Posts Tagged ‘Urban Fantasy’

Sinner

Maggie Stiefvater
sinnerSinner follows Cole St. Clair, a pivotal character from the #1 New York Times bestselling Shiver Trilogy. Everybody thinks they know Cole’s story. Stardom. Addiction. Downfall. Disappearance. But only a few people know Cole’s darkest secret — his ability to shift into a wolf. One of these people is Isabel. At one point, they may have even loved each other. But that feels like a lifetime ago. Now Cole is back. Back in the spotlight. Back in the danger zone. Back in Isabel’s life. Can this sinner be saved?

What are your overall thoughts?

Anyone who has spent any time on the blog, or any time with me IRL will know that I absolutely love Maggie Stiefvater ‘s (read my reviews here) combination of poetic prose, breath holding tension and tender emotive scenes( with or without kissing). While Maggie’s work just gets better and better, Shiver and its sequels will always have a place in my heart as the first Stiefvater books, and one of the first YA book series, I read.

The inclusion of Cole’s point of view was one of my favorite aspects of Linger (Shiver #2) and Forever (Shiver #3). The sharpness and acidity of Isabel and Cole’s interactions cut though Sam and Grace’s meant-to-be-together sweetness. Without Cole and Isabel’s feisty relationship the series could have become too clawing.

While I completely understood and enjoyed the ambiguous ending of the Shiver trilogy my one disappointment was that Cole and Isabel’s story felt unexplored and unfinished.

It won’t take much of a leap for you to imagine just how excited I was to learn that Maggie had created a companion novel focusing on Cole and Isabel and how delighted I was to finally get my grabby little hands on it!

I enjoyed dipping back in to the world of Shiver, however I was quite surprised at just how different Sinner is to the rest of Maggie’s published works. I was expecting Maggie’s brand of descriptive- bordering on poetic- narrative, sense of place, twisting turning plot and tear inducing tension. While these aspects were still evident, for me they took a back seat to the sheer force of Cole and Isabel’s personalities and their snarky, energetic chemistry.

While it still contained aspects of magical realism, Sinner had a much more contemporary feel. I have always been aware of the connection between Cole’s wolf and the self destructive, suicidal and addictive elements of his personality. For me it was a deeper layer of meaning in a series I otherwise took at face value as paranormal.

In Sinner the presence of Cole’s wolf felt much more like a devise used to explore Cole and his recovery than as a supernatural element in it’s own right. Maggie even goes as far as to explain the metaphor to the audience through the misinterpretation of Cole’s song lyrics.

What was your favorite aspect of the book?

While initially the style of the book was not what I expected it actually became one of my favorite aspects.

I rather enjoyed being swept away by the tornado of Cole and Isabel’s relationship, much in the same way that I imagine the authors usual style was pushed aside by the characters dominant and distinctive personalities.

While I don’t consider myself much of a mood reader (watch Faye talking about mood reading here), I am very much a seasonal reader. I am attracted to more contemporary, particularly romantic, reads in the summer. While in the cooler months I like nothing better than curling up with an absorbing fantasy series. So to this end, Sinner was a perfect summer read.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I honestly don’t think that I can pick a favorite. I adore Cole and Isabel in equal measure. I loved that although they both had issues to work through they didn’t undergo personality transplants in the process.

I am also surprised to find myself glad that Sam and Grace’s cameos were very, very brief and didn’t reveal much about them post Forever (Shiver#3). We had three books to explore Sam and Grace. Sinner was very much “Isocole” ‘s (do you think it will catch on?) book.

Would you recommend this book?
Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I don’t see any reason why Shiver fans wouldn’t enjoy catching up with Isobel and Cole.

Summarise in one sentence(verdict).
While not a “typical” Maggie book it is classic Cole and Isabel.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: July 2014
Format: ARC
Pages: 464
Genre: Magical realism, Romance
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Book Expo America
Challenge: None
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Netgalley November: Week Two Round Up

netgalleynovember3Personal Target: To read and review eight net galley titles and improve my approved/feedback rating

Number of books read this week: 3

Running total of books read: 5

Netgalley Approved-Feedback: 54.7%

Currently Reading: Crossing by Stacey Wallace Benefiel

Feedback: My Approved-Feedback percentage would have been much higher but I was approved for four new books this week.I know, I know! but I was posting my feedback and I just happened to look at the the newly available and most popular titles and they were just too good to pass up!

On the positive side the fact that I am being approved for titles after a bit of a drought shows how much this challenge has already helped!

If I manage to complete my original target, before the end of the month, I will go on to read from this list of recently approved titles:

The Edge Of Always (The Edge Of Never 2 )by J.A. Redmerski
Witch Finder by Ruth Warburton
Doubting Abbey by Samantha Tonge
Unleashing Mr Darcy by Teri Wilson

As usual click on the TBR title to be taken to the appropriate Goodreads page.

Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone
time after timeCalling Anna and Bennett’s romance long distance is an understatement: she’s from 1995 Chicago and he’s a time traveler from 2012 San Francisco. The two of them never should have met, but they did. They fell in love, even though they knew they shouldn’t. And they found a way to stay together, against all odds.
It’s not a perfect arrangement, though, with Bennett unable to stay in the past for more than brief visits, skipping out on big chunks of his present in order to be with Anna in hers. They each are confident that they’ll find a way to make things work…until Bennett witnesses a single event he never should have seen (and certainly never expected to). Will the decisions he makes from that point on cement a future he doesn’t want?
Told from Bennett’s point of view, Time After Time will satisfy readers looking for a fresh, exciting, and beautifully-written love story, both those who are eager to find out what’s next for Time Between Us’s Anna and Bennett and those discovering their story for the first time.

Time After Time is the sequel to the excellent Time Between Us. The first book was told from Anna’s first person perspective as she meets the mysterious Bennett in 1995 and uncovers his secrets. In Time After Time we are gifted with Bennett’s perspective as he navigates and attempts to reconcile the two halves of his life in contemporary San Francisco and 90’s Chicago.

While Time After Time is a time travel book (my third this month!)it had a very contemporary feel. Bennett’s gift is the tool the author uses to allow the unlikely couple to meet and to develop the tension within their relationship, however I felt that this fantasy element was much less important compared to the couples individual character developments over the duology. Both Anna and Bennett struggle with issues related to identity, self belief and faith in their relationship. For Anna the lesson was about being true to her ambitions and not being defined by her relationships.

When we met Bennett in Time Between Us is was already very familiar with his extraordinary gift and how he could use it to enhance the lives of the people he loves. Over the course of the two books he explores the impact that seemly small actions can have on people’s lives and he develops a confidence in his instincts and opinions but with an added maturity and humility.

Verdict: A sweet romantic read I can envision myself returning to time and time again

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The Mortal Instruments City Of Bones Movie

Director: Harald Zwart
Writers: Jessica Postigo (screenplay), Cassandra Clare (based on the novel by)
Stars: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Lena Headly

TMI-website-one-sheetHave you seen New York City’s dark side?
Clary Fray (Lily Collins) thought she was an ordinary teenager living in Brooklyn until one night in a downtown nightclub she encounters the sexy, mysterious Jace. Upon witnessing Jace hunt down and kill a demon in the crowded club, Clary begins to wonder if she is that ordinary after all. Especially as she appears to be the only one who can see him…
Jace Wayland (Jamie Campbell Bower) is a Shadowhunter. Part of a secret cadre of half-angel warriors, he is tasked with protecting humanity in an ancient battle against demonic forces. This battle has been fought secretly in our midst for centuries, but the stakes have just been raised.
When Clary’s mother is viciously attacked and taken from their home, she discovers her connections to Jace run deeper than she could ever have imagined and beneath surface of the city exists another world…one she unknowingly belongs to.
As both Clary and best friend Simon (Robert Sheehan) are drawn into this dark and dangerous world, Clary realises Jace is both the key to uncovering her past and protecting her future.
Based on Cassandra Clare’s bestselling novel, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is directed by Harold Zwart and also stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Lena Headey.
Discover a world hidden within our own

It’s no secret that I love the work of Cassandra Claire (read my fan girling here). I’m sure that you can imagine my reaction when I received an email from the lovelies at Walker Books, inviting me to the press preview of The Mortal Instruments City Of Bones. The term kid on Christmas morning doesn’t quite cover it!

Arriving at Odeon West End in London’s Leicester Squire (the smaller cinema located south of the square), I shuffled past the long queue of very excited, very patient, Mortal Instruments fans waiting for their screening, to the press entrance. I was immediately directed to sign a non disclosure agreement, preventing me from talking about the film until now. Paperwork complete and “stele” pen in hand I explored the cinema. I was greeted by darken rooms, extremely tall “shadow hunters” serving canapés and a delicious bramble flavoured “Brooklyn Cocktail”.

Grabbing my drink, I made my way to the screening to meet up with fellow book bloggers Caitlin from The Cait Files (visit her blog here), Andrew (The Pewter Wolf) and Casey (from Dark Readers) both of whom I’d met for the first time queueing at a Cassie Claire signing ( read event repot here), and book tuber Katie (visit her you tube channel, Oh Cakey, here)

After what felt like a very brief catch up the movie began.

For a little taste of the movie check out this trailer.

In honour of my first ever movie “review” I decided to pluck up the courage to film my first ever volg (video blog).

I have to say a massive thanks to faye ( read her fabulous book blog, A Daydreamers Thoughts, here). Without Faye’s editing skills you would be subjected to at least four minutes of “ummm”‘s, not to mention a dozen or so more uses of “slick”, “energetic”, “firstly”,”so” and “I feel”.

So here it is, my thoughts and feelings on The Mortal Instruments City Of Bones movie.

Image and blurb take from eOne Films UK. For more information on The Mortal Instruments City Of Bones and other films you can visit the site (here).

Posted by Caroline

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2nd Blog Birthday: YA Fantasy Prize Pack

Complete the Rafflecopter below for the chance to win five YA fantasy books, including a signed box set!.

