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I Belong


Blog Tour & Giveaway: The Reader by Traci Chee

August 17th, 2016 @ 12:10 am
Posted by Kristie under Blog Tour Tags: , , , ,

Traci CheePlease welcome author Traci Chee! Her Young Adult debut novel The Reader sounds absolutely amazing! Traci is here with a guest post about the loneliness of authors and finding a community. The Reader is the first novel in the Sea of Ink and Gold series. It will be released on September 13, 2016 from Putnam/Penguin! Read an excerpt of the first two chapters here!

Be sure to enter for your chance to win an “I Am A Reader” Prize Pack which includes a copy of The Reader and a branded “I Am The Reader” tote bag at the end of the post! This giveaway is open to U.S. addresses only. A huge thank you to Penguin Random House for this giveaway!

About Traci:

Traci Chee is an author of speculative fiction for teens. An all-around word geek, she loves book arts and art books, poetry and paper crafts, though she also dabbles at piano playing, egg painting, and hosting potluck game nights for family and friends. She studied literature and creative writing at UC Santa Cruz and earned a master of arts degree from San Francisco State University. Traci grew up in a small town with more cows than people, and now feels most at home in the mountains, scaling switchbacks and happening upon hidden highland lakes. She lives in California with her fast-fast dog. The Reader is her YA debut.

You can visit Traci around the web here: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr

Want to read more from Traci Chee?

The Reader (Sea of Ink and ...

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Sefia’s clue to finding her lost family lies in a book. How have you found a family through books and/or through being a part of the online book community?

YER A WIZARD WRITER, IN WHICH A LONELY LITTLE AUTHOR FINDS HER PEOPLE

by Traci Chee

Two years ago, back in 2014, I had little idea that the online book community even existed. I was toiling away, alone in my apartment, trying to whip my manuscript into shape. (And very quietly failing, I might add.) I didn’t have a publisher. I didn’t have an agent. It was just me and my writing and not knowing if my words would ever reach the rest of the world.

But I wanted to be an author. I had wanted to be an author since I was in high school. I wanted it so bad I could feel it in my bones.

So I ventured out onto the internet for guidance. (How do I get a literary agent? What is a query letter?) I felt like Harry Potter entering Diagon Alley for the first time and finding, to my surprise, not only was I not alone, but there was this bustling, thriving community, full of people just like me, already in existence! Everyone was so friendly and so knowledgeable and best of all, they loved books. And not just books in the general sense either. They loved my favorite books! These were the people who could debate Peeta vs. Gale and cite multiple scenes supporting their theory about Jon Snow’s heritage and name all the dwarves that Bilbo traveled with in The Hobbit. These were my people.

And then I found Pitch Wars.

Hosted by the inimitable Brenda Drake, author of Thief of Lies, Pitch Wars is an online contest in which industry insiders like agented authors, editors, and interns each choose a writer to mentor for two whole months. During that time, they hack, slash, burn, revise, rewrite, and regrow their manuscript until it’s pretty-as-a-picture. Writers also work with their mentors to shine up their elevator pitches for the agent round, when Brenda enlists a whole slew of agents to traipse by the Pitch Wars website, making requests to see manuscripts.

Unlike many pitch contests, this one isn’t just about getting your pitch in front of agents, it’s also about getting better as a writer. So I cut down my word count, squeezed in under the deadline, and alongside over 1,200 other aspiring authors, I waited for two excruciatingly long weeks to see who the mentors had chosen.

I got in! And it was seriously one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Not only did I get to work with Renée Ahdieh, author of The Wrath and the Dawn and The Rose and the Dagger, and not only was she absolutely brilliant, but I also met the greatest group of bookish folks I’ve ever known.

I hadn’t realized how lonely this publishing business can be until I started talking with my fellow mentees from Pitch Wars 2014. These are people who are always there to commiserate or celebrate, to pick you up and cheer you on, no matter where you are in your journey. We swap queries and read each other’s books, but we also rejoice about job promotions and listen to each other’s personal struggles and someone is always there to pass the virtual chocolate.

