Thursday, December 18, 2014

Winter Falls Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway





Title: Winter Falls
Author: Nicole Maggi
Series: Twin Willows #1
Publisher: Medallion Press
Release date: December 22, 2014
Genres: Paranormal
Format: ARC
Source: MMSAI Book Tours 






Goodreads Description: 

Alessia Jacobs is a typical sixteen-year-old, dying to get out of her small town of Twin Willows, Maine. Things look up when a new family comes to town, but when she falls for the hot, mysterious son, Jonah, her life turns upside down.

Weird visions of transforming into an otherworldly falcon are just the beginning. Soon she learns she’s part of the Benandanti, an ancient cult of warriors with the unique power to separate their souls from their bodies and take on the forms of magnificent animals.

Alessia never would’ve suspected it, but her boring town is the site of an epic struggle between the Benandanti and the Malandanti to control powerful magic in the surrounding forest.

As Alessia is drawn into the Benandanti’s mission, her relationship with Jonah intensifies. When her two worlds collide, Alessia’s forced to weigh choices a sixteen-year-old should never have to make.


Winter Falls is an unique story. The mythology of the Benandanti and Malandanti was quite interesting and I was happy that the author included a note about the truth about the Benandanti at the end. The story got off to somewhat of a slow start to me but after a few chapters it really picked up.

Winter Falls is a relatively short read at just over 300 pages. I was able to knock a good portion of the book out in a single night. The pacing of the story also helps it to be a quicker read.

I enjoyed Alessia and Jonah's relationship. I must admit that I didn't see the turn in their relationship  coming. It took me completely by surprise but I think it did add to the story and made Alessia's choices that much harder.I'm curious to see where their relationship goes in the coming books.

One thing I wasn't crazy about was that the writing was sometimes redundant and would sometimes have two sentences when once would have sufficed.

Over all, I found Winter Falls to be a very interesting read. While I didn't love the writing style, I did enjoy the storyline and the mythology behind it. I recommend this book to fans of fantasy or anyone looking for an unique new story.



About the Author




Author Photo 1 - high res
Nicole was born in the suburbs of upstate New York, and began writing poems about unicorns and rainbows at a very early age.  She detoured into acting, earned a BFA from Emerson College, and moved to NYC where she performed in lots of off-off-off-Broadway Shakespeare.  After a decade of schlepping groceries on the subway, she and her husband hightailed it to sunny Los Angeles, where they now reside, surrounded by fruit trees, with their young daughter and two oddball cats.  Her TWIN WILLOW TRILOGY launches this December from Medallion Press; the first book is WINTER FALLS.  Her standalone YA thriller THE FORGETTING will be released in February 2015 from SourceBooks Fire.Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Goodreads




Must be 13+ To Enter | See Terms & Conditions in entry form for shipping restrictions and more info.



$1 Winner will get a 50 Powell’s Book Store Gift Card (if the winner resides out of the US, they will be receive $50 PayPal Cash)

1 Winner will get the opportunity to name a character in Nicole Maggi’s in the next book she writes!







Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday (72)


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the Broke and the Bookish!


I read a lot this year, so it was really hard narrowing it down to my top ten favorites! For some of these that were my favorite series, I just listed the first in the series (which usually end up being my favorite book in the series anyhow).  What were your favorites for 2014?  I’m always looking for recommendations!

Top Ten Books I Read in 2014

1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
2. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
3. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
4. Last Will and Testament by Dahlia Adler
5. Keeper of the Lost Souls by Kristy Centeno
6. Fallen by Traci. L Slatton
7. Ghost House by Alexandra Adornetto
8. Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick
9. Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo
10. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Monday, December 15, 2014

Transcendent Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway



I am so excited to kick off the blog tour for Transcendent by Lesley Livingston! I am a long time Lesley Livingston fan starting with her Wondrous Strange series and stopping (for now) with Transcendent!



Title: TRANSCENDENT 
Author: Lesley Livingston
Pub. Date: December 23, 2014
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 352
Formats: Hardcover, eBookaudoibook

LOVE CONQUERS

On a storm-swept terrace high above the streets of Manhattan, Mason Starling holds the fate of the world in her hands as her beloved Fennrys lies bleeding at her feet, his life hanging in the balance. The ancient Norse prophecy of Ragnarok stands poised on the knife edge of fulfillment. Mason’s transformation into a Valkyrie—a chooser of the slain and the one who will ultimately bring about the end of the world—is complete. Still, she remains determined to thwart her father’s apocalyptic desires. Whatever is to come, it won’t happen because of what the prophecy foretold, or what Gunnar Starling has planned, or what the fates have already decided. What happens next will be up to Mason and the Fennrys Wolf. The world had better hope they haven’t reached the limits of what their souls and swords can survive.


Perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, and set in the same universe as Lesley Livingston’s much-loved WONDROUS STRANGE trilogy, with roots in Greek, Roman, Norse, Egyptian, and Celtic myths and legends, this thrilling conclusion to the acclaimed Starling trilogy is filled to the hilt with sweeping adventure and soaring romance. 

Grab STARLING Book 1 in the series now for only $1.99!




About Lesley:

Lesley Livingston is a writer and actress living in Toronto. She has a master's degree in English from the University of Toronto, where she specialized in Arthurian Literature and Shakespeare. She frequently performs with the Tempest Theatre Group, of which she is a co-founder. She is also the author of WONDROUS STRANGE and DARKLIGHT.
You can visit Lesley online at www.lesleylivingston.com


One thing about Lesley Livingston is that you can never accuse of her of not having enough action in her novels. Transcendent is loaded with enough action to keep you reeling for days. From the first page to the last, you will never be bored.

My original interest in this series began because of my love for Fenn in her previous series, Wondrous Strange. However, after getting into the series I fell in love with several new characters. Mason is of course one of the obvious choices. I love her strength and determination. He refuses to let her dad or Daria or the fates or the gods or whoever decide her destiny. She's determined to find her own way and I love that about her. One I was surprised about was Heather. I love the great friend she is to Mason. She has her own reasons to resent Mason but she choses to let them go. Cal got on my nerves at times but I really love that he reminded me of Percy Jackson. 

The action in Transcendent is pretty much nonstop. The book begins right where Descendent left off and it doesn't slow down. There's a lot of information about Norse gods and I will admit that I did find myself skimming over some of the history lessons but then ended up kicking myself when I didn't know why certain things were happening or who certain characters were. The plot and details are very intricatingly woven. 

There's a quote by Roth that really stood out to me and I think it kind of defines the moral of the story at least to me anyway. 

"And while I know it's almost unheard of for such a thing to happen in a Gosforth founding house, maybe you should put aside all the family crap and work toward a common goal. For once. Maybe we all should. Maybe, if we do that, we can actually achieve something worthwhile and stop the world from ending."  (Note: This quotation is from an ARC and may be different in the final copy.)

This quote stuck with me and I think it translates well to real life as well which is something I think great books are supposed to do. I can't help but think that maybe if we could all put aside all the other crap we have going on and instead work together that we would could make a real difference in the world and while maybe we couldn't stop the world from ending maybe we could at the very least leave it a little better than we found it. Of course, this is something that I took from it and it may have been completely unintended. Still, I feel fairly certain that Lesley Livingston won't mind me taking that away from her book. 

This series is perfect for fans of Livingston's Wondrous Strange series or anyone looking for an action packed book based on Norse mythology. I highly recommend it!






Giveaway Details:
Finished copies of TRANSCENDENT US/Canada Only


Be sure to check out the rest of the tour!

Tour Schedule:
Week One:
12/15/2014- Wholly BooksReview
12/16/2014- Reading YA RocksInterview
12/17/2014- Reading LarkReview
12/18/2014- Two Chicks on BooksGuest Post
12/19/2014- Please Feed The Bookworm-Review

Week Two:
12/22/2014- ParajunkeeInterview
12/23/2014- Wishful EndingsReview
12/24/2014- Mom With A KindleInterview
12/25/2014- Crossroad Reviews - Review
12/26/2014- Bewitched BookwormsGuest Post



Thursday, December 11, 2014

Review: Last Will and Testament & Author Interview










Title: Last Will and Testament
Series: Radleigh University
Author: Dahlia Adler
Pub dateDecember 9, 2014
Rating: 5 Cows











Goodreads Description:

Lizzie Brandt was valedictorian of her high school class, but at Radleigh University, all she's acing are partying and hooking up with the wrong guys. But all that changes when her parents are killed in a tragic accident, making her guardian to her two younger brothers. To keep them out of foster care, she'll have to fix up her image, her life, and her GPA—fast. Too bad the only person on campus she can go to for help is her humorless, pedantic Byzantine History TA, Connor Lawson, who isn't exactly Lizzie's biggest fan.

