Netgalley Review: The Shape of Ideas

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I received an e-arc of this book from netgalley and this is my honest review.

Original Release Date:

April 18th, 2017

Date I Read The Book:

May 2017

My Star Rating:

4 Stars

Official Summary:

What does an idea look like? And where do they come from? Grant Snider’s illustrations will motivate you to explore these questions, inspire you to come up with your own answers and, like all Gordian knots, prompt even more questions. Whether you are a professional artist or designer, a student pursuing a creative career, a person of faith, someone who likes walks on the beach, or a dreamer who sits on the front porch contemplating life, this collection of one- and two-page comics will provide insight into the joys and frustrations of creativity, inspiration, and process—no matter your age or creative background.

My Review: (Vague Spoilers)

This is a little graphic novel type book on creativity from the perspective of an artist. Its pretty clever, using different ideas, stereotypes, etc. of art to convey a message. The artwork is really well done with a pretty distinct style that I enjoyed. Some sections were more enjoyable than others, but if you enjoy art or other creative end overs, it may be worth checking out. Its quick to get through and it made me smile.

Blog Tour: Ahe’ey – Promo

Aheey Omnibus

Ahe’ey
by Jamie Le Fay
Genre: Epic Fantasy Romance
Release Date: March 8th 2017


Summary:

Morgan’s feminist books didn’t prepare her to deal with the dashing Gabriel and the land of Ahe’ey.

Morgan is a dreamer, change maker and art lover. She is a feisty, slightly preachy, romantic feminist full of contradictions and insecurities. Morgan uncovers a world where women have the power, and where magic is no longer just a figment of her wild imagination. Sounds like a dream, but it may, in fact, turn into a nightmare.

The world of the Ahe’ey challenges and subverts her views about gender, genes, and nature versus nurture.

The strong and uninvited chemistry between her and the dashing Gabriel makes matters even more complicated. His stunning looks keep short-circuiting her rational mind.

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Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Smashwords

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EDITORIAL REVIEWS

“A bracing mix of emotionally and intellectually honest fantasy.” – Kirkus Reviews

“This book is a thoughtful look at empowerment for women. At the same time, it’s a rollicking trip into a fantasy world complete with dragons, love and strength, and ideas that really get you thinking. This book is highly recommended for all ages.” – HUGEOrange

“They’re flawed, real, and honest characters that can be easily related to. Ahe’ey is the kind of novel society needs to read, to create inspiration and to make people think. Ahe’ey is daring, complex, and honest. A must-read novel that tackles heavy and real topics with a mix of serious and humorous, charm and tragedy.” – Reader’s Favorite – 5 Star Review

“Ahe’ey contains a richly imagined world that raises complicated and timely questions about our own.

Jamie Le Fay’s Ahe’ey is an action-packed love story that puts forth a nuanced vision of gender stereotypes, body politics, and the dark side of seeking perfection.” – Foreword Clarion – 4 Star Review


Jamie

About the Author

Jamie is an accomplished writer and speaker that focuses mainly on topics related to girlhood, feminism, gender equality, and the misrepresentation of minorities in media and marketing.

Author Links:

WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook


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Blog Tour Organized by:

YA Bound Book Tours


Ahe’ey Soundcloud Chapters

The first 3 chapters of Ahe’ey can be found on Soundcloud:

Link: https://soundcloud.com/user-133206247/albums


Excerpt 1

“For many years, I’ve been reminding the women in the community that they are role models. That they should model self-esteem; that they should stop commenting on other women’s appearances and throw the beauty mags in the trash. As I do, I must admit that I sometimes feel like a fraud, because on occasions I’m paralysed by a tremendous lack of physical self-worth. So today, I want to acknowledge that we are all works in progress. I want you to know that sometimes it’s important to share, to look the monster in the face, to acknowledge its existence. Hiding what we are and projecting what we should be doesn’t always keep the monster at bay.

“Together, we are stronger. We work to overcome our upbringings; to outgrow the damaging fairy tales of our youth; to ignore the pressure from entire industries whose profits rely on our self-hate.

“And when you see the monster, remember to look it in the eyes and tell it that every second you lose worrying about your looks is a second you are not learning; it is a second you are not experiencing the world; it is a second you are not contributing to your communities in a positive way.

“When you don’t go to the park or to the beach because you are ashamed of how you look, remember the girls and boys that live in war-torn countries that are not allowed the joys of outdoors fun.

“In moments where you focus on your appearance, remember the girls that are kidnapped from their schools in countries where women are denied an education.

“Every moment you are unhappy with your shape or size, remember those who are paralysed, unable to walk, jump, or dance.

“When you starve yourself to reach unattainable standards of beauty artificially constructed by businesses, you are weakening your body and your mind. You are wasting away the precious moments you have and you are giving up your power.

