Friday, May 22, 2015

Illusionarium Blog Tour: Interview + Giveaway

http://www.rockstarbooktours.com/2015/05/tour-schedule-illusionarium-by-heather.html

I'm crazy excited today to welcome author Heather Dixon to the blog as part of the promotional tour for her latest release, Illusionarium. I've always been fascinated by the idea of parallel worlds, so as soon as I read the synopsis for this book I knew I needed it in my life immediately. Given my obsession with the multiverse concept, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to ask Heather all sorts of parallel world-based questions, so I hope you all enjoy the interview and add Illusionarium to your lists if it's not already there. Welcome to Supernatural Snark Heather!

If Jonathan were asked to introduce himself to all the readers out there about to share in his story, what’s one fun personal fact he would toss out to help break the ice?

Jonathan would emphasize that he’s no one important; in fact, he might not even introduce himself at all. In the book, he insists that he’s a sort of person. Sort of tall. Sort of smart, but sort of not. Sort of curly hair, sort of thin, just…sort of. He’s a behind-the-scenes character who’s thrown into an adventure and has to rise up to meet it.

One thing that Jonathan does love: helping others. It’s manifested in his goal of becoming a surgeon, but throughout the story he gets kicked in the teeth time & time again, just so he can save his family. He’s selfless, and that isn’t sort of at all.

If you could step into the world of Illusionarium and bring with you one small thing from our modern world, what do you think would fascinate Jonathan most?

Ooo, good question. Jonathan would probably be fascinated with any kind of medical technology—x-rays and MRI’s and such. Super exciting, I know. I’m pretty sure he’d be fascinated with a moon rock. Heck, I’d be fascinated with a moon rock. That generation went to the moon with technology less powerful than a cell phone. Insane. I really respect that.

Let’s say parallel worlds truly do exist and you manage to find your way into one only to come face to face with another version of yourself. What would you most want to know about the life she’s lived?

I’d hope my alternate-world version is super exciting; maybe I’ve done adventurous things like, you know, eaten llama meat or something. Since real life is a lot more boring than fiction, I’d bet my alternate-version self isn’t much different than my real self. 

In fact, the encounter would probably just be me getting mad at myself for being such a loafer.  Like Calvin here, when he meets himself.


click to enlarge


Go figure.

A deadly plague is always more terrifying to me in a piece of fiction than any villain or monster could ever hope to be since it feels much closer to our reality. Which is more likely to send you into a state of panic: The threat of a plague or the zombie apocalypse? *shudders*

Zombie apocalypse, for sure. With plagues, you just need to remember to wash your hands. But avoiding zombies—while they are crawling through your windows, scratching at your doors, clawing through your flowerbeds, waiting in the plumbing for you to go to the bathroom—that takes a lot more work. I’ve been building up my food storage and practicing with a machete, of course, but could you really machete a family member if they wanted your brains? I couldn’t. Thankfully, I don’t have any brains…so this will never be a problem.

If the worlds of every piece of fiction were in fact parallel worlds that we all could travel between, what one character would you most like to meet in person and what villain would you hope never crosses your path?

THEY ARE THE SAME CHARACTER.


The Child Catcher, from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. So amazingly awesome, so absolutely terrifying…kids had to live in the sewers to avoid him. In a lot of ways, the Child Catcher is symbolic our own vices, dressed in candy and roses to lure us from safety and entrap us in our own misdeeds…yeah.  Best Villain Ever.

*Jenny falls down dead* This guy haunted my dreams for YEARS. YEARS HEATHER! *takes deep breaths*

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

• • • • • • • • • • • • 

ILLUSIONARIUM


What if the world holds more dangers—and more wonders—than we have ever known? And what if there is more than one world? From Heather Dixon, author of the acclaimed Entwined, comes a brilliantly conceived adventure that sweeps us from the inner workings of our souls to the far reaches of our imaginations.

Jonathan is perfectly ordinary. But then—as every good adventure begins—the king swoops into port, and Jonathan and his father are enlisted to find the cure to a deadly plague. Jonathan discovers that he's a prodigy at working with a new chemical called fantillium, which creates shared hallucinations—or illusions. And just like that, Jonathan is knocked off his path. Through richly developed parallel worlds, vivid action, a healthy dose of humor, and gorgeous writing, Heather Dixon spins a story that calls to mind The Night Circus and Pixar movies, but is wholly its own.

AmazonB&NiBooksGoodreads




• • • • • • • • • • • 

HEATHER DIXON


Heather Dixon grew up in a large family with four brothers and six sisters. She is a storyboard artist as well as a writer, and lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Viennese waltz is her dance of choice. She is the author of the novel Entwined.


