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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Birthday Blogoversary Fangirl Bash Part Three Review & Interview: Alex as Well by Alyssa Brugman!


Title: Alex as Well
Author: Alyssa Brugman
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: January 20th 2015
Source: Netgalley & Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)



About the Book:


Alex is ready for things to change, in a big way. Everyone seems to think she’s a boy, but for Alex the whole boy/girl thing isn’t as simple as either/or, and when she decides girl is closer to the truth, no one knows how to react, least of all her parents. Undeterred, Alex begins to create a new identity for herself: ditching one school, enrolling in another, and throwing out most of her clothes. But the other Alex—the boy Alex—has a lot to say about that. Heartbreaking and droll in equal measures, Alex As Well is a brilliantly told story of exploring gender and sexuality, navigating friendships, and finding a place to belong.

Interview:




I'm very stoked to have Alyssa Brugman on the blog today to answer some of my questions about her book (which I absolutely adored) and to help to celebrate my birthday week. Thanks again for taking the time to let me do an interview with you! First, what inspired you to write Alex as Well?


The writer Jane McCredie was on the radio talking about her book Making Boys and Girls, which is about the science and psychology of gender. She was talking about gender as a spectrum.

Young people who experiment with, who identify as neither or both gender in various ways, are not much discussed in young adult fiction, which seems very odd when gender, sexual awareness and identity make up so much of the rest of young adult fiction. It doesn’t make any sense that there aren’t there more YA books about transgendered, cross-dressing or intersex teens, so I wrote one.

At the time I was working on a PhD in literature. My area of study was unreliable narration in young adult fiction. I wanted to know how I could let the reader know what was going even though my young character shouldn’t really have the emotional maturity to understand either themselves, or the motives of others. I incorporated a number of the narrative strategies that I studied in the PhD into this manuscript.


I couldn't agree with you more, YA literature is definitely lacking in those areas, and I was fascinated by Alex's narrative. Were any of these characters based off of people that you know in real life?

No, I made it all up.

Did you have to do any research while writing this novel? If so, how did you use this research, or what are some things you learned?

As I said before, I wrote a PhD thesis on unreliable narration, and the original manuscript of Alex was submitted as the companion piece, showing examples of the narrative strategies that I talked about in the thesis. I learned a lot of technical names for things I had done before in other books, and now I can see them when I read other people’s books. It’s kind of like opening the bonnet of a novel seeing all the different parts of its engine.

What do you hope people take away from Alex as Well?

I read an article by an emerging young adult author in the Australian Society of Authors magazine who said, “I didn’t want to write one of those social realism novels whose aim seems to be to make teens feel better about being bullied for being fat or thin or gay or black or Muslim.”
I unapologetically write those novels, but not with the sort of cynicism that the above quote implies - instead with what I fancy is a genuine compassion for, and interest in, young people who might be struggling in their various ways.

People who don’t understand intersex conditions seem to think that gender dysphoria is some kind of choice.
While I believe society in general is making life easier than it used to be for people who identify as LGBT, it still appears to be too common an experience to have the family/loved ones of these people to say, “I will love you again when you decide to stop being LGBT”.
My wonderful editor for the novel, Jane Pearson and I had a long discussion about how we were going to end this novel. We wanted it to be hopeful and triumphant, at the same time reflecting the sometimes harsh reality for adolescents like Alex.
I hope that young people (or old people) who in some way identify with Alex’s plight, for whatever reason, will find some comfort in her company.


“I will love you again when you decide to stop being LGBT” is quite possibly one of the most accurate statements about being LGBT today that I have personally ever read. In a bit lighter of a question, do you listen to music when you write? If so, what songs make up the soundtrack to this book?

There are a lot of pop tunes in this book. It's interesting that my character will often choose a soundtrack for the writing of the book that is quite different from what I would choose. My latest character, who is a man, wants to listen to The Cure, David Bowie, Joy Division, Morrissey, and Peter Gabriel. That's a long way from Alex who liked Pink, Black Eyed Peas and Miley Cyrus.

I'd get along with both of those characters- I listen to both Pink and The Cure. Is there a particular place or room where you feel the most inspired to write?

I have a study in my house which is where I do the typing part, but writing mostly happens in my head. I do the composing part while I am hanging out the washing, driving, grocery shopping etc.

Which scene in Alex as Well was your favorite to write?

