30 December, 2013

Taste of Darkness Blog Tour - Interview with Maria V. Snyder

Welcome to the Taste of Darkness Blog Tour! Thanks to Maria V. Snyder and Rockstar Book Tours for letting us kick off the festivities. Read on for a short Q&A by Alethea and more info about the book.

There are more posts on the way so check the schedule each weekday for the next two weeks, and remember to enter to win using the Rafflecopter widget at the end of the post--the book giveaway is open internationally!

Taste of Darkness Blog Tour: Dec 30, 2013 to Jan 10, 2014

About the book:

She's fought death and won. But how can she fight her fears?
Avry knows hardship and trouble. She fought the plague and survived. She took on King Tohon and defeated him. But now her heart-mate, Kerrick, is missing, and Avry fears he's gone forever. 
But there's a more immediate threat. The Skeleton King plots to claim the Fifteen Realms for his own. With armies in disarray and the dead not staying down, Avry's healing powers are needed now more than ever. Torn between love and loyalty, Avry must choose her path carefully... For the future of her world depends on her decision.

About the author:

Maria V. Snyder changed from being a meteorologist to a novelist in 1995, when she began writing to keep her sanity while raising two children. Since then, she has published numerous freelance articles in magazines and newspapers, and teaches fiction-writing classes at the local college and area libraries. The classes give her the wonderful opportunity to encourage fellow writers, and to keep improving her craft.

Maria lives with her husband, son, daughter and yellow lab, Hazelnut, in Pennsylvania where she is at work on more LUNA novels. She is also pursuing a master's degree in writing popular fiction from Seton Hill University.

Readers are welcome to contact Maria at the following email address: maria@mariavsnyder.com.

Buy the book:

Connect with Maria:

Q&A with Maria V. Snyder:

RNSL: Is there anything you will miss about the Healer trilogy, now that the story is wrapped up? A character, maybe, or a setting you would like to write more about?

MVS: It takes me a while to miss the story and characters. After writing about Avry, Kerrick, and the gang for the last 3 years, I get to a point where enough is enough :) However, I’m sure in a year or two I’d want to explore Flea’s powers more and check in with Avry and Kerrick. A reader suggested I write a short story where Avry meets Kerrick’s Great Aunt Yasmin–that would be fun. The problem is always the same–not enough time to write all the things I’d like.

RNSL: How do you think your storytelling/writing process has changed over the years? Or has it stayed mostly the same?

MVS: I’m more organized and better at writing consistently (every night) vs. in bursts. I’m not sure if my storytelling has changed as far as content, but I’m still a pantser and discover my story as I go. I’m more conscious of weak writing, like passive voice, weak verbs, filtering so I think my new novels are grammatically stronger. I must admit, finding new ways to say “her heart pounded” is getting harder with each book :)

RNSL: Your fans (including me!) love that you learn new things and incorporate them into your books, everything from martial arts to glass-blowing. Was there anything you learned this year, or maybe a skill/craft you worked on mastering?

MVS: For my last two books, STORM WATCHER and TASTE OF DARKNESS, I did more book/internet research. For Storm Watcher, I learned a lot about search and rescue dogs and how to train a dog to earn Tracking Dog titles from the American Kennel Club. If I write a companion book to Storm Watcher, I plan to shadow a search and rescue worker in the field. For Taste of Darkness, I researched immune systems, vaccines, and how a body fights viruses. I also had a couple of interesting conversations with my doctors about cannibalism–like “does a virus stay active after the body dies?” Probably why my family doctor transferred to another practice ;)

RNSL: If you could travel back in time and had one piece of advice to give your past self, you know, Maria before she got her first acceptance letter, what would it be? (Without messing with the space/time continuum, of course!) It could be about anything, not just writing.)

MVS: I’d tell her to spend more time with her kids! My son is in his first year of college and I’m really missing my sweet little boy who smiled and gave me hugs. The past 18 years has flown by and while I love writing and promoting my books, I would have slowed down and not traveled as much.

RNSL: A new year is about to begin! What do you hope it will bring, and what books of yours can we look forward to in 2014?