Through this group, I also met Tara Sim, author of the forthcoming historical fantasy Timekeeper. You see, in February 2015 we were both thinking of flying down to Santa Monica for YALLWEST, a new west coast YA literary festival, and we were both in need of a roomie for the weekend. It would have been perfect! We’d both been part of Pitch Wars. We’d been talking on the internet for months.

The problem was we hadn’t met in person. And let’s be honest, each of us wanted to find out if the other person was a creeper before committing to sharing a hotel room. So we met up at one of our local independent bookstores, Book Passage (where I mispronounced her name immediately), shared a brownie, and after a few hours it was settled. Neither of us was creepy. (Yay!) And we would do YALLWEST together. (Double yay!)

Now, over a year later, we’re both debut authors with fantasy trilogies hitting shelves this fall. We carpool to book events, celebrate successes, and gleefully tell each other to start shows on Netflix that neither of us really has time to watch. I am the Pepper Potts to her Tony Stark, and once I actually prevented her from setting something on fire. It is great.

Back in 2014, I knew I wanted to be an author. I had no idea that on my path to publication I would find such an incredible community of book people (who are in my opinion the best people). Nor did I think I would find such stalwart friends. But that’s part of the magic of books, isn’t it? They bring people together. Through online fandoms and midnight Harry Potter releases and writing contests. Through literary festivals and libraries and bookstore coffee shops. They let you know you’re not alone, and your people are out there, waiting for you to stop in, say hello, and declare your allegiance to your Hogwarts house. (Ravenclaws, unite!)

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contest

This contest is provided by Penguin Random House!

One lucky reader will win the “I Am A Reader” Prize Pack which includes a copy of The Reader and a branded “I Am The Reader” tote bag!
(US only)

I Am The Reader Prize

Available September 13, 2016 from Putnam/Penguin

About this Book:

Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible.

Pre-Order from

GIVEAWAY GUIDELINES:

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Poisoned Blade by Kate Elliot

August 16th, 2016 @ 12:10 am
Posted by Bridget under Blog Tour Tags: , , , , ,

KateElliottToday we have a special post for you guys! Kate Elliot is the amazing author of Court of Fives and Poisoned Blade and she wrote a great guest post for us. It talks about some of the experiments she went through when trying to write her sequel. She also includes some amazing deleted scenes! This series is YA high fantasy and I LOVED the first book. I haven’t had a chance to read book two but I plan to very soon, so keep your eyes out for my review!!!

After the wonderful guest post there is a fantastic giveaway for three finished copies of Poisoned Blade so make sure to enter that! This contest is open to U.S. addresses only.

About Kate:

Kate Elliott has been writing stories since she was nine years old, which has led her to believe that writing, like breathing, keeps her alive. As a child in rural Oregon, she made up stories because she longed to escape to a world of lurid adventure fiction. She now writes fantasy, steampunk, science fiction, and YA, including recent works Black Wolves, Court of Fives, and Cold Magic.

It should come as no surprise that she met her future husband in a sword fight. When he gave up police work to study archaeology, they and their three children fell into an entirely new set of adventures amid dusty Mexican ruins and mouthwatering European pastry shops. Eventually her spouse’s work forced them to move to Hawaii, where she took up outrigger canoe paddling. With the three children out of the house, they now spoil the schnauzer.

Find Kate Elliot around the web: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Live Journal | Tumblr

Want to read more from Kate Elliot?

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POISONED BLADE

When First Draft Experiments Don’t Work (But Are Worthwhile Anyway)

From the beginning I envisioned Court of Fives as a trilogy or maybe even as a quartet. When I first started thinking about the series I had an idea in which I would write the first book in Jes’s point of view and then add one sister’s pov to each subsequent book until the reader met all four “in person.”

So when I started writing the first draft of book two, Poisoned Blade, I tried writing in the point of view of Amaya, the youngest sister. She’s the pretty one who loves fashion and theater, who writes poetry, who pretends to dream of marriage even though she is really dreaming of a different kind of independence in a world that gives her few options. She’s over-dramatic and self-absorbed.