There is a section of the book where Alex’s mother is giving her testosterone without Alex being aware of it, and Alex’s male side reasserts himself more at that point in the novel. He flirts with a class mate. I enjoyed writing that part of the manuscript because the two sides of Alex debate what to do and discuss what is appropriate conduct. The male part of Alex contributes power and vibrancy to the character too.There is a section of the book where Alex’s mother is giving her testosterone without Alex being aware of it, and Alex’s male side reasserts himself more at that point in the novel. He flirts with a class mate. I enjoyed writing that part of the manuscript because the two sides of Alex debate what to do and discuss what is appropriate conduct. The male part of Alex contributes power and vibrancy to the character too.

Which parts of the book gave you the most trouble?

This was one of the easier manuscripts that I have written. I didn’t feel like a had to build Alex from scratch – it was as if she already existed, and I only had to put the words down. I hope that you will have the same sensation reading this book – as if Alex is there next to you whispering in your ear.
The feedback that I’m getting so far from readers is that, now that they’ve met Alex, somehow they feel that they should have read this story before. In fact, there was one reader who wrote something like, “so good to read a vegetarian character in YA”, as if that was the attribute that stood out.


From my experience, I can definitely confirm that Alex felt like someone I should already know, like she was telling me something important as opposed to just being a character in a novel. But... Can you describe the book in five words?

Hahaha! No. Maybe feisty teenage girl comes out? Something like that?

Do you have any new books or projects in the works that you can tell us about?

Yes, I just finished a new manuscript which is about a man with a broken heart. It's been a lot of fun to write. I'm also planning on self publishing a romance novel this year. It's a manuscript I've had sitting on my hard drive for a little while. I have not tried self publishing before, so it will be interesting to see how that goes compared to the books I have sold through mainstream publishers.

I look forward to reading your new work. Thank you so much for talking with me about Alex as Well. It's not a book I'm likely to forget in the near future.





Review:


★★★★★

Five stars

---

It's time to get a little bit personal here on my blog. Regular readers of my reviews know that I am happily taken by a girl named Emily, who sometimes graces this blog with her own book reviews. What most of you don't know, is that Emily has struggled with gender identity issues for a long, long time. It is because of her and the charming cover, I admit, that I picked up Alex as Well. Though of course I acknowledge that this book is one of fiction, I do believe it has helped me process some things about the way Emily thinks and feels, and for that reason among others I am so, so happy that I requested this title.

Alex, the 15 year old protagonist of this story, explains in the book that she has "two selves". This can be a kind of hard concept to wrap around, but because she has torn feelings about who she really is as a person, she finds that it is easier to associate "girl Alex" and "boy Alex" as two different people in her head. As voices, if you will. Alex was born "intersex", and these gender ideas clash and fight often with one another.

Though Emily is biologically female through and through, she also uses this way of speaking about her inner conflicts. She has a girl voice, Emily, and a boy voice, Devin. I was very confused and conflicted at first, when Emily spoke of these "voices" so to speak, because I had never heard of something like that before. I was nervous and scared for both her and myself and what it meant for us as a couple.

Because I was used to this way of thinking, it was easier for me to follow Alex's internal conversations and honestly, it made me feel.... Like Emily and I aren't alone. I connected with this form of narration from the very get-go, and it is definitely unique. This is the first book that I have personally ever encountered that uses two voices from the same person beyond just the idea of a conscience. Another unique concept of this book is that the chapters are sprinkled with blog posts from her mother on what it is like to raise someone who is intersex.

Speaking of her mother, let's talk about characters for a bit. I hated and loved them. I mean this in the best way. The author wanted me to hate and love them, and she got her wish. Each of the characters was unique and had depth, and unfortunately they were all believable. Her mother, for example. I was left with SO MANY FEELINGS. I will refrain from spoilers, but Alex's views made me hate her. Then her blog posts helped me to understand her a bit more, but still with hatred. And then at the end I felt kind of sorry for her but also still angry and heartbroken. I didn't know how to feel. Alex is an amazing character. She's complex and unapologetically true to herself, despite the shitstorm by which she's surrounded. She's fierce and often snarky and hilarious, but sometimes she broke my heart. I was cheering her on from the beginning to the end, and she isn't a character that I will soon forget, nor do I want to forget her. I also really liked how she connected her life to the music she was listening to at the time, I thought it to be a nice touch.