“The obsession with beauty is death by a thousand cuts. Every micro decision is guided by meaningless worry that limits your future, your opportunities and your ability to experience the joys of pleasure.

“Because when you kiss your first boy or girl, you don’t want to be so caught up in your lack of self-worth that you forget to enjoy the kiss, that you forget that you deserve the pleasure of that moment. You don’t want to be so caught up in your lack of self-worth that you become an object of his or her desire, a grateful unworthy slave to his or her attention.

“Who you are has little to do with how you look. You are what you know, what you can do, the impact you have delivered, and the collection of experiences in your meaningful life.

“More than ever, this world needs your intellect, your cleverness, your resourcefulness, and your passion for making the world a better place for those who are less privileged than you.

“More than ever, this planet needs your kindness and your generosity. It needs those who reject the ‘I’ and celebrate the ‘we’. Those who reject hate, violence, and destruction for the sake of power and financial gain.

“You are the most powerful army in the world; you are the future of this planet. You cannot, you will not spend one more minute of your time looking in a mirror wishing you looked different. And if and when you do, you will have compassion and love for the monster; the victim in the mirror, the helpless slave to upbringing, culture and media. You will be kind to her, and then you will be brave, you will reject the victim, and become the fearless hero this world deserves. And you will reject it again and again and again until the voice inside your head that stands between you and your bright future can no longer be heard.

“Sometimes I need to remind myself that I’m not my reflection in someone’s eyes. That what is important; what is truly essential; what really matters about me is invisible to the eye.

“In those days I have to remind myself to live, to love, to laugh, to learn, and to lead.

“In those days remind yourself to live, to love, to laugh, to learn, and to lead.”

Excerpt 2

It took less than two minutes for Gabriel to knock on her door. “Surely you’re not considering going ahead with the outdoor event?” He spoke faster, and his pitch was higher than usual. “It’s much too dangerous. We have no way to control the crowd or prevent an attack. I can’t allow—”

“You can’t what, sir?” she said, raising her voice. She was furious. Her eyes were spears ready to be fired without mercy. “Who do you think you are, to give me orders?”

There was nothing he could say or do. This confrontation wasn’t about the event. She needed to show him that she was the agent of her own destiny and that he had no power over her.

“Morgan, don’t risk your life for anger and pride.” He lowered his voice and attempted to reason with her.

“Great advice from the person who placed my life at risk in the first place. Why don’t you go and do your job instead? Aren’t you supposed to be leading my security team? Do your job! Neither you nor the MRD will stop me from doing mine. I won’t allow manipulation or bullying.” Morgan’s tone was cutting, almost feral.

“I can’t let you risk your life,” his mouth twisted; his voice held a cocktail of frustration and desperation.

Excerpt 3

Before she could process her actions, Morgan found herself walking towards the door, signalling the guards to follow her. Outside, the strange woman shouted.

Where are the Ma’asai?

“At the venue, in the Great Lawn in Central Park. We enclosed the perimeter and created some security checkpoints,” said the blonde man.

“You betrayed my direct orders, Bastian.”

“I received no such order my Sky. Please! We are already here. It’s just for a few hours. We don’t want another incident like the Met where he disclosed his skills to protect her. Let me prevent further—” The blonde man stopped talking as he saw Morgan and the security guards approach.

The woman wrapped her cinnamon-coloured cape around her body, fully covering her weapons and her unusual outfit.

How odd. They look like they belong in a sci-fi TV series, thought Morgan.

“Good afternoon,” Morgan said loudly. She flashed a theatrical smile, trying to defuse the situation. “Hey, nice outfits. Is this Comic-con weekend? I love Comic-con. Which character are you?” She looked up to meet the eyes of the imposing Amazon. The woman looked at Morgan with an expression of cold indifference.

For one moment, Morgan felt like she was looking into a mirror. She recognised the texture and the fire of that hair. How strange.

Excerpt 4

“What do you want from me, Ange’el?”

“Your warriors, they can help secure the area. It’s just for a couple of hours.”

Are you out of your mind? Has Viviane heard about this? My warriors protect our people from those who threaten our security,” she spoke decisively.

He adjusted his tone, trying to reason with her. Silk and honey flowed from his voice and his eyes. “Sky, we were once—”

“Don’t you dare. Don’t you dare!” She leaned in, speaking to his face. Her hand squeezed the hilt of her sword. She gritted her teeth, responding to his silence. “Where were you when we battled the Hu’urei for over twenty years? Where was the powerful prince of Ange’el as my warriors died in the battlefield, crushed by the dragons? Why would I risk the safety of Ahe’ey to respond to the whims of a spoiled coward? Go back to your rich city penthouse Ange’el. You don’t belong here.” Her eyes and her words were razor-sharp spears.

