Thursday, 19 January 2012

BLOG TOUR! Swirls by F.A Hershey + INTERVIEW

Swirls has been out since July of last year. So it's not your regular blog tour, but the next book in the trilogy, Threads, will be released later on this year. So, let's go back to Swirls and see where the trilogy began, before we get further on into the series with the release of the second novel....

At the Other End

Sixteen-year-old Julia finds herself leaving her London life behind to move with her parents to the Amazon jungle.

A native descendant, she becomes familiarized with her own roots for the first time in her life. However, she never imagines she is about to discover much more than her own past but also just how crowded our little planet is...

First Impressions Last

When I first saw the post for this tour, I immediately jumped on board. I hadn't read Swirls before, yet heard of it but it was very intriguing on the back cover and the blurb is amazing in the way that it doesn't give away too much information than what we find out in the first half of the novel.

Behind the 254 Pages

When we first find out that Julia is moving away from her life in London we instantly sympathise with her. The way that Hershey describes Julia's move and the feelings and emotions that terror her from day one get to us and we start feeling as she does when it comes to the move and we fight back with her to be able to stay in the country and in her home with her Grandmother. The first page completely and utterly pulls you into the story. I can't believe how many novels need to have this kind of beginning to their story. It was brilliant and gets us moving through the book. Although we know that she is going to move, the way that the first page/chapter was written makes us forget that we do actually know what is going to happen.

Her connection with her mother shows us why we need and love our parents. We don't want to end up in Julia's kind of mother-daughter relationship, where her mother doesn't help her through her times of need and where she needs support, she fails to show it and to be helpful. The character development that we had seen in the first few chapters of the novel, started lacking as we continued on. We lose our connection with Julia, even though it was only just beginning, we lose what we had with it. We start to get a little confused about different things within the novel as we don't really understand about some of the things that happen to Julia and about what other things mean. We could mostly relate to Julia and to Lola, but the other background characters lacked the development.

I love the getting-back-to-your-roots concept within the novel. Not many touch up on their roots, and this gives the novel a fresh and new concept. Also, the addition of a little romance (as every good YA novel needs) wonderful in this story, how could you not love Gabriel? I don't know why you wouldn't just fall in love with him straight away. We are used to the protagonist fighting and debating about who and what they are as they come to find out the truth, but not in this case. Julia accepts who she is and does not question or deny anything. Although this is a breath of fresh air, it does seem somewhat unrealistic in some degrees at the way that she completely accepts everything in her life and what she is.

An unexpected ending left me hanging for Threads. I cannot wait for the next novel to come out so we can see how Julia's world develops as well as her understanding of this world. Back to the homing origins of this novel, the tribal history and traditions and their connection to Julia's grandmother held us all, and we wanted to find out about Julia and her family. We get curious as to who the mysterious dream woman with the firey red hair is. She is a constant within this story and we want to find out more about her and as to why she is haunting Julia and her dreams.

Buy Me:

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What's Next:
 At the Other End:

Months after Julia Ixel first moved to the Amazon forest, she never thought her life could have become so messed up. She now faced the challenge of putting back together the remainder of her family even if it came with a heavy cost. …
As she follows her path to unravel the truth about old alliances, Julia will get deeper and deeper into the hidden world of the Guardians.
She will find answers whether she wants to know them or not.
She will hold on to love if it’s the last thing she does.

Author Bio:

Of Italian background, I was born and raised in Brazil and had strong influences from my grandmother, who had always been an avid reader herself, and who first introduced me to the path of literature.
I created a lifetime bond with my great-grandmother, who gave me my first insights into philosophy (though neither of us knew there was a name for it).
The first book that made me officially an obsessive reader is called “My sweet orange tree” by Jose Mauro de Vasconcelos.
 After that, I could not put a book down.
I only started writing when I came to London in 2003. Ever since  High School back in Brazil, I’ve loved studying English like nothing else. But when I came to live in England there was that “click”, and I thought: why not?
I’m also studying for a BA Hons Degree in English Language and Literature (what a surprise…), while looking after my son of 6 years old, and my dear husband who always supports my ideals.