Here is the opening scene I wrote for her:

###

EXCERPT FROM FIRST DRAFT in Amaya’s Point of View:

Once upon a time, in a better world, a beautiful girl named Amaya Tonor, daughter of the honorable and exceptionally brilliant army officer Captain Esladas, attended the theater with her best and most beloved friend, the equally lovely Denya Tonor. Denya was the daughter of Captain Osfiyos who was also honorable but quite honestly not nearly as brilliant as Captain Esladas. However that fact is something a well bred young Patron woman would never mention in company and certainly not to her most doting and affectionate friend.

With what pleasure did Amaya and Denya watch their favorite play, the Hide of the Ox, for perhaps the hundredth time! They had every line memorized.

It so happened on that occasion that a pair of handsome cavalry officers looking quite dashing in the uniform of the king’s royal horse soldiers sat in the audience. Smote by the charming girls’ beauty and lively speech, the officers at once begged leave to address the solemn fathers, and begged leave to contract each a marriage with the girl who most caught his eye. Because the officers were well connected and rich, the fathers naturally agreed but with the proviso that the girls prove willing.

Thus it was that, holding hands, Amaya and Denya sat later that evening upon a garden bench while the two officers proclaimed themselves unworthy of the elegant delicacy and alluring virtue laid before them. Being officers, they would often be away fighting in the wars. But being brothers, as is the custom of Patron households, they shared a compound and thus the two girls would have each other to keep company with in the months and years their husbands were absent. Would these frequent and lengthy absences be an impediment too great an obstacle for the girls to leap?

No! No! the girls assured them. It would be entirely suitable and just what they most desired.

Once upon a time, in a better world, this is the story that would have unfolded upon the stage of my life.

Meanwhile my insensitive older sister Maraya faces me in the empty common room of the dump of an inn we now live in. As if kindly scolding a slow-witted child, she tells me I have to cut my glorious hair and smear mud on my face so I won’t be possibly be recognized by customers while I serve drinks and clean the floors at this ghastly ramshackle tavern.

“I won’t cut my hair just because you have brewed up a hundred horrible happenstances that will never come true!” I protest as Maraya crosses her arms, callously unimpressed by my reasonable retort. “Even if our father is a famous general now, ten days ago he was nothing more than a humble lowborn captain. He kept us four girls under such a tight rein it’s astounding he ever let me attend the theater with Denya and her family at all! No one will recognize me, especially now that most of the army has left the city.”

Maraya blocks the door that opens onto the street. “If Lord Gargaron’s stewards catch sight of you on the street, they will run to tell his lordship immediately.”

“Lord Gargaron and his stewards only saw me once, Merry. I know I have the sort of pleasingly beauteous face that attracts notice, but it strikes me as implausible that important Patron men would remember me.” If I catch her by surprise and shove her to the left, I might be able to bolt out the door before she can grab me. I can’t breathe in here! So I chatter on, hoping to distract her before I make my move. “It’s unfair I’m not even allowed to go to the market and buy food!”

“Amaya, can you think about something other than yourself for a single blink of an eye? Don’t you recall that Lord Gargaron had Father investigated to make sure he was the brilliant military commander who kept winning victories that gave honor and glory to Lord Ottonor? Don’t you recall that Lord Gargaron had Lord Ottonor murdered? He knows everything about us. He knew Jes secretly ran the Fives. Not even Father knew that!”

“Jes is the selfish one, not me! She ruined everything for the rest of us by sneaking out to run the Fives when she knew Father would never allow any of his daughters to do such a thing.”

“Don’t change the subject.” Maraya pierces my five souls with a deadly flat stare that makes me feel like a bug she is too bored to squash. “You ought to be grateful to Jes, since she is the one who rescued us from a living death in an oracle’s tomb.”

“Of course I am grateful but this wretched compound might as well be my tomb if I can’t ever leave its walls.” I sob a little, as actresses do to show the depth and intensity of their scorned feelings.

“Do you have any idea how tedious you are, Amaya?”

“You have the heart of a fish! Cold and sluggish!”

She snorts indelicately. “Is that a quote from a bad play?”

“No!” I say quickly, even though it is a line from a play I wrote, which no one knows about except Denya.

“Thank the gods,” she replies.