“Please. Sky.”

She mounted the horse and galloped away.

His guilty conscience endured her justified anger and her hate for him. He wore her wrath as a reminder of his weakness, of his betrayal. He gave Sky her rage, and he would suffer it for the rest of their lives. The tension between their roles at Ahe’ey only worsened their frail and fractured relationship. Their agendas were different. She was ultimately responsible for the security of the people of Ahe’ey, and within its borders she was as powerful as the queen and king. She was to be obeyed and rarely needed her mighty army to enforce her orders. Gabriel worked to hide any clues of Ahe’ey’s existence from the humans. In parallel, he sponsored and lobbied for technological and political progress so that Ahe’ey’s secrets could one day be disclosed.


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Blog Tour Schedule –

June 19th

June 20th

June 21st

June 22nd

June 23rd

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I’ve Been Meaning To Start But Haven’t

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Anyone can participate and its a lot of fun, so I highly encourage it!

Let me know if you’re a part too!


June 20:  Top Ten Series I’ve Been Meaning To Start But Haven’t — anyone else have a mile long list of series to start like I do??


 

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One Lovely Blog Award

I was tagged by the wonderful Icebreaker694 – go check her out!

 

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Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog
  • Add the One Lovely Blog Award to your post
  • Share 7 things about yourself
  • Pass this on to as many people as you like (max 15)
  • Include this set of rules
  • Inform your nominees

1 – I’m left-handed, but I use the computer mouse with my right hand.

2 – I can speak, read, and understand Spanish but my writing is terrible.

3 – From mid-March to the first week of May I spent Monday, Wednesday, and Friday after school until 4:30/5 to go to calculus tutoring. (I’m scheduling this is April – I’m a little done with it).

4 –  My TBR is so big it spans 3 pages on Netgalley and a physical shelf that is starting to cave in.

5 – I’ve started DNFing books.

6 – I think I finally found a blogging schedule thats going to work for me.

7 – I watched all of Leverage on Netflix in about 3 weeks its so good.

 


I Tag:

McKenzie @ Bookish Things and Tea

Megan @ Bookslayer Reads

Catia @ The Girl Who Read Too Much

Danielle @ Books, Vertigo and Tea

Ryann The Reader

Reg @ She Latitude

Blog Tour: The Dragon Orb – Review

The Dragon Orb tour banner

The Dragon Orb (The Alaris Chronicles #1)
by Mike Shelton
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: March 1st 2017

dragon orb cover

Summary from Goodreads:

The fate of a kingdom rests on the shoulders of three young wizards who couldn’t be more different.

Bakari is a brilliant scholar wizard who’s more at home in a library than a battlefield. Alli is a beautiful young battle wizard whose grace in battle is both enchanting and deadly. Roland is a counselor wizard with a seemingly limitless depth of untapped power — and the ego to match it.

As the magical barrier protecting the kingdom of Alaris from dangerous outsiders begins to fail, and a fomenting rebellion threatens to divide the country in a civil war, the three wizards are thrust into the middle of a power struggle.

When the barrier comes down, the truth comes out. Was everything they were taught about their kingdom based on a lie? Will they all choose to fight on the same side, or end up enemies in the battle over who should rule Alaris?

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The Alaris Chronicles Praise:

The first book of the Alaris Chronicles series brings a refreshing take on magic and politics in fantasy. The world feels very much alive as the wizards take on their new challenges, struggling with their personal demons as much as those of the land they are expected to protect. For people wanting a fantasy kingdom-based read that is more sorcery than swords with a depth of intrigue that goes well beyond blood and debauchery, The Dragon Orb is a solid new entry in the genre.” –Self-Publishing Review

The Dragon Orb is full of magic and adventure, and a way for younger readers to get a peek into the world of politics. The book is a strange combination of a Dungeons and Dragons adventure with Game of Thrones, but with kids as the movers and shakers of the story — and with a PG rating. It is a very easy read, a page turner. I love the fact that the protagonists of this story come in all colors, shapes and sizes, and that our leads are not your usual all-white characters. As mentioned before, the world our characters inhabit borrows from already established fantasy folklore; from Lord of the Rings to the Wheel of Time series. The biggest innovation on these series by Mr. Shelton is the inclusion of how politics work (hence the Game of Thrones reference), but accessible for a younger audience.” –  Erika Grediaga for Readers’ Favorite

“Dragon Rider is packed with action, adventure and a well-thought fantasy world. In a sort of collage of a wide variety of fantasy literature, from Lord of the Rings to The Wheel of Time, Mike Shelton goes into the ugliness of power and politics in a very interesting way, creating this type of introductory and age-appropriate version of Game of Thrones for kids. I think any tween or teen, from age ten on, would love to immerse themselves in this world of treason and power, where children are the ones who hold everyone in check.” – Readers’ Favorite


About the Author

Author

Mike was born in California and has lived in multiple states from the west coast to the east coast. He cannot remember a time when he wasn’t reading a book. At school, home, on vacation, at work at lunch time, and yes even a few pages in the car (at times when he just couldn’t put that great book down). Though he has read all sorts of genres he has always been drawn to fantasy. It is his way of escaping to a simpler time filled with magic, wonders and heroics of young men and women.

