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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein

July 7th, 2015 @ 12:10 am
Posted by Bridget under Blog Tour Tags: Becoming Jinn, Lori Goldstein, Paranormal, Young Adult

Lori GoldsteinLori Goldstein is stopping by the blog today as part of her Summer of Jinn Blog Tour and she has a special announcement: Azra has a real, live voice! The audiobook for Becoming Jinn is fresh off the production block, and Lori’s giving away one Audible digital download exclusively on this blog. Enter to win below!

We also have a fun interview with Lori all about the main character in Becoming Jinn. If you can’t tell by the title this is a young adult paranormal story featuring genies! Becoming Jinn was released on April 21, 2015 by Feiwel & Friends!

If that wasn’t enough there is an exciting tour wide giveaway! Enter the SUMMER OF JINN Blog Tour Giveaway at the end of this post! Lori’s giving away two $20 gift cards: one to her local indie Harvard Bookstore and one to B&N! Redeemable in person or online. Open internationally. And she’s also running a special promotion in honor of the summer season. Buy #BecomingJinn by July 30 and receive free bracelet temporary tattoos. More info on Lori’s blog.

About Lori

Born into an Italian-Irish family, Lori Goldstein earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and worked as a writer, editor, and graphic designer before embracing her love of fictional people. Lori is the author of the young adult contemporary fantasy series Becoming Jinn (Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan, April 21, 2015; Sequel, Spring 2016). When not writing or reading (preferably from a sandy local), Lori can be found chatting books and perfecting the art of efficient writing through Twitter (@loriagoldstein).

You can visit Lori around the Web here: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr

Want to read more from Lori Goldstein?

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Summer of Jinn

DFT: For those of us who haven’t yet had a chance to read Becoming Jinn will you give us a short synopsis of the book?

Lori: Becoming Jinn is a modern spin on the traditional tale of wish-granting genies. So there are no lamps or bottles, no flying carpets, and no three wishes. The genies in my book are Jinn, which are spirit beings prominent in North African and Middle Eastern cultures. Becoming Jinn mixes the lore of the genies we know with that of the Jinn and is set in our contemporary world, in my home state of Massachusetts. The story follows my main character, Azra, from the day she wakes up on her sixteenth birthday and receives the magical silver bangle that forces her to start granting wishes. And I say force because the tradeoff of being able to use magic is that she’s now also tied to the Afrit, the dictatorship-like council that rules over the Jinn world. And learning to use her magic, learning to grant wishes, and keeping it all hidden from humans is just as difficult as Azra expected it would be. There’s flirtations and a budding romance, strong friendships and betrayals with her human and Jinn friends. And there’s a mystery surrounding her powers and especially surrounding the father she’s never met. The more she learns the more she realizes there’s a much darker side to becoming Jinn.

DFT: Can you tell us a little more about your protagonist?

Lori: Azra Nadira is descended from a long line of Jinn. On her sixteenth birthday, like all the members of all the generations who have come before her, she receives the powers that allow her to grant wishes for humans. But for the fifteen years before that, she’s masqueraded as a human. The transition proves just as difficult as she always feared it would be.

DFT: Azra is a spunky girl and unlike most of her kind she doesn’t want to be a genie.  She would prefer to just be a normal girl, but that’s not in the cards for her.  Because of this, she has had a hard time fitting in with others of her kind, but I liked that she was different.  What do you think is the best quality she possesses?  What do you think is her worst quality?

Lori: Azra’s best quality is her loyalty. When you break through the front so fiercely puts up, which isn’t easy to do, and enter her world, she will do anything for you. This quality, however, is also tied to her worst quality, which is being stubborn. Being so loyal to Jenny, a friend she lost when she was younger, makes it hard for Azra to give herself over to her Zar sisters. She was hurt by them and in some ways feels like opening herself up to new friendships is disrespectful to Jenny’s memory. Being stubborn means it takes Azra far too long to accept the love and help of those in her Jinn world.

