Fall 2016 Bloggiesta To-Do List!

Posted September 14, 2016 by MC / 8 Comments

Categories: Book Reviews

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Well, hello there, everyone! I know I have been pretty absent here lately, and I’m terribly sorry. But I have been working on a lot of projects and super awesome things, which has left me with little time for maintaining my blog. Good thing Bloggiesta is here this weekend!

If you have been following me for a while, you should know what Bloggiesta is by now. But if you’ve never heard of it before, Bloggiesta is a blogging fiesta! It’s a time to tackle those to-do lists and get stuff done for your blog! Have something different you’ve always wanted to try? Try it! Tons of posts (or cross-posting) that you’ve been putting off forever? Get it done! Always wondered how to master social media to help promote your blog? Time to learn!

Bloggiesta holds a special place in my heart because it really changed me as a blogger and made my blog what it is today. And it’s how I met one of my best blogging friends, Emily at Emily Reads Everything. And now….Emily and I have taken over Bloggiesta and this is our first time hosting it!

Ok, I have been rambling enough….let’s get into my to-do list. It’s pretty small this time, but I think there is good reason for it.

Bloggiesta To-Do List:

  • Run Bloggiesta!!!

That’s it! That’s my to-do list! This time around I really just want to focus on running my first Bloggiesta and keeping things running smoothly.

I also want to use Bloggiesta to set myself a little goal moving forward. I want to make sure I post on my blog at least once a week. I would love to be able to do more, but hopefully at least setting that goal here will help keep me accountable and on target. Right now it’s not feasible for me to post as frequently as I used to, but I don’t want to get stuck in a rut and let things fall apart. So help me out and give me some encouragement and keep me accountable!

If you want to join Bloggiesta, create your own to-do list and visit our sign-up post to add it to the list! We will be having Twitter chats every day and we have multiple mini challenges happening, which will help challenge you to try those things you’ve always wanted to do! All the details will be posted on the Bloggiesta website, so check it out for more information!

See you at the fiesta!

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When you run your first Bloggiesta…..

…..blame it on the books.

Fall Favorite Things Blog Tour: Keep Her by Leora Krygier | A Multimedia Experience

Posted September 9, 2016 by MC / 0 Comments

Categories: Book Reviews

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Hi everyone! I’m so excited to be a part of the Fall Favorite Things Blog Tour. First up on this tour is Keep Her by Leora Krygier. This book has some very unique aspects about it that I can’t wait to share with you!

Fall Favorite Things Blog Tour: Keep Her by Leora Krygier | A Multimedia ExperienceKeep Her by Leora Krygier
Published by She Writes Press on September 6th 2016
Pages: 264
Goodreads

Destiny doesn t factor into seventeen-year-old adoptee Maddie s rational world, where numbers and scientific probability have always proven to be the only things she can count on as safe and reliable. Still, Maddie is also an artist who draws on instinct and intuition to create the collages she makes from photographs and the castoff scraps she saves. But when her brother falls in with a Los Angeles street gang, Maddie loses her ability to create art. Then fate deals Maddie a card she can t ignore: Aiden, a young filmmaker she meets when a water main bursts inside a camera store. Aiden is haunted by the death of his younger brother, and a life-changing decision he must now make whether or not to keep his baby daughter. Caught in a whirlpool of love and loss, Maddie and Aiden find that art and numbers, a mission to save endangered whales, and a worn-out copy of Moby Dick all collide to heal and save them both."

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Keep Her is definitely one of the most unique books I have ever read. You get pieces of the story from two different perspectives – the present narrated by Maddie, and the past shown through letters written from Aiden to his brother Alex. Maddie is an artist and Aiden is an activist who has been on a Greenpeace mission. Our two main characters come from very different lives, but they find a way to connect over the pain of their pasts.

Not only is this story a unique one, but it is paired with a website that allows the reader to get to know the characters on a different level. By visiting www.leorakrygier.net, you can see the story through the eyes of Maddie and Aiden.

On the website, you can see photographs that Maddie took throughout the story on her adventures with Aiden as she tried to find inspiration again. You can see handwritten letters from Aiden to his deceased brother Alex, as he joins Greenpeace and goes on a mission to save humpback whales and comes to terms with the guilt he feels at Alex’s untimely death. There is even a map of Los Angeles, so you can follow Maddie and Aiden on their adventures through the city. One of my favorite things that you can find on the website is a link to a webcam on board the Esperanza, the ship that Aiden travelled on during his time with Greenpeace. Yes, it’s a real ship, and you can see exactly what it’s like to be aboard a ship saving humpback whales!

I didn’t check out the website until I was finished reading Keep Her, but I highly recommend you go take a look at the website and refer to it as you read the book! That would be an awesome experience! I love the extra effort that was put into this work to make it such a unique experience for the reader. If you are a contemporary fan, check out Keep Her, and visit Leora Krygier’s website to complete immerse yourself in this story!

Purchase links for Keep Her!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Meet the Author!

leora-krygierLeora Krygier’s first novel, When She Sleeps (Toby Press), was a New York Public Library selection for “Best Books for the Teen Age.” She currently lives in L.A. with her husband. When she’s not writing, Leora loves to go to the beach, walk the Santa Monica Mountain trails and snap lots of photographs, just like her Keep Her protagonist Maddie!
 
Leora’s fall favorite thing is Starbucks, and believe it or not, its not just because of the return of Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Leora first came up with the idea for Keep Her while she was sitting in a Starbucks, staring absently at that little green mermaid that we all know and love. The mermaid reminded her of Starbucks, but not the coffee place, the character from the Herman Melville classic Moby Dick. So began the inspiration for Keep Her. Don’t know what I am talking about? You’ll just have to read the book to find out how they all connect

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When you join the Fall Favorite Things Blog Tour…..

