Aug 27, 2017

Fast Five with Irena Brignull

I'm so excited to welcome Irena Brignull to the blog for a quick Fast 5!


Favorite quote:  
It’s never too late to be what you might have been.’ George Eliot.
My mum has this framed in her office and it really reminds me of her. She is, in fact, a living example of it. She got a university degree in psychology in her 40’s and trained as a relationship counsellor, helping countless couples in a career that’s lasted until her retirement this year at the age of 70. She’s now about to start learning Italian.


Favorite bookish moment: 
There are so, so many, but I’ve picked my earliest. It’s from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe when Lucy first hides in the wardrobe and feels her way through the fur coats until she reaches trees and snow, the lamp-post and Mr Tumnus in the land of Narnia. Reading this as a child was when I first understood the amazing adventures that stories can take you on.


Best moment as an author:  
As a screenwriter, it has to be the 18 minute standing ovation for The Little Prince when it premiered at Cannes. It was an extraordinary, unforgettable, magical night. As an author, it was hearing the news that a publisher wanted to publish my first novel. I was over the moon.


Last person you hugged: 
My husband. We met at university and, a wedding and three children later, we are still together. We just seem to fit. In life and in hugs.


Favorite place in the world: 

Skiathos, Greece. Skiathos is a small island, lush with pine trees and olive groves and surrounded with sandy beaches and the brilliant blue waters of the Aegean sea. My mother and my husband are Greek and I’ve been coming here since I was a teenager. It’s my happy place. Whenever I’m feeling glum in grey London, I look at the wallpaper on my phone which is the view from my mum’s house.

THE HAWKWEED LEGACY BIrena BrignullHardcover, $18.00, August 15, 2017
Poppy is discovering a purpose for her powers in Africa, but she is haunted by a vision of her own death. Taken in by a boy and his great-grandmother, a healer, they vow to keep her safe-even if that ultimately means holding her captive. But Poppy never stops longing for Leo and, when she feels his magic begin to spark, she will do anything to be reunited with him.

Desperate to regain Poppy's trust and bring her home, Charlock embarks on a plan to reunite Leo with his mother. What Charlock doesn't foresee are the string of consequences that she sets into motion that leave Ember all alone and prey to manipulation, the clan open to attack from other witches, Sorrel vulnerable to Raven's ghost, Betony determined to protect her son from his father's fate, and which leave both Leo and Poppy in terrible danger.

THE HAWKWEED PROPHECY BIrena Brignull, Trade Paperback (All new cover!)
$10.99, August 15, 2017

Poppy Hooper and Ember Hawkweed couldn't lead more different lives. Poppy is a troubled teen: moving from school to school, causing chaos wherever she goes, never making friends or lasting connections. Ember is a young witch, struggling to find a place within her coven and prove her worth. Both are outsiders: feeling like they don't belong and seeking escape.

Poppy and Ember soon become friends, and secretly share knowledge of their two worlds. Little do they know that destiny has brought them together: an ancient prophecy, and a life-changing betrayal. Growing closer, they begin to understand why they've never belonged and the reason they are now forever connected to each other.

Switched at birth by the scheming witch Raven Hawkweed, Poppy and Ember must come to terms with their true identities and fight for their own place in the world. Enter Leo, a homeless boy with a painful past who – befriending them both – tests their love and loyalty. Can Poppy and Ember's friendship survive? And can it withstand the dark forces that are gathering?

Tour Schedule:

PRAISE FOR THE HAWKWEED PROPHECY:

"Brignull develops story and characters slowly, long, luxurious sentences balancing the magic and the mundane expertly and building the world of the witches by showing how out of place Ember is in it. Tension
builds inexorably to the inevitable witch showdown, which brings small victories but not a happily-ever-after for all. The third-person narration switches focus from character to character as they make frustrating, heart-rending, totally believable choices. Fantasy and nonfantasy readers alike will appreciate this gritty and intriguing coming-of-age story."
Kirkus Reviews
 
"Brignull...debuts with an instantly engrossing novel...It's a fantasy with the air of a classic, yet one that's also entirely contemporary in
its tight focus on identity, friendship, and romance. Ages 12-up."—Publishers Weekly *Starred Review*
 
"Wildly delightful."— Laini Taylor, author of The Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy
 
"Wise, weird, a touch evil and totally charming, Irena Brignull's tale of magic in our time is as rich and complicated as sisterhood. From the first page, I felt drawn into a modern classic."
— Anna Godbersen, author of The Luxe and Bright Young Things series
 