Click on the book title to learn more about each book.

photo-10A Signed Boxset of books 1-3 of The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
(Donated by BBLB)
A paperback copy of The Spooks Apprentice by Joseph Delaney
(donated by Random House Children’s Publishing)
A paperback copy of Black Arts by Andrew Prentice and Jonathan Weil
(Donated by Random House Children’s Publishing)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Ink

Amanda Sun

inkI looked down at the paper, still touching the tip of my shoe. I reached for it, flipping the page over to look.
Scrawls of ink outlined a drawing of a girl lying on a bench.
A sick feeling started to twist in my stomach, like motion sickness.
And then the girl in the drawing turned her head, and her inky eyes glared straight into mine.
On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.
Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they’ll both be targets.
Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.

I have had Ink in my possession for a few months now and I simply couldn’t wait to read it. I have had a passion for Japanese culture and mangas for as long as I can remember, and when the lovely peeps at Mira Ink started talking about Ink it was like all my dreams had come true. I had finally found a novel that was the embodiment of a manga-like story, with strong Japanese culture references, based in Japan, in an English book! As you can already tell I was very very excited!

I finally tore into it as I lay on a roasting beach in Italy. Despite the Mediterranean surroundings Amanda Sun quickly transported me to Shizouka in Japan.

Ink is the story of sixteen year old Katie Greene who is uprooted from her home in America to relocate to Japan with her aunt after the sudden loss of her mother. At an age where friends, communication, stability and school are pretty much the epitome of her life, Katie was beyond allergic to the idea of adapting to her new environment. Personally I couldn’t envy her more but hey-ho such is life.

Learning Japanese kanjis however becomes the last of her concerns when she notices Yuu Tomohiro’s pictures move on paper. And all concerns whatsoever decidedly go out the window when her own snail doodles at school develop sharp teeth (which she is sure she never gave them in the capacity of their creator in a moment of boredom at school) and decide to have a go at snacking on her own fingers.

Ink had a slow and steady start like the gentle brush strokes of an artist who isn’t quite sure where his new painting is going, picking up the pace with every new chapter until it all became a vortex of events and fight for survival as the artist’s design becomes more and more clear and he struggles to complete it in a frenzy whilst the idea is still fresh in his mind.

As cool a concept as it may be, Amanda put an almost evil twist on things turning them as dark as the ink they were drawn in. Initially I thought the worst I had to fear from any picture was a paper cut but for Katie and Tomo far more was at stake.

Verdict: Ink was a read that I couldn’t disengage from once it sunk its calligraphic claws into my mind. And neither do I wish to be released!! I now drown in the inky images created by Amanda Sun whilst anxiously awaiting the sequel!

Reviewed by Pruedence

Make sure you pop back next week, when we will be sharing an excerpt from Ink.

Publisher: Mira Ink
Publication Date: July 2013
Format: eArc
Pages: 384
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Japan, Magic
Age: YA
Reviewer: Pruedence
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge:None
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Self Published Sunday: Renhala Extract

We are delighted to welcome Amy Joy Lutchen as she shares an extract from her debut novel,Renhala. The first book in her urban fantasy series.

Renhala Final Cover ArtKailey Rooke, timid accountant, dedicated to philanthropic work, finds herself spiraling into a deep depression after she suffers a horrifyingly odd and humiliating assault, to only discover more of these freakish assaults occurring across the globe.
A chance discovery leads Kailey to a meeting with elderly Gunthreon, actual master of persuasion. Gunthreon, who seems to know too much of Kailey’s history for her liking, opens Kailey’s eyes to a coexisting realm she never knew existed: Renhala, while entrusting her with the knowledge of her newfound power as karmelean, serving as a beacon to the Higher Ones. Kailey slowly starts revealing new talents, and Gunthreon is fascinated with what she starts achieving.
She soon discovers that Renhala is in danger, and this danger has been leaking into her own realm. As she uncovers secrets within herself, and attempts to toughen up, she fuses with an unlikely band of fellow travelers (including a dragon, woodsprite, six-hundred-pound greble, her faithful female canine companion, and a “giver”), falls into an unexpected love triangle, deals with her sexy and flirtatious best friend’s “issues,” and finds the courage to master a new deadly weapon.
On her mission to save Renhala, Kailey will find herself running from life-threatening disasters, such as greble Tartarin, who likes to remind Kailey that when he catches her, he plans on eating her brains with ice cream; she’ll run from the deadly meeples: small cute bunnies with talons and an undeniable thirst for imposing self-destruction on others. Kailey will also run into the possibility that a centuries-old Renhalan rumor is true, that advanced technology existing in Kailey’s realm shortens all life spans.
As blood is shed and puzzles near completion, Kailey pulls from deep within herself, conjuring up mystical qualities that enable her to astonish as once predicted at her birth, but despite the newfound strength, Kailey will discover that monsters not only come in ugly packages, but can be easily disguised as those she has come to love and trust.

As an unexpected warmth flows into the room, running over my feet first, I freeze. It slowly crawls up my body, touching my hands and forcing them to reach forward. As the heat envelopes my head, I suddenly yearn to possess this deadly treasure, so I touch it, and the pole comes off the wall with one pull. I embrace it, suddenly feeling I will never be disconnected from my new lover, because it is me and I am it. I swing, and it is light in my hands. The metal whistles as it slices air, singing its song of perfection—perfect balance.