“No one appreciates me!” I mutter in an undertone, but Maraya hears me and in reply sighs so heavily her disparagement might as well be a huge wreath of withering flowers shedding dying petals all around her.

“Amaya? Maraya? Are you in here? It’s so dim without the shutters open.”

Mother appears at the curtain that hides the kitchen from the front room where drinks and food are served. She has to lean against the wall to hold herself up.

I rush over to her. “You shouldn’t be walking yet, Mother! Did the healer give you permission to get up? You are supposed to stay in bed until the bleeding stops.”

“What a scold you have become, Amaya,” says Mother in her gentle voice as she takes my hands and squeezes them. As if she needs to reassure me! Her grip is so frail.

I burst into tears, fear choking my voice until it comes out as a leaky squeak. “You must go back to bed, Mother. You were so sick. Here, let me help you.”

Maraya hurriedly limps over to us and takes Mother’s other arm.

But instead of going back to her bed Mother sinks onto a bench, so we sit beside her. Although I no longer fear she will simply cease breathing and die while she sleeps, her normally radiant complexion looks gray with weariness. “I would like to see other walls just for a little bit. Let me rest here a while.”

###

After I wrote this I was surprised at how self-conscious Amaya’s voice was. As a writer I wasn’t sure whether that coyness was truly her voice, or whether *I* hadn’t gotten into the heart of her yet.

Regardless, it quickly became apparent for other reasons that the Court of Fives trilogy is Jes’s story to tell. I decided against using any other point of view except Jes to keep the story streamlined and focused, just as Jes herself is very focused, and I’ve been really happy with that decision as it plays out in Poisoned Blade and in book three, which I’m revising now (for a 2017 publication).

However, there were a couple of lines from my attempt to write in Amaya’s point of view that I wanted to keep, so when I wrote a scene toward the beginning of Poisoned Blade in which Jes visits her family, I managed to work those in.

###

EXCERPT FROM POISONED BLADE:

A drab curtain separates the front room [of the inn] where drink and food are served from the back where they are prepared. I smell bread grilling, but it is the familiar voices of my older and younger sister rising behind the curtain that captures my attention.

“It’s unfair I’m not even allowed to go to the night market!”

“To do what, Amaya? We don’t have money to buy anything. If Lord Gargaron’s stewards catch sight of you on the street, we’ll be discovered.”

“Lord Gargaron and his stewards only saw me once, Maraya. I know I have the sort of pleasingly beauteous face that attracts notice, but it strikes even me as implausible that important Patron men would remember.” By the strength of Amaya’s wheedling I can hear she has recovered from her near death by poisoned candied almonds in the tomb. “I can’t breathe in here! It doesn’t even have to be the night market. I’ll hide my face beneath a shawl and walk down by the water and breathe fresh air and listen to the mellifluous cries of the wind-kissed birds who are allowed to y free. Unlike me.”

“Do you have any idea how tedious you are, Amaya?”

“You have the heart of a sh! Cold and sluggish!” Amaya sobs as third-rate actresses do to show the depth and intensity of their scorned feelings. “This wretched compound might as well be my tomb if I can’t ever leave its walls.”

“Help me,” whispers Polodos with a look of such desperation that I giggle.

An abrupt silence follows my betraying laugh.

The curtain twitches as a person on the other side hooks it open just enough to peek through. I would know those lovely eyes anywhere.

I say, “Amaya, if you cut off all your hair, smear mud on your face, and wear a dirty canvas sack with a hole cut for your head, then you can safely go to the market without being recognized.”

With a shout of excitement, Amaya plunges into the room, flings herself upon me, and bursts into sobs while clutching me so tightly I have trouble breathing.

Maraya limps in, smiling. “Oh, Jes, I am so glad to see you! I was afraid it would be unsafe for you to visit us.”

They look just as they did back when we all lived well protected at home, only without the fashionable clothing, perfectly beribboned hair in the most up-to-date style, and fragrant oils and perfumes to hide the smell of sweat. Had we grown up without a successful Patron father who acknowledged us, girls like us might have lived in a place like this, scrambling to make a living and able to afford only cast-off dresses and mended muslin shawls for wrappings.

