Cover Reveal: Bloodline Inheritance by Lindsey Sablowski


bloodlineinheritance-sablowski-ebookweb

I’ve participated in all of Lindsey’s cover reveals for this series. It has been wonderful watching this story grow, because I read it when it was still a draft on inkpop.

Cursed With Power is so different now, and I was impressed with how it had improved. The writing style is solid. The story sweeps you away, and I’m sure Bloodline Inheritance will be just as good.

Magicians-collage.jpg-940x521

Here’s what the latest installment is about:

Dyanna Carpathia has been a runner her entire life. A handsome man offers her love and a new beginning, but the war could change everything. Now her dreams of leaving behind magic and living as a human seem unrealistic. The magical war demands strength and focus, but Dyanna is haunted by a dark secret. Who will save her from a potential downfall?

Nearby on the battlefield is Malin Petrescu, a survivor who views Dyanna as a potential threat. They share different opinions on the magical world and the future. Marrying the love of his life demands him to fight no matter the consequences. However, victory means defeating their greatest enemy, Christopher. Dyanna’s loyalty is tested, but can she and Malin set aside their differences to save their loved ones?

In the fourth and final installment to the Magicians series we witness the war and the aftermath. This is the last stand for the Dark magicians, and for some it will cost them everything.

Follow this exciting book on Goodreads!

Don’t forget to check out the first three installments. I read Cursed With Power again last week and was filled with not only nostalgia but restlessness to know what happens next. I have a review prepared but decided to save it for this week, after the cover reveal. Check back!

Follow Lindsey on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. Also, visit her blog!

Ksenia Anske: How Rosehead Came Into Being


When I found Rosehead on Wattpad, it instantly stood out as different because it had a personality well beyond the words used to craft it.

Thanks so much, Ksenia Anske, for offering to tell the story of how it came into being!

Do give it a read–it’ll haunt you!


Rosehead+cover+1

Rosehead started out as a nightmare. No, I’ll go deeper. The nightmare that prompted me to write Rosehead started from a scary story my mom told me, something about her life. It’s quite unsettling, and if you want to read more about it, it’s here. I kept thinking about it, so of course it wormed its way into my brain deep enough to produce a startlingly vivid dream where an old man, a very wicked old man, killed sweet old ladies by luring them into his house under the pretext of offering them tea. What a charming and gentlemanly proposal, right? To offer tea to nice old ladies? That man was growing roses in his garden. Needless to say, as soon as an old lady sat down in his kitchen, he spilled the tea on her “by accident” and offered her to go into another room where she could attend to the needs of her toilette and change into clean clothes. You can imagine what happened next.

I woke up with my heart racing, and couldn’t get this scene out of my head. So I sat down and jotted a quick paragraph to get it out of my head.

A girl shows up at her family reunion and finds out that her grandpa kills women and grinds their bones into meal for roses. The girl is 12 and her name is Lily, or Lilith Bloom. Her father is a whippet breeder and she has a whippet called Panther, silky black. Father is Alexander Bloom, and mom is Gabrielle Bloom (Alexander calls her Gabi for short, and she calls him Al for short), a fashion designer who knits clothes and hats and stuff for Lilith. Lilith likes reading Sherlock Holmes.

After this I felt better, but the seed had been sown. I couldn’t stop thinking about Lilith and her pet and the evil grandfather. Then one day I was walking down the street and I saw a dead crow. I stopped over it, and another scene came into being. It never made it into the final book, but it helped me flesh out Lilith’s character. Here it is:

Lilith is the type of girl who would pass a dead crow on the street and ask Panther: “What do you think, if I dipped it into chocolate, would it taste good?” Then she’d pick it up and sniff at it, when Panther would turn his nose away in disgust. “What? You’re a dog! You’re supposed to like dead crows.” Note: infuse Lilith with interest for everything morbid and beautiful at the same time, very eccentric and sophisticated.