“Irena Brignull's The Hawkweed Prophecy is a book of wicked, beautiful magic. Compulsively readable and delightfully gritty, one does not mess with these Hawkweed witches.
— Kendare Blake, author of Anna Dressed in Blood and Three Dark Crowns
 
"I loved this book! Irena has created such beautifully complete world--our world, and nestled within it, a simmering world of magic. The Hawkweed Prophecy has everything: friendship, desire, delicious earthy magic, secrets and spells and at its centre, the wonderful young Poppy, on a journey of self-discovery. I so hope there is more to come!"
 Karen Foxlee, author of Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy and A Most Magical Girl

The Hawkweed Prophecy was bewitching from the get-go. Irena Brignull does an amazing job weaving a tale of pure magic in this debut novel. She'll have you on a roller coaster of emotions from the very first page. Get ready to be spellbound."
— Paige McKenzie, author of the New York Times bestselling Haunting of Sunshine Girl series

"Brignull's The Hawkweed Prophecy is a deft exploration of friendship, sacrifice and betrayal. I can't decide who I love more, the sweet and trusting Ember or the spunky, dark Poppy. You can't help but cheer for both girls, and ache when they are pitted against one another. I was completely absorbed in the sinister, complicated world of magic and witches. The coven is described so confidently and beautifully, it's hard to emerge from the novel without wondering if these women are operating somewhere just below the surface of our world. Full of romance, heart and suspense, readers will find themselves staying up all night just to spend a little more time with Ember and Poppy."
— Madeleine Roux, author of the New York Times bestseller Asylum

Jul 18, 2017

Review: Trust by Kylie Scott

Title: Trust
Author: Kylie Scott
Series: N/A
Purchase: Amazon

Summary (from Goodreads):
After being held hostage during a robbery at the local convenience store, seventeen-year-old Edie finds her attitude about life shattered. Unwilling to put up with the snobbery and bullying at her private school, she enrolls at the local public high school, crossing paths with John. The boy who risked his life to save hers.

While Edie’s beginning to run wild, however, John’s just starting to settle down. After years of partying and dealing drugs with his older brother, he’s going straight—getting to class on time, and thinking about the future.

An unlikely bond grows between the two as John keeps Edie out of trouble and helps her broaden her horizons. But when he helps her out with another first—losing her virginity—their friendship gets complicated.

Meanwhile, Edie and John are pulled back into the dangerous world they narrowly escaped. They were lucky to survive the first time, but this time they have more to lose—each other.

Review:
Ask my friends – leading up to ApollyCon 2017, the author I was most excited to meet was Kylie Scott. Not just because she seems like a cool chick, but her writing is everything. She seamlessly blends humor with heat, snarky with sexy. She’s hands down one of my favorite authors, and when I found out she was foraying into the Young Adult world with TRUST, I was all over this.

What I loved most was that Edie and John are hopelessly flawed. It’s not a pretty love story with a meet cute and a little teasing before they fall in love. Their first meeting involves a hostage situation and a tweaked out robber with a trigger happy finger. It’s tense and heartbreaking and vicious.

Edie is a heroine I wished I could have had read about growing up. Edie is me (minus the hostage situation and super hot bad boy savior). Edie is overweight, fluent in snark and sarcasm, and much better at faking who she wants people to think she is than actually being herself. She’s not Katniss, hurling herself in front of a firing squad to protect people or Tris trying to take down an evil empire or even Bella, stupidly bumbling her way through a world she doesn’t understand. She’s Edie and Edie is imperfect and a little broken but with a mountain of heart. In short, she’s most of us.

I absolutely adore Kylie Scott and she did not disappoint me at all with TRUST. So give it a chance. Trust me. 😉


Jul 6, 2017

Review: Paper Princess by Erin Watt

Title: Paper Princess
Author: Erin Watt
Series: Royals #1
Purchase: Amazon

Summary (from Goodreads):
From strip clubs and truck stops to southern coast mansions and prep schools, one girl tries to stay true to herself.

These Royals will ruin you…

Ella Harper is a survivor—a pragmatic optimist. She’s spent her whole life moving from town to town with her flighty mother, struggling to make ends meet and believing that someday she’ll climb out of the gutter. After her mother’s death, Ella is truly alone. 

Until Callum Royal appears, plucking Ella out of poverty and tossing her into his posh mansion among his five sons who all hate her. Each Royal boy is more magnetic than the last, but none as captivating as Reed Royal, the boy who is determined to send her back to the slums she came from.