Suddenly, I am torn from my find by a peculiar noise accompanied by the faint smell of rotten eggs. I know the smell, and I run to the door, not wanting to be cornered in this room. That’s when I see it standing in the road, and it’s huge—at least eight feet tall and five feet wide, with dark brown skin and fur. I recognize the feet—all three of them, situated like a tripod, with the center leg slightly forward. Its full hideousness is far worse than its feet alone. The huge eyes that take up at least 50 percent of its head stare at me while its mouth, which seems to take up the other 50, quivers, drooling some dark liquid. I can’t be sure, but it looks like it’s hungry. It stares at me as though I’m a huge medium rare rib-eye steak. There are sprouts of fur here and there around its body, and its arms dangle below its waist. It wears a large loincloth and short pants, both shredded on the edges. There is also a band around its waist, somewhat resembling an extra, extra, extra large fanny pack. I stand, frozen with fear at the realization that I’ve been visited by yet another hideous creature. It was not a dream. The delicious meal I just ate starts creeping up my throat, but I swallow, keeping it at bay.

A noise escapes from behind the creature. Its ears quiver, and its head turns all the way around like an owl’s, then swivels back toward me. I’m amazed by its flexibility. Its skin seems to be in constant movement, and it begins moving toward me quickly. It’s so fast. And so big.

I grab the pole and stabilize myself, knowing I cannot outrun this abomination, and it’s time to prove I can take care of myself. Seconds before it reaches to grab me with its monkey-length arms, I duck and swing the pole out, but the creature jumps over me swiftly.

It lunges again quicker than expected, and I manage to somehow cut my leg with my own weapon. The flow of blood freezes me, vulnerability creeping up on me like a dark shadow. The creature makes the jump toward me. I fall directly down, sticking my pole spade straight up in its direction with my eyes closed. My movement is unexpected—by both of us—so the creature comes down slightly crooked as my blade nicks the inside of its leg.

Black ooze runs down its leg, dripping onto the dirt. Black ooze. Before I lose myself to the visions, I notice the tears in its eyes. This big, ugly creature—surely sent by Satan himself—is crying, and reeks of regret?

“Ow! You hurt Bu! How could you? Bu was only going to help you.” Its voice is undeniably male and youthful as it wipes the dark ooze from its mouth on the back of his hand, then proceeds to lick some off.

“Oh, gross,” I say, totally disgusted. I hold the pole weapon out in front of me.

The tears are as big as his eyes as they roll down his cheeks, and I find myself feeling bad I hurt him, even if he was going to rip my throat out. I get closer to him, just out of arm’s length, and say, “You were going to eat me! Is this a trick? You feign pain, I come close, and then you eat me?”

He then does something unexpected—giggles. It’s then that I feel it—purity. Purity of heart and soul is spewing from him, like rays from a sun, warm and soft as cashmere.

“Wait,” I say as I sniff the air. “You smell like chocolate.”

Amy Luchen author photoBorn in Chicago, Illinois, a few days prior to watching her first movie, at a drive-in theater. Yes, drive-in theater. And yes, her mother believed she was possessed by the devil after said first movie.
Grew up in the Chicagoland area and graduated from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, where she simply became a number, but decided it was a good number.
Loves cooking (mostly candy-cooking), gardening (putting holes in the ground for perennials, DONE!), designing and constructing jewelry (everything from silversmithing to lampworking), and living with her wonderful husband, two children, black Labrador, and frog—and maybe even the chipmunk family that likes to destroy her aforementioned perennials.
Also hopes that you enjoy her writings, and won’t criticize her for her aversion of eating things in multiples of three.

To learn more about Amy and her work you can visit her Facebook page (here), her Website (here) or her Goodreads Authors page (here). Alternatively follow and converse with her onTwitter (here).
Renhala is avaliable to buy now from
Amazon.com (here)and Smashwords(here).

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The Night Itself

Zoe Marriott

the night itselfA breathtaking new urban fantasy trilogy from the critically acclaimed, award winning author of The Swan Kingdom and Shadows on the Moon.
When fifteen year old Mio Yamato furtively sneaks the katana – an ancestral Japanese sword – out of its hiding place in her parent’s attic to help liven up her Christmas party costume, she has no idea of the darkness she is about to unleash on modern day London, or the family secrets that she is going to uncover.

I don’t travel well. If my mode of transportation doesn’t consist of my own two feet, or a vehicle I am steering then there is a good chance it will inspire nausea. In the case of flying it will also inspire a racing pulse, breathlessness, fidgeting and sweaty palms. It’s not that I have an irrational fear of flying (well, not really) it’s just that I take no pleasure from spending hours in an uncomfortable enclosed space, traveling at hundreds of miles an hour, miles off of the ground in a tin can (see I’m completely rational).

This spring, in order to spend time with my gorgeous niece on her first birthday, I had to undertake my first unaccompanied flight. Prior to now I have always had friends, my husband and/or my children as travel companions to distract, entertain and soothe me. Knowing my travel weakness I prepared to endure the experience and counteract my bodies ‘fight or flight’ response with fiction. As a result I have spent the last couple of weeks considering the pros and cons of The Night Itself as an inanimate travel companion.