The scenes kept coming, I kept writing them down, until I had close to two pages of them. Some made it into the book, others didn’t. I think those that I cut out I might put into the sequel (yes, I will be writing a sequel, Dogwood). The entire story formed itself in my head before I sat down to write it. It was one of those books that you can clearly see, like a path, and all you need to do is take it. So I did. The whole thing took only three drafts to complete. I wrote it for fun, thinking I’d return to writing other, serious books after this one. Ironically, it became my best-selling book. I have this idea to continue writing about Lilith and Panther, not just one sequel, but many. Maybe make it into a series, similar to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books about Sherlock Holmes and Watson, or to Agatha Christie’s novels about Hercule Poirot. We shall see.

For now, beware of roses. Smell them with caution. You never know what garden they came from. You never know what they will do if you leave them alone in a vase overnight, while sleeping peacefully in your bedroom and thinking you’re safe. And even the book. When you’re done reading it, it might eat you. Rosehead is carnivorous, after all, and it likes the taste of readers. Oh, it likes it very much.

Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay


One girl. Two stories. Meet Fiona Doyle. The thick ridges of scar tissue on her face are from an accident twelve years ago. Fiona has notebooks full of songs she’s written about her frustrations, her dreams, and about her massive crush on beautiful uber-jock Trent McKinnon. If she can’t even find the courage to look Trent straight in his beautiful blue eyes, she sure isn’t brave enough to play or sing any of her songs in public. But something’s changing in Fiona. She can’t be defined by her scars anymore.

And what if there hadn’t been an accident? Meet Fi Doyle. Fi is the top-rated female high school lacrosse player in the state, heading straight to Northwestern on a full ride. She’s got more important things to deal with than her best friend Trent McKinnon, who’s been different ever since the kiss. When her luck goes south, even lacrosse can’t define her anymore. When you’ve always been the best at something, one dumb move can screw everything up. Can Fi fight back?

Hasn’t everyone wondered what if? In this daring debut novel, Moriah McStay gives us the rare opportunity to see what might have happened if things were different. Maybe luck determines our paths. But maybe it’s who we are that determines our luck.

find on Goodreads

This is tough. I always try to find positive things in a novel, and though this book had strengths, I was disappointed. The way this book was arranged–like two parallel universes with the same characters taking on different roles–really confused me.

Whatever good might have come from Fiona overcoming her traumatic past, or the sympathy I feel for her counterpart Fi later on–it all seems kind of washed out when I have to constantly stop reading to make sure I’m following the right version of the character.

Maybe if I read every other chapter so that I’m reading each version of her successively as one story, I’ll like it better. But that’s not how this book was arranged, not how it was meant to be read…and how it was meant to be read just didn’t sit well for me. Looking through Goodreads I find I’m not the only one who felt this way.

Two stars because the idea was promising but could have been handled better.

my dream–finally in paperback


collage

I’m supposed to make these life posts on Monday but it is Tuesday. Clearly I’m a day late but I’m doing better because I remembered to post and am amending my mishap now.

What happened this week?

Dissonance is available in paperback. And with that done, I can finally move onto the sequel, Elegy. I have a 60k draft I never finished, and seeing my first book in paper gave me the motivation to look at its sequel. I am totally pumped to get started again.

Dissonance is also available on nook and Kindle for $2.99! Buy and help me start my coffee tasting career!

Some friends have already ordered their copies. It is thrilling, humbling, unnerving to think I’m going to be up there on their bookshelves with my little book I spent so much time writing. I couldn’t be more thankful for everyone who’s been around all this time.

pic1

If you missed my post about the book photo shoot, check it out. I was thrilled to give the first copy to my friend Brianna! Now comes the scary part–waiting to find out if she liked it.

And waiting to find out if you like it. Do you think you’ll enjoy Dissonance? I’d really love for you to read my story, so if you think it’s something you’d enjoy, consider having a peek!

To buy on paperback, click here.

This is without a doubt the most memorable summer of my life, because it’s the summer I became an author.

What else happened?

I won a signed bookplate from the amazing and sweet author Susane Colasanti. I am happy to have helped with her giant giveaway, and can’t wait to read more of her books. I’ve had the bookplate on my desk ever since I got it, just to stare at it. And she has kindly agreed to guest post for me, so I’m really excited to have her!

