Blog Tour- The Crown’s Fate by Eveyln Skye Guest Post + Giveaway

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I am so excited to be part of the blog tour for The Crown’s Game! I loved this book so much and I had planned to write a review along with Evelyn’s guest post ( 5 things we don’t know about Evelyn). Unfortunately, I had a bad fall last Friday and broke my wrist in a couple places so I’m not able to type comfortably so I’ll type up my review once I heal. And by the way, I looove all the facts about Evelyn I relate to 4 out of the 5 (and I wish I related to that one, lol).

About the Book

CrownsFate Final CoverThe gorgeous and darkly compelling sequel to The Crown’s Game—perfect for fans of Red Queen and Shadow and Bone.

Magic is growing, shadows are rising, and the throne is at stake…

Russia is on the brink of great change. Pasha’s coronation approaches, and Vika is now the Imperial Enchanter, but the role she once coveted may be more difficult—and dangerous—than she ever expected.

Pasha is grappling with his own problems—his legitimacy is in doubt, the girl he loves loathes him, and he believes his best friend is dead. When a challenger to the throne emerges—and with the magic in Russia growing rapidly—Pasha must do whatever it takes to keep his position and protect his kingdom.

For Nikolai, the ending of the Crown’s Game stung deeply. Although he just managed to escape death, Nikolai remains alone, a shadow hidden in a not-quite-real world of his own creation. But when he’s given a second chance at life—tied to a dark price—Nikolai must decide just how far he’s willing to go to return to the world.

With revolution on the rise, dangerous new magic rearing up, and a tsardom up for the taking, Vika, Nikolai, and Pasha must fight—or face the destruction of not only their world but also themselves.

Book Details:
Formats: Hardcover (416 pages) and eBook
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: May 16th, 2017
Author Info + Social Media Links:
Evelyn Skye was once offered a job by the C.I.A., she not-so-secretly wishes she was on “So You Think You Can Dance,” and if you challenge her to a pizza-eating contest, she guarantees she will win. When she isn’t writing, Evelyn can be found chasing her daughter on the playground or sitting on the couch, immersed in a good book and eating way too many cookies. THE CROWN’S GAME is her first novel. Evelyn can be found online at www.evelynskye.com and on Twitter @EvelynSkyeYA.
Author Links: WebsiteTwitter | Goodreads | Tumblr | Instagram | Facebook
 

Guest Post- Five Things You Didn’t Know About Evelyn Skye

  1. I really like exercise.

I don’t always feel like working out, but when I do, I’m happy I did. There’s something about pushing myself and sweating and getting stronger that makes me feel badass. Plus, all that exercise balances out the cookies and sweets I eat! 

  1. I’m afraid of ghosts.

When I was in first grade, someone told me to go into the dark girls’ bathroom and summon Bloody Mary from the grimy mirror. I don’t think anything actually happened, but to this day, I’m still terrified of mirrors when it’s dark, which means nightfall finds me rushing any time there’s a mirror to walk by.

And yet, I have a story idea bouncing around in my head that involves ghosts… that’s going to be a terrifying writing process!

  1. I don’t like clutter.

Ahhh! Clutter! It drives me bananas when there is stuff all over the coffee table and on the kitchen counter and crammed into the hall. I’m forever trying to donate things to Goodwill, even though my family still needs or wants it. I know I’ll never live in a house that looks like a Pottery Barn because, well, real people live here, and people have STUFF, but hey, a girl can try, right?

  1. I am an introvert.

I really like people. Some of my favorite things are meeting readers at book events and hanging out with my author friends. But no matter how much I love these events, and no matter how social and outgoing I seem, I do have a limited “fuel tank.” I’m an introvert, and after a lot of people and excitement, I need quiet time to recharge, which often means curling up on the couch at home for a few days with a stack of books or reruns of “The Gilmore Girls.”

  1. I love surprises. 

I love surprises so much!! Even if I’m told there will be a surprise, I won’t do anything to spoil it. In fact, I’ll be extra careful not to spoil it. Recently, my boyfriend told me I couldn’t look in the closet in his home office, because there may or may not have been birthday gifts in it. I didn’t even step foot in the office, just in case. That’s how much I love being surprised. (P.S. It was totally worth it–the birthday was epic! Come see me at a book event, and I’ll tell you all about it if you ask.)

