Friday, July 22, 2016

Reliquary Blog Tour: Interview + Giveaway


Happy Friday Everyone! Today I'm thrilled to welcome author Sarah Fine back to the blog to answer a few questions about her newest release, Reliquary. As you guys already know, I'm obsessed with everything Sarah writes so I couldn't be more excited for this new book! I hope you guys enjoy the interview and be sure to check the bottom of the post for all the details on a fun giveaway as well as the full list of blogs participating in Sarah's tour. 

The magic in this world has a darker edge, working like a drug and addicting those who use it. If you were able to take a group of readers and cross from our reality into this world, what are three things you would make sure they knew about magic before going in?

1. Ekstazo (pleasure) magic can be as dangerous as Knedas (manipulation) magic. Don't make the mistake of thinking it's harmless.

2. Pain can be your friend. Especially if you encounter a Knedas in a dark alley.

3. If you are carrying the slightest whiff of magic on you, Asa will know.

If Mattie could describe brothers Ben and Asa using only one word, what word would she pick for each of them, and would they agree with what she's chosen?

For Ben: Perfect
Ben's response: Of course I'm not perfect! I'm perfectly imperfect.

For Asa: COMPLICATED
Asa's response: *smirk* Shut the fuck up. 



If Mattie's world hadn't suddenly changed with Ben's disappearance, what part of planning her wedding would have been her favorite?

Wedding favors! Mattie loves the idea of planning a gift for her guests that both makes them happy AND represents how intensely ideal her life with Ben is and will be. 



I have a sneaking suspicion that Asa might make his way onto more than a few book boyfriend lists. Who would top Mattie's list of book boyfriends?

What she will tell you: Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. Edward from Twilight.
Who she's intrigued, frightened, and turned on by all at once (but will never admit it out loud): Jericho Barrons.

*Jenny excited flails at the mention of Barrons. MINE MATTIE*
Looking forward to book two, as a fun little teaser, what color would you say most accurately represents the events that take place?

Probably red. There is so much turmoil, upheaval, and pain for Mattie in Splinter, and so much ferocity and intensity from Asa, but also something very fundamental and necessary happening for both of them ... I think red might capture it. All that said, Splinter is one of the more humorous books I've ever written!

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions Sarah!

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RELIQUARY


Mattie Carver’s engagement party should have marked the start of her own personal fairy tale. But when her fiancé, Ben, is violently abducted the next morning, her desperate quest to find him rips her away from small-town life and reveals a shattering truth: magic is real—and Ben is hooked. It’s not the stuff of storybooks. It’s wildly addictive, capable of producing everything from hellish anguish to sensual ecstasy almost beyond human endurance.

Determined to find out who took Ben and why, Mattie immerses herself in a shadowy underworld and comes face-to-face with the darkly alluring Asa Ward, a rogue magic dealer, infamous hustler…and her missing fiancé’s estranged brother. Asa has the power to sense magic, and he realizes Mattie is a reliquary, someone with the rare ability to carry magic within her own body, undetected. Asa agrees to help find Ben on one condition: Mattie must use her uncommon talent to assist his smuggling operations. Now, from magic-laced Vegas casinos to the netherworld clubs of Bangkok, Mattie is on a rescue mission. With Asa by her side, she’ll face not only the supernatural forces arrayed against her but the all-too-human temptation that she fears she can’t resist.


 
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

SARAH FINE


Sarah Fine is a clinical psychologist and the author of the Servants of Fate and Guards of the Shadowlands series. She was born on the West Coast, raised in the Midwest, and is now firmly entrenched on the East Coast.


• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

GIVEAWAY

Three lucky winners will each receive a finished copy of Reliquary! To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway is open to US/Canada only.
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway


TOUR SCHEDULE:


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Review: How To Hang A Witch

HOW TO HANG A WITCH
Adriana Mather
Paranormal Young Adult
368 pages
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Available Now
Source: BEA

THE STORY:
Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials and almost immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves The Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were?
 

If dealing with that weren't enough, Sam also comes face to face with a real live (well technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff. But soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries old curse affecting anyone with ties to the trials. Sam must come to terms with the ghost and find a way to work with the Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first accused witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it's Salem. But history may be about to repeat itself.

MY THOUGHTS
How to Hang Witch gives us a look at how quickly mass hysteria can build and mob mentality can take over, and though it's not a story meant to be a profound examination of current affairs through the lens of the past, it's something that deeply resonates nonetheless given the tragic events around the world this year.

While we can't help but draw comparisons between the prejudice and hatred running rampant in Salem during the witch trials with that of today, this story also gives us an intriguing family curse to try and solve right alongside Sam and the mean girls clique that is the Descendants. The mystery surrounding the families with direct ties to the trials is well done, small clues given here and there to keep us interested, with Ms. Mather mixing just enough history with the paranormal to have us itching to do more in depth research once we close the back cover.