…..blame it on the books.

Fanboy Book Club September Read! | Been Here All Along by Sandy Hall

Posted September 8, 2016 by MC / 0 Comments

Categories: Book Reviews

Hi everyone! I’m here with a reminder and some exciting news!!!

In case you missed the announcement in our last chat, the September read for the Fanboy Book Club is Been Here All Along by Sandy Hall!!

Fanboy Book Club September Read! | Been Here All Along by Sandy HallBeen Here All Along by Sandy Hall
Published by Macmillan on August 30th 2016
Pages: 272
Goodreads

Gideon always has a plan. It includes running for class president, becoming head of the yearbook committee, and having his choice of colleges. It does NOT include falling head over heels for his best friend, Kyle. It’s a distraction, it’s pointless—Kyle is already dating the head cheerleader, Ruby—and Gideon doesn’t know what to do.
Kyle finally feels like he has a handle on life. He has a wonderful girlfriend, a best friend willing to debate the finer points of Lord of the Rings, and social acceptance as captain of the basketball team. So when both Ruby and Gideon start acting really weird, just as his spot on the team is threatened, Kyle can’t quite figure out what he did wrong.
Sandy Hall, the author of A Little Something Different, is back with her signature wit in this quirky and heartfelt LGBT YA novel.

I’m so excited that we will be reading this book in September! I am a big fan of Sandy Hall, and I was actually lucky enough to read Been Here All Along as an ARC. It is a wonderful book and I can’t wait for all of you to read it!

As you know, we have a spoiler-free Twitter chat each month to discuss the book we read, and that chat will be held on Saturday September 17 at 9am EST (this means 9pm on the same day for all of our members in the Philippines). I will be asking the questions from my own Twitter account, so make sure you are following me @blamethebooks and the Fanboy Book Club account @fbcyaph so you don’t miss any updates!

And now on to the really exciting news! For the first time, the author of our monthly read will be joining us for our chat! That’s right, Sandy Hall herself will be joining us for the chat!! I had the pleasure of meeting Sandy in person last month, and I am so excited to have her join us for this chat! Get your questions ready, because I’m sure she can’t wait to discuss her books with all of you!

This is just the tip of the iceberg of excitement for the Fanboy Book Club! We will be announcing even more fun events and opportunities at the end of our Twitter chat on the 17th. If you want to join the club and hear what we have in store for the future, sign up below!

Join the Fanboy Book Club!

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When you get to chat with a favorite author…..

…..blame it on the books.

Review and Thoughts: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Posted August 31, 2016 by MC / 1 Comment

Categories: Book Reviews

Review and Thoughts: Harry Potter and the Cursed ChildHarry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two (Special Rehearsal Edition) by J.K. RowlingJohn TiffanyJack Thorne
Published by Pottermore on July 31st 2016
Goodreads

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play received its world premiere in London’s West End on 30th July 2016.
It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.
This Special Rehearsal Edition will be available to purchase until early 2017, after which a Definitive Edition of the script will go on sale.

A heart-to-heart before we begin: I have kept this review spoiler free; however, I encourage you to use your own discretion when reading. Considering waiting until after you have read Cursed Child to read my thoughts. I know how much other people’s opinions can influence the way we read books, and I would hate for my thoughts to have any kind of negative affect on your enjoyment of this work. The world of Harry Potter means so much to so many people, and I would never wish a bad book on anyone, so I truly hope that you enjoy Cursed Child

Well, I have hemmed and hawed about writing this review for a few weeks now, and it’s finally time to share my opinion with the Internet. Honestly, I have read a ton of reviews by people who had the same reactions to this script, so I will keep this short and sweet.

First of all, I wasn’t that excited about the Cursed Child to begin with. Of course I was anxious to have another Harry Potter story, but I wasn’t swooning over the idea like Mrs. Weasley lost her mind over Gilderoy Lockheart. I am one of those Potter fans who pretend the Epilogue in Deathly Hallows doesn’t exist. I DESPISE Ginny (she is worse than Umbridge in my book) so I like to pretend Harry’s life with her never actually happened. Hence the reason why I was excited to be back in the Harry Potter world, but I knew I wouldn’t end up loving this story about Harry and the devil Ginny.

Going into reading this book, I knew I probably wouldn’t be thrilled with the plot, so I tried not to take that into consideration very much in my critique. Different strokes for different folks, you know? Just because I don’t like the plot of a book doesn’t mean it’s a bad book.

Well…except in this case…

First of all, the plot was about a million times worse than I ever imagined. So ridiculous. But even disregarding the general plot, this book was awful. Really, truly, and very unfortunately, awful. I’m sure you have heard the same things over and over again, but there were so many things wrong with this book. The characters were NOTHING like they were in the rest of the Harry Potter series. Yes, people change as they age, but not like that. I am trying to keep this discussion spoiler free, but if you have read Cursed Child, I’m sure you can think of multiple examples. There were also huge changes to the world and magic system that J.K. Rowling created. And honestly, it felt like these changes were made just because it made the plot fall into place easier. What a cop out for the sake of convenience.

I could talk more about all the little intricacies of this script that bugged the hell out of me, but the internet is swarming with these types of discussions and I don’t want to get myself all worked up over it. Let’s talk instead about my biggest problem with this script. The writing was HORRIBLE. Yes, I understand that reading a script is different than reading a novel. But there are many plays that I adore and have read multiple times. This. Writing. Was. Awful. The stage directions were nonexistent, the plot was WAY too convenient, the characters were flat and dull and absolutely obnoxiously stupid, and I therefore spent about 90% of my time reading alternating between confused, bored, and angry.

