Sunday, August 31, 2014

Splash into Summer 2014 Round-Up (And Survey Results!)

Check out the schedule of events for both
Oh, Magic Hour and A Backwards Story!
Don't miss a second of all the great stuff we have in store for you!
If you post about our underwater friends online, share your link here!
Grab some promotional buttons for your blog
and stop back for fun guest posts, exciting author visits, giveaways, reviews,
and more!
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Everyone, thank you SO MUCH for participating in Splash into Summer!

Emily, Dani and I have had so much fun with you guys, and we hope you have as well!


Please leave a comment if you'd like to see anything changed or added during 2015's 5-year anniversary! (WOW!) Is there anything we have too much/little of?


Also!!! Here are the results for the survey we put together. 
Your answers made me chuckle!


Some answers were left blank or the same, so here's a list of compiled unique answers!

Ariel gave up her voice to become a human. What would you give up if offered the opportunity to be a mermaid?

My fear of deep water.

My real life friends, obviously. Or my life as a human in general?

I love to cook. I would give up my ability to cook to be a mermaid. Honestly, this isn't really a big sacrifice since I have no idea how I'd cook underwater, anyway.

If you could be a mermaid for a day, what would you do?

I don't even know where to start on this one. There are so many things I'd love to do as a mermaid. I'd probably begin by spending an hour or so simply teasing humans with mermaid sightings to make sure the mermaid myth gets some attention (and perhaps is overthrown), then I'd swim with the dolphins and other friendly fish. Last, I try to find Atlantis or more underwater cities to hang out the mer-folk.

Explore as much as I can! I would love to see some sunken ships!

Pal around with the Pacific Northwest orcas!

If you were a selkie, where would you hide your skin so no one could find it?

I would hide it in a hidden wall at my grandparent's house

I'm going to trust you not to tell. I've never understood my brethren's foolish compulsion to hide their skins, their live in fear as long as they are separated from them. In this modern age of clever tailors, there is no need to ever be separated from your skin. I simply maintain a plethora of complexly designed clothing and clever accessories. Think of all the bags with hidden compartments for guns...get the picture?

Inside one of my beat-up old costumes.
What is the best underwater treasure you own?

I love how there are two interpretations for this answer!
For those of you who responded as mermaids, the answers were:

As a mermaid, my greatest underwater treasure is easily my home.

Probably a necklace found in one sunken ship I explored ;)

And for those of you responding as what you actually own as humans:

I have really nice coral earrings

A string of pearls.
What is your favorite type of underwater creature?

Orca whales

I don't think I have a single favorite underwater creature. I love so many. I do love powerful godlike entities, though.

I love cuttlefish

Mermaids.

What is your favorite underwater novel or movie?

Other than The Little Mermaid...well, I just finished Of Poseidon, which I loved, but I also really enjoyed Forgive My Fins

Dark Life, by Kat Falls

Syrena trilogy by Anna Banks (only mermaid books I've read so far) and of course, The Little Mermaid. Childhood favorite <3 b="">

Dolphin or Sea Lion?

The universal answer was...

Dolphin!

Kelpie or Narwhal?

50/50 Split!

Seashells or starfish?

50/50 Split!

The Little Mermaid: Hans Christian Andersen or Disney?

2/3 prefer Hans Christian Andersen and 1/3 prefer the Disney version!




Want EVEN MORE mermaids and friends?  Most Thursdays, I run a feature entitled "A Twist in the Tail" for all things mythological, as well as fairy tales, mermaids, classic retellings, etc. 

Love fairy tales and mythology?
Fans of mermaids, dragons, unicorns, and other mythical creatures?
Enjoy when a beloved classic tale is retold?
A Twist in the Tail Thursdays features all this and more!

Here's what you might have missed 
during this year's
Splash into Summer:

(And here's what you missed at Oh Magic Hour The below round-up list is only from ABS!)



GIVEAWAY WINNERS:
We'll be emailing you this week, so keep an eye on your inbox!