Though unraveling the family curse makes for the rapid turning of pages, older readers of YA like myself will likely find themselves needing to channel their inner teenager with regards to Sam, trying to see her fiery temper, snap judgements and impressive ability to push people away with a few cruel words through our younger eyes in order to keep from getting overly frustrated. In addition to Sam's youthful drama we also have a love triangle in which one point of said triangle is dead while the other two are living, and a group of high school girls who are a bit over the top in terms of nastiness, making it a bit hard to really settle in character-wise.

That being said though, those looking for something more story-driven than character-driven will likely appreciate this as a quick read and a fascinating take on a tragic event in our history, made even more so due to the author's direct link to Cotton Mather.

Rating: 3/5

Find Adriana:


This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Etched in Bone

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine and is a fun way to see what books other bloggers just can't wait to get their hands on!


ETCHED IN BONE
The Others #5
Anne Bishop
Urban Fantasy
Releases March 2017 from ROC

From Goodreads:

New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop returns to her world of the Others, as humans struggle to survive in the shadow of shapeshifters and vampires far more powerful than themselves…

After a human uprising was brutally put down by the Elders—a primitive and lethal form of the Others—the few cities left under human control are far-flung. And the people within them now know to fear the no-man’s-land beyond their borders—and the darkness…

As some communities struggle to rebuild, Lakeside Courtyard has emerged relatively unscathed, though Simon Wolfgard, its wolf shifter leader, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn must work with the human pack to maintain the fragile peace. But all their efforts are threatened when Lieutenant Montgomery’s shady brother arrives, looking for a free ride and easy pickings.

With the humans on guard against one of their own, tensions rise, drawing the attention of the Elders, who are curious about the effect such an insignificant predator can have on a pack. But Meg knows the dangers, for she has seen in the cards how it will all end—with her standing beside a grave.


SIMON AND MEG YOU GUYS! They have fast become one of my favorite almost-couples, and I'm hoping this is the book where we finally get to see them together. *rubs hands together in gleeful anticipation* I have to admit that I don't love the sound of Montgomery's shady brother, he's clearly going to cause all sorts of problems, but the Others always handle their business so I know he'll get what's coming to him. Also? That last line terrifies me. I don't want to lose any of my beloved Others! *sobs just thinking about it*

GoodreadsAmazon    

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Review: Allegiance of Honor

ALLEGIANCE OF HONOR
Psy-Changeling #15
Nalini Singh
Paranormal Romance-ish
Berkley
496 pages
Available Now
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
The Psy-Changeling world has undergone a staggering transformation and now stands at a crossroads. The Trinity Accord promises a new era of cooperation between disparate races and groups. It is a beacon of hope held together by many hands: Old enemies. New allies. Wary loners.

But a century of distrust and suspicion can’t be so easily forgotten and threatens to shatter Trinity from within at any moment. As rival members vie for dominance, chaos and evil gather in the shadows and a kidnapped woman’s cry for help washes up in San Francisco, while the Consortium turns its murderous gaze toward a child who is the embodiment of change, of love, of piercing hope: A child who is both Psy…and changeling.

To find the lost, protect the vulnerable—and save Trinity—no one can stand alone. This is a time of loyalty across divisions, of bonds woven into the heart and the soul, of heroes known and unknown standing back to back and holding the line. But is an allegiance of honor even possible with traitors lurking in their midst?


MY THOUGHTS
Allegiance of Honor is a unique installment in Ms. Singh's outstanding Psy-Changeling series, reuniting us with beloved couples and characters from previous books instead of focusing on a single primary romance as the political maneuvering in this world reaches an all-time high.

While perhaps a touch slower in terms of pace given the lack of romantic tension fans like myself have come to know and love from Ms. Singh, spending new time with some of the early couples that stole our hearts is nothing short of delightful. Sascha and Lucas, the pair that started it all, are at the forefront of this fifteenth installment, bringing a smile to our faces with their every appearance as they work together to raise baby Naya. Bringing a little humor to the rising tensions is a very pregnant Mercy, whom everyone continually tries to distract to keep her from focusing on the fact that she's yet to give birth. Vaughn and Faith, Judd and Brenna, Hawke and Sienna and so many others fill the pages alongside Sascha and Lucas, giving us longtime fans a true sense of how rich and expansive this world has become over the years, and leaving us with an intense desire to go back to the beginning and start all over again.

Those who have yet to read any of the books in this series should not start with this one, as the storylines from previous books all come to a head and there's no individual romance on which to focus when the unfamiliar politics might prove to be a bit confusing. Allegiance of Honor is truly a gift to the fans, a chance to revisit the past while basking in the present, watching and waiting with breath held to see what the future of the entire Psy-Changeling world is going to hold in store.

