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I Belong

Who Needs a Hero: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

June 25th, 2015 Bridget Posted in Who Needs A Hero 41 Comments »

Who Needs A Hero

Welcome to the Who Needs a Hero Event! Each day during the event we are featuring heroes from young adult novels! Today we have Elias from An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. An Ember in the Ashes is Sabaa’s debut novel. It is a high fantasy novel and the first in a new series! I had a chance to read an early copy of this book and loved it to read my full review go here! This novel released on April 28, 2015 by Razorbill.

*Enter to win a finished copy of An Ember in the Ashes at the end of this post! Don’t forget to enter here for the Who Needs a Hero International giveaway!*

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Meet Elias:

An Ember in the Ashes is a YA fantasy novel told from two points of view. One of this POV’s is Elias Veturius, a soldier of the Martial Empire, who has trained at the brutal Blackcliff Military Academy for 14 years. Elias is on the verge of graduating and leaving Blackcliff behind forever. But before he can, he’s ordered to participate in a series of trials whose outcome will determine the fate of the Empire.

When I was a kid, I thought that being heroic meant having physical strength and bravery. But while Elias Veturius has both, I think it’s his other traits–intelligence and kindness—as well as his imperfections—that make him a hero. Tormented by questions of morality, Elias is always attempting to do what is right.  And though he has flaws—his single-mindedness, his tendency to jump to conclusions about those closest to him—he is always struggling to be better. That, I think, is what makes a true hero.

Interview with Elias

DFT: You didn’t really grow up in the best environment which must have been very difficult for you.  What do you think is one of the best qualities you possess that helped you survive Blackcliff?

Elias: A sense of humor.

DFT: Fighting to be the next Martial Emperor is a great honor, but the competition is very brutal.  If you were chosen to be the emperor what would be your first command to your people?

Elias: To stop being horrible and murderous, maybe. Whatever it was, it would probably get me assassinated within about five minutes.

An Ember in the Ashes

DFT: Personally I think that one of your most heroic qualities is your how you retained your humanity through the process of becoming a Mask.  Unlike most of your other comrades you dislike hurting others even though you are extremely good at it.  How hard was it to resist letting go of your emotions and letting yourself become the monster you were trained to be?

Elias: Killing is instinctual for a Mask.  We are trained not to think. Not to feel. Only to act. Not killing, then, isn’t about battling emotion. It’s about fighting against instinct.

DFT: I know that this interview is suppose to be about getting to know you better but I can’t help asking just a few questions about Laia.  What was it about her that first drew you to her?

Elias: Like me, she was trapped. But she hadn’t given up. I could see it in her eyes. She wanted her freedom the way I wanted mine—like it was something we could still have, if we just reached for it.

DFT: An Ember in the Ashes ending left things pretty open and I am very excited to see where your story goes next.  If you can without spoiling anything tell us what we can expect to see from your on the next leg of your journey?

Elias: Laia and I are heading north, through the heart of the Empire.

Hopefully, we survive.

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Sabaa TahirAbout Sabaa:

Spent my childhood in the Mojave Desert, where I didn’t have cable and thus chose to entertain myself with books and radio. My parents assured me that I wanted to become a doctor, but a brief stint working in a hospital changed my mind.

I left the desert for university at 17, graduated from UCLA a few years later, and went to work for The Washington Post directly after. Five years later, I left the Post and started working on a book.

If I could be anything, I’d be a space explorer, but a cool one, like Jean-Luc Picard.

I’m represented by Alexandra Machinist at ICM.

You can visit Sabaa around the Web here:  Website | Tumblr | Twitter

Instagram | Pinterest

Want to read more from Sabaa Tahir?

_________________________________________________________________________________

contest

This contest is provided by Penguin Teen!

One lucky reader will win a finished copy of An Ember in the Ashes!
(US Only)

An Ember in the Ashes

Available April 28, 2015 by Razorbill

About this Book

Laia is a slave.

Elias is a soldier.

Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

Click HERE to read an excerpt

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Who Needs a Hero: Siren’s Fury by Mary Weber

June 24th, 2015 Bridget Posted in Who Needs A Hero 31 Comments »

Who Needs A Hero

Welcome to the Who Needs a Hero Event! Each day during the event we are featuring heroes from young adult novels! Today we have Kel from Siren’s Fury by Mary Weber. Siren’s Fury is the second book in the Storm Siren Trilogy! It is a high fantasy series that I have really loved! You can read my full review of Storm Siren here and Siren’s Fury here! This book was released on June 2, 2015 by Thomas Nelson

*Enter to win a 1 of 10 finished copies of Siren’s Fury at the end of this post! Don’t forget to enter here for the Who Needs a Hero International giveaway!*

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Meet Kel:

Kel is a 7-year-old spark of a human being who’s been raised in the sterile, and rather brutal, Bron kingdom of the Hidden Lands. Our first encounter with him is when Siren’s Fury’s protagonist, Nym, finds him sneaking through an airship’s ventilation shaft to spy on her – or possibly to kill her, depending upon whether she answers his questions adequately. He’s highly intelligent but still maintains a little boy innocence which most other kids from his kingdom have lost due to their soldier training. His heritage is a secret as is his job (because spoilers), but he’s spunky and serious and struggles with fitting in mainly because he believes compassion is more powerful than physical violence and domination.

Why Mary Thinks Kel is a Hero:

Kel is a hero because he, more than anyone, reminds Nym (the protagonist) of what is true about her soul. In spite of his upbringing, he resists his society’s expectations and challenges Nym into recalling who she is and what she believes in – because he believes in it to – that compassion, innocence, and kindness wield more power than physical or magical abilities. And he proves that through his actions – even at a horrific cost. And when Nym is in danger of losing herself to the power she ingests, it is Kel’s hope and words that keep her rooted as the heroine we’ve come to respect. In that way, I see Kel as the main hero in Siren’s Fury. It is his beliefs that ground the story.

Interview with Mary

DFT: For those of us who have not had a chance to start your wonderful series would you mind telling us a short synopsis of the two books?

Mary: Sure!! Let’s see – in Storm Siren (Book 1) Nym faced a storm raging around her in the form of Adora (her owner), Eogan (the love hottie), war, love and unbelievable loss. Now, in Siren’s Fury, Nym is facing a storm inside of her, when, after losing her Elemental abilities, she chooses to absorb a dark power in hopes of saving the one thing she holds dearest. However, she quickly discovers that instead of being able to control the evil within, the darkness begins taking over her.

DFT: Kel is such an easy character to love! He is this adorable little kid that can’t help but get into mischief all the time! He is brave, spontaneous, sweet, and very entertaining. What was your favorite Kel moment to write?

Mary: *laughs* Ah yaaay, I’m glad you liked him! He’s one of my favorites too – totally reminds me of my brothers. ;0) And there’s actually one scene in Book 3 with him that is my FAAAAVORITE!!!! But until then, for Siren’s Fury I’ll say I enjoyed his horror at the idea of Nym and Eogan making out.

Here’s a peak:

(Nym) I stare at this boy who is the strangest small person I have ever met in my entire seventeen years, and burst into laughter. “No. I most definitely am not spying on him so I can have babies with him. I simply . . . want to ensure he’s feeling all right. He’s been ill and—“

(Kel) “Then why’s your face turning redder than the carpet?”

Storm SirenSiren's Fury

DFT: I love that you featured Kel in this post, but I personally think that Nym is also an amazing heroine.  She is so strong and I just loved her.  What do you think are Nym’s best quality and why?

Mary: Awww! Okay, I’d have to say her compassion – which is definitely grown from that strength she possesses. I think being a slave has woven into Nym an incredible amount of care for the people suffering around her, and an ability to be open-hearted (whether she always acts like it or not) to those who desperately want to belong and feel safe. And ultimately, that is what Nym desires for herself as well – to belong.

DFT: Writing heroes can be difficult I’m sure, but I always appreciate an author that can write good villains as well as loveable heroes! Draewulf is such a great villain and I was wondering if there’s a real life villain you drew inspiration from? Did you do much research when deciding what type of villain you want to create?

