Saturday, March 31, 2012

PAF: Interview with Bethany Griffin + giveaway!

Paranormal April Fools

Today's guest is the lovely Bethany Griffin. She's here to promote her exciting new book, MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH, a post-Apocalyptic reimagining of Edgar Allan Poe's horror story with the same name. Sounds cool, no?

Read on to learn all about MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH and enter to win a copy of your very own, and some awesome swag from Bethany!

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Hello, Bethany, and welcome to Paranormal April Fools’ at Tynga’s Reviews!

MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH is very different from your debut novel HANDCUFFS. How did you find switching from a present-day setting to a historical post-apocalyptic steam-punk world?

I found it a fairly natural transition, in that I read all sorts of different stories. Also, sometimes it’s easier to write something totally different than to keep rehashing the same sorts of stories. I found I didn’t have another realistic story to tell, but I had a lot of other stories I wanted to try.

Were there any special challenges when writing a re-imagining of another author’s work, especially one as well known as Edgar Allen Poe?

The re-imagining part was fun. The part that I don’t particularly look forward to are the different opinions on how well I did! While I did take on Poe’s world, I tried to make it my own and create my own characters. Sure, there’s always intimidation, because Poe was a genius, but I really never tried to compare my work to his, I just used his as inspiration.

Which other authors inspire you?

Wow, I’m inspired by so many authors, I love to read much more than I love to write. I’m inspired by Stephen King, and by Sylvia Plath’s poetry, and by Anne Rice, and by Tolkien, I’m mostly listing authors I read as a kid because there are so many contemporary books that I enjoy, but I’d consider the ones I read years ago as the most inspiring, the books I’ve read in the last few years were pleasure reading.

Did you have a soundtrack for writing MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH? What was on it?

I need to actually make a playlist, I do have songs that I listen to regularly or that remind me of the book…

The Fragile – Nine Inch Nails
Machine Gun- Portishead
Plainsong- The Cure

MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH is the first in a duology. Can you tell us a little bit about what’s to come in the next book?

A Masquerade ball? Some romance, some treachery, and lots more dead bodies?

And now a couple April Fools’-related questions:

Is there a trick you fall for every time?

I don’t know, I don’t think I deal very well with tricks. I overthink things and end up irritated of baffled.

Which of your characters would be the most difficult to prank?

Most of my characters are fairly cynical and suspicious, so it might be hard to prank any of them! But I think Elliott would be the most difficult to prank

Thanks very much for taking part in our event, Bethany! We’re looking forward to MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH!

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Want to know more? Check out the gorgous cover and blurb for MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH, which hits bookshelves on April 24:

Bethany Griffin Masque of the Red Death Everything is in ruins.

A devastating plague has decimated the population, and those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles around them.

So what does Araby Worth have to live for?

Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery makeup...and tantalizing ways to forget it all.

But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club, and Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.

And Araby may find not just something to live for, but something to fight for—no matter what it costs her.

Read Tynga’s Review

Pre-order: Amazon | Book Depository

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giveaway

We have two different giveaways today! They have different mailing restrictions so please read the instructions below carefully.

Giveaway #1: Bethany is offering a lovely giveaway: three (3) bookmark + leather bracelet sets for our readers!

Note: Bookmark may not be exactly like this one and you only get one (1) bracelet (your choice of colour).

Bethany Griffin Bookmark
Bethany Griffin Red BraceletBethany Griffin Black Bracelet

Open internationally.


Giveaway #2: The kind folks at HarperCollins are offering one (1) copy of MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH to a lucky reader!

US only.

To enter the giveaways, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

Ends Sunday, April 15, 2012
(like all of our Paranormal April Fools’ giveaways)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Bethany Griffin

Bethany Griffin teaches high school English and creative writing outside Louisville, Kentucky. She loves Poe, and creepy stories in general. Masque of the Red Death is her second published novel, but the first could be considered Speculative History, Dystopian, Steampunk, or whatever else you'd like to call Masque. She has two well-behaved children and 5 poorly-behaved cats.

Website | Twitter

Jenn

Masque of Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Masque of the Red DeathMasque of Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Book Stats:
Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Genre: Historical / Dystopian / Steampunk
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release date: April 24, 2012

Series: Masque #1

Source: eARC from Harper Collins

Reviewed by: Tynga

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Everything is in ruins.

A devastating plague has decimated the population. And those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles to pieces around them.

So what does Araby Worth have to live for?

Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.

But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club. And Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.

And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for—no matter what it costs her.

In the 19th century, Araby’s town was hit by a terrible disease. People are dying by the dozen and the town was forced to establish a system of corpse collectors to gather the victims bodies. The disease is thought to travel in the air and Araby’s father invented masks to keep the population as safe as possible, unfortunately Prince Prospero took control of the invention, selling masks at a ridiculously high price, leaving the poor unprotected. Araby’s twin brother Finn was a victim of the plague, and life has never been the same since. She tries to forget herself night after night using drugs and alcohol, hanging with her friend April in a club called Debauchery Club. Little did she know that two boys destined to change her life forever would also be regulars of the club, will their reunion be for better or for worst?

The Masque of Red Death is an highly original story. Inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s short story, Bethany created a magical, yet terrible, world for her characters to evolve in. It’s not easy to set this story in place and time because it’s all fictional. The little town featured is set near the water, and has a port. We also understand from different story elements, such has steam carriages and muskets, that the story is set in the 1800s. Also, the lack of understanding of the plague increases this historical feeling. I guess you could describe this novel as historical dystopian (if such thing exist?) with steampunk elements. However you want to describe the genre, the important part to remember is that this book is awesome.

Araby’s little town has been isolated by this contagion and they don’t know if there’s any one left alive on Earth. All the citizens live in fear of the all mighty, and particularly mean, Prince Prospero and a rebellion is brewing. Bethany did a fantastic job of portraying the citizens despair, constant fear of the disease, and the escalating violence was very believable. The atmosphere is thoroughly glooming and menacing, murderers are walking the streets and rebels are setting fire to buildings. Nobody is safe and after meeting Elliot, the Prince’s rebel nephew, Araby wants to try and make a difference.

Araby’s character was really intriguing. At first, she acts like she doesn’t have a care in the world. Going out to parties, taking unidentified drugs for oblivion’s sake, living on the edge, but what you discover with time is that she’s trying to drown her pain. She is still grieving her twin brother and she can’t manage the hurt. She even took a vow to never experience something her brother would never get to do, pushing her own life out of reach. Her pain was sometimes hard to bear, but her slow evolution was a work of wonder. Will, a pretty and caring young man, will help her see the better side of life, pushing her to live for her dead brother instead of slowly killing herself. Their relationship was really sweet, though far from perfect, and it surprised me in many ways.

