C is for Cade Peregrine (Songkeeper Blogtour + Giveaway)

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Greetings, Roadlings!

I’m so excited to be a part of the blog tour celebrating the one-year book-birthday of Songkeeper by Gillian Bronte Adams!

#ExploreLeira is an A-to-Z blog series making the rounds through the blogosphere, focusing on different characters, places, etc. in the land of Leira within the Songkeeper Chronicles, and it’s going to be loads of fun! 🙂

(If you’re not familiar with this series, you can read my review for book 1, Orphan’s Song, and book 2, Songkeeper.)

Today, I’m super pleased to have Gillian herself over for a guest post about Cade!

Cade happens to be my favorite character in the Songkeeper Chronicles, and although he’s not a general reader favorite, I maintain he’s misunderstood and is a fascinating character, and fairly epic, to boot. 😉 I hope you’ll enjoy this post’s insight into his character.

And now, I give you Gillian Bronte Adams and her guest post on Cade Peregrine! 🙂

Thanks, Deborah, for hosting me here and helping me celebrate the (almost) one year book birthday for Songkeeper! It is the second book in the Songkeeper Chronicles, which tells the story of a girl who can hear the song that created the world. If this is your first encounter with the blog tour, we are continuing a series of alphabet posts looking at the world and characters and magical creatures of the Songkeeper Chronicles (you can follow the tour at gillianbronteadams.com) and we have an awesome giveaway that you can enter below!

Today, we’re looking at the letter C.

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C is for Cade Peregrine

A tall boy stood before him, clad in a ragged white blouse and tattered breeches, with a fine leather vest on top and a sword belted at his side. His arms were folded across his chest, and his chin lowered so that his eyes seemed to look straight through Ky. Cade, the leader of the Underground.

– Orphan’s Song

Ah, Cade. In another tale on another day, Cade Peregrine could have been the hero of the Underground, instead of Ky. He is a young man rooted in conviction, strengthened by pride, and determined to uphold the legacy of resistance left by his father and the outlaws of Kerby.

“It is insane. For now.” Cade’s eyes glittered in the firelight. “Now, it’s just a dream, but one day it will be a reality. Even now, every dagger we steal, every purse, every coin is a step toward breaking the soldiers’ hold on Kerby. And when we’re ready, we’ll fall upon them and drive them from the city. Then we’ll be free again.”

Orphan’s Song

It was Cade who first saw the desperate need of the children of Kerby who were left orphaned and abandoned when their parents were taken by the Khelari. He realized that their best chance of survival came if they banded together, so he decided to form the Underground. In a cavern below the city, down tunnels where outlaws once roamed, the children found a new home. In the assigned brother and sister pairs, they found both the family they had lost and mentors to teach them how to survive life on the streets. And in Cade, they found someone to look up to and aspire to. A hero, like the legends of old.

Cade is a warrior, trained in the art of the sword by his late blacksmith father. He is a boy of the streets, versed in the skills required to disappear without a trace into a crowd. He is a born leader, capable of managing, organizing, and caring for the orphans of the city. He is a skilled orator, capable of drawing a crowd in so that they hang upon his every word and are swayed to his way of thinking.

“And what is all this?” Cade turned a circle with his hands spread wide then moved toward the digging, forcing Ky to fall into place behind. “Digging your way out, are you? Like rats in a hole.”

By now all activity in the tunnel had ceased, and Cade’s voice grew to fill the silence. He always had been good at speech-making and crowd-wielding. The runners hearkened to his words like starving men begging for bread.

“Running isn’t the Underground way. Out on the streets, it may be every man for himself because that’s what we have to do to survive, but not here—not in our stronghold. Here we stand and fight together. Here we are free. We cannot run away and leave our home behind!”

Songkeeper

He is stubborn and accustomed to getting his way, so it is no surprise that he frequently butts head with Ky—one of the main characters in the Songkeeper Chronicles. Both are convinced of their own rightness and ready to fight for that conviction. Both are willing to sacrifice for those that they care about. It is ironic that the two are more alike than either of them would care to admit. If they could just learn to work together, they would be an unstoppable force.

“It was your half-baked idea to leave Kerby behind. Now what? You have a plan for where we should go and how to get there? Or do you intend to walk thirty runners across the Nordlands in search of refuge with barely enough supplies to last another four days and half our number falling to the white fever already? How far do you think we would get? These are the things a leader has to think about, Ky.” He released his grip so suddenly that Ky wound up sitting on the ground. “So stop whining and think.”

Songkeeper

Not going to lie, I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for Cade. He means well, but he so often gets the short end of the stick. In the Songkeeper Chronicles, we typically only see Cade from Ky’s perspective, so it’s usually a slightly unbalanced view. Admittedly, Cade can be a bit over-bearing at times, and he occasionally has control issues, but Ky isn’t always completely fair in his assessment.

Cade is the sort of secondary character who has a story that is just begging to be told. As in, there is a file, quite literally, sitting on my desktop begging me to write it. Maybe one day we’ll get to hear a bit from his point of view …

But for now, you can read about him in the Songkeeper Chronicles! Check out the links below for a place to purchase the books.