TCFIG

Rafflecopter Giveaway:

Open to US & International Applicant

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Tour Schedule:

Week 1
May 8th: Bookish Lifestyles – Review + Tote Design
May 9th: Brittany’s Book Rambles – Interview
May 10th: Alexa Loves Books – Author Guest Post
May 11th: It Start at Midnight – Mini Review + Fancast
May 12th: The Book Buzz – Review
Week 2
 
May 15th: The YA Book Traveler – Trailer + Interview
May 16th: Lost in Literature – Review
May 17th: Stories and Sweeties – Recipe
May 18th: My Friends Are Fiction – Review + Author Guest Post
May 19th: Paper Fury – Review

Blog Tour- Empress of a Thousand Skies Guest Post + Giveaway

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I recently read Empress of a Thousand Skies and really loved it- it had a really vivid world and the characters were so likeable. I can’t wait to read more from Rhoda Belleza. Today I am honored to have her here to talk about her writing method and writing multiple point of views.

About the Book
EmpressofaThousandSkiesEmpress of a Thousand Skies
By: Rhoda Belleza
Release Date: February 7th
Publisher: Razorbill

Summary
Empress
Rhee, also known as Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta’an, is the sole surviving heir to a powerful dynasty. She’ll stop at nothing to avenge her family and claim her throne.

Fugitive
Aly has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. But when he’s falsely accused of killing Rhee, he’s forced to prove his innocence to save his reputation – and his life.

Madman
With planets on the brink of war, Rhee and Aly are thrown together to confront a ruthless evil that threatens the fate of the entire galaxy.

A saga of vengeance, warfare, and the true meaning of legacy.

Guest Post

I’m somewhere in between a plotter and a pantser. I wrote the beginning of EMPRESS in a flurry just to get a sense of the character and voice, then I paused to outline the rest of the book. Once I got that in decent shape I dove back into writing, but I’d diverge from the outline and change the story as I went. Having that structure was important, but plenty of times I’d run astray as the characters pulled me in different directions. It was about trusting whether to stay on outline or experiment without that safety net; I wanted the movement and choices to feel organic, but I wanted to keep the plot as tight as possible.

The two POVs are Rhee and Aly, the empress presumed dead and the boy who supposedly killed her. Both are hiding, constantly moving, pursuing different goals that eventually converge. I usually nail down the choreography and plotting before I revise for the emotional components. I’m not just talking about the fight scenes, but the placement of characters in the galaxy and in relation to each other. It’s like I don’t even know how they feel until they have a setting and a context to physically exist in. My friend called it an analog to method acting, which may or may not be true. I’m not sure because I’m not an actor.

Rhee is royalty; she may be hardened by the loss of her family but she’s pampered too, and she has a sense of righteousness that felt so natural to write. I could get in a pretty heady space with her; she’s obsessed with revenge and pleasing her ancestors, and that tension just felt really right. That said, Rhee’s wound pretty tightly, so I was tapping into some stuff that could feel intense at times.

Aly comes from a different planet and an entirely different class. He’s a little bit of a smart ass and he tries to keep everything funny and casual, but underneath he’s struggling to keep it together—as a refugee he’s skating the line and trying to play a bit of identity politics. It doesn’t work out for him, and when he’s on the run he comes to some ugly realizations about the world that he needs to work through. Still, I didn’t want him to lose the optimism and humor that makes him him. His voice felt really natural in a different way from Rhee’s, and the writing of his chapters flowed easier—but going back in revision and digging into the emotion ended up being more challenging for his character.

