Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Blog Tour and Review: Ciao by Bethany Lopez

Release Date: August 2012
Publisher: CreateSpace
Author Information: Blog / Twitter / Facebook
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Available Formats:
Other Books:
Ta Ta for Now!, XOXOXO
Purchase: Amazon
Melissa has had a fantastic summer hanging out with her friends and making new ones. Life as she knows it will change when they all come together to begin their sophomore year at Dearborn High. Connections will be made and friendships will be tested. Will Melissa’s family and friends be able to help her through the challenges she will face in the upcoming months?
Ciao is the third installment in the Stories About Melissa series, and this book is just as fun and fluffy as the others! Melissa still has a flair for the overdramatic, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about her daily life and boy problems.

My favorite aspect about this book was how Lopez managed to blend together some funny moments with some serious ones. As Melissa grows older, her voice also holds a greater level of maturity, and Ciao introduces more somber moments of life, from heartache to how it feels to lose someone close to you. Through these hard times, it is easier for the reader to really get to know Melissa, and I felt like I had a much better appreciation for who she is and how she thinks.

Melissa’s story does not end with Ciao, though! The fourth book in the series, TTYL, is due out sometime in early 2013, and I cannot wait to read more about Melissa’s adventures. Maybe some boy drama will finally be resolved?? :) 
A Great Escape

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ten Fun Facts about Kailmeyra Series

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Ten Fun Facts about Kailmeyra

#10: The character Edna is actually named after my mom, but her personality and euphemisms are
taken from memories of my grandmother, and her physical features are fashioned after my greatgrandmother.

#9: In the first draft, the beginning was darker and Nora’s home was originally located on Black
Mountain in Kentucky.  However, after driving through the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina I
knew Edna had found a new home. I loved that at dusk the mountains take on a blue hue, which is
symbolic for Nora’s energy. 

#8:  Nora’s hazel eyes are really my daughter Kate’s. I’ve always been able to tell how Kate feels by the
color of her eyes. If she’s feverish, her eyes are bright green, when she’s upset they become darker, and
when she is extremely happy they are the most beautiful amber brown.

#7:  The portal is a lake because biblically water symbolizes purification.  As a literary device, water is
used to symbolize change and is often present in a plot’s turning point. Between the Biblical and literary
symbolism, I couldn’t pass it up.

#6: The Dokkalfar and the Alfar are a part of mythological folklore.  With the obvious symbolism of dark
and light, the Alfar and Dokkalfar seemed a great fit for the story.

#5: The explanation of how the Dokkalfar evolved came from a desire to parallel the ramifications of
what happens when we blindly seek power without looking at long term consequences.

#4: I already have Michael and Edna’s one perfect day in my head, and I plan someday to write a novella
about it.

#3: The jeweled-toned eyes are symbolic of the characters and their personality traits. If you’d like to
read more about them, click here (http://thelightofasteria.blogspot.com/2011/10/question-of-daywhats-up-with-jeweled.html )

#2: Rena, Corina in real life, is actually my best friend of some twenty plus years. She is the only true-tolife character in the book. Rena’s looks, mannerisms, feistiness, and, most of all, her ability to bring joy
to the darkest of situations are all because of a spunky gal from Chicago.

#1: When I first started looking at names for the lead male character, I wanted something that was not
only symbolic for the book but symbolic for me as well. The name Gavin was perfect. We learn the
significance of his name in The Secret of the Keepers, so I’ll not give it away. But, personally, Gavin was
the name of my first literary crush.  When I was fifteen, I re-read Celeste De Blasis’ The Proud Breed until
the pages literally fell from their spine.  It’s the only book I’ll never read again. Over the years, I’ve
become afraid that life’s experiences will have tainted the way Gavin Ramsey comes across, and I’d
rather keep my perception of him just the way it is. :-)   

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Blog Tour and Author Interview: The Light Series

Click here for the full tour schedule!
Interview with Jennifer DeLucy

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

JD: Ever since I was old enough to understand what writing was, I have been doing just that. I can remember jotting out poems and short stories from a very young age, and then attempting to write books by the time I was a teenager.

Where do you get your ideas and inspiration for your characters?

JD: This might sound a bit odd, but I believe that inspiration comes from a place we can’t even fathom, call it the universe, God, fate, what have you, but I’m pretty sure everything we create comes from a much bigger picture—including characters in books. So, some mysterious ethereal force plus a lot of interesting life experiences gives birth to a character, which is kind of a mini psyche born of your soul.

Creepy, huh? *wink* Or, you know, I could just have a reeeeally active imagination.

What books have most influenced your life?

JD: Wow. What a loaded question. It’s like asking you to choose between children, but here goes.
As for romances, Jane Eyre is my favorite, hands down, because it is so very real and so very heartbreaking, but the character of Jane is so zen. She’s so wise for someone so young, but she’s not afraid to stand up for herself, to be passionate about what she wants, and that’s a good example of a woman for any era.  As for fantasy, Harry Potter is number one on my list. JK is tops, as far as I am concerned, because she writes purely, authentically, from the heart. There is no pretension in the Harry Potter Series. It’s just beautiful writing and depth and heart, and that’s what I strive for.

What are you reading right now?