Bethany Griffin tailored a very mysterious storyline and it worked perfectly. The entire time you follow the main characters and wonder where this will all lead. Sickness, conspiracies, kidnapping and murders, nobody is who they seem in this twisted and wicked world and the truth hit you like a truck when all is revealed. Everything flows seamlessly, and the non-stop suspense will keep you glued to the pages.

Masque of Red Death is only the peak of the iceberg and the main plot doesn’t come to a conclusion in this book. Griffin set the table for what I think will be an extremely interesting second book now that all the players have been given a role, all awaiting for the showdown.

Dark, gritty and amazingly entertaining, Masque of Red Death isn’t for the faint of heart. It is a young adult title, but I wouldn’t recommend for 15 years old or lower as the sheer number of death and graphic description of the sickness is sometimes down right gruesome. If my love of this book isn’t obvious by now, let me tell you that you don’t want to miss this unique story, its worth every single penny you’ll spend to read it. Oh and on a side note, how amazing is this cover? I mean, really! And totally in line with the story.

Read an excerpt

tynsig

Random Act of Kindness: April Edition

The girls at Book Soulmates started a very cool project. The concept is to post a wish list and someone might just send a gift to you! Of course, you might wanna be nice to and offer someone something from their wish list as well!

Random Act of Kindness

Here are the details, from their website.

Rules:

• Sign up each month you'd like to participate in.

• Show off your participation! Grab one of the buttons available :)

• Create a wishlist and post it in the Google Doc located in each R.A.K post for the month.

{Post on your blog, Amazon, where ever as long as there's a link to it.}

• If you choose to do a R.A.K for someone, check out their wishlist and contact that blogger for their address.

• At the end of the month, SHOW US YOUR R.A.K!

Make a post saying 'Thank You' to whoever granted one of your wishes and share it with us :)

OPEN TO EVERYONE!

Let's keep our International bloggers in mind and in our hearts.

Remember, there's always the Book Depository and they offer FREEshipping!

Last month I received a super pretty handmade bookmark by Isabelle, Thank you!

Personally, I offered:

Unearthly (Unearthly, #1)

to Arianne

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Here’s my wish list for this month ^^ I know it’s quite long, but you’ll have plenty to choose from!

If you wish to offer me something, just email me at TyngaUF(a)gmail.com and I will give you my mailing addy

  • ** I would kill for ARCs of Bitterblue by Kristen Cashore or Insurgent by Veronica Roth. Ok not kill… but you get it =)
  • Enslave Me Sweetly, Seduce the Darkness, Ecstasy in Darkness, Dark Taste of Rapture by Gena Showalter
  • Lover Reborn by JR Ward
  • Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
  • Beautiful Chaos – Kami & Margaret (pb pls)
  • Fallen in Love by Lauren Kate
  • Frostbitten, Waking the Witch – Kelley Armstrong (I’d like the MM edition, to match my collection ^^)
  • Thirteen – Kelley Armstrong
  • Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon (MM please ^^)
  • Wrong Side of Dead – Kelly Meding
  • Wraith by Phaedra Weldon
  • Cold Sight – Leslie Parish
  • The Rift Walker -  Clay & Susan Griffith

I really hope you join the fun! I think it’s a great way to meet new bloggers as well as give a bit of joy in this world!

tynsig

Friday, March 30, 2012

PAF: Story by Lyn Benedict + giveaway!

Paranormal April Fools

Today's post is a wonderful story by Lyn Benedict, author of the Shadows Inquiries series. (You may also know her as Lane Robins.) I'm a big fan of these books and I'm quite excited for the release of LIES & OMENS, the fourth book in the series. I think fans and new readers alike will enjoy this story.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the Shadows Inquiries world, here's the low-down on the series:

Sylvie Lightner is a Florida PI who lives in a world just like ours, except the things that go bump in the night are real. She deals with all sorts of preternatural/supernatural folks, ranging from werewolves to godes to cultists to the undead. Sylvie also has to deal with the Internal Surveillance and Intelligence agency. Sylvie runs her unofficial PI business, Shadows Inquiries, with the help of Alex Figueroa-Smith. The other character in this story, Wales, is a necromancer who first pops up in GHOSTS & ECHOES.

Enjoy the story and don't forget to enter the giveaway to win a set of Lyn's first three Shadows Inquiries novels!

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South Miami sunlight seeped through the windows of the Shadows Inquiries office and illuminated one young woman working at a central desk.

"What the hell is this?" Alex Figueroa-Smith said. She had her head down, and her hands in the lower left desk drawer. Sylvie Lightner, making herself coffee in the office kitchenette, grimaced. Damn it. She'd hoped Alex wouldn't uncover those so fast.

"Are these bills? Sylvie--"

In retrospect, Sylvie shouldn't have hidden them in Alex's chocolate drawer, but her assistant had come in two days ago, swearing because her pants were too tight, and locked the chocolate drawer.

"They're not due yet," Sylvie said.

"Well, that's good," Alex snapped, "because we don't have any money!" She pulled out a chocolate bar, ripped the foil off, then swore and dropped the candy. "We need clients. And you turned down the last three walk-ins."

"They were terrible clients," Sylvie said.

"They were potentially paying ones."

"What's the perk to being the boss if you can't turn down suck jobs?"

"What's the perk to having the electricity turned off?"

Sylvie grimaced. No electricity meant no coffee pot, and Alex trying to do her work via 4G. "We should have billed the ISI for trashing the office."

Alex shook her head. "They tear-gassed us. We should leave them alone. Just, find a client. Actually, I've got a potential one for you." Alex set the bills down, and dug a business card out of her pocket. "Here. Mrs. Stella Gruner. Old Miami money. She's staying at the Ritz-Carlton because she thinks her house is cursed."

"How did you meet her?"

Alex shrugged; color touched her cheeks. "Tex wanted to take me out for a fancy weekend. We chose the Ritz, got a suite and everything. It was great."

Sylvie sighed. Tierney Wales, Tex to his friends, was a necromancer with a bad habit of using magic to stay in hotels rent free. Sooner or later, he was going to attract the dangerous kind of notice, something beyond even the government bully boys of the Internal Surveillance and Investigations. Something like the Maudits, the megalomaniacal sorcerers who would love to enslave a stray necromancer. Only Wales's innate paranoia had protected him so far.

The phone rang; she snatched it up, "What?"

Alex put her face in her palms. "Phone etiquette, Sylvie."

The front door opened just as she disconnected with vigor --stupid solicitors-- and Wales wandered in, all scarecrow lean and twitchy.

"Who was that?"

"Who was what?" Sylvie said. Wales was too damned nosy.

"On the phone."