The synopsis (at least on Goodreads) describes this book as "heartbreaking and droll in equal measures" and I feel like this perfectly describes it. I was left emotionally exhausted from this book, and though I finished it ages ago, I am still thinking about it. It's a roller coaster that's gritty, real, and well executed. This is the first book that I have read from Alyssa Brugman and I sincerely hope it is not the last. You will feel lows when you see the bullying, the drama, and the awful people that Alex must encounter. You will feel highs when Alex comes into herself, when she feels beautiful, and when her life seems to be looking up for the better. And, if you are like me, you will make an inhuman noise when you find yourself out of pages when you are still having these intense feelings. (It's not a cliffhanger ending. It's not quite so dramatic. More like a hillhanger. That's a word now. Tell your friends.)

And, if by some chance the author is reading this, I would love to read more about Alex. Just sayin'. And while I have your attention, I would personally like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for creating a story that touched me on such a personal level, and that helped to open a better dialog between my girlfriend and I. Who would have thought that one little young adult novel could do so much?

I recommend this book to anyone who loves LGBT themed young adult, contemporary YA, or books dealing with disorders, mental issues, or identity issues. Thank you so much to Netgalley and Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Book Blitz, Trailer, & Giveaway: Henge by Realm Lovejoy!


Release
Date: 11/11/14

Summary
from Goodreads:
Modern-day Camelot. Where knights no
longer carry swords. Magic is dangerous. And those who seek control are not to
be trusted.



Sixteen-year-old Morgan le Fay is a fire user. An ordinary girl with an
extraordinary skill, she has the ability to create and command fire at will.
Her dream is to become the Maven—the right hand of the future King Arthur. In
the chance of a lifetime, Morgan is selected to join Arthur’s Round, an elite
group of young magic users from which the new Maven will be chosen.



Along with the other fire, water, and wind users in Arthur’s Round, Morgan is
rigorously trained and tested. The handsome Merlin, a brilliant water user,
takes a particular interest in her. Is his friendship to be trusted, or is
Merlin simply trying to win the position of Maven for himself? Among the many
rivals Morgan faces is the current Maven, Mordred, who seems determined to see
her fail.



But Morgan has a secret—years ago, her mother was executed for using fire
magic, and Morgan’s desire for justice makes her more than ready to take on the
challenge before her. Can she prevail in Camelot’s tests of survival and magic?
Only time—and Morgan’s powerful fire—will tell.


_________



"Camelot meets Hogwarts meets Panem in this intriguing, well-written
beginning to a planned YA series."--Kirkus Reviews


Trailer:








Buy Links:




About the Author
Realm Lovejoy is a writer and an artist. She was raised in Washington State and the alps of Nagano, Japan. Her father is a Japanese ex-monk and her mother an English teacher from Rhode Island. Her art is influenced by both the East and the West.
Realm aspires to tell stories through her writing and art.

She is agented by Jessica Regel.

Her upcoming YA sci-fi novel is titled CLAN, due 2013.

Author Links:

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GIVEAWAY:
$20 amazon gift card, 4 ebooks, and 1 paperback (INT)
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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Birthday Blogoversary Fangirl Bash Part Two Review & Interview: Zeus is Dead by Michael G. Munz!


Title: Zeus Is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure
Author: Michael G. Munz
Format: Kindle Edition
Pub. Date: January 1st 2014
Source: Author


About the Book:


THE GODS ARE BACK. DID YOU MYTH THEM?

You probably saw the press conference. Nine months ago, Zeus's murder catapulted the Greek gods back into our world. Now they revel in their new temples, casinos, and media empires—well, all except Apollo. A compulsive overachiever with a bursting portfolio of godly duties, the amount of email alone that he receives from rapacious mortals turns each of his days into a living hell.

Yet there may be hope, if only he can return Zeus to life! With the aid of Thalia, the muse of comedy and science fiction, Apollo will risk his very godhood to help sarcastic TV producer Tracy Wallace and a gamer-geek named Leif—two mortals who hold the key to Zeus's resurrection. (Well, probably. Prophecies are tricky buggers.)

Soon an overflowing inbox will be the least of Apollo’s troubles. Whoever murdered Zeus will certainly kill again to prevent his return, and avoiding them would be far easier if Apollo could possibly figure out who they are.

Even worse, the muse is starting to get cranky.

Discover a world where reality TV heroes slay actual monsters and the gods have their own Twitter feeds:
Zeus Is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure!

Interview:




I'm so excited to have Michael G. Munz back on the blog for a second round of questions to celebrate both my birthday week and this amazing book. Thanks again for taking the time to answer some questions!


Happy to do it! Thanks for the opportunity.

In our previous interview, we talked a little bit about what books and movies inspired you as an author. Since Zeus is Dead is a book that centrals around Greek mythology: What is your favorite mythical movie?