Tour Schedule

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Week One:
2/6 – Brittany’s Book Rambles – Guest Post
2/6 – Bibliophile Gathering – Review
2/6 – Seeing Double in Neverland – Mood Board
2/7 – Tales of a Ravenous Reader – Excerpt
2/7 – In Wonderland – Review
2/8 – Across the Words – Character Fan Casting
2/8 – Novel Ink – Review
2/8 – Bookling Critics – Review
2/9 – The Young Folks – Interview
2/9 – Here’s to Happy Endings – Review
2/10 – Butter My Books – Book Look
2/10 – Ex Libris – Review
2/10 – My Friends Are Fiction – Guest Post
Week Two:
2/13 – Stories & Sweeties – Empress Cupcakes
2/13 – What Sarah Read – Guest Post
2/13 – MundieMoms – Review
2/14 – YA Wednesdays – Character Fashion
2/14 – Fiction Fare – Review
2/15 – Once Upon a Twilight – Favorite Quotes
2/15 – The Books Buzz – Review
2/15 – Take Me Away to a Great Read – Review
2/16 – The YA Book Traveler – Empress Trailer
2/16 – Bookworm Everlasting – Review
2/17 – The Forest of Words and Pages – Like/Try/Why
2/17 – The Paige Turner – Interview
2/17 – Fangirlish – Review

Giveaway

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Enter for a chance to win one (1) of three (3) signed copies of Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza (ARV: $17.99 each).
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on February 6, 2017 and 12:00 AM on February 20, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about February 22, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

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The Dark Days Pact Blog Tour- Guest Post + Giveaway

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I fell head over heels last year for Alison Goodman’s The Dark Days Club. This book swept me away and I fell so in love with the characters I couldn’t wait for the sequel, The Dark Days Pact. The moment this landed on my doorstep (after flailing) I picked it up and became 100% immersed again in this vivid world and characters (read my review here). I am beyond honored to have the author here on my blog today talking about the historical research involved with writing these books.

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Guest Post

Feel like a swim at Brighton beach in 1812? For a lady, it wasn’t a straightforward business. First you had to purchase a swimming chemise made of flannel with lead weights sewn into the hem. Heaven forbid that your gown should rise in the water and expose your nethers! It was true that the lead would most likely weigh you down in the water, but it didn’t really matter because you would not actually be swimming. Instead, you would book a session with a dipper; a burly local woman who would hold on to you tight and plunge you in and out of the water, rather like a teabag.

Of course, getting into the water was not just a matter of walking through the waves. It involved a wooden bathing box on wheels and a small, salt encrusted pony. The bathing box had a door at either end. You would enter at the beach-end and the little pony would haul the box into the sea, then it would be unhitched and taken around to the other side to be hitched in readiness to drag the box and you out again. Meanwhile, you would open the seaward door and descend the bathing box steps into the strong arms of your dipper.

One two three, plunge, One two three plunge. There, you have taken your ‘swim’. .

The Lady Helen series is historically accurate (give or take a few thousand nasty demons), and so when I read about this method of sea bathing in Regency Brighton, I knew I had to include a scene in The Dark Days Pact where my protagonist, Lady Helen, is ‘dipped’ by one of these fabulous local women.  In fact, I wanted Helen to be dipped by the most famous dipper of all time:  Martha Gunn. Martha was so famous that songs were written about her and her image appeared on souvenir crockery. She was also a favorite of the Prince Regent who liked her so much that he allowed her free access to the royal kitchens at Brighton Pavilion for her entire life. In the summer of 1812, when The Dark Days Pact is set, Martha would have been in her eighties and she was still dipping people in the sea!

To research something like the bathing box scene, I always start by reading widely on the subject. I found articles about Martha and her life, and books about Brighton that described the boxes and how they were used. I also hunted out descriptions of sea bathing in letters and diaries from the time, and my most valued find was a travel guide to All the Water and Sea-Bathing Places in England  from 1813 that included a chapter on Brighton. I was also fortunate enough to visit Brighton and its museum, which had a fabulous little section on sea bathing throughout history.

I then turned to visual prompts, which help me imagine the historical scene. I found a drawing of sea bathing at Regency Brighton on the internet (see picture). It is a caricature – a mode of illustration that became very popular in the Regency – and although it is drawn for laughs, I was able to pick up a lot of incidental information about bathing boxes and the process of dipping. I double-checked everthing, of course – that is part of the research process too.