Reed doesn’t want her. He says she doesn’t belong with the Royals.

He might be right.

Wealth. Excess. Deception. It’s like nothing Ella has ever experienced, and if she’s going to survive her time in the Royal palace, she’ll need to learn to issue her own Royal decrees. 

Review:
So I've been on a quest to read all the authors of ApollyCon 2018 prior to the event. Call me a well-rounded event planner, but I wanna know who I'm working with.

And also, I've seen fans freaking out each one of the authors on our lineup are attending, and I love to freak out and swoon, too.

I've read Elle Kennedy before (I'm absolutely in love with everything of hers I've read), and prior to this I read a book by Jen Frederick and loved it (look for that review later), so I decided to give them a try as a duo, Erin Watt. And holy crap balls rolling down drama mountain ... I'm in love. I binged the entire trilogy in 28 hours. I bought the audio versions so I could listen in the car and while I put my makeup on. I literally breathed this series. But let's start with book 1: PAPER PRINCESS.

Let's start with my girl Ella, who is seriously a champ. This girl has been through hell - she never knew her father, her mom died when she was 15, and terrified of being put into foster care, Ella brilliantly and doggedly holds down 3 jobs (including being a stripper) to support herself. She forges her mom's signature for school documents, determined to get herself through school and college so she can carve out an existence beyond straight up survival.

Enter the Royals: Callum Royal (dad of the Royal clan) comes and pulls Ella from her life of poverty and puts her in a palace where she has money and clothes and a massive bed and the best education money can buy ... Seems too good to be true, right?

Right.

So Ella, knowing nothing in the world is free, is (rightfully) skeptical. She doesn't enter the Royal world willingly. She's quite literally dragged and thrust into it, much to the fury of Callum Royal's 5 (yes, FIVE, totally hot, swoony, assholey) sons. Reed, second oldest, is the ring leader and makes it his mission to make Ella's life hell until she packs her bags and runs.

Cue the most passionate, volatile, combustible love/hate relationship ever.

There are parts I must admit were hard to swallow, even after later learning the guys' motives. They crossed lines in their quest to bully and humiliate Ella that made me cringe. These boys had to work for Ella's (and my) favor.

This book is drama. It's technically pitched as YA, but it's definitely upper YA/NA. Especially in the romance dept. It's seriously angsty and is, often, over the top. But the magic of Erin Watt cannot be denied. This series is as golden as that freaking gorgeous crown on the cover. I can't wait to get to my thoughts in the next week or so about the other books in the series.


Do not miss this one!


Jun 21, 2017

Review: The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan

Title: The Hook Up
Author: Kristen Callihan
Publication Date: 1/16/2015
Series: Game On #1
Source: ebook
Purchase: Amazon

Summary (from Goodreads):
The rules: no kissing on the mouth, no staying the night, no telling anyone, and above all… No falling in love.

Anna Jones just wants to finish college and figure out her life. Falling for star quarterback Drew Baylor is certainly not on her to do list. Confident and charming, he lives in the limelight and is way too gorgeous for his own good. If only she could ignore his heated stares and stop thinking about doing hot and dirty things with him. Easy right?

Too bad he’s committed to making her break every rule…

Football has been good to Drew. It’s given him recognition, two National Championships, and the Heisman. But what he really craves is sexy yet prickly Anna Jones. Her cutting humor and blatant disregard for his fame turns him on like nothing else. But there’s one problem: she's shut him down. Completely.

That is until a chance encounter leads to the hottest sex of their lives, along with the possibility of something great. Unfortunately, Anna wants it to remain a hook up. Now it’s up to Drew to tempt her with more: more sex, more satisfaction, more time with him. Until she’s truly hooked. It's a good thing Drew knows all about winning.

All’s fair in love and football…Game on.

Review:
You know that magic moment when you find a new book you just immediately love and you know in your heart of hearts that the author is your kind of people? That’s how I felt 2 chapters into THE HOOK UP by Kristen Callihan.

In my quest to read more ApollyCon authors, I decided to give Callihan’s New Adult series a go. I mean, football players? Pretty much a no brainer, but I never expected to fall head over heels in love with Drew and Anna.

These two have the most electric chemistry. Chemistry that had me blushing and furiously texting my blogging besties Krista and Val, demanding they read this book. Before I finished THE HOOK UP, I had them buying the whole series in paperback. It’s that stinking good.

Callihan has this awesome way of writing riveting characters with heart and charm, infusing angst and humor with astonishing ease. Kristen Callihan is going down as one of my auto-buy authors for life.