If we're talking Greek mythology, it's a toss-up between Jason and the Argonauts and the original Clash of the Titans. It's been decades since I've seen the former, though. (I should really re-watch it to see if I enjoy it as much as I used to.) Without the Greek qualifier, I'd have to go with The Dark Crystal, which is an amazing creation with a mythology of its very own.

If you were given a spot in the pantheon, what would you like to be the god of?

I'd love to be the god of geeks and geek culture. But I think I'd have to overthrow Wil Wheaton first.

All hail Wesley Crusher. Would you follow the rules, or would you interfere with the lives of your chosen worshippers (or enemies, for that matter)?

I'm one of those weirdos who tries to stick to the rules. Though there IS a difference between bending and breaking, isn't there? I might do a little interfering, if I thought I could get away with it. Mostly, though, I think I'd tend toward humor and pranks rather than doing things that have grand effects on people's lives. Making people laugh is fun.

You're among like minds, I was always tend to follow the rules too. Now, can you tell us a little about your writing process? Do you have to be in a certain room or in a certain mind set?

I have difficulty writing at home (I get distracted with other things), so, as cliché as this may sound, I tend to go out to write in a café or something. I'm lucky enough to have a number of great choices where I live. I find I work best in a place with a lot of warm tones (wood, reds, dark greens, etc.), with enough people in it to keep it lively without being overcrowded. I look for corner tables where I can face the room; it's hard to write if I feel someone is behind me, even if they're not actually paying attention to what I'm doing. (Plus, as we know from Frank Herbert's Dune, sitting with your back to a room is an invitation to assassination!)

Also, some manner of caffeine is helpful.

What scene was your favorite to write?

The first one that comes to mind is the introduction of Baskin, a newly created god of battle and ice cream. It's a short scene, but it was a blast making him come to life. A close second is the scene where Tracy and Leif confront Dionysus in his never-ending party atop the Dionysian Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.



I do love me some Dionysus. I mean he is the original god of tits and wine. Which scene gave you the most trouble?

The entire bit with The Fates. I really wanted to portray them as being on a completely different level from everyone, gods included. They needed to be mysterious, paradoxical, and beyond. At the same time I needed to keep them funny (this is an adventure comedy, after all) and able to advance the story in a way that wouldn't confuse the reader. What do the Fates look like? What does their abode (a serviceable room above a convenience store at the intersection of the two parallel streets of Sparkwood and 23rd on the eastern side of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan) look like? How do they talk?

It was slow-going, with a lot of revisions. I do like how it turned out, though. Plus I got to introduce the concept of a "Moebius balcony"!


Have you at all considered fundraising to make razorwings a genetic possibility? I would like a litter. (Colony?)

If I may quote Egon Spengler, I think that would be an extraordinarily bad idea. Do you really want a bunch of playfully feral kittens who can chew through metal and slice off a human arm with their wings running around your house spitting paralytic poison on everything? Though that would be cute…

Genetic tampering aside, my publisher and I are considering the possibility of a Kickstarter to make some razorwing plushies, but we need to wait for the book's readership to grow a little more, first. More and more people are reading it each day, though, so, I don't know, maybe this summer? (Keep watching Michaelgmunz.com for news!)

And I believe a group of cats is called a "clowder." Though razorwings themselves travel in swarms…




I WOULD FUND THAT SO HARD. Are you working on any books now?

I'm doing my best to get the third book in my cyberpunk series (The New Aeneid Cycle) completed in time for a late 2015 release. It's called A Dragon at the Gate, and will conclude the trilogy. It's an interesting challenge to make sure the series culminates in a powerful, satisfying way, and I'm excited to see if I can pull it off.

I'm a big fan of cyberpunk, I'll have to check out that series as well. Hades has dominion over those who are no longer with us. If you could chat with any three people, living or dead, who would they be and why?

1) Leonardo da Vinci. I'm sure he was a fascinating guy in general, and it'd be fun to tell him about the modern world and see what he thinks of it. 2) Homer (the author of The Iliad and The Odyssey, not the Simpsons character), assuming he actually existed. The guy was one of the earliest known storytellers, and that, along with his obvious interest in Greek mythology (would he even term it "mythology"?) is pretty tempting. 3) This one's personal.

This is really just a fangirlish request and not even really a question: More Hecate and Hades, pretty please!

Well, I make no promises, but one idea I'm toying with for a Zeus Is Dead sequel does involve Hecate, despite what happened. And there might just be a way for Hades to be involved in that.

…or maybe I'll just toss something together with vampires.