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Amazon: Orphan’s Song, Songkeeper

Barnes and Nobles: Orphan’s Song, Songkeeper

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And before you leave, don’t forget to enter the giveaway! One lucky winner will take home a copy of Orphan’s Song, Songkeeper, and a gorgeous handmade mug. Two lucky winners will take home copies of Songkeeper! Enter through the Rafflecopter below and be sure to visit www.gillianbronteadams.com to continue following the blog tour. You can earn new entries for each post that you visit along the way. Winners will be announced after April 15th.

Follow this link to enter –> ***a Rafflecopter giveaway***

About the Author

Gillian Bronte AdamsGILLIAN BRONTE ADAMS is a sword-wielding, horse-riding, coffee-loving speculative fiction author from the great state of Texas. During the day, she manages the equestrian program at a youth camp. But at night, she kicks off her boots and spurs, pulls out her trusty laptop, and transforms into a novelist. She is the author of Orphan’s Song, book one of the Songkeeper Chronicles, and Out of Darkness Rising. Visit Gillian online at her blog, Twitter, or Facebook page.

About Songkeeper

SONGKEEPER-FRONT-COVERWar ravages Leira and the Song has fallen silent.

Freed from the hold of a slave ship, Birdie, the young Songkeeper, and Ky, a street-wise thief, emerge to a world at war. Hordes of dark soldiers march across Leira, shadowed by whispers of plague and massacres, prompting Ky to return to his besieged home city in hopes of leading his fellow runners to safety.

Desperate to end the fighting, Birdie embarks on a dangerous mission into the heart of the Takhran’s fortress. Legend speaks of a mythical spring buried within and the Songkeeper who will one day unleash it to achieve victory. Everyone believes Birdie is the one, but the elusive nature of the Song and rumors of other gifted individuals lead her to doubt her role. Unleashing the spring could defeat the Takhran once and for all, but can she truly be the Songkeeper when the Song no longer answers her call?

(Eep, I so want some of Cade’s point-of-view someday! Ahem. 😀 )

So what do you think, readers? Is this your first time “meeting” Cade or have you read Orphan’s Song and/or Songkeeper? What do you think of him? Are you as excited for the third book (whenever it may happen) as I am? And are you looking forward to exploring Leira in this fun A-Z blog tour? Tell me all! 🙂

Kidnappings, Siblings, & Ireland (The Silent Blade Review/Blogtour)

Blog Tour - the Silent Blade

Today I’m joining in on the blog tour for The Silent Blade by Jesseca Wheaton, which releases today! (Lookit that gorgeous cover! *internally shrieking* Ahem…)

Here’s the info about the book, the author, a giveaway, my review, and links to the rest of the tour. 🙂

About the Book:

The Silent Blade Kindle Front

Dromiskin, Ireland. 925 A.D.

Eira has no greater desire than to see her life returned to what it once was—before her older brother Kevin’s sudden disappearance four years earlier. But the simple life she hoped for seems unattainable; on the contrary, her life is about to get all the more complicated.

When she suddenly finds herself and Willem, her twin brother, taken captive by someone who claims to be Kevin’s enemy, things go from bad to worse. It soon becomes clear that she and Willem are to become bait in a trap set for Kevin, and Eira knows she must try to warn him. But how, when she herself is a captive?

As mysteries of the past are unveiled, and loyalties are revealed, Eira realizes how precious her friends truly are. And when mortal danger threatens those nearest to her, will she be able to trust God with the lives of her friends and family?

Find the book:

Amazon Kindle | Amazon Paperback | Goodreads


About the Author:

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Jesseca is an 18-year old daughter, sister, and a child of God. Her days are spent reading, cooking, spending time with siblings, or playing piano.  And writing, of course! At an early age words fascinated her, and her love for the printed page has only grown. She lives with her parents and seven siblings in the sunny state of Kansas, and she’s convinced there’s no place like home.

Visit her online at her blog, Whimsical Writings.

Giveaway:

Enter the awesome giveaway Jesseca’s holding as part of the tour, for a copy of The Silent Blade and a giftcard, here!

****Giveaway Link****

My Review

The Silent Blade Kindle FrontThe Silent Blade

by Jesseca Wheaton

YA / Juv. Fiction / Christian / Historical Fiction

I received a free Advance Reader e-Copy of this book from the author (thanks, Jesseca!) in exchange for my honest review, and these opinions are my own.

***

4 stars out of 5

I don’t read much historical fiction, but I love Ireland and this book sounded intriguing, so I decided to give it a go. I’m glad I did! I wish I’d read it when I was younger because I have a feeling I would have ADORED it then… As it was, I still enjoyed it rather. 🙂

I loved most of the characters! They were a definite highlight. 🙂 Kevin, the older brother, was so nice and cool. Willem, the heroine’s twin, was sweet and wonderful. ^_^ Great brothers! I enjoyed reading about them. Casimir was epic! (I wish I’d known he was the Chieftain’s son at the beginning… or even that there WAS a chieftain…? Instead of learning it at the end, because that would have made him even cooler. XD) A lot of other side characters were really interesting too. Rowen and Stace, for instance — they were great! As were Aeden and Diarmuid and Cian, especially when they were all mysterious early on… 😉 LOVED that. So much epic.