Honestly, there is SO MUCH that is wrong with this work. But I truly don’t want to talk about it anymore. Like so many people, Harry Potter means the world to me. It breaks my heart that this awful thing now exists and is supposed to be considered an “eighth story.” I don’t want to discuss my dislike of this book anymore because I want to forget as much as I can as quickly as possible. It has left a bad taste in my mouth and I don’t want my Harry Potter love tainted by it. I’m honestly so confused as to how J.K. Rowling could sign off on this idea. After all that she has created, it seems so strange that she would let it be muddled by Jack Thorne and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Play.

2 Stars

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When the magical world you thought you knew is ruined…..

…..blame it on the books.

Blog Tour: Stalking Jack the Ripper | An Interview with Kerri Maniscalco!

Posted August 14, 2016 by MC / 4 Comments

Categories: Author Interviews, Blog Tours

stalking jack blog tour

Blog Tour: Stalking Jack the Ripper | An Interview with Kerri Maniscalco!Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
on September 20th 2016
Goodreads

Presented by James Patterson's new children's imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion...
Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.
Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.
The story's shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

Hello, hello! I’m so excited to be a part of the Knights of Whitechapel and today I have a special guest here to talk to us! The fantastic Kerri Maniscalco agreed to let me pick her brain a bit!

I will be reviewing this book in a separate post, but spoiler alert! I LOVED it! It is beautifully written and gripping and haunting and….I should really stop before I go on and on with my gushing.

I had such a pleasure putting together this interview with Kerri! Check out what she has to say! Everybody say HIIIII KERRIIIIIIIIIII!!!!

Hi Kerri! And welcome! This is your debut novel and the first novel selected by James Patterson to be published by his new imprint, JIMMY Patterson Books. First of all, congratulations! Secondly, how does it feel to have your first book published? What was it like going through the process of working with a brand new imprint (and one created by a very well-known author)?

Thank you so much! It is completely and utterly surreal. I’ve been writing with the hopes of getting published since 2009/2010 and for it to *actually* be coming true? I still think I’m in shock and denial. The entire team at JIMMY Patterson Books have been incredible in every sense of the word. There were no hiccups or issues and I’ve been treated so well. I’m grateful to have each of them on my team—they’re amazing humans, and are extremely passionate about books and their jobs. I could gush over the whole team for days. But yeah. James Patterson has been really great with making sure my voice and story are well taken care of. And my editor is an absolute dream. I think everyone should be so lucky to work with Jenny!

Stalking Jack the Ripper is teeming with history, and a bit of gore as well. What drew you to the idea of telling this story?

Honestly? I’m in love with science. Forensics are a field that I’ve always been interested in for as long as I can remember. At one point, I almost switched majors—from art school in NYC to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville—to study forensics at the Body Farm. I fully believe that seeing beyond the gore and using clues left at a crime scene is like real life magic. I could nerd out for a while, so I’ll try to keep it brief…and not so gory and geek out over the Body Farm…

That mixed with my love of inspiring female leads and how they bucked the system in a restrictive society were some big draws for me.

I can picture the world you are describing so vividly as I am reading! How much research did you have to do for this book? Where did you begin? And what was one of the most interesting (or weird) things you learned while you were doing your research?

Oh! This makes me so happy to hear—thank you for the compliment. I did more research than I can ever properly express. Everything from clothing and what was worn when, from tea parties and the various nuances of what was served or discussed during them, to every detail about the Ripper case/murders. I even read through medical examiner documents that were taken at the murder scenes.

I started with the Ripper crimes and then fleshed out more historical details—even down to what soaps were used and if there were phones and electricity or gas in homes—as I wrote each chapter. Sometimes it would take three or four hours to sift through articles and documents in order to find the information I needed for a half of a sentence. Those details are worth all the time it took to find them, though. (I hope.)

One of the weirdest things I discovered was that a body smells like a raw, whole chicken when no injuries had been sustained. Pretty creepy stuff. Luckily I had my mews snuggled next to me for most of the scarier research 😀

I love the photos that you included throughout the book! They really pull you even deeper into the story. What made you decide to add photos to your book? And how did you decide which ones to use?

Thank you! I love historical novels that include period photos and illustrations, and I felt they would really add to painting a clear picture for readers to have some crime scenes or locations included. The Mitre Square photo was so evocative by itself, and then the Necropolis was another I adored. It’s always interesting to see the actual historic sites…at least, I think so.

As I am reading Stalking Jack the Ripper, I can picture you in a candlelit library, sitting in a plush armchair, plotting ways to make your readers squirm. So spill….what is your writing space really like? Do you prefer to work in order or chaos?

Hahaha I definitely like that imagery and will have to see what I can do to make that happen in reality! While writing STALKING JACK THE RIPPER I spent time between my house and Chris’s loft. I’d either write in my bed or in his while he was working on his projects in the living room, and I’d split up the scarier scenes by drinking tea and making food. For such a dark novel, I really had a great time writing it!

Recently I purchased an actual desk—it’s this really cool industrial piece with reclaimed wood—and paired it with a feminine tufted chair, so I have an office space that’s very, very neat. I have bookshelves along one wall and have hung fairy lights above them to give off a twinkling glow. I love vintage pieces and also have them sprinkled about for inspiration. I need organization in order to function, so my desk has drawer organizers and I have all my supplies in their proper homes. I like being able to know exactly where something is when I need it. When things are neat I just feel better mentally.

I know SJTR hasn’t even released yet, but what’s next? Are you working on another book? Give us the scoop!

I’m finishing up book two in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series — it’s been a TON of fun to write…probably more fun than is acceptable given the subject matter. But it’s been really wonderful getting to explore the characters and see them grow on this next leg of their journey. I’d written SJTR with the hopes of it being the first in a new series of interconnected standalones, and am thrilled I get to do just that. Book two has the same characters, a new setting, new infamous murderer, and a whole lot of intrigue. And maybe some more kissing… I love it and cannot wait for it to hit shelves in September 2017.

