Tuesday, September 30, 2014

{Interview/Giveaway} Danielle Ellison, Author of STORM





Danielle Ellison is from a small town in West Virginia. She spent her childhood pretending to fly, talking to imaginary friends, and telling stories. She hasn’t changed much since then. You can still find her pretending to work, talking to imaginary characters, and writing stories.

When she’s not writing, Danielle is probably drinking coffee, fighting her nomadic urges, watching too much TV, or dreaming of the day when she can be British. She is the author of five upcoming novels and you can find her on twitter @DanielleEWrites.

Author Links:



An interview with 
Danielle Ellison

Five words to describe STORM

Magic gets deadly—plus kissing. 



 How did you come up with the title?

This was a long process, actually! It had like four titles, and then as I kept revising and figuring out the story, the titles didn’t fit anymore. I wanted it to be an “S” if it could, and a shorter one-word title. We tried everything! One day, I was texting with my cover designer/friend and I outlined this problem so she could help brainstorm a title. Literally, less than a minute later, she said, “What about STORM?” and it was immediately the answer. It actually fit pretty perfectly with the story.

Pen and Carter are Enforcers, witches that hunt demons and keep humans safe. Do you have what it takes to be an Enforcer?

No way! I’m more of a “let’s watch TV and eat buffalo dip” than a “let’s go kill some demons.” I’d maybe try, but I’d not make it. I always tell my friends that in the event of a zombie apocalypse, just throw me to them and run. I think this would be the same.

How did your experience writing this book compare or contrast with writing the first book, SALT? Did you find writing a sequel to be harder or easier?

Writing a sequel is definitely harder—especially when the book has to wrap up a series too. With SALT, it was a more straightforward, world-building, one girl’s journey through this particular aspect of her life. Storm is dual POV with Carter and Penelope—and obviously the stakes have to be higher, the struggles bigger because of what happened, and still resemble parts of Salt that people loved. And I also had to make Storm accessible to new readers who haven’t read Salt! So it was definitely harder, but I hope readers still love it too. 


Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book, or any of your characters?

I’m going to say “Flirtin’ With Disaster” by Molly Hatchet. I wrote the whole book listening to the Supernatural (tv show) Pandora and using the coffitivity app, which makes everything sound like you’re in a coffee shop.

Song is here:  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ci3afKw_mcY


What’s one thing in STORM that you hope readers will be most excited about?

Carter’s POV because I think readers will be surprised to see more of who he is—and that STORM has more Poncho and Vassago, two characters nearly every reader commented on wanting more of!
 ~*~
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Title: STORM
Author: Danielle Ellison
Release Date: Sept. 29, 2014
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Buy Links:
AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo Books


SUMMARY:

Up until recently, Penelope was a witch with no magic. After having it stolen by a demon when she was just a child, Penelope had been forced to rely on sharing others’ powers as she went through the grueling training required to become an elite demon hunter. Now Penelope has more magic than she’s ever known. And when you’re this powerful, who needs salt to keep the demons away?

But power has a dark side.

Carter Prescott just wants to hunt demons and be with Penelope. But suddenly, witches who formerly had no magic are developing terrible, out-of-control powers. Now the world Carter swore to protect isn’t just endangered by malicious demons―it’s threatened by the same witches who once defended it. And Carter is horrified to see his girlfriend starting to change. Stronger. More powerful. Unrecognizable. It’s just a matter of time before Penelope changes into something far beyond his worst fears...

Win:
SALT necklace,
a paperback of WATERFELL by Amalie Howard,
and an ARC of FOLLOW ME THROUGH DARKNESS


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Follow the YA Bound STORM Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

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Monday, September 29, 2014

{Review/Giveaway} HOLLY HEARTS HOLLYWOOD by Kenley Conrad


Keep reading for your chance to win a $10 giftcard!


O P E N I N G   H O O K:

   I'M ONE OF THE UNLUCKIEST people I know. I'm the girl who gets a pimple on picture day or starts her period at a pool part with boys. Nothing goes my way, and I've always been okay with that. So when I posted videos of me singing Carrie Underwood cover songs on YouTube I didn't think my luck would suddenly change.
(Page 6, US e-ARC edition)

Holly never wanted the spotlight. She loves to sing, but freezes up if asked to do it in public. She finds release through her YouTube videos--which nobody at school knows about. When a record producer stumbles upon them, he loves her sound. The studio is looking to get in on the pop country action and find the next Taylor Swift. While they love her sound, they don't love the way she looks. They offer Holly a contract to sing while a girl named Lacey appears as the face in public. Holly accepts and signs an agreement swearing her to secrecy. When Holly gets to Hollywood, she finds out that her new studio is about to sign bestselling country artist Grayson Frost, who is switching labels. Grayson and Holly knew one another in grade school, but Grayson tortured Holly. He's a big bully and Holly wants nothing to do with him. But then Grayson starts dating Lacey...and Holly starts thinking that maybe he's changing, because he doesn't seem so bad after all. When Holly's feelings for Grayson start to evolve and she finds out that Grayson likes Lacey for "her voice," what's a girl with a non-disclosure supposed to do?