• • • • • • • • • • • •

GIVEAWAY

One lucky winner will receive a finished copy of ILLUSIONARIUM, plus an ARC of THE UNQUIET by Mikaela Everett! Please enter via the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway is open to US addresses only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

WEEK ONE
5/11/2015- Chapter by Chapter- Interview  
5/12/2015- Bumbles and Fairy-TalesReview  
5/13/2015- FiktshunGuest Post  
5/14/2015- A Dream Within A DreamReview  
5/15/2015- Two Chicks on BooksGuest Post
WEEK TWO
5/18/2015- Mundie MomsGuest Post  
5/19/2015- Falling For YAReview  
5/20/2015- Fire and IceInterview  
5/21/2015- Reading with ABCReview  
5/22/2015- Supernatural SnarkInterview

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Review: Shards of Hope

SHARDS OF HOPE
Psy-Changeling #14
Nalini Singh
Paranormal Romance
496 pages
Berkley
Available June 2nd
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Awakening wounded in a darkened cell, their psychic abilities blocked, Aden and Zaira know they must escape. But when the lethal soldiers break free from their mysterious prison, they find themselves in a harsh, inhospitable landscape far from civilization. Their only hope for survival is to make it to the hidden home of a predatory changeling pack that doesn’t welcome outsiders.

And they must survive. A shadowy enemy has put a target on the back of the Arrow squad, an enemy that cannot be permitted to succeed in its deadly campaign. Aden will cross any line to keep his people safe for this new future, where even an assassin might have hope of a life beyond blood and death and pain. Zaira has no such hope. She knows she’s too damaged to return from the abyss. Her driving goal is to protect Aden, protect the only person who has ever come back for her no matter what.

This time, even Aden’s passionate determination may not be enough—because the emotionless chill of Silence existed for a reason. For the violent, and the insane, and the irreparably broken…like Zaira.


MY THOUGHTS
Shards of Hope delves us deeper once again into the cool and calculating minds of the Psy race, and as always, it’s an absolute treat to watch our lead couple pull themselves out of the darkness that was Silence and into the light. Aden and Zaira, as damaged by the brutal way the Psy race disciplines their young as Vasic, Kaleb and Sahara before them, are unique as a couple in that they’ve had a lifetime together prior to us meeting them, their shared past making their eventual romance all the more satisfying.

Aden, perhaps the least Silent of the Psy protagonists immediately preceding him, makes it easy to fall in love with him quickly, shedding his Silent skin with far greater speed than Zaira, though the development of their romance is anything but fast. He’s more than aware of Zaira’s absolute need for a rigid structure to her life, the strength of her rage as a result of all that was done to her when she was young something that cannot go unchecked, and so the two of them take beautiful baby steps forward in changing the nature of their relationship. Each small step feels like a massive accomplishment however, Ms. Singh giving us glimpses now and then of everything the two of them faced in Arrow training as children to help us understand the emotional challenges they face, and we can do nothing but smile as the two of them fight their pasts to have a chance at their future.

While the Psy-Changeling series has always included time with characters other than our main couple – small snippets of characters whose stories have happened or will happen – Shards of Hope feels as though it bounces around a touch more than previous installments as Aden and Zaira uncover a massive chess game that aims to create a war between Psy, Changelings and humans. The middle in particular meanders a touch as our time with Aden and Zaira exclusively is limited, but as always, Ms. Singh introduces new characters who immediately grab our attention and touches base with beloved ones, so it’s hard to work up any kind of frustration at being denied additional time with our primary romantic pairing.

Overall, Shards of Hope uncovers a complicated plot that will undoubtedly have far-reaching effects in future books, but it anchors us with Aden and Zaira’s relationship, ensuring that we don’t get so overwhelmed with all the political maneuvering that we lose our emotional connection to their story. Here’s hoping a Changeling romance is up next though, as it’s been a while since we’ve gotten to take a walk on the wild side.

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.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Review: Lion Heart

LION HEART
Scarlet #3
A.C. Gaughen
Young Adult/Historical
348 pages
Bloomsbury
Available Now
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Scarlet has captured the hearts of readers as well as the heart of Robin Hood, and after ceaseless obstacles and countless threats, readers will finally find out the fate of the Lady Thief.

