Monday, 29 July 2013

Amulet of Elusion by Katie Lynn Johnson

At the Other End:
Alexa Costa has a life-altering secret…only she doesn’t know it yet.

Confined by law to the kingdom of Alvair until the age of eighteen, Alexa Costa has lived a sheltered existence under the watchful eye of her sword-wielding guardian, Ivy. Her love interest, Caleb Whitman, is exactly the opposite. A merchant sailor and seeker of rare artifacts, Caleb has lived a life of adventure in nearby San Lucero, the long-time rival of Alvair.

After her eighteenth birthday, Alexa’s quiet existence becomes tumultuous, and she realizes she does not need to seek to find adventure. Myths become real, legend becomes fact, and Alexa discovers that she possesses rare abilities which make her a target for both sides in a centuries-old struggle for power. She must use every resource available to her—including her talents with the supernatural Amulets— to help her friends, rekindle her romance with Caleb, and save her island home from destruction.

Author Bio:
Katie Lynn Johnson has long been obsessed with creative writing. As a child she read every book she could get her hands on, in high school she wrote poems and short stories, and as an adult she completed her first novel, knowing it would not be her last. When she isn't working as an editor and graphic designer, or writing her next novel, Katie enjoys watching movies and cooking. She lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband and two children.

Handy Hinty Links
Goodreads:                  The Lost Amulet Chronicles                         Katie Lynn Johnson
                 Blog                                                        Twitter


Shhh... Don't Tell:
Caleb exchanged a glance with Sam as he came to the edge of the pool. There, in the water beneath his rippling reflection glinted something that was shimmering and green. How had he known that the Amulet was in the pool? It was strange, like intuition. Instantly he recalled what Killian had said: Now we hear the Amulet. It whispers to us.

But Caleb hadn’t heard whispers. Had he?
Slowly but deliberately he shook his head as he caught himself almost buying into the natives’ beliefs. It was something about the place he was in. If anything supernatural could ever happen, it was easy to imagine that it could occur on the patch of hallowed ground where he stood.

“The emerald is in the pool?”

Sam’s voice was barely more than a whisper.

Caleb nodded and proceeded to remove his hat, jacket, and boots. He waded into the pool as Sam watched from the water’s edge. It was not particularly deep; he was able to walk until he had nearly reached the center of it.

The long branches of the willow tree were draped around him, shielding the sunlight from the surface of the water. He looked down and could see the gem almost at his feet, so he took a deep breath and sank beneath the surface of the pool. The water was refreshing and cool against his face as he reached for the emerald. Before his fingers could touch it, however, something strange happened. Though the water beneath the shade of the tree was relatively dark, the center of the emerald glowed bright green.

Startled, Caleb retracted his hand for a moment. Then, deciding that it must have somehow been a trick of the light, he lifted the gem out of the sand and broke through the surface of the water.

Something didn’t add up, he thought as he shook his sodden hair out of his eyes. The emerald did not look like anything special to him. In fact, it was smaller and less refined than other precious gems he had seen that were much less expensive.

“Did you get it?”

He handed Sam the gem in response to his question, and Sam made a face. “This is it? Mister Harris is paying thirty thousand notes for this?”

“I suppose so,” Caleb said, feeling as mystified as Sam looked.

Slowly Sam shook his head, perhaps of the opinion that Mister Harris was not very good with his money.

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Saturday, 27 July 2013

SIZZLING SUMMER GIVEAWAY! ft Cherie Colyer, author of Embrace

Embrace (The Embrace Series, #1)At the Other End:
Madison is familiar enough with change, and she hates everything about it. Change took her long-term boyfriend away from her. It caused one of her friends to suddenly hate her. It’s responsible for the death of a local along with a host of other mysterious happenings. But when Madison meets a hot new guy, she thinks her luck is about to improve.

Madison is instantly drawn to the handsome and intriguing Isaac Addington. She quickly realizes he’s a guy harboring a secret, but she’s willing to risk the unknown to be with him.

Her world really spins out of control, however, when her best friend becomes delusional, seeing things that aren’t there and desperately trying to escape their evil. When the doctors can’t find the answers, Madison seeks her own.

