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Monday, March 2, 2015

The Last List Blog Hop & Giveaway: THE ETERNITY KEY by Bree Despain

Welcome to the Last List Blog Hop!
From Cuddlebuggery:
As most of you know, Egmont recently closed its doors, leaving its YA and MG’s List authors in a bad situation. Anyone who knows anything about publishing knows that this is a huge blow to the authors and the books they’ve worked so hard on.

We thought to ourselves, what can we do to help? And maybe some of you are doing the same.

Thus The Last List Blog Hop was born.
Today we're featuring Bree Despain and her second book in her INTO THE DARKNESS series, THE ETERNITY KEY.

Check out Elisa's Q&A with Bree, her review of THE SHADOW PRINCE, and enter the giveaway at the bottom! There are lots of cool features and giveaways on this hop, so make sure you follow along! You can find a list of participating blogs at the bottom of the post here

Haden Lord, the disgraced Prince of the Underrealm, has chosen love over honor and will do everything in his power to protect Daphne Raines, the human girl he was supposed to bring to the Underrealm. Haden’s choice is put to the test as the Skylords and a figure from his past arrive in Olympus Hills with a plan that could destroy all of the realms.

Embracing her destiny as the Cypher, Daphne begins to understand the immense power of her musical ability to control the elements, but she must come to terms with her feelings for Haden and what she must sacrifice in order to protect him and her friends.

Believing the Key of Hades is the only thing that can stop the Underrealm Court from releasing the monstrous Keres on the mortal world, Haden, Daphne, and their friends set out to find the Key before Persephone’s Gate opens again on the spring equinox.
The Shadow Prince | The Eternity Key | Goodreads

Elisa - I was fascinated by your uncanny ability to incorporate ancient mythology into the real-world throughout the Into the Dark series. It made me wonder if you started with Greek mythology as the foundation for these novels or if you just happened to create a story with elements that matched a Persephone story and so you extrapolated that into the theme? Which came first?

(Secretly, I am hoping you are ridiculously obsessive about Greek mythology because that just makes you into such an interesting character!)

Bree - Haha! I am ridiculously obsessive about Greek mythology. I've loved those stories ever since I was a kid. The first kernel of inspiration came from the Deathcab for Cutie song, "I will follow you into the dark." I used to be obsessed with that song and would listen to it on a loop. To me, the song is about being willing to follow someone into the unknown for the sake of love. This idea got me wondering about who would do such a thing, and I started wondering what it would be like to be the person who had to convince someone they loved to follow them into the dark. Being a big mythology buff, I naturally started thinking about both the Persephone and Hades myth and the Orpheus and Eurydice story. I started imagining a Hades-like character who had to convince a mortal girl to return with him to the Underworld (of her own free will) and the rest of the story came after that.


Elisa -  I have a past in singing and composition so I absolutely loved how well you brought the musical element to life in The Shadow Prince. Considering, what is your musical background?

Bree - I have absolutely no musical talent what so ever--but I do have a great appreciation for music. To write from Daphne's POV, I had to do a lot of research about musical terms and how to describe musical sounds. I come from a theater background, so I was able to draw on my own experiences with auditioning and performing in that way, but sadly, I couldn't carry a tune to save my life.


E - Which characters of the Into the Dark Series are inspired by your most beloved, hated, or tolerated people in real life? (Obviously, I'd understand if you are vague to not fully destroy your relationships with your bestie or evil but necessary uncle.)

B - Oh man, that question could get me in some trouble. I have to admit that Lexie, Daphne's nemesis and resident mean girl, was inspired by someone I know. I'd gotten particularly annoyed with this person's attitude one day and decided to write her into my book. However, Lexie has ended up becoming one of my favorite characters, so maybe there is still hope for me and the real life version of her. :)


E - Why is Daphne Raines so trusting of strange guys?

B - Huh. I never thought of Daphne as being overly trusting of guys--in fact, I'd say that she has a lot of trust issues because of her dad abandoning her when she was a baby. However, Daphne has a unique ability to read people because she can hear people's "inner songs." As in, she can hear special musical notes that emanate from living things that no one else can hear. It's almost like being able to read someone's aura. If she likes your inner song, then she likes you. She trusts Tobin right off because she finds his inner song to be familiar and friendly. I think she trusts more in this ability to steer her towards good people than she actually trusts people in general.


E - What is one thing you added to The Shadow Prince just because you like it (besides music)? Ex., they ate pizza, that town they visited, the private school like the one you went to . . .

B - Daphne gets her love for food from me. While Haden is a very discerning eater, Daphne loves bacon cheese burgers and root beer. These are two of my most favorite things. Daphne is always daring Haden to try new foods. He dislikes almost everything but he does discover that he has a sweet tooth. He loves ice cream and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies--also two of my favorite things.