Mary: Oh fun question – I’ve actually never been asked this! And hmm…I think I’m actually going to have to say no (weirdly enough). I love a good villain too, but rather than base him off of any, he sort of just evolved in my mind as I began writing. Perhaps my alter ego was coming out? *evil laugh* ;0)

DFT: I know that during the editing process there are many scenes that don’t make it into the final books.  Is there a specific scene that you really loved that you wish could have made it into the final version of any books in the trilogy?

Mary: Okay, so my publisher and I have talked about this so many times! And I’m a bit embarrassed to say there aren’t any cut scenes from the trilogy. I have this OCD habit (literally) of writing each book start to finish and there just aren’t any extra bits. Although, I sometimes have to add a chapter or two (as I’m doing this week with Book 3’s edits).

DFT: You are the queen of cliffhangers and while Siren’s Fury wasn’t quite as bad as the first book it still left me dying to read the next book! Can you give us a few clues as to what we can expect to see in the final book?

Mary: Holy moly, YOU ARE THE SWEETEST!!!! Thanks for the kind words. :0) And yes – in Book 3 we’ll get to see the weirdness that is the Cashlin (Luminescent) kingdom as well as watch our characters race to pull a resistance together before Draewulf’s wraith army destroys everything left of our heroine’s world. But . . . there might be a twist. Ahem.

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Mary WeberAbout Mary:

Mary Weber is a ridiculously uncoordinated girl plotting to take over make-believe worlds through books, handstands, and imaginary throwing knives. In her spare time, she feeds unicorns, sings 80’s hairband songs to her three muggle children, and ogles her husband who looks strikingly like Wolverine. They live in California, which is perfect for stalking L.A. bands, Joss Whedon, and the ocean. Her debut YA fantasy novel, STORM SIREN, is available now in bookstores and online, and SIREN’S FURY (book 2 in the trilogy) just arrived from TN HarperCollins.

You can visit Mary around the Web here:  Website | Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Want to read more from Mary Weber?

 

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contest

This contest is provided by Thomas Nelson!

Ten lucky readers will win a finished copy of Siren’s Fury!
(US Only)

Available June 2nd 2015 by Thomas Nelson / HarperCollins

About this Book

“I thrust my hand toward the sky as my voice begs the Elemental inside me to waken and rise. But it’s no use. The curse I’ve spent my entire life abhorring—the thing I trained so hard to control—no longer exists.”

Nym has saved Faelen only to discover that Draewulf stole everything she valued. Now he’s destroyed her Elemental storm-summoning ability as well.

When Nym sneaks off with a host of delegates to Bron, Lord Myles offers her the chance for a new kind of power and the whispered hope that it may do more than simply defeat the monster she loathes. But the secrets the Bron people have kept concealed, along with the horrors Draewulf has developed, may require more than simply harnessing a darker ability.

They may require who she is.

Set against the stark metallic backdrop of the Bron kingdom, Nym is faced with the chance to change the future.

Or was that Draewulf’s plan for her all along?

Click HERE to read an excerpt

Order from

GIVEAWAY GUIDELINES:

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Who Needs a Hero: Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry

June 23rd, 2015 Bridget Posted in Who Needs A Hero 52 Comments »

Who Needs A Hero

Welcome to the Who Needs a Hero Event! Each day during the event we are featuring heroes from young adult novels! Today we have Oz from Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry. Nowhere But Here is the first book in Katie’s new series Thunder Road that features a motorcycle club! This novel released on May 26, from Harlequin Teen.

*Enter the international giveaway for a signed copy of Nowhere But Here at the end of this post! Don’t forget to enter here for the Who Needs a Hero International giveaway!*

_________________________________________________________________________________

Meet Oz:

I’d like everyone to meet Oz. He’s one of two main characters in the first book of my Thunder Road series, Nowhere But Here. Oz is a fantastic character. He’s loyal, tough, but has a heart of gold. It takes him awhile to trust, but when he does, Oz is all in. He’s also the same way with love. He protects his family and friends and that’s what makes Oz a great hero.