Other than reading, Mike has always enjoyed the outdoors. From the beaches in Southern California to the warm waters of North Carolina. From the waterfalls in the Northwest to the Rocky Mountains in Utah. Mike has appreciated the beauty that God provides for us. He also enjoys hiking, discovering nature, playing a little basketball or volleyball, and most recently disc golf. He has a lovely wife who has always supported him, and three beautiful children who have been the center of his life.

Mike began writing stories in elementary school and moved on to larger novels in his early adult years. He has worked in corporate finance for most of his career. That, along with spending time with his wonderful family and obligations at church has made it difficult to find the time to truly dedicate to writing. In the last few years as his children have become older he has returned to doing what he truly enjoys – writing!

Author Links:

WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebookAmazonInstagram


Blog Tour Organized by:

YA Bound Book Tours

Giveaway: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/9e540ef9369/


4 stars

Review:

I was sent a e-copy of the book for the tour and this is my honest review.

I LOVE dragons and that, especially, was the reason I wanted to review this book.

The Dragon Orb is the first in a new fantasy series, and it was pretty fantastic.

Great magic, well paced action, and well rounded and relatable characters.

A bit slow and/or cliche in places but over all, a good read. If you like dragons, wizards, and fantasy, its worth checking out.


Blog Tour Schedule –

June 12th

June 13th

June 14th

June 15th

June 16th

AudioBook Review: Batgirl At Superhero High

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ABOUT
BATGIRL AT SUPER HERO HIGH
(DC SUPER HERO GIRLS)

Get your cape on with the DC Super Hero Girls™— the unprecedented new Super Hero universe especially for girls! Readers of all ages can fly high with the all-new adventures of Wonder Woman™, Supergirl™, Batgirl™, and some of the world’s most iconic female super heroes as high schoolers!

Batgirl has always hidden in the shadows—but does she have what it takes to stand in the spotlight at Super Hero High?

Barbara Gordon has always been an off-the-charts, just-forget-about-the-test super-genius and tech whiz, and then she gets the offer of a lifetime when Supergirl recognizes that Barbara’s talents make her an ideal candidate for Super Hero High. Donning the cape and cowl, Barbara Gordon becomes Batgirl, ready to train at the most elite school on the planet, next to some of the most powerful teenagers in the galaxy. She’s always had the heart of a hero . . . but now she’ll have to prove that she can be one. Good thing she loves a challenge!

Award-winning author Lisa Yee brings mystery, thrills, and laughs to this groundbreaking series that follows DC Comics most iconic female Super Heroes and Super-Villains. Move over Batman™ and Superman™—the DC Super Hero Girls are ready to save the day and have fun doing it!


Chronology:
Companion/third in series (but can standalone)

Release Date:
January 3rd 2017

Age Range:
Definitely older children, lower middle grade. Maybe ages 8-12, ideally.


Star Rating:

4 Stars


Review:

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you’ll know two things. I rarely read middle grade, and I loathe audiobooks. Actually, when I requested this book I didn’t realize it was an audiobook. But I went with it. My sister was watching the show, and it made me want to request this.

I like the idea of these books, making superheroes for girls too, not just books. Encouraging reading with the books etc. Its pretty cheesy and dumbed down, but it is a lower middle grade book, so I expected as much. I do think pretween girls, which its intended for, will enjoy it if they enjoy superhero stories at all.

In the beginning, it was pretty clear this was a sequel/companion, as previous events are recapped, but it didn’t impair the story at all past the initial “wait what” moment. At certain times, the characters seemed to act a bit older than their supposed ages, and it through me off when hearing a familiar DC comic name that was characterized differently, so get used to the idea of “alternate DC universe with every hero and villain a 12 year old in superhero boarding school”.

I did think it was well written, and I like Mae Whitman’s narrating, even if I cannot get into it as much as I’d’ve liked because the audiobook took about 5x as long to listen to as it would have been to read.