Becoming Jinn

DFT: Azra has some great moments throughout the story and I was wondering if you can, without spoiling anything, tell us what Azra scene was your favorite to write?

Lori: My favorite scene to write was the ending. I knew what was going to happen from the very beginning, and once I got there, it was so much fun to get it on the page. It’s the one scene I’ll say “wrote itself.” And it matched what I had in my head from the very first one-page, plot-point outline I wrote, which is rare and pretty amazing—especially since it basically stayed the same from initial draft through final draft save for some very minor edits.

The ending is full of so much emotion and so much has built toward it. It completes Azra’s character arc while also opening the door to book two. While the ending isn’t easy and clean for Azra, it feels right for the book as a whole.

DFT: I have to ask a few questions about Henry because I just adored him.  He grew up next door to Azra, and they have a very interesting relationship. What do you like best about his character? Does he remind you of anyone from your real life?

Lori: I love Henry’s humor and the way he grounds Azra. He is in awe of her and yet at the same time is the only one who can be real with her and cut through her, at times, self-pity and self-centeredness. He brings out the best in her, and she knows it. While he’s not based on anyone in particular, there are certainly elements of my husband in him—especially that notion of unconditional support. That’s definitely a trait they both share. As is cutting through the B.S. ;)

DFT: Becoming Jinn is your debut novel, what was your reaction when you found out that you were going to be published for the first time?

Lori: If only I had a gif of me jumping up and down, Tom-Cruise-on-a-couch style…..there is no other part of this process that matches that feeling. When the call from my agent came in, I think I said two words to her in response. She probably thought I wasn’t happy about it! But I was so in shock, I couldn’t figure out what to say. The moment where your dream stops being a dream and becomes a reality is so surreal that you can’t actually feel it in that moment—at least I couldn’t. It took days for me to truly get it. Sometimes, I feel like I still haven’t.

DFT: Lucky for us this is just the first book in your series! Can you give us any hints as to what we can expect to see in book #2?

Lori: Book 2 has been done since November, which makes it hard to keep quiet about it! I can say it picks up shortly after book 1 ends, with Azra dealing with the aftermath of the wish made at the end of Becoming Jinn. It brings back all the characters from book 1 and introduces a couple more. It’s a big cast, which I love. It goes deeper into the Jinn mythology, and since the introductions to the Jinn world have already been done, it’s a fast-paced plot but still full of humor and heartache, like book 1.

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Tattoo Jinn

Follow all the stops on the Summer of Jinn Blog Tour:

July 2: B&N Teen Blog: My Favorite 2015 Debut Beach Reads

July 6: Fangirlish: Exclusive Chapter Reveal

July 7: Dark Faerie Tales: Q&A, Special Announcement, and Exclusive Giveaway

July 8: Adventures in YA Publishing: A BECOMING JINN Debut Lesson: The Trouble with Measuring Success

July 9: Patchwork Press: Write All Year Pep Talk: Breaking the Rules

July 10: YA Books Central: Exclusive BECOMING JINN excerpt with a signed book giveaway!

July 10: Fangirlish: 2 for 1 Friday

July 13: Comfort Books: Q&A

July 14: Bewitched Bookworms: Azra and Henry’s Favorite Beach Reads

July 15: Freshman Fifteens: The 15ers share their favorite beach reads

July 16: Children’s Book Review: All-Time Favorite Beach Reads 

July 17Katie’s Book Blog: Guest Writing Post

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contest

This contest is provided by Lori Goldstein

One lucky reader will win an Audible digital download of Becoming Jinn!
(International)

Becoming Jinn

Available April 21, 2015 by Feiwel & Friends

About this Book:

Forget everything you thought you knew about genies!