Ah!! I can’t wait! Thank you so much for joining us Kerri!

Meet Kerri!

Kerri Maniscalco Promo shots

Kerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside NYC where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats.

STALKING JACK THE RIPPER, her debut YA gothic horror, is coming September 20, 2016 from JIMMY Patterson/Little, Brown. It’s the first in a new series and incorporates her love of forensic science and unsolved history.

Twitter   |  Facebook   |   Instagram   |   Website   |   Tumblr   |   Pinterest

Photo credit: Kelli Maniscalco @ Dogwood Lane

Have we convinced you to go preorder Stalking Jack the Ripper yet?

Goodreads   |   Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |  Indiebound

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When you stalk Jack the Ripper…..

…..blame it on the books.

Pokemon Indigo League #ReadThemAllThon TBR!

Posted August 13, 2016 by MC / 8 Comments

Categories: TBR Lists

readthemallthon

All images in this post created by Aentee at Read at Midnight.

Well, I am crumbling under peer pressure and joining the Pokemon Indigo League #ReadThemAllThon created by Aentee at Read at Midnight! I know pretty much nothing about Pokemon, but this read-a-thon sounds pretty fun!

The read-a-thon runs from August 14-September 4 and there are 8 challenges, corresponding with the 8 gym badges you can earn in the Pokemon game. (Did I say that right? Like I said, zero Pokemon knowledge here.)

Check out what I’m planning to read!

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Spells and Sorcery by S. Usher Evans!!! I FINALLY met my darling Sush in person last weekend and snagged an ARC of her upcoming release! I cannot wait to dive into this one. Theres a good chance I may not be able to wait until the read-a-thon starts…

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne. I am currently finishing up an audiobook reread of the entire Harry Potter series, which has been bringing about a lot of tears lately. Why not continue the suffering and jump right into the newest Harry Potter book while I’m at it? (PS – spoil me and I will hunt you down….)

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Nevernight by Jay Kristoff. I have actually already started this one, and I can definitely say that the hype is well-deserved. I can’t wait to keep reading and laugh and cry and be destroyed by this book. (PS – as I was writing this post my Waterstones special edition arrived and all I have to say is AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! You can check out my Instagram story for a tour of my beautiful book!)

readthemallthon-badge04-rainbowBeen Here All Along by Sandy Hall. I was able to meet Sandy last weekend as well, and she is so lovely! There is a reason why I must read this book now and why I needed to talk to her last weekend, but it’s still a secret at the moment. 🙂

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My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows. I was actually ALSO able to meet Jodi last weekend! (It was seriously an awesome weekend.) For some reason, I have been reading My Lady Jane for what seems like forever. I keep putting it on the back burner, but now is my time to finish it. I am adoring it so far and I can’t wait to read more.

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Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman. This is the book of the month for August for the Fanboy Book Club! I am hosting this month and I haven’t even started the book yet, so I should really get on top of that…

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Sweep: Volume 3 by Cate Tiernan. These books are my guilty pleasure. I read them so quickly and love every second of it. Plus, it’s over 500 pages, so hooray for a high page count in a short period of time!

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Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry. I was trying desperately to find a nice short post-apocolyptic book for this challenge and someone mentioned The Giver. I’ve read that already, but I never continued with the quartet, so now is the perfect time! It should be a nice quick read, and hopefully a good one too!

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For this readathon, you can also choose a Pokemon and there are different ways you can earn points to evolve your Pokemon. I have chosen possibly one of the most useless Pokemon, Slakoth. I find it fitting however, because Slakoth likes to lounge around and be lazy all day, just like me. But then it evolves into Vigoroth, who can’t stand to sit still for very long (again, like me). Vigoroth then evolves into Slaking, who is lazy yet again. I feel like this will be a perfectly accurate representation of the stages of my readathon – lounging around doing nothing but reading, getting restless and needing to be active, and finally collapsing from readathon-induced exhaustion.

Check out Aentee’s post to learn about the point system, because there’s no way I could explain it better than her!

Will you be joining the #ReadThemAllThon??? What books did you pick for your TBR?

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When you gotta catch ’em all…..

…..blame it on the books.

Fanboy Book Club August Read!

Posted August 12, 2016 by MC / 2 Comments

Categories: Fanboy Book Club

Hello everyone! I am embarrassingly late with this post, but I am here to inform/remind you of the Fanboy Book Club pick for August!

We will be reading…..

Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman!

Fanboy Book Club August Read!Legacy of Kings (Blood of Gods and Royals, #1) by Eleanor Herman
Published by Harlequin Teen on August 18th 2015
Pages: 428
Goodreads

Imagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn, and in their ashes, empires rise.
Alexander, Macedonia’s sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world but finds himself drawn to a newcomer…
Katerina must navigate the dark secrets of court life while hiding her own mission: kill the Queen. But she doesn’t account for her first love…
Jacob will go to unthinkable lengths to win Katerina, even if it means having to compete for her heart with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince.
And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander’s unmet betrothed, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.
Weaving fantasy with the shocking details of real history, New York Times bestselling author of Sex with Kings Eleanor Herman reimagines the greatest emperor the world has ever known, Alexander the Great, in the first book of the Blood of Gods and Royals series.

 

 

To get us all talking this month, I’d like to challenge you to talk about your favorite historical fiction books! OR, discuss something that you would like to see written…maybe there is a time period that you feel is underrepresented in historical fiction. If you aren’t a hist fic fan, talk about your favorite fantasy retellings, or a retelling you wish someone would write! Legacy of Kings is a fantastical retelling of historical events, after all. 🙂

Write a blog post, start a thread on Twitter, post pictures on Instagram – whatever way you like to talk about books, go for it! Just get talking! And make sure you tag me somehow so I can help continue the conversation!