I won't get my hopes up, but I will eagerly await the sequel regardless. Thank you again for being a part of Bitches n Prose!




Review:


★★★★★

So, I came across this book initially on the wonderful imgur. I was drawn in by the puns. Those of you who follow me know I have a serious problem with puns. It's an epundemic. (See!?). Add Greek mythology on top of that? This Classics minoring internet-dweller was sold.

Y'all, this book is effing hilarious. I loved the way that Munz sucked the reader in, not just with the plot of his book but with his engagement with the readers. It was as though the book narrator was telling you, the reader, a story personally. This might sound like an odd comparison, but the way the author "breaks the fourth wall" so to speak with his readers was reminiscent of Lemony Snicket in his Series of Unfortunate Event. But less dark and macabre, of course. I snickered aloud more than once, and that takes skill. I'm admittedly a bit of a humor snob when it comes to books, but I guess me and Munz are just on the same humor wave length because this was simply great.

The story features a lot of characters, including the entire Greek pantheon. This wasn't a problem though. Each character was written in a unique style/personality so that I was never left confused or concerned by the cast. Munz also did a great job with story navigation. Zeus is Dead follows different plot lines and characters, but again the flow just worked well and it was easy to transition. And in a rare display, I was interested in each of these characters' stories. There was never a point where I was like "ugh, we're back on him again?" I thoroughly enjoyed everything that this novel had to offer.

As for the plot itself, I really liked the concept behind it. Could you imagine if any god or gods from any denomination just popped up and said heyyyy we're real by the way and started living like celebrities? I may be alone in this, but I would totally watch Juno's new reality show Juno What I'm Sayin'? or read Rama's new book. There's a hero and a quest and an homage to Hecate which just makes me insanely happy because no one ever mentions Hecate and she's easily my second favorite god(dess). It's a fabulous idea that's well constructed from start to finish. And the more you read, the more you'll want to know what exactly happened to Zeus?

It's worth noting that even though I came to the table with a pretty good knowledge of the Greek gods and goddesses, that is absolutely not a requirement to enjoy this book. Each deity, myth, muse, monster, and any other "m" words are well explained and elaborated. This book is approachable to anyone, regardless of their mythological education. And if that's the case, you just might learn a thing or two from Zeus is Dead.

If you are in search of a Greek epic for the Social Media age, a good laugh, or a book that features fucking murderous flying kittens, then I cannot recommend this book enough. Please go and enjoy this book. It's fantastic and will be joining my Classics shelf as soon as I can get my hands on a physical copy. (And next to my razorwing plushie, right Michael?) Thank you to Munz and his blog tour lovelies for my copy in exchange for my honest review.

Buy it Meow:


You can get your copy today on:

Amazon | BN | iTunes

About the Author:


An award-winning writer of speculative fiction, Michael G. Munz was born in Pennsylvania but moved to Washington State in 1977 at the age of three. Unable to escape the state’s gravity, he has spent most of his life there and studied writing at the University of Washington.

Michael developed his creative bug in college, writing and filming four exceedingly amateur films before setting his sights on becoming a novelist. Driving this goal is the desire to tell entertaining stories that give to others the same pleasure as other writers have given to him. He enjoys writing tales that combine the modern world with the futuristic or fantastic.

Michael has traveled to three continents and has an interest in Celtic and Classical mythology. He also possesses what most “normal” people would likely deem far too much familiarity with a wide range of geek culture, though Michael prefers the term geek-bard: a jack of all geek-trades, but master of none—except possibly Farscape and Twin Peaks.

Michael dwells in Seattle where he continues his quest to write the most entertaining novel known to humankind and find a really fantastic clam linguine.

Find out more about him at michaelgmunz.com. While there, it wouldn't hurt to get a FREE copy of Mythed Connections, the spiritual prequel to Zeus is Dead.

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Cover Reveal & Special Giveaway: Amber Smoke by Kristin Cast!



Are you ready to see the cover?!
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Title:Amber Smoke
Series: The Escaped #1
Author: Kristin Cast
Published by: Diversion Books
Publication date: June 9th 2015
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal

About the Book:


The door to the massive New York Times bestselling HOUSE OF NIGHT series has closed. Now, Kristin Cast kicks down a new door to welcome her millions of fans to her latest sizzling series.

There is a world that runs parallel to our own, a world in which the souls of the damned are caged, where they are looked over by the Furies, and where they spend eternity in torment, mirroring the devastation and mayhem they created when alive.

Someone has opened the cage.