Handy Hinty Links:

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Take A Seat. Get Strapped In. Let's Go For A Ride:

  1. Where have we seen you before? (previous projects/works)I’m a debut author. “Swirls” is my first novel and “Threads” will be my second. They are both part of The Outsiders Trilogy.
    1. What goes through your mind after your novel has been on sale for the first week?For the first few days I found myself in a state of stupor, wondering, hoping, feeling nauseated and happy at the same time, though I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of fear creeping in at the thought of nobody ever buying it. And when I saw the first copy going and then second, and so on, I felt I could breathe again. To keep my mind off sales in an effort to maintain a healthy level of sanity, I urged my mind to think about writing the next novel instead of biting all of my nails until they bled.


    2. What inspired you to write this novel?I’ve always been a bookworm. My writing adventures, however, started much more recently when I had a shocking dream of being abducted by a strange and mystifying red-headed woman. This dream was the starting point for a story that I unconsciously began to build inside my head, until I finally realised what I was doing: I was writing a novel. Not only one, but three.
    I had never dreamed of being a writer. Not right away like so many writers we see, writing stories ever since they were little.  
    I even thought it was silly of me at first, but I reached a point where I couldn’t lie to myself anymore. I wanted to write, and that was it. So I worked up the courage to open up a new Word file and start typing. 
    1. What do you think about when getting/seeing negative reviews?I avoid negative reviews like the plague. Books without negative reviews simply don’t exist, so I keep that it mind when I stumble upon negative reviews and don’t take it personally. However, I’m only human, and there is no way to be prepared and completely open to negative reviews.
    So, when my eyes betray me and read the whole thing without my consent, I try to learn from it and see it as constructive criticism and think of the awful experience as a hard way to make me a better writer. 
    1. How long was the writing/planning process?“Swirls” took a little while to write - about two years from planning to publishing. I was going through a lot of moving away from England and then back, so it was quite distracting. Also, I taught English full-time for a year, so there was little energy left in me by the end of the day to think about writing. However, the concept, plot and especially characters never left my mind
    “Threads” was much quicker. Just over six months.  It is currently undergoing revision and editing.
    1. What was your reaction to the cover art when you saw it for the first time? Did you have any ideas from the days of writing/inspiration?When I reached a point when I allowed myself to think about covers, I knew I wanted something dark and mysterious to reflect what Julia - the main character - was going through. The first step I took was to leisurely browse for fantasy artists over the net. When I accidently stumbled upon Claudia McKinney’s amazing work of art, I had no doubt I wanted her talent to be linked to the world of “Swirls.”
    2. Any plans for future writing projects? Any being worked on now?“Threads” (#2) is on final stages now and book 3 (nameless for the time being) is planned for autumn this year. 

    3. Top 5 books
  • A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
  • Shadowmagic by John Lenahan
  • The Harry Potter series by J K Rowling
  • The Study series by Maria V. Snyder
  • The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa

  1. Recommended booksAll of the above, plus I have recently read Divergent by Veronica Roth and enjoyed it immensely. Forgotten by Cat Patrick was a particularly unique read, as well as The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.
I always recommend the Harry Potter series because I think they were fantastically well written and its unique and imaginative world will suck you right in.
  1. Why read your novel?I am a great fan of Young Adult literature – although I know I should be reading grown up books by now, but I just can’t help myself – and The Outsiders Trilogy is, in my opinion, a good and unique addition to the genre. If you like a portion of paranormal, a handful of fantasy, a touch of romance, a spoonful of friendship and a dollop of drama, you should pick up a copy of “Swirls”.

    Want more of the tour? Check out these stops:

    19/01/12 – Dreamland: A Teenage Fantasy with Natasha – Character interview, great giveaway and review of Swirls expected for this day. :-)
    25/01/12 – Mostly Reviews with Veronica Morfi – Interview and giveaway planned for this day.
    02/02/12 – Fiction Fascination with Carly – Guest Post and fantastic giveaway! Pop over there!
    07/02/12 – All Things Books with Tanya – Special Guest Post
    09/02/12 – A Written Rhapsody with Preet – Review of Swirls and a great giveaway!
    10/02/12- A Bookalicious Story with Chia Yet Peng – Interview and giveaway on this day. Yay!
    12/02/12 – In Between Writing and Reading with Jude Henderson – For a great giveaway (international), exclusive excerpt from Swirls and review.
    13/02/12 – Splash of Our Worlds with YiotaSwirls review and international giveaway planned. Yuppy!
    14/02/12 – Book Spark with Ana – Swirls review and international giveaway!
    15/02/12 – Nightly Reading with Heather – Tour farewell with author interview.

