Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Cover Reveal: Concealed by Christina Bauer

Welcome to the cover reveal for Concealed! This book will be published October 25, 2016. The cover was designed by Ink Monster.
Concealed by Christina Bauer
As a Grand Mistress Necromancer, Elea commands the ultimate power over spirit and bone… Magick that she’ll need in order to rescue her friends from the evil Vicomte Gaspard. In a matter of days, Gaspard will kill thousands of Necromancers by draining their magick, along with their life force.

To find and free her fellow mages, Elea must venture into some of the most dangerous places in the realm. What starts off as a rescue quest could easily turn into a suicide mission. And with the handsome mage Rowan along to help, Elea may be risking more than her life. Her growing feelings for Rowan might put her heart on the line, too.
Series: Beholder, #2
Genre(s): Paranormal, Young Adult

About the Author

Christina graduated from Syracuse University's Newhouse School with BA's in English as well as Television, Radio, and Film Production. Her day job is in marketing for companies like Microsoft, Cisco, and Zerto. Back in the go-go 90′s, she founded her own software start-up, Mindful Technologies. Christina believes that, upon close examination of Tolkien's text, it's entirely possible that the Balrog was wearing fuzzy bunny slippers.

This cover reveal was organized by Xpresso Book Tours.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Book Tour & Giveaway: Reign & Revolution by Janine A. Southard

Welcome to the Reign & Revolution blog tour!! This book was published April 12, 2016.

Reign & Revolution by Janine A. Southard
The Hive Queen Saga’s Thrilling Conclusion!

Rhiannon and her Hive have mastered space travel. Sort of. At least, they’re better at it. They’ve outsmarted kidnappers, survived severe oxygen deprivation, and heisted back their own ship engine from would-be thieves.

Since joining up, they’ve traveled further and further away from their home planet. But out on Yin He Garden Station (in Chinese-owned territory), home catches up at a physics symposium.

When Alan’s former research advisor makes an offer that’ll bring them home as respected members of society, Rhiannon knows she has to accept. But home isn’t exactly as she left it, and a hostile space fleet stands between her aging ship and her new/old life. Should she be running towards the fleet, or scurrying back into international space as fast as her craft can go?
Series: Hive Queen Saga, #3
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Young Adult
Book links: Goodreads * Amazon * B&N * Smashwords

Guest Post

Q: What was your favorite and/or funny thing about writing this novel and why?

A: I get really into my research when I’m working on a novel, and this one was no exception. Reign & Revolution has plenty of favorite learning moments to choose from. I adored describing my Chinese space station as well as adding verisimilitude to my gender-changing robot. I mashed up linguistics with sci-fi in-jokes to name the Goddess of Robots (“Saberhawen”). But my absolute favorite thing about writing this novel was the poetry contest that saves the world.

Side note: My copy editor says her favorite thing was taking out all the hyphens.

You need to know two things before we discuss the poetry contest.

  1. I am not a poet. Sure, I can write intentionally bad poetry, no problem. I did some for comic effect in a videogame I worked on once. But good poetry?
  2. The Hive Queen Saga is based in a Welsh-colonized future, so the characters appreciate good poetry more than the average reader. (There’s a lot that goes into Welsh-centric worldbuilding, about what’s realistic and what isn’t, but this segment is about poetry, okay. Poetry.)

Based on item two above, it made sense to have a very important poetry contest. Based on item one above, it did not make sense that I should actually write any poetry. Ack!

What’s more, what kind of poetry was I going to write? This is a more complex question than you might think. There’s a long history of Welsh poetry, and it’s very politicized. A quickie chronology of the politics goes something like this:

  1. Welsh people write poems about Wales and their history and their countryside. It tends to tell a story. It’s written in Welsh.
  2. England conquers Wales. (approx. 1300) If you want to be a powerful person, you have to go to English schools. If you want a good education, you go to English schools. You learn to write and appreciate English poetry, which is about feelings and Englishness. It is written in English.
  3. In the 1970s, radical poets write in Welsh about English oppression and other problems facing their nation. They’re jailed. (For writing in Welsh? Probably not, but it’s a part of what makes them so radical. Famous poets are tied to a civil-protest group that fights for Welsh-language on public signs and spaces.)
  4. “Anglo-Welsh” poetry becomes a thing, but no one is quite sure how to define it. It usually means writing in English, but with Welsh imagery and sensibility. Some poets try to stay away from inflammatory topics. Hardcore Welsh poets say these works aren’t Welsh enough; and the English think they’re too pastoral. Anglo-Welsh poetry apologizes for itself at every turn, yet it’s still a powerful poetic form.