MVS: I hope it will be a healthy year for everyone. It’s funny how I said I wouldn’t travel as much if I went back in time and yet this year, I’m planning trips to Iowa and Florida. Officially, all I have coming out is an essay I wrote with my daughter, Jenna in the anthology Divergent Thinking about the Divergent series. That book of essays is coming out the same time as the movie in March. However, my new Study book with Yelena and Valek is tentatively scheduled for January 2015, which usually means the book is available at the end of December. The second of the new Study books is due out 9 months after the first, so 2015 could be a busy year for me.

Watch the trailer:

We're certainly looking forward to more great stories from Maria! Kimberly (at The Windy Pages) and I will be posting reviews soon, and soon Thuy is going to be posting some great bookcover-inspired manicures on Nite Lite Reviews :) Here's a quick sneak peek:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Week One

12/30/2013 - Read Now Sleep Later- Interview
12/31/2013 - Tynga's Reviews- Guest Post
1/1/2014 - Fiktshun- Guest Post
1/2/2014 - Bibliophilia, Please- Interview
1/3/2014 - Snowdrop Dreams of Books- Review

Week Two

1/6/2014 - Parajunkee- Guest Post
1/7/2014 - Moonlight Gleam Reviews- Review
1/8/2014 - The Cover Contessa- Interview
1/9/2014 - Two Chicks on Books- Guest Post
1/10/2014 - Mundie Moms- Interview

28 December, 2013

Deep Betrayal - Review

Deep Betrayal (Lies Beneath, Book 2) by Anne Greenwood Brown
Publication Date: 12 March 2013 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
ISBN 10/13: 0385742037 | 9780385742030

Category: YA Fantasy
Keywords: Mermaids
Format: Hardcover, ebook
Source: NetGalley

Kimberly's Review:

Time is ticking. This sequel picks up where Lies Beneath left off, about one month after LIly leaves her home and her family. She eagerly awaits Calder, but he doesn't show and as the days pass, she wonders if it's all in her head. But one day on television, a startling discovery shakes her and all of a sudden Calder is there. The story isn't over. Revenge is on everyone's mind. And mermaids don't care how many people they have to hurt to get to the one they want.

I really liked Lies Beneath, the darkness and edgy murky tale of killer mermaids. So I was excited to read this sequel that promised another darkly chilling plot. Sadly, I don't think it lived up to my expectations.

Lily is the focus of this story and she got on my nerves pretty quickly. She's self absorbed and rash, doesn't see the big picture and thinks she's always right. You know the type- young and reckless. Which normally I don't mind, but between pining away for Calder, then being mad he's spending all this time with her dad, she's not a strong character and the fact that she's the lead character made the book a very slow read for me.

Calder at least seems the same from book one, though a lot of their scenes together feel very forced. I didn't feel their magical connection in this book. The plot moves very slow and I can't say that anything big really happens until the end. The first part of the book is a lot of Lily missing Calder, being insecure and realizing it might have been a mistake to tell her father their secrets. Scenes felt forced and fake to me. The most interesting character is Jack, the crazy teenager whose heart is broken after his love has abandoned him. He brings some much needed motion to the plot and tension to the cluster of characters. To be honest, the ending is actually pretty great and probably saved the book for me from a much lower rating.

Sadly, Deep Betrayal didn't sweep me away and I'm not sure if I will continue with the rest of the series.

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

You can find out more about the author at annegreenwoodbrown.com and follow her on Twitter @AnneGBrown

Read more reviews by Kimberly at thewindypages.com and follow her on Twitter @thewindypages

18 December, 2013

Pawn - Review

Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion, Book 1) by Aimee Carter
Publication date: 26 November 2013 by Harlequin Teen
ISBN 10/13: 0373210558 | 9780373210558

Category: Young Adult Dystopia
Keywords: Switched, Masks, Government, Strategy
Format: eBook, Hardcover, Audiobook
Source: Netgalley

Kimberly's review:

Kitty Doe is an orphan in this harsh world. She lives in a house with other kids, all under age until they take their test. This test will define how important they are to society, and how long their life will last. When Kitty comes away with a III, she knows her life will change forever. She is being sent to a far away city, away from her boyfriend Benjy and will probably never see anyone here again. But before anything can happen, Kitty is kidnapped and Masked, to look like Lila Hart, the daughter of one the most important families in the government. The real Lila is dead, and Kitty must impersonate Lila to survive. But at what cost?