JD: I’m reading a book about a writer on a sort of spiritual journey across Europe. It’s called Aleph, by Paulo Coelho.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

JD: Oh, easy! I’m also a musician, and when I’m not writing books, I’m writing/performing music. In fact, each of the three books in the Light Series has its own soundtrack song (you hear excerpts in the book trailers.)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Blog Tour & Review: Frost by Kate Avery Emerson

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Release Date: April 18, 2012
Publisher: CreateSpace
Author Information:
Twitter / Blog
Dystopian, Fantasy, Romance
Available Formats:
Paperback and eBook
Amazon / Barnes & Noble
In the icy, monster-plagued world of the Frost, one wrong move and a person could end up dead—and Lia Weaver knows this better than anyone. After monsters kill her parents, she must keep the family farm running despite the freezing cold and threat of monster attacks or risk losing her siblings to reassignment by the village Elders. With dangers on all sides and failure just one wrong step away, she can’t afford to let her emotions lead her astray. So when her sister finds a fugitive bleeding to death in the forest—a young stranger named Gabe—Lia surprises herself and does the unthinkable.

She saves his life.

Giving shelter to the fugitive could get her in trouble. The Elders have always described the advanced society of people beyond the Frost, the “Farthers,” as ruthless and cruel. But Lia is startled to find that Gabe is empathetic and intelligent…and handsome. She might even be falling in love with him.

But time is running out. The monsters from the forest circle the farm at night. The village leader is starting to ask questions. Farther soldiers are searching for Gabe. Lia must locate a secret organization called the Thorns to help Gabe escape to safety, but every move she makes puts her in more danger.

Is compassion—and love—worth the risk?
Oh, hello to my new guilty pleasure. This book was everything I was hoping for and more. Frost was a beautifully crafted dystopian tale with a light sprinkle of darkness/grittiness that kept things interesting. With the setting being a fantastical ice world comparable to the one found in C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, I was immediately intrigued by this new, post-apocalyptic land. Emerson did not fail to deliver a captivating read in Frost!

My favorite part about this book was the characters. I respected Lia and her perseverance greatly, and it is always nice to see a girl not bow down to her fears. She cares deeply for her family, she has a strong sense of justice, and she is willing to help a dying fugitive. Add to the fact that she can take care of herself and watch her own back, what more could you possibly need in a female lead? I also appreciated Gabe’s character. He was definitely intriguing, but I really wish we could have gotten more of a feel for who he is. His character is shrouded in mystery from beginning to end, and while that did capture my interest (who doesn’t love them mysterious boys?), I did not really feel like I got to know who he was. Here’s to hoping for more of him in book 2!

I know I already mentioned the setting/world of Frost, but I am going to say it again: I LOVED THE SETTING. Slightly magical and extraordinarily dangerous, I loved figuring out more about this new world. With monsters lurking in the background and never being truly safe, the world is a bleak and dark place. Emerson describes Iceliss and the surrounding areas vividly, and her rich and evocative writing style really helped bring both the world and her characters to life.

Not to be a Debby-downer here, but there was one issue I had with this book: it was too short. I think that all the minor problems I had (such as the rushed ending/romance and lack of background story) can be blamed on the length of the book. I think this book would have benefited greatly from being slightly longer. That is not to say that this book is not enjoyable as it (since it most certainly is a great read!), but I think it really would have been amazing with a few more pages and background story added in.

Overall, Frost was a wonderful read, and I would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of dystopian literature or just so happens to be looking for a good book to pick up. I cannot wait to see what Emerson has for us in the next installment, Thorns (especially after that crazy cliffhanger of an ending!).  
A Great Escape

Monday, July 23, 2012

Blog Tour & Review: Earth by Shauna Granger

Click here for the full tour schedule!

Release Date: May 1, 2011
Shauna Granger
Author Information: Blog / Twitter / Facebook
Genre: Magic, Romance, Paranormal
Available Formats: Paperback and eBook
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Books-A-Million / The Book Depository
Shayna and her two best friends have the abilities to manipulate and control the four elements, earth, air, water and fire. While learning to hone their growing powers, they discover a new and malicious presence in their sleepy beach town. Someone is performing blood magic and threatens to expose their small magical community. So far only small animals have been slaughtered, but then the nightmares start.

Shayna suffers nightmares of being chased and sacrificed only to wake up bloodied and bruised. She thinks her magical blood is the ultimate target for the final blood rite. When an innocent girl, Tracy, is kidnapped Shayna knows it's only a ploy to draw her out; she can't let someone die because of her.
Here is why you will enjoy Earth:

1.  There is mystery, magic, and romance! How could you not love all three of those things put together?
2.  Shay is an awesome, kick-ass character who never backs down from a challenge.
3.  There is a hot, totally swoon-worthy character and love interest in Jensen (downside: he is not in this book nearly enough for my liking.)
4. Shay is not one to fall for just a pretty face, and she is not afraid to call Jensen out when she suspects him. In fact, she makes him work for everything he earns (her trust, etc.). Props, girl.
5. Excellent banter and dialogue.
6. A gripping storyline.
7. One of the best self-published books I have ever read. EVER.

I know I already mentioned it once, but I will say it again:

8. There is magic, magic, and more magic! Intense and descriptive rituals, the calling of elemental magic, spells, this book has it all!

So those are a few simple reasons why I enjoyed Earth, in a nutshell. I was captivated by this story, and I am really looking forward to reading the next installment!
A Great Escape
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