Sylvie said, "I wasn't on the phone." Just to see him twitch. To see his paranoia ramp up. It worked. His hair practically stood on end like a cat's. He touched the bone pendant at his throat, the necromantic equivalent of Sylvie reaching for her gun.

"Seriously, Shadows, who was it?"

"They didn't say," Sylvie said, hiding her grin. "They just asked me a lot of questions." Alex rolled her eyes.

"About?"

"About my employees," Sylvie said. "They asked about you...."

"Me?" Wales snapped. "What did they ask? How did they know I worked with you?"

Sylvie laughed. "I don't know, Tex. Maybe they were the CIA."

He rocked back on his heels, then said, "Not funny, Shadows. Not funny at all." He slammed back out of the office.

Sylvie grabbed the chocolate bar that Alex had opened, and broke off a piece. Tasty stuff. Alex liked the expensive brands.

Alex snatched the candy from her hand. "You shouldn't have done that to him."

Sylvie eyed the chocolate, wondering if an apology would get her the candy back. She doubted it. She apologized anyway. "I know. He's on our side. Plus, he's your boyfriend and I should try to be nicer--"

"Oh, whatever," Alex said. "He knows you're not nice. I don't care about that. You still shouldn't have done it. You're going to regret it."

"I am?"

Alex ran a hand through her spiky, blond hair, and said, "Jeez, Sylvie. He's on our side, but he is a necromancer. You just pissed him off for funsies. Don't come crying to me when he retaliates."

"He wouldn't... he doesn't like using his magic... oh crap," she trailed off.

Alex grinned. It was toothy and malicious. "Have a nice day, Syl. Go woo Mrs. Gruner. Be impressive. Get us a good client."

*************

Sylvie called the number on the card and reached Mrs. Gruner's personal secretary. The woman's tone was frosty as she demanded to know how Sylvie got the number, but when Sylvie said, "I believe your employer met my employee, Alex?", the woman thawed.

"Oh, Alexandra, such a sweet girl," the secretary said. "You're the fixer? Stella is most likely at the Lowe. You might catch her there."

Normally, Sylvie would have bristled at being made to chase her potential client around town, but Alex wanted this client. Sylvie knew better than to actively annoy Alex.

She started her truck, got the usual diesel roar, then flinched as a dead gull plummeted onto her hood. Dead—she could see bone and rot—but still kicking and pecking.

"Sorry, Tex. Have to do better than that," she muttered, and backed out at speed, sliding the bird off her hood.

The Lowe Art Museum was a bust; by the time Sylvie got there, Mrs. Gruner had been and fled. The long-suffering curator said, in long-suffering tones, "There was a roach. Just one; you understand, it's Florida."

Sylvie did understand. You could be Martha Stewart clean, and still, the inevitable palmetto bug would appear, waving its antennae. "Mrs. Gruner doesn't like bugs?"

"Mrs. Gruner loathes bugs," the curator said. "I believe she's gone to the spa to recover."

"Spa, right," Sylvie said. "Which one?"

"The Ritz—"

"Carlton," Sylvie finished. "Right."

Like clockwork, the dead gull was back, crashing into her windshield the minute she started the engine. This time, she jumped, banging her head on the ceiling liner. "Ow. Dammit, Tex."

She shuddered at the touch of magic on her skin—the prickling surge of heat rash.

Unpleasant. Sylvie gunned the engine, and left the bird behind. Again.

The Ritz-Carlton valet parking attendant took one look at Sylvie's battered truck and grimaced. Sylvie found a different parking space, and nearly got beaned by the gull as it plummeted out of the sky. Wales had talent, she thought, to make a dead bird fly and follow her. But if this was his payback? It was nothing. Never mind that the magic felt like jellyfish stinging her skin. She could take it.

By the time she'd made it through to the spa, Sylvie had missed Mrs. Gruner again. "Gone to a luncheon," her secretary said. "Do you have a card?"

Sylvie did. Alex had insisted. The secretary said, "I'll pass it on. Give my regards to Alexandra. Such a sweet girl."

Sweet, Sylvie thought. Wouldn't be so sweet if Sylvie didn't land this client. "Mrs. Gruner coming back here after her lunch?"

No, that would have been too easy, Sylvie thought, taking down yet another address where she might catch her. Apparently, Mrs. Gruner preferred to do first meetings face to face.

Sylvie, scowling at the list, shrieked when the gull rose up, flapping in her face.

"Enough, Wales," Sylvie snapped. "You animate that thing one more time, and I'm going to shoot it, and then I'm going to shoot you."

The gull, now perched on her door frame, looked…unimpressed. She shook it off, but found herself glancing in her rearview mirror more often than the traffic required. It wasn't getting to her. Not at all. It was just a dead bird.

It creeped her the hell out.

By the time the sun had set, she'd missed Mrs. Gruner twice more, had been gulled often enough that she was beginning to twitch at the slightest hint of motion, the burn of magic, and had nearly had a police incident when she reached for her gun the last time the bird approached. Sylvie decided the day was done. She'd stalk Mrs. Gruner tomorrow. She hit a drive-through for takeout, and, sensing those dirty feathers diving for her again, rebounded the gull through the drive-through window. Last she saw, speeding off, the clerk was flailing at the dead bird with a spatula.

Sylvie allowed herself a smirk when she stopped at the office, and the bird didn't reappear. Take that, Tex, she thought.

She settled down at Alex's desk, too hungry to even make the short climb to her office. She spread out her napkin, set out noodles, gyoza, the dipping sauce, and reached for the chopsticks, just as all hell broke loose.

Roaches, dead and brittle, swarmed the room, creeping under the doorframe, spilling out of the kitchenette sink drain, even falling from the light fixtures with a crackle of electricity.

Sylvie found herself standing on Alex's desk, heart pounding out of her throat, her stomach churning. She had her gun drawn, like dead roaches were something bullets could stop, and made herself reholster it.

The roaches seethed and swarmed, some managing to clamber up the desk drawers. Sylvie winced, and slammed the drawers shut, trapping a handful inside. The rest fell back, seemingly content to make swirling patterns on the floor.

After five minutes passed where nothing more happened, Sylvie decided she'd just wait it out. Animating one dead creature took effort. Animating several hundred? Wales would tire out fast, and then she'd drag his skinny ass in and make him disinfect the entire office.

She was crouched awkwardly on the desk, munching on cold gyoza, when the door opened.

"Are you Ms. Shadows?"

The woman who stood in the doorway was in her late fifties, immaculately dressed in a peach-linen pantsuit, her hair a gleaming white bob. Diamonds shone on her gnarled hands. They winked in the light as she absently smoothed her hair, then…

Then she screamed, falling backward, scrabbling for the door, running away, graceless and horrified.

"Oh, damn," Sylvie murmured, setting her meal down.