Rating: 4/5

Find Nalini:


This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Friday Flourish: Concealed + Exposed

Happy Friday Everyone!

It's disgustingly hot here (if it's under 93 degrees where you live, let me know where that is so I can move immediately. If it's over 93, let me know where you are too so I can avoid it ;-)), so I have an indoor kind of weekend ahead of me. *basks in the air conditioning*

One of my recent projects was a young adult post-apocalyptic series, a genre that had me really excited because I haven't done many covers in the way of post-apocalyptic or dystopian designs, and you guys know how much I love a new kind of challenge. When I know a book is going to be a part of a series, my overall design process takes a different path than with standalone covers as I need to make sure what I create for the first book has adaptability and branding potential moving forward. I want to make sure each book in the series fits with one another while still making a strong statement on its own, so with the Virus series author RJ Crayton and I spent quality time in the planning process figuring out just how we would connect each book visually.

RJ new she wanted a more symbol-focused design, a strong focal point in the middle that would stay the same book to book while the color scheme and textures would change to reflect each individual story. Given Concealed and Exposed both dealt with a viral outbreak and its aftermath, the biohazard symbol seemed like the perfect fit – a bold warning to catch the eye and hopefully intrigue enough to make readers want to know more.

I wanted to share both covers today so you could see how they worked together as a pair, and stay tuned for book three, Contained, in the coming months! I hope you guys love how they turned out:)

They said it was extremely hard to get.
They said it wasn’t airborne.
They said there was nothing to fear.
They were wrong.

Seventeen-year-old Elaan Woodson was supposed to be one of the lucky ones. She got one of the few spots in the subterranean protection unit designed to keep select scientists, military officials and their families safe from the deadly virus ravaging the world above.
But, how lucky are you really when the people in charge and those you love keep secrets from you? 

While Elaan has heard that what you don’t know can’t hurt you, she’s beginning to think otherwise. And she should…

GoodreadsAmazon


The safety of the underground bunker is left behind. Elaan and her friends are out in the open, exposed to the world above. Exposed to a world that has been ravished by the virus. Can they make it to the one person they've been told can provide them safety?


Find RJ:


You can check out more of my design work at Seedlings Design Studio  

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Review: Gifted

GIFTED
H.A. Swain
Young Adult/Sci-Fi
Feiwel & Friends
336 pages
Available Now
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
In Orpheus Chanson's world, geniuses and prodigies are no longer born or honed through hard work. Instead, procedures to induce Acquired Savant Abilities (ASAs) are now purchased by the privileged. And Orpheus's father holds the copyright to the ASA procedure.

Zimri Robinson, a natural musical prodigy, is a "plebe"--a worker at the enormous warehouse that supplies an on-line marketplace that has supplanted all commerce. Her grueling schedule and her grandmother's illness can't keep her from making music--even if it is illegal.

Orpheus and Zimri are not supposed to meet. He is meant for greatness; she is not. But sometimes, rules are meant to be broken. Here is a thriller, love story, and social experiment that readers will find gripping--and terrifying.


MY THOUGHTS
Gifted takes a little while to settle into, a futuristic world where young people have brain surgeries to catapult them to fame and fortune in music, arts or entertainment making it initially (and likely purposely) challenging to relate to Orpheus and his ilk. Zimri, being a lowly plebe and hardworking factory girl is of course easy to root for from the beginning, and watching as Orpheus finds himself walking a mile in her shoes makes their story a satisfying one.

Zimri is a young woman who's lost both parents to a world where one company single-handedly determines who is worthy of wealth and status and who is not, and though she's much easier to connect to than Orpheus, we never get to know either of them very well. Her relationship with her grandmother is the strongest of all those in this tale, the depth of her love and loyalty toward the woman who's always been there for her something that shines brightly from the pages. Zimri's friendship and eventual romance with Orpheus stays firmly on the surface, a few highlights and cute moments scattered throughout as they prepare to facedown Orpheus's father and the CEO of Chanson Industries–the company responsible for the brain surgeries–but we never delve too deeply into the emotional complexities that typically accompany a star-crossed type of romance.

Additionally, the final confrontation between Zimri, Orpheus and his father is shorter and less intense than expected, a few pulse-pounding moments as things fall apart holding our attention before everything is remedied quickly and easily, denying us the gritty details of a revolutionary action. All that being said though, Gifted is still a quick, enjoyable read, a look into a future that hopefully never comes to pass but isn't entirely hard to imagine given our fixation on the entertainment world as a whole.

Rating: 3.5/5

Find Heather.:


This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.