Now hopefully I can meet her at ApollyCon without completely freaking out.


Jun 20, 2017

Release Day: The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter

Well hello there new book that I can't wait to get my hands on!

ABOUT THE STRANGE CASE OF THE ALCHEMIST'S DAUGHTER:
How do I explain how amazing this book is? TSCotAD features found families, monster girls, snarky meta, and Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson all wrapped up in an incredible Victorian Era bow. Brianna took this book to London with her and devoured it. Hopefully you’ll love it just as much as she does!

Based on some of literature’s horror and science fiction classics, this is the story of a remarkable group of women who come together to solve the mystery of a series of gruesome murders—and the bigger mystery of their own origins.

Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about the secrets of her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture…a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes.

But her hunt leads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns. With the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for the elusive Hyde, and soon befriends more women, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.
When their investigations lead them to the discovery of a secret society of immoral and power-crazed scientists, the horrors of their past return. Now it is up to the monsters to finally triumph over the monstrous. 

LINKS: Amazon | B&N


ABOUT THEODORA GOSS:

Theodora Goss's publications include the short story collection In the Forest of Forgetting (2006); Interfictions (2007), a short story anthology coedited with Delia Sherman; Voices from Fairyland (2008), a poetry anthology with critical essays and a selection of her own poems; and The Thorn and the Blossom (2012), a two-sided novella in an accordion format. She has been a finalist for the Nebula, Crawford, Locus, and Mythopoeic Awards, and on the Tiptree Award Honor List. She has won the World Fantasy and Rhysling Awards.

LINKS: Website | Twitter

Jun 8, 2017

Makeup Looks: The Refrigerator Monologues

Superhero Makeup

About THE REFRIGERATOR MONOLOGUES:
The Refrigerator Monologues is for anyone who ever got upset at the way women were treated in comic shows, movies or books.
The lives of six female superheroes and the girlfriends of superheroes. A ferocious riff on women in superhero comics

From the New York Times bestselling author Catherynne Valente comes a series of linked stories from the points of view of the wives and girlfriends of superheroes, female heroes, and anyone who’s ever been “refrigerated”: comic book women who are killed, raped, brainwashed, driven mad, disabled, or had their powers taken so that a male superhero’s storyline will progress.

In an entirely new and original superhero universe, Valente subversively explores these ideas and themes in the superhero genre, treating them with the same love, gravity, and humor as her fairy tales. After all, superheroes are our new fairy tales and these six women have their own stories to share.


About Catherynne M. Valente
Catherynne M. Valente was born on Cinco de Mayo, 1979 in Seattle, WA, but grew up in in the wheatgrass paradise of Northern California. She graduated from high school at age 15, going on to UC San Diego and Edinburgh University, receiving her B.A. in Classics with an emphasis in Ancient Greek Linguistics. She then drifted away from her M.A. program and into a long residence in the concrete and camphor wilds of Japan.

She currently lives in Maine with her partner, two dogs, and three cats, having drifted back to America and the mythic frontier of the Midwest.


Tour Schedule:

Giveaway:
2 Finished Copies of THE REFRIGERATOR MONOLOGUES (US Only)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

May 19, 2017

Bloggers of the Roe, Unite!



Have you heard of the awesomeness called LuLaRoe?  They’re a direct sales clothing company that’s becoming more and more popular because of their unique clothing prints and buttery soft leggings.  As soon as you try ANY of their clothing items, you become addicted! We sure did!

But you can ONLY find their unique clothing line through a LuLaRoe
Independent Fashion consultant.  Items CANNOT be purchased through a website, or through a catalog.  All items are sold directly from a consultant.


LuLaRoe clothing items are so amazing because they flatter all body types, shapes and sizes.  Women look and feel beautiful in LuLaRoe clothing.  Plus, the clothes are ultra-comfortable!  You feel like you’re wearing pajamas and feel like you can comfortably take a nap in clothing that makes you look your best! How awesome is that?  Check them out!  They are amazing!

Jaime(Left) & Tari (Right) with Lee Brice
About Us, LuLaRoe Tari and Jaime

We're a mother and daughetr independent Fashion Consultant Team we just joined LuLaRoe in March and onboarded 3 weeks ago!


I (Jaime) have been a part of the bookish world in different capacities for 7 years! As a blogger, blog tour company owner, and publicist and I recently became a LuLaRoe Independent Fashion consultant because I see so
many similarities between the two.