A rusty chuckle reached her, and she looked up toward the stairs. Toward Wales making his long-legged way down. The roaches cleared a path for him.

"I win," he said.

Sylvie shook her head. "Nope."

"No? You want me to send the roaches home with you?"

"No," Sylvie said. "You beat me. But you lost big, Tex."

He wrinkled his nose, looking like a grad student faced with an inexplicable bad grade—perplexed and heading toward pissed-off. "What?"

"First," Sylvie said, "you forgot to close the drawers on Alex's desk. There are roaches in her chocolate drawer."

He winced. "Crap." Alex liked the pricey stuff. Romanico's champagne truffles and full sized Vosges bars.

"And second? That woman who ran screaming out of here? Was the client that I spent all day hunting down. A client that Alex desperately wanted."

Wales leaned against the wall and moaned, "Not Mrs. Gruner."

"'Fraid so."

"Oh...crap."

"Sucks to be you," Sylvie said. She leaped off the desk, landing in a clear spot. "Have a nice night, Tex. Don't let the bedbugs bite."

Maybe, she thought, she'd stop for chocolate on the way home. Victory was sweet.

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Want to know more about LIES & OMENS? Here's the cover copy:

Lyn Benedict Lies and Omens Sylvie Lightner is a P.I. specializing in the unusual—in a world where magic is real, and Hell is just around the corner.

After escaping secret government cells and destroying a Miami landmark, Sylvie’s trying to lay low—something that gets easier when a magical force starts taking out her enemies. But these magical attacks are a risk to bystanders, and Sylvie can’t let that slide.

When the war between the government and the magical world threatens the three people closest to her—her assistant, her sister, and her lover—Sylvie has no choice but to get involved with hidden powers bent on shaping the world to their liking. Now, with death and disaster on the horizon, even if Sylvie wins, things will never be the same...

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

LIES & OMENS is being released on April 24 so be sure to order your copy soon!

You can find out more about the rest of the series by clicking on the cover:

Lyn Benedict Sins & ShadowsLyn Benedict Ghosts & EchoesLyn Benedict Gods & Monsters

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giveaway

Lyn is graciously offering one (1) set of SINS & SHADOWS, GHOSTS & ECHOES, and GODS & MONSTERS to a lucky reader!

To enter the giveaway, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

US/Canada only

Ends Sunday, April 15, 2012
(like all of our Paranormal April Fools’ giveaways)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

---------------------------------

Lyn BenedictLyn Benedict is a pseudonym for Lane Robins. Lane was born in Miami, Florida, the daughter of two scientists, and grew up as the first human member of their menagerie. When it came time for a career, it was a hard choice between veterinarian and writer. It turned out to be far more fun to write about blood than to work with it. She received her BA in Creative Writing from Beloit College, and currently lives in Lawrence, Kansas, with an ever-fluctuating number of dogs and cats.

Website

Jenn

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1)Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Book Stats:
Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Hardcover: 560 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Release date:April 3, 2012

Series: His Fair Assassin #1

Source: NetGalley

Reviewed by: Tynga

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae's most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

Ismae shouldn’t be alive anymore. Her mother used a poison to get rid of her when she was still in her womb, but little Ismae was resilient and survived. You’d have to be if you were Death’s own daughter. The old Gods are threatened by the Church, but the people of Brittany still believes and worships them. Ismae will find her part when serving her father, St.Mortmain, and delivering his punishment on the guilty, sending them back to his domain. But what if his desires were more complicated to interpret than Ismae’s convent thought? 

Grave Mercy was simply amazing. I love straight fantasy novels, and it’s hard to find a good one, but LaFevers’ novel really hit bull’s eye with me! It really reminds me of Poison Study by Maria V Snyder and Graceling by Kristin Cashore. In Grave Mercy, I was able to find this medieval era with its mysteries, conspiracy, treason and secret love. France is trying to conquer Brittany either by force or by forcing the young Duchess to marry one of their man. Many Brittany Duke and Lords are fighting to get their dirty hands on her as well, and all the options are poor ones. Someone is obviously pulling the strings behind the curtains, with their own agenda, destroying any hopes to salvation as they develop and Ismae has to stop the culprit.

From the get go, I was hooked. Ismae was sold in marriage at 14 years old and was saved by St.Mortmain’s believers. She was swiped to a convent and offered to serve the God, by learning weapon fighting, poison dealings, feminine arts (to seduce her target!) and much more, therefore become Death’s handmaiden. Thrilled to now have a purpose and play the Hand of Justice to guilty men, her excitement was tangible and got me glued to the pages. The plot is constantly evolving and moves forward at a steady pace and Ismae’s point of view about her duty changed as the story progressed and I loved seeing her mature through challenges.

Along side the thrilling atmosphere, the characters were my favorite aspect of the book. Ismae started her journey, if ill prepared, determined to bring Justice to this world, firmly believing in her role. Her beliefs will be shaken up though and she adjusts her actions accordingly, proving that she has a mind of her own and isn’t a simple puppet. Doing so, showed that she was stronger than many could claim and I loved her that much more for it. Duval was, at first, her enemy and I loved loved loved to see their relationship grow. Duval has an hardened shell and strongly believes in his duty to his sister, the Duchess of Brittany, and will do anything for her. Ismae’s and Duval’s duties sometimes clashes and witnessing them deal with the issues was delightful. A real battle of minds! Duval is also a sweetheart and gentleman under this rough exterior and he slowly makes his way into Ismae’s heart. Are his intentions honorable though? Or is she being fooled?

The conclusion was heartbreaking and I found myself holding back tears so I could keep on reading. The characters will find themselves between a rock and a hard place and will have to take life-changing, life-threatening decisions. The sacrifices to hold onto Brittany’s freedom will be huge and our strong characters are willing to make them. Not all of them will survive the battle, returning to St.Mortmain’s hands. Ismae will also face a revelation in this moment of sorrow and I truly can’t wait to see how it will affect her future. It kills me that I now have to wait until January 2013 for the sequel, Dark Triumph. Grave Mercy is a long novel at 500+ pages, but I was at the end quickly, wondering how it could already be the end. I want, no, I need more!

I would strongly recommend this novel to Fantasy lovers. Mature teens (because it’s violent even though the main character is 17) and adults alike will appreciate this awesome world! I loved this book so much that I pre-ordered a finished copy once I was done reading it!

Read an Excerpt

tynsig

Thursday, March 29, 2012

PAF: Interview with Aimee Agresti + giveaway!

Paranormal April Fools

Today's guest is Aimee Agresti! Aimee's debut YA novel, ILLUMINATE, is on shelves now and Aimee has dropped by to discuss her book.