And remember, we will be having a spoiler-free Twitter chat to discuss Legacy of Kings on Saturday August 27, 9am EST (that means 9pm PST for all my friends in the Philippines). The chat will be led by yours truly, so make sure you are following me on Twitter @blamethebooks.

You are going to want to keep an eye on this chat because we will be announcing our September read as well…and we are working with some very exciting authors and publishers for the next few months! Things are getting very exciting over at the Fanboy Book Club! Get in on the action and don’t risk missing any announcements by signing up below!

Join the Fanboy Book Club!

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When you don’t know if you can hold in your exciting news any longer…..

…..blame it on the books.

Blog Tour: Recreated by Colleen Houck | The Netherworld

Posted August 5, 2016 by MC / 1 Comment

Categories: Blog Tours, Guest Posts

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Blog Tour: Recreated by Colleen Houck | The NetherworldRecreated by Colleen Houck
Published by Random House Children's Books on August 2nd 2016
Goodreads

From Colleen Houck, New York Times bestselling author of The Tiger’s Curse, comes Recreated, the second book in the epic Egyptian-inspired Reawakened series, in which a seventeen-year-old must literally go to hell to save the love of her life.   Lily Young thought traveling across the globe with a reawakened sun prince was a grand adventure. Now she’s about to embark on the journey of a lifetime.
When Amon and Lily part tragically, he transports himself to the Netherworld—what mortals call hell. Tormented by the loss of his one true love, he’d rather suffer in agony during Lily’s mortal years than fulfill his duty to protect humanity. 
Heartbroken, Lily seeks refuge on her grandmother’s farm. Yet she can feel Amon’s pain, and she has been having dreams—dreams of Amon continually suffering. 
For before he departed, Amon gave Lily something very special, an item that connects them even though they are worlds apart. Now Lily must use this object to free him, and to free their realms from darkness and utter chaos. She will do whatever it takes.

Hi everyone! Today I have a special guest here on the blog! Colleen Houck is here to talk to us a bit about her upcoming release, Recreated. Here’s what Colleen has to say about one of the places we visit in her book, the Netherworld:

In many sources the Afterlife and the Netherworld are interchangeable. As I was researching both for my Egyptian series, it soon became clear to me that I needed to separate them into two distinct places.

My version of the Netherworld is a place the dead go after judgment if their hearts are deemed unworthy of the Afterlife. In this way, the Afterlife is more like a paradise or a place of waiting while the Netherworld is a place where the unprepared go. There they are provided opportunities to fix their past wrongs.

There are several dangers in my version of the Netherworld. The first one is the queen, called the Devourer. In some myths she is called Ammit, and is described as having the head of a crocodile, the body of a lion and the hind end of a hippopotamus. Not a very pretty picture, is it? She sits by the scales of justice and the goddess Ma’at will throw her the hearts of the wicked to devour.

I kept the idea of heart devouring but made my version beautiful and tempting. She sucks the life out of ghosts through the mouth, AKA a kiss which is much more interesting to me than just chomping on bloody hearts.

The Devourer has several minions that work for her. Reapers, (kind of a play on grim reapers but mine are actually insectoids), hellhounds (a bit like large wolves that dissolve into smoke), and an albino minotaur who is pretty much one of a kind. His weapon of choice is a whip.

In Egyptian mythology there is a Lake of Fire and I kept that in my story. There are various beasties that swim in the lake and try to stop the repentant from recovering their hearts. In Recreated, the hearts of those who are banished to the Netherworld are placed in locations of varying degrees of danger. The person brave enough to recover his, one who can learn from the mistakes made while in the flesh, can get it back. In essence, this will heal the soul who has lost his heart. They are then eligible to leave the Netherworld for the Afterlife as long as they can get past the things that might stop them.

I think my favorite place there is the field of ghosts. This is where the reapers come in. There is an actual field in the Netherworld where ghosts are planted in rows. They are allowed to “ripen” and when they’re ready, the reapers cut them down and take them to the Devourer so she can consume them. Pretty creepy, right?

Exploring the Netherworld was a fun adventure for me. I hope you enjoy heading off with Lily and her companions as she traverses the dangerous paths and creatures who live there.

Find Colleen Houck on the Internet!
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ColleenRayHouck/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ColleenHouck
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/colleen.houck/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheColleenhouck
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3097905.Colleen_Houck
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/colleenrayhouck/
Website: http://colleenhouck.com/

Purchase Recreated on Amazon here.

Watch the book trailer for Recreated here.

Colleen will be giving away five sets of Reawakened and Recreated! Enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the other stops on the tour!

blogtourinfo

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When you learn about the Netherworld…..

…..blame it on the books.

 

Top Ten ALAAC16 Moments!

Posted August 1, 2016 by MC / 5 Comments

Categories: Bloggers You Need to Know, Bookish Thoughts


Guys! I went to ALA! AND. IT. WAS.

AWESOME.

I have been thinking about this post since I got home, and honestly, if I wrote everything I am feeling about my whole experience, we would be here forever. So I am going to follow in the footsteps of Christina and Gee and list my top ten moments of ALA. (By the way, I make an appearance in both of their posts, so you should go check them out if you want a good laugh!) I will list and link all of the truly amazing people that I met at the end of this post, so you can put names to faces! 🙂

  1. Meeting Emily, my blogging inspiration and one of my first and closest blogger friends. It was absolutely amazing meeting her and I miss her dearly. She is lovely and wonderful and everything I expected her to be and even more.