The worst of terrors has crossed the barrier that separates our world from theirs, and the Furies send a great, albeit untested warrior—their only son, Alek—to try to bring those souls back. He is young and handsome, headstrong and impulsive, and he won’t be able to do it alone.

Eva has grown up, beautiful and beloved, but surrounded by secrets. First, she will be hunted in an ancient feud that will threaten her life. Then, she will become the hunter.

With the police closing in and two worlds on the verge of crumbling around them, Alek and Eva must find each other, discover the limits of their powers, and work together to save everything they hold dear, including one another. Blending elements of mythology with the dazzling storytelling that her fans have devoured through the HOUSE OF NIGHT series, Kristin Cast weaves a spellbinding and passionate tale that starts a thrilling new series with an explosive charge.




PreOrder:


Preorder your copy today from:

Amazon | BN | iBooks | Kobo

About the Author:


Kristin Cast is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author who teamed with her mother to write the young adult House of Night series. She has stories in several anthologies, as well as editorial credits, and a thriving t-shirt line. The first book in her new adult paranormal romance series releases June 9th, 2015!
Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Website

Giveaway:


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Book Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway: False Finder by Mia Hoddell!


False
Finder
Release
Date: 01/13/15
Limitless
Publishing
400
pages

Summary
from Goodreads:
Cora has been able to detect lies since
she was born, she’s…a False Finder.




However when blackmail, betrayal, and lying are all the population has to
protect themselves, it makes her dangerous. It also makes her a target.



Because of Cora’s ability, Rogan Carvelli—London’s biggest criminal leader—has
been trying to acquire her for years.



Cora has learned to survive and remain undetected—at least until one
careless mistake causes her friends to betray her.




Sold to Carvelli, Cora is only left with the help of a secret organisation to
escape. She knows nothing about them, but they have saved her too many times to
ignore.



However, the closer she gets, the clearer it becomes…

Their motives are far from innocent.





Excerpt:



Leaning forward, both arms propping his strong body up on the desk, Rogan glared at her.

“I tried to be cordial. I agreed to your insane demands but this ends here and now. You will sign this contract stating you are employed by me or things are going to get very bad for you, very quickly.”

Cora matched his stance, pulling herself up and meeting his gaze with unwavering eyes.

“Get this into your head now as I’m not going to say it again. I am not, nor will I ever let you own me. I will never sign that piece of paper.” Cora kept her voice level, matching his tone with equal determination. She didn’t have a plan for how to get out but she knew she would never sign his contract.

“Is that so? I beg to differ.”

A flash of uncertainty flickered before Cora’s eyes as he spoke, not sure where he was going with his comment. It didn’t fail to escape Rogan’s notice and on the inside he was smiling with joy at his forward thinking.

“You can’t force me to sign it!”

“Am I that crass? I won’t have to force you.”

Picking up a remote from the top of the desk, he pointed it at a painting that was hung on the wall to the right of Cora. It moved to reveal a flat screen TV and with the click of another button it flickered into life.

As the image became clearer on the screen, Cora gasped in shock. Her hand moved to cover her mouth in disbelief and her head was shaking, not wanting to believe the truth that was before her eyes.

“Still don’t want to reconsider my offer?” Rogan asked triumphantly, knowing he had won.



Buy: 

About the Author

Mia
Hoddell lives in the UK with her family and two cats. She spends most of her
time writing or reading, loves anything paranormal or romantic, and has an
overactive imagination that keeps her up until the early hours of the morning. 



By the age of nineteen, Mia had published nine books, including the Elemental
Killers series and the Seasons of Change series. Since then, her books have
charted on numerous Amazon Bestseller Lists, and she has also had poems published
in a many anthologies. With an ever growing list of ideas, Mia continues to
create fictional worlds through her writing, and is trying to keep up with the
speed at which her imagination generates them.



She also designs book covers and banners on her website M Designs 


Author Links:
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Monday, January 26, 2015

Love Notes Boxed Set Promo Tour + Giveaway Featuring: Pieces of Me by Kira Adams!



About the Book:


Title: "Love Notes": Four Musical Romance Novels
Release date: February 2nd 2015
Purchase: Amazon


Book Description via Goodreads:

For sixteen year old Peyton Lane, life has never been easy. She's not popular, overweight, and oh yeah, her sister is embarrassed of her. But over the course of a tumultuous year, everything changes for Peyton. Suddenly all eyes are on her and it's not because she's fat. From a pair of handsome twins to a couple of dangerously sexy rockers, Peyton will have to find out who she can trust with her heart. From the ups and downs to the twists and turns -- this is Peyton's story of finding one's voice and growing into your own.