“How is Mother?” I ask into Amaya’s hair. When she hesitates I shove her to arm’s length, gripping her shoulders so hard she winces. “What’s wrong?”

“Jessamy? Is that you?” Mother appears at the curtain. She has to lean against the wall to hold herself up. She is as tall as I am, and the most beautiful person I know. But right now her dark brown complexion is sheeny with perspiration; her magnificent cloud of hair has been bound under a scarf; no earrings or jewelry ornament her, all the little gifts Father used to shower upon her. She coughs weakly. I rush over but Amaya bolts past me to reach her first.

“You shouldn’t be walking yet, Mother! You are supposed to stay in bed until every trace of bleeding stops.”

“What a scold you have become, Amaya,” says Mother in her gentle voice as she takes my hands as if she needs to reassure me. Her grip is so frail that I fear I might squeeze hard enough to shatter her without meaning to. “I am so glad you have come back, Jessamy. Is Bettany with you?”

Anguish chokes my voice until it comes out as a leaky squeak. “You must go back to bed, Mother. You were so sick. Here, let us help you.”

Amaya takes Mother’s other arm.

She sinks down onto the nearest bench. “I would like to see other walls just for a little while. I have not been out of that tiny room since we came here.”

Amaya and I sit on either side, snuggling close against her as we used to do when we were little.

###

For me, a large part of writing and revising is knowing when to discard an idea or approach, however painful it may be to throw out work I’ve already done, and when to repurpose it, as in the rewritten Jes-narrated scene. Experimenting with Amaya’s point of view gave me some insight into how the sisters interacted that I might not have noticed otherwise. That’s the great thing about experimentation during the first draft: It might turn out brilliantly, or you might have to throw it away, but regardless it’s a great way to look at your story from a different angle.

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Tour Schedule

Week One:

8/8/2016- SFFWorld.com – Interview

8/9/2016- Sarcasm & Lemons – Review

8/10/2016- Such a Novel Idea – Guest Post

8/11/2016- The Eater of Books – Review

8/12/2016- Two Chicks on Books – Interview

Week Two:

8/15/2016- Fiction Fare – Review

8/16/2016- Dark Faerie Tales – Guest Post

8/17/2016- YaReads – Review

8/18/2016- Once Upon a Twilight – Interview

8/19/2016- Just Commonly – Review

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contest

This contest is provided by Little Brown for Young Readers!

Three lucky winners will receive a finished copy of Poisoned Blade!
(US only)

Poisoned Blade

Available August 16, 2016 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

About this Book:

Jessamy is moving up the ranks of the Fives—the complex athletic contest favored by the lowliest Commoners and the loftiest Patrons in her embattled kingdom. Pitted against far more formidable adversaries, success is Jes’s only option, as her prize money is essential to keeping her hidden family alive. She leaps at the chance to tour the countryside and face more competitors, but then a fatal attack on Jes’s traveling party puts her at the center of the war that Lord Kalliarkos—the prince she still loves—is fighting against their country’s enemies. With a sinister overlord watching her every move and Kal’s life on the line, Jes must now become more than a Fives champion…She must become a warrior.

Pre-order from:

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Interview & Giveaway:The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E.Pearson

August 15th, 2016 @ 12:10 am
Posted by Bridget under Remnant Chronicles Read Along Tags:

remnants readalong banner

Did you know that we were hosting a read along for The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson? (If you want more details check out our original post here)  For the month of August we are reading the final book in the series, The Beauty of Darkness, and today we are kicking off a week of fun blog posts all about the series. For the post today, I was able to interview, Lia, the MC from the Remnant Chronicles series. There is also an amazing giveaway for $25 or a Remnant Chronicles Prize pack, you can check out the details below! Also, I wanted to say a huge congrats to Mary because The Beauty of Darkness hit #3 on the New York Times bestseller list!!!  I am so sad to see this series end but it was amazing and will forever be one of my favorites!!!

mary e pearson

About Mary:

Mary E. Pearson is the award-winning author of The Jenna Fox Chronicles, The Miles Between, A Room on Lorelei, and Scribbler of Dreams.  She writes full-time from her home office in California where she lives with her husband and two golden retrievers.