I'll admit it right up front: I had a bit of a struggle reading HOLLY HEARTS HOLLYWOOD. BUT--and I'm serious here--that is MY fault. NOT the book's. 100% Truth. I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but I struggle with epistolary novels. I struggled with runaway successes such as THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER and WHERE'D YOU GO, BERNADETTE. I've struggled with the writing style from writers I greatly enjoy when they write in other styles, such as Meg Cabot and Rainbow Rowell. This is me, me, me. And since Holly's entire story is told through a series of diaries entries, I admit that I struggled a lot with that aspect of the novel.

That said, the concept for HOLLY HEARTS HOLLYWOOD is still so interesting and fun! I love books featuring actors, musicians, etc. It's a sort of wish fulfillment novel, I guess (Though I've never wished to be either, but you know...) I'm actually hosting A Week of Shooting Stars October 19th-26th to highlight several books in the genre. (You now have a sneak peek at what is to come!)

HOLLY HEARTS HOLLYWOOD is actually the first book in a series featuring Holly, so her journey has only begin. The debut novel is available digitally right now for only $2.99!
~*~
C O N T E N T R A T I N G S

Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG ( some kissing )
Language: PG ( I can't recall any )
Violence: --
Other: --
~*~
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

Fun and sweet! I like the way the microphone cord twists into a heart.. I also like the way the cord goes into the word "HEARTS" from the title and connects the heart and the image of the microphone. It's very clever and fun!
  ~*~
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Title: HOLLY HEARTS HOLLYWOOD
Author: Kenley Conrad
Release Date: Sept. 23, 2014
Publisher: Swoon Romance / Macmillan
Received: For Review

SUMMARY:

Seventeen-year-old Holly Hart wants to be a star. She moves to Los Angeles from the small town of Cedar Junction, only to hear she’s too fat and ugly to be a famous singer.

But when Shell Shocked Records looks past Holly’s plus-size and less-than-graceful-personality to offer her a recording contract, Holly cannot believe her good fortune. On closer inspection, however, the record execs want Holly to do all the singing, and a thinner and more beautiful girl, Lacey, would lip-sync and get all the credit. Holly goes for it because after all, she wanted to sing.

Contractually bound to secrecy, Holly is more than happy to sit backstage while Lacey shimmies in the limelight and basks in the fame. Before she knows it, Holly is friends with Serena, the pop-star daughter of a music-mogul, flirting with an intern, and developing a strange half-friendship with Lacey.

When Grayson Frost, the biggest country star in America, and coincidentally, a former school bully begins dating Lacey, Holly hopes that he won’t recognize or torment her.

Through a series of embarrassing and weird events, Holly gets to know Grayson and learns that he is much nicer and more mature than he was four years ago. Holly is horrified when she starts falling for him. When Grayson admits he fell for Lacey's voice, what is a girl to do when she can’t legally tell the truth at the moment when the truth matters the most?



I'm the author of the upcoming YA series Holly Hearts Hollywood, coming September 2014 by Swoon Romance. I'm a twenty-something cat lady who lives in Phoenix, Arizona. When I'm not working my office day job or writing books, you can find me either singing and dancing or binge-watching TV shows on Netflix.

AUTHOR LINKS:



Win (1) $10 Amazon Gift Card (INT)





Follow the YA Bound HOLLY HEARTS HOLLYWOOD Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

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Friday, September 26, 2014

{Alternative Free Fridays} THE GRIMM DIARIES by Cameron Jace


Not interested in the weekly Free Fridays title offered by Barnes and Noble?
I'm usually not, either!

I thought about it and realized just how many free e-books I've found and downloaded onto my nook. I decided to start sharing some freebies with you!

No matter your e-reader, no matter if you get the official weekly book or not,  I hope you enjoy my alternatives!