This is a coming of age romance that involves realistic situations and raw emotions. This is Pieces of Me.






Excerpt:



We were seated on the couch in his hotel, close enough to touch, but far enough away to be appropriate in any situation. I was wiping away tears in the corner of my eyes from laughing so hard at something Colton had said, when he changed everything. “Do you have any idea how beautiful you are?” he asked out of nowhere, tucking a stray piece of hair behind my ear.

I was suddenly aware I was shaking, uncontrollably. It was an uncomfortable sight, so I got up suddenly and retreated to an adjacent wall, which I leaned upon. I couldn’t even look at him. No one had ever called me beautiful before; it had to be too good to be true. He obviously felt the awkward tension and didn’t waste any time addressing it. “Hey, are you okay?” he asked, as he rose and started slowly coming towards me.

My heart was beating faster and harder with each step he took forward. I couldn’t remember how to breathe. I was pretty sure I was going to faint, but was surprised to see I was still alert when he finally made his way to me. “Hey.” He touched my cheek softly, “What’s wrong?”

I couldn’t look him in the eyes with such an embarrassing confession, so I did my best to look away. “No one has told me that before.”

“What? That you’re beautiful?” Suddenly something seemed to click for him. I saw pain in his eyes, the realization finally making its appearance. “You are beautiful, Peyton.” He looked down into my eyes for a long time, willing me to believe him, willing me to see what he saw.




The Other Books:


The Right Song by Shane Morgan
Pain never truly goes away, until you find something deeper and meaningful that cures the heart and fills it with love.

That is what Aurora desperately wants to believe. That somehow her music can save her, or even touch the unreachable heart of the guy she has liked for years.

Rora yearns for his attention and wants to experience this so-called love that could possibly end her long suffering and inspire her to chase after her dreams.

In deeply understanding the feelings of others and herself, will Aurora give up on ever finding true happiness, or will an intriguing soul teach her about the greatest song ever written?

***
Revenge of a Band Geek Gone Bad by Naomi Rabinowitz
Shy, overweight Melinda Rhodes' sophomore year of high school isn't going so well. Her own mother mocks her weight. Her pants split in the middle of school, earning her the nickname, "Moolinda." She then loses first chair flute in band to Kathy Meadows, her pretty and popular nemesis.

Her luck changes when she catches the eye of Josh Kowalski, a rebellious trumpet prodigy and class clown. Josh has also been hurt by Kathy and asks Melinda to help take Kathy down. Mel figures that she has nothing to lose ... and Josh is adorable with gorgeous blue eyes and a winning smile. She agrees to team up with him and looks forward to finally getting back at her rival.

At first, the pair's pranks are silly, and as they work together, Mel comes out of her shell. Even better, she finds herself falling for Josh and it appears as if he might feel the same way about her.

However, their schemes become more and more dangerous and Mel is surprised to discover her dark side. Just how far will she go to get what she wants -- and is Josh really worth the risk?

***
Straight from the Heart by Breigh Forstner
This is a story about a girl discovering and experiencing life for the first time.

Bryn Schaefler grew up rich. Her parents expected the best out of her, picked her boyfriend for her, and groomed her to be the next trophy wife fresh out of High School. But when they discover she wants to pursue music instead of following in her mothers footsteps, they wanted to hear nothing about it.

That was when Bryn left for good.

By chance, she auditioned for main stream rock band Everlasting. Never in a million years did she think she would make it.

Cale Pelton knew it was his fault for the band scrambling around to find a new guitarist. Once he saw Bryn audition, he knew he had to have her. Not just in the band, but in his mind, body and soul.

This is the first book in the Straight from the Heart series. Follow Cale and Bryn as she goes on her first tour, and discovers there's so much more to her than she ever realized.

Connect:


Kira Adams ~ kristakakes.blogspot.com
Shane Morgan ~ www.shanemorganwrites.com
Naomi Rabinowitz ~ naomirabinowitzauthor.blogspot.com
Breigh Forstner ~ facebook.com/breighforstnerauthor

Giveaway:


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Follow the rest of the tour by clicking here!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Birthday Blogoversary Fangirl Bash Part One: Review of The Legend of Candy Claws by Aurelio Voltaire & GIVEAWAY!