  2. Meeting Marcus Sedgwick, who may or may not have thought I was stalking him. Oops….

  3. That time I asked the girl who gave me Gemina if I could hug her….and bless her heart, she obliged.

  4. Lillie’s expressions. She had the BEST reaction to meeting everyone for the first time. Honestly, this girl’s expressions are the greatest.

  5. Playing book fairy all weekend. I had to be very careful about the amount of books I took home with me because I was flying, so I took great pleasure in spreading the wealth and handing out books to everyone.

  6. That time I sniffed my pits for Erin Summerill (you had to be there.)

  7. The We Need Diverse Books panel, and later, meeting Alex Gino and Bill Konigsberg.

  8. Leading the troops through the maze of the exhibit hall each morning. Apologies to those I left behind….there were books to be had! No time for moseying! (I seriously lost Gee about every five minutes.)

  9. The hilarity of our group DM on Twitter, and more importantly, the fact that it has continued even after we all left ALA. Just over a month has passed since ALA, and we still talk to each other every single day.

  10. Realizing that I’ve never felt more myself than when I was hanging out with these lovely women. I feel like I have known them all forever, and my heart hurts thinking about how much I miss them. We only spent a few short days together, but I know that I can talk to them about anything and they will always be there for me.

ALAAC was the best experience of my life. It changed me as a person and as a blogger, and that is completely due to the people I met and the friendships I made. I would give back all the books I received (heck, I’d give ALL my books) for that experience again.

I have never met a group of more lovely, beautiful, kind, passionate people in my life, and I encourage you all to go meet them, because they will change your life as well:

Emily at Emily Reads Everything

Gee at A Book and a Cup of Coffee

Lillie at Little Lillie Reads

Kendice at Kendice Reads Books

Alex at Fiery Reads

Christina at Books and Prejudice

Aila at One Way or an Author

Cat [her awesome blog is on hiatus at the moment!]

Carrie at Paper Bindings

Tracy at Cornerfolds (who actually joined our group after ALA, but fits in perfectly as part of the family)

Brittany at Brittany’s Book Rambles

Megan at Book Birds (on YouTube!)

Michelle at Dreaming of Alba

Stefani at Caught Read Handed

Becca at Pivot Book Totes (her Etsy shop!)

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When you go to ALAAC – and it changes your life…..

…..blame it on the books.

An Interview (and more) with Bookitcon Author S. Usher Evans!

Posted July 24, 2016 by MC / 1 Comment

Categories: Author Interviews, Bookish Thoughts

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Hey, howdy, hey everyone! In case you didn’t know, Bookitcon: Chapter Two is coming up in just a few weeks on August 7! Bookitcon is created and run by the amazing Nori at ReadWriteLove28. I will leave everything you need to know about Bookitcon (and even ways to be a part of it for those who can’t attend) down below.

But first, let me introduce you to the fantastic S. Usher Evans, one of the authors who will be attending Bookitcon: Chapter Two! I was able to interview S. Usher Evans (aka Sush) so that you can all get to know her a little better before Bookitcon. And she even gave me the inside scoop on her upcoming release! Keep reading to learn more!

SUUUUUUUUUSH!!!!!!!! Welcome to my blog! Make yourself comfortable! Kick up your feet! I’m so happy to have you here today, my friend. Let’s start off with the reason you’re here…how excited are you for Bookitcon???????????

Like, been planning this for six months super excited and can’t even contain my glee excited? I just think the world of Nori, and there’s going to be so many of my Twitter friends there. I couldn’t say no!

AND I get to bring some ARCs of my new YA fantasy Spells and Sorcery! Be still my beating heart!

I’M SO EXCITED TO MEET YOU! Ok, now onto some slightly more serious questions. I know you love being an indie author and are very proud of it (as you should be!) – why did you choose to remain indie and why is it so important to you?

I chose to go indie more because I wanted to publish a book. There was no other reason behind it (at the time). During the process, I had this moment of revelation like, “This is it. This is what you were put on this earth to do” because I was running a business (which I love), scheduling projects (which I also love), and writing. All together, I couldn’t imagine a better life for me.

I really like the control. I really like how I get to tell the story I want to tell and there’s no one telling me it won’t “sell” because of subjective reasons. Granted, sometimes they’re right, and granted, sometimes it’s a lot harder to blast your own horn than have a publishing company behind your back, and granted, the slow growth of gathering an audience has been incredibly frustrating, but I’m really happy with the path I chose.

You have written so much so far! A fantasy standalone with mental health themes, a completed New Adult sci-fi series, a New Adult fantasy(ish) trilogy (conclusion coming soon!), and you are about to release the first book in a new Young Adult fantasy series. Have any of these genres/age categories been harder for you to write than the others? How have you had to change your writing or the way you approach each project?

I learned very quickly that no book is ever drafted the same because Lord knows I tried to force myself to write them all the same. Actually, every day is different. Some days, I just pick up where I left off and start writing linearly. Other days, I’ll poke through the manuscript until I find a spot that’s calling to me. And still others, I’ll poke and poke and maybe add a hundred words here and there and then give up. Some days, I get up and dump two thousand words before I’ve had breakfast. Other days, I struggle until nine at night and then dump 4k into the draft.

The hardest book to write, hands down, was Empath. It wasn’t just writing a book about a girl traveling to a fantasy land, it was an allegory to the darkest point in my life. I wrote about how it felt to have anxiety, to feel depression closing in around me while I was trying to remain outwardly happy. I wrote all my biggest fears and the things that I was afraid to face about the break-up with my ex-boyfriend. When it was done, this huge weight lifted off my chest. That’s why it’s not getting a sequel.

I hope.

I know that, in a sense, you have spent time in all of the worlds you have created. But if you had to pick just one of your worlds to live in, which one would you pick? (I know, this is a tough one!)