Overall, I thought it was a cute story. If you fall into the target audience (or enjoy books for that target audience) I’d recommend it.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lisa Yee’s debut novel, Millicent Min, Girl Genius, won the prestigious Sid Fleischman Humor Award. Her other novels for young people, with nearly two million copies in print, include Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time, So Totally Emily Ebers, Absolutely Maybe, and two books about a fourth grader, Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally) and Bobby the Brave (Sometimes). Lisa is also the author of American Girl’s Kanani books and Good Luck, Ivy. Her recent novel, Warp Speed, is about a Star Trek geek who gets beat up every day at school.Lisa is a former Thurber House Children’s Writer-in-Residence whose books have been chosen as an NPR Best Summer Read, a Sports Illustrated Kids Hot Summer Read, and a USA Today Critics’ Top Pick.

Visit Lisa at lisayee.com or check out her blog at lisayee.livejournal.com.


 I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review. This is my honest opinion.

Blog Tour: Black Blade – Review

Black-Blade

Black Blade
by Alexander Charalambides
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Release Date: June 11th 2017


Summary:

Lance is a hero.

With his friend Megan, he does his best to survive high school in a world that doesn’t always make sense, and is almost never fair.

When their school receives a donation from an anonymous millionaire, Lance and Megan find themselves on an international field trip to England, where the two receive an irresistible call to a supernatural adventure that could change their destinies, and the destiny of the country, forever.

Together with three mysterious adults who all claim to be wizards, Lance must safe-guard the legendary Excalibur. Traveling into a strange parallel world and keeping his friends, new and old, safe from harm at the hands of a malevolent army of magical soldiers, Lance discovers the truth about heroism and the content of his character.

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About the Author

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Alexander Charalambides was born in London and grew up in Berkshire.

He studied Creative Writing, and graduated from the Open University.

In 2008 he moved to the United States, and now lives in New Hampshire.

As a freelance writer Alexander enjoys storytelling just as much as editing and analysis, but often takes time off to enjoy wind surfing, do the sickest of motorcycle flips, wrestle with deadly animals and lie about his hobbies.

Author Links:

WebsiteGoodreadsFacebook


3.5 stars

Review:

I was sent a e-copy of the book for the tour and this is my honest review.

Black Blade is a great story based of the legends of King Arthur, full of its own unique twists, magic and dark humor.

The characters are all great – they irritating at times, its well written, with the changes in point of view clear and easy to follow.

Its a little slow in places, but an overall good read.


Black Blade TOUR banner NEW copy


Giveaway: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/9e540ef9370/


Promo:

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MUSIC PLAYLIST 

Music is an extremely powerful tool for the imagination, it strengths atmosphere and preserves the author’s intent while still allowing the reader to freely imagine the details and texture the author choses to leave blank.

The said, Black Blade’s atmosphere, and therefore “imaginary” soundtrack is sort of set in stone. Since Black Blade is almost a comedy, you might expect me to have listened to all sorts of silly music (which is what I usually listen to), but this is where the “almost” is important. Black Blade’s characters are pretty over the top, sometimes absurd, but the plot and atmosphere are always serious and often sombre, so the comedy really comes from contrast rather than any specific action.

I can’t score the whole thing, but plenty of musical pieces went into building the atmosphere, and since the atmosphere really grew from John Boorman’s Excalibur, we’ll start there.

If you watch Excalibur (and I highly recommend you do) the soundtrack will stand out immediately, the key player being Wagner’s Siegfrieds Funeral March. It’s the keystone of the film’s atmosphere and Black Blade’s as well. In fact, I’m listening to it right now and feeling really proud of myself.

Obviously, though, playlists aren’t composed of a single song. I tried to diversify and ended up with a lot of classical stuff.

Most people know Night On Bald Mountain, which I think comes in louder and louder towards Black Blade’s end, and I always imagined the crowded breathing and clattering equipment of the Mason’s Guild accompanied by Prokofiev’s Dance Of The Knights.

I know, you probably think I’m boring. All posturing about authorial intent and atmosphere aside, I found that writing with these really old, forbidding pieces added something that I couldn’t find in more modern music, and lyrics were right out.

Maybe I’m just ignorant of the music I really needed since all I usually listen to are non-sense mashups and songs made of sampled dog barks.


 MY DREAM CAST FOR BLACK BLADE 

Books are amazing things because you don’t need to cast anyone. It’s one of the things that’s always stood out to me as important about the medium. Because of that, I don’t usually detail my characters or “cast” them, and when details about their personal appearances come up it’s always because they’re relevant to what’s happening in the story. I want to preserve the freedom of anyone to imagine any of my characters to be as much like or unlike them as they want.

That said, I understand why people like to talk about their “dream casts”. It’s a fantasy probably every author has shared at one point or another, sitting down and talking to a casting director about who they can get for the movie adaption, why you want who you want and why they’d be perfect.