    Thanks for stopping everyone! Hope you've had fun here at Behind a Million and One Pages! Show your support and get Swirls at Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Smashwords! Keep watching for Threads!! Can't wait to see you next time.


    Hey everyone!

    I am truly sorry and have been utterly depressed (not in the serious way or anything like that) about not updating and posting for a while. My Internet has been very annoying and very mean to me and I have not been able to get onto any Internet sites, my GR or my blog. I have been dying to be on here again, and thankfully and luckily my Internet has decided to work again, just in time for the BLOG TOUR! so stay tuned for a while to see the upcoming post (that I am writing at the moment) on the novel Swirls by F.A Hershey and an exclusive INTERVIEW as well!

    Wednesday, 4 January 2012

    Review: The Ylem by Tatiana Vila

    At the Other End:

    Seventeen-year-old Kalista is suffering from a broken heart, so when her playwright father proposes they move their lives from New York to New Mexico because he is in need of inspiration Kalista is 100% on-board with him. New Mexico proves to be the perfect balm for her wounds and she is just starting to feel some of her old spunk when Tristan Winfield comes into her life and pulls all of her barriers down. Kalista is captivated by Tristan's unusual silver eyes and feels an inexplicable connection to him, which begins to manifest itself in her dreams with bizarre images of a waterfall and an orb.

    While searching for an explanation for her troubling dreams, Kalista discovers an ancient book which holds the secrets of a supernatural race of creatures. But when Killings hit town, she realizes her finding has come at a high price. She's in the middle of a power struggle now, and a secret seems to be wrapped within the pages of that book. A secret she and Tristan are part of...

    First Impressions Last:
    This is another R2R novel. I was drawn to the cover straight away (as with all Tatiana's works) and the strange title pulled me in further. The cliched "she was inexplicably drawn to him" (or along those words). The intriguing blurb, all wanted me to read this book even further.

    Behind the 410 Pages:

    This book is hard to rate. I really liked this book, but some of it was a bit if-y. Sometimes in the book, mainly in the middle, the story seemed to drag on a bit and you wonder if it's just there as "fluff" because it doesn't hold your interest too much to keep reading. But you do want to keep reading (if it makes sense).

    A lot of questions haven't been answered in this novel. We are left in the dark about a lot of things in their world. Yes, we see it from Kalista's point of view and she doesn't know about their world either, but you would think that she would ask about it or want to know more. It seems that because she doesn't do this, that she does already know everything about their world, which she shouldn't. She also at times acts like she does, which leaves us in the dark as well.

    At first, we see her dismisal to guys and love and trust issues as something that, from her situation, is really pointless. She over-reacts to the Steve situation, but it isn't until the end of the book that we realise that there was more that led up to it. With Tristan we ask ourselves WHY at the end of the book. It's very depressing and we are begging for more information as to why.

    This is one of those brilliant books where you cannot guess what's coming. Really, I didn't guess anything, nor did I want to. Most of the book after the middle really got me as a shock. We get so caught up with Kalista's dramas that we forget about really guessing the story plot. Yes, I know this may be a little condescending from what I said earlier but it does make sense...once you read the book. And you should read the book! Oh, that cliffhanger. I really hate it at the moment, because I cannot wait for the second novel. It feels like this book is going to be one of those where it could be one big novel but instead it feels ilke it's cut in half and made into more.

    I loved the addition to Caleb's perspective. It was refreshing, and because nothing much happened, we knew from either end what was happening on his side, even from Kalista's point of view. In other novels, including his point of view after a few chapters of the protagonists point of view, might of seemed like there was not enough because we couldn't remember what was going on from that side. But, in this book it is perfectly suited to a chapter in the midst of the few chapters gap of Kalista. This is because, from Kalista's point of view, we still hear of Caleb but from a view where he is anonymous and is part of a general group and not just individually. Both his and her views lead up to their shocking discovery at the end of the book that leaves you dying for more.        

    What's Next:

    Book 2 of the Ylem Trilogy: Alluvion
    At the Other End:
    Kalista knew they were looking for her and that one day they would come and get her. But she never expected her biggest threat would emerge from the waters of her past. A threat that might jeopardize her every resolve and...heart.
    Finding the Time: April 2012