Along that note, can we take a moment to appreciate the amazing Celtic names in this book? Okay? Okay. LOVE THE NAMES.

There was a light thread of romance later, which was sweet. ^_^ (Though seriously, Eira: PAY ATTENTION. Ahem. XD)

I enjoyed the humor. 🙂 The character interactions and a lot of the banter made it fun to read, and I do love a bit of fun in my books. 😉

There was a strong Christian aspect, which I enjoyed. The characters quote scripture often and pray a lot and I liked how their prayers felt natural. Between the strong faith theme and one of family/sibling closeness threaded through the story, it had some good things to say. 🙂

I also loved how it ended! Especially since I read a book recently that disappointed me in the ending department, so I really appreciate this one’s ending… It left me feeling happy, at least! (I was curious what will happen to a certain character though. o.o)

As for things I didn’t love as much… I will say that I felt like some of it was historically inaccurate. I couldn’t understand why some of the characters did what they did, so some of the plot didn’t hold together for me, I guess. I also didn’t like the heroine, Eira, too much; which is probably just me, since I don’t tend to like her tough-girl, obsessed-with-swords, can’t-cook-to-save-her-life (literally) sort of type, so I’m sure many people will enjoy her. 🙂 I just didn’t get along with her, thought she acted beneath her age of sixteen, and found it odd that she didn’t seem to know how to do anything other than sword-fight? That was just weird to me. 😛 (Sometimes I liked her okay, and I do love her name. ;)) Like I said, I think I miiight be a little too old for it since a lot of it was on a smaller scale and felt like bullies versus kids instead of grown men versus older teens/other men, and I have a feeling at a younger age I wouldn’t have noticed the above complaints and would have just enjoyed the adventure and the action and all of that. But, again, could just be me!

Despite all of that, it kept my interest, was intriguing and at times exciting, and I couldn’t put it down. 🙂

I might’ve given it 3 and a half stars… but considering that I would have loved it a few years ago, and that it kept me addicted to turning pages and wrapped up nicely, I’m bumping it up to 4 stars.

An enjoyable light read for anyone who likes historical fiction, siblings-stories, a Christian message, and cool Irish names. 🙂

Check out the rest of the tour below!

Wednesday, July 20th

Thursday, July 21st

Friday, July 22nd (Publication Day!)

Saturday, July 23rd

Monday, July 25th

 So, what do you think, readers all? Don’t you LOVE those names? 😀 Do you like sibling stories and Ireland? ^_^

Superpowers, Cookies, & Penguins (Twinepathy Review/Blogtour)

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Today I’m joining in on the Blog Tour for the newly-released book Twinepathy by C.B. Cook! I’m very excited. 😀 SUPERPOWERS AND STUFF, Y’ALL. It’s awesome. ❤ (Okay, maybe there weren’t actual penguins, but there could have been, and they were discussed… *cough*)

I’ll be sharing my review further along in the post…

But firstly, a bit about the author (who’s an awesome person, FYI), the book, and the Book Tour schedule!

The tour will be running this whole week and will have bunches of fun involved, including book reviews, author interviews and even character interviews (YESSS)!

Author Bio:

C.B. Cook is just a girl trying to find out where her King is guiding her, while writing the stories of the people she creates, the worlds she wants to live in, and the adventures she dreams about. Also known as a mysterious creature called an “author”. She’s a Christian and a home school graduate dedicated to changing others’ lives through the power of the written word.

Visit her online at TheWorldOfTheWriter.Wordpress.com

About the Book:

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Albany York has a secret.

Albany and her twin sister, Brooklyn, have spent years successfully hiding their telepathic connection. But when a girl falls unconscious at their doorstep, the girls learn that they might not be the only people in the world with extraordinary powers and that a memory thief is on the loose. As the twins try to help the girl find her memories, they discover that the superhero world might be bigger—and more dangerous—than they ever imagined.

Find Twinepathy here:

Amazon | Goodreads


Tour Schedule

Sunday, July 17th
Depth of my Faith – Character and Author Interview
Beyond the Amethyst – Book Review
Monday, July 18th
Musings of an Elf – Author Interview
The Road of a Writer – Book Review (You are HERE. XD)
Tuesday, July 19th
Light and Shadows – Author Interview
Lilyorphaned – Book Review
Wednesday, July 20th
Breathing in the Pages – Book Review
WritingAnyone – Character Interview and Book Review
Writefury – Character Interview
Thursday, July 21st
Claire M. Banschbach – Author Interview
Sherwood Storyteller – Author Interview
Friday, July 22nd
Elvish Pen’s Fantastical Writings – Author Interview and Book Review
Saturday, July 23rd
Thoughts of a Word Collector – Author Interview
Thriving Hope – Book Review

My Review

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Twinepathy

(Series: IDIA, #1)

by C. B. Cook

YA / Contemporary / Fantasy/Sci-fi / Thriller/Suspense/Mystery / Superheroes/Superpowers

[I received a free Advance Reader e-Copy of this book from the author (thanks muchly, C.B.!) in exchange for my honest review, and these opinions are my own.]