Title: The Grimm Diaries: Prequels 1-6
featuring:
Snow White Blood Red, Ashes to Ashes & Cinder to Cinder, Beauty Never Dies, Ladle Rat Rotten Hut, Mary Mary Quite Contrary, Blood Apples
Author: Cameron Jace
 

Available FOR FREE from:

WHY?

(Also! Today's OFFICIAL selection on the BN website is STORM by Brigid Kemmerer, which I spotlighted a couple of weeks ago. So if you haven't grabbed it yet and like elemental magic, snag it now!)

Fairy tales! Who doesn't love a good fairy tale?

...or six?


Cameron Jace is offering the first six prequel novellas in his series, boxed, FOR FREE!

Last year, I featured an excerpt from SNOW WHITE BLOOD RED on my blog for a release day blitz of a more recent title in the series, so I'm going to re-post it now to give you a taste of what this series has to offer:

Excerpt from SNOW WHITE ROSE RED

Dear Wilhelm Carl Grimm,

She is not that giddy, na├»ve, and helpless princess she pretends to be. Please don’t let her fool you with her innocence if you see her sing to the birds in the forest. Resist her charm from bringing joyful tears to your eyes, and shield yourself from her devious beauty before she deceives you into wanting to kiss her awake. It'll  be a kiss of death. Your death. That’s how she fooled the Huntsman, Prince Charming, and me, her birth mother.
I still remember the original script of the fairy tale, the one you wrote in 1812. It clearly stated that she was my own flesh and blood daughter. I don’t have the slightest idea why you altered it fifty years later.
What was the point of turning me into an evil, narcissistic, and heartless stepmother, blinded by jealousy and envy of the young princess?
For years, I have been looking forward to telling you the truth about her, but you were impossible to reach.
I am glad I found your brother, Jacob. He told me that you wanted to tone the stories down so children could sleep better at night, instead of having nightmares about the Queen who sought to eat her daughter’s heart and liver.
Shame on you, Wilhelm.
You, of all authors, knew why I wanted to kill her. My actions were justified. I was trying to save my kingdom from her wrath, before everything we loved was destined to an end. The same way you had to rewrite the true fairytales after cursing us, so the War of Sorrows would end forever after.
Night after night, and year after year, parents fed their children false bedtime stories, until your lies grew into inescapable memories. Your happily ever after lies, Wilhelm, shaped the so called fairy tale world.
I wondered why you didn’t burn the original scripts, instead of rewriting them. You must have figured out that sooner or later someone would dig up the truth and expose you. Altering it was the smarter solution. You let children believe that the bites were resurrecting kisses, and that torturing glass coffins were made for sleeping beauties, waiting for a prince to come and kiss them awake.
A wise man once said that the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he was someone else. You did the same with us, Wilhelm. You turned us into pastiches of the immortals that we really are, and made it harder for us if wanted to persuade the world otherwise.
I know that you did it to save us from her. And I appreciate how you concealed our real names, or we would have ended up like Rumpelstiltskin, tortured by those who knew of his real name.
But sometimes, I can’t help but wonder why no one ever questioned why I was called the Evil Queen, and why I was never given a real name in the books.
Was I so superficial to the world, so stereotypical and mundane? Why was I treated as if I were the monster of the week?
You know what I think? I think that the world never got the time to hate me. It just wanted to hate me long before it met me.
If I tell those who detest me about the true nature of their little princess, would they ever care about me half as much as they care about her?
I know that deep inside, they adore me. They like the way I talk, walk, dress, and even the way I kill.
They are just afraid to admit how much they love me. I am the Snow White Queen, strong enough that I don’t need anyone’s pity or love, because I am loved by the greatest and most majestic heart in the world:
Mine.


SUMMARY: 

What if all you knew about fairy tales was wrong? 


Warning: these Grimm Prequels are like snap shots of a magical land you're about to visit soon. I like to think of them as poisoned apples. Once you taste them, you will never see fairy tales in the same light again. 

The Grimm Diaries Prequels are a number of short books in the form of epistolary diary entries. The diaries are more of teasers for the upcoming series The Grimm Diaries, allowing you to get a glimpse of what to expect of the series. The 6 diaries are told by The Evil Queen, Peter Pan, Little Red Riding Hood, the Devil, Prince Charming, and Alice Grimm.

The first book in the series, SNOW WHITE SORROW, will be out in early 2013. 