Finally, once I had all the facts I needed in hand, I wrote the scene and layered in the sensory detail from my own experience. I live near the sea in Australia so, of course, I have a lot of sensory information about sea bathing. I used that to create the sensations that Helen feels as she steps out of the bathing box. The shock of cold water against her skin, the weight of waves slapping against her body, the low roar of the surf cut by the shrill screech of gulls, and the taste of salt on her lips. And above all, the safe arms of Martha Gunn:

Martha viewed an incoming wave with narrowed eyes. ‘Hold tight,’ she advised, then jumped, pulling Helen above its crest with practised ease.

Hold Tight. Sage advice for anyone about to step into the dangerous, demon hunting world of The Dark Days Pact.

mermaids

Mermaids at Brighton by William Heath 1829

About the Book

thedarkdayspactThe Dark Days Pact (Lady Helen #2)
By Alison Goodman
Release Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers

Summary:
June 1812. Just weeks after her catastrophic coming-out ball, Lady Helen Wrexhall—now disowned by her uncle—is a full member of the demon-hunting Dark Days Club. Her mentor, Lord Carlston, has arranged for Helen to spend the summer season in Brighton so that he can train her new Reclaimer powers. However, the long-term effects of Carlston’s Reclaimer work have taken hold, and his sanity is beginning to slip. At the same time, Carlston’s Dark Days Club colleague and nemesis will stop at nothing to bring Helen over to his side—and the Duke of Selburn is determined to marry her. The stakes are even higher for Helen as she struggles to become the warrior that everyone expects her to be.

Giveaway

Enter for a chance to win either one (1) grand prize set of Lady Helen books, including a paperback of The Dark Days Club and a hardcover of The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman (ARV: $28.98), or to be one of five (5) second prize winners to receive paperback copies of The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman (ARV: $10.99).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on January 23, 2017 and 12:00 AM on February 13, 2017. Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about February 14, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.
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Blog Tour Stops

Week One:
1/23 – A Page With a View – Like/Try/Why
1/24 – Tales of a Ravenous Reader – Interview
1/25 – Twinning for Books – Review + Mood Board
1/26 – My Friends Are Fiction – Guest Post
1/27 – In Wonderland – Review
Week Two:
1/30 – Alexa Loves Books – Bookish Style File
1/31 – The Reading Nook Reviews – Interview
2/1 – Xpresso Reads – Playlist
2/2 – The YA Book Traveler – They Did What?!
2/3 – Icey Books – Guest Post
Week Three:
2/6 – YA Book Central – Excerpt
2/7 – Fiction Fare – Guest Post
2/8 – Forever Young Adult – Coming-Out Ball Mishaps
2/9 – Dark Faerie Tales – Interview
2/10 – Adventures of a Book Junkie – Reasons to Read

Blog Tour- Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake Guest Post + Giveaway

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It’s no secret that I adore Kendare and her books. There’s not a single thing she’s written that I’ve not loved. I do think that Three Dark Crowns is my favorite book of hers yet. This was so morbidly wonderful, surprising and overall wonderful. I’m excited to have Kendare here on the blog talking about one of my favorite scenes in the book- The Gave Noir.

ABOUT THREE DARK CROWNS:

3dccoverEvery generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.

If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.

LINKS: Amazon | B&N

Guest Post

One of the most striking scenes of TDC was The Gave Noir- a feast where the queen poisoner is expected to feast on poisoned and tainted foods and live through it. This scene was so vivid and wonderfully disturbing. Where did this idea come from??

Developing the culture of the poisoners as a whole was so fun and several things about them fascinate me: how they take such pride in the strength of their gift. How much they relish it. If you think about it, of all the gifts on the island, the poisoner gift would be the least useful to the island’s livelihood, yet having been in power for so long, the poisoners view themselves as absolutely vital. So it made sense to me that their celebrations would revolve around a show of that strength, and so they have the black glut, the Gave Noir.

To a poisoner, eating poison is a near religious experience. They turn their noses up at regular food, but their appetites for tainted food are huge! Poisoners are known for their appetites actually; they are the real culinary experts of the island. The Gave Noir was a great way to feature that, and to feature lots of fun poisons in deliciously deadly preparations.

I’m a big fan of the TV show HANNIBAL, if you didn’t know, and a big part of that show was the lovingly precise way that Dr. Lecter would…well…cook people up. It always made me SO HUNGRY, not for people of course, but what the hell, sure, for people, so I hope that some similar devious deliciousness is conveyed through the ritual poisoners’ feast.

