Friday, 19 September 2014

Due to health issues the blog is temporarily (hopefully) Closed

RELEASE DAY PROMOTION - THE MARIAN BY TAYLOR HOHULIN

Title: The Marian
Series: The Marian
Author: Taylor Hohulin
Release Date: 19th September 2014

BLURB supplied by the Author
Fifteen-year-old Ethan Denby doesn’t know how he got on the Marian. He just woke up one day inside the body of its captain.

The Marian is unlike any ship Ethan has ever seen. It crawls on long, metal legs over dunes of salt in search of water, despite laws granting exclusive harvesting rights to a corrupt organization known as HydroSystems Worldwide.

HydroSystems is closing in, tensions are mounting aboard the Marian, and on top of all that, Ethan is beginning to think the dreams he's been having aren't completely harmless. If he doesn’t get home soon, Ethan could die inside someone else’s body in this wasteland of a world. The only way back seems to be through a place known simply as the Cloud, but how can he convince the crew to take him there when it means confronting a dangerous cult and venturing into a place where the very fabric of reality has worn thin?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Taylor is a DJ at a Christian rock station in Dallas, Texas. He lives in Arlington with his wife, two cats, and a dog. He has lost track of the number of times he ate a whole sleeve of Oreos. Taylor's latest book The Marian is the first in a planned trilogy. 



OTHER TITLES BY TAYLOR HOHULIN

Title: Alpha
Author: Taylor Hohulin
Release Date: 17th June 2013

BLURB from Goodreads
Alpha is the world’s first robotic soldier, but he would rather woo his mechanic than wage war. This probably has something to do with his human heart, given to him in hopes that it would prevent him from enslaving the entire human race.

Once the greatest soldier the Planet Earth Military Forces had seen, Meat can’t help but think this new age of robotic soldiers will leave people like him in the dust. Forced into retirement, he has nothing left to do but stew in his bitterness toward the organization that wronged him.

Lucas Sharpe wishes he’d managed to work his way to CEO of the Planet Earth Military Forces before its leaders traded their plasma rifles for stacks of paperwork. Now he’s just bored.

Alpha is having enough trouble winning his mechanic’s heart - as it turns out, robots aren’t her type - but when Meat begins to stalk Alpha’s inventor, Lucas sees a chance to return to action, even if it means breaking a few rules. Unfortunately, Lucas’s involvement only makes Meat angrier, and before long, the ex-soldier’s obsession escalates into all-out suburban warfare. Everything Alpha loves is threatened, and it becomes clear he will have to fight. And he would fight - he really would - if not for an unfortunate, deadly malfunction that should come as no surprise to anyone who knows his inventor is the worst Military scientist of all time.

Monday, 15 September 2014

BOOK BLITZ - LIFE LIVED TWICE BY SHERRIE WOUTERS

Title: Life Lived Twice
Author: Sherrie Wouters
Release Date: 6th June 2014

BLURB supplied by Itching For Books
Some promises are made to last forever ... What if you fell in love with a stranger ... but that stranger had come from your past, a past you never knew existed until the moment your eyes met? 

When Tess Winters locks eyes with a stranger at an airport bookstore, it ignites a feeling of passion somewhere deep inside her that she can't explain. Although the encounter is innocent and brief, the intensity of it lingers, leaving her overwhelmed by a yearning for the mystery man now consuming her every thought. 

Struggling to break the powerful hold he has over her heart, Tess starts to experience strange but familiar dreams...dreams from the turn of the twentieth century of the charming Mr Addison Taylor. 

As her dreams start to materialize into reality, and past and present begin to blur, Tess is forced to put the pieces of a forgotten time together, and soon discovers that love isn't the only thing that can find you after an eternity. Captivating, mysterious, and romantic, Life Lived Twice will leave you wondering whether love is so powerful it could last more than a lifetime.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Sherrie Wouters is a thirty something flame haired chick who accidentally wrote a book and is now an author. A qualified Homeoeopath and Kinesiologist, Sherrie lives in country Victoria, Australia with her husband, and two daughters. She is currently working on the sequel to Life Lived Twice. 

AUTHOR LINKS



BOOK TRAILER


EXCERPT

By the time I’d examined his tanned calves, the masculinity of his
skin was lingering in the air between us. He smelt sensational, and I found
myself uncontrollably breathing in as I rose.

Now curious to see more, I kept going. But as I began to move, an
odd sensation of warmth radiating from him came over me; it was almost
like an invisible hand caressing my skin. My heart fluttered at the idea
of it, and suddenly blood was rushing to all the wrong places as I felt an
unexpected thrill of anticipation.

After tracing his body all the way up to his chest, my wandering
eyes didn’t seem to want to stop, and they were soon up to his neck and
following the stubble along his jaw, right up to his light brown hair.

And then he spoke. The sound of his voice jolted me from my
daydream and pulled my gaze to his.

Addison!” I gasped as our eyes collided.

From the moment the name left my lips, my eyes widened ... stared
... and became lost in his. As a rush of airy weightlessness floated me
from the floor, suddenly everything felt more enhanced, more real, like
something inside me had suddenly woken up.

It was an intoxicating feeling and the longer I stood entranced, the
further his beautiful blue eyes reached into mine. Somehow they were
knocking on the door to my heart, stirring something so powerful it made
me want to cry and laugh at the same time and, for a brief second, there
was something in his eyes that made me feel complete.

Suddenly his brows squeezed then softened. “Ah ... um ... sorry about
the electric shock.” He smiled. “But who’s Addison?”

My throat tightened as warmth flushed my cheeks. Who the hell
was Addison?

Embarrassment pulled my eyes from his. “Oh,” I said, choking on my
words, “Um ... ah ... no ... I don’t know anyone called Addison ... I mean, um ... ”

“Oh!” He smiled cheekily as he leaned towards me and whispered.
“You sounded so convinced I was him ... I thought for a second I could
be. I mean, if you wanted me to be.”

My face shot back to his, words jamming in my throat as I stared.
Who was this guy, this stranger? In just a few seconds he’d turned my soul
inside out, and now he was charming me with his words as well.

As his lips rose into a smile, I couldn’t help but smile back. But panic
quickly returned to my constricted throat as that name re-entered my head.

Suddenly aware of the warmth still creeping across my face, I managed
to pull my eyes from his again and divert my gaze. Addison, Addison, who
the hell was Addison? I couldn’t budge the name from my thoughts.

As I stood fidgeting, I could feel him staring, waiting for me to say
something, anything. After taking a breath, I shifted my gaze and we
locked eyes again as I spoke. “Um,” I said, swallowing hard, “I must be
mistaken ... sorry.”

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Friday, 12 September 2014

PROMO & AUTHOR INTERVIEW - THE OTHER LAMB BY KATIE YOUNG

Title: The Other Lamb
Author: Katie Young
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Release Date: 28th August 2014

BLURB from Goodreads
Incarcerated on Earth as punishment for breeding with humans, the Watchers found a way to escape. Zach is living proof of that…even though someone has cut out his heart.

When Zach turns eighteen he develops an insatiable thirst for blood, but he tries to bury his fears and go on enjoying his birthday. His best friend Kim has scored them tickets to the hottest gig in town. But a charged encounter with his idol, the enigmatic rock star known as Grigory, leads to a revelation that shatters everything Zach thinks he knows about himself and the world, and places everyone dear to him in grave danger. 
Zach is a Naphil, the forbidden offspring of a mortal woman and a Watcher. When those who seek to destroy him snatch Kim, Zach is forced to embark on a journey of discovery spanning continents and ages. With the help of a mysterious stranger named Sam, Zach must unearth the truth about his parentage, find Kim, and discover who has stolen his heart…before he triggers the apocalypse.

Goodreads List


AUTHOR INTERVIEW

What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
My name is Katie Young. I was born in Hampshire in the UK and I live in Greenwich, SE London.

Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I have always enjoyed writing, but I didn’t consider doing it ‘properly’ until I was almost thirty. I really wanted to be a rock star or an actress, but didn’t have the talent or fortitude to succeed at either, sadly!

When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
Probably when my first short story was accepted for publication in an anthology. But I think I will always feel like a bit of a fraud!

Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
It took around four years from finishing the first draft to getting it published, and it’s changed drastically in that time.

Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
I certainly do. I work in TV production for a major US studio, so it’s a fairly full-on day job.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
My book is called The Other Lamb. It’s my debut novel, and I would say it’s ‘a dark and heady tale of fallen angels, bloodlust, lost souls and rock ‘n’ roll’.

Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
My publisher is Curiosity Quills Press. They are total rock stars.

Do you have a "lucky charm" or "lucky routine" you follow when waiting for your book to be accepted by a publisher?
Not really. I don’t think I believe in luck. A lot of times, people mistake hard work and stamina for luck. Most overnight successes are not overnight at all – usually a lot of groundwork has been done before the recognition comes. So my tactic is to write the next story while I am waiting for a response. That said, I do make a wish on my eyelash if one falls out!

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
Way. Too. Long. I’ve been writing my current WIP since February last year, and it’s not done yet. I am a very slow writer, and I like to ponder ideas for a long time and let my brain make strange connections before I write anything down.

What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I would like to write a variety of things, but a writer friend once said that is a sure-fire recipe for obscurity! I think I will probably always write things with a paranormal bent to a degree, but I’d like to try different things. The story always comes first for me, then I decide the best genre for telling that story.

Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
I wrote The Other Lamb as a stand-alone, but I see the potential for a follow up if it strikes a chord with readers. The Watchers are scattered to the four winds, so it might be fun to catch up with some we haven’t met yet.
Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
I think Grigory from The Other Lamb is my favourite because he’s so terrible in so many ways, yet he has redeeming features and is pretty irresistible. He’s kind of based on a teenage infatuation of mine. I also have a special place in my heart for the new main characters in my WIP. They are mystical twins and I am slightly obsessed with twins.

If you had to choose to be one of your characters in your book/books which would you be? and why?
I’d be Grigory because he is gorgeous and immortal, and he gets to front a band.

Where do you get your book plot ideas from?What/Who is your inspiration?
I take inspiration from news stories and from things I learn when visiting places. I sometimes overhear conversations when I’m commuting and think ‘that would make a great story’. I write myself notes all the time then read them back and think ‘what was I on that day!?’ I also take inspiration from other authors, musicians, and films. There are countless stories around us all the time, so I just try to find an angle and crystallise one that interests me.

Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I tend to write on my laptop, on the sofa with a cuppa or a glass of wine to hand. I make playlists which conjure the feel or themes of whatever I’m working on and let the music take me into the zone.

Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
Absolutely not. I would never censor my reviews. I’m interested in all opinions – good and bad. I am a big girl. I can take a bit of a pasting!

How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
I try to give the characters names which are appropriate but that also mean something. For example, the Hebrew meaning of Zachariah’s name in The Other Lamb is relevant to the plot. I tend to use real place names, but the same principle applies if I’m making up the setting.

Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
I try to outline, but I find it quite hard to stick to a plan. My ideas tend to change and evolve over time, so I have to keep everything fairly fluid and revise A LOT.

What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller ?
Now you’re asking! If only I knew the magic formula. There are always going to be the books that go ‘viral’ for whatever reason, whether it’s shock value or just something that captures the public imagination at a particular point in time, but I think generally the best way to market and sell a lot of books is to write consistently good ones! There is no substitute for word of mouth, and if you produce consistent, quality work, you will find your audience. Be humble and gracious and appreciative of your readers. Take time to network in person or on social media if you can, and write characters you care about and the chances are your readers will care too.

Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
I lose momentum quite a bit, especially when I’m busy with my day job and other responsibilities, and that can block me. I think the best way to get through is just try and write a little bit every day. Even if it’s just a few sentences. Just to be able to go to bed knowing you wrote something that day is good for your state of mind. I watch a film or read a book, or listen to a song with amazing lyrics. Something you can be inspired by.

What do you do to unwind and relax?Do you have a hobby?
I am on the go quite a bit. There’s always a film to see or a band or a comedian or a play, or friends to catch up with, so I rarely have time to switch off. I should go to the gym more and get more sleep. I suppose the way I wind down is to have a bath. Or sex. Or sex in the bath. And also drink!

Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
Definitely! Grigory is based on a real person – very loosely of course – but that sense of teenage fandom and infatuation is all fifteen year old me!

Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
Very dubious ones! Ha! No morals, but I guess essentially all my stories are about love. Usually really warped love, but love nonetheless.

Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing?
So many. I adore Chuck Palahniuk, Tom Spanbauer, Poppy Z. Brite, Anne and Christopher Rice, Oscar Wilde, Glen Duncan and JT LeRoy. All very different authors, but I guess you could broadly call them all writers of smart horror.

Which format of book do you prefer, ebook,hardback, or paperback?
I like a paperback. They are not too cumbersome, and they look great lining the walls. Also you can flick the pages back and forth easily and the paper smells good.

What is your favourite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once?
It’s so hard to pick a favourite. There are a few. As Meat Loves Salt by Maria McCann, Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk, Drawing Blood and Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite. But I suppose if I could only pick one, I’d go for The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon by Tom Spanbauer. I’ve read it so many times. It’s just beautiful. Magical, heartbreaking, sexy, horrifying and wonderful.

Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst  book to movie transfer?
This is quite topical with the exciting news that Universal are going to be making new Vampire Chronicles films. That is a good example actually. I LOVED Interview with the Vampire and thought it made a great movie in its own right even though it was completely different to the world I had envisaged from the novel. But then the film based on Queen of the Damned was just awful. I think books can make great movies and TV shows, but we need to accept the film and the book are two separate entities. I know it sounds sacrilegious, but I’d probably never have made it through Tolkien’s oeuvre if it weren’t for the Lord of the Rings films. I was blown away by them at the time. I don’t understand the snobbery about films. Books and movies are completely valid art forms and there are good and bad examples of both.

Do you have a treasured book from your childhood? If yes, what is it?
I remember loving Boy by Roald Dahl, and Red Sky in the Morning by Elizabeth Laird was the first children’s novel which made me sob like a baby. It has always stayed with me. I also love Tove Jansson, AA Milne and Margery Williams. I wrote poems as a child, and I remember having a book of poetry which included Nod by Walter de la Mare. It’s still one of my favourites.

Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish?
I know it’s easy to pick on but I found Fifty Shades impossible to get through. It did, however, spawn some of my favourite blogs and parodies so has indirectly given me countless hours of laughter and joy.

Are there any New Authors you are interested in for us to watch out for? and Why should we watch out for them?
She won the Orange Prize, so she hardly needs my endorsement, but Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles was my favourite debut novel of 2012. It’s breath-taking. It made me weep on public transport. I’m excited for her next project.

Is there anything in your book/books you would change now if you could and what would it be?
I always think I would have done a whole bunch of things differently, but you can’t dwell. You have to let go and move onto the next project.

What do you think about book trailers?
They usually make me wish I could watch the film! That said, I’ve seen some amazing ones. The trailer for the new Lauren Beukes (Broken Monsters) is incredible.

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Write a story you are passionate about, grow a thick skin, and know there is a long road ahead of you. If you think your first effort is amazing, you are probably in for a rude awakening. Read and write as much as you can. Surround yourself with people and things that give you pleasure. Live a full and joyous life and always use your powers for good!

If you could invite three favourite writers to dinner, who would you invite and enjoy chatting with?
Living - Chuck Palahniuk, Bryan Fuller and JT LeRoy/Laura Albert. Dead – Tove Jansson, Oscar Wilde and the Marquis de Sade.

Where can readers follow you?


Thursday, 11 September 2014

PROMO/REVIEW - THE JEWEL - THE LONE CITY SERIES BY AMY EWING

Title: The Jewel
Series: The Lone City
Author: Amy Ewing
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: 2nd September 2014

BLURB from Goodreads
The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.

Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.

Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence... and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.


INITIAL THOUGHTS
As my daughter had recently read this one and highly recommended it to me. I do love the dystopian genre so I'll be interested to learn what type of society this book is set in.

MY REVIEW
I received an e-arc of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.
There are two covers for this book, the one US one above, with the main character as she is known as Lot 197 on the cover when she is living in The Jewel. The alternative cover , the UK one (pictured below) also has the main character on it but from a different scene in the book. I will further discuss and describe the covers in a separate section withing this post as I feel at this stage I could go on and on forever telling just enough but holding back major spoilers with this book. I truly loved it!
The book and it's dystopian society are set in The Lone City. The Lone City is made up of five circles, the outer circle being "The Marsh" and the home of the poorest. Those from the marsh work in the inner circles as labourer's. Then the next circle is "The Farm" where all the City's food is grown. So all those in The Farm work on the farms. The next circle is "The Smoke" which contains all the industry and factories and their workers. The next circle is called "The Bank" and has merchants shops etc. The final inner most circle is called "The Jewel" and as it's name suggests has the Royalty living within it. The Royalty are the founding members of Lone City. In the very beginnings of the Lone City there were four founding houses that were in charge of building the wall that encircles Lone City. The four founding families are Lake, Scales, Stone and Rose, and at the head of everything is The Elecktor and his wife The Electress. Life inside The Jewel is , or would be perfect apart from one thing, non of the women in it can successfully carry a child. So when they want children they purchase a "Surrogate" to fulfill that requirement for them. All surrogates are taken from the females born in the Marsh. It's quite ironic that those who have everything they could wish for materialistically need a poor member of the Marsh to give them what they need for their family lines to continue. The females from the Marsh have special  powers which in this society are called "Auguries". The surrogates are graded on their Auguries abilities, which are Colour the easiest one to master, then Shape, and finally the hardest augury of Growth. The higher the surrogates score the higher price they bring. The way the surrogates are sold is by Auction. there is an Auction every year.
The book starts with the main character Violet Lasting, as she is living her last days in the Southgate holding facility. There are four holding facilities, Southgate, Northgate, Westgate and Eastgate. The holding facilities vary a little with Northgate being considered the harshest, and Southgate being thought of as a softer holding facility. When girls grow into womanhood/puberty they are called to have a blood test which reveals if they have the Auguries that are needed to be a surrogate and carry a child for the Royalty of the Jewel. If they are chosen they are taken from their homes to a holding facility. They do not get to visit their families again until the day before they go to Auction.
This book begins with Violet Lasting waking up in the Southgate on the last day of her life as she has been living it in the holding facility. It's Violet's last day of "freedom" though you couldn't call the regimented life style in a holding centre as freedom. On the Surrogates last day at the holding centre they are allowed to visit their old homes in the Marsh. Violet visits her mother, brother Ochre and sister Hazel. Violet's mother is proud of her daughter and clearly loves her and misses her but there is nothing she can do to prevent her daughter being auctioned off. Ochre is also pleased to see his sister and proud to tell her he is working now in the Farm circle. The only one who initially seems to not want to see Violet is her youngest sister Hazel. It is a quite understandable reaction when you contemplate that Hazel was very young when Violet was taken to the holding facility. Hazel does slowly remember all the little things and bedtime stories she shared with Violet, so when the time comes to say goodbye though there are many tears, it goes as well as saying goodbye to your family forever can do.
The surrogates go through a ceremony at the train station where other younger surrogate's watch them go on the train that will transport them to the Auction. Once the surrogates are on the train they are given tablets, and just fall asleep. When they awake, the preparation for the Auction begins. Violet is prepared by a "Lady In Waiting" who is actually a male called Lucien. Lucien does Violet's or as she is now known Lot 197 hair and make up and finds a dress for her to wear. Violet is also allowed to look in a mirror which is something that is not allowed at the holding facilities. Violet stares at the mirror seeing herself for the first time in many years and see's her violet eyes staring back at her, which makes her think of her parents who named her after the colour of her eyes.
The Auction consists of each surrogate being taken one by one in the order of their grading. Before the surrogates go through to the actual auctioning room they are all put together in the waiting room. It's their last chance to see their friends from the holding facility as well as seeing the girls from the other facilities. Violet or Lot 197 her new "name" see's her friend from Southgate Raven Lot 192. When Raven Lot 192 is taken into the auction room, the fear hits Violet/Lot 197, as she looks around at the other three remaining girls she sees two typical mean girls and one smaller frail looking girl, who also looks fearful like herself. She speaks to the girl who reveals her name is Lot 200, the highest rated surrogate. Lot197 naturally has yet to accept that all surrogates are "just numbers" and introduces herself as Violet to Lot 200 who reveals she is/was called Dahlia.
The life of a surrogate basically depends on who they are bought by and how they behave towards their purchaser. On (Lot 197) Violets first meeting with the Duchess Of The Lake begins with the Duchess slapping her hard across the face. This treatment is to show Violet that there will be punishments if she doesn't do as her buyer wishes. There is lots of posturing and showing off of the surrogates. One shocking thing revealed on one outing to the home of the Electress to express condolences for the death of her surrogate Lot 200. All the surrogates and their Mistresses are dressed in black. the surrogates have black choker style adornments to their necks. Violet is shocked to discover that her velvet choker is in fact so her mistress, The Duchess Of The Lake can hook a leash to it! Surrogates are really considered more like accessories. Some are treat well and if the surrogate does as she is told, she is fed the finest foods, wears the finest clothes and has gifts lavished upon them. However the moment they step out of line, they can quite literally be crushed.
The Royals of society revolve around making good arranged marriages, and being the current royal line in favour of the Elector and Electress. there's lies, betrayals, and even murder. there is also a nod to years gone by in that Violets owner, the Duchess Of The Lake arranging a male companion called Ash for her niece. The young man is bought in similar way a surrogate is. Though when he is no longer needed he is sold to another family.
Naturally the life of a surrogate is lonely and one of servitude. Violet discovers that her friend Raven is close by and they begin secretly leaving coded "messages" for each other to let each other know they are not alone. The reality of the life of a surrogate is once they have delivered there purpose they are considered no long of use . . . .but where do they go and what happens? I think it is the common feelings of loneliness and servitude that bring Violet and Ash together in a forbidden relationship. The only other person Violet has to talk to is her version of a "lady in waiting" Annabelle, who does become very attached to Violet perhaps more so than she should. Annabelle has feelings of isolation as she cannot speak, and carries a slate and chalk to communicate with Violet.
No one seems to know. . . except one person that reaches out to Violet, and stays in touch with her via a special form of communication called Arcana's. They are the only safe way for the person offering the escape can speak to Violet without risking them both being found out. Everything is planned for her escape, but the plan drastically changes at the last moment with Violet willing to sacrifice herself for her old Southgate friend Raven. Violet feels that once Raven is rescued, she herself can be the next one to escape. However events take a dire turn when her relationship with Ash is discovered. It seem's all is lost but at the very end of the book there is a glimmer of hope of survival and possible escape from the Jewel. 
When I look back at how much I have written I readily admit to being more "gushy" than usual about this book. I mean I've waited for a few days before writing about this book to try and just discuss main points but its been even more difficult reviewing a book I loved than something I didn't like! I feel I could talk forever about this book, there's so much that goes on, fantastic characters to learn about as well as discovering everything about the society and its customs and traditions. Amy Ewing gives in depth detailing about all the lavish dresses worn by the Surrogate which I thoroughly enjoyed even though I wouldn't call myself a typical girly-female! I also loved the repetition of the phrase the surrogates were trained to use and say to themselves when using their Auguries. "Once to see it, Twice to see it in your mind, Thrice to bend it to your will" It is another out of our normal world yet it originates in this dystopian holding facility as a learning tool. This phrase would have also made an extraordinary byline for a cover too. 
So did I enjoy the book? I totally truly adored every word of it! Would I recommend the book? Yes I highly recommend this book. I think if you have read The Selection Series by Kiera Cass, The Chemical Garden Series by Lauren DeStefano, The Registry Series by Shannon Stoker or The Matched Series by Ally Condie you would love this book too.
Would I want to read more of this series? Ooo yes please! When? I'm (im)patiently waiting already! Would I want to read other titles by this Amy Ewing? Yes I loved the writing style of Amy Ewing, and would put it on par with Kiera Cass, Lauren DeStefano, Shannon Stoker, Ally Condie, and Veronica Roth.

If you'd like to know more about Amy Ewing and what comes next after this great book, drop by my daughter's blog Rai29BookReadNReview and read her Interview with Amy Ewing! and if you'd like a second opinion on the book here's a link to Rachel's Review!

COVER COMPARISON

                     (UK Cover)                              (US Cover)   

US Cover
As I said above as part of my review, there are two covers for this book. I think I've seen the US one above right more frequently. The US book has the main character  Lot 197 on the cover when she is living in The Jewel. All the silver on the and the gorgeous dress show the sumptuous side of life in the Jewel Circle of The Lone City. The way the female on the cover is curled up as small as possible to me represents how a surrogate is made to feel very small in a larger luxurious world around them. The byline featured on this copy of the book is "The power to choose, comes with a price", this could refer to the power the Royalty have to choose a surrogate and the price referring to the amount of money they will pay for what is considered a quality surrogate. The higher the Lot No of a Surrogate the more power they wield within the auguries of colour, shape and growth. One surrogate named Lily, in the book is rated and given the Lot No 53 so she would be bought for a cheaper price and probably by a lower ranking royal. 
Would the cover alone make me pick this book up from a book store shelf? Definitely! It would be picked up, blurb checked out and taken straight to that till to be bought!

UK Cover
The alternative cover , the UK one (pictured above) also has the main character on it but from a different scene in the book. The scene this cover depicts is from Auction Day, when Lucien a lady-in-waiting has done Violet's hair and make-up and unusually allowed Violet/Lot 192 a choice in which dress to wear. Violet/Lot 192 choose a beautiful but simplistically designed dress for her auction, that matches her striking Violet eyes. 
The byline featured on this books is, "Today is my last day as Violet Lasting. Tomorrow I become Lot 197." This wording is also used in the book. the statement hints of the harshness to come, and how surrogates are viewed. Surrogates are not even allowed to keep their name, even that is removed, as well as anything else they may have of their old life. When your name is taken from you and replaced by a Lot number. Being given your Lot No is the first action that begins your new life as a surrogate. On this cover Lot 192 is standing on the stage being looked over and bid on by the Royalty. I like the colours used on this cover too. It depicts the starkness of the stage. It gives you a feeling of how alone and small  the Lots must feel as they are bid on just sold to the highest bidder. Then taken away to their new home and mistress.
Would the cover alone make me pick this book up from a book store shelf? Yes, I would feel drawn to the cover to want to pick it up and read the blurb. This cover reminds me of The Selection Series by Kiera Cass covers.

Cover Comparison Sum-Up
So which cover do I prefer? Well I really love both, but if I had to choose just one I think it would the US one, as it represents both Violet/Lot 197 feeling small and alone as well as the luxury and glitz and glamour the Jewel and it's royalty. Where as the UK cover concentrates more on the actual day of the Auction with the feeling Violet/Lot 197 must have felt of loneliness and fear of what is to come next.
So if YOU absolutely had to pick just one of the covers which would be your choice?

Have you purchased The Jewel by Amy Ewing yet?
Here's the
PURCHASE LINKS

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

COVER REVEAL - BREW BY DAVIS ESTES

Salem’s Revenge strikes without warning or mercy, ravaging the powerless human race under the forces of united gangs of witches, wizards, and warlocks. During the slaughter, Rhett Carter's foster parents and sister are killed, and his best friend and girlfriend are abducted by a gang of witches calling themselves the Necromancers, who deal in the dark magic of raising the dead. Rhett’s sword-wielding neighbor with a mysterious past saves Rhett from becoming another casualty of the massacre and teaches him the skills he needs to survive in this new world.
Rhett is broken, his normal high school life of book blogging and football playing shoved in a witch-apocalyptic blender. The only thing he has left is his burning desire for revenge. Armed with his new witch hunting skills and a loyal, magic powered dog named Hex, he sets out into the unknown with one mission: hunt and destroy those who took away everyone he ever loved.
But Rhett isn’t just a witch hunter; he has secrets of his own that he has yet to discover, secrets that his enemies will stop at nothing to keep him from.
And discovering the truth about himself is the human race’s only hope.

Goodreads   David's Blog    Twitter    Facebook   Tumblr 
and his Goodreads Fan Group    
  
David Estes was born in El Paso, Texas but moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when he was very young. David grew up in Pittsburgh and then went to Penn State for college. Eventually he moved to Sydney, Australia where he met his wife. They now live together in their dream location, Hawaii. A reader all his life, he began writing novels for the children's and YA markets in 2010, and started writing full time in June 2012. Now he travels the world writing with his wife, Adele. David's a writer with OCD, a love of dancing and singing (but only when no one is looking or listening), a mad-skilled ping-pong player, and prefers writing at the swimming pool to writing at a table.

BOOK BLITZ - STAY BY EMILY GOODWIN

Title: Stay  
Author: Emily Goodwin 
Publication date: May 19th 2014
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

BLURB supplied by Xpresso Tours
“I felt like I was walking to the end of a plank precariously hanging over shark-infested water. When I jumped, sharp teeth would rip into me and the cold water would steal my breath away. The monsters would take everything from me, leaving me shivering and naked in the water. The only difference was that tonight I would be pulled from the icy darkness and forced to do it again. There would be no release from death, only pain.”
Home after her first year of college, Adeline Miller is looking forward to a stress free summer filled with reading, working on her blog, and spending time with friends. But all that changes in an instant when she is witness to something terrible, something she wasn’t supposed to see.
Beaten, drugged, kidnapped.
Adeline Miller is ripped from her innocent and carefree life and thrust into darkness, into a world full of pain and horror. As a sex slave, she is forced to do horrible things, and have horrible things done to her. One of her captors has a past as dark as the world she is now living in. Will getting close to him mean freedom? Or will he pull her deeper into the shadows?


PURCHASE LINKS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Emily Goodwin is the author of the award winning Contagium Series published by Permuted Press as well as many independently published novels, including the internationally  bestselling novel, STAY. Emily writes in a wide variety of genres, from horror to romance. She holds multiple degrees in psychology and nursing and has worked in mental health and general healthcare. Emily resides in Indiana with her husband, daughter, and German Shepherd named Vader. Along with writing, Emily enjoys riding her horse, designing and making costumes, and Cosplay.




AUTHOR LINKS
facebook.com/emilygoodwinbooks


BOOK PLAYLIST
Since I typically write paranormal/horror, my usual writing playlists are filled with epic songs from soundtracks with lots of NIN and Marilyn Manson thrown in. With STAY, I needed something different. While this novel is just as dark—if not darker—than the books I usually write, it’s a different kind of dark.

STAY is the first book I’ve written with a contemporary setting and no elements of fantasy. And yet it was one of the scariest books I’ve ever written. After all, the truth is often worse than fiction. Unlike ghosts, demons, and zombies, being kidnapped and forced into human trafficking is something that really could happen.

I needed music that set the mood for not only fear, but a sense of hopelessness and utter despair the characters felt. I am not a fan of slow, sad music, so this is as close at it comes for me. Here is the playlist I listened to on repeat while writing STAY.

Imagine Dragons- Demons
Of Monster and Men- Little Talks
Imagine Dragons- Bleeding Out
One Republic- Counting Stars
One Republic- Come Home
Animals- House of the Rising Sun
Tom Petty- Free Fallin’
Tom Petty- Mary Jane’s Last Dance
One Republic- Secrets
Coldplay- Fix You
Goo Goo Dolls- Iris
Tom Petty- I Won’t Back Down
Jason Mraz- I Won’t Give Up
Katy Perry- Unconditionally


EXCERPT
Something slammed shut above me, clicking into place. The noise brought me back to consciousness, waking me up into an instant panic. My eyes flew open and my breath came out in ragged huffs. I was lying on my side, and it was dark. Too dark to see anything. My heart hammered with fear, and I felt like I was going to get sick. Beads of sweat rolled down my face and the hard surface I was lying on hurt my hip. Where the hell was I? What was going on?
Rough carpet rubbed against my cheek, irritating my skin. I reached up above me, stretching my stiff arm. My hand hit the ceiling. I pressed my palm against it. It was solid. I pushed, straining my muscles. The air was hot and stale. No. This wasn’t happening, it couldn’t be happening. This isn’t real, I told myself. I was in the trunk of a car. I flipped over onto my back and began banging on the roof of the trunk.
“Help!” I pushed against the roof. I balled my hands into fists and pounded. Frantic, I banged on the roof until my hands hurt. “Please, help me!” There had to be a way out. I rolled back onto my side and began to madly search for a release. I reached out in front of me, feeling for the metal latch. “Please,” I cried. “Somebody, help me!”
My fingers fastened around something hard. My eyes widened, and I sucked in a deep breath. Was it the trunk release? There was no way to tell, but I pulled it back anyway. Nothing happened. I curled my fingers around it and yanked it back with all my strength. My sweaty hands slipped off the little piece of metal and flew back. The top of my hand hit the roof of the trunk. White pain webbed across the bones in my hand, tingling along my fingers. I cradled my hand against my body, waiting for the sting to pass.
I was going to die. I knew it. I would swelter and die in this trunk. I kicked my legs against the side of the trunk and screamed. Oh, God. I would suffocate. The air was going to run out, and I was going to suffocate and die. It would be a slow horrible death. I swallowed a sob and clamped my mouth shut. I needed to save the little oxygen I had left.
  As soon as I was still, I heard muffled voices coming from outside the car. My muscles ached as I struggled to keep calm while everything inside of me wanted to scream for help. Whoever was outside the car would have heard me, and they hadn’t helped me. And they wouldn’t. They had to be the two guys who put me in here. I moved my trembling hands over my mouth, pressing then against my lips to silence my chattering teeth. Hot tears silently rolled down my face, soaking the rough carpet beneath me. I moved to the end of the trunk, pressing my ear to the side to listen.
“Bitch saw the whole thing and called the cops. What the hell was I supposed to do?” he spoke. I recognized his voice right away. Terror turned my blood cold, and his face flashed through my mind. Eyes as blue as the summer sky. High cheekbones covered in day-old stubble. Tousled brown hair and full lips. I had been so taken aback by his good looks that I hadn’t suspected him of being anything but helpful. I was so fucking dumb.
“You could have left her,” a deep voice responded. I had yet to hear him speak but I was certain that voice belonged to the man with the dark eyes. “There’s no way she could have turned us in.”
“And that’s a risk you’re willing to take? I don’t think Nate would be too happy with that.”
“N-no,” he nervously stammered. “But bringing her with? She’ll slow us down. W-we could have…” he trailed off. “There are other ways.”
The guy with the blue eyes laughed. “Other ways?” His voice got louder as he leaned on the car. “You’re a fucking idiot, Jackson. Killing her on the street is too obvious and messy.”
Killing her on the street? A painful stab of horror pierced my heart. What kind of people were they? Cold fear crept over me at a dizzying rate. They wanted to kill me? Fuck the lack of oxygen. I needed out. Now. I pushed off the side of the trunk and started kicking, blindly aiming for the brake lights.
“Help me!” I screamed as loud as I could. “Help! Get me out of here! Help!”
Someone hit the car. “Shut up, you stupid whore!” Blue Eyes yelled. “No one can hear you!” he taunted. Panting, I became still. I sucked in a gulp of hot air. Nausea twisted in the pit of my stomach. How far was I from the city? What kind of a place were we in? It had to be secluded if no one could hear me screaming. Then again, he could be lying.
I took in another breath, coughing from the hot air, and screamed. I extended my arms and desperately clawed at the top of the trunk.
  Blue Eyes hit the car again, though this time he began rocking it. “I said SHUT THE FUCK UP!” he screamed.
“Zane!” the guy called Jackson yelled. “Stop it!”
Zane must have taken his hands off the car, for it suddenly stopped moving. I heard shoes scuffle on loose gravel. I took in a ragged breath and listened. “Don’t tell me what to do, you worthless piece of shit!” Then I heard the sound of a fist smacking flesh. A second later someone huffed in pain.
“This is your mess,” Jackson muttered before making a strangled noise of pain. “If you hadn't roughed up Phoebe in the alley this all could have been avoided!”
                “Goddamn it!” Zane started. “I swear to God I’m going to—” he cut off when a phone rang. I swallowed hard and realized that I was shaking uncontrollably. I pulled my arms to my chest. I couldn't see a way out of this. I was stuck in the trunk. Zane and Jackson were not going to let me out in time. I was going to die.