1. OCCUPYING A RESTLESS MIND

PRO
Time suck.

Having arrived at the airport earlier than the compulsory one hour prior to my flight, I settled down in a coffee shop with a large latte and my gorgeous ARC in the hope of occupying myself until it was time to board my flight. Zoe immediately grabbed my attention with Mio’s distinctive voice and the foreshadowing of trouble. Once captured, my attention was retained by the humorous dialogue, the realistic relationships, an action packed pacey plot, original world building and the compelling mystery of the Katana.

CON
Running.

Unfortunately for me, I got a little too involved in the storyline and I missed the initial publication of my boarding gate number. This resulted in me having to run (an activity that does not come naturally) for my gate in order to make my flight.

2. COUNTERACTING MY URGE TO FIGHT, FREEZE OR FLEE.

PRO
Laughing, smirking, swooning

One way I’ve found to reduce my anxiety is through the experience of other emotions, I can’t panic if I’m laughing (unless it’s the nervous or hysterical variety of course!).

I identified with Mio’s distinctively British voice. Her humour, observations and turn of phrase, had me smirking along with her and I couldn’t help but love the banter between Mio and her feisty BFF Jack. In fact while I loved the action, the character development and the world building of The Night Itself, what I enjoyed the most were the relationships. Whether functional and supportive or estranged, established or developing, past or present, familial, platonic or romantic, it was the relationships, which grounded the story in realism, and elicited my emotional connection to the book.

CON
Giggling like a loon in a public place;

Snorting with laughter,
Knowingly smirking,
Gasping, breath holding and squirming with tension,
and, crying snot bubble accompanied tears…
Whether you consider this to be a con, of course will all depend on how you feel about public displays of emotion.

3. DISTRACTING ME FROM MY IRRATIONAL FEAR.

PRO
Books not drugs!

I found The Night Itself to be the perfect distraction to my inflight anxieties. Having spent the duration of the flight sat next to a fellow reluctant flyer, who had resorted to prescription drugs to get her through the experience, I can say that the adventures of Mio and Co were much better at inducing calm than valium (ok so it’s not exactly the most scientific of tests, a randomized control trial it is not, but it worked for me).

Prior to reading The Night Itself, my knowledge of and exposure to Japanese culture was pretty much limited to sushi (pass the salmon sashimi). Zoe’s obvious passion for Japanese culture was contagious, and she presented the cultural references in such an non elitist way that instead of feeling intimidated by my lack of experience I found the topic refreshing, and I fascinatedly gobbling up every tit bit and reference. I have subsequently found myself Googling elements, like the Kitsune (fox spirits) to satisfy my newly inspired curiosity.

CON
Errrr

Nope, sorry I can’t see any cons for this one.

Verdict: I adored The Night Itself, the first book in Zoe Marriott’s London based urban fantasy trilogy, and I will be adding future installments to my travel essentials.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Walker
Publication Date: July 2013
Format: ARC
Pages: 368
Genre: Urban fantasy
Age: YA/Teen
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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It’s here!

It’s here,

It’s finally here!

The date Cassandra Clare fans have been waiting for since the moment they turned the last page of Clockwork prince. Or, perhaps like me, since they turned the first page of Clockwork Angel back in 2010.
The third and final instalment in The Infernal Devices series, Clockwork Princess, is released in to the world today.

clockwork Princess (walker)Danger intensifies for the Shadowhunters as the New York Times bestselling Infernal Devices trilogy comes to a close.
If the only way to save the world was to destroy what you loved most, would you do it?
The clock is ticking. Everyone must choose.
Passion. Power. Secrets. Enchantment.
Danger closes in around the Shadowhunters in the final installment of the bestselling Infernal Devices trilogy.

I write this post with red rimmed, puffy eyes and a stuffy nose.

The cause of my condition? An opportunistic cold virus? An episode of early hay fever? Or perhaps i’ve been chopping onions?

Oh no.

The cause of my distress can be laid firmly at the feet (or more fittingly, the mind and pen) of Cassandra Clare.

Despite a strict embargo, I was lucky enough to received my preordered copy of Clockwork Princess three days early *puts amazon on the naughty step*.

At first the excitement grabbed me and I could see no wrong in this situation. After all, I had no intention of releasing spoilers and after months, and months, and months (lets not talk about the agony caused by the change in release date) of waiting I was finally able to dive back in to Victorian London and the lives of Will, Jem and Tess.

I can’t even put in to words how much I Love this book. I’ve laughed and cried, been amazed and surprised, I’ve had my heart broken and re-built. I feel rung out. The Infernal Devices was already one of my favourite book series but the publication of Clockwork Princess, has cemented it’s place in my mind and engraved the characters names on my heart *rubs chest*

Now, having finished this remarkable book, I see the flaw in my haste.

I. Have. So. Many. Feelings. and No One to talk to about them!

SO, I implore you, Please get hold of a copy, read it quickly, and get in touch, before I explode from all of the feels.