Nothing can prepare her for what she is about to discover.

Check out my review of Embrace HERE!

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Cherie ColyerAuthor Bio:
I write young adult and middle grade novels. I love finding new stories that keep me up late reading. While my favorite genre is fantasy, if the book is beautifully written with characters that come alive I’m all over it.

My debut novel EMBRACE is now available from Omnific Publishing, and HOLD TIGHT coming August 2013


Handy Hinty Links:
Goodreads:                                Embrace                                  Cherie Colyer
Website                             Blog                        Facebook                         Twitter 


Playlist for Embrace

It’s great to be here! I love music, although I have to admit I don’t listen to music while I write. I tend to start singing along with the songs instead of increasing my word count. I’ve always found it funny that I can block out the TV better than I can the radio. Below are the songs that I’d include on a CD if Embrace came with one. I hear them whenever I reach specific scenes in the novel. They’re also songs Madison loves.

Embrace Playlist
  1. Crash into Me by Dave Matthews Band
  2. Get Some by Lykke Li
  3. Friends and Family by Trik Turner  
  4. Is This Real? By Lisa Hall  
  5. Far Behind by Candle Box  
  6. Fallin’ by Alicia Keys
  7. Glycerine by Bush
  8. Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson
  9. You Found Me by The Fray  
  10. Silent Lucidity by Queensryche  
  11. Higher by Creed

Each of these songs has an important place in the novel, but three of them had always come to mind, even in the early drafts.

Crash into Me is a favorite of mine. It takes me back to when my husband and I first started dating. He’d sing along with such passion and he’d give me this sultry gaze that weakened my knees. It’s a gaze Isaac inherited. Isaac plays this song the first time he’s alone with Madison.

You Found Me does a wonderful job of encompassing Madison’s feeling of being lost. One of the things I really like about her is that she’s not afraid to lean on her friends. This song can easily related to how much she needs Kaylee and Josh, how Kevin is willing to be there for her no matter what, and how Isaac will find Madison no matter how lost she becomes.

Like Scott Stapp in the song Higher, Madison is willing to let Isaac and her friends help her escape to a new world, one you can’t see through normal eyes.

~ Cherie


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Thursday, 25 July 2013

Twin Falls by Lena Brown

At the Other End:
Twin Falls, Texas
Population: Unknown

What if you thought you were all alone in the world, only to find out you had a secret twin in a hidden colony deep under the red dirt in the middle of nowhere? After her mother dies, Eve is sent to live with a family she never knew, just days before her 16th birthday.  The one-horse town is a cover for the Order of the Messenger Angels, but their enemies, The Crusaders, believe they are evil incarnate and won’t stop until the Order is wiped out.  
Eve's own powers are growing as her birthday nears, but so does the danger. An earth angel can only walk in the light as long as its twin is alive. If the twin dies, the angel is cursed to darkness or else will return to light. 

The colony believes Eve is prophesied to save them, but the recurring dream she's had since she was a child isn't providing clues fast enough, so she decides to take matters in her own hands to stop the Crusaders.

Two cowboy angels vie for her attention - including the boy her sister loves -  but can she ever really trust her heart to the rebellious Messengers? She doesn't want to break her new family apart before they've even had a chance. 

But none of that matters if they don't make it to their 16th birthday.

f1530f8684410ad8986c93.L._V149177128_SX200_.jpgAuthor Bio:
Lena Brown is a young adult fiction author from the Midwest. Lena is the YA pen name for women's fiction author Malena Lott, whose maiden name is Brown. Lena's YA debut is the short story, "Every Breath You Take," in the "Prom Dates to Die For" anthology. Lena also wrote "Arach War" in the Something Wicked: Short Stories anthology. Her latest book is a YA novel, Twin Falls, available now.

Handy Hinty Links
Goodreads:                         Twin Falls                                   Lena Brown
                       Website                                      Twitter


Shhh... Don't Tell:

What if for all of their aspirations for me, I'm just a girl? A confused girl who just wants to be kissed by the boy she likes and made a grilled cheese sandwich after school by her mom. The simple life.