5starrating

Things I don’t often read include contemporary novels, superhero tales (this may be my first? O_O), and first-person-present-tense (which normally I loathe but in this case I quickly got used to and forgot about). But while Twinepathy had all of those things, I greatly enjoyed it! 🙂

A few overall thoughts and then I’ll do the rest of the review in list form (because lists are obviously the best).

It was exciting, gripping, and I couldn’t put it down (I read the whole thing in two days). It’s a fairly quick read, and feels in a way sort of like the pilot episode of a TV show — an awesome, well-put-together intro, with more to come. Its own contained story, but also introducing a lot of things which will continue… I might have wished to get deeper into some of the characters and goings-on, but the quick feeling of the story lines up with the episodic feel, so that just makes me eager for more books. 😉

Okay, lists!

Things I LOVED:

  • Mostly, I really enjoyed how FUN this book was. There are obviously some more exciting/deep bits too, but overall the feel is very lighthearted and just a fun romp. The characters and banter were some of my favorites, and there’s jokes and camaraderie and fun dialog and bickering. I just ENJOYED this book a lot. FUNNN.
  • The superpowers, which were SO cool. Telepathy, teleportation… I won’t give them all away here, since part of the joy of the story is running into all these fun, awesome superpowers, but I really enjoyed all the superpowers. They were soooo enjoyable to read about and felt original and fresh to me. 🙂 (Admittedly I haven’t read anything like this before. But I loved them. :D)
  • The plot. It’s a mystery involving a MEMORY THIEF. Need I say more?
  • ALL THE HINTS. Seriously, I’m soooo curious about so many things! There were so many hints at different plot things and characters and their backstories… I’m just really curious to find out more about all of it! I NEEEED more books ASAP. 😀
  • The settings. America, a touch of London, and Antarctica! I mean, how cool is Antarctica? (Pretty cool, considering the temperature… but I digress.) Popping to a couple different places around the world a time or two was great fun and gave it an extra exciting aura.
  • COOKIES! That is all. (I need the recipe of a certain super-awesome agent’s cookies. *cough*) I mean seriously, it’s so fun that they’re running around doing superhero stuff and take time to make and/or eat cookies. Somebody has their priorities in order. *nods*
  • Real life + superpowers. I appreciate how Albany and Brooklyn had to work in their adventures around school and family and having to get home to eat dinner (props for actual meals happening!). They’re just normal teenagers (haha, okay, so not really; but you know what I mean) and have to fit life and crazy superpower stuff together, and that feels realistic. 😉
  • It felt really vivid and colorful. Like, I could see everything SO clearly. It just has this bright feel that I absolutely loved.
  • It’s clean and enjoyable and lacks the annoyances I have with many contemporary books.
  • The writing. The writing was quick and quippy and occasionally there would be some line that I giggled at the fun of it, or grinned over its cleverness.

Character run-down: (Yay! This cast is a rollick. :D)

  • Albany & Brooklyn are twins, which gives them automatic awesome-points. Albany is the “I” of the story, since she narrates it. She and I did not always get along, but overall I liked her. Brooklyn is so nice and sometimes ended up a little more in the background but I really liked her too. Twins, guys. TWINS. Yesss. These two are fun to read about, especially their telepathic connection. 😀
  • Maddie is cute and such a sweet thing, the poor darling. I love her muchly.
  • Jen is so intriguing… I occasionally felt unsure of her, since some of her authority-figure part of the story brought her dangerously close to the edge where I could have ended up disliking her… but that never happened because she’s super (haha, see what I did there?) interesting and I’m so curious about her! Jen’s basically really cool.
  • Denver was really grumpy at first but he grew on me. 😄
  • Ezra‘s name startled me because I’m used to that being a boy’s name. Whoops. But she was neat, and I love seeing a girl hacker! That was new.
  • I’m not sure what I think of Keller… Hmm. She’s a tough cookie, that one.
  • Finch was cool too. I felt kinda bad for him… Poor lad.
  • Anvil. (Saving the best for last here…) ANVIL IS A PRECIOUS BURNT MARSHMALLOW AND THE BEST AND NEEDS HIS OWN BOOK. THAT IS ALL. (Seriously, Anvil is AWESOME and I wish he’d been in it more. I definitely want to see more of him. But I will say no more concerning this possible favorite or at least tying-for-favorite character of mine lest I spoil the story. *nods* I love Anvil though. ❤ )
  • Blaze gets to go last of all because oh boy, he’s going to get a long point on this list! He’s fun and charming and I LOVE his superpowers. As I said while I was reading it, a cocky teleporter bringing donuts? Yep, I like this guy. Not to mention his other superpower… >:D He has a generally cheerful nature, like an excitable puppy, but he also has a secret side which I’m verrry curious about. He’s hilarious and loyal and he seems to try to hide his more serious side and pretend he’s all fun and games but I think there’s more to him. I’m so CURIOUS about this guy — so many questions! *waits anxiously for a sequel or three* I definitely need more of him. 😀 He just brings such charm and mischief to the group, and the way he interacts with the twins (especially Albany) and everyone else was one of my favorite things about the book. Blaze is just awesome. ❤