Interview with Oz

DFT: I am so excited that Oz was gracious enough the stop by for a short interview so we can all get to know him a little bit better!!! Katie already introduced you to us and told us a few things about you, but I want you to tell us what is something that makes you unique from others?

Oz: I’m different from the other people in Snowflake, Kentucky in that I’m a child of the Reign of Terror Motorcycle Club. My father is a highly respected board member. People know this and, outside of the MC, people treat me like I’m toxic.

Doesn’t bother me though, I know who my real friends are and we stick close together.

DFT: I imagine that in your life there have been many people that have influenced you in one way or another. Can you tell us about a specific experience or person that greatly impacted your life?

Oz: Olivia and Cyrus. Cyrus is not only the president of the Reign of Terror Motorcycle Club, he’s like a grandfather to me. And Olivia—if the club was a body, and Cyrus was the head, then Olivia would be the heart.

She’s more than a surrogate grandmother to me. At times, she’s been like a mother. She’s tough, she’s raw, but I love her.

DFT: It is your dream to become a member of the Reign of Terror Motorcycle club. What is the appeal of being a member of a club? Why did you choose this particular club to join?

Oz: To me, the club is family. This is where I grew up. These people know me inside and out. If I ever fell, I’d have a group of guys waiting to catch me. Walking away from them would be like cutting off my arms and legs.

Nowhere But Here

DFT: I know this interview is about getting to know you better, but I can’t help asking a few questions about Emily J! What was your original impression of Emily the first time you met her?

Oz: Trouble. When I first met Emily, I knew she would be nothing but trouble. There’s a world of heartache surrounding her and her mom. A lot of people cut deep by decisions Emily’s mom made. Emily showing up in Snowflake only meant more hurt for the people I loved. Didn’t think I could like someone who caused people I cared for to bleed.

DFT: If you can without spoiling anything , will you tell us one of your favorite moments spent with Emily?

Oz: Without a doubt one of my favorite moments with Emily happened on my motorcycle.

DFT: Since this event is about heroes can you tell me who you think is a true hero and why?

Oz: Emily’s father, Eli. Can’t imagine living the life he has or making the decisions he had to make. That’s a real hero.

_________________________________________________________________________________

About Katie:

Katie McGarry 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 critically acclaimed Pushing the Limits series and the Thunder Road series. The first book in this series is Nowhere But Here.

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

Want to read more from Katie McGarry?

Pushing the Limits Dare You To Crash into You Take Me OnNowhere But HereRed at Night

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contest

This contest is provided by Katie McGarry!

One lucky winner will win a signed copy of Nowhere But Here
(International)

Nowhere But Here

Available May 26, 2015 from Harlequin Teen

About this Book

An unforgettable new series from acclaimed author Katie McGarry about taking risks, opening your heart and ending up in a place you never imagined possible.

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.

Click HERE to read an excerpt

Order from

GIVEAWAY GUIDELINES:

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Who Needs a Hero: Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt

June 22nd, 2015 Bridget Posted in Who Needs A Hero 1 Comment »

Who Needs A Hero

Welcome to the Who Needs a Hero Event! Each day during the event we are featuring heroes from young adult novels! Today we have Penelope Landlow from Hold Me Like A Breath by Tiffany Schmidt. Hold Me Like a Breath is the first book in the Once Upon a Crime Series. This novel released on May 19, 2015 by Bloomsbury.

*Don’t forget to enter here for the Who Needs a Hero International giveaway!*

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Meet Penelope:

Penelope (Penny) Landlow is the daughter of one of the three crime Families who control the black market for human organs within the United States. Penny has grown up incredibly privileged, but also incredibly protected. She has an autoimmune disorder that causes her body to attack its own platelets—which makes her susceptible to bruising and bleeding. Her delicacy combined with her Family’s dangerous occupation causes her parents to take some pretty extreme measures to keep her safe – no one is allowed to touch her, and she’s rarely allowed to leave the Family estates.