Series Description: 

The Grimm Diaries are pages written in a Book of Sand, where each fairy tale character confessed the true stories once altered by the Brothers Grimm two centuries ago. To keep the truth about fairy tales hidden, the Brothers Grimm buried the characters in their dreams to never wake up again. But the curse is broken now, and the characters are allowed to wake up every one hundred years. They intend to tell the truth about really happened, and about an untold cosmic conflict between fairy tale characters. 

List of the available Grimm Diaries Prequels:


1 Snow White Blood Red
narrated by The Snow White Queen
2 Ashes to Ashes and Cinder to Cinder
narrated by Alice Grimm
3 Beauty Never Dies
narrated by Peter Pan
4 Ladle Rotten Rat Hut
narrated by Little Red Riding Hood
5 Mary Mary Quite Contrary
narrated by the Devil
6 Blood Apples
narrated by Prince Charming
7 Once Beauty Twice Beast
narrated by Beauty
8 Moon & Madly
narrated by Moongirl
9 Rumpelstein
narrated by Rumpelstiltskin
10 Jawigi
narrated by Sandman Grimm
11 Children of Hamlin
narrated by the Devil
12 Tooth & Nail & Fairy Tale
narrated by Jack Madly
13 Ember in the Wind
narrated by Little Match Girl
14 Jar of Hearts
narrated by Queen of Sorrow

Full Descriptions of the titles in the newly released bundle:

10.5) Happy Valentine’s Slay by Wee Willy Winkie
The real Sandman Grimm sheds a light on what happened in Jawigi, and tells about how some of the teens in Sorrow spend their Valentine’s Day.

11) Children of Hamlin by the Devil
The Devil tells the story of the Piper of Hamlin, who he really is, the historical events he witnessed, and his relationship to Ladle Rat. Most of all, why they call him the Black Death.

12) Tooth & Nail & Fairy Tale by Jack Madly
Jack Madly stole a sack full of baby teeth from Bluebeard’s enchanted castle, which reminds him of when he first met the Tooth Fairy when he was a child; a memory he wishes to forget.

13) Ember in the Wind by the Little Match Girl
All the Little Match Girl wants is to sell her matches so she uses the money to eat and find shelter from the cold. But no one in the cruel city of crowded London helps her. Eventually, she learns something about who she really is, and it changes her life forever.

14) Jar of Hearts by the Queen of Sorrow
The Queen of Sorrow, still trapped in the Dreamworld summons Cassandra, the fortuneteller, to ask her about the identities of Lost Seven. The problem with Cassandra is that she’s cursed that her predictions will never be believed. The Queen is still determined to believe her, but it will cost more than she can bargain for.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

{Double Review/Giveaway} ROBIN IN THE HOOD and STONE OF THIEVES by Diane J. Reed


Keep reading for your chance to win a $50 giftcard!


O P E N I N G   H O O K:

   BANK ROBBERY WASN'T EXACTLY WHAT I HAD IN MIND WHEN I filled out my career development profile in class this year. Sophomore girls at my school are expected to check off lofty goals, like "doctor," "lawyer," or my personal favorite, "entrepreneur." According to our mission statement, we're the movers and shakers of our generation, destined for Ivy League colleges like Harvard or Yale. But one thing you learn quickly at The Pinnacle Boarding School for Girls--everyone is lying through their teeth.
(ROBIN IN THE HOOD, Page 1, US paperback edition)


A modern-day interpretation of Robin Hood? Sign me up! The moment I heard about the Robbin’ Hearts Series, I was intrigued and ready to dive in. The first two books, ROBIN IN THE HOOD and STONE OF THIEVES, are out now, and the final book, SHERWOOD'S END, is coming later this fall. While the first book in the series is upper YA, the second book is New Adult with mature scenes that aren't meant for younger readers. The two books are also different in tone from one another, and, in fact, can each be read on their own, though they do interconnect.

ROBIN IN THE HOOD follows Robin as her family falls from grace. After a stroke that leaves her father in bad shape and exposes the fact that the once-rich family is now broke, Robin and her father flee to Turtle Shores, a hidden trailer park. Robin uncovers her father's shady past and dives into some illegal adventures of her own as she teams up with the hot and mysterious Creek to make money fast. The heart of this book is truer to the story of Robin Hood and stealing from the rich to help the poor.

STONE OF THIEVES is more of an original fantasy. Events from the end of the first book lead to a new adventure overseas for Robin and Creek. There are more mystical elements as Robin comes into her destiny and realizes she's more powerful than she ever knew. The outlaw gang from the first book is missing, but there are many new characters that give the novel a darker twist than its predecessor. I don't want to go into too many spoilery plot details, however!