Incoherent, fan girl, rambling by Caroline

Those lovely people at Walker books have kindly offered to ease some of my suffering by providing a UK paperback of Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Princess to one lucky reader.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Lucifer Blog Tour: To Publish Is To Bleed

Yesterday we got to know awesome debut author Annabell Cadiz ( read the interview here). Today we ask that you sit back and relax with a cup of tea while Annabell shares the wisdom she gained during her journey to self publication.

luciferHave you ever wondered what could be hiding in the shadows?
Well, for eighteen-year-old Zahara Faraday, she doesn’t have to wonder. You see she comes from a lineage of Light Witches, those who have chosen to help protect and serve between the supernatural world and the human world. The only problem is Zahara, like her father Solomon, is as human as a human being can be whereas her mother, Mia, and her Aunt Catalina, were born as Light Witches. As a family they hunt down rogue supernaturals—creatures who harm humans or who have committed an act against their kingdom.
Zahara’s hunting skills are usually kept dormant since her parents would prefer she live life as a normal human girl without knowledge of the supernatural world. She plans on doing just that—except when she finds a couple being attacked by fairies, she has no choice but to step in. Before she can return to pretending to be blissfully ignorant, Zahara encounters a problem she isn’t the least equip to handle: Bryan Hamilton, the good looking new co-worker she has to help train. In a heartbeat, her best friend, Becca King, has set her up on a double date with herself and her new crush, Rekesh Saint-Louis, who happens to be the most powerful leader of the biggest Imago Coven in South Florida –supernatural creatures with the ability to control water . . . and suck out human souls.
Zahara has no time to focus on how she’s going to explain her double date with her best friend and the enemy they have a tentative truce with to her parents because soon one of the members of Mia and Catalina’s coven is found murdered with a strange tattoo of a snake with wings carved into his arm.
Zahara is then thrown into a whirlwind battle with an angel determined to have revenge against God, an Imago coven she doesn’t think they should trust, and slew of dream-eating fairies and powerful Nephilims, hybrid children of angels and humans, more than happy to rip her to shreds.
Normal just got a deadlier definition.

To Publish is To Bleed!
Ernest Hemingway once said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed,” while that is true for writing, the same could be said for publishing. Or well, it FEELS like sitting down and bleeding all your sanity out!
My journey to self-publishing was, thankfully, less like bleeding out my sanity and more like beating my head against a wall. I knew the basics about self-publishing but I had never ACTUALLY applied them since I had yet to publish a book, so the journey was filled with both HIALRIOUS and stupid mistakes, and was a DEFINITE learning experience.

My journey to publishing began when I was sixteen years old. I decided to write a book and in my naive mind, I thought that was all it would take. Write a book. Find someone who likes it enough to publish. Done.

Yeah, not so much.

Not only did I discover I needed an editor ASAP but I needed an entirely different book. I didn’t really focus on writing till years later when the FALLEN ANGELS SERIES kicked in, then SONS OF OLD TRILGY was born.
Through those years I learned how to be a better writer and how to create an ACTUAL plot with DEPTH, and I learned how to understand the ins and outs of publishing.

So here are some tips to up and coming authors to save you from making the same ridiculous (and comical) mistakes.
Enjoy!

Tips to Self-Publishing

Editor Is Your Best Friend (Even When He/She Sounds Like the Enemy): Every great author needs a support team and one of the main players on your team is your editor. Your editor is a third set of EXPERIENCED eyes and will not only become your confidant, but a trusted friend. Do the research. Make sure the person you choose to work with has done work either as a freelance editor or established editor in the past. Ask for references, history, and pricing. Find someone you vibe with well. You can use sites like The Association of Authors’ Representative, Preditors & Editors, and Writer Beware to help you.

The Curse of the Ugly Cover: Now, we all know the first element that will attract a reader to your book is the cover. As much as we’d love the old adage “Don’t judge a book by its cover” to be true, in the publication world, it just doesn’t work, and frankly, an ugly cover can be an extreme turn off. Once that book is published, you’re going to have to live with that cover, so make sure it’s one you REALLY love. AND make sure to look over every detail of the cover before officially announcing it to the world. When my cover was officially done and I did a Cover Reveal Tour, none of the reviewers, my best friends, myself or even my cover designer, Kim (from Hot Damn Designs) realized that the word TRILOGY was spelled TRIOLOGY! Thankfully, it was an easy mistake to fix and it was caught before the book was published *Whew* Some designers you may want to check out Hot Damn Designs, Dara England and Carol Green, WordSuger Designs, and Graphic Fantastic.

Converting From Hell: Formatting a book is HARD work, at least for those of us who do not speak computer beyond the basics. I was blessed that my best friend’s husband knows how to format Word Doc into the various ebook formats. But I know it won’t be so easy for everyone, so I suggest learning exactly what formats you want to convert your book into and what formats work for which site (i.e. Epub for Barnes and Noble, Epub for Amazon). Also, DO NOT PUBLISH YOUR WORD DOC DIRECTLY! Amazon and BN will tell you that you can just upload your book as Word Doc and they’ll convert it for you, which they will, BUT the conversion won’t come out so nice looking. Spaces will be off. Formatting will look weird. Paragraphs may not be indented probably. You don’t want to wind up with crappy formatted conversion because readers will get annoyed and will only be able to focus on the formatting instead of the story. Some great sites that can help you with conversion: Kinde Expert and Write Into Print.