Unfortunately, because of the approach I take to how characters look, and because I want my readers to have as much freedom as possible imagining them, I never “cast” anyone I write about, but I can talk about some influences particular performances have had on my decisions about those characters.

The clearest influence I can trace is for Lance, an adolescent malcontent and Black Blade’s “hero”. He whines, he judges, and he is a haver of wrong opinions. I’m sure you’re picturing him already, but I drew a lot on Shia Labeouf for this character, particularly his roles in all the Transformers movies. Please forgive me.

Next are the wizards (spoiler warning: there are wizards in this book), and they’re much harder to pin down to any specific actors. It’s essential that they are aloof, condescending (and in one case very angry), but I have a heard time narrowing their casting beyond the traditional stable of Very Serious British actors.

Last is Megan. Black Blade is driven by an obligation that forces the characters on a supernatural journey. If you think of the story of the book as the story of this quest, Megan is peripheral, or even irrelevant.

She’s really small, almost never confrontational, and almost never takes the initiative. She is (as far as I’m concerned) by far the most important character. Why haven’t I mentioned a cast yet, you might be asking?

The answer is the most important reason that we keep writing books: I’ve never seen an actress cast that would be appropriate for her, and there probably isn’t one for the simple reason that no executive or casting director would employ someone so “ordinary”.

We can write about whoever we want, people who could never be represented by any actor. Without that willingness to write about ugly, strange, ordinary people, we cripple ourselves creatively, so when you think about your “dream cast” while writing, please don’t forget that not all people are actors.


READ BLACK BLADE IF YOU LIKE… 

I think writers are defined by what they take from their influences, and one of the great things about this is that there are no “conventions”. When I look at an author’s work and then read about their influences I can usually see what came from where but I’m always surprised by the whys and hows.

To be honest, this is a subject I could talk about all day, and the way books can be influenced and influence others faster and more fluidly than any other medium is why they’re so important. Obviously, though, I’m supposed to talk about my own influences, since, after all, those are the only ones I can be completely certain of. In fact, writing this post helped me realize some influences I’d completely overlooked.

The most important influences on any writer are the books that first interested him or her in writing, although not necessarily reading. I remember refusing to read anything other than non-fiction until I was press-ganged into enjoying Harry Potter, but I never really thought about story-telling or applying my own creativity until I discovered Cliff McNish’s Doomspell and Silver series. They really stood out to me for their imagination, concise communication with the reader and intelligently detailed worlds. Bot of them captured an atmosphere of mundane gloom, like something bad everyone knew would happen, was pointless to try to stop, and that more than anything else found its way into Black Blade.

I have to admit, for a long time I was coasting creatively. My storytelling ideas advanced, but technically speaking my writing wasn’t improving. That changed after I read Melvin Burgess’ Junk. The book’s influence extends beyond atmosphere, and even though in terms of plot it has almost no relation to Black Blade at all, it’s probably the work that had the biggest impact on my book for a very simple reason: Voice. Without Junk I never would would’ve worked on differentiating my voices, or realized how important narration can be for characterization.

By now we’re on to the visual stuff, the movies. This first one won’t really surprise you, but John Boorman’s 1981 Excalibur really defined for me the atmosphere I feel myth should have, and while Black Blade’s characters and world are very different, you’ll find the same sense of predestination and determination in both.

Lastly is the one I didn’t realize influenced me until I started to really think about atmosphere. Black Blade has mythic themes, sometimes mythic language and even mythic style over-acting and over-emotional characters, but I think what really formed the spine of my book comes from Jacob’s Ladder.

Black Blade isn’t even approaching that level of suspense or horror, but the journey through an abstract, shifting landscape that seems to represent parts of the characters, and shifting perspective traveling through past and future to give the audience a unique changing perspective is definitely something I learned from Jacob’s Ladder.

When I started out I was worried that this whole thing might sound derivative, but now I feel as confident as an author can. What is creativity except a long list of debts?


Blog Tour Organized by:

YA Bound Book Tours


Blog Tour Schedule –

June 12th

June 13th

June 14th

June 15th

June 16th

Top Five Wednesday: Side Ships 

Top Five Wednesday is a book meme that Lainey started, and is now hosted by Sam at Thoughts on Tomes.
If you want to join in checkout the Goodreads page!


June 14th: Side Ships 
— Tell us your favorite relationships that don’t involve the protagonist!


(Images not mine)


Magnus and Alec

(From The Mortal Instruments)

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Izzy and Simon

(From The Mortal Instruments)

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Finnick and Annie

(From The Hunger Games)

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Nico di Angelo and Will Solace

(From The Heroes of Olympus)

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Leo and Calypso

(From The Heroes of Olympus)

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Ronan and Adam

(From The Raven Cycle)

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Cover Reveal: Gate of Air

Gate of Air
Resa Nelson
(Dragon Gods, #1)
Publication date: July 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Frayka must find and convince the dragon gods of the Far East to appease the gods of her Northland heritage. If she fails, her own Northlander gods will destroy all the mortals who once promised to worship them.