Thank you so much for the thoughtful interview questions!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Bree Despain is the author of the Dark Divine trilogy and the upcoming Into The Dark trilogy. She has always loved writing because she has always loved telling stories. As a kid, she'd staple folded papers to make her own "novels."  As a teen, she wrote stories in notebooks while her friends waited for the next page to be finished.  Her teachers told her she should be a writer.  But Bree thought only special people could be writers, so as the years past, she settled into the idea of becoming a lawyer instead.
Bree rediscovered her childhood love for creating stories when she took a semester off college to write and direct plays for at-risk, inner city teens from Philadelphia and New York.  With a renewed passion for story, and the young adult audience, she returned to Brigham Young University, filled her schedule with creative writing and literature classes, and started writing stories again.   But regular life kicked in, and she soon found herself married with a new baby, working full-time, and with very little writing done.
That’s when the universe threw a pick-up truck in her path.  The car accident left Bree with an understanding that life was too short to not do what you absolutely love.  A few days later, her husband brought home a used laptop computer, placed it by her bedside, and said, “You’d better start writing.”  Her life has never been the same since.
In a moment of karmic perfection, Bree received the offer to purchase her debut novel, The Dark Divine, on the 6th anniversary of the car accident that put her back on the path to becoming an author.

Photo by Chauntelle Janzer of OpieFoto

Saturday, February 28, 2015

{Indie Spotlight} Bullying is No Laughing Matter


THE SONG OF THE BULLIED

Have you ever gotten a song stuck in your head? You know, a song you haven't heard for a while. Suddenly and unexpectedly it pops into your head and goes into repeat cycle.

It is funny, but a little frustrating. Over and over it plays, making you want to sing along. Often it is at inopportune moments, like when you are at work or school. When you are supposed to be concentrating on something else.

Kids who are bullied experience something similar to this. But the song they hear is not so funny. It's words include lyrics written by their bullies and sang over and over again.

You see, the bully assembles the most painful and embarrassing words to each victim's ballad.

Lyrics may include phrases like:

"You're ugly."

"What a wimp!"

"You're a freak!"

"Loser!"

Slut!"

"Sissy!"

"Why don't you go kill yourself."

The words, because they are repeated whenever the bully has a chance, collect in the mind of the victim like some recording. These lyrics also come back at the most inopportune moments for bullying victims, filling their minds. Moments like when they are feeling down, feeling like they have failed or feeling unloved. And over and over, the mental song plays.

It is as if the bully was in control of the victim's mental jukebox and had a fistful of quarters just for them.

But, whereas a fun song can lift someone up, these lyrics pull the listeners farther down. Down farther than they were at that moment when the song began to play. Sometimes it leaves them in a pit of despair.

I know the Song of the Bullied because it plays in my head. For 10 years, a group of bullies sang a song of cruelty to me growing up. Fortunately, today, the song doesn't play in my mental jukebox as often as it used to, thanks to the help of some counselors years ago. But, on occasion, when I'm feeling low, it does begin to play again. I can get rid of it now, but takes some effort.

In recent years, I have begun to give presentations on bullying. Many people don't understand the power of written or spoken words.

Sometimes people say, "Bullying is just a little teasing. Kids will be kids." Yet, how can telling someone to go kill themselves be just a "little teasing"? How can labels like "freak" or "slut" be considered a harmless joke? And who are they learning these words from?

We are all responsible for the songs we leave with others. Please, think about your own lyrics as you sing. Your words can impact others for years to come!

And, just as important, if you know someone who has been bullied, take some time to teach them a new song. 


Millions of Americans follow the adventures of Beetle Bailey, Blondie, Luann, Dick Tracy, Gil Thorp and other top comic strip characters. We love to laugh at their adventures-and their misadventures. But, as the title of this powerful new comic book declares: Bullying Is No Laughing Matter. This full-color paperback represents a historic "team up" of America's cartoon favorites, who are springing from the funny pages into this big new book. They're united in encouraging kids to support each other when someone begins picking on them. National research shows that new forms of bullying follow kids wherever they go-inescapably plaguing them through social media on computers and smartphones. Some of the comic artists contributing to this book have even added personal notes sharing their own experiences with bullies-or offering brief words of encouragement to kids. This book is a unique resource encouraging kids to build supportive relationships by starting with familiar characters they may have grown up with or will enjoy meeting in these pages. Many of these brief comics are presented as discussion prompts, starting a story about bulling and then inviting kids to consider: What will happen next? How would you respond? The format of this comic book is unusual. It's a "flip book" with two covers and two pathways through these comic adventures. The front cover takes kids (and the adults who love them) through dozens of individual comic panels and strips. Most of these pages contain personal notes from the creators of these comics. The "other cover" takes kids (and their parents, teachers and youth leaders) through a graphic novel starring a youthful super hero, The Cardinal. The Cardinal confronts a seemingly horrible "enemy"-the Warthog-but readers discover that there's far more to this bully than we guess in our first glimpse. In the middle of the book, The Cardinal author and artist Kurt J. Kolka tells his own story of overcoming the effects of bullying, and Camille Paddock, a teenage girl who has become a real-life hero for her own triumph over bullying tells her story as well. Amazingly, readers discover that the Warthog and young Camille share similar crises in their lives. Kids can easily internalize these lessons about compassion and the courage necessary to help end bullying. Bullying Is No Laughing Matter unites 36 nationally distributed comic strips, many of them specifically addressing the issue of bullying for the first time in this publication. Readers will enjoy colorful visits from such regulars on the funny pages as Beetle Bailey, Blondie, Dennis the Menace, Dick Tracy, Funky Winkerbean, Gil Thorp, Luann, Stone Soup, Mary Worth, and many more.