GUEST POSTS:

*"Mermaids: Swimming from Fiction to Real Life" with guest poster W.Memes
* "Coral & Bone Epic Playlist" by Author Tiffany Daune
*"Mermaid Statues From Around The World" by blogger The Flashlight Reader
*"To Tail or Not to Tail…" by Author J. Kathleen Cheney
*"Russian Rusalki" with DREAMING ANASTASIA Author Joy Preble
*Behind the Scenes with Author Soman Chainani on the Mermaid Spotting in A WORLD WITHOUT PRINCES!
*Zoraida Córdova (Author of THE VICIOUS DEEP) "On Trilogy Making, Book Babies, Beasties, and Picking Favorites. Or, THE VAST AND BRUTAL SEA is my favorite of the trilogy"
*Guest poster Trish Thacker Interviews Author Seanan McGuire and Reviews ONE SALT SEA
*"Here's to Selkies and the Lives Lived Between Two Worlds" by Author Sarah McGuire
*"Edible Mermaids: Ningyo and Rumiko Takahashi's Mermaid Saga” by Author Sarah Cross
*"The Process Behind Designing A Book" with MONSTROUS BEAUTY Author Elizabeth Fama



AUTHOR INTERVIEWS:

*Anna Banks, Author of The Syrena Legacy (OF POSEIDON, OF TRITON, OF NEPTUNE)
*Jennifer Donnelly, Author of DEEP BLUE
*Amalie Howard, Author of WATERFELL
*Seanan McGuire, ONE SALT SEA


FUN FEATURES:

*What Makes Mermaids Special
*Learn How to Look Like A Mermaid, Part I!
*Top Ten Books For Non-Mermaid Fans
*{WoW: Splashy Ones to Watch} DANCING ON KNIVES by Kate Forsyth and THE SUMMER OF CHASING MERMAIDS by Sarah Ockler
*Mermaid Spotting in The Guild, Seaason 6!
*Alternative Free Fridays: MADLY by M. Leighton
*{Interior Design Vlog} DEEP BLUE by Jennifer Donnelly
*Introducing...Sirena Von Boo from Monster High!
*Coming Soon: MYTHS AND MERMAIDS: Oracle of the Water by Jasmine Becket-Griffith
*Mermaid Spotting in THE SANDMAN: The Story of Sanderson Mansnoozie by William Joyce!
*{WoW: Splashy Ones to Watch} SACRED SEAS by Karen Amanda Hooper
*{Alternative Free Fridays} DROWNING MERMAIDS by Nadia Scrieva and A MERMAID FOR CHRISTMAS by Nichole Chase
*Get Decked Out in Mermaid Fashion! (Learn How To Look Like A Mermaid, Part II)
*Mermaid Spotting in WONDERS OF THE INVISIBLE WORLD by Patricia McKillip



REVIEWS & SPOTLIGHTS:

*PRETTY IN PEARLS by Tera Lynn Childs {YA Novella}
*DEEP BLUE by Jennifer Donnelly {YA}
*SEVEN TEARS INTO THE SEA by Terri Farley {YA}
*ONE SALT SEA by Seanan McGuire {Adult}
*ATLANTIA by Ally Condie {YA}
*ASHES ON THE WAVES by Mary Lindsey {YA}


Thanks for stopping by throughout the event.  
I hope you had as much fun as we did!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

{Giveaway + Cover Design Vlog} THE JEWEL by Amy Ewing



The Jewel (The Lone City #1)
by Amy Ewing
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: September 2nd 2014

Synopsis:

The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.

Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.

Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence... and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.

COVER DESIGN ANALYSIS VLOG:

THE JEWEL looks really, really pretty in person. Like, well, a jewel. It shimmers and shines and is multi-faceted!

I just had to film this beauty for you. Take a look:





 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg


Follow the FFBC The Jewel Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.



Amy Ewing is the young adult author of THE JEWEL, the first in a trilogy from HarperTeen, coming out September 2014.

She grew up in a small town outside Boston, where her librarian mother instilled a deep love of reading at a young age. Amy moved to New York City in 2000 to study theater at New York University. Unfortunately, her acting career didn’t quite pan out. She worked in restaurants, as an administrative assistant, a nanny, and a sales representative for a wine distributor before the lack of creativity in her life drove her to begin writing.