The Far East is a mysterious place of legend to Northlanders like Frayka. Only an old map can show her how to get there. Once she arrives, all of Frayka’s sensibilities put her in danger. And every dangerous turn delays her from finding the dragon gods whose help she so desperately needs.

Although Frayka looks like a Far Easterner, she is a powerful Northlander warrior who is quick to voice her thoughts. She is trained to fight and won’t hesitate to do so.

But everything about Frayka puts her in deadly peril in the Far East, where the laws are strict and the punishment cruel.

Especially when the one being punished is a woman.

Add to Goodreads

Author Bio:

Resa Nelson is the author of the 4-book Dragonslayer series: The Dragonslayer’s Sword (nominated for the Nebula Award, finalist for the EPPIE Award), The Iron Maiden , The Stone of Darkness , and The Dragon’s Egg . Her 4-book Dragonfly series takes place after the Dragonslayer series.

Her standalone novels include the mystery/thrillers All Of Us Were Sophie and Our Lady of the Absolute .

Resa has been selling short stories professionally since 1988. She is a longtime member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America), and she is a graduate of the Clarion SF Workshop. Resa was the TV/Movie Columnist for Realms of Fantasy magazine for 13 years as well as a regular contributor to SCI FI magazine. She has sold over 200 articles to magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Website / Goodreads / Twitter

 

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Book Blitz: Ninja Girl


 

 

 

Ninja Girl
by Cookie O’Gorman
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 30th 3017

 

 


 

Summary from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Snow-Soon Lee kicks ass–literally. She teaches at her family-owned martial arts gym, The Academy, and cares more about training to be the next Bruce Lee than hooking up. In fact, Snow’s never even been kissed. But when Girls Night rolls around, Snow decides to prove to her friends (and herself) that she’s not just some boring tomboy. Impulsively, she kisses a hot stranger and even manages to escape his two security guards.

One stolen kiss…

Ash Stryker’s senior year sucks. His politician father pulled him out of Chariot High, separating him from his championship-winning soccer team. Now he’s stuck at a prissy private school with no friends, no team and no chance of being scouted. On top of that, thanks to the death threats his dad’s received, Ash has a security tail aka professional babysitters. When the mystery girl from the movies shows up at his school, rappelling from the rafters, Ash knows one thing: he won’t let her get away again.

One interesting job proposition…

After a seemingly random attack, Ash’s mother surprises everyone. She hires Snow to be Ash’s personal bodyguard until after the election. But can Snow’s kick-ass skills hold up against the rising threats to Ash’s family? More importantly, can Ash convince his ninja girl to screw ethics and kiss him again?

Opposites attract in this YA romance where a smooth talker meets his match in the tough girl who (literally) sweeps him off his feet. Moral of the story:

Sometimes even bad boys need a bodyguard.



ON SALE FOR ONLY $0.99 UNTIL JUNE 19TH!

Buy Link: Amazon  

 


Excerpt
I stood up suddenly, needing to do…something. I knew what she was saying was total crap. I knew Nara was pure evil, and I didn’t have to prove anything to her. But right then I needed to prove something to myself. I was a girl dammit, and I wasn’t boring. I was a force.
Just like Bruce.
“Snow, what’s up?” Min asked, but instead of answering I headed in the opposite direction. While the others had been taking stock of hoodie guy, I’d been getting a read on his security. They were too far back to stop me. Part of me wanted to test them—to test me—and see if I could do this and still get away. I figured I had about a minute tops, but that’s all I’d need.
One last look over my shoulder told me all three girls were staring at me, mouths gaping, even Nara. Boring, she’d said earlier. I’d give her boring.
Taking a deep breath, I kept walking until I was almost even with hoodie guy’s seat, placed my hand on the chair back and swung my body over—right into his lap. Over his shoulder, I saw his security react. Too late.
He gasped, but I didn’t have time to explain.
“Sorry about this,” I whispered right before sealing my lips to his.
I’d taken him by surprise—that much was clear from the way his body tensed beneath mine. But he wasn’t trying to push me off. I’d intended it to be quick. A single brush with danger, a nod to teen girl impulsiveness, but the way his mouth melted under mine was unexpected. I fisted my hands in his shirt, pulling him closer. My lips, my entire body, went up in flames, but I couldn’t get close enough. It wasn’t until his hands came around my back that I remembered myself.
Pulling away, I came face-to-face with the greenest eyes I’d ever seen.
“I’m sorry,” I muttered again.
“I’m not,” he said.