I had high hopes for Pawn as I loved Carter's series The Goddess Test. Maybe I'm just tired of dystopian series. Or maybe there are so many out there that nothing really shocks me anymore. Sadly, this book didn't live up to my expectations.

Kitty is in an impossible situation and while I wanted to like her and root for her, I felt like there was something missing from her character. Nothing really stood out about her.

Kitty loves Benjy, her boyfriend. And we're told his quite a lot, especially early on in the book when she ripped away from him to be Masked. But I didn't see or feel Kitty's love for Benjy. There's a lot of tell, but little show. Benjy is not a present figure in the beginning of the book and we're going by Kitty's memories alone. Honestly, Benjy doesn't seem all that wonderful in those memories either. There was nothing that stands out about him or makes me want to root for him or them as a couple. He seems sort of bland. So I am not totally invested in her deep desire to find him and run away together. Even Lila's old fiance lacks charm and emotion. I'm thinking that there is supposed to be some kind of love triangle going on here, but honestly, I don't know any of these characters enough to really care who Kitty winds up with in the end.

The Hart family on the other hand, are ruthless, evil and openly backstabbing each other. I didn't feel like there was a lot of depth to any of them or complicated emotional motivation. I like evil villains, don't get me wrong. But I want them to be layered, morally gray and blurred. I want them to be just enough evil that you have to look twice. No one in the Hart family is like that. I'm pretty sure they could all wear top hats, evil mustaches and tie damsels to train tracks.

That said, the plot is pretty interesting. No one is safe from danger and there are some cool twists that kept it interesting. But I didn't really care about the characters, so everything felt detached. It's an interesting world, especially the part about Elsewhere, and a deep sense of danger and death looms heavily over the story.

Overall, Pawn left me dissatisfied. But for fans who can't get enough of dystopian YA literature, I think they'll find promise in the beginning to this new series.

Find out more about the author at aimeecarter.com and follow her on Twitter @aimee_carter.

You can find more reviews by Kimberly at thewindypages.com and follow her on Twitter @thewindypages.

13 December, 2013

Kindle Deals

Hey, everyone! Just a quick roundup of some good Kindle book sales happening right now. I don't know how long all of these will last, so get them while they're hot. Clicking on the title below will take you to the Amazon Kindle buying page for the book. We are Amazon affiliates but if you'd rather not click on our link, just look the book up on Amazon. These books may also be on sale on other ebook formats, so check those out if you don't own a Kindle.

$1.99 and under

Poison Princess by Kresley Cole $0.99
Erasing Time by CJ Hill $0.99
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness $1.99
Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison $1.99
Darker Still by Leanna Renee Heiber $1.99
Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon $1.99
Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris $1.99
The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise $1.99
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand $1.99
Crash by Nicole Williams $1.99
The Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers by Lynn Weingarten $1.99

$2.99 and under

Legend by Marie Lu $2.49 - Love this series!
Enclave by Ann Aguirre - $2.99
Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi $2.99 - Great book!
Crewel by Gennifer Albin $2.99
Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout $2.99
Scarlet by AC Gaugen $2.99
Also Known As by Robin Benway $2.99
Lauren Conrad Beauty by Lauren Conrad $2.99
Unravel Me by Tehereh Mafi $2.99
School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani $2.99
Cursed by Jennifer Armentrout $2.99

$3.99 and under

Storm by Brigid Kemmerer $3.82
Divergent by Veronica Roth $3.99
The Fault In Our Stars by John Green $3.99 - I still need to read this but great price.
The Host by Stephanie Meyer $3.99
Angelfall by Susan Ee $3.99
The World After by Susan Ee $3.99
Something Like Normal by Trish Doller $3.99

$4.00 and up

Burned by Ellen Hopkins $4.37
Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas $4.39 - Love this one!
City Of Bones by Cassandra Clare $4.73
Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson $4.99
Everneath by Brodi Ashton $4.99
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater $5.34
The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey $5.49
The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzann Collins $14.99

Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. For more details, please see our full disclosure policy here

09 December, 2013

Poison Princess - Review

Poison Princess by Kresley Cole
Publication date: 2 Nov 2012 by Simon & Schuster
ISBN 10/13: 1442436646 | 9781442436640

Click to find more 5 star reviews

Category: Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy
Keywords: Tarot, Apocalypse, War
Format: eBook, Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook
Source: ARC

Kimberly's Review:

Stay Up All Night.
And that's just what I did.