Amy received her MFA in Creative Writing for Children from The New School, where she was lucky enough to meet a fabulous community of YA writers who keep her sane on a daily basis. She lives in Harlem, where she spends her days writing, eating cheese, and occasionally binge watching The Vampire Diaries.


Win (1) of (3) copies of The Jewel (Us Only)





Friday, August 29, 2014

{Review/Giveaway} CROSSING THE ICE by Jennifer Comeaux

Follow the tour for more great reviews, author interviews, excerpts, and more!


CROSSING THE ICE is debuting on sale for 99¢!
Get it while the sale lasts!
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

   THERE WAS NOTHING QUITE like the sound of ten thousand people gasping at once.
   Especially when it was because my butt had just slammed into the cold, hard ice.
   I scrambled to my feet and caught up to my partner Mark as fast as my skates could take me. I’d dreamt of this day all season — skating in front of our home American crowd at the World Championships in Los Angeles. But the dream had quickly become a nightmare. Two falls already in our free skate and we still had one more throw jump remaining.
   Courtney Elizabeth Carlton, you are going to land this throw if it’s the last thing you do!
   Mark set his hands on my hips, and we glided on a backward curve until he sprang me into the air. The bright lights and the large Staples Center crowd blurred around me as I pulled my arms in tight and spun three times. My right blade hit the ice for the landing, but my body tilted dangerously forward.
   A surge of panic took hold of me, shaking me into action. I touched the ice to steady myself, and I sighed with relief as I avoided splatting again.
   Small moral victory.
(Pages 6, US e-book edition)


I am a sucker for novels about ice skating and gymnastics. I'll tell you that right up front. They're my favorite sports, and I always begged for (but never got) lessons as a child. There was even a figure skating series (I forget the title now) that I used to read as a kid, and over the years, I followed those girls all the way to the Olympics. I still adore both sports--and reading about them, too. Jennifer Comeaux has been on my radar for a long time because she's previously written another figure skating series. When I heard about the tour for CROSSING THE ICE, I immediately wanted to take part and finally have a chance to read her!

Courtney has always dreamed of going to the Olympics. She finally has a second shot at making the team this year with her pairs partner Mark. They botch World Championships, however, which means the US can only send two teams to the Olympics, not three. One of those spots is almost guaranteed to reigning champions Rebekah and Evan. The other spot could be theirs, but they're neck and neck with another team, sister/brother combo Stephanie and Josh. When her coaches Emily and Sergei decide to bring Stephanie and Josh to train at their rink for extra "motivation" to get Courtney and Mark to step up their game, the pressure is on. The only thing worse than working with the competition? Having romantic feelings for Josh, feelings that Courtney shouldn't act upon. Josh is the competition, after all. Plus, how can the two ever be together if one of them is destined to lose out on the Olympics?

I was a huge fan of Josh in this book. CROSSING THE LINE is tagged "New Adult," so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. A lot of the books in the genre are...not great. There's just so much drama, and the guys aren't always nice and down-to-earth. It's not a genre I read often. I make exceptions for ice skating books, however! I was pleasantly surprised, too. The book is very straight-forward, and while you have a typical "mean girl" in pairs competitor Stephanie, her brother Josh is wonderful. He's really shy and quiet, but he's really thoughtful and kind. He has some melt-worthy moments, and Court has a great guy on her hands. The few times they're on the ice together are like magic because they're completely in-sync, and I really wished fate had gone a different way in life and made them partners, rather than competitors. I guess I have that same romantic vision of falling for your partner that Courtney mentions always having, lol. Blame the movies!

I really liked the way the story came together and evolved. Even though elements of the story are predictable, there are enough surprises to keep readers wondering until the very end. I'm really happy with something that happened toward the very end of the book, which finishes everything well. At the same time, it made me hope that I wasn't done in this world, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that there would, in fact, be a sequel. Poking around at Comeaux's other skating series, I realized that it's a prequel series revolving around Courtney's coaches Emily and Sergei. Apparently, a younger Courtney even makes an appearance! I don't feel that I've missed out on anything by reading CROSSING THE ICE before LIFE ON THE EDGE and its sequels. The two are completely independent of one another and companions rather than a direct continuation. At the same time, I have even more interest in going back and reading Comeaux's previous series now, and it's already been on my radar for quite some time! One of these days...!