 And then his guards grabbed me.


 

About the Author

 
Cookie O’Gorman writes YA romance to give readers a taste of happily-ever-after. Small towns, quirky characters, and the awkward yet beautiful moments in life make up her books. Cookie also has a soft spot for nerds and ninjas. Her debut novel ADORKABLE is out now!

Author Links:
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NINJA GIRL Book Playlist

“Ho Hey” by The Lumineers
“I Am the Best” by 2NE1
“Sparks Fly” by Taylor Swift
“Fans” by Kings of Leon
“My Chick Bad” by Ludacris & Nicki Minaj
“In For The Kill” (Skrillex Remix) by La Roux
“Lies” by BIGBANG
“Someone Like You” by Adele
“Miss Atomic Bomb” by The Killers
“Crazy” by Patsy Cline
“I Fall to Pieces” by Patsy Cline
“Call Your Girlfriend” (live) by Lennon and Maisy Stella
“Marry You” by Bruno Mars
“Come By Fire” by Sara Jackson-Holman
“Little Bit” by Lykke Li
“Emmylou” by First Aid Kit
 

GIVEAWAY:


Excerpt

“You’re kidding me, right?” Snow gestured to where Sadie was sitting in the bleachers. She had her camera out, ready to record. “Tall, beautiful, skin the color of cream. She’s basically a curvy dead ringer for Taylor Swift. Or hadn’t you noticed?”

“Sadie’s like my little sister,” I shrugged. “I could never see her that way. Plus, she’s annoying as hell. Definitely not my type.”

“Yeah, right,” she said. “And what might that be?”

“I like smart girls who can kick my ass.”

The bright flush on her cheeks told me she got my meaning. Loud and clear.

I grinned. “Know anyone like that, Snow?”

Instead of answering, she said, “Want to help me with something?”

“Anything,” I said.

She nodded and called the rest of the self-defense kids over. “Alright, guys, today I’m going to teach you how to take an assailant down. This is an important lesson. In case you can’t get away, you should know how to inflict the most damage. Ash has volunteered to be my assistant for this class.” Turning to me, she said, “Ready?”

“Sure,” I said. “What do I need to do?”

“Nothing.” There was an odd gleam in her eyes. “Just keep getting back up.”

“Okay.” She shook her head, a slow smile forming on her lips. “What?” I asked.

“It’s a good thing you like girls who can kick your ass,” she replied.

And then I was flying through the air.

After about the tenth flip, I lost track of how many times my back hit the mat. Sadie laughed the whole time, recording as Snow proceeded to smack me around. The hour seemed to drag on forever. But by the end of it, even though my body was sore, and I felt like shit, I couldn’t help but smile.

“Class dismissed,” Snow said, staring down at me, hands on hips. Her face glowed with perspiration, a line between her brows. “And what are you so happy about?”

“Thought you said you weren’t jealous,” I said back.

“I’m not,” she said, but we both knew she was lying. The way she growled and stomped off just made it that much more obvious.

And that meant I still had a shot. My smile widened.


Excerpt

The song suddenly changed from fast to slow, and she looked around at the other couples who were latching onto each other. The blush was back on her cheeks as she met my eyes.

“What now?” she asked.

If it was possible, the question made me like her even more. Taking her hands, I placed them around my neck and brought my own to her waist. The song gave me an excuse to get close, so I did. Snow was so much smaller than me. I felt like a giant, looking down at her.

“You really thought my song was sappy?” I asked.

“No,” she said. “I liked it.”

“Liked?”

“Hmm.”

“Not loved?”

A pause. “Maybe a little.”

I grinned. “I can handle that.”

She bit her lip to stop herself from smiling, which did strange things to me. Something in my chest leaped; my grip on her waist tightened. It also reminded me that I was still 0-2 on the kissing front. My eyes lingered on her lips.

“Stop it,” she hissed.

“Stop what?” I asked.

“You know what.”

“But I want to kiss you.” I dropped my voice. “God, I want to kiss you, Snow.”

She swallowed. “You can’t. It’s unethical.”

“Screw ethics.”

“Ash, we can’t. You’re my client,” she said as if it should matter. Right now, her being my bodyguard was the last thing on my mind. My thoughts were fully occupied with trying to remember if her lips were as soft as they looked.

I stared into her eyes, watching for the truth. “Don’t you want me to kiss you?”

“That doesn’t matter,” she said, looking down.

“It does,” I said, tilting her face back up. “And you do.”

It was in the way her eyes kept moving back to my lips. It was in the way her pulse jumped as my fingers trailed down her neck. Leaning into her was the only thing I could do. The only thing I wanted to do. I pressed a light kiss to the corner of her mouth.