But Connor surprises her. Not only is he a great tutor, but he’s also a pretty great babysitter. And chauffeur. And listener. And he understands exactly what it’s like to be on your own before you're ready. Before long, Lizzie realizes having a responsible-adult type around has its perks... and that she'd like to do some rather irresponsible (but considerably adult) things with him as well. Good thing he's not the kind of guy who'd ever reciprocate.

Until he does.

Until they turn into far more than teacher and student.

Until the relationship that helped put their lives back together threatens everything they both have left.

Buy links: Amazon B&N | iBooks | Smashwords | Kobo



When you read a lot, there always tends to be someredundancy in books, whether it’s the characters, plot, or genre itself (hellooo dystopian worlds).  With Last Will and Testament there was none of that though, and it was SO refreshing for a change.  It made for an AMAZING story, that I read in two sittings. I’m not kidding you.  I even had a test the next day that I was planning on going to bed early for. Oh well. No regrets. When you start reading this book, you’ll totally understand.

I wasn’t sure at first how I would feel about reading NA.  I’ve never actually read anything from this genre before, so I didn’t know what to expect. If everything from this genre was even half as good as Last Will and Testamentthough, then I have to say I’m in. Dahlia Adler, I have to give it to you.  You know how to hook a reader!  I was in love with Lizzie from the start. She’s sassy, independent, and EXTREMELY witty!  She’s like the cool version of me that I always secretly wished I could be.  Some of my favorite parts of the book were actually when her and Connor were arguing, because Lizzie is SO SASSY it’s hilarious!  She’s also extremely blunt, and tells it like it is.  Basically, she says all the things most people wish theywere brave enough to say in real life.  

I’m a college student myself, so as I was reading the book, I tried to imagine myself in a situation similar to that of Lizzie’s, and I honestly couldn’t. Losing both of your parents at once, and trying to stay afloat in your college classes would be extremely difficult.  Now let’s add the responsibility of being the new guardians of your little brothers.  I COULD NOT even begin to imagine it.  Dahlia did a great job of writing Lizzie’s new life as realistically as possible though, and for me, that was one of the reasons I loved the book so much.  From running the boys to school, to trying to make it to class on time, nothing goes smoothly for Lizzie.  The boys get sick one night, she has car problems, and she doesn’t always have time to get ready and look presentable.  The whole thing was really believable and I couldn’t help having ALL THE FEELS for Lizzie. I cried when she cried, and I got frustrated when she did.  Each time something went wrong between her and Connor, I felt like it was happening to me.  It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that made me feel that way, and I was impressed.

Other than great characters and a realistic portrayal, the book also has some pretty hot moments.  Don’t say I didn’t forewarn you! You’re best off to read this in the privacy of your own home.  Unless you don’t mind reading a book that will probably make your face turn red (like mine did) where other people can see you. SO. GOOD. HOT DANG though. That’s all I’ll say on THAT matter!

All joking aside, the ending was great too.  I’m superpicky when it comes to endings, and I’m almost ALWAYS disappointed with at least one aspect of how the book ends.  With Last Will and Testament I had no complaints though. Not a single one!  This book definitely made it to the top of my favorite books of 2014, and I foresee a reread of it in the near future!  I can’t wait for the next book in the Radleigh University series by Dahlia Adler to come out!






Hey, Emily!

I'm so glad you enjoyed the book, thank you!! And thanks for the interview! Here are my answers:

I noticed Last Will and Testament is the first book in the Radleigh University series.  Will we be seeing more of Lizzie and Connor?  Or will the series continue with new characters? 
You will definitely be seeing more of Lizzie and Connor (quickly! The first chapter of book 2 is included at the end of the finished book of LWaT, and they already appear), but they're secondary in rest of the series. Book 2 is called Right of First Refusal, and it's Cait's book, and the third book is still untitled, and that's Frankie's story.

Last Will and Testament is your debut NA novel.  Prior to writing this, did you ever expect to get into the NA genre?  Or have you always thought you’d stick to being a YA author?
Oh, I totally knew I was gonna write NA as soon as became a Thing. I actually wrote NA before I seriously wrote YA, but when I tried to find agents with it, it was at the end of 2008, beginning of 2009, and became very clear that it wasn't gonna happen. I went back to YA (which is what I wrote as a younger teen), and eventually, when it became clear there was a place for NA in the market, and I was feeling a little burned out on YA, I started writing Last Will and Testament.