Keep reading to learn all about ILLUMINATE and enter to win a copy of ILLUMINATE of your very own!

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Hi, Aimee, and welcome to Tynga’s Reviews! We’re excited to have you visit and talk about your debut novel, ILLUMINATE.

Hi! Thanks so much for having me!

Could you please introduce your main character, Haven, to us?

Of course! Haven Terra is just your typical 16-year-old angel, who’s forced to battle a pack of soul-stealing devils and ends up falling in love with one of them. Oh, and she lives in a hotel! Fun, right?! She’s a bit of an outcast and a major overachiever at school and she scores an internship at a ritzy hotel in Chicago and that’s what sets her on this wild path.

Did you encounter any challenges switching from writing for magazines to writing fiction?

That’s a great question! I wrote for magazines for so many years and I absolutely loved it, but when you’re so used to working with facts it’s incredibly liberating to jump into fiction and create these new worlds. The only challenging thing, I suppose, is just how daunting all that freedom can sometimes be!

How did you decide to set ILLUMINATE in Chicago?

I went to college there, at Northwestern, and I absolutely adored it. I fell in love with Chicago’s fabulous history—prohibition, Capone, those tunnels that ran under the city--I just always knew it would be the perfect backdrop for a mystery.

Do you have a favourite character or (non-spoilery) scene?

Oooh, that’s tough! I love all my characters, I spent so much time living with them all! But I have to admit, Haven is my favorite because I really love her evolution. I worked so hard plotting that metamorphosis and I love how much she has changed by the end of the book. Speaking of the ending: that was definitely my favorite part to write. It’s thrilling when you see all of your puzzle pieces fitting together. I made sure to pack it with action too!

ILLUMINATE is the first in the Gilded Wings series. Can you share anything about the next book or the direction of the series in general?

Sure! Gilded Wings is going to be a trilogy and I’m working on the sequel to ILLUMINATE right now. In Book Two, the gang heads to New Orleans—a town I just love. I don’t want to give anything away…. but you will see some more Lucian!

And now I have a couple quick April Fools’-related questions:

Would you rather prank or be pranked?

It’s always better to be the pranker than the prankee. I’ve never really been one to pull pranks (I would feel bad!) but I do have to guard against being a victim. On April 1, I’m always the one who forgets it’s April Fools’ Day and I start believing everyone’s ridiculous Facebook status updates and things like that!

If you had to prank one of your characters, which one would you choose and why?

Haven would be the easiest to prank—especially at the beginning of the book. She can be kind of serious and I could see someone like Dante, her best friend, pranking her just to get her to lighten up. Lucian doesn’t exactly prank her but he does fool her, and she doesn’t appreciate that at all. But that’s all I’m saying, you’ll have to read!

Thanks very much for visiting us, Aimee!

Thank you so much, I’ve had so much fun!

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Intrigued? Here’s the scoop on ILLUMINATE:

Aimee Agresti Illuminate Haven Terra is a brainy, shy high school outcast. But everything changes when she is awarded a prestigious internship at a posh Chicago hotel under the watchful eyes of a group of gorgeous strangers: the powerful and alluring hotel owner Aurelia Brown; her second-in-command, the dashing Lucian Grove; and their stunning but aloof staff of glamazons called The Outfit.

As Haven begins falling for Lucian, she discovers that these beautiful people are not quite what they seem. With the help of a mysterious book, she uncovers the evil agenda of Aurelia and company: they’re in the business of buying souls. Will they succeed in wooing Haven to join them in their recruitment efforts, or will she be able to thwart this devilish set’s plans to take the souls of her classmates on prom night at the hotel?

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

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giveaway

We have one (1) copy of ILLUMINATE for a lucky reader, courtesy of the lovely folks at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt!

To enter the giveaway, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

US/Canada only

Ends Sunday, April 15, 2012
(like all of our Paranormal April Fools’ giveaways)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

---------------------------------

Aimee Agresti

Aimee Agresti was voted “Quietest” of her high school class–probably because she spent too much time with her nose buried in books. Clearly, becoming a writer was the only possible choice. She now happily toggles between the realms of fact and fiction. The author of the young adult novel ILLUMINATE, she’s also a former Us Weekly staff writer and entertainment journalist whose work has appeared in People, Premiere, DC Magazine, Capitol File, The Washington Post, Washingtonian, The Washington City Paper, Boston magazine, Women’s Health and the New York Observer to name a few. Aimee has made countless TV and radio appearances dishing about celebrities on the likes of Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, E!, The Insider, Extra, VH1, MSNBC, Fox News Channel, Headline News, A&E, and ABC News Now. She graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in journalism and lives with her husband and son in Washington, DC, where she can often be found skulking around the Smithsonian museums on slow writing days waiting for inspiration to strike.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Jenn

Tomorrow Land by Mari Mancusi

Tomorrow LandTomorrow Land by Mari Mancusi

Book stats:
Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Dystopian
Publisher: NLA Digital
Release date: March 8th 2012

Series: Standalone

Source: Netgalley

Reviewed by: Christine

Purchase: Amazon

Can true love survive the end of the world?
Imagine finding your first love, only to be ripped apart by the apocalypse. Peyton Anderson will never forget the day she was forced to make a choice--between her family--and Chris Parker, the boy she'd given her heart. Now, four years later, as she steps from the fallout shelter and into a dead and broken world, he's the only thing on her mind.

All Chris "Chase" Parker wanted was to take Peyton away and keep her safe from harm. But he waited for hours in the rain on judgment day and she never showed--breaking his heart without ever telling him why.

Now the two of them have been thrown together once again, reluctant chaperones to a group of orphan children in a post-apocalyptic world where the dead still walk...and feed. As they begin their pilgrimage to the last human outpost on Earth, can they find a way to let go of old hurts and find the love they lost--all while attempting to save what's left of the human race?

Tomorrow Land totally took me by surprise. While I didn’t have it on the radar at all before I stumbled upon it on Netgalley, I ended up really loving it.

Mari Mancusi’s latest dystopian novel tells the story of two teenagers who survive a plague that has wiped out the majority of the population and try to make a living in a new world filled with zombies and the dangerous virus.

Tomorrow Land alternately tells the story set in the present (the post-apocalyptic world) and flashes back four year to the past, when Peyton and Chase fell in love during the beginnings of the plague. Still, the two different timelines are interwoven, as the part set before the apocalypse provides necessary explanations for what’s going on after the apocalypse.

Peyton and Chase are remarkable protagonists, great, in depth and deftly written. Both of them are flawed, Peyton physically and Chase as a character. Those flaws certainly add to their credibility as characters in my opinion.

