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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (82): Walk on Earth a Stranger

Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson
Series: The Gold Seer Trilogy #1
Release Date: September 22, 2015
The first book in a new trilogy from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Rae Carson. A young woman with the magical ability to sense the presence of gold must flee her home, taking her on a sweeping and dangerous journey across Gold Rush–era America.
        Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety? Rae Carson, author of the acclaimed Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, dazzles with this new fantasy that subverts both our own history and familiar fantasy tropes.
        Walk on Earth a Stranger, the first book in this new trilogy, introduces—as only Rae Carson can—a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance. Includes a map and author’s note on historical research.
I admit that I have a cover lust problem. But I accept who I am, and I accept how beautiful this cover is! And anything that surrounds the Gold Rush is an insta-read from me. We'll see which I read first, the book, or The Girl of Fire and Thorns series.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (81): Queen of Shadows

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #4
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Sarah J. Maas's New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series reaches new heights in this sweeping fourth volume.
        Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she's at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .
        She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen's triumphant return.
        Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

It just keeps getting better! I've been a fan since the first book, and even though Celaena and I have had some pitfalls along the way, I still keep coming back for more. This one has to be my most anticipated read.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Review: Frostfire by Amanda Hocking

Frostfire by Amanda Hocking
Series: Kanin Chronicles #1
Publication Date: January 6, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
A Young Adult novel
Pages: 321
Genre: Paranormal • Romance
Bryn Aven is an outcast among the Kanin, the most powerful of the troll tribes.
        Set apart by her heritage and her past, Bryn is a tracker who's determined to become a respected part of her world. She has just one goal: become a member of the elite King’s Guard to protect the royal family. She's not going to let anything stand in her way, not even a forbidden romance with her boss Ridley Dresden.
        But all her plans for the future are put on hold when Konstantin– a fallen hero she once loved – begins kidnapping changelings. Bryn is sent in to help stop him, but will she lose her heart in the process?

You do not need to read the Trylle trilogy in order to understand what it going on in Hocking's spin-off series The Kanin Chronicles. I didn't even finish reading the third Trylle book, and I still understood everything. Hocking does a good job of reiterating what all of these strange terms such as "tracker" and "Markis/Markisina" and all of the different troll tribes there are, just like she had done in the Trylle books. So if that was your fear about reading Frostfire, I hope that I assuaged it. Because there are far worse things. And no matter what, you're just going to be confused. I was, oh, I was.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed with almost everything that Frostfire had to offer. An unexceptional and abysmal heroine, slow story-line, a plot that failed to really make its way into the story, and a never-ending, cat-and-mouse-chase romance. Even the writing didn't wow me or even intrigue me. I was bored. I think the only thing that kept me reading was Ridley. And to figure out the freaking point of Konstantine and all these attempted kidnappings.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (80): Six of Crows

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Dregs #1
Release Date: October 6, 2015
Game of Thrones meets Ocean's Eleven in this brand-new book in the world of the Grisha by New York Times-bestselling author Leigh Bardugo.
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...
A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums. 
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes. 
Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

HOLY LORD ON HIGH--THAT COVER! *swoons/faints* I came around to the Grisha universe after book two, and Leigh Bardugo's writing is just gorgeous on the page. I also really love both Game of Thrones and Oceans 11. I have high hopes for this one.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Blog Tour Interview & Giveaway: Becoming Jinn

Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein
Series: Becoming Jinn #1
Release Date: April 21, 2015
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
A Young Adult novel
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology
Forget everything you thought you knew about genies!
Azra has just turned sixteen, and overnight her body lengthens, her olive skin deepens, and her eyes glisten gold thanks to the brand-new silver bangle that locks around her wrist. As she always knew it would, her Jinn ancestry brings not just magical powers but the reality of a life of servitude, as her wish granting is controlled by a remote ruling class of Jinn known as the Afrit. 
To the humans she lives among, she’s just the girl working at the snack bar at the beach, navigating the fryer and her first crush. But behind closed doors, she’s learning how to harness her powers and fulfill the obligations of her destiny. 
Mentored by her mother and her Zar “sisters”, Azra discovers she may not be quite like the rest of her circle of female Jinn . . . and that her powers could endanger them all. As Azra uncovers the darker world of becoming Jinn, she realizes when genies and wishes are involved, there’s always a trick.

1.) First of all, congrats on the debut and the gorgeous cover for Becoming Jinn!
How does it feel to run around and tell the world that you're a published author?

Thank you! And thanks for having me and being so complimentary about the cover. I’m in love with it!  To answer your question, well, I'm not quite published as I write this, so I haven't been able to say that just yet. But telling people that I will have a book on bookstore and library shelves has been a surreal experience. Even as the words leave my lips, part of me doesn’t believe it. But it feels wonderful to tell people that I will have a published book mostly because as I say those words what I'm actually saying is that I’m doing what I love and, this sounds corny but it’s true, that working hard does make dreams come true. Or maybe I should say wishes?