Instead you find yourself doing the sunrise salutation, a yoga move you've never tried before because you thought yoga was for cheerleaders, not bookworms, but as you spread your arms up to the sun and bend into the pose, you do feel something magnificent. You feel the sun's power, and you try not to think about all the Lunas in your extended family who don't get to experience this Light anymore.

You think maybe for all the darkness, if you let yourself, you could rise to the occasion. You have hope. And hope feels so much better than hate. 

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Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Interview with Dionne Lister, author of the Circle of Talia series

Shadows of the RealmAt the Other End of Shadows of the Realm:
Bronwyn and Blayke are two strangers being drawn into the same war. Their world is facing invasion from the Third Realm. While they move unknowingly toward each other, they are watched, hunted, and sabotaged. When the Dragon God interferes, it seems their world, Talia, will succumb to the threat. Can they learn enough of the tricks of the Realms before it’s too late, or will everything they love be destroyed?

The young Realmists’ journey pushes them away from all they’ve known, to walk in the shadows toward Vellonia, city of the dragons, where an even darker shadow awaits.

Shhh....... Don't Tell:

They placed their plates on the ground. Arcon asked Blayke to lie on his back, hands by his sides. Fang was instructed to sit on Blayke’s chest. The rat was shaking, but Blayke didn’t notice as he was almost in a trance, breathing slowly and deeply, picturing the starry Second Realm. Fang shut his eyes. Arcon sent him an image of the Second Realm and showed him the path. The rat followed.

Arcon stood over two still bodies, eyes open, mind in tune with their journey. Phantom had materialised and watched unblinking from a nearby branch. He knew the gravity of what his companions would experience, having done it himself scores of years earlier. He hooted softly in protest, knowing that once this was done, there would be one less rat in the world he could eat.

Blayke journeyed through the dark, still tunnel—the only access to the Second Realm. He followed Arcon’s lead and didn’t notice the subtle turning from the usual path. When they emerged, it was not into the expected starry universe, but to an inky blackness. Blayke was scared and uncertain; the place they had come to was unfamiliar. He lost sight of Arcon, who was already on his return journey to Talia. His unease increased until he felt the presence of Fang next to him. In this space they were not the bright symbols Blayke knew in the Second Realm, but were invisible, nothing. He could only sense the rat, not see him. He could also feel Fang’s fear, albeit mixed with his natural rodent curiosity.

Light started to seep from the horizon, slowly creeping through the darkness toward them, encompassing all in its path. The swollen river of light gathered speed as it approached. They felt overwhelming dread as it washed closer. They didn’t know what to expect when it reached them and felt awe at what they could see in its wake. Rolling green hills stretched out behind the wave, azure sky above. The clarity of light was amazing—the most pure light imaginable. Blayke expected to be burnt when it reached them. Soon they were enveloped in the swell of light. The brilliance swirled around, above, beneath them, blinding the human and rodent.

No sooner than breaking over them, the wave washed past, leaving two vulnerable figures swaying, trying to regain their balance. Blayke felt different, and it took him a few moments to realise why. A heightened sense of smell overwhelmed him, and his viewpoint had changed. The hills in the distance had become mountains; the grass he had crushed beneath his feet moments ago was now chest high. He sat back on his haunches and looked down at himself. He looked incredulously at the dark brown fur that covered his body. He touched it with his small paw. His beady hazel eyes widened as this new reality dawned on him. He slowly shook his little pointed head. He remembered Fang and turned to meet his friend eye to eye. Fang’s whiskers twitched in a cunning smile and Blayke understood every high-pitched squeak when he spoke. “Welcome to my world, Blayke.”

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A Time of DarknessAt the Other End of A Time of Darkness:

A Time of Darkness is the second book in the best-selling Circle of Talia series. This exciting epic fantasy is filled with magic, dragons and adventure.