Azra has just turned sixteen, and overnight her body lengthens, her olive skin deepens, and her eyes glisten gold thanks to the brand-new silver bangle that locks around her wrist. As she always knew it would, her Jinn ancestry brings not just magical powers but the reality of a life of servitude, as her wish granting is controlled by a remote ruling class of Jinn known as the Afrit.

To the humans she lives among, she’s just the girl working at the snack bar at the beach, navigating the fryer and her first crush. But behind closed doors, she’s learning how to harness her powers and fulfill the obligations of her destiny.

Mentored by her mother and her Zar “sisters”, Azra discovers she may not be quite like the rest of her circle of female Jinn . . . and that her powers could endanger them all. As Azra uncovers the darker world of becoming Jinn, she realizes when genies and wishes are involved, there’s always a trick.

Click HERE to read an excerpt

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Review: Beauty’s Beast by Amanda Ashley

July 6th, 2015 @ 12:02 am
Posted by Steph under Review Tags: Amanda Ashley, Beauty's Beast, Fairytale Retellings, Paranormal Romance

Beauty's BeastTitle: Beauty’s Beast

Author: Amanda Ashley

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Series: N/A

Publication Date: September 2, 2014

Format: Paperback, 352 Pages

ISBN-10: 1420135627 (Zebra/Kensington)

ISBN-13: 978-1420135626 (Zebra/Kensington)

Reviewed by: Steph

Synopsis:

Beauty

Fair of face and figure, Kristine is young, innocent, pure. Yet she has been condemned to the gallows for killing a man. The only one who can save her is a lord so infamous that some say he is the son of the Devil himself…

And the Beast

Erik Trevayne is called the Demon Lord of Hawksbridge Castle, but few know of the curse he lives under. Or the terrifying changes slowly gnawing away at his humanity. When he weds her, all he wants of Kristine is a son. But when he beds her, a wild hope is born—that love that can tame even the most monstrous of beasts…

Quick & Dirty: A retelling of Beauty and the Beast as well as Phantom of the Opera, this book – while promising – just didn’t work for me due to a slow pace and lack of character depth.

Opening Sentence: Erik Trevayne, seventh lord of Hawksbridge Castle, stood at his wife’s beside.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

When Erik’s first wife died, her mother placed a curse on him, telling him he would slowly turn into a beast. The curse is now halfway complete, with the left half of his body completely covered in fur. He still has a promise to keep to his father though: to produce an heir in order to carry on the family name. His plan is to marry, get his wife pregnant as quickly as possible, and then kill himself before the curse is complete. Erik decides to go to the prison to find a wife, thinking a woman saved from death would not care who she married. There, he finds Kristine, a woman literally hours away from the gallows. They quickly marry and begin the process of trying to beget an heir. Something unexpected happens though: Erik begins to care for her and she for him. The curse is still slowly making its way through his body though, and they are having no luck finding a way to break it. Is Erik doomed to become a beast now that he’s finally found the woman he loves, or will they find a way to break the curse?

I’m not always interested in fairy tale retellings, but the description for this book had me intrigued. Then, when I realized it was a retelling of Phantom of the Opera as well as Beauty and the Beast, I found myself getting excited. Unfortunately, the book never really delivered. It moved very slowly, the characters were not well developed, and there were many cases of repetition, which made reading feel very tedious. Needless to say, I was actually happy when the book ended because it meant I could move onto something else.

As I said, the characters weren’t well developed and felt very two dimensional. Kristine is the heroine who is absolutely beautiful and excels at everything she attempts. Erik is the tortured hero convinced that no one could ever love him. And that’s about it. Neither character is really developed much beyond that. Thus, the love story is very hard to get sucked into. In addition to the lack of character development, the love story was just hard to believe in general. I was given no evidence as to why Kristine was suddenly enamored of Erik. He visits her room a couple times, and all of a sudden, she’s fascinated with him. I have no idea where the love came from, and that made it very hard to enjoy myself as I was reading.