Peyton’s father has implanted her with retractable razors in her fingers (kind of like Wolverine) and some kind of ocular lens that upgrades her vision and turns her eyes silver. Like any other teenage, she is very self-conscious because of that. She constantly questions whether Chase might still find her attractive. I like that Mari Mancuso has written a heroine with a flaw that is so common for female teenagers, even though the reason for her doubts is highly unusual. Thus, it’s even easier to identify with Peyton and easier to imagine a catastrophe like the one in Tomorrow Land might actually happen. Aside from that, Peyton is incredibly strong and determined, considering her situation. She has to be, since Chase is the one who needs more help than her.

The plague and all the deaths and tragedy have left their mark on Chase. The only way he can deal with the loss of loved ones and people close to him is by tuning it down by taking pills. He is in a kind of downward cycle: he tries to be responsible, screws up, needs more pills and screws up again. Not that I condone drug abuse in any way, but like I mentioned above, I think this flaw sets him apart from the often too perfect YA heroes. Still, the addiction stands between him and Peyton, making a relationship that is not easy to begin with even harder. They have to overcome a lot of difficulties, problems and misunderstandings, yet, the way all this is written by Mari Mancusi makes it very easy for the readers to empathize with them.

Another really remarkable character is Peyton’s father. Considered a lunatic before the plague he was one of the few people who foresaw the horrors to come and therefore, began preparing his family and especially Peyton for things to come.

Part of what made Tomorrow Land such an impressive read for me was to experience how different groups of survivors dealt with the aftermath of the plague. Mari Mancusi’s book shows in an incredibly gripping, realistic and disturbing way how humans can adapt to almost anything and will still stick to their true nature, which can be good in some cases and very bad in others. One of the elements that I found particularly disturbing and heartbreaking was that even though Chase and his brother made a huge effort to raise the kids as normally as possible, they barely reacted when someone died, which illustrates how common death is for them.

The plague itself was realistically described and felt not too far fetched, just like the 2030th society. It’s not over the top futuristic and Mari Mancusi doesn't loose herself in complicated descriptions of technology or the virus. The gadgets introduced a successful advancement from things we have now. For me, the society didn’t feel as wrong and threatening as it was in other dystopian YA books, but during the story, the true extents of its threat is revealed.

Mari Mancusi does a stellar job of keeping the readers glued to the pages. You are tossed into a post-apocalyptic world right from the beginning and that alone poses a lot of questions that are answered in the course of the book.

At the end, I was sad that Tomorrow Land was only a standalone book, I would have wished for at least one more book. If you like the dystopian YA genre and if you’re looking for you next fix, I definitely recommend Tomorrow Land as a thrilling, adventurous page turner with complex characters and sweet romance.

Chrisig

Daring You To Read… Nightwalker by Jocelynn Drake

Daring you to Read

What was the last really good book you read that had vampires in it? Do you remember? I have to admit, ever since the urban fantasy and PNR genre has grown so much and offers a vast variety of creatures, I tend to read books that concentrate on something other than vamps. There is one series about vampires that I will always love and brace yourselves, it´s not the Black Dagger Brotherhood. I´m daring you to read Nightwalker by Jocelynn Drake.

Nightwalker is the first book in the Dark Days series and it tells the story of Mira, a 600 year old vampire with the rare ability to start and manipulate fire and Danaus, a vampire hunter. Mira lives in Savannah, a city she rules with a strict yet caring hand. When a mysterious vampire hunter comes into town, she decides to meet him. Danaus is not in town to kill the legendary fire starter but to ask for her help in the fight against an old enemy that threatens humans, vampires and weres alike: the Naturi and the Bori.

Both races were considered defeated and locked away, but there are signs that they are trying to come back with a vengeance. Mira has fought against the Naruri before and has been kidnapped and horribly tortured in the process, so the fight against them is personal for them.

Mira and Danaus are both very fascinating, complex characters. Mira’s encounter with the Naturi has left her emotionally scarred and her ability to manipulate the element that can be deadly for vampires makes her very unique even in her world.

Danaus is even more of a mystery. He looks human, but Mira senses that there is more to him. He has been taught that all vampires are basically evil, yet, he’s quite fascinated by Mira, even though he tries to deny it for a long (long, long =) ) time. And let me tell you, the attraction is very much mutual.

The Dark Days series is an urban fantasy series, so the romantic element in the first few books is very subtle. That doesn't change the fact that after the second or third book, the sexual tension between the main protagonists is enough so set your book on fire. I was basically screaming at them to finally do the deed. On the other hand, I was actually glad that Jocelynn Drake didn’t rush things between the two of them. It allows Mira and Danaus to become really close and trust each other, even though they still keep promising to kill each other. There’s also so much to learn about their pasts and secrets and it´s great to see how they grow.

The secondary characters are just as deftly written as the leading couple. Jabari and Valerio, some of the vampires Mira is closest too are incredibly complex and deftly written. Even some of the bad guys turn out to be characters I would have wanted to read more about.

Each book is a thrilling read full of action, fights and suspense and there is never a dull moment. The battle against the Naturi is one of the major storylines and comes to an end in the final book, Burn The Night.

Aside from the Naturi storyline, the books are also full of vampire politics, which is a battlefield of its very own. Mira, being one of the power players in the vampire world because of her ability has to tread very carefully. A lot of vampires want to use her for her power and even more try to get rid of her for the same reasons.

Jocelynn Drake admittedly doesn’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to her vampires and their abilities. She totally makes up for that with the intricacy of the description of the races of the Naturi and Bori. She is also not afraid to pull any punches. There are many shocking deaths and twists that had me hold my breath.

I can wholeheartedly recommend this series to everyone who doesn’t like vampires sparkly and books thrilling, gripping and uncompromising.

Nightwalker (Dark Days, #1)

 

For centuries Mira has been a nightwalker—an unstoppable enforcer for a mysterious organization that manipulates earth-shaking events from the darkest shadows. But elemental mastery over fire sets her apart from others of her night-prowling breed . . . and may be all that prevents her doom.

The foe she now faces is human: the vampire hunter called Danaus, who has already destroyed so many undead. For Mira, the time has come to hunt . . . or be hunted.

Tynga’s Review

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

 

The book is only 1,19$ on amazon, so don’t miss the opportunity!

Other books in this series:

Dark Days series

 

Want to participate in Daring You To Read? Here’s how:

- You choose a book you’ve read, loved and would dare your readers to read!
- The book you choose must be an older release (at least 6 months ago), because let’s be honest, we’re all quite aware of the latest releases.
- Write your own blog post, using the button and linking back to Tynga’s Reviews, inviting your readers to read your chosen book.
- Come back on Tynga’s Reviews and put your link in the linking tool.
- Browse other bloggers Dare and let them know if you’ve read their featured book, or plan on reading it.
- Super easy and an awesome way to discover that special book who might have slipped off your radar!