Publish Here, Publish There, Publish Everywhere!: In case you were like me and didn’t know where the hex on Amazon and Barnes and Noble you’re supposed to go in order to publish your book, let me make it easier for you 😉

Amazon: No, you do not just go on your regular Amazon account to publish your book. Travel over to Kindle Direct Publishing. The steps will be explained for you and they are really simple. (Also, make sure in the section where it says “Contributors” that you put in YOUR NAME then click on the scroll bar and select AUTHOR or when you submit your book for publication on Amazon, it won’t go live. Yeah, I made that mistake. TWICE. *slaps forehead*) Amazon takes up to 12 hrs to publish your book in English and 48 hrs to publish your book in various other languages, so make sure to submit your book the day before your desired publication date! A great video that helps to explain Kindle Direct Publishing well is How to Upload Your Book on Amazon’s DTP (Kindle Marketplace). Also, once you finish publishing your book, head on over to Author Central and set up an author page for yourself 😉

Barnes and Noble: Again, you don’t head to your regular Barnes and Noble page that you use to buy books. Head on over to Pub It where the steps are explained to you the same way they are on Amazon. And again, remember in the Contributor section to do the same as with Amazon!! Barnes and Noble will give you a phone number you’ll need to call so they can check that your name and social security number are correct before they can send your book to be published live on their site. Barnes and Noble can take between 24 to 72 hrs to publish your book live so make sure to submit your book earlier than your desired publication date.
Other sites you may want to publish on: Smashwords (If you use Smashwords though, they will convert your book for you into various ebook versions). Kobo (in order to publish with them you will need to first attain an ISBN number).

Cover Tour, Launch Tour, Blog Tour? Speak English, Will You?!: There are a variety of ways an author can promote his or her book both before publication and after. It’s always great to set up interest for your book as early as possible and here are some ways you can do that.

Cover Reveal Tour: Before your book comes out, you can start getting word out there by setting up a virtual tour, otherwise known as a blog tour, that will reveal the cover of your book. The cover reveal will include not only the image of the cover, but also the synopsis of the book, mini bio about the author and links as to where the author can be located. It’s a fun and simple way to get people interested in your up and coming book. You will have to research out reviewers and request if they would like to sign up to participate in your cover reveal tour. This tour can go from one to two weeks long.

Launch Day Tour: This would be a blog tour that takes place on the day of publication for your book. You will have to set this up a few weeks in advance so every reviewer that chooses to participate can have all the info on time and so you can get a good amount of participating reviewers. Every post would include the cover of your book, the synopsis, author bio and links, and you may also want to include an excerpt (can be a scene from your book or half a chapter or a full on chapter) from your book. Or character profiles or a character interview. Something fun to go along with the promo of your book and give people an inside glimpse into what your book is either about or the characters.

Launch Tour: This would be like the Launch Day Tour but instead of just one day, this would last from one week to two weeks long.

Blog Tour: A blog tour is a lot more work and a lot of fun. It’s like setting up a book tour in the outside world except instead of stopping by bookstores for signings, you stop by reviewers blogs. This tour would include book reviews, interviews, guest posts and giveaways. This tour can last from two weeks to a month, so you will to set this tour up at least a month before the time period you want it to run. Usually between ten to twenty-five reviewers participate in the tour and they get to decide how they participate (i.e. review your book or conduct an interview with you or a character interview with a character from your book or give you a topic to write a post about to be featured on the reviewer’s site) With every type of post the cover image, the synopsis, the author bio and links will also be included.

Who the Author Are You??: A reader will become interested in not just your book but the author who created that book. You’re taken more seriously the better you establish yourself for your readership. Create a website or a blog or both (Weebly and WordPress are both FREE sites that allow you to set up a website for yourself). Write about your books, your writing journey, tips you may have, your everyday life. Let readers get to know you a bit so they can feel a connection with you. Create an account on a social media site like Twitter or Facebook. Twitter is a great place to network with fellow authors, editors, and publishers. Facebook lets you create an author page. Pinterest is a fun site to post images of stuff that can represent you and your book. Set up a Goodreads account. Goodreads is one of the biggest sites for readers and reviewers. It’s a great place to get know your readership and connect with them. They also have an Author’s Program you can sign up for. Having an online presence is a NECESSITY when you are publishing period, but even more so, when you’re self-publishing in your own work.

I hope these tips help you in along your publishing journey! =) You can also stop by TeamNerd Reviews to request having a blog tour set up for you *wink*

AnnabelleAnnabell Cadiz was born in the sweltering heat of South Florida. She was raised surrounded by Puerto Rican chefs and band of siblings that weren’t all related to her. A self-proclaimed nerd and book-a-holic (her room does hold much evidence to prove her claims are justifiable), she created TeamNerd Reviews to showcase her EXTREME love for novels where, along with her best friend, Bridget Strahin, she hosts book reviews, interviews, giveaways, Indie Shoutouts and much more. She also blog tour services for authors. She also had the pleasure of being published in three separate issue of Suspense Magazine. She also adores Cinnamon Teddy Grahams, has an addiction to Minute Maid Orange juice, and is a proud Jesus Freak. Lucifer is Annabell’s debut novel and the first book in the Sons of Old Trilogy.