Hello there my lovely readers. I'm kicking off a week of birthday and blogoversary fun today! My birthday is this week, and this month also marks a few years into blogging! Yay! Today's post I'm also helping to celebrate the birthday of my absolute favorite musician: Aurelio Voltaire. If you're a regular follower of my blog, that name should be familiar. I've asked for your funding help for his latest album, I've reviewed his books, and I've gushed about his concerts.

Now, he holds a special place in my heart for a few different reasons. One of them is that his music is actually what helped me and my girlfriend become friends. She was the only person I'd spoken to who'd heard of him and we discussed his music for hours. Another and more personal one is that his music helped to save my life.


I've suffered from depression for over a decade, since I was about twelve. Even then, that's only a guess as to how far back I remember it. The thing about depression is that unless you have it, you never can quite understand the toll it takes. I had friends at that age and earlier who meant the world to me, but they never quite understood, not exactly. My dad left on my birthday when I was thirteen, and it just got worse. It was the first time I remember feeling utterly alone, even when I was in a room full of people that I knew (then and now) cared about me. People kept saying "It gets better, it gets better" but have you ever said a word so often it sounds foreign to you and you don't know what it means? That's all I felt about this phrase. I struggled with self-harm. They say it's for attention. "They". But I struggled alone, making no marks visible.

I stopped caring about school and my friends. I went from the honor roll and the top of my class to F's and D's. I started camping out on the internet and talking to people on there (my now girlfriend among them), grasping at straws for someone to understand. A friend recommended in a passing conversation that I should check out a magazine called Gothic Beauty. I fell in love with this publication. It's full of music reviews and interviews and fashion and so, so much more. It was in one of these issues that I came across an interview with Voltaire. I made a habit of listening to every band featured to see if I liked them or not, and I loved Voltaire from the very first song I bought:



And I have been a listener ever since. His humor, beautiful voice, and lyrics that I related to became an integral part of my life. While I still have depression, and I have had many more ups and downs in my life, one thing that has remained constant is my love of his music. I have gone to see him twice in concert now, and at the most recent one (in November), my partner had to actually hold my hand because of the impact of one of his unreleased songs: "I Want to Hurt Whoever Hurt You." (Voltaire if you're reading this and this isn't the title, sorry!). She has told me those exact words and though it is a song personal to Voltaire himself, it struck us as well. I really don't have words to describe the impact, so I guess I'll just leave it at this:

Thank you, Captain. I hope you have a positively splendid birthday.

Now I promise, we're getting happier. Voltaire is a jack of all trades. He has done work doing stop motion animation, music, toy design, comic books, games, books, and probably way more things that I'm going to remember once I hit "submit".


About the Book:


But today, I'm going to be reviewing his latest book, the Legend of Candy Claws. I was lucky enough to get a signed copy of it for Christmas (thank you Emily).



Title: The Legend of Candy Claws
Author: Aurelio Voltaire
Illustrator: Shamine King
Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: December 25, 2014
Source: Gifted by Emily
Buy it by clicking here


Book Description:



A giant black bat takes candy from bullies on Halloween and delivers it to good little boys and girls on Christmas in this anti-bullying tale for children of all ages.



Review:


★★★★★

Before I even began reading the story, I was touched by the dedication to Sophie Lancaster. For those of you unfamiliar, she was a young women who was beaten to death by three teenage boys because she was goth. It was a story that broke my heart, and the hearts of many others, when I heard about it. It impacted so many "scenes", goth included, and she deserves a book about anti-bullying in her honor. Here's to you, Sophie.

Now for the book itself. The cover and artwork throughout the book is absolutely gorgeous. It's well detailed with great coloring and goes perfectly with the text on the page. I was previously unfamiliar with Shamine King's artwork, but I'm definitely a fan of hers now.

This book is written in rhyme, as (in my humble opinion) all Christmas stories should be. It gives the book a great rhythm and helps to keep you sucked into the book. The story telling is rich and easy to relate to- I think we have all felt like an outcast at least once in our lives, or have gotten picked on for being different. This book gives a positive message that I think we all need to hear once in a while: Hey. You're different. And you know what? That makes you wonderful. Don't listen to those who want to bring you down, because you can be happy and free without them.

I think we all lose sight of that sometimes.

I think that kids and adults alike will love this story, and I recommend it to everyone looking for a richly illustrated tale of both Christmas and Halloween in the spirit of The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Giveaway:


To help celebrate, I'm going to be giving away an Amazon copy of another one of Voltaire's books, The Call of the Jersey Devil. You can read my review of it by clicking here.



This giveaway is open to anyone who can receive gifted Kindle ebooks over the age of 16. Additional rules can be found on the Rafflecopter.

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