There’s more to it than that, but these are the four basic steps. What your poem is about, how you structure it, and what language it’s in – all of these are heavily politicized.

So, about that poetry contest that saves the world.

I did a lot of research. I read a slew of poetry (radical and otherwise). I discovered my new favorite poet. (The national poet of Wales! Gillian Clarke. She is phenomenal.)

With relief, I realized that my colony planet had already solved the language issue for me: the characters speak English most of the time, so a widely accessible poem would have to be in that language. Even better, I contrived to have the necessary poem written by a character who could be competent, but not great, which took off a lot of pressure.

Finally, I made all the uber-Welsh choices in that list above. The poem that saves the world is about history and society (not feelings), and it is very politically radical in its context. It does everything a Welsh poem should do.

...it’s still never going to win a poetry award, but that wasn’t the point.

About the Author

Janine A. Southard is the IPPY award-winning author of Queen & Commander (and other books in The Hive Queen Saga). She lives in Seattle, WA, where she writes speculative fiction novels, novellas, and short stories... and reads them aloud to her cat.

All Janine’s books so far have been possible because of crowdsourced funds via Kickstarter. She owes great thanks to her many patrons of the arts who love a good science fiction adventure and believe in her ability to make that happen.

Get a free piece of fiction when you sign up for Janine A. Southard's newsletter (http://bit.ly/jasnews). The newsletter will keep you current on things like her latest release dates (and fun news like when her next Kickstarter project is coming). Usually, this is once a month or so, but sometimes goes longer or shorter. Your address will never be shared, and you can unsubscribe at any time. Plus: free ebook! (Rotating freebies mean I can’t tell you what the work is right this second.)

You can hang out with Janine online where she’s crazy about twitter (@jani_s) and periodically updates her website with free fiction and novel inspirations (www.janinesouthard.com)

By entering the giveaway, you are accepting my giveaway policy.
Tour-wide giveaway (INTL)
Paperbacks of the complete Hive Queen Saga + cover art poster
eBook copies of the complete Hive Queen Saga
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Follow the rest of the tour here.

This book tour was organized by Xpresso Book Tours. The giveaway is sponsored and administered by the author.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Blood of the Prophet by Kat Ross

Welcome to the cover reveal for Blood of the Prophet! This book will be published September 12, 2016.
Blood of the Prophet by Kat Ross
Visionary. Alchemist. Savior. Saint.

The Prophet Zarathustra has been called many things. Now he spends his time drawing pictures of weird-looking goats. That’s what happens when you’ve been stuck in a prison cell for two hundred years. But the man who might be mad, and is definitely supposed to be dead, has suddenly become very valuable again…

It’s only been a few weeks since Nazafareen escaped the King’s dungeons with her da─ôva, Darius. She hoped never to set foot in the empire again, but the search for the Prophet has led them to the ancient city of Karnopolis. They have to find him before Alexander of Macydon burns Persepolae, and Darius’s mother with it. But they’re not the only ones looking.

The necromancer Balthazar has his own plans for the Prophet, and so does the sinister spymaster of the Numerators. As Nazafareen is drawn in to a dangerous game of cat and mouse, her newfound powers take a decidedly dark turn. Only the Prophet understands the secret of her gift, but the price of that knowledge may turn out to be more than Nazafareen is willing to pay…
Series: The Fourth Element, #2
Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy

About the Author

Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She lives in Westchester with her kid and a few sleepy cats. Kat is also the author of the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day (Skyscape, 2014), about a world where the sea levels have risen sixty meters. She loves magic, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Preferably with mutants.

By entering the giveaway, you are accepting my giveaway policy.
Copy of Book 1, The Midnight Sea
This cover reveal was organized by Xpresso Book Tours. The giveaway is sponsored and administered by the author.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Book Blitz & Giveaway: The Exiled Seven by Blake Renworth

Welcome to the The Exiled Seven book blitz! This book was published May 12, 2016.

The Exiled Seven by Blake Renworth
When Alariq is exiled from his home city-state for a crime he did not commit, only six stand by his side, convinced of his innocence and steadfast in their loyalty.