You can visit Mary around the web here: Website | PinterestFacebookTwitter

Want to read more by Mary E. Pearson?

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Interview with Lia

Dark Faerie Tales: For anyone that has yet to read your amazing story can you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your journey?

Lia: My name [Lia sighs] well, my name is a ridiculously long one—it’s a royal requirement—one name from my mother’s lineage, another from my father’s, one from Morrighese history, plus an extra unexpected name that didn’t follow tradition. I prefer to go simply by Lia. That’s what my brother’s always called me. I was raised in Civica but I fled to a little fishing village called Terravin with my best friend. I loved it there until, well, circumstances forced me to leave.

DFT: Your entire story started with you running away from an arranged marriage and trying to start life over as someone new. Do you ever look back and regret your decision?

Lia: I did at one time, but ultimately, by fleeing, I learned things that were crucial for me to know—important things other people needed to know too.  If I hadn’t left, I’d be living in blissful ignorance, and some secrets would still be secrets that could doom us all. Leaving was the right thing to do.

DFT: Having left and abandoning your duty it means that you can’t ever go back. What is the one thing you miss most about home?

Lia: My brothers of course—we are very close. But I also miss surprising things, the aromas from the kitchen filling the citadelle, the music of the abbey bells ringing through the village, watching from the gallery as my aunt’s play their zitares, and even though my mother is mixed up in this conspiracy and at least partially responsible for me being in this mess, I miss her too—at least the person I thought she was. Sometimes all I want to do is to fall into her arms and have her hold me, but I know that could be a fatal mistake.

DFT: Kaden is such a good guy at heart and I feel like he has so much potential.  What do you think is his best quality?

Lia: [Lia brightens] Kaden has so many good qualities, loyalty top among them, but he can also be so sweet and compassionate when he lets his guard down.  I know he has done horrible things, but he did them for what he thought were the right reasons. Sometimes when I look at him, I still see the young boy who was rejected and it breaks my heart. He deserves so much more than the life he’s been dealt.

DFT: Rafe is head strong, loyal, brave, and infuriating! I kind of love him.

Lia: Oh by the gods, yes, he can be so infuriating and stubborn!  Then again, I suppose I can be too. But there is no doubt he is brave.  When I think about the risks he’s taken for me. . . [Lia shakes head] He frightens me sometimes with his recklessness. But I’ve seen a new side to him lately—a side with incredible restraint. We have both changed in so many ways.

DFT: You two have some pretty great chemistry in my opinion. Out of all the moments you have spent with Rafe can you tell us which one was your favorite?

Lia: Strangely, it’s a moment that lingers in my head, a very brief minute when hardly a word was spoken between us. I think about it often. It was when he knocked on my cottage door and held a lavender garland in his hand to replace one that had been ruined.  He looked so different in that moment. So vulnerable. I realize now, he was trying to reach out to me, to say something that he had no words for. I still feel those awkward hopeful seconds between us. I see things now that I couldn’t see then–his fear, his courage, the struggle behind his eyes that I didn’t understand at the time. I was so touched by the kindness of his gesture that I didn’t know what to say. I look back on that moment now and I think of it as our beginning, a few brief seconds where the wall between us vanished and I knew somewhere deep in my heart, that he cared for me.

DFT: Making sacrifices is what life is about and no matter how hard you try you don’t always make the best choices. What is the hardest thing you have had to do since starting your adventure?  

Lia: There are people— [Lia swallows and hesitates. She begins again.] I’ve had to say goodbye to people I care for. I’ve had to watch them die.  Nothing was harder than that. They made the ultimate sacrifice.  There will be justice.

DFT: I  imagine that you have learned much during your journey. What do you think was the most important lesson you learned?

Lia: [Lia pauses and her eyes narrow as if she is flipping back through memories. She smiles.]

I’ve learned that I love and miss Berdi’s stew and I will always take a second helping if offered in the future.

That I should go nowhere near a river wearing a heavy gown.

That I never treasured Pauline’s shoulder as much as I should have.

That people are often not what they seem.

That dreams can be shattered in one unexpected instant.

That kindness can be found even in the darkest and dreariest of places.