Imprisoned by Prince John for months, Scarlet finds herself a long way from Nottinghamshire. After a daring escape from the Prince's clutches, she learns that King Richard’s life is in jeopardy, and Eleanor of Aquitaine demands a service Scarlet can’t refuse: spy for her and help bring Richard home safe. But fate—and her heart—won’t allow her to stay away from Nottinghamshire for long, and together, Scarlet and Rob must stop Prince John from going through with his dark plans for England. They can not rest until he’s stopped, but will their love be enough to save them once and for all?


MY THOUGHTS
Lion Heart, like Lady Thief before it, is not always an easy read, a villain drunk on power with the might of a royal name behind him causing every muscle in our bodies to seize up as we flip the pages, trying valiantly to keep from throwing the book across the room in the hopes that mighty Prince John will feel it. While we have faith that Ms. Gaughen will usher Rob and Scarlet to a happy end by the time we close the back cover, that faith doesn’t lessen the intensity of their story, and we start each chapter with excitement and dread battling for supremacy as we wait to see what’s in store for our epic couple.

Scarlet has been easy to root for from the beginning, an innate need to protect those she loves driving her to step into the line of fire repeatedly, and through it all she holds herself together with a strength and grace we’re sure we wouldn’t be able to muster were we faced with the same circumstances. While she does have a brief moment where she seriously considers the tried and true romantic gesture of pushing Rob away for his own protection, her senses quickly return to her and she fully embraces the fact that she and Rob will forever be stronger together than apart.

After a lengthy build up with Prince John and his Machiavellian scheming to permanently remove his brother from the throne, the final showdown does happen fairly quickly and leaves us with almost no follow up as to what happens to our beloved cast of characters in the aftermath. That being said though, Ms. Gaughen does include an author’s note in the end that details a bit more of the history on which the story is based as well as where she took a few creative liberties, and those few pages provide quite a bit of closure. Overall, Lion Heart and the entirety of the Scarlet series is outstanding, both heart-wrenching and heartwarming in equal measure, and satisfying on every possible level.

Rating: 4/5

Find A.C.:

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

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Cover Evolution: City of Fae


I'm hugely excited and honored today to be a part of the blog tour for Pippa DaCosta's paranormal new adult novel, City of Fae. As many of you already know, I had the pleasure of working with both Pippa and Meredith of Bloomsbury Spark on this cover, so I thought it might be fun to do a little something different for my tour stop and give you guys a behind-the-scenes look at how this cover evolved over the course of the design process.


This was the original raw image. What first struck me about it was the old-world feel to the background city and pavement, and the very eerie quality to the mist as it swirled around the bold girl in red. I instantly pictured this image with London behind her as she stood strong against whatever paranormal creepiness might be hiding in the fog.

The initial critique of this image, while positive overall, raised questions about the model's facial expression. Her downcast eyes seemed too passive for Alina, so my first order of business involved finding a fiercer face for our heroine. Luckily for me, there were a series of shots of this same model available, so with a few small tweaks to color, I was able to give her a new look with relative ease.

After adding London to the background and making some color adjustments to help the cover pop, I ended up with this:


As you can see, I also made a small tweak to the garment wrapping around her shoulders, bringing the fabric in a little closer to her body on the left so as to add a special effect with a spiderweb later. The concept for this cover involved a disintegration effect, with Alina's body gradually dissolving into spiderwebs (to find out why that fits this story so well, you'll just have to read! ;-). I knew in order to achieve this effect, I had to build Alina's dress up and out, adding volume first so I could then subtract in places once I had more material to work with:


This is a very rough approximation of the final gown, you can see the new sections of fabric aren't quite blended into the original dress as of yet. In addition to building the bottom of her gown, I also had to create a large chunk of pavement to cover Alina's feet, otherwise the bottom hem of her original skirt would have been visible through the web.

The dress/web disintegration effect was done with a series of masks in Photoshop, adding pieces of the web in some areas and essentially deleting sections of web from the dress in others. This was a tedious process with a great deal of trial and error, and though I emerged from this round of proofs temporarily blinded from staring at my screen for so long, I think the final effect was worth it!


At this point the design was nearly finished, with only a few small tweaks remaining. I added some colored smoke and a slight purple glow around her body to give the cover a more ominous and paranormal feel:


The final steps included adding the small web detail on her shoulder where I'd removed the fabric before and incorporating the type. I knew I wanted a typeface that was elegant and sophisticated, befitting the regal quality of her dress, but I also knew the tunnels underneath the city played a role in the story, so I wanted to make sure the type had a grittiness to it as well. I made a few small adjustments to the letter shapes themselves and worked in a subtle texture, and then with the addition of the Bloomsbury Spark logo, a few extra smoke trails weaving around the title, and Pippa's name, we had our final cover!