Tari is a school
teacher. She teaches 4th and 5th graders at an elementary school in Sacramento
and she loves her job! She also love sharing her love of LuLaRoe with her
fellow teachers and students parents!

One of our most favorite things about our blogging and work communities is meeting so many
amazing women with similar interests.
Guess what? We're thrilled to say
that we’ve been able to connect with so many more women through LuLaRoe
and in an amzingly short time!  We're not only connecting with
ladies who long for clothes that make them feel good, but we're connecting with
the awesome consultants within LuLaRoe!
And let us tell you, we have never been so excited to work for a
company as this one!

The owners of LuLaRoe are determined to provide a quality product,
maintain an extremely positive and uplifting work and consulting environment .
. . and they are all about serving others.
It’s amazing!

How to find Tari and Jaime, LuLaRoe Independent Fashion Consultants:



The Clothes!






Giveaway Details:


1 winner will receive a pair of LuLaRoe Leggings (One Size or Tall & Curvy), US Only.





a Rafflecopter giveaway

Apr 17, 2017

Cover Reveal: Daddy's Best Friend by London Hale

*Side note: I've already read and loved this one. Also? I'm coveting her eye makeup.*

Publishing on May 2, 2017, Daddy’s Best Friend is the debut title for author London Hale. The book is the first in the Temperance Falls series and launches a world of naughty fantasies and taboo romances set on a small island in one of the Great Lakes.



She’s temptation personified

Nathan had always been more than just my dad’s friend. I never thought he’d see me as an adult, especially not after avoiding me for so long. But one hug, one moment feeling every inch of him against me, shattered that illusion. Consequences no longer mattered—I was eighteen, and I was willing to risk everything for my shot with him.

He’s not going to resist anymore

I never should’ve seen Eve as more than my best friend’s daughter. As a cop, I knew it was wrong. It was my job to protect her from guys like me. Chasing her could cost me my career—not to mention the only family I’d ever known—but I couldn’t hold back another second. One taste, and I wanted her. To hell with the fallout.
In celebration of their upcoming release, London is doing a giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card! Go HERE to enter.




London Hale is the combined pen name of writing besties Ellis Leigh and Brighton Walsh. Between them, they’ve published more than thirty books in the contemporary romance, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense genres. Ellis is a USA Today bestselling author who loves coffee, thinks green Skittles are the best, and prefers to stay in every weekend. Brighton is multi-published with Berkley, St. Martin’s Press, and Carina Press. She hates coffee, thinks green Skittles are the work of the devil, and has never heard of a party she didn’t want to attend. Don’t ask how they became such good friends or work so well together—they still haven’t figured it out themselves.

Sign up for the Temperance Falls Gazette to get up to date information on all things happening on the island!

Apr 5, 2017

Makeup Looks: Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer

ABOUT SPINDLE FIRE:
Half sisters Isabelle and Aurora are polar opposites: Isabelle is the king's headstrong illegitimate daughter, whose sight was tithed by faeries; Aurora, beautiful and sheltered, was tithed her sense of touch and her voice on the same day. Despite their differences, the sisters have always been extremely close.

And then everything changes, with a single drop of Aurora's blood--and a sleep so deep it cannot be broken.

As the faerie queen and her army of Vultures prepare to march, Isabelle must race to find a prince who can awaken her sister with the kiss of true love and seal their two kingdoms in an alliance against the queen.

Isabelle crosses land and sea; unearthly, thorny vines rise up the palace walls; and whispers of revolt travel in the ashes on the wind. The kingdom falls to ruin under layers of snow. Meanwhile, Aurora wakes up in a strange and enchanted world, where a mysterious hunter may be the secret to her escape . . . or the reason for her to stay.

Spindle Fire is the first book in a lush fantasy duology set in the dwindling, deliciously corrupt world of the fae and featuring two truly unforgettable heroines.
 

LINKS: Amazon | B&N  


Spindle Fire



ABOUT LEXA HILLYER:
Lexa Hillyer is the co-founder of Paper Lantern Lit, former YA editor, and author of Proof of Forever. Lexa is also an award-winning poet: Her first collection, Acquainted with the Cold, won the Melissa Lanitis Gregory Poetry Prize as well as the 2012 Book of the Year Award from ForeWord Reviews. Her poetry has been anthologized in Best New Poets 2012, and has appeared in several journals. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their daughter.

LINKS: Website | Twitter Instagram

Tour Schedule:
Week 1:

Week 2:

Giveaway:
3 Finished Copies of SPINDLE FIRE (US Only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway