look Back


Did you get your copy?

Release Day Blitz for Oceanborn by Amalie Howard + Giveaway!

Hello everyone! 
Welcome to the Release Day Blitz for Oceanborn by Amalie Howard! I hope everyone will enjoy this post. Check out the blog tour HERE


Author Amalie Howard has a message for you... 

Oceanborn by Amalie Howard
Series: The Aquarathi #2
Paperback (ebook), 384 pages
Expected publication: July 29th 2014 by Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA - Fantasy > Mermaids

The coronation is over.

But the battle has just begun.

Nerissa Marin has won her crown. But can she keep it? Already, her ties to the human realm are driving a wedge between Nerissa and her people. When word arrives that her part-human prince consort, Lo, has been poisoned, she makes the difficult choice to leave Waterfell and return landside. As the royal courts debate her decision, even more disturbing rumors surface: a plot is rising against her, led by someone she least expects.

On land, Nerissa learns another shocking truth: Lo does not remember who she is. As her choice to try to save him threatens her hold on her crown, changing loyalties and uncertainty test her courage in ways she could never have imagined. Nerissa will have one last chance to prove herself as a queen …and save the undersea kingdom she loves.

Order your copy of book one, WATERFELL

Get your copy of OCEANBORN TODAY!

SEAMONSTER by Amalie Howard (Aquarathi #1.5)
Available on AMAZON for only $.99

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About The Author: Amalie Howard

Seventeen Magazine Summer Club author Amalie Howard grew up on a small Caribbean island where she spent most of her childhood with her nose buried in a book or being a tomboy running around barefoot, shimmying up mango trees and dreaming of adventure. 22 countries, surfing with sharks and several tattoos later, she has traded in bungee jumping in China for writing the adventures she imagines instead. She isn’t entirely convinced which takes more guts. She currently resides in New York with her husband and three children.

She is the author of The Aquarathi series from Harlequin TEEN (Waterfell and Oceanborn), The Almost Girl from Strange Chemistry, Alpha Goddess from Sky Pony Press, and Bloodspell from Langdon Street Press. She is represented by the Liza Royce Agency. Visit her at www.amaliehoward.comor on Twitter (@AmalieHoward).

Saturday, July 26, 2014

When it rains it pours

So I'm a dummy. I accidentally spilled soda on my laptop. Yep, and now the mother-board is fried. *sigh*
So now I need to buy a new laptop but won't be able to for a few more days because guess what? I'm sick with the flu. YAY! NOT!  I using my old as the hills desktop and I NEVER use it. SO SLOW!

For the next few days I will be inactive on my blog and most everywhere else. I can still check on twitter and emails because I have my Kindle Fire. :) 

Lesson learned? Never set a glass of anything next to your computer. Ever. 

Please excuse me while I go off and cry. haha :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #24 | Trust Me, I'm Lying & Magnolia

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I'm waiting on...

Trust Me, I'm Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer
Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: October 14th 2014 by Delacorte Press
Genre: YA - Contemporary, Thriller

Fans of Ally Carter, especially her Heist Society readers, will love this teen mystery/thriller with sarcastic wit, a hint of romance, and Ocean’s Eleven–inspired action.

Julep Dupree tells lies. A lot of them. She’s a con artist, a master of disguise, and a sophomore at Chicago’s swanky St. Agatha High, where her father, an old-school grifter with a weakness for the ponies, sends her to so she can learn to mingle with the upper crust. For extra spending money Julep doesn’t rely on her dad—she runs petty scams for her classmates while dodging the dean of students and maintaining an A+ (okay, A-) average.

But when she comes home one day to a ransacked apartment and her father gone, Julep’s carefully laid plans for an expenses-paid golden ticket to Yale start to unravel. Even with help from St. Agatha’s resident Prince Charming, Tyler Richland, and her loyal hacker sidekick, Sam, Julep struggles to trace her dad’s trail of clues through a maze of creepy stalkers, hit attempts, family secrets, and worse, the threat of foster care. With everything she has at stake, Julep’s in way over her head . . . but that’s not going to stop her from using every trick in the book to find her dad before his mark finds her. Because that would be criminal.

Once again, Hillary will be joining me for today's WOW post. :)

Hillary's is waiting on....

Magnolia by Kristi Cook
Hardcover, 384 pages
Expected publication: August 5th 2014 by Simon & Schuster
Genre: YA - Contemporary Romance

In Magnolia Branch, Mississippi, the Cafferty and Marsden families are southern royalty. Neighbors since the Civil War, the families have shared vacations, holidays, backyard barbecues, and the overwhelming desire to unite their two clans by marriage. So when a baby boy and girl were born to the families at the same time, the perfect opportunity seemed to have finally arrived.

Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden have no intention of giving in to their parents’ wishes. They’re only seventeen, for goodness’ sake, not to mention that one little problem: They hate each other! Jemma can’t stand Ryder’s nauseating golden-boy persona, and Ryder would like nothing better than to pretend stubborn Jemma doesn’t exist.