You can find out more about Annabell and her work by visiting her website, Goodreads author page, Pinterest account, Facebook page,and her fabulous book blog. Alternatively, you can converse with her on twitter.

Lucifer, the first book in Annabell’s Son’s Of Old Trilogy, is available to buy now from Barnes and Noble, amazon.com and amazon.co.uk.

lucifer swag packENTER FOR A CHANCE TO WIN THE FABTASTIC SWAG PACK!
In honor of the two main female leads in LUCIFER, Zahara and Becca, Annabell created a fun swag pack for ONE very lucky winner!
Win a specially made makeup kit by E.L.F along with one DVD copy of the movie Sixteen Candles, a fuschia metallic manicure set, a Girl Power Superwoman wristband, a LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD silver necklace, a silver bracelet with handcuff & key charms, Honey Sweetheart lotion (that smells INCREDIBLE!), two toned lip bloom (that is SUPER cute!), and gray colored cheetah printed socks that are SOOOO adorables and an ecopy of LUCIFER!
ANNNND if that wasn’t enough,FIVE other lucky winners will win a FREE ecopy of LUCIFER!
TWICE a week on MONDAYS & FRIDAYS a new clue from LUCIFER will be posted up. Enter the new clue inside the Rafflecopter every time a new one is posted and get more chances to win!
Stop by the BLOG TOUR page(here) to enter!

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Incubus

Carol Goodman

‘This is where all stories start, on the edge of a dark wood…’
Ever since moving to Fairwick to take up a teaching post at the local college, Callie has been having vivid, erotic dreams about a man made out of moonlight and shadows. Dreams she begins to fear as well as anticipate…
She learns that her home – a Victorian cottage at the edge of a wood she bought on a whim – is supposedly haunted. And then her new – and rather strange – colleagues tell her a local legend about an incubus demon with a human past who was enchanted by a fairy queen…

Should be noted that I obtained this book from Netgalley under the title of ‘The Demon Lover’ by Juliet Dark, a pen name of Carol Goodman.

Callie lost her parents at a very young age, sent to live with her cold distant Grandmother she finds solace in an ‘imaginary’ prince who tells her folktales at night. Fast forward a number of years, Callie is now a lecturer in folk law, she has an interview with a small university in the back of beyond. She knows the job could spell professional suicide yet she is drawn to the place, and then she finds the old house by the woods…..

Both the covers for this book are quite deceptive with both appearing to be trying to appeal to the YA market. In fact I bought it for the school library and quickly had to move it to the Sixth Form and Staff library. It is definitely a more adult book and is everything that you would expect from a paranormal romance novel.

This is a rare foray into books for adults for me, and despite the above I was aware that this was for adults when I picked it up. It did make a very welcome change and I have gone on to read the second book in the series since. It has everything that I love in a book. Supernatural and gothic themes, setting described so well that you can picture them and very strong believable characters. It was a book that reminded me strongly of ‘A Discovery of Witches’ by Deborah Harkness and ‘The Witching Hour’ by Anne Rice and I would thoroughly recommend this to anyone who enjoyed these books. Witchcraft, gothic houses and family secrets are all themes that run through each book.

The supernatural has been done to death in recent years. I liked that the mythology of it all was original in this book, something that is hard to do with the proliferation of books lately. I dearly love anything to do with the fey so their inclusion was very welcome.

Callie was a very strong central character, but this wasn’t to the expense of other characters in the book. As a reader you got to know them all. This was through Callie, as the book is told from her perspective, but she was on the whole quite perceptive and even when she wasn’t the plot strongly pointed out how you should feel about a character. There was a ‘twist’ at the end of the book that I found fairly obvious. But I did get the impression that this was done on purpose by the author; that the reader should know what was likely to happen, even if the main characters didn’t. There was also a second twist that I saw coming a mile off which wasn’t perhaps meant to be quite so obvious. I have a feeling that it was my hopelessly romantic side that wanted the result, rather than me actually being able to predict.

A very strong feature of this book is the setting. The town, the house, university buildings and the woods nearly become a character all of their own. They are described in such detail that it is almost cinematic. In many way the old house, with it’s history and eccentricities becomes a character outside of its description.

Overall I really did want to carry on reading and was quite disappointed when the book finished and quickly moved onto the next book. I can’t wait for the third to come out. It has also made me investigate the author further and I will be reading more of her other books. I now have a taste for books for ‘grown-ups’ which will make a nice change.

Verdict: Wonderful characters, amazing setting and great mythology. A really enjoyable read.

Reviewed by Alison

Publisher: Ebury Press
Publication Date: July 2011
Format: Paperback
Pages: 480
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Supernatural, Urban Fantasy
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Alison
Source: Netgalley
Challenge: None
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