Things I didn’t like as much: (Minor, unimportant things…)

  • I wish there’d been more with the twins and their telepathy. I liked it and them on the whole, I just felt like there could have been more?
  • There were a few things I wish had been explained better (why they didn’t use their connection much, or in school, for instance), especially when they were trying to “get out of” things and I wanted to see the entire conversation so I could know if it actually worked. 😄 Sometimes it seemed like there MIGHT be plotholes, but I wasn’t sure since there wasn’t enough info explained.
  • It was slightly irksome that things kept being Albany’s fault; I mean seriously, poor girl. 😛 She didn’t HAVE to be clumsy that time, and she didn’t have to singlehandedly… well… THAT thing near the end. Ahem.
  • They lied to poor Denver a lot, which I understand under the circumstances, but still, poor guy… (Their parents too. Possibly unavoidable under the circumstances, but still unfortunate. :P)
  • There seemed to be a contradiction where they acted like it was okay for one character to manipulate another’s emotions to get him to do what they wanted . . . and then a little later they got furious at another character for manipulating a couple of people’s minds to . . . also get what they wanted? It seemed really similar to me. I’m just confused, is all. 😛

As always with superpowers etc., ESPECIALLY with mind-reading ones, there were probably plot things that could have been solved quicker than the characters actually did… but if there was anything of the sort I ignored it and just had fun with the story. Because SUPERPOWERS, come on! 😀 All in all, it really only had minor problems (and they’re probably just my own opinion anyway!) and I don’t really care because I just enjoyed the book so much. ^_^

Overall, aside from a couple minor points, it was awesome and I loved it! It’s exciting and cool and fun and just a great light read. I’m verrry much looking forward to book 2 and I highly recommend this one! 🙂

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the book tour going on this week! 🙂

What do you think, readers mine? Sound like fun? (It IS.) Have you read any superpower books? (Recommendations, anyone?) What superpower is your favorite? 😀 Thanks for reading! ^_^

Paper Crowns Blogtour: Mirriam Neal Interview

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I’m SUPER excited to be part of the Paper Crowns blog-tour (going all month long!) with an interview with Mirriam Neal herself! *cue excited squealing*

I kid you not when I say that when I learned Paper Crowns was published, I spent the next day+ dancing ecstatically around the house making high keening happy noises and randomly shrieking “Paper Crowns is published!!” (You think I’m joking? Ha. Just ask my poor family who had to put up with my fangirling…)

I had the pleasure of beta-reading the story when it was first written, and I remember flailing with happiness whenever I found a new chapter in my inbox. THIS BOOK IS EXCELLENT, PEOPLE.

I recently got the published version (THAT was a happy day, aaahhh!!) and read it again and it was just as good — or, well, BETTER BECAUSE IT’S PUBLISHED! (Aside from some typos. Which I have it on good authority are being fixed, so.) I plan to read it again very soon. Maybe tomorrow… And again soon after that. (What, I’m totally normal, honest.)

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(My cat, Callette, was not thrilled about a photo-shoot… BUT CATS. Unfortunately she is not blue, but I love her anyway…)

I AM NOT EXAGGERATING WHEN I SAY THAT THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE BOOKS EVER. It’s just… perfect. Mirriam Neal is a genius writer, and while I’ll read anything she writes, this just takes the cake as the best ever because of its unexpectedly light fantasy faerie-tale feeling. The CHARACTERS are the best of ever (Halcyon! Azrael! Astryn! Ginger! Salazar! Asterope! I love them alllll!) and the humor and bickering and plot and setting are all just perfection.

It has everything: a sarcastic fey blue cat, a fire elemental, a grouchy wysling, a gingery heroine, friends and traitors, villains and lovable heroes, lots and lots of snow, muffins, forests, and a good deal of folded paper. It makes you laugh and wrenches at your heart and makes you fall in love and long to go on an adventure. I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH.

I’m so very excited it’s published now so that I can insist everyone reads it.

And I do, you know. Insist you read it, that is. You will NOT regret it.

THIS BOOK THOUGH!!! ❤

Here’s a bit about the book and author and then on to the interview!

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Paper Crowns

Ginger has lived in seclusion, with only her aunt Malgarel and her blue cat, Halcyon, to keep her company. Her sheltered, idyllic life is turned upside-down when her home is attacked by messengers from the world of fae. Accompanied by Halcyon (who may or may not be more than just a cat), an irascible wysling named Azrael, and a loyal fire elemental named Salazar, Ginger ventures into the world of fae to bring a ruthless Queen to justice.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | Publisher


Author Bio

tumblr_o4995pxJel1tkzty6o1_500Mirriam Neal is a twenty-two-year-old Northwestern hipster living in Atlanta. She writes hard-to-describe books in hard-to-describe genres, and illustrates things whenever she finds the time.  She aspires to live as faithfully and creatively as she can and she hopes you do, too.