Don’t forget to add your own Daring You To Read… post in the linky below.

Chrisig

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

PAF: Guest post by Jenn Bennett + giveaway!

Paranormal April Fools

I’m so excited that Jenn Bennett is visiting the blog today. Her Arcadia Bell books are absolutely delicious: they have witty characters, interesting magic, and great plots, plus they feature the only moustached hero in the genre (at least as far as I can figure).

Jenn's offering up something really exciting in her guest post and I'm sure you'll enjoy it. And remember to stick around to learn all about SUMMONING THE NIGHT, her upcoming release, and have three chances to win a copy of your very own!

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Jupiter Butler's April Fools' Sketches

Jupiter, aka Jupe, is a 13-year-old Earthbound demon, the teenage son of my hero, Lon. Now, if you're familiar with Jupe, you can probably imagine that he takes pranking veeeerrrry seriously. And his father is so tight-lipped and grunty, he's the perfect target. But there's an art to pulling a good prank without getting grounded. So Jupe needs your help choosing the perfect April Fools' Day gag. Take a look at Jupe's three sketches below and include your pick for the best prank in the comments for a chance to win one of three copies of book 2 in the Arcadia Bell series, SUMMONING THE NIGHT.

(Note from (blogger) Jenn: Click to embiggen!)

Jupiter Butler April Fools Sketch 1
Jupiter Butler April Fools Sketch 2
Jupiter Butler April Fools Sketch 3

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Want more Jupe? Then you should check out SUMMONING THE NIGHT, which hits bookshelves on April 24:

Jenn Bennett Summoning the Night Magick. Murder. Mayhem. It’s all in a night’s work...

After narrowly escaping her fate as a sacrificial scapegoat, Arcadia Bell is back to normal. Or at least as ordinary as life can be for a renegade magician and owner of a tiki bar that caters to Earthbound demons. She’s gearing up for the busiest day of the year—Halloween—when a vengeful kidnapper paralyzes the community. The influential head of the local Hellfire Club taps Cady to track down the fiendish bogeyman, and now that she’s dating red-hot Lon Butler, the Club’s wayward son, she can hardly say no.

Cady and Lon untangle a gruesome thirty-year trail of clues that points to danger for the club members’ children. But locating the person behind the terror will require some metaphysical help from Cady’s loyal bar patrons as well as her potent new Moonchild powers—and she’d better figure it out before the final victim disappears and her own darkest secret becomes her biggest enemy.

Pre-order: Amazon | Book Depository

Click on the cover to read my thoughts on KINDLING THE MOON:

Jenn Bennett Kindling the Moon

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giveaway

Jenn is graciously offering three (3) copies of SUMMONING THE NIGHT and Simon & Schuster are also offering three (3) copies of SUMMONING THE NIGHT so we have six (6) copies to give away in total!

To enter the giveaway, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

3 copies - US/Canada only

3 copies - US only (no PO boxes)

Ends Sunday, April 15, 2012
(like all of our Paranormal April Fools’ giveaways)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Jenn Bennett

Jenn Bennett is an award-winning visual artist and author of the Arcadia Bell urban fantasy series from Pocket Books. Born in Germany, she’s lived and traveled extensively throughout Europe, the U.S., and the Far East. She believes rebellion is an under-appreciated art form, has conjured more demons than you’ve had hot lunches, and likes her fairy tales like she likes her coffee: dark. She currently lives near Atlanta with her film-geek husband and two very bad pugs.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Jenn

Summoning the Night by Jenn Bennett

Jenn Bennett Summoning the Night Summoning the Night by Jenn Bennett

Book Stats:
Reading level: Adult
Genre: Urban fantasy
Trade paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Pocket
Release date: April 24, 2012

Series: Arcadia Bell #2

Source: Review copy from Pocket

Reviewed by: Jenn

Pre-order: Amazon | Book Depository

Magick. Murder. Mayhem. It’s all in a night’s work...

After narrowly escaping her fate as a sacrificial scapegoat, Arcadia Bell is back to normal. Or at least as ordinary as life can be for a renegade magician and owner of a tiki bar that caters to Earthbound demons. She’s gearing up for the busiest day of the year—Halloween—when a vengeful kidnapper paralyzes the community. The influential head of the local Hellfire Club taps Cady to track down the fiendish bogeyman, and now that she’s dating red-hot Lon Butler, the Club’s wayward son, she can hardly say no.

Cady and Lon untangle a gruesome thirty-year trail of clues that points to danger for the club members’ children. But locating the person behind the terror will require some metaphysical help from Cady’s loyal bar patrons as well as her potent new Moonchild powers—and she’d better figure it out before the final victim disappears and her own darkest secret becomes her biggest enemy.

I was absolutely thrilled when Jenn Bennett agreed to participate in Paranormal April Fools' because I think she's an extremely talented writer. (And I love her hat in her author photo.) I was even more excited when my review copy of SUMMONING THE NIGHT appeared in the mail because it meant I got to spend time with Cady, Lon, and Jupe. I thought Cady's first adventure, KINDLING THE MOON, was a masterful debut (my full post here) and I was dying to find out what was going to happen next. I'm pleased to report that SUMMONING THE NIGHT exceeded my (perhaps too high) expectations! Jenn Bennett has created another amazing novel filled with strong characters, magical surprises, and quirky humour.

The central plot of SUMMONING THE NIGHT revolves around the return of the Snatcher, someone who was kidnapping teenagers 30 years ago and who's back for more of them just in time for Halloween. Cady and Lon get roped in because the kids that are getting taken are from Hellfire Club families; neither one of them particularly want to associate with the Hellfire Club but they do end up investigating the old crime to try to stop the current one. It's a great story with lots of twists and turns and I couldn't predict what was going to happen as the novel progressed. In the process of their investigation, we get to learn more about Cady's Moonchild powers and about the magics that exist in Cady's world.

On the relationship front, Lon and Cady's romance is going strong. It's not quite old hat but they're definitely comfortable with each other. There are some great sexy moments but I really enjoyed seeing them a little more (but not entirely) settled. I also enjoyed the occasional comments other characters made about their age gap. :) Plus, the family dynamic with Lon's teenage Jupe is adorable. Cady and Jupe's relationship is a lot of fun because they're closer in age than she and Lon and because Jupe is just such a rascal. He's absolutely irresistible and I love it when he's on the page. There are some particularly awesome Jupe moments in SUMMONING THE NIGHT so you'll need to pick this book up if you liked him in KINDLING THE MOON.