Eve has visions that she can't understand, and doesn't want to. After being shut away last summer in a mental institution, she is happy to return to school and normal life: her best friend, Mel and her boyfriend Bran. She's popular, pretty and well liked. In rolls Jackson. From the wrong side of town, he looks upon Eve as a pretty rich spoiled brat. Of course they don't get along. Of course he's ridiculously hot.

Leading up to the days of the Apocalypse, we glimpse a look at Eve's life. And once The Flash happens, it all changes. For one, most people have been wiped out, leaving the world without water, without food. And in rides Jackson, warning Eve and her mom, that an army is headed their way, and that they don't want to be in the path when they get there. On the run in a hostile world, Eve must find her Grandmother, and Jackson is sworn to get her there. But not even he knows Eve's true nature. War is brewing between twenty-two kids who have special powers, and there will only be one survivor.

I can't even begin to tell you how much I adored this book. At first, it's a teen book about high school and boys. Then, the Flash and it becomes a Apocalypse book with paranormal elements, boiling chemistry and a fight for life. It is my first Kresley Cole book and won't be my last. I went out the next day to buy book two, Endless Knight, so I wouldn't have to stop reading!

Jackson is one of my favorite characters. He's rough around the edges, typical alpha male. He's complicated, coming from a poor and abusive background and really doesn't say or do the right thing most of the time. Flawed hero worship here I come. Oh and did I mention Jackson speaks French? Sprinkled in the book are French words and phrases, elevating him to hot guy with an accent and speaks a second language. Be. Still. My. Heart.

Eve was getting on my nerves at the beginning, but she quickly grew on me. Her character arc is slow but feels organic, coming into her own powers at her own pace. Long gone is the bratty cheerleader. I really liked how normal she seemed. She's a typical teenager, thinking about losing her virginity to her stable yet clueless boyfriend, Bran. And like any teenager I know, she's worried about it. She's not sure, changes her mind, changes it back. I liked how real that made her, that this was a big decision for her. Their chemistry is off the charts and as this is written by Cole, famous paranormal romance writer, I expected no less.

I was surprised by how much heat was in this YA novel, and pleasantly happy that the emotional and sexual chemistry was so strong. It always seems weird to me when books play that down. Don't you remember 17? Raging hormones, people.

Overall, the book is an exceptionally fun wild ride. It's very creative, the twenty two kids being Major Arcana cards--Tower, Devil, Empress, Death, etc. It made for some really interesting scenes between the characters, and especially Jackson, who is not a Major Arcana.

I can't say good enough things about this book. I am currently reading book two. I can't get enough. Oh, and I have gone back and re-read my favorite parts.

Yeah. I got it bad for ole Jack.

Find out more about the author at www.thearcanachronicles.com and follow her on Twitter @kresleycole.

You can find more of Kimberly's reviews at www.thewindypages.com and follow her on Twitter @thewindypages.

03 December, 2013

#Nerdlution begins now

For more info about #nerdlution, visit christopherlehman.wordpress.com

I will admit, I'm pretty shabby at keeping up with challenges, but I'm great at signing up for them! Here's hoping I can form a habit by engaging in these activities every day for 50 days.

Today I did way more than 30 minutes of cleaning. I reorganized some hall closets, which of course made messes in other areas, which I also had to clean up. I did 3 out of 4 closets, and a shelf. It too all day, though.

Marceline checked out my handiwork in the bathroom.

I read The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski for 30 minutes--really good so far! I can't wait for bedtime so I can read some more. For writing, I'm counting the 30 minutes I spent writing this post. Haha! 

I am still knitting away at my Chevron Tee project... it does not help that my other cat, John Carter, has a yarn addiction and is not afraid to yank the whole project right out of my hands while I'm working on it :(

John Carter sitting in my mother-in-law's Christmas gift bag. What a jerk.

Lastly, I did my 27 minutes of yoga (I only have 27 minutes of a routine memorized, and I do them while listening to episodes of Endeavour). I actually did the same 4 times last week, which is a record for me, so hey. Head start on forming a habit!

Well, day one is over -- on to the next challenge day.

Join the Nerdlution here!