It’s probably a tie between having Lexie’s magic (she’s in this world) or Lyssa’s. I’d love the ability to summon and conjure things. I would never lose anything ever again. And it would be fun to zip around the galaxy with Lyssa, although she’d be a horrible traveling partner. 

You will be moderating the Surprises in Publishing panel at Bookitcon. Can you give us a sneak peak?  What are you planning on discussing with the other authors on the panel? What is one of the biggest surprises you have encountered as an indie author?

I’m super excited about the panel! I think it’s going to be pretty eye-opening about what we thought this business would be, and what it actually is. For me, the most surprising aspect of publishing is actually how easy the actual “publishing” part is. It’s literally, create an account, upload a .doc, add a cover, set the price, press publish. Voila, your book is on Amazon.

Now, of course, there’s a lot more that goes into preparing the book to be ready and marketing it. But “publishing” actually takes about three seconds.

This is a long shot, but I’m going to ask it anyway….any chance you could give us a sneak peak of your next release, Spells and Sorcery? Just a little teaser? Some inside information? Maybe? Please??? Pretty pleaseeeeeeeee?????????

GURL YAS! I’m so excited about this book. It’s been one of those in my memory bank since I was thirteen, and I’m so excited to watch everyone meet Lexie and hear her story. I’m still on the fence about how many books the series is going to be. Definitely three, perhaps four, depending on how I feel when I get there.

The snippet comes from right after her family tells her she has magic (well, her butthead older sister uses it in front of her) and she’s having a bit of trouble adjusting to this new bit of info:

I ran out of the house as fast as my legs could carry me. I couldn’t believe it. I just couldn’t…

Magic?

Was real?

Not only was it real, but I had it. So did that make me a witch or a wizard or…?

Or nothing. Magic didn’t exist.

But it did, because I’d seen with my own two eyes. 

I slowed and looked behind me to see if Jeanie or Nicole were coming after me. I wanted them to rush out and say it was a giant joke and Marie was in on it and “Ha-ha. Happy birthday, idiot.”

But as the fall night darkened around me, I heard no voices behind me. Nothing except the random car door slamming or the rumble of a truck passing on the highway nearby. 

Perhaps I’d just imagined the whole thing. Maybe I’d had a stroke. 

There was a small park in the distance, and I marched toward it, waiting to wake up from this strange dream. The lamplights snapped on, and I jumped nearly out of my skin, my heart thudding wildly. I stared at the orange glow for a moment, taking a few moments to convince myself that the streetlights were on a timer, and not turning on of their own volition. 

They couldn’t have been turned on by magic, could they?

Could they?

“I’m losing it,” I whispered, covering my face with my hands. 

I crossed the grassy park, headed for the swing set. I plopped down on the swing and leaned against the chain. After a moment, I began to swing back and forth, allowing my mind to go blank for just a moment. I took a deep breath in and out and stared at the empty suburban streets.

“Yer a wizard, Lexie…” I whispered to myself. 

“Rough day?”

My head bobbled up at the sound. An older man stood on the sidewalk. He wore casual khaki pants and a polo shirt, and his salt-and-pepper hair was neatly trimmed. He stood under one of the street lamps, which gave him an almost angelic sort of glow.

“W-what?” I said, realizing he was still talking to me. 

“I asked if you were all right,” he said, stepping out of the spotlight and closer to the swing set. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

“Have you ever questioned everything you thought was real?” I asked, for lack of anything better to say. 

“Once or twice,” he responded with a charming smile. “Mind if I join you?”

I shrugged, and he sat down on the other swing beside me. I might have thought it strange, a middle-aged man on a swing set, but I didn’t have a clear definition of weird anymore.

“Want to talk about it?” he asked.

“I doubt you would believe me,” I said. “I don’t believe me.”

“That’s a tough spot to be in. Let me guess: did they tell you about magic?”

I nearly fell out of the swing. “W-wait, you know? Does everybody know?”

He laughed, his few wrinkles deepening with smile lines. “No, of course not. Just those of us who have magic.”

“A-and how did you know I have it?” 

“We can tell,” he said. “You’ll get there, I’m sure. But I only assumed—teenage girl, looking the way you did, magical…”

I slumped lower against the metal chains. “I wonder what else people are lying to me about…”

“You know about the Easter Bunny, right?”

I sat up, wide-eyed. A man-sized rabbit existed?

“He’s not real,” the man finished with an amused smile.

“Very funny,” I said, clutching my still-pounding heart. “After tonight, I’m pretty sure I’d believe anything is real.”

“Magic is real. The Easter Bunny is not. How about we start there?”

“I can’t wrap my head around it,” I said, looking up at the stars. I might’ve still been dreaming, but this guy seemed real enough. “I mean, is science really science or is it magic?”

“I’d go out on a limb and say your understanding of science is sound,” he said thoughtfully. “Magic tends to stay within magical communities. Not too much gets out into the nonmagical lesson books.”

“What about gravity?” I said, lifting my feet from the ground and letting the swing do the work. “Does magic make the earth go ’round?”

“No, the earth rotates due to leftover inertia from when the solar system was created,” he said without missing a beat. 

My feet thudded back onto the sand and I stared at him. I’d never been out-nerded before. 

“Magic is more like another sense,” he said, slowly swinging back and forth. “It’s like an extra hand you wield with your mind.”

“Oh.” I frowned. “I don’t know what that means.”

“Here.” He flicked his hand and, in a purple puff of smoke, a thick book appeared in his hand.

My eyes nearly fell out of my head for what felt like the hundredth time that night. “How did you do that? What is that?”

“This,” he offered the book to me, “is a primer. It was used in the late seventeenth century for young magicals. Very basic, of course, but the best tutorial I’ve found to introduce magic.”

The most purple book I’d ever seen, it was well-worn, the edges frayed and water damaged. The title, Spells and Sorcery, Volume 1, was embossed in a gold lettering that almost glowed. 

It was one thing to see puffs of yellow smoke and sandwiches, but something about this book was alive, and calling to some ethereal feeling dancing in the pit of my stomach.  

I shook my head. Probably indigestion. “This is…”

“Open it.”

“I…”  Even though I was still in shock, curiosity was starting to take hold. That strange calling grew more pronounced the longer I held the book in my lap. So, almost compelled, I opened the book to the front page and ran a finger along the pressed pages. “Where’d you get this?”

“I’m a collector of old books—specifically magical ones. I’m sort of a history buff.” He paused and nodded to it. “Why don’t you take that with you and give it a read?”

Something in the back of my mind reminded me of a book that housed an evil wizard. I glanced at the book and shook my head. “I can’t possibly take this. It’s…I mean, it’s so old. Probably worth a lot of money.”

“Books are meant to be read, not gathering dust on a shelf. What good is the knowledge in here if I can’t share it?” 

I stammered like an idiot and fired off a few reasons why I couldn’t, but he placed his hand over mine. 

“I insist. Think of it as an early birthday present.”

I narrowed my eyes at him. “How did you know it was my birthday? I mean, it’s not my birthday. Tomorrow’s my birthday.”

“Magic comes at the beginning of one’s fifteenth year,” he said, standing. “I only assumed they wanted to tell you before you woke up with it…”

“Would’ve been nice if they’d told me sooner,” I said, running my fingertips down the front of the book again. 

“I have a feeling that book will help,” he said, nodding once before turning to leave.

“Oh, I’m Lexie, by the way,” I called to him. 

He paused and turned back around with a curious expression. “That’s an interesting name.”

I grimaced. Not the first time I’d heard that. “As in Alexis, but…blah.”

“I prefer Alexis myself,” he said with a smile. “I’m Gavon. Get home before it gets too dark, okay?”

I nodded and opened my mouth to agree but he was gone.

Just…disappeared in front of my eyes gone. In a puff of purple smoke.

Purple smoke.

What was it about people appearing and disappearing in smoke today?

I ran my hands over the cover of the book absent-mindedly. My head was starting to hurt from all the new information crammed into it. But I could never say no to a book, especially one which promised to give me the answers I so desperately needed. 

Thanks so much for being here today! It’s been fun! I’LL SEE YOU SOON FRIEND!!!!

And now, for some information about Bookitcon: Chapter Two!

Who?

(Full list can also be found here)

Albert Borris
Amanda Foody
Anna Breslaw
April Lindner
AV Geiger
Barbara Dee
Beth Fantaskey
Charlotte Huang
Claire Legrand
Emma Chase
Eric Smith
Jodi Meadows
Josh Berk
Julie Chibbaro
Julie Eshbaugh
Karole Cozzo
Kathryn Holmes
Kendall Kulper
Kit Grindstaff
Lee Kelly
Lisa A. Koosis
Mackenzi Lee
Martina A Boone
Mia Siegert
Nancy Norbeck
Phoebe North
S Usher Evans
Sandy Hall
SJ Goslee
Victoria Scott

What?

Bookitcon: Chapter Two is a charity book event. We currently have 28 incredible authors in our lineup. The book event will include meet-n-greets with the authors, along with two panels and the opportunity to get all of your books signed by all of the authors!

If you purchase the VIP ticket, you will also be invited to a VIP dinner/after party with the authors, along with getting an extra hour to get your books signed!

Schedule:

2:30- 3:30pm VIP signing! (open to VIP ticket holders only)

3:30- 6:00pm Regular signing! (open to all attendees)

3:30- 4:15pm Panel A- Surprises in Publishing!

4:30- 5:45pm Panel B- Facts + Fiction!  

6:00- 8:00pm VIP Afterparty! (open to VIP ticket holders only)

Panels:

Surprises in Publishing

Moderator: S Usher Evans

Panelists: Anna Breslaw, Kathryn Holmes, Lee Kelly, Jodi Meadows , Julie Eshbaugh

Facts vs Fiction

Moderator: Claire Legrand

Panelists: Beth Fantaskey, Sandy Hall, Kendall Kulper, Mia Siegert, Eric Smith

Where?

16 East Main Street Moorestown, NJ 08057

When?

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

Why? (From Nori)

I decided to start UBUbiz because I wanted a way to combine my passions for reading, business, and charity/community service. After wracking my brain for months, the idea of Bookitcon suddenly appeared! This is my second year hosting Bookitcon, and I can’t wait.

Bookitcon: Chapter Two isn’t just your ordinary book event. I’m working with the nonprofit Grace in the Mud and two K-8 schools in Camden, NJ to help them grow their outdated libraries. The proceeds from this event will be benefiting them.

You can find more information on Grace in the Mud by going to their website (http://www.graceinthemud.org/home.html), facebook (https://www.facebook.com/GraceintheMud), or gofundme (https://www.gofundme.com/justforgirls).

Other Info:

Interested in attending? Great! You can buy a ticket through the website: www.UBUbiz.com or just click here!

Are you dying of jealousy because you’d love to be able to attend and get books signed by the attending authors? Don’t fear, because virtual signings are here! You can purchase books by any of the attending authors and get it shipped to your house, easy peasy!

Link for Virtual Signings! 

Are you currently unsure but want to stay up to date with all of the latest news? Make sure to subscribe to the UBUbiz newsletter!

Social Media Links:

Website: www.UBUbiz.com

Twitter: @UBUbiz

Insta: @ububiz_

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When you are getting ready for Bookitcon…..

…..blame it on the books.