The two books are definitely different in tone from one another. You can choose to read them on their own, though they build well and expand the characters and their world. The first book focuses on making it on your own and discovering first love (Though, warning: Insta-Love is in full force here!). The second book, on the other hand, has a more-established couple going off on an adventure together, and the relationship matures significantly. There's a lot more romance and relying on one another to survive. There's also a lot more fantasy! I like the way Reed brought new magical elements into the story and spun it around to keep it interesting. When the second book ends, you're left wondering about the journey that will lead Robin and Creek into the third book. Things happen fast in both books, making it hard to put down until you have answers. At times, it was hard to suspend belief over how easy things were for our thieves, who always got away scot-free, but it was easier to swallow because everything had that laid-back Robin Hood air to it.

I'm intrigued to know more about Sherwood in the final book and to get answers that have been brushed aside up until now. I'm also hoping that things come full circle and readers will be reunited with the eccentric folk from Turtle Shores, since I missed their nuttiness in the second book! At the same time, I think we're about to get another new cast of characters!
~*~
C O N T E N T R A T I N G S

Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: R ( sexual content )
Language: PG15 ( cursing, references to a lot of shady lifestyles, etc. )
Violence: PG13 ( There are some character deaths, but nothing overly graphic )
Other: ( robbery, mention of abuse )
~*~
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

While neither cover screams Robin Hood or necessarily goes together in terms of imagery, the black and white with a pop of color connects them. The paperbacks also have a lovely velvety feel to them!

The second book with its pop of red is my favorite of the two, and also lends a fantasy vibe to the book that I didn't get looking at the first cover!
  ~*~
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Title: ROBIN IN THE HOOD
Author: Diane J. Reed
Release Date: Oct. 1, 2012
Publisher: Bandits Ranch
Received: For Review

SUMMARY:

“Is it any wonder I became a bank robber?”
But she never dreamed she’d fall in love…

Wealthy high school student Robin McArthur thinks she has it all figured out when it comes to bilking her wealthy dad for guilt money as a substitute for his genuine affection. Until one day he suffers a stroke, and she learns the brutal truth: 

They’re broke. 
Her stepmom has skipped the country. 
And everyone from bankers to bookies has lined up in her dad's hospital room to collect on the millions he's racked up in debt.

Panicked and desperate, Robin figures she has two choices. Either surrender to the pestering caseworker and live in a skanky foster home, or take a chance and sneak her dad out of the hospital to make a run for it. Little does she know that stealing a car and hitting the road means that before the day is through, she will rob her first bank.

Now an outlaw, Robin finds a backwoods trailer park to hide her dad from authorities. There, she encounters Creek, a local bad boy who also commits crimes to provide for their motley neighbors. Realizing she could use Creek’s help, Robin proposes an ingenious plan—they should team up to rob banks together. But when their partnership leads to a romance that turns Robin’s world upside down, she soon begins to discover that people are more precious than pocketbooks, and real love means opening your heart to the kinds of treasures money can’t buy…


Title: STONE OF THIEVES
Author: Diane J. Reed
Release Date: May 8, 2014
Publisher: Bandits Ranch
Received: For Review

SUMMARY:

The Stone of Thieves . . . for centuries its magnetic draw has twisted the hearts of ambitious men and women with the promise of power, passion, and intrigue until it fell into the hands of unlikely thieves Robin and her boyfriend Creek. But can they steal their destiny away from the curse that pursues this magnificent ruby heart? As the stone begins to spread its sorcery, Robin races to find her long-lost mother in Italy in the hopes of discovering the truth about her unique gypsy heritage and the ruby heart that is rumored to steal souls. Yet when the desire for this stone by powerful members of her family threatens their very lives, Creek decides to take matters into his own hands to protect Robin, his greatest treasure of all . . .

STONE OF THIEVES is a sensual, stand-alone new adult novel and the sequel to ROBIN IN THE HOOD in the Robbin’ Hearts Series. Due to mature themes, readership is advised for ages 17+.



Diane J. Reed has a Ph.D. in English and a lifelong passion for books—both popular, forgotten & literary—as long as they touch her soul & make her want to tuck them under her pillow at night to remember them in her dreams. She writes novels that are infused with enchantment, where characters dare to break through boundaries and believe in true love. She also has a soft spot for artisans & outlaws of the heart, those who burn brightly to live each day as a gift—because it is! She loves to hear from readers, so feel free to visit Diane J. Reed's website at www.banditsranch.com or message her here to share the whispers of your spirit.

AUTHOR LINKS:



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