CITY OF FAE
From the moment Alina touches London's hottest fae superstar, breaking one of the laws founded to protect all of her kind, her fate – and the fae – close in.

Below ground, the fae High Queen plots to claim the city as her own and places her pawns, ready for the battle to come. A battle she cannot lose, but for one small problem – Alina. There are four ancient keepers powerful enough to keep the queen in her prison. Three are dead. One remains … And to fight back, Alina risks sacrificing everything she has come to love.

This New Adult urban fantasy is packed with action and suspense and will have you yearning for more forbidden fae romance.

Find Pippa:

Be sure and check out the previous stops on the tour for more interviews, guest posts and City of Fae awesomeness!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Interview + Giveaway: Katie McGarry and Nowhere But Here


I couldn't be more excited today to be a part of the promotional tour (thanks Hannah and HarlequinTEEN!) for Nowhere But Here, the latest release from Katie McGarry. I have been a complete and utter Katie fangirl from page one of Pushing the Limits, and when I found out Katie's new series focused on a motorcycle club, I may or may not have dropped dead of swoon. All Katie's boys are magnificent book boyfriend material, but when she went ahead and added biker to the book boyfriend makeup my little heart nearly exploded in anticipation.

I had the pleasure of asking her a few questions about motorcycle clubs and of course Oz in particular, so I hope you all enjoy the interview. Don't forget to check the bottom of this post for a full list of participating blogs as well as a chance to win a finished copy!

You spent a lot of time researching the ins and outs of motorcycle clubs for Nowhere But Here. What's one small thing about them people might be surprised to learn?

Motorcycle clubs can be extremely family oriented. The club that I shadowed for my research for NOWHERE BUT HERE had a family style potluck dinner several Friday nights during the month. In general though, this club required that anyone under eighteen years of age leave around eight in the evening. After this, the party would go into full swing.

Just for fun, what would Oz or the members of Reign of Terror have to say about the portrayal of motorcycle clubs in Sons of Anarchy?

Oz especially would shake his head. It’s shows like this that shape the public’s perceptions of motorcycle clubs. Oz wouldn’t argue that there are motorcycle clubs that dabble in illegal activities, but those are referred to as 1% clubs—meaning that out of all the clubs there are, only 1% of those clubs participate in illegal activities. This means that a good majority of motorcycle clubs abide by the law. A club like Oz’s is a brotherhood of men.

You've written a number of swoon-worthy book boys over the years. If each of them was asked to describe you in one word, what word would that be?

I think each of them would describe me as hopeful. Noah, Ryan, Isaiah, West, Logan, and even Oz know that I like to put each of them in very difficult situations, but I always have hope that they will find themselves better by the end of the story over where they started.

If Emily could reach out to any of the young women from the Pushing the Limits series and ask for relationship advice as things progress with Oz, who do you think would be the most helpful to her?

Emily would definitely reach out to Echo of PUSHING THE LIMITS and Rachel of CRASH INTO YOU. Emily and Oz of NOWHERE BUT HERE share that attraction yet hate at first sight like Echo and Noah did in PUSHING THE LIMITS. But like Echo and Noah, Emily and Oz end up with a love that is epic.

I believe that Emily would eventually reach out to Rachel of CRASH INTO YOU because there is a connection between Isaiah and the NOWHERE BUT HERE crew. Careful readers will be able to make the connection in NOWHERE BUT HERE, and for those who don’t pick it up right away, stick with the THUNDER ROAD series and it will be explained.

Motorcycle clubs seem to embrace nicknames for their various members. If Reign of Terror was to consider you one of theirs, what nickname might they give you?

That’s a fantastic question! Examples of two of the nicknames of the people I hung out with were Fluffy and Mother.  Maybe my road name would be Writer Girl? Sometimes that’s what I would overhear me explained as when people asked. Road names aren’t something members get to choose for themselves. It’s a name that’s given to the member by the club. I met several members whose nickname was a reminder of a moment that made many people laugh.

Thanks so much for answering my questions Katie!

• • • • • • • • • • • 

NOWHERE BUT HERE


Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They're the good guys. They protect people. They're…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member—is in town, he's gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream. What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.




 • • • • • • • • • • • 
 
KATIE McGARRY 


Katie was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie is the author of the full-length Young Adult novels PUSHING THE LIMITS and DARE YOU TO, and the e-novella CROSSING THE LINE. Her debut novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS, is a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and an RT Book Reviews 2012 Reviewer’s Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel.