This week’s collage makes me giddy because it’s my life as I want to live it. Life, literature, coffee–and the beautiful summertime weather. I am living the dream right now and nothing–not the fear of negative feedback, or the 110 degree weather we’re facing in the next few days–nothing can soil this happiness I feel deep inside.

dissonancebox

Don’t give up on your dreams–your books, or music, or whatever. It may take five years and a couple of surgeries and many tears of frustration.

The moment I saw my books bound and looking perfect made everything worth it.

Dissonance is now available in print!


pic1

A few days ago two proof copies of Dissonance arrived in my mailbox and they looked absolutely perfect, as opposed to the first disastrous attempt. I’d selected a matte finish for the first one and it just destroyed the details of the image. You couldn’t tell the silhouette is of a girl in the background. So I lightened the picture a little and everything worked out just fine.

So naturally I dragged my brother out to do a book photo shoot because this is just an amazing experience.

collageI don’t know if I’ve perhaps been annoying people with my enthusiasm, but I can’t help it. I’ve been working for a long time to see this story bound and (soon) in peoples’ hands. I know as it’s my first book it will not by any means be my best, but I really gave it my all and am proud of the outcome. I am also looking forward to working on the next installments.

(As you can tell, I tend to get way ahead of myself when it comes to writing.)

If you want to buy it for your Kindle click here, and for nook you will find it here. But if you prefer to read paper books, you can order your copy here!

Also, please leave a review. I don’t mind honest reviews and I know not everyone is going to like the book, but reviews (even if they aren’t glowing) give the book something to lean on. If you have friends who like to read, maybe mention this book at some point.

If you don’t think this is the kind of book you’d normally read, I’d still love to be friends! Follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

Brianna was the first person to get a copy of my book, and we did a Part Two photo shoot! It was fun and I just realized we’re both wearing almost the same shade of pink!

bricollageIf you get the book, I hope you enjoy it! ♥

 

Interview: Claire LaZebnik on Parents in YA Literature


22864829On Thursday I published a review for Wrong About the Guy, a charming novel by Claire LaZebnik about Ellie and the struggles she faces with her family and friends.

Her stepfather became a television star, so she has to deal with the bittersweet privileges that come with a life of luxury. I really liked seeing that, even though sometimes it seemed to get to her head, she always came back down to earth when it was time to help people she loved.

This novel felt different to me because it touched on the subjects of family and autism, rare topics in YA literature. I’m very excited that I got to ask the author some questions. Find Wrong About The Guy on Goodreads; it’s definitely worth a read!


I haven’t read a lot of YA books recently with a tight family element in them, and this book is more unique because Luke is Ellie’s stepfather and they get along so well. Do you think there should be a greater focus on family in YA books?

Yes, I do, although I understand why many authors choose to have main characters who are alone in the world: It heightens the drama and creates a metaphor for becoming an adult and having to strike out on your own. My kids used to watch the cartoon RugRats and that show made it clear that while parents are great and all, the real adventures only happen when they’re away and the kids are in control—I think a lot of people under the age of 25 basically feel that way, and a lot of YA authors reflect that by having characters who are alone in the world and have to deal with everything by themselves. But that doesn’t reflect either my reality or my kids’—family is very important to us and while I want my kids to venture out in the world and be independent, I also want them to know that I’m always here for them, both for emergencies and also as a touchstone. So my characters tend to have some sense of connection to their parents and siblings: they may not tell them everything, but they acknowledge they’re important to them.

The subject of Jacob’s possible autism really brings Ellie’s family together. Their reactions were realistic–for example, Luke’s denial. What message would you like to send a family in this situation?

I’ve actually counseled a lot of families in this situation, believe it or not—I also write non-fiction books about autism and people frequently email me or ask me to speak about it. I always say the same thing: you don’t have to accept the label of autism if you don’t want to, but you do have to accept the fact that your child may need support in some areas. If your child has a concerning speech delay, you should be taking him to a highly recommended speech therapist. If he throws unusually violent temper tantrums, you should be consulting with a behaviorist. You need to help your child be the best he can be—that’s the goal of parenting for all of us. And part of that is recognizing the areas that your child needs support in. There is value to a diagnosis of autism, though—you can refuse to use the label if you want, but you can get a lot of these therapeutic services paid for by either insurance or your school system if you accept it! And, of course, most importantly, TALK to each other. Make decisions together. Be honest about how the situation is affecting you. It’s important to pull together—not apart—at these times.

What’s your favorite place to write? Do you go outside with a notebook or stay in with your laptop and some coffee? Describe your workdesk!

So I actually have a little office with a big wooden desk in it . . . and I NEVER use it. Never. Mostly because I have to sit down at it, and I do a lot of work sitting up. Also, it’s in a corner of the upstairs and I like to be downstairs where everyone else is. I get lonely. So I do ninety percent of my writing in our dining room, mostly on this wheeled cabinet (okay, it’s actually a bar) because it’s the right height for me to stand at and work on. Plus, if I’m writing something really intense (or my feet hurt), I can sit down at the dining room table. The other place I like to work is at my local Starbucks: it’s a half hour walk there from my house, so I sling my laptop in a messenger bag across my shoulders and haul myself there by foot. Once I’m there, I buckle down and try to get something meaningful done before walking back home. It’s a nice mixture of getting exercise and getting work done. And there’s ALWAYS coffee and a pastry of some sort. Always. I don’t understand how people write without coffee. Or how they can drink coffee without something sweet to eat with it!

The Selection by Kiera Cass


Find on Goodreads

Every now and then a book shows up all over my news feed on every social network with a really enticing cover (and often featuring a beautiful dress.)

It’s a book everyone seems to have read except me and often there is a love-hate division; on Goodreads, The Selection has a pretty set line of love-hate, but unlike other books I’ve encountered like this in the past, I really enjoyed The Selection.

I can understand why some people left less-than-positive reviews on Goodreads if we’re trying to compare it to The Hunger Games. Some similar ideas are played with in The Selection, but in an almost completely different setting. There’s no fight-to-the-literal-death here.

It’s basically a beauty pageant–with higher stakes. The winner becomes queen. Simple, right?

Unlike many others, I didn’t find it a frilly or stupid read. I found in it a straightforward plot; the simplicity of the characters was often a breath of fresh air.

Why does every character need to have fifty different layers? Why can’t we just read a story without peeling everything back? Yes, some of the characters lack depth, and yes this comes nowhere near The Hunger Games or any other dystopia I’ve ever read (mind, I don’t read a lot of dystopia.)

But you know what that means? The Selection is unique. It’s fun. It appeals to the girl in me who’s always wanted to be a princess. It made me smile and kept me turning the page. I didn’t once have to go back and pick up a fact I perhaps missed. I was able to read this book and just enjoy it, swoon over certain characters, hate others–just be a reader.

I think sometimes we forget to just be readers. We compare books and take pleasure in hating on perfectly good stories. But I don’t see where all the hate comes from here–The Selection didn’t disappoint me, and I’m just waiting for time to read the next book in the trilogy, because this book has an awful cliffhanger.

That’s my only gripe about The Selection. The cliffhanger–and ten pages of advertising other books which I found a waste when they could have been filled with more of the story! Ugh.

5/5 stars for an enjoyable read that made me laugh and swoon.

proof copies, bookshelves, and review wars


collage

Because I am determined to maintain good habits, here is another Monday blog post to keep you updated on my life. It’s tempting to consider a week uneventful, but when I look at my Instagram feed I see little things have been going on to create a big adventure.

I got a proof copy of Dissonance, but since I chose a matte finish and the cover was dark to begin with it doesn’t look that great. So I have ordered two others, with slight alterations to make the cover look better, and am praying they’ll be just right. Meanwhile I’ve been reviewing the interior and am quite pleased with how it looks.

Dissonance is now available on nook and Kindle for $2.99! Buy and help me start my coffee tasting career!

disso

Brett and I wrote our first ever Review War on Garth Nix’s Sabriel. The first one was hosted right here at my blog, but the next one will be at his place in July. It was fun reading a book with someone else and breaking the standard book review mold.

With review wars, not only can you find out if a book is good–you get to take a side and see how certain things were perceived differently. I’m eager to write more of these and test myself as a reader and reviewer.

(Also, Garth Nix saw the post and favorited it on Twitter, which is definitely something!)

I finally got my new bookcase set up. And on the same day I bought a bunch of old books at a garage sale so it got full pretty fast. My room has always been a library, but even more so now. I wonder if I’ll ever get the chance to read all these books.

bookshelf

My purple flower is growing and I’m fascinated to see how much taller the stalks have gotten. This is truly a beautiful time of the year. Warm weather and visits to the swimming pool made a satisfying week indeed.

You see, my life is very bookish. Even when I try to talk about other things it always comes back to books. I’m not complaining. Should I organize my new bookcase by genre, author, or title? Help me decide!


Books I’m reviewing this week:

Be sure to check back!

winning


So excited to be a winner! ♥

Susane Colasanti - Blog

Ginormous congrats to the 11 winners of my 8th Annual Ginormous Contest! And thanks to everyone who spread the city love on Twitter. You guys freaking rule.

Here are the winners:

Bluedog649|Emily – @Bluedog649
Jennifer Y. – @2many2read
iHeartBigBooks – @iHeartBigBooks
Mariella Hunt – @mariellahunt
Roousy Camacho – @Simply_Roousy
Becoming Bookish – @BecomingBookish
Elise – @NerdgirlAZ
Erica Hubbard – @mimi_hubbard
Teen Book Hoarder – @teenbookhoarder
Lindsey Brown – @lindseyb423
Mackenzie – @ImMyOwnHipster

I also have to give a shout-out to Renee C., who rocks her dazzling artistic flair for every contest. How cute are these City Love earrings she made?

City Love earrings by Renee C.

Some other winning things have been going down this week. Like fresh watermelon juice is finally in season! You know my addiction to summer fruit is fierce and unwavering. All winter I crave berries and melon and peaches and plums and nectarines and cherries so hard I don’t even know what to do with myself. The struggle is real, people. I’m…

View original post 274 more words

Review: Wrong About the Guy by Claire LaZebnik


This contemporary twist on Jane Austen’s Emma features the signature wit and swoon-worthy romance of beloved author Claire LaZebnik’s other fan favorites Epic Fail, The Trouble with Flirting, and The Last Best Kiss.

Ellie Withers is definitely not spoiled, so she wishes that George Nussbaum would stop implying that she is. It’s not her fault that her stepfather became a TV star and now they live in a big house and people fawn over her wherever she goes. She doesn’t even like being fawned over. Fortunately, her two closest friends understand her a lot better than George: Heather Smith loved her before she even knew who Ellie’s stepfather was, and handsome Aaron Marquand has a father who’s just as famous.

With Aaron back in town and very much in her life, Ellie feels like things are just fine—or would be if her mother hadn’t hired George to tutor her. George has a habit of making Ellie feel a little less sure of herself, a little less on top of the world, a little less right about everything. It’s almost like he wants her to be a better person than she is.

When Ellie’s plans for her family, her friends, and even her love life don’t turn out the way she imagined, she begins to wonder if maybe she could stand to learn a thing or two after all . . . and whether it’s possible—or even likely—that the perfect person to teach her is the last person she’d expect.

Goodreads | Barnes and Noble

Wrong About the Guy was a pleasant surprise. Progressing through the novel, I realized it’s about far more than just a guy; it’s about family and loving people despite their imperfections.

Ellie Withers is a fun character. On the outside she appears self-centered and careless; getting to know her better, we find she’s actually an endearing girl who loves her friends and family in her own quirky way. She isn’t always thrilled about how her life changed when her mother married a television star, making her down to earth but not perfect. These traits balanced well.

One thing I liked about this book was the presence of a functioning family. They have problems you’ll find in a family, struggling together to cope with these challenges. These days, most YA books feature a teenager whose parents are absent from her life; this book is different. In Wrong About the Guy, we do see Ellie’s mother and Luke and her little brother, Jacob.

It’s good to shift the focus sometimes, because not all teenagers distance themselves so quickly. YA often makes it seem obligatory to walk away from Mom and Dad, but not everyone is like that. I asked Claire some questions about the subject of family in YA, so check back in a couple of days.

Give this book a try! It’s a heartwarming read and one you’re bound to remember.

cats, Sabriel, and my coffee tasting career


Because books are my life and this blog is titled life, literature & coffee, I figured I’d make a periodical to keeps you up-to-date on two of those things while I wait to become a coffee taster. Every Monday I will try to update you briefly on life and reading.

Dissonance is now available on nook and Kindle for $2.99! Buy and help me start my coffee tasting career!

I really wish I could write a long and rambling review on Brett’s novel I just finished beta reading. But he wouldn’t even drop a spoiler when we were waiting to beta it. Suffice it to say that it’s in my journal as one title I’m glad I had the chance to read. I’m sure you’ll all enjoy The Bureau of Time when it’s published.

Which it will be.

I’m also reading Sabriel. She always seems to be running away from things–but I keep reading because the talking cat is just about the best thing ever. He almost makes me forget the three cats stalking my guinea pig, Robinson, when he goes outside to play.

My brother caught a picture of one of these cats, and it has such a cocky grin on its face that I have to share.

He turned his back on us and left when he realized he was being photographed in the act.

Also I’m finally reading The Selection. I’m only on chapter 5 so don’t have many thoughts to share yet. Goodreads has mixed reviews on it which generally makes me feel optimistic about a book.

Next on my list is Everything That Makes You by McStay. I know because my reading journal says so.

Also, book review coming up on Wrong About The Guy by Claire LaZebnik. It was a fun read.

There you go. Life and Literature.

I’m off to drink some coffee.

the first week of being published


Dissonance Cover Img Front

A week ago, on May 29, I forced myself to stop dancing around the decision and began taking the steps to publishing Dissonance. Now it’s on Amazon for $2.99, and will be on Nook soon; the paperbacks are being worked on. I’m still in a bit of a shock.

If you have a Kindle, you can buy Dissonance right now by clicking here.

I would never, ever have been able to make it this far without great friends to support me. If you’ve been here the whole time, or we only met when the really scary publishing stuff was happening, thank you for being here. 

Let me recount my week so far.

I told a neighbor about Dissonance the day it was published, and this neighbor just so happened to have a Kindle. Well, I don’t have a Kindle. I have a Nook. So I asked him to show me the book on his Kindle if he bought it. Guess what? He bought it a few days later and called me over so I could see what Dissonance looks like on a Kindle.

These are neighbors I’ve known since we moved to this house. We’ve been neighbors for eighteen years and they didn’t know I was a writer. Not only that, though–I never thought I’d be seeing my work in their Kindle. That they’d be reading my words. And it sank in how certain it is, how set my vocation is as a writer.

It always has been.

Some of my family want to see the book cover but don’t have eBook readers, so at Walgreens I had a few prints made that I could write on and send to family until they can buy the print copy. And it’s just so beautiful in every format–on the computer, as a photo, even as a poster (because I couldn’t resist making one.) Syd Wachs, your work is beautiful and you will never understand how grateful I am for the time you put into it.

So this poster happened to be the same size as a fancy photo frame my grandma bought me two years ago. I didn’t have any 11×14 pictures to put in it, and just kept it hanging around with the Eiffel Tower cardstock thing because it was pretty. I figured I’d save it for a wedding photo or something, but then realized–this is just as important. So now my book cover is on the wall.

Here is a collage of my Thursday.

dissweek1

It’s basically been me staring at my Amazon and Goodreads page, then at my book cover, in slight disbelief that I. am. an. author.

Soon I’ll have to snap out of it and write another book.

But it’s been a beautiful week of seeing a dream come true. God is good. And you guys are awesome for having been around to encourage me.

If you have an account on Goodreads, please follow me on there. Oddly it’s the thing I’m most proud of having achieved–but the Amazon author page isn’t too shabby, either. And if you know people who like to read, tell them about this book–word of mouth is my best friend right now.

As we speak, I’m getting ready to order the proof paper copy.

And when it arrives, I’ll probably cry again–like I did when I saw my book on Amazon.

And those are happy tears.

Thank you. xx