While Bronwyn languishes in a cell in the bowels of Vellonia and the dragon king argues for her death, the gormons are one step closer to destroying Talia. To add to The Circle’s problems, Leon’s plans to overthrow his brother, King Edmund, are moving ahead faster than anyone could have imagined, and someone will die as a result. The realmists and dragons are doing all they can, but how could it possibly be enough when thousands have already been slaughtered?

The prophesized time of darkness, a time the realmists have dreaded for the last thousand years, has begun.

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Author Bio:
So, who is Dionne Lister?

Dionne hails from Sydney, is an author, editor, has studied creative writing at Southern Cross University, writes fantasy and suspense/thrillers, co-hosts Club Fantsci book club and the Tweep Nation podcast, is an advocate for self-publishing, has recently presented at the Sydney Writers Festival and has grand dreams of riding on a dragon.
Having received rejections from publishers and agents, Dionne, determined to realise her dream (the publishing one, not the dragon-riding one), set out on the path to publishing her own book. After studying writing, employing a professional artist to do her awesome book covers and getting her books edited, Dionne has achieved her dream. She has spoken at the NSW Writers Centre and the Sydney Writers Festival after being discovered by Kate Forsyth. Shadows of the Realm (e-book) has reached #1 on Amazon in two categories. She is currently writing the third book in the Circle of Talia Series.

Handy Hinty Links:
Goodreads:                      Circle of Talia                         Dionne Lister
Website                                  Facebook                                    Twitter

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

1. Where have we seen you before? (previous projects/works)
I’ve written two YA epic fantasy novels, Shadows of the Realm and A Time of Darkness, and a book of suspenseful short stories called Dark Spaces. I’ve also spoken about self-publishing at the NSW Writers Centre and the Sydney Writers Festival.

2. What goes through your mind after your novel has been on sale for the first week?
Why isn’t it number 1 yet? Just joking. It’s exciting but nerve-wracking as you’re waiting to see how it will be received and because I do all my own promotion, I’m thinking, “I thought the hard work was over, but no, there’s more work to do.”

3. What inspired you to write this novel?
Ever since I was in primary school, I wanted to be an author. After a few failed attempts at writing a novel, I was determined that I would finally do it. I picked fantasy because I love reading the genre and also there is no research involved (I’m a bit lazy sometimes). I also didn’t feel there was enough fantasy with dragons so I made sure there were lots of dragons in my story.

4. What do you think about when getting/seeing negative reviews?
It does hurt at first, but then I think about what the person said and is it constructive or just taste. I take any helpful feedback I can and I discard the rest. I’ve usually forgotten it within two days and thankfully I’ve had many more good reviews than bad (crosses fingers that it will continue to be this way).

5. How long was the writing/planning process?
It took me about 2 months to write the first draft and no planning. I’m what’s called a pantser—I just have a vague idea of what I want to do and then start writing. I had my manuscript assessed and rewrote it. It sat for eight years doing nothing until I started a creative writing degree. I revisited it, improved it and then had it edited. I went through it again, four or five times to polish it. It was finally published nine years after the first draft was written.

6. 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?
I knew what I wanted and told the artist (Robert Baird). He provided four sketches and I picked the one I wanted, then he tweaked it until I was happy. He did the most amazing job. When I first saw it, I cried. It’s a scene from the end of the book and the second cover, done by the same artist, is a scene from midway through the book. I love seeing my characters come to life in the way I’d imagined them.

7. Any plans for future writing projects? Any being worked on now?
I’m currently writing the third book in The Circle of Talia series (due out Feb 2014). I’ve started a crime/thriller novel and have an idea for another fantasy book. So much to do!

8. Top 5 books

  • The Hours—Michael Cunningham
  • A Fraction of the Whole—Steve Toltz
  • Lick (Stage Dive)—Kylie Scott
  • There’s Nothing to be Frightened of—Julian Barnes
  • Most anything from David Eddings (I know that’s more than five, oops)

9. What book/s from other authors do you wish you had written?
The Hours and Lick.

10. Why read your novel?
 My novel has characters you can relate to, a world you can escape into, adventure, magic and dragons. What more is there? ;).

Thanks so much for having me on your blog. I’ve had a lot of fun visiting