We also get to see some new faces and learn more about some of the characters introduced in Cady's debut. There are some wonderful scenes with Kar Yee, Cady's business partner and best friend. Kar Yee's one of my favourite characters in the book because she's so sharp and alive and I was pleased to get to know her better. We also get to know some of the darker folks, particularly Ambrose Dare from the Hellfire Club. I don't like him. You won't either. But he's good for the story and I appreciate him for that reason, and that reason alone.

All in all, SUMMONING THE NIGHT is a fabulous entry into the urban fantasy genre and I can't wait to see what happens with Cady, Lon, and Jupe next. Make sure you pick up your copy on April 24!

To help you remember, check out the best book trailer EVA:

Jenn

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

PAF: Interview with Jackie Morse Kessler + giveaway!

Paranormal April Fools

I’m thrilled to welcome Jackie Morse Kessler back to the blog today for a chat about her newest release, LOSS, the third book in her Riders of the Apocalypse series, available now.

Keep reading to learn more about LOSS and to enter to win a copy of your very own or a LOSS poster from Jackie!

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Hi, Jackie, and welcome back to Tynga’s Reviews! You’ve been busy since your last visit.

Thanks so much! Ooh, I’m a returning guest! **happy dance**

This series deals with some very serious issues: HUNGER tackles anorexia, RAGE deals with self-injury, and now LOSS takes on bullying. Is it difficult to write about such heavy subject matter?

It’s been getting tougher with each book. With HUNGER, writing it was almost cathartic, because I’d had the idea for so long before I finally wrote the book. RAGE left me emotionally drained, and LOSS even more so. It’s exhausting, and it leaves me raw. Thankfully, chocolate and a few Supernatural reruns help get me back to my happy place. :)

What do you hope your readers take away from this series, LOSS in particular?

I hope that the books raise awareness of issues such as eating disorders, self-injury, and bullying—in all its forms—and that people start talking about these things more openly, more candidly. The more that we talk about these things, the more likely it is that people suffering from them will get the support and help they need. That’s my biggest hope.

You donate a portion of the proceeds from each of the books in this series to an organization related to your protagonists’ problems. With LOSS, for example, you’re supporting the Alzheimer's Association. What prompted you to do such a wonderful thing and how do you decide which organizations to support?

Alzheimer's Association

I knew from the moment I started writing HUNGER that, if I were fortunate enough to have a publisher buy the book, I would donate a portion of proceeds to the National Eating Disorders Association. I’m a former bulimic, and it was extremely important to me to do something to help support an organization that does so much to help those who have been affected by eating disorders. When I was working on RAGE, a friend had suggested that I consider the organization To Write Love On Her Arms as a possible charity. So I looked into TWLOHA and I was thrilled with what I found: an organization that works tirelessly to provide help and support to those suffering from depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicidal thoughts.

As for LOSS, originally, the book was going to focus exclusively on coping with Alzheimer’s, especially those who are in the difficult role of being the caregiver of a loved one who is battling the disease. (As I wrote the book, Alzheimer’s became a subplot and bullying turned into the major focus.) Alzheimer’s runs in my family, so this is a very personal cause for me.

What is Billy’s (LOSS’ main character) favourite book or author?

Billy likes to read about adventure in faraway places, anything that helps him escape how lousy his real life can be. He’s big into epic fantasy, especially LORD OF THE RINGS and the BELGARIAD, and recently, he got into Butcher’s CODEX ALERA.

Can you give us a little (non-spoilery) tease about the fourth book, BREATH? I can’t wait to *finally* read Death’s story because he’s my favourite.

Thanks! I’m in the throes of writing BREATH right now. I hope that it answers all the questions raised so far in the series, as well as tells Death’s story. It gets dark. And if I do this right, it will have a twist. And Twinkies.

Was that sufficiently teaserific without giving anything away? :)

Riders of the Apocalypse

And now a couple quick April Fools’-related questions:

Have you ever pulled off a successful prank?

Um. No. Not unless you count the time I, ah, borrowed my friend’s car. Before I had a license. And didn’t tell her. (I am such a role model.)

What do you think of prank-based shows like Punk’d, Scare Tactics, or Candid Camera?

If I watched them, I could probably give you an answer. :)

Thanks very much for visiting us, Jackie!

Thanks again for having me!

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Want more on LOSS? Here's the cover copy:

Jackie Morse Kessler Loss Fifteen-year-old Billy Ballard is the kid that everyone picks on. But things change drastically when Death tells Billy he must stand in as Pestilence, the White Rider of the Apocalypse. Now armed with a Bow that allows him to strike with disease from a distance, Billy lashes out at his tormentors...and accidentally causes an outbreak of meningitis. Horrified by his actions, Billy begs Death to take back the Bow. For that to happen, says Death, Billy must track down the real White Rider, and stop him from unleashing something awful on humanity—something that could make the Black Plague look like a summer cold. Does one bullied teenager have the strength to stand his ground—and the courage to save the world?

Read an excerpt

Pre-order: Amazon | Book Depository

If that's not enough on LOSS for you, you can visit some of Jackie's other tour stops. Click on the banner to find out more.

Loss blog tour

Click on the covers to learn about the first two books in the series:

Jackie Morse Kessler HungerJackie Morse Kessler Rage

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giveaway

We have two giveaways today so please pay attention! There are different ways to enter AND different end dates!

Giveaway #1: Jackie is offering the following giveaway:

One lucky commenter below will win a small cover poster of LOSS—and will be entered in the grand prize drawing! The grand prize winner will receive signed copies of HUNGER, RAGE and LOSS—and will get to name a character in BREATH, the fourth book in the Riders of the Apocalypse series. The grand prize winner will be picked on Sunday, April 1, 2012. No foolin’.

Open internationally.

To enter the poster/grand prize giveaway, you must leave a meaningful comment by noon EST on Friday, March 30, 2012.

And if that's not enough, we have more!

Giveaway #2: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is graciously offering one (1) copy of LOSS to a lucky reader!

To enter the giveaway, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

US/Canada only

Ends Sunday, April 15, 2012
(like all of our Paranormal April Fools’ giveaways)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

---------------------------------

Jackie Morse Kessler Jackie Morse Kessler grew up in Brooklyn, NY, with a cranky cat and overflowing shelves filled with dolls and books. Now she’s in Upstate NY with another cranky cat, a loving husband, two sons, and overflowing shelves filled with dragons and books (except when her sons steal her dragons). She has a bachelor’s degree in English and American Literature, and yet she’s never read any Jane Austen (with or without zombies). She also has a master’s degree in media ecology. (The living study of technology and culture. Which is cool, but she still can’t figure out how to use Tweetdeck.)

Jackie spends a lot of time writing, reading, and getting distracted by bright and shiny new ideas. (She just came up with a new idea right now.) She has a weakness for chocolate and a tendency to let her cat take over her office chair.

Website | Twitter

Jenn