The seven dwarfs must set out from Ishtara to look for a new place to call home, but in doing so, they make a discovery that puts them all in danger. They are rescued and taken in by a mysterious and beautiful outsider, who lives alone in the depths of Loraheem Forest. What follows is Alariq’s struggle to come to terms with his exile, as those around him seek to make a place for themselves in this new life. Soon, however, it becomes clear their situation is more complex than they initially realized, and they begin to wonder if there is more behind Alariq’s exile than simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Told in a unique storyteller voice, this reversal and reimagining of the classic fairy tale explores the themes of shattering betrayal, the subsequent struggle to trust again, and the basic desire to take control of one’s own destiny.
Series: The Exiled Series, #1
Genre(s): Fantasy, New Adult
Book links: Goodreads * Amazon * B&N * Kobo


If you will, please imagine the tallest and most beautifully handsome man you can, the complete and perfect embodiment of classic male beauty, charm, and chivalry.

Now—cast this image far from your mind. For this tale is not about him. Many of such tales have already been told, and to tell yet another would be a great disservice to the other heroes of the world.

The hero around whom this tale revolves—and a hero I assure you he was, even if your faith may waver during the events that follow—was a hero of a different sort. Though it would be altogether unfair to say that he did not entirely look the part. He was as handsome as dwarfs come. Strong, in both physique and demeanor, and clearly one who commanded respect. But his jaw-length, dark blonde hair, the color of wet straw, and not even five-foot stature are not what you and I are accustomed to seeing in our mind’s eye when we think of the heroes of tall tales. Nor his slightly crooked nose or angular jawline, for that matter.

What about his personality, you ask? For, of course, looks are not all that matter in a champion. And I applaud your depth of character. But sadly, I must disappoint you and your commendable optimism. For this hero was not charming, or dashing, or gallant, or really very pleasant in any way at all. In fact, he could be downright unpleasant to be around when in one of his all-too-frequent foul dispositions. And unfortunately, it is in such a disposition that we find Alariq as we join his story.

As disagreeable as Alariq was, I am sure you will find his demeanor quite understandable. You see, his story is an unfortunate one. We find him, and his six loyal companions, banished from their city-state, Alariq for a crime he did not commit, and the others for their loyalty to him and their faith in his innocence.

Seven dwarfs they were, exiled and alone.

By entering the giveaway, you are accepting my giveaway policy.
Blitz-wide giveaway (US/CAN)
A Kindle e-Reader
This book blitz was organized by Xpresso Book Tours. The giveaway is sponsored and administered by the author.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Book Blitz & Giveaway: #Kissing by Ellie Brixton

Welcome to the #Kissing book blitz! This book is was published June 14, 2016.

#Kissing by Ellie Brixton
I was always the good girl.

Then when the pressure became too much, I took off and found me a bad boy.

Niko. The hot, British rock star and frontman of the Halos.

He took my angel wings and gave me a lot of things, well, everything but the Big O.

And fidelity.

So with my #fail in hand, I did the worst thing imaginable.

I went home. The insta-nagging, criticism, and impossible expectations reminded me why my life #sucked—the reason I left in the first place.

Well, everything was the same except for JQ, my high school crush. With a snug T-shirt and jeans that fit in all of the right places, it looks like he became man and maybe it was time for me to become a woman.

#Kissing is a sexy, rock star romance for new adult, college, and contemporary romance readers who enjoy love stories with an HEA.

Author's note: #KISSING is a full-length, standalone novel. Due to strong language and content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.
Genre(s): Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Book links: Goodreads * Amazon


The particular frenzy of backstage morphs from last minute monitor repairs—and choking back the remnants of stage fright—to the synchronous heart-pumping anticipation of those opening chords as the music stretches from here to infinity. Instruments and amps and hundreds of voices transform what might be understood as merely sound and instead whisper their truths to our souls.

Since I can't have the dream house and dream life, I'll take this. The moment promising the transcendence of music.

Niko told me he used to puke before going on stage and then said it stopped when I came along. The blowjobs and sex help, I'm sure of it, because he's one-hundred percent swagger as the lights follow him across the stage.

Mitty appears, his bass strung low, but not for style points, rather, his long arms. Jill ghosts into position, but then the light catches her hardcore expression and if nothing else, she's a rock goddess. There's no disputing it even if there's not much else to like about her.

Kenji's last, having changed into a purple robe with a white fur collar and a gold crown studded with jewels. He throws off the robe and pounds his chest, his nightly ritual before going bananas on the drums.

My body hums as I elbow my way to the front. Hundreds of fans keep the autumn chill out of the venue. The lights dim before flaring back on.

My shoulders relax. My mind goes quiet. People all around me cheer, calling out to the band, hands already raised in the air, yearning for that thing only music provides.

About the Author

Ellie Brixton is a unicorn by day and an author by night. She's a firm believer in eating dessert first and fancies herself a cookie connoisseur. Although she runs every day, she wishes for a 1959 Cadillac convertible, in pink of course. This is her first novel.