EXCERPT FROM
CROSSING THE LINE
by Jennifer Comeaux:


I turned to Josh with my arms folded and my head cocked to the side. “So, you’re an athlete, a dancer and a musician? If you tell me you’re a skilled artist, I’m gonna have to hate you.”
He laughed. “I can barely draw a stick figure.”
“Whew.” I swiped my hand across my forehead.
“Even if I was the next Picasso, though, I wouldn’t have told you.” He paused and held my gaze. “I don’t like the idea of you hating me.”
My stomach fluttered. Josh didn’t often make extended eye contact, but whenever he locked those sinfully blue eyes on mine, I became a mesmerized puddle of swoon.
~*~
C O N T E N T R A T I N G S

Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG13 ( lots of kissing )
Language: PG ( Nothing too bad that I can recall )
Violence: G ( Nothing bad that I can recall )
Other: --
~*~
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

This cover will attract ice skating fans. I always grab books with skating covers. I like the way there is a heart etched into the ice around blurb, showcasing the fact that there will be romance on the ice.
  ~*~
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Title: CROSSING THE ICE
Author: Jennifer Comeaux
Release Date: Aug. 3, 2014
Publisher: Jennifer Comeaux
Received: For Review
SUMMARY:

Falling hard never felt so good.

Pair skaters Courtney and Mark have one shot left at their Olympic dream. They vow not to let anything get in their way, especially not Josh and Stephanie, the wealthy and talented brother and sister team.

The heart doesn’t always listen to reason, though...

The more time Courtney spends with sweet, shy Josh, the harder she falls for him. But they are on opposite sides of the competition, and their futures are headed in opposite directions. Will their friendship blossom into more or are their paths too different to cross?
~*~
Jennifer Comeaux is a tax accountant by day, writer by night. There aren’t any ice rinks near her home in south Louisiana, but she’s a diehard figure skating fan and loves to write stories of romance set in the world of competitive skating. One of her favorite pastimes is traveling to competitions, where she can experience all the glitz and drama that inspire her writing. 
Author Links:
~*~
****Giveaway*****

Ready to check out
CROSSING THE LINE?

Enter to win...


  a $10 gift card and a signed CROSSING THE LINE bookmark!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

{Alternative Free Fridays} OBSIDIAN by Jennifer L. Armentrout


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!

I'm a huge fan of Jennifer L. Armentrout. HUGE. I've been a fan of hers and supporting her since the very beginning:

I've previously reviewed The Covenant series books HALF-BLOOD, PURE, DEITY, ELIXIR and APOLLYON, and done a guest post with both Armentrout and cover designer Kate Kaynak on the Covenant series design. I've also audio-recorded and shared Armentrout's recent audio from the SENTINEL Tour Launch Party!

I've also reviewed her stand-alone YA novel CURSED, featured an excerpt from her newest release DON'T LOOK  BACK, as well a post with Armentrout on Halloween Memories, as well as several of her non-YA novels, WAIT FOR YOU, TRUST IN ME, BE WITH ME, and FRIGID.
  
Today's freebie is from the one Armentrout series I HAVEN'T READ!
(Because her cliffhangers are killer. I decided I could only handle one cliffhanger series [Covenant] at a time. I've been waiting to read the Lux Series until it was complete, and the final book just came out this month! Soooo...here is the first book FOR FREE!!!)



Title: OBSIDIAN
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
 


Available FOR FREE from:
WHY?


Aliens usually aren't my thing, but I did enjoy watching Roswell. And so far, Jennifer Armentrout has never steered me wrong. I trust her fantasy novels to take me away on a grand adventure. I also expect her to rip my heart apart and give it back to me in pieces. I'm so glad Lux is now complete because I cannot handle more Armentrout Cliffhangers!!!

Now I just need TIME.

I hope you have more time than I do, because here's the first book for FREE!

SUMMARY: 


Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something... unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don't kill him first, that is.