ABOUT KENDARE BLAKE:

kendare-blakeKendare Blake is the author of several novels and short stories, most of which you can find information about via the links above. Her work is sort of dark, always violent, and features passages describing food from when she writes while hungry. She was born in July (for those of you doing book reports) in Seoul, South Korea, but doesn’t speak a lick of Korean, as she was packed off at a very early age to her adoptive parents in the United States. That might be just an excuse, though, as she is pretty bad at learning foreign languages. She enjoys the work of Milan Kundera, Caitlin R Kiernan, Bret Easton Ellis, Richard Linklater, and the late, great Michael Jackson, I mean, come on, he gave us Thriller.

She lives and writes in Kent, Washington, with her husband, their two cat sons (Tybalt and Tyrion Cattister) and their red Doberman dog son, Obi Dog Kenobi.

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook 

Tour Schedule:

Week 1:
 
Week 2:

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Giveaway:

3 Finished Copies of THREE DARK CROWNS (US Only)

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Blog Tour- Guest Post with Kerri Maniscalco-Author of Stalking Jack the Ripper + Giveaway

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I had the pleasure of reading Stalking Jack the Ripper early and let me tell you- this book is fantastic. It is everything I wanted and I was impressed that even with the morbid topic (serial killer and mortuaries) there was still a lightness and humor that I was not expecting. Today I’m so excited to have Kerri here talking about her book’s inspirations and inner darkness.

ABOUT STALKING JACK THE RIPPER:

sjtrcoverSeventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

LINKS: Amazon | B&N 

Guest Post

Audrey Rose often speaks of a darkness within herself, less consuming but akin to the darkness within Jack the Ripper. Do you think we all have that darkness within us, lingering just below the surface?

To a certain extent I think we all have darkness that surfaces from time to time, whether we want it to or not. Maybe not murder or anything so drastic, but darker emotions. Anger. Frustration. Negativity. Jealousy. Pessimism. We’re human and have a multitude of feelings on any given day, but it’s what we choose to focus on that truly matters.

For Audrey Rose it’s a bit different. She often struggles with her passion for studying the inner workings of the human body and society’s opinion on it. During that time frame [the Victorian era], forensics and cutting into a corpse were considered to be desecrating the dead. Which was blasphemous for a man to do, let alone a young lord’s daughter. She won’t be deterred from her chosen path, but doubt sometimes crops up if she allows herself to think about her dark deeds. On the outside she might appear to be on the same path as Jack, but Audrey Rose knows there are lines she won’t cross for science or discovery. Which is what ultimately separates her from the Ripper.

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How much of the book, if any, is inspired by personal experience?

Honestly? I believe it’s hard for any writer to not have a bit of themselves or some personal experience creep into their work. Audrey Rose and I would definitely get along in real life. We both have a love of dresses and forensics. Lucky for me, my sister has a boutique, so I’m always adding to my dress collection. When we were growing up, my parents encouraged my sister and myself to pick a job we loved and work hard to achieve our dreams. Our gender wasn’t considered a limitation for a second. I attended art school in New York City but considered changing majors and studying forensics. I was serious about it, and took criminal justice and psychology courses. It was so refreshing to be good at science after being told in high school that girls weren’t as good as boys were. Part of hearing that from teachers inspired me to write about this girl who uses forensics like a superpower to hopefully stop one of the most infamous killers in history. And she does it all with style, naturally.

ABOUT KERRI MANISCALCO:

kerri-maniscalcoKerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside NYC where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats. Stalking Jack the Ripper is her debut novel. It incorporates her love of forensic science and unsolved history, and is the first in a new series of gothic thrillers.

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Instagram

Tour Schedule

Week 1:
9/12: No BS Book Reviews – Review
9/13: A Perfection Called Books – Guest Post
9/14: The Heart of a Book Blogger – Review
9/15: My Friends Are Fiction – Q&A
916: Pandora’s Books – Review 

Week 2:

Giveaway:

3 Finished Copies of STALKING JACK THE RIPPER (US Only)

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