Overall, I’m very happy to have this book behind me. I wish I could find something positive to say about it, but I just did not enjoy it at all. I haven’t read any Amanda Ashley books before, so I can’t say how this one measures up to her other works. Unfortunately, due to my experience with this tale, I probably won’t be trying any of her other books.

Notable Scene:

“Look at me, Trevayne.”

Unable to resist the power in Charmion’s voice, he looked up, felt himself impaled by the hatred blazing in her witch-black eyes. Her heated gaze trapped his, holding him immobile so he could neither move nor look away.

“A rutting beast you were, a beast you will become. Not all at once, my selfish one. Day by day, the change will come upon you, until you have suffered for every tear my daughter wept, for every drop of blood she shed this day.”

“No!”

She nodded once. “As I have said it, so it shall be.”

skull1

FTC Advisory: Zebra/Kensington provided me with a copy of Beauty’s Beast. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Event: ALA Annual Recap

July 6th, 2015 @ 12:01 am
Posted by Kaitlin under Event Tags: ALA San Francisco

ALA San Francisco

Kaitlin ALAThis past weekend, I was at ALA annual conference in San Francisco. (Excuse my ugliness in that picture). It was absolutely wonderful, but the journey was not without speed bumps, most of them on the way up:

Traveling from San Diego to San Francisco

My grandmother and I were supposed to go up early on Saturday at 7:00 from Southwest, and then land in SFO an hour and a half later. When we arrived, our flight was cancelled. There was a very nice worker who helped us reschedule the flight at a time much sooner, a flight not SFO but Oakland across the bay. We booked it across the airport and made it just in time to board.

When we landed at the Oakland airport, we decided to take the Bart to San Fran. We got to the Bart station two minutes before the train we should take was going to arrive. Two. The next one would have been an hour later. Not that we realized that at first, we were too busy buying tickets and then my grandmother forgot her luggage and had to run back to get it. We pulled through the doors just as the Bart took off, and let me tell you, the Bart is actually wonderful. There is beautiful views and it’s very fast.

We almost missed our stop when it got to the closest street to our hotel, but we hopped out in the nick of time (because for this trip the only way we seemed to travel was in the nick of time). Then, carrying our four luggages (three were completely empty to carry pack books), we wheeled our way in circles as we struggled to find our way around the maze like city. We were three blocks away and it took us half an hour to find the Park Central hotel, using the Map app on my iPhone.

We dropped off our luggage, grabbed our backpacks, and made our way to Moscone north where ALA was – just two blocks away. Again, we were inadequate navigators and it took an inordinate amount of time to get there. But when we did, we purchased our $60 exhibit only passes and we entered the conference.

ALA

ALA StairsI was in shock as we first entered. It was absolutely huge and it was my first conference, and it was a book/sensory overload. I couldn’t close my jaw, I was so appalled, and every booth seemed to call to me to visit it. The posters! The decoration! The stairs, even!

The thing about ARCs at ALA is that they’ll usually have two to three different stacks of advanced copies out on the tables, but the rest you have to ask the attendants about, because they are hidden under the table or in a cabinet until the other stacks run out. The attendants were, for the most part, super friendly. They chatted about books they enjoyed and were content to dig under the table for a specific early release you would die without. They offered their publicity cards and recommended their favorite novels.

Looking at my schedule, I realized that Rae Carson was signing in a different exhibit building until 11, so we hurried on down to meet her. HarperCollins and Random House/Penguin had the biggest publisher’s booths there, so I took a second the soak in the splendor of books everywhere and got in line. I grabbed my ARC of Walk on Earth a Stranger and then waited for a couple minutes as her line moved surprisingly fast. I found that at ALA, the lines could range from no line to an hour and a half; it just depended on the author.

I walked around the exhibits for awhile more as our arms got more and more sore from the heavy book-filled tote bags we were, well, toting around. I knew there would be tons of books, but I didn’t realize so many of them were ones I was totally excited to read. The exhibits were all gorgeous.