But when a violent storm ravages Magnolia Branch, it unearths Jemma’s and Ryder’s true feelings for each other as the two discover that the line between love and hate may be thin enough to risk crossing over.

Hillary and I both have just recently heard about the books we choose for this weeks WOW. Have any of you seen or heard about them before?

So what book(s) are YOU waiting on this Wednesday?
Leave us a comment. We would love to know. :)


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Blog Tour: Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard | Author Interview + Giveaway!

Welcome everyone! Today is my stop on the Strange and Ever After blog tour! I have interviewed the wonderful Susan Dennard. Also there is a giveaway below to win copies of her book. :) Enjoy!

Strange and Ever After 
(Something Strange and Deadly #3
by Susan Dennard 
Publisher: HarperTeen 
Release Date: July 22nd 2014

In the conclusion to the trilogy that Publishers Weekly called “a roaring—and addictive—gothic world,” Eleanor Fitt must control her growing power, face her feelings for Daniel, and confront the evil necromancer Marcus...all before it’s too late.

He took her brother, he took her mother, and now, Marcus has taken her good friend Jie. With more determination than ever to bring this sinister man to justice, Eleanor heads to the hot desert streets of nineteenth-century Egypt in hopes of ending this nightmare. But in addition to her increasingly tense relationships with Daniel, Joseph, and her demon, Oliver, Eleanor must also deal with her former friend, Allison, who has curiously entangled herself in Eleanor’s mission.

With the rising dead chomping at her every move and Jie’s life hanging in the balance, Eleanor is convinced that her black magic will see her through to the bitter end. But there will be a price. Though she and the Spirit Hunters have weathered every battle thus far, there will be consequences to suffer this time—the effects of which will be irreversible. And when it’s over, only some will be able to live a strange and ever after.

Susan Dennard will leave readers breathless and forever changed in the concluding pages of this riveting ride.

1. What is the most exciting thing to happen to you since being published?

Susan: Oooh, tough question! There has been so much excitement in the last few years, it's hard to pick the "most exciting" moment. I guess...the first fan mail I ever received? That was one of those oh-wow-this-is-real-and-I-have-made-an-impact-on-someone's-life moments. I definitely cried. :)

2. What's your favorite thing about steampunk? The clothes, the gadgets, etc...

Susan: I really love the general aesthetic of steampunk. Steampunk movies, for example, are always the coolest visually. The sepia toned everything, the Victorian clothes (often with gadgetry added), and all the whirling copper and brass--it's really visually stunning to see.

3. If you could travel back into time and meet anyone you'd like, who would it be and what year would you go to?

Susan: You know, I would really love to go back to Edwardian times and meet E.M. Forster. He's one of my favorite authors, but he was also a unique individual living in a very constrained time. I'd love to hear how someone as talented as he continued to write in the face of adversity.  

4. Do you have a favorite character in your books? Maybe one you most enjoyed writing about?

Susan: I have to say that I love all of my characters--when I'm in their heads, I essentially become them. If I didn't love them, I'd never be able to write them. However, I will also say that I adored writing Oliver's character. He was a total surprise to me, and with each new scene and chapter and book, he continued to catch me off guard.

5. Name three books you are dying to read?

 Susan: I am desperate to read Moira Young's final Dust Lands book--Raging Star. I actually have it, but I've yet to have a spare moment to read it. This is one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE series, so I'll be honest: I'm really scared to finish and know there's nothing else left. :(

Another book I'm super excited for is Erica O'Rourke's Dissonance. I am madly in love with her Torn trilogy (those books will blow you away), and I've been slowly dying over the last two years as I wait for her newest series to begin.

Finally, I'm really amped for the final installment in Dan Krokos's super twisty False Memory series: False Future. I love the characters and how edge-of-your-seat the story is. Thrillers can be so hard to pull off in YA without all that action leaving a story rushed, but Krokos balances everything so well.

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Follow the FFBC Strange And Ever After Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

I am a writer, reader, lover of animals, and eater of cookies. I used to be a marine biologist, but now I write novels. And not novels about fish either, but novels about kick-butt heroines and swoon-worthy rogues (I reallylike swoon-worthy rogues). I live in the Midwest with my husband and two dogs (Asimov and Princess Leia), and you can learn more about my crazy thoughts and crippling cookie-addiction on my blog or twitter.

My debut, SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY is now available from HarperTeen along with the prequel, A DAWN MOST WICKED, and the sequel A DARKNESS STRANGE & LOVELY.

Look for STRANGE & EVER AFTER in summer 2014 and TRUTHWITCH in fall 2015!
Note: I am on Goodreads to READ. So, if you want to discuss books and the joys of literature, add me as a friend!

Win (1) hardback copy of Strange and Ever After (US Only)
Win (1) E-book of Strange and Ever After (INT)


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