 Why Tiffany Thinks Penelope is a hero:

Penelope is a heroine because she refuses to go sit quietly in the corner. Her Family would like nothing more than to keep her sheltered and protected forever. Their protective instincts are understandable, but on a scale from 0-10, with 0 being over-permissive and 10 being over-protective, the Landlows are a 10,001. They mean well, but they’ve created a family culture where no one is allowed to touch Penny—they want her to live gingerly, sedately, and don’t listen when she objects to their suffocating, overzealous concern. The fact that Penny continues to hope, dream, and aspire for more makes her heroic—all the trauma and tragedy she endures during Hold Me Like a Breath are just icing.

Interview with Penelope

DFT: Since we already got an introduction let’s just jump right into the questions! Your family is in the rare business of selling human organs on the black market. They make a lot of money but they also happen to be good, honest people.  What was it like growing up in a family that makes their money illegally? Did you ever think it was wrong of them to take part in selling organs?

Penelope: Thank you for calling them ‘good, honest people.’ There’s been so much media coverage of the Families recently because of the legislation that Vice President Forman is pushing—The Organ Act—which would legalize payment for organ donation. And so much of the media coverage depicts my Family as body-snatching, violent, money grabbers. Occasionally there’s the rare piece that makes them out to be some sort of medical Robin Hood—but those tend to be super dramatic Lifetime movies and they depict me as some sort of fainting ingénue who spends all day in bed, wearing pearls and satin robes. Basically, they’re all wrong. No matter what media version you’ve seen—it’s wrong.

Which doesn’t mean I think my Family is 100% right. I do support The Organ Act—I would love for my Family Business to be legalized. But I also understand why the Families are necessary—lots of people die waiting for organs. The majority of the people on the government transplant list won’t receive the organs they need. My Family helps people—they save people. Yes, I wish it was legal, but I’m sure any one of their clients will tell you just how grateful they are that the Families exist.

DFT: You have a very rare disease where your platelet count in your blood gets very low.  You bruise very easily and your blood has a hard time clotting so you have to be very careful. If you were a completely normal girl and you could do whatever you wanted for a day what would you chose to do and why?

Penelope: I’d like to have my brother push past me on the stairs, race me to the breakfast table, steal my chair and then yank a box of cereal out of my hands. I’d like my mother to laugh as Carter and I squabble, then give a push back toward my room and say, “You’re going to be late to school.” I’d like to dress in purple without matching my skin. And I’d like to walk into a school—have my best friend hook her arm through mine like they do on TV shows. We’d giggle through classes—passing notes or texting underneath our desk, then pile too many friends on the benches around a cafeteria table. My crush of the week would wink at me in the hall, and we’d analyze it over lunch. Maybe he and I would even talk—and he’d touch my hand or my shoulder or something. My best friend would joke, “You’re never washing that again” and I’d laugh but want to agree. After school I’d play a sport. Tennis has always sounded like so much fun. Then we’d fill a car with friends—and I’d take backseat middle—and go for ice cream. I’d get home late and Father would scold and threaten to ground me, but when I pouted he’d laugh and kiss my forehead and tell me to go get my homework done. Which I would, eventually, after texting with friends—and maybe even with that hallway crush.

DFT: Your life has been rather difficult in many ways, but for the most part you have stayed so positive about your outlook on life. Is there a person in your life that you feel helped you to always stay positive about things even when times got hard?

Penelope: I once told Carter, “My world may be small, but it’s full of great people.” And one of the people who’s been such a constant, and such a source of comfort and support is Dr. Castillo. You’d think someone who’s stuck me with needles at least once a week for a decade would be someone I’d want to avoid, but Dr. Castillo is one of the greatest men I know. Besides the fact he’s literally saved my life—more than once—he makes time for me, he listens to me, he understands my fears and does his best to give me support and encouragement. He’s one of the few people who’ve felt that I should test my boundaries, learn my limits, and stretch beyond my parents’ arbitrary rules and restrictions. Mother and Father didn’t always agree or follow his advice, but it means a lot to me that he spoke up for me and advocated on my behalf.

Hold Me Like a Breath

DFT: I can’t help but ask some questions about the boys in your life. First let’s talk about Garrett. He has been your brother’s best friend pretty much your entire life and he is a part of the family.  You have had a crush on him for years and it seems that maybe he feels the same way.  What is one of your favorite childhood memories with Garrett?