ALA Books 1

I noticed some people in the exhibit hall carrying wagons for their books. I was a bit appalled by how many books they were pushing into it, there must have been at least a hundred for day two, and a little annoyed that you weren’t allowed to have wheeled things in the hall which was a rule they were so clearly breaking.

Eventually we went to eat lunch and drop off the books I had gotten so far at the hotel, then coming back to do the Book Buzz stage for Macmillan, Harper, and the other major publishers. They had iced tea and cookies and told us about their best new releases, which made me super excited to read Dumplin’. I grabbed an ARC after at the booth.

Then we waited in a super long line, probably the longest at the conference, to meet Leigh Bardugo and get a coveted ARC of Six of Crows. It took over an hour but we met her, and she was the friendliest, most down to Earth person ever.

On Sunday, after a ridiculously overpriced breakfast (that restaurant charged 20 dollars for slices of their “special sourdough”), we made our way back to ALA. It was my last day so I tried to make the most of it.

I met Jamie from Month9Books who I had originally known off Twitter, and she was super sweet. I also met about four other bloggers. It was amazing talking with people who know and understand your bookish obsession! The whole conference was full of people who loved books! It still amazes me!

I got Serpentine and The Scorpion Rules signed that day. I had absentmindedly shredded my post-it for the personalization, which I explained when I met Erin Bow. She shrugged, used my badge name to personalize, and said “now you can’t sell it on eBay”. She was funny. When I met Cindy Pon, we realized we had a mutual friend and that Pon lives in San Diego, so I’ll be going to her book launch party in September at the ever-amazing Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore.

At the conference, I also picked up books for friends. I know from experience that it can be frustrating seeing all the fun on Twitter and having to stay behind, so I tried to be generous, getting books for several friends and bloggers. I got Bridget from Dark Faerie Tales five that she had requested.

The day was over for me at around 1:00, because we had to catch our flight back. After packing the suitcases we took the hotel car to the airport where we learned that our flight was delayed until 8:15. I had left ALA early for nothing. There was a bunch of trouble because we had sent off our luggage minutes before we had realized, and the worker hadn’t told us about the delay, so they had to search to find the luggage before we could try to change the flight, which we did, and then we ended up leaving at 3:50 rather than 8:15- thank goodness.

I read Firewalker on the way home. It was amazing. It ended with a cliffhanger. I pulled all my hair out in anger.

ALA Books 2Here are the books I am most excited about. Illuminae is a beast of a book. Not included in this stack are the books I almost missed but by some stroke of luck managed to find a couple minutes prior to leaving. The White Rose (The Jewel book 2!!) and Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes book 2!!).

I think I must have smiled so wide my face split when I spotted Ten Thousand Pieces of You, so wide that I concerned the publishing rep when she removed the copy for me.

One thing I do wish about ALA was that I had stayed Monday when they gave out The Rose Society and all of the display books, including a copy of Splintered by A. G. Howard with Untamed‘s cover on it. On the other hand, I’ve heard it can be kind of a bloodbath as people fight for their most treasured copies, which a part of me thinks would be fun to watch.

ALA was an incredible experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I don’t think I’ll be able to go back for awhile, until it moves back to the West coast, so I’ll have to content myself with Comic Con in a couple weeks. Nevertheless, I would encourage anyone with the chance to go to take it, as it is something you do not want to miss.

sig-DFT

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Contest Winner: Who Needs A Hero Book Contest!

July 5th, 2015 @ 10:03 pm
Posted by Kristie under Contest Winner Tags: Who Need's a Hero

a Rafflecopter giveaway

sig-DFT

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Contest Winner: The Notorious Pagan Jones by Nina Berry

July 5th, 2015 @ 10:02 pm
Posted by Kristie under Contest Winner Tags: Nina Berry, The Notorious Pagan Jones

a Rafflecopter giveaway

sig-DFT

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