By entering the giveaway, you are accepting my giveaway policy.
Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)
$25 Amazon gift card and a digital copy of #Kissing
This book blitz was organized by Xpresso Book Tours. The giveaway is sponsored and administered by the author.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Lavender in Bloom by Lily Velez

Welcome to the cover reveal for Lavender in Bloom! This book will be published July 25, 2016. The cover was designed by Steph’s Cover Design.
Lavender in Bloom by Lily Velez
It’s the year 1802 in Avignon, France…

Noah Capet has spent most of his young life living simple and unvaried days in the hushed countryside of southern France. Quiet, reserved, and diffident, his preference for existing is to do so in solitude, keeping to himself both in town and on his family’s farm—a predilection that’s altogether disrupted when a newcomer to town by the name of Jeremie Perreault begins an unremitting quest to befriend him.

Jeremie is everything Noah is not. Charismatic and gregarious, he leaves a trail of charmed admirers in his wake wherever he goes. Expressive and idealistic, he talks without end about his deep love for old books and his spirited dream to one day travel the world on a literary pilgrimage.

Over the course of a single summer, the two form an unlikely friendship, but just as quickly as it develops, it soon entirely dissolves as they’re forced to face the truth of what has unexpectedly emerged between them.

Lavender in Bloom is a tender and tragic coming-of-age story about first love and self-discovery, and a poignant reminder that time is fleeting and always takes with it the choices we’re too afraid to make.
Genre(s): Historical, Romance, Young Adult

About the Author

Lily Velez has been writing stories since she was six years old. Not much has changed since then. She still prefers the written word and her overactive imagination over the 'real world' (though to be fair, her stories no longer feature talking dinosaurs). A graduate of Rollins College and a Florida native, when she's not reading or writing, she spends most of her days wrangling up her pit bulls Noah and Luna, planning exciting travel adventures, and nursing her addiction to cheese. All this when she isn't participating in the extreme sport known as napping. You can learn more about Lily and her books at www.lilyvelezbooks.com.
By entering the giveaway, you are accepting my giveaway policy.
Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)
$25 Amazon gift card
This cover reveal was organized by Xpresso Book Tours. The giveaway is sponsored and administered by the author.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Book Review: Ash by Malinda Lo

I found out about this book on Tumblr, and as soon as I read “lesbian Cinderella,” I was hooked and bought it right away.
Ash by Malinda Lo
Cinderella retold

In the wake of her father's death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted.

The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King's Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Though their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, it reawakens Ash's capacity for love-and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love.

Entrancing, empowering, and romantic, Ash is about the connection between life and love, and solitude and death, where transformation can come from even the deepest grief.
Age: Young Adult; 14 years and older
Review: 5 stars
This book is so incredibly unique. I loved everything about it.

What I liked about this book, and most retellings of the classics, is that it added its own unique spin on a classical story. We all know (hopefully) the story of Cinderella. But this one is complete with the classic mischievous fairy (not the Disney kind) whose magic comes with a price and magic.

I liked the fact that the fairies were the original mischievous kind: the kind that wants to trap you in its circle and never let you go. The kind that has changelings. The kind that isn’t always nice. Another awesome part of this book was the magic and the story of how humans came to reject it. Magic was always a part of the human world, but it dwindled and humans moved on, worshipping religion over magic.

I also loved Ash. She was such a relatable character who had much spirit within her. I loved how connected she was to nature and fairy-kind, which makes sense because of her mother.

Sidhean is a fairy, and not the Tinker Bell kind. He’s dangerous and powerful, but Ash doesn’t seem to care. He is really the only fairy we got to know in the story. I originally was weary of him, but I grew to like him the more Ash interacted with him.

Kaisa was a lot of fun, and I wish we could have seen more of her. Though it is obvious that Ash and Kaisa are falling for each other, I also feel like they didn’t spend enough time together for that to be true love. However, I recognize that the author can’t put every single detail about their lives in there, because then the novel would be incredibly long. There were also points where the author skipped time a little bit, and I assume they hung out during that time as well.

I would have liked to know more about fairies and their personalities, but apart from the brief storytelling moments, we heard very little about them. Fairies were primarily generalized and we didn’t know their story—except for Sidhean. I’m sure this was on purpose, especially because the novel was about Ash, but it would have been nice to know more about fae kind.

This book is full of magic, dangerous fairies, and magic lore, and because of this I recommend it to everyone looking for a fun read. When reading this, I got the same vibe as I did with reading Fairest by Gail Carson Levine, so I recommend it to those who love her books.
Book links: Goodreads * Amazon * B&N * iTunes