Penelope: It’s not easy growing up as the youngest kid in a world of boys. Between my brother Carter, and Garrett Ward and his four brothers, the estate was usually one big game of wrestling, or street hockey, or football, or tackle tag. And despite Mother’s efforts and rules, these games never did stop when the boys stepped inside.

And I couldn’t play any of them. Keith Ward was the oldest—nine years older than me—and he had no patience for my desperately lonely attempts to infiltrate their games. I was this tiny pale girl in lacy pastel dresses wandering on their football field with a tray of cups and saucers asking, “Who wants to have a tea party?” with my lip and voice already quivering.

Mick, Jacob, and Hugh Ward would laugh. Carter would tell me to ‘get lost and don’t you dare tattle’—but Garrett. . . He would find an excuse and join me. Not every time. Not even most of them. But once in awhile I’d be halfway back to the house, sniffling and dripping tears onto the tiny sandwiches and cookies I’d requested from the kitchen and he’d catch up and take the tray from my hands. Garrett didn’t actually play tea party, but he’d eat all the snacks while I told him about whatever book I was reading or movie I’d watched. He’d reciprocate by telling me his real life adventures—including so much detail that I almost could pretend I knew what it was like to climb to the top of the oak tree by the pool, or wipe out while water skiing, or have a campout in the backyard and ‘almost pee myself’ when Jacob snuck out in the middle of the night and scraped branches against the tent.

DFT: You meet Char at a difficult time in your life and you find yourself falling for him way faster than you thought possible.  You can be yourself around him and you don’t feel so breakable all the time.  What is the one thing you find most attractive about him?

Penelope: Char is the first person in my life who’s treated me like I matter more than my diagnosis or my last name. He’s not intimidated by my Family or by my platelet count. He cares about both of these things—but he trusts me to make my own decisions. He listens when I speak, and even if he doesn’t agree with all of my decisions, he knows they’re my decisions to make. It’s so unnerving and enchanting to be with someone who believes in me—seeing myself through his eyes makes me feel like I can do anything too.

Also, have you seen him? Not to sound shallow, but can you blame a girl for swooning?

DFT: I was so excited when I found out that Hold Me Like a Breath isn’t the end of your story! Can you give us any hints as to what we can expect to see from you in the future?

Penelope: Not to get too spoilery, but Hold Me Like a Breath wasn’t the easiest story for me to tell. There are a lot of aspects of my life I need to figure out and a lot of pieces I need to put back together. When Magnolia Vickers offered to tell her story in Break Me Like a Promise, I was more than happy to be her sidekick instead of standing center stage. Besides, Maggie Vickers steals every scene she’s in anyway—that girl is born to be a heroine. I’m so glad she’s in my life, that I get to be a part of her story, that she’s such a part of mine. I don’t know how I would’ve survived this year without her—and I like to think she needs me too. . . even if we do have VERY different opinions about The Organ Act and the future of our Families’ Business.

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Tiffany SchmidtAbout Tiffany:

Tiffany Schmidt is the author of SEND ME A SIGN and BRIGHT BEFORE SUNRISE. Her ONCE UPON A CRIME FAMILY series will begin with HOLD ME LIKE A BREATH on May 19, 2015.

When not teaching, writing, or reading, Tiffany’s usually chasing her impish twins (The Schmidtlets) or mischievous puggles (Biscotti & Bruschi) around their house in Bucks County.

She’s a firm believer in Happily Ever Afters, accidental hijinks, and writing kissing scenes first — inspired, no doubt, by her very saintly husband.

You can visit Tiffany around the Web here:  Website | BlogTwitter | Facebook

Want to read more from Tiffany Schmidt?

  

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Hold Me Like a Breath

Available May 19, 2015 by Bloomsbury

About this Book

Penelope Landlow has grown up with the knowledge that almost anything can be bought or sold—including body parts. She’s the daughter of one of the three crime families that control the black market for organ transplants.

Penelope’s surrounded by all the suffocating privilege and protection her family can provide, but they can’t protect her from the autoimmune disorder that causes her to bruise so easily.