2.) How did the story kernel for Becoming Jinn come about?

I had the idea for the main character, Azra, before I had the story in which she would live. When I heard the name as part of a news report—a baby by the name of Azra survived an awful earthquake in Turkey--I began imagining the world in which she would live. As a fan of young adult novels, I knew that was the genre I wanted to write. I will say, however, I did think of a Jinn/genie story almost right away. But before heading down that road, I did do some looking into other paranormal, supernatural, and myth retellings, but nothing else grabbed me like the world of the Jinn. At that time, there weren’t any other YA Jinn books on the shelves so that also spurred me to go forward with the story I wanted to tell. And I’m so glad I did.

3.) Out of all the characters, who happened to be the one that gave you the most difficulty to put down on the page?

I guess if I have to choose, it might be Laila. While I adore her, she’s probably more loyal and forgiving than I am, and so to tap into that and inhabit that for her character was more difficult for me.

4.) What gets you into the mood to write?

This is going to sound funny, but the soundtrack to the television show Downton Abbey is what gets me in the mood to write. I need to write listening to music, but it can't be music with words. That's too distracting for me. I stumbled upon the two soundtracks to Downton Abbey when I began writing Becoming Jinn, and I strung them together, eliminating the songs with words, and now the moment I sit down to write, I hit play on that playlist. I’m like Pavlov’s dog with it and it instantly gets me in writing mode. I can tune everything else out and just concentrate on the words. Amazingly, I still haven’t gotten tired of listening to it.

5.) Can you describe Becoming Jinn in seven words or less?

Modern spin on traditonal tale of wish-granting genies.

6.) If Azra had to choose any meal to be her last, what would she pick?

This is easy because I actually mention her favorite foods in the book. Food and cooking are very important to me, so Azra also shares my love of eating, though not of cooking. Her favorite meal, which her mother has made for Azra her entire life—without using magic, which means a lot to Azra--is chicken tagine with sweet caramelized onions and tomatoes. The recipe, which my husband makes, is on my Web site. And no meal would be complete without dessert. Azra’s favorite is mint chocolate chip ice cream, which also happens to be my favorite.

7.) Could you share one of your favorite lines from your book?

Sure, this is from the start of the book after Azra receives the silver bangle that releases her magical powers and forces her to start granting wishes:

“The bracelet slides easily around my wrist but is in no danger of falling off. It doesn’t have to be tight like a handcuff to achieve the same effect.”

Thanks for having me and Becoming Jinn!

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Click here for more information about the Pre-order giveaway hosted by Lori Goldstein.

Follow the Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

My debut novel, the Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy Becoming Jinn, is a modern spin on the traditional tale of wish-granting genies. It will be released on April 21, 2015, by Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s. The sequel will follow in Spring 2016. I am represented by Lucy Carson of The Friedrich Agency.
Too much of my day involves chatting books, obsessing over The Vampire Diaries, and perfecting the art of efficient writing through Twitter. Find me at @loriagoldstein and follow my blog at nbsp;or my Tumblr at http://lorigoldsteinbooks.tumblr.c om. Like my author page on Facebook for fun book-related photos, tidbits, and happenings as well as news on Becoming Jinn.

US Only & International | Must be 13 or older to enter

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (79): After Hours

After Hours by Claire Kennedy
Release Date: June 16, 2015
Isa, Xavi, Peter, and Finn know that a job at the high-end Waterside Cafe isn't just about waiting tables. It's about the gossip, the hook-ups, the after-hours parties and, most of all, it's about Tips.

Tips--the high-stakes game based on dares. Whoever completes the most dares wins the collected money. A sum that could change a wasted summer into a Summer to Remember.

Isa is the new girl with an embarrassing secret, and as long as she stays on top of her game, she sees no reason why anyone could ever find out.

Xavi will do anything for the money...absolutely anything.

Peter, Xavi's stepbrother, has been in love with her for years, and he thinks the game is the perfect time to confess his feelings.

Finn is in the game just for the thrill. He has enough tips coming in to keep him happy...even if those tips come with some conditions.

From seduction to stealing to threats, the dares are a complete free-for-all, and only the best can win.

The sophisticated Waterside Cafe is anything but classy behind the scenes...and things are about to get dirty.

This one sounds like a big fun read. I'm dying to read about these characters and get to know them. If there's anything that I like better than working in a restaurant, its reading about it!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Review: Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
Publication Date: May 5th 2015
Publisher:  Balzer + Bray
A Young Adult novel
Genre: Romance • Adventure • Supernatural
 buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
When Rachelle was fifteen she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless— straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat.

        Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in an effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her find the legendary sword that might save their world. As the two become unexpected allies, they uncover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. In a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?

        Inspired by the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, Crimson Bound is an exhilarating tale of darkness, love, and redemption.
        (This is a standalone novel, not part of the Cruel Beauty Universe.)
*An advanced reader's copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review*

Would you kill someone else to save yourself?