Writing has given Katie an excuse to pursue her passions. Research for her books has provided her with the amazing opportunity to train with baseball players, ride along in a drag car at ninety-six miles per hour and experience boxing and mixed martial arts. The most memorable moments for Katie are when she speaks to groups of teenagers about her research, writing and the truth that no dream is out of reach. Katie would love to hear from her readers.


Don't miss out on more amazing books by Katie McGarry!
Pushing the Limits: Goodreads | Amazon
Crossing the Line (e-novella): Goodreads | Amazon
Dare You To: Goodreads | Amazon
Crash Into You: Goodreads | Amazon
Red At Night (Harlequin More Than Words) eNovella - Free from Amazon
Take Me On: Goodreads | Amazon
• • • • • • • • • • •

GIVEAWAY


Thanks to the generosity of HarlequinTEEN, I have a finished copy of Nowhere But Here to give away on the blog today. WOO HOO! To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway is open to US addresses only.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

WEEK ONE:
5/18 - Supernatural Snark (Interview)
5/19 - Step Into Fiction (Review)
5/20 - Novel Ink (Review)
5/21 - Mundie Moms (Guest Post)
5/22 - Book Rock Betty (Kiss & Tell Post)

WEEK TWO:
5/25 - The Irish Banana Review (Review)
5/25 - Jenuine Cupcakes (Interview)
5/27 - No BS Book Reviews (Review)
5/28 - Once Upon A Twilight (Guest Post)
5/29 - Fiction Fare (Review & Interview)

Friday, May 15, 2015

In the Beginning: THE WINNER'S KISS First Lines Blog Tour + Giveaway


I feel an embarrassing happy flail coming on everyone. Today I have the absolute pleasure of participating in a very special blog tour. 6 days. 6 blogs. 6 lines from The Winner's Kiss, the third and final book in Marie Rutkoski's amazing Winner's Trilogy.

*FLAILS*

My love for this series defies description so I won't try to put it into words, but if you haven't had a chance to read The Winner's Curse and The Winner's Crime yet, I hope you run to your nearest bookstore or library and get them immediately!

And now, I bring you the 4th line of The Winner's Kiss tour:


*Jenny falls down dead of want and nerves*

Since one teaser surely won't be enough, be sure and check out all the below blogs for 5 additional lines (and go here for the official cover reveal!):

Tuesday, May 12th – Cuddlebuggery
Wednesday, May 13th – Love is Not a Triangle
Thursday, May 14th – The Book Rat
Friday, May 15th – Supernatural Snark
Saturday, May 16th – YA Bibliophile
Sunday, May 17th – Forever YA

• • • • • • • • • • • •

THE WINNER'S KISS

 
War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it, with the East as his ally and the empire as his enemy. He’s finally managed to dismiss the memory of Kestrel, even if he can’t quite forget her. Kestrel turned into someone he could no longer recognize: someone who cared more for the empire than for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she cared for him. At least, that’s what he thinks.



But far north lies a work camp where Kestrel is a prisoner. Can she manage to escape before she loses herself? As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover unexpected roles in battle, terrible secrets, and a fragile hope. The world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and Kestrel and Arin are caught between. In a game like this, can anybody really win?

GoodreadsAmazon
 

 
Find The Winner's Curse:

AmazonB&NGoodreads

Find The Winner's Crime:

AmazonB&NGoodreads

• • • • • • • • • •

MARIE RUTKOSKI



Marie Rutkoski is the author of the YA novel The Shadow Society, about a girl who discovers that she’s not human and that her kind are terrorists in an alternate world where the Great Chicago Fire never happened. The Shadow Society will be published October 30, 2012. Marie has also written the children’s fantasy series The Kronos Chronicles, including The Cabinet of Wonders, The Celestial Globe and The Jewel of the Kalderash. The Cabinet of Wonders, her debut novel, was named an Indie Next Kids’ List Great Read and a Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year, among other honors.

Rutkoski grew up in Bolingbrook, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), as the oldest of four children. She attended the University of Iowa. After graduating, she lived in Moscow and Prague. Upon receiving her Ph.D. from Harvard University, she held dual appointments as a lecturer there in both English and American Literature and Language, and History and Literature. Rutkoski is currently a professor at Brooklyn College, where she teaches Renaissance Drama, children’s literature and creative writing. She usually lives in New York City with her husband and two sons, but she and her family are now living in Paris for the 2012-2013 academic year. 


• • • • • • • • • • •

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the generosity of the Macmillan team, I have one copy of The Winner's Crime to give away on the blog today (please note: this is book 2 of the series). To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway is open to US addresses only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway