Tuesday, 30 September 2014

September Reading Wrap-Up!

The Dying of the Light (Skulduggery Pleasant, #9)I started with an ending! The final book in the Skulduggery Pleasant series held me captive from beginning to end, and I was so sad when it was over. I've followed this series from the beginning, and Derek Landy's fast-paced writing style, witty dialogue and vivid characters kept me coming back for more. These books start off as MG but definitely stray into YA towards the end. Superb books - I can't recommend them enough!
Trial by Fire (Worldwalker, #1)

Next up: Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini! This book surprised me and surpassed my expectations! After being publically humiliated at a high-school party, Lily wishes she could disappear, and is literally transported to a parallel dimension in which her double, Lillian, is a powerful ruling witch, and wants to use Lily to take over the world.

The blending of magic and science is different to any fantasy book I've read before, meaning this is sure to stand out from the crowd. The depth to the alternative world, the characters and the plot made this a stellar read which zipped along at a page-turning pace. I'd thoroughly recommend this to fans of witch-themed books and anyone looking for original YA contemporary fantasy!

The Emperor's Edge (The Emperor's Edge, #1)I read the Emperor's Edge series by Lindsay Buroker, which mixes epic fantasy and steampunk in a hugely entertaining adventure series. I really enjoyed it and read all seven books in a week!

The Iron Trial (Magisterium, #1)I also read The Iron Trial. I couldn't resist the combination of the talents of two of my favourite authors, Holly Black and Cassandra Clare, and this exciting middle-grade adventure is sure to be a hit!
Rites of Passage

Rites of Passage  intrigued me even though it isn't the kind of book I usually read, but I loved it! It's about a kickass girl who enrols at a formerly male-only military academy. It was tense and exciting and kept me turning the pages!

AfterworldsI also loved Afterworlds by Scott Westerfield! Two stories are told side by side - a teen writer who's achieved her dream of a publishing deal, and the book itself, a paranormal thriller. I was totally glued to the pages throughout, and Darcy's struggles as a soon-to-be-published author were very relatable. Meanwhile, Lizzie's haunting tale had me spellbound!

Unmade (The Lynburn Legacy, #3)Finally, I read Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan, the last in the Lynburn Legacy series. It was both funny and heartbreaking, a fantastic series conclusion!

Monday, 29 September 2014

Fall Into Fantasy Week 6

Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!

Week 6: The Ragnarök Prophesies
Book One: Fade
Book Two: Fall

What do you do when you realize nothing in your life is what you’ve believed it to be?

When Arionna Jacobs loses her mother in a tragic accident, her world is turned upside down. She’s forced to leave her old life behind and move in with her father. Dace Matthews, a teaching assistant at her new college, is torn in two, unable to communicate with the feral wolf caged inside him.

When they meet, everything they thought they knew about life unravels. Dace has intimate access to Arionna’s mind, and something deep within her fights to rise to the surface. They don't understand what's happening to them or why, and they're running out of time to sort out the strange occurrences around them.

Their meeting sets an ancient Norse prophesy of destruction in motion, and what destiny has in store for them is bigger than either could have ever imagined. Unless they learn to trust themselves and one another, they may never resolve the mystery surrounding who they are to one another, and what that means for the world.

FADE is available from Curiosity Quills Press at Amazon US | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | Barnes and Noble | Kobo.

How do you save someone who doesn't want to be saved?

Those called to stand guard against the end are broken, and Sköll and Hati run free. Now Arionna Jacobs and Dace Matthews face a threat unlike any before. Ragnarök is coming and they aren't strong enough to stop it.

Arionna thought she understood sacrifice, but she never counted on her destiny tearing Dace apart. Ever since she nearly died, he has been consumed with guilt. Now it threatens to turn him into the monster he always feared.

It's up to Arionna to stop him before it's too late, but the path to hell is paved with good intentions, and Dace is hurtling toward self destruction. This time, Arionna isn't sure she can save him from himself. Can she convince him to let the past go, or is her true destiny to sacrifice her heart in exchange for the lives of the people she loves?

You can read the official prologue to FALL here.

FALL – The Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. You can add it to your TBR list on Goodreads here.

A.K. Morgen lives in Little Rock with her husband, three dogs and two cats. She has a graduate degree in Criminal Justice and Law, and plans to save the world someday. When she’s not working or writing, she spends her time teaching her niece and nephews how to cause mischief. You can also find her dancing in the grocery store, building a spork army, and fundraising for nonprofits close to her heart.

You can learn more about Ayden at http://akmorgen.com or by following her on Twitter, Goodreads, or Facebook.

Want to get involved with the Fall Into Fantasy promotional tour?
  • Don't forget to join us at the Facebook party here
  • If you are interested in joining up as a blogger, you can always sign up here. We are happy to welcome more bloggers into the fold as the promotion continues. 
  • If you are an author or blogger and want to sign up to help with the party, please fill out this form.

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Saturday, 27 September 2014

#WIPMarathon Update #8

Last report wordcount and chapter count/scene count: I was at 30K of the Shiny New Manuscript!

Current report WC + CC/SC:
 I finished my draft at 78K - which means I wrote a book in 24 days. o.O I'm still not entirely sure how that happened! 

I then went through a couple of rounds of self-edits, which brought the word count up to 79K (I added around 3000 words and then cut 2000).

I also worked on a prequel novella and started the second book! Because this crazy writer's brain refuses to rest. :P I'm currently at around 15K.

WIP Issues this month: Oh, this story...you know, this is the first time I've not had any issues with a first draft. The book just wrote itself! There were a few busier/slower days, but nothing like the usual mid-draft self-doubt and angst and confusion.

Editing has been trickier, though, because I'm so attached to the story. :P One dilemma is that I purposefully withhold information in order to reveal it at the right time, and I'm not great at judging the timing on that (I love mysteries!). Also, figuring out how much to reveal in the first book of a series...I'll have to see what my critique partners and beta readers say!

Four things I learned this month in writing:

  • Outline, outline, outline! I mentioned this in one of my What's Up Wednesday posts, but every single detail I noted down beforehand saved SO much time later down the line. Spending two months outlining the whole series and even going as far as to sketch out whole scenes beforehand meant that I literally wrote scene-to-scene, without running into walls in between.
  • And if I did run into any issues, I'd take time away from my laptop and think/brainstorm until I'd figured out what the problem was. It's so much easier than staring at a blank screen!
  • My characters are a lot more badass than I will ever be. That is all.
  • Write the book you love. I've said it before (and I'm actually writing a post on this for IWSG's free writing advice ebook), but I'm infinitely glad I took the time to make a list of all the things I loved in a story and tried to incorporate as many of them as possible into this novel... combined with a central idea that I knew no one had written about before. With other books I've written, it's been more like, "this is a cool idea, I like these characters, the plot's interesting...I'm going to write this". With THIS book, it was, "OH MY GOD I HAVE TO WRITE THIS STORY. I'm in love with the story world, and oh my God, these characters. They won't stop talking to me! Wait, whole scenes are playing out in my head! *scrambles to find pen and paper*" Uhhh... that might be a bit extreme. :P But it's pretty much how it happened!
What distracted me this month when writing: 

Um... if anything, this book distracted me from doing anything else! :P

Goal for next month: Since I can't leave this series alone, I'm hoping to get some serious words down on the second book! :D

Last 200 words: Here's a teaser from the first chapter! Gotta love a monster fight scene (and there are plenty of those in this book!). :)

One stone-like fist connected with the wall, inches from my face. I dodged, kicking at the hand that grabbed for me, and my foot connected with something solid. The creature hissed at me, its face stretched in a hideous grin. It was enjoying this.
I backed up and prepared to spring.
The hand swiped as I jumped, letting magic flow through my hand to propel me higher. Oh, alright, then. Level-one magic would hardly register even here in the Passages. Basically, I’d given myself a boost. It was risky, because magic demanded a reverse reaction, and if you weren’t careful, it would knock you out. Using magic in a closed space was generally a stupid idea, like firing a rocket in a cubicle. The back-blast might well kill you.
As it was, I aimed well. My feet connected with the creature’s face, and as I let go of the magic, the backlash knocked into the back of the chalder vox’s head, driving its teeth into the heel of my luckily-padded combat boot. Ouch.
I’d already drawn my dagger. With my other hand, I gripped the side of the chalder vox’s elephant-sized ear for balance, pulled myself upright, and aimed the point of the blade directly at a dip in the back of the creature’s neck.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Review - City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6)In this dazzling and long-awaited conclusion to the acclaimed Mortal Instruments series, Clary and her friends fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary's own brother.

Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures out of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell.

The embattled Shadowhunters withdraw to Idris - but not even the famed demon towers of Alicante can keep Sebastian at bay. And with the Nephilim trapped in Idris, who will guard the world against demons?

When one of the greatest betrayals the Nephilim have ever known is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec must flee - even if their journey takes them deep into the demon realms, where no Shadowhunter has set foot before, and from which no human being has ever returned...

Love will be sacrificed and lives lost in the terrible battle for the fate of the word in the thrilling final installment of the classic urban fantasy series The Mortal Instruments!

It’s so hard for me to review this book. I’ve been looking forward to it for so long, and it absolutely didn’t disappoint. I was riveted throughout all 700+ pages. Sebastian unleashes a deadly attack on Shadowhunters worldwide, using the Infernal Cup to transform them into his obedient servants. The Shadowhunters make their final stand in Idris, but even that isn’t enough, and the only way to win may be to venture into the demon realms, from which no one has returned alive.

Clare expertly weaves together all the different storylines in a finale that easily rivals that of Clockwork Princess, the conclusion to her Infernal Devices series (which I’d recommend reading before this!). The character development is superb, and this book outshines the previous two by a long way. The plot races along and I found myself turning pages well into the night, unable to stop. There’s the usual perfect blend of drama, romance, action and suspense characteristic of Clare’s novels, with the bittersweet flavour of an ending.

But it isn’t just an ending, it’s a beginning, as we’re introduced to the main characters of the next series set in the world of the Mortal Instruments. I’m so happy with this ending, and I’ll definitely be picking up Lady Midnight!

Rating: 5 stars.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Follow Fest 2014!

Blog button designed by Carrie Butler.
Name: Emma L. Adams

Fiction or nonfiction? 

Fiction. :)

What genres do you write? 

Fantasy, in all its various sub-genres! I mainly write contemporary fantasy with magic and monsters, for various audiences.

Are you published?

Yes - my upper-YA urban fantasy Darkness Watching is published by Curiosity Quills Press, and I've signed contracts for four sequels and a novella.

Do you do anything in addition to writing?

Tell us a little about yourself.

I live in the UK, and I'm a book-addicted literature graduate with an obsession with the written word! I also love gaming, anime, Studio Ghibli, The Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, Sherlock, travelling (going to Iceland in two weeks!), and wandering around walking into furniture because I can't put down my Kindle.

I may also be a little eccentric.

What are you reading right now?

Right now I'm reading Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan, which will no doubt leave me in a crumpled sobbing heap on the floor.

Which authors influenced you the most?

Diana Wynne Jones is my literary heroine, and I love both her writing style and the fantastical worlds she creates. Other authors whose stories I love are J. K. Rowling (of course!), Philip Pullman, Neil Gaiman, Brandon Sanderson, Garth Nix, Cassandra Clare, Derek Landy... too many to count, really!

Where can people connect with you?

Goodreads (personal)

Author pages:

Do you have a newsletter?

I do - you can sign up here! I don't send more than one every 1-2 months, but my subscribers are always the first to hear the latest news about my books and get to see the covers and teasers before anyone else does!

In fact, my next is scheduled to go out tomorrow, and I'll be sharing the cover for Walking Shadow (Darkworld #2) and an update on the series, as well as hinting at a VERY exciting announcement coming later this year! :)

Is there anything else you’d like us to know?

I post an author interview every other week here on the blog, so if you're a published or soon-to-be-published author, I'd love to interview you! The questions are here.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

What's Up Wednesday

It's time for What's Up Wednesday, a weekly meme run by Erin L Funk and Jaime Morrow. Here's what I've been up to this past week!

What I'm reading

I read Afterworlds by Scott Westerfield, which is about a soon-to-be-published teen author, and I loved it! It flips back and forth between the author's life and the world of the actual book, which was very cool.

What I'm writing

I finished the first self-edit of Shiny New Manuscript and sent it to beta readers! *flail* And so far... it looks good! *squeal*

I also worked casually both on the Shiny New Novella and on Shiny New Series Book 2 (there will be actual titles at some point, I swear. :P)! I didn't intend to, but the moment I say I'm taking a break from a project, it starts nagging at me again. Such is the odd world of a writer's mind. And seriously, these characters will NOT stop pestering me, which means I'll probably fall back into crazy-hyperactive-insomniac-caffeine-addict mode, which is how I wrote most of the first book. :P

What works for me

When it comes to editing, I work in several stages (I actually have a post planned for the blog soon about my editing process in more detail). Although I'd like to be able to leave the manuscript to sit after finishing the draft, I usually end up editing right away because inevitably, there will be issues that came up during drafting that I want to fix immediately. Then I'll leave it for a while - usually a month or so, sometimes with CP's/beta readers (depending on my level of confidence in the project!), before diving into another edit. I tend to go through two rounds of betas until all the issues have been fixed - at least, I hope so!

What else I've been up to

I went to stay at my boyfriend's for a few days, attempting to take an Actual Break from writing... yeah, my brain really doesn't know how to switch off. :P ("Relax?" What is that word?) But we went to an all-day gig (well, my boyfriend organised it - he's a music promoter and it was his first major event, and it went really well!) and also went walking. ^_^ And in less than two weeks, we're going on a holiday break to Iceland! *dances*

Monday, 22 September 2014

Fall Into Fantasy Week 5!

Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!

Week 5: The Dark Choir Series
Book One: The Curse Merchant
By J.P. Sloan

Dorian Lake spent years cornering the Baltimore hex-crafting market, using his skills at the hermetic arts to exact karmic justice for those whom the system has failed. He keeps his magic clean and free of soul-corrupting Netherwork, thus avoiding both the karmic blow-back of his practice and the notice of the Presidium, a powerful cabal of practitioners that polices the esoteric arts in America. However, when an unscrupulous Netherworker interferes with both his business and his personal life, Dorian's disarming charisma and hermetic savvy may not be enough to keep his soul out of jeopardy.

His rival, a soul monger named Neil Osterhaus, wouldn't be such a problem were it not for Carmen, Dorian's captivating ex-lover. After two years' absence Carmen arrives at Dorian’s doorstep with a problem: she sold her soul to Osterhaus, and has only two weeks to buy it back. Hoping to win back Carmen's affections, Dorian must find a replacement soul without tainting his own. As Dorian descends into the shadows of Baltimore’s underworld, he must decide how low he is willing to stoop in order to save Carmen from eternal damnation... with the Presidium watching, waiting for him to cross the line.

Buy it from: Amazon  Barnes & Noble
Add it Goodreads


J.P. Sloan is a speculative fiction author, primarily of urban fantasy, horror and several shades between. His writing explores the strangeness in that which is familiar, at times stretching the limits of the human experience, or only hinting at the monsters lurking under your bed. 

A Louisiana native, Sloan relocated to the vineyards and cow pastures of Central Maryland after Hurricane Katrina, where he lives with his wife and son. During the day he commutes to the city of Baltimore, a setting which inspires much of his writing.

In his spare time, Sloan enjoys wine-making and homebrewing, and is a National-ranked beer judge.

Find J.P. Online:
J.P. Sloan's Fistful of Fiction  Facebook  Twitter  Tumblr

Want to get involved with the Fall Into Fantasy promotional tour?
  • Don't forget to join us at the Facebook party here
  • If you are interested in joining up as a blogger, you can always sign up here. We are happy to welcome more bloggers into the fold as the promotion continues. 
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