So which genre do you prefer?  What do you think are the perks and downfalls of writing NA as opposed to YA?
Honestly, it's hard to say. On the one hand, I love that NA is so new that it barely has "rules." On the other hand, I think it comes with certain expectations that are closer to the tropes of Romance and, as much as I love writing them, start to feel repetitive in a way YA still doesn't to me. I have a lot of freedom with my YA, being with a small press, so NA doesn't have that same exciting "No limits on how I can write about certain topics now!" as it might for other authors who feel a little more restricted. But I do love writing older, freer characters who don't have parental/curfew/high school restrictions, and that's a huge NA draw for me. Obviously you can write YA that way too, but I tend to feel it a lot less believable, and parents always factor in to my YAs more than I expect them to because I think it's truer that way, at least to the stories I'm telling.

You’re a blogger, editor, and author.  How do you find the time to fit in your writing? 
I try to fit things into "windows" of sorts. I don't write during the day, when I'm at my dayjob, though lunch is free for me to blog or work on promo stuff. My commute is either writing or drafting time, the latter only if I'm feeling particularly inspired. Then I try to be really disciplined about my blogging and writing goals at nights and on the weekend, because those are really the devoted times. I used to copy edit much more frequently than I do now; at some point, something had to give, and that's what I chose.

What does your writing process look like?  Do you force yourself to sit down and write, or do you only write when you feel inspired? 
I sit down at my computer pretty much every night, and I really, really try to write. Some days, it comes easily, and some days, it's pulling teeth. When I really can't do it, I don't; there's always another way I could be spending my time, especially with several books to promote. But when I really, really want to, I beg someone to sprint online with me, and that's a huge help.

Where did you find your inspiration to write Last Will and Testament?
I usually don't remember the inspirations for my books, but this one's crystal clear - it was a conversation with a friend of mine, in which she mentioned her parents put it in their will when she went to college that she would inherit her younger brothers if anything happened to them, because there was no one else in the family they trusted to be their guardians more. The second I heard that, I knew that was a book. (She knows none of this, by the way.)

I loved the plot, and how Lizzie becomes the new guardian to her brothers.  I’m in college now and I couldn’t even IMAGINE what it would be like having to balance taking care of siblings and studying for finals.  Lizzie is one tough cookie.  Is her character based on anyone you know? 
Thanks! And no, Lizzie's definitely her own person. The friend who inspired the book is a seriously tough cookie, and I know if anyone could handle this, it'd probably be her, but she'd probably handle things a lot more...gracefully than Lizzie does.

One last question. I noticed you’re very active in social media (especially twitter) and you follow many popular book bloggers.  It’s actually what got me first interested in you as an author, and how I heard about Last Will and Testament!  You have such a great personality, and you’re extremely outgoing in the book community.  How do you think this has impacted you as an author?  Do you feel this is a crucial element in promoting your book and yourself as an author?  Or do you do it just because you enjoy it?  
Thanks so much! I don't feel like it's crucial, though I do think it's helped people be much more open to the idea of embracing a small-press and self-pub author than they otherwise might've been. I actually stopped following book bloggers at some point because the idea of seeing them talk about hating my books was way too nervewracking, but then I met a bunch in person and they were just too awesome. I made the call that I feel like I'm capable enough of separating myself from my work to handle that; so far, so good! But it is hard, because I'm an author and also a person and also a blogger, and it's like there are these invisible wires in between you're just praying you don't trip. And it's also a challenge because thankfully, people trust me to recommend them books, and I want to earn that trust, but also support my author friends. I'm happy with the balance I've struck so far, and I just hope it holds, because I enjoy all these worlds very much!



Emily


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Best of 2014 Giveaway Hop





Welcome to my top on the Best of 2014 Giveaway Hop!! I'm giving away your choice of one of my favorite books I've read this year! Details are below! Don't forget to check out everyone else's giveaways!





                                  



Winner will receive one of the two books listed above. 
Giveaway is international as long as the Book Depository ships to you!
Best of luck! 

Also, I'm on tsu now. You don't get any extra entries for this giveaway for following me there but once I get a few followers on there I will be having a giveaway on there! For those of you that don't know tsu is a new social media site. It doesn't screen what posts show up in your feed so you'll be able to see all of my posts! :)
You can find me here -->  https://www.tsu.co/AshleyKnowles


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