That I shouldn’t go into a forest unless I already know what’s in there.

That a bitter drink like thannis can grow on you if you give it a chance.

. . . that sometimes, even though you love someone, you may have to let them go.

[Lia looks down at her worn scuffed boots and laughs]

And that the Civica cobbler makes a fine pair of boots that can withstand a trek across the continent—and a whole lot more.

DFT: Finally, since you know Mary really well I was wondering if you might have any clue as to what she is working on now?

Lia: Mary is secretive. She doesn’t talk much about projects in the beginning stages, even to me—and we’ve been through a lot together—but I know she has some characters swimming behind her eyes. I see mayhem stirring. I would be careful around her.   

_________________________________________________________________________________

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Contest Winner: The Telling Prize Pack

August 14th, 2016 @ 10:00 pm
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Early Review: Frostblood by Elly Blake

August 6th, 2016 @ 12:01 am
Posted by Zed under Review Tags: , , , , ,

FrostbloodTitle: Frostblood

Author: Elly Blake

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: The Frostblood Saga (Book #1)

Publication Date: January 17, 2017

Format: Hardcover, 384 Pages

ISBN-10: 0316273252 (LB Teen)

ISBN-13: 978-0316273251 (LB Teen)

Reviewed by: Zed

Synopsis:

The first in a page-turning young adult series about a world where flame and ice are mortal enemies–but together create a power that could change everything.

Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a fireblood who must hide her powers of heat and flame from the cruel frostblood ruling class that wants to destroy all that are left of her kind. So when her mother is killed for protecting her and rebel frostbloods demand her help to kill their rampaging king, she agrees. But Ruby’s powers are unpredictable, and she’s not sure she’s willing to let the rebels and an infuriating (yet irresistible) young man called Arcus use her as their weapon. All she wants is revenge, but before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to fight for her life in tournaments that pit fireblood prisoners against frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her and from the icy young man she has come to love.

Quick & Dirty: Growing up hiding a gift that needs to be honed to save the world!

Opening Sentence: I offered my hand to the fire.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

The first half of this book sucked me in with its fascinating characters and unusual plotline. However, once I hit the midway point, Frostblood became tedious to read. Don’t get me wrong, nothing major happened but I think that was the point.

It was then that I started to lose interest in Ruby. The thing was that in the first half there were a lot of other characters surrounding Ruby, like the monks and of course Arcus, which I guess deflected the attention from her. Once that changed (no spoilers), I found myself paying more attention to Ruby, and unfortunately I didn’t really like her.

Understandably she’s been through a terrible ordeal and her bantering with Arcus was fun to read, but in the latter part of the story she’s so full of self doubt and uncertainty that, as a reader, I lost faith in her abilities. She’s clearly powerful but I couldn’t see what was so special about her, especially because she didn’t seem to improve much even after training. Her lack of control began to get silly. As one of the only firebloods left, it felt like the impossible task she’d been set had fallen to her by default!

“Cold and tired, but safe in the stables eating like she’s half starved. Which she probably is, thanks to you. And her name isn’t Butter.”
“It is now.”
“She’s not yours to name.”
“She’s mine in spirit now that we’ve had and adventure together. And her name suits her. She’s soft and yellow, like butter.”
He made a disgusted sound. “If we all had names to suit us, you’d be called Thorn in My Backside. Or Plague of the Gods.”
I prickled at his scathing tone. “And you’d be Miserable Blockhead.”

Arcus, on the other hand, made this story fun to read. His icy demeanour and rather mean ways of provoking Ruby to push herself to the limit made him a force to reckon with. As sexist as this sounds, Ruby wasn’t as strong a MC as she should have been so Arcus made up for it!

The love story wasn’t great, but the build up to it was okayish. I’m not too sure whether I’d want to continue with this series, but if I do, then I would hope Ruby’s personality improves!

Notable Scene:

A shiver traced my spine. “What a terrible story.”

She nodded thoughtfully, a crease between her brows. “Affairs between fire and frost rarely end well.”

The Frostblood Saga:

1. Frostblood

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FTC Advisory: Little Brown Books for Young Readeres provided me with a copy of Frostblood. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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