You can connect with Mirriam online here:

Blog | Email


Interview with Mirriam Neal

Deborah: Could you tell us a little about your usual writing process (planning/pantsing), and how the process of writing Paper Crowns was similar or different?

Mirriam: Paper Crowns is different because it was spur-of-the-moment. I more or less woke up one day and thought, ‘I want to write this story,’ and so I did. Usually there’s a lot more work involved – I wait until I have at least half the cast created, until I have a vague idea of the ending, until I know some major plot points. Usually I have a framework, but with Paper Crowns I knew the ‘feeling’ of the book I wanted to write, and that was enough. I wish this happened more often, honestly.

PaperCrowns4

Which character from the Paper books would you say you are the most like?

I actually had to ask my friend Lauren about this. We settled on Rooney (the heroine of Paper Hearts) almost simultaneously. I’d say Rooney is more extraverted than I am, but we share many of the same characteristics.

Part of Paper Crowns takes place in our world . . . Is it any particular place—America, England… (double-decker bus?)—or did you deliberately leave the setting open to the imagination?

I deliberately left the setting open – when I began it, I wasn’t even sure it was set in our world! But I quickly realized it was, and decided it was more fun to leave it open for interpretation. Personally, I see it set in England, but that’s just me.

On that note: Accents. I hear Hal’s accent as British and Asterope’s as some sort of Irish. Is this more-or-less accurate (I hope)?

You’re correct on Asterope’s accent (points to you!) but during the rewrite, I realized Hal’s accent wasn’t so much London as a bit of Korean (Busan-dialect, specifically) with a splash of Scottish.

(I’ll probably still hear Hal as British, but oh well. XD) Will we get to learn which wysling was involved in the intriguing Hal/Astryn/kingfisher backstory and/or might we ever get this tale in book (or even short story) form? Because that would frankly be awesome. 😀

I’ve lowkey considered writing a novella dedicated to this particular slice of backstory, because it would be fantastic fun and I’m as curious about it as anyone!

(Yay!) Is Asterope still going to get his own book?

His book is waiting in the wings; very much alive, but not in the immediate future. Ras Algethi Chow gets his own novel first.

Do the verily muffins have an inspiration?

I was hungry and I wanted muffins. Hunger is good inspiration when writing food.

The main character of Paper Crowns does a lot of origami. Is that an art form you’ve dipped into yourself?

It’s inspired by two things. One: Yes, I’ve always loved origami, although I’ve never been ‘into it.’ I’ve never devoted the time – except for paper airplanes, and paper boxes. I’ve folded those my whole life, and the stories surrounding paper cranes have always fascinated me. Two: Owl City’s ‘Sky Sailing’ album featured a music video starring a paper airplane. That album heavily inspired the novel.

Your answers to a couple of questions from other interviews got me wondering about your outlook on wanting readers to take away a certain message (or not) from many of your books. I’m curious: Do you see there being a difference between tackling a “big question” in a book versus trying to preach a “message” to readers?

It’s a tricky line on which to balance, I’ll give it that, and I used to be ‘preachy’ (although even then, I was trying not to.) I think honesty and a genuine heart are very important when you really want to make your readers think and question. Readers are intelligent. They’ll know if you’re an arrogant know-it-all, forcing an opinion down their throat. Rather than forcing my opinion, I present it. I think that’s the difference.

Your books seem to have simultaneously a freshness of originality and a touch of richness of story that’s already out there. How do you view this in your own writing and what advice do you have for writers about coming up with “new” things but using echoes of other tales and, without “copying,” putting a new spin on them to deepen the story tapestry?

I’ve never been asked this question, honestly, and it’s fascinating. (Also, thank you for the compliment!) I think stories ‘echo’, as you so wonderfully put it, when there’s truth and honesty to them. People will tell you that every story has already been written. If you break a story down into a basic three-step formula, then sure, every story has been written; but I disagree with the statement. A story is so much more than a formula. Each story is different due to hundreds of tiny factors, circumstances, and personal influences from the author. I also find that you can create a world that’s been created a million times before, but if you fill that world with a cast of funky, original, diverse characters, nobody will care about the world. (At least, they won’t care about the world nearly as much as its inhabitants.) Also, I think it’s horrifyingly easy to be caught up in trying too hard. When you try too hard to be original, it shows more care about what people think than the story itself. Novels know what the author cares about, and novels know also know what the author should care about. It’s why readers, I think, can tell the difference between a real novel and a hollow one.

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Your vivid characters are a classic feature of your work, and always one of my favorite things. Any tips for writers about writing characters, especially involving interactions, snark, and humorous banter? (Of which you are the queen.) Share your secrets if you have any…

Have a sense of humor. I know that’s not very helpful, but it’s true – you can’t write humor without a sense of it in the first place. I don’t know how to teach a sense of humor, but you can definitely learn it. What makes you laugh? Dissect that. Also, there are many kinds of humor. Subtle, circumstantial, slapstick, sarcastic, trickster. As for the non-humorous part of the question, I think it’s a tendency authors have to think they must know their character perfectly before they start writing them. I used to fill out three or four bio sheets for every character before I wrote them, but in doing so, I essentially murdered their personality before it hit the page. You want them to be alive and breathing when they first open their eyes. You DON’T want them reduced to a set of answered questions. That’s a surefire way to kill them before they’re ever really alive.

Could you tell us a little about what’s next on your writing plate? (When the next Paper book might be out, what other book(s) we might see from you next…?)

Revising Paper Hearts (the sequel to Paper Crowns) is very high on my list, as is editing Dark is the Night (a redemptive vampire novel) and finishing The Dying of the Light (a futuristic samurai retelling of Robin Hood).

Thanks very much for stopping by my blog and putting up with my pestering! 🙂 It’s an honor to have you. ❤

Thank you so much for having me! I had a fantastic time. You have mad interview skills.

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So what do you think, blog readers of mine? Was this fun or what? (Answer: yes.) Are you going to read Paper Crowns? (The correct answer is OF COURSE. Ahem.) SERIOUSLY THOUGH IT’S AWESOME. ❤ Be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour and enter the GIVEAWAY for a signed copy of Paper Crowns that Mirriam is holding on her blog! 🙂

(…And now I need to go reread Paper Crowns again.)

Blood Ties Blog Tour & Review

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Today I’m excited to be part of the blog tour for Blood Ties by Hazel B. West, with a review and other good stuff — and an appropriately Irish post, what with Saint Patrick’s Day coming up this week and all… 😉

Follow the tour (and enter the giveaway for a copy of the book!) HERE. You don’t want to miss this! 🙂

Here’s a bit about the book and author, and then my review*! (Read on to the end of the post for a taste of the book with the excerpt Hazel’s sharing with us!)

*a.k.a. where I squeal about Ireland and warriors and fast cars and epicness and brothers and friendships and Faerie and all of the things

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Title: Blood Ties (The Modern Tales of Na Fianna #1)

Genre: YA, Urban Fantasy, Alternate History

Synopsis

In an Ireland that mixes high kings, faeries, and modern warriors who drive fast cars, Ciran, a descendant from the famous warrior Fionn Mac Cool, bands together with a company of young warriors from the legendary order of Na Fianna to go on a quest to recover their missing family members who were captured by the Goblins in a shaky peace between the two kingdoms. Ciran and his companions must figure out not only how they are going to rescue the prisoners, but how they are going to complete their mission without killing each other. Through trial and error, running battles, unexpected friendships, and daring escapes, Ciran and his company come face to face with the Goblin King himself in a final battle that will decide the fate of all involved and of Ireland itself.

The first book in a new series, Blood Ties takes the traditional Irish legends and puts a modern spin on them with a heavy helping of friendship and the love of family.

Find the Book

Createspace Paperback | Amazon Paperback | Kindle | Smashwords | Add it on Goodreads

About the Author

Hazel West lives in Purgatory, er, Florida, with her books and her hedgehog Horatio. When she’s not writing, she’s reading other people’s books, studying folklore, or binge-watching something on Netflix—drinking coffee is also a given.

You can find her online in these places:

Blog: http://hazelwest.blogspot.com

Writing blog: http://talesfromamodernbard.blogspot.com

Twitter GoodreadsYoutube | Pinterest

My Review

bloodtiescoverfront copyBlood Ties

by Hazel B. West

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for my honest review, and all opinions are my own.

5 stars

This book contains, among other things: awesome characters galore, brothers by blood and by bond, friendship, bickering (oh, the bickering!), quests, Irish warriors with fast cars and swords, a few fairies, a lot of goblins (in black leather, of course), a lot of epic fight scenes, muffins, and knitting; all wrapped up in a modern Ireland with an alternate history, keeping all of the awesomeness of medieval times, and one foot in modern times for all the cool things we have now, like cell phones and laptops and movies and cars.

I really don’t see why anyone would need any reasons beyond that to read it . . . but I shall continue, in any case, since I’ll take any excuse to fangirl over this delightful book. 😉

My two favorite things: the setting and the friendships.

It perfectly blends a modern Irish setting with medieval warrior clans and a dash of Faerie, which may sound like an odd mix, but it WORKS. I was simply in love with this world! Like… aside from the danger, can I just live there, please? I really enjoyed getting to learn more about the setting and how it all fit together. The whole thing came so alive for me! I don’t usually read much modern fiction, but I loved this — so even if you’re not one for a contemporary setting, this one’s still worth giving a try!

Just the idea of these Irish warriors, who are a mix of medieval and modern, descendants of Finn Mac Cool, still working for a High King of Ireland; and being part Fae as the hero and the other Fianna are, they have faster reflexes and more instincts; they’re basically like ninjas, only cooler and faster and Irish. (Our narrator, Ciran, even mentions that it’s been proven that ninjas can’t beat them. 😄 How cool is that?)

It’s so fun how the characters will one moment be in a motorbike/car chase with some goblins, the next having a sword fight, and the next be hanging out at home at their castle with a brother, eating ice cream and cheese balls and watching a movie late at night . . . and then off on an epic journey across the rolling green hills of Ireland, having to watch out for the tricks of the Fae. I just love it! The mix is a ton of fun.

The characters leapt off the page. They are all awesome and I am very fond of them! *hugs them all* They’re mostly teens (or early twenties) and a fabulous bunch. Their interactions and dialog and how they bounce off each other and fight and make friends is just wonderful. It’s the best.

Our hero Ciran, who is awesome and my favorite; his best friend Tierney (their relationship is the best!); Caitlin, a warrior maiden who is both maiden and warrior and not stuck up about it, and goodnatured, who I loved a ton; Deaglan, lady’s man and archer and always with perfect hair; Riordan the very calm (licensed!) Berserker who knits; and his flashy troublemaker little brother Keevan. Then of course there’s High King Eamon, who is simply fabulous; and his captain of the guard/best friend Killian — the antics of those two together, especially, simply had me in stitches with laughter. But all of them together were so great!

I loved the relationships in this book so much. Family is very strong, but also friendship. The main theme is one of brotherhood — whether they be sword brothers or brothers born. This best-friend buddies kind of story is one of my favorites, and for sheer amount of awesome bro-ness, it’s likely the best I’ve ever read. The love of family, brothers, friends, and what they’d all do for each other, while teasing and fighting a bit… I just LOVED it! ^_^

I’m not the biggest fan of books told in first person, so it’s a high compliment coming from me that I loved how this story was written, and the narrator, Ciran, is my favorite character of all. I just loved his dry witty way of putting things. Seeing the story through his eyes was awesome. I love his determination and how he tried his hardest and learned to be a leader. Just… Ciran! He’s great. 🙂

The book also has a more serious and darker side to it, with some deeper themes and emotions, touching on family, loyalty, betrayal, coming of age — it’s about a group of mostly teenage warriors, after all! The content is clean, although sensitive readers might want to know there’s mention of torture; and of course a bunch of fighting, because that’s a given with this sort of epic adventure. 😉 On that note, I have to make a special mention of the fight sequences — sword fights and otherwise — which were amazingly well written! I could see them all so well. The fight descriptions and the humorous bantering dialog attest to this author’s skill.

I’ll admit that from the way it started out, I expected it to have more emphasis on the modern aspect, like in a city… with roads and things; and on the specific friendship between the hero and his best friend, Tierney. But that relationship, while still present, fell somewhat in the background with the onset of several other (awesome) characters and all of their interactions, and once the story got underway, it was much more a medieval fantasy adventure quest type of thing (though the modern showed its head from time to time). But all of that is right up my alley, so although I expected something a little different, you will definitely not find me complaining. 😉

Do I have any complaints, then? Mainly that I wish it wasn’t over and need the next one!

Overall: I definitely recommend Blood Ties! I loved this book and just want to hug it, and/or go live there, and I’m excitedly awaiting the sequel! (It’s going to be from Eamon’s point of view and I could. not. be. more. excited. EEP! When is that releasing, again??) I can’t wait to return to this world! ❤

Excerpt From Blood Ties

There was a moment when I couldn’t quite believe the fact I was grappling on the brink of a waterfall just like in an overblown action movie, but yet there I was and Keevan wasn’t far behind, still facing off with the same Goblin he had been before, who was pressing him hard. I couldn’t see where Tierney and Caitlin were because I was a bit too busy for that at the moment, but hoped they were not in as precarious a position as I was or worse.

There was a sudden yell and, forgoing all training I had ever had, I looked over with concern to see Keevan slipping off his rock and falling down with the rushing water, the Goblin he had been fighting going with him.

I would have screamed for him, even knowing it wouldn’t have done anything, but I was suddenly slammed in the face by the hilt of my opponent’s sword. I teetered back on the precipice but gained my balance just before I received another strike that knocked the sword out of my wet hand. I kicked out at the Goblin, but he caught my leg and I knew then, with horror, that this was it. He grinned, knowing as well, and I flailed my arms as he pressed me back. The only thing I could do now was take him with me, but I didn’t even get that chance.

Have a nice swim, Finar,” the Goblin said with a jeer, before he let me go and I fell backwards.

It wouldn’t have been terrible, but for the fact that halfway down I slammed into the side of the cliff, smashing up my side, and by the time I hit the freezing water, well, I hardly remembered the impact enough to tell about it.

— Blood Ties by Hazel B. West

Giveaway

(Rafflecopters notoriously do not show up well on WordPress blogs, it seems, but here’s the link and you can also go to Hazel’s blog to find it. :))

a Rafflecopter giveaway