And in her family’s line of work no one can be safe forever.

All Penelope has ever wanted is freedom and independence. But when she’s caught in the crossfire as rival families scramble for prominence, she learns that her wishes come with casualties, that betrayal hurts worse than bruises, that love is a risk worth taking . . . and maybe she’s not as fragile as everyone thinks.

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Who Needs a Hero: The Artisans by Julie Reece

June 21st, 2015 Bridget Posted in Who Needs A Hero 18 Comments »

Who Needs A Hero

Welcome to the Who Needs a Hero Event! Each day during the event we are featuring heroes from young adult novels! Today we have Gideon from The Artisans by Julie Reece. The Artisans is standalone retelling of Beauty and the Beast! This novel released on May 12, 2015 by Month 9 Books.

*Enter to for your chance to win 3 eBook copies of The Artisans! Don’t forget to enter here for the Who Needs a Hero International giveaway!*

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Meet Gideon Maddox:

Gideon Maddox is a bitter, angry nineteen-year-old recluse. The only heir to the Maddox family fortune, he’s been groomed at fancy boarding schools his whole life to be the spokesperson for Maddox Industries Inc. What’s less known, is that he’s also inherited a two hundred-year-old responsibility (or curse) that must be keep secret from the good folks of Sales Hollow, South Carolina.

A hero can take many forms. A soldier who throws himself on a grenade to save his platoon is an amazing hero, but so is the single mother working three jobs to provide for her children. If a hero is a person of distinguished courage or ability, then Gideon just might qualify. See, when everything he believes in unravels, Gideon must decide if he has what it takes to admit his wrongs, make amends for what he’s done, and turn his back on everything his ancestors spent decades building. It takes incredible courage to go against the expectations of your family, to admit when you’re wrong, and even more courage to change.

Interview with Gideon

DFT: For all of those who haven’t had the pleasure of reading your story yet, will you give us a short synopsis of what happens in The Artisans?

Gideon: Well, uh Bridget, is it? Since you thought reading my hellacious story was a pleasure? Do you also like torturing small animals in your basement for fun? Er … okay sorry. I apologize. Raven’s mentioned that I need to work on my people skills. You know, my story isn’t something I’m proud of, so I can get a little defensive. Bear with me, I’m learning.

Can we start over? Okay, cool, thanks. Basically, Raven’s step-dad was in to my ‘organization’ for a lot of money. He was on my ‘list’, if you know what I mean. But then this girl Raven shows up for his appointment and offers to take his place. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to do, but once I saw the clothing she makes, I knew her designs were the answer to my father’s failing business. So, I blackmailed, er … made a deal with her.

The deal didn’t quite work out the way I planned, though. Maddox mansion has secrets, and Raven … Hey, have you met her yet? No? Well, trust me, once her curiosity is up, she won’t let anything go.

She’ll be the death of me, that girl …

DFT: You are extremely wealthy but they say money can’t buy happiness, and your life has defiantly not been full of joyful moments.  But can you tell me one good childhood memory that you have?

Gideon: Not if I can help it. That’s a pretty personal question, don’t you think, Bridget?

Er … I’m being rude again. Sorry. Okay, let me see … The only good memories I had as a kid were of my mother before she died. When I was really young, she used to read to me. Sometimes, we’d go outside to this stand of oak trees in our yard and swing in a hammock. I liked to play with her hair, and she’d tell me stories by the hour. I never got tired of listening to the sound of her voice. So, um yeah, that’s my good memory.

The Artisans

DFT: I am a total sucker for romance so I have to ask a few questions about you and Raven J! Out of all of Raven’s amazing qualities what is the one thing you admire most about her?

Gideon: You do get that I’m an extremely private person, right? The only thing I like talking about less than myself is the way I feel about her.

But all right, since I agreed to do the damn interview, I suppose I can’t sit here and say nothing. Let me think … admire most, huh? Sorry, what? Yes, I suppose I am smiling. I can’t seem to help it, lately. Okay, I’d have to say what I most admire is her ability to forgive. Artisans aren’t really known for that. Not at all, in fact. But Raven’s different, she won’t judge and she doesn’t hold grudges. I’ve never met anyone like her. There isn’t anyone else like her.

DFT: You are use to getting what you want, when you want it.  What was it like to meet someone like Raven who was willing to defy you whenever she felt like it?

Gideon: Annoying as hell. She’s so stubborn, and that mouth of hers … You know at first, I thought we might kill each other. I saw her as a challenge, but she ended up challenging me. All the fire and passion she lives her life with made me insanely curious about her. All of those heated debates with her left me questioning everything I thought I knew. I mean, no one stands up to a Maddox. No one.

Not until her.

DFT: Love has never come easily for you and until Raven there was never anyone in your life that you actually felt strongly enough to say you loved them.  When was the first moment you realized that she was someone you could fall in love with?

Gideon: I’m sure that I mentioned talking about my feelings makes me uncomfortable …?

Never mind, let’s get this over with. Early on, all I wanted was to use her talent. I planned to break her down, so she’d do what I asked without all the backtalk and attitude. Trust me; I’m quite good at getting what I want, always have been. But as time went on, I started to get to know her. Living with someone will do that to a person. Raven is a hard worker, gifted artist, she’s loyal to her friends … I caught her doing small acts of kindness for others. I’ve never seen anyone with so little give so much. One night, she was sleepwalking and said some things that I overheard. Things about me. I’ll never tell a soul what she said. Hell, she doesn’t even know about this. But it changed the way I saw her, and the way I’ll see myself, forever.

DFT: Since this event is all about heroes will you tell me who from your life is someone you consider to be a true hero?

Gideon: Now there’s a question I don’t mind answering. The funny thing is I’ve been surrounded by heroes, in some form or another, my whole life. I never realized it until recently, but that’s because my definition has changed. My mother, the people who work for me (more family than servants) they’ve all done heroic things. And anyone brave enough to sacrifice themselves for someone else is a hero. Raven, amazing creature that she is, was willing to risk everything to help others, including someone like me—the one who’d ruthlessly taken everything from her.

In my eyes, that kind of selflessness makes her the biggest hero of them all.

Just want to give a shout out to Bridget and Dark Faerie Tales for having me here today (and for putting up with Gideon’s snark!) You rock! I had so much fun with the interview. Thanks to everyone for stopping by. ((hugs)) I appreciate all the support and interest for The Artisans. I really hope you enjoy the story!

XOXOX Julie

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Julie_Reece_Image_3-253x300About Julie:

Julie Reece writes YA stories. Many inspired by life in the southeastern states where she grew up. She’s passionate about family, friends, animals, underdogs, and writing, but bubble baths and dark chocolate make the list, too.

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

Want to read more from Julie Reece?

  CruxThe ArtisansTidal Whispers

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contest

This contest is provided by Month9 Books!

Three lucky readers will each win an eBook copy of The Artisans!
(International)

The Artisans

Available May 12, 2015 by Month 9 Books

About this Book

They say death can be beautiful. But after the death of her mother, seventeen-year-old Raven Weathersby gives up her dream of becoming a fashion designer, barely surviving life in the South Carolina lowlands.

To make ends meet, Raven works after school as a seamstress creating stunning works of fashion that often rival the great names of the day.

Instead of making things easier on the high school senior, her stepdad’s drinking leads to a run in with the highly reclusive heir to the Maddox family fortune, Gideon Maddox.

But Raven’s stepdad’s drying out and in no condition to attend the meeting with Maddox. So Raven volunteers to take his place and offers to repay the debt in order to keep the only father she’s ever known out of jail, or worse.

Gideon Maddox agrees, outlining an outrageous demand: Raven must live in his home for a year while she designs for Maddox Industries’ clothing line, signing over her creative rights.

Her handsome young captor is arrogant and infuriating to the nth degree, and Raven can’t imagine working for him, let alone sharing the same space for more than five minutes.

But nothing is ever as it seems. Is Gideon Maddox the monster the world believes him to be? And can he stand to let the young seamstress see him as he really is?

Click HERE to read an excerpt

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