--Kurt J. Kolka is an anti-bullying advocate, award-winning journalist, cartoonist and bullying survivor who has researched the subject of bullying for more than three years. With assist from many cartoonists, he has put together a book of comic strips and advice from those cartoonists on how to deal with bullying. It is called "Bullying is No Laughing Matter." Kurt and several of the cartoonists shared their own stories of being bullied and how they survived inside. The book is available through Amazon.com and other online outlets. There is also a website, www.bullyingisnolaughingmatter.com. Kurt may be contacted at cardinal.adventures@gmail.com.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Book Review: The Selection By Keira Cass

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.





At a Glance:
My best friend Natalie read it and tried to get me to read it for weeks. I never had time to, and my reading list was getting so long! So finally I just got it on Audible.com and I listened to it and loved it.

Action:
The action in this book was okay. I wish there were more (but that's just me liking action in romance books) There were attacks against the castle but no details. But other then that there really wasn't really much action. Unless you count cat-fights between the girls... Then it got pretty violent.

Romance:
This romance was sitting-on-the-edge-of-your-seat just waiting for them to kiss. Like seriously dude, you know you want to kiss her just do it! But toward the end... Well I don't know because of the freaking cliffhanger. Ugh! This book is so good! Going to see what happens in the sequel.

Heroine:
Well lets just say that America Singer is a very stubborn girl. She's in love with another boy back at home and she won't let her feelings for the prince get in the way of that. Even though the prince tells her he has feelings for her, she "FriendZ0ned's" him. I really did like her character, she reminded me of, well, me. She was very down to earth and not your typical basic girl. When all the girls wanted to wear fancy dresses she asked to wear pants.

Hero:
Okay, I kinda just fell in love with Prince Maxon. He was genuinely a good guy, he was a complete gentleman and knew how to have fun. He was very witty and charming. He was so sweet to all the girls but not as sweet as he was to America. Even though America was hard-to-get on him, he was still a gentlemen to her and never stopped running after her.


Cliffhanger? 
That cliffhanger was like Alias Season 4's finale. For those who do not watch Alias (You should really be watching it right now), its a really big cliffhanger. Can't wait to read the sequel The Elite!

Would I recommend it?
Most definitely!

Narrator:
Amy Rubinate did a really good job in the voices. She did her male voices really well. At first I didn't like her but she grew on me.

Rating:



Language: Mild
Sexual: Moderate
Violence: Moderate 
Other: None





Thursday, February 26, 2015

Fantasy Win! ~ THE STORYSPINNER by Becky Wallace

Review by Andye

THE STORYSPINNER
The Keepers' Chronicles #1
by Becky Wallace
Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (March 3, 2015)
Language: English

Goodreads | Amazon
Drama and danger abound in this fantasy realm where dukes play a game for the throne, magical warriors race to find the missing heir, and romance blossoms where it is least expected.

In a world where dukes plot their way to the throne, a Performer’s life can get tricky. And in Johanna Von Arlo’s case, it can be fatal. Expelled from her troupe after her father’s death, Johanna is forced to work for the handsome Lord Rafael DeSilva. Too bad they don’t get along. But while Johanna’s father’s death was deemed an accident, the Keepers aren’t so sure.

The Keepers, a race of people with magical abilities, are on a quest to find the princess—the same princess who is supposed to be dead and whose throne the dukes are fighting over. But they aren’t the only ones looking for her. And in the wake of their search, murdered girls keep turning up—girls who look exactly like the princess, and exactly like Johanna.

With dukes, Keepers, and a killer all after the princess, Johanna finds herself caught up in political machinations for the throne, threats on her life, and an unexpected romance that could change everything.
Let's just cut to the chase.

I LOVED THIS BOOK!

The Storyspinner is everything that I love in a Fantasy. With dual points of view, it could have been difficult to follow, but Becky Wallace masterfully weaves this story together, leaving you on the edge of your seat the entire way.

Every character in this book was well-written and engaging. Often when books switch from one character to another, or from one storyline to another, I find myself impatient for one particular person to show back up. I didn't have that feeling at all this time. I loved everyone!

Johanna is a fantastic protagonist. She's fierce and loyal. She'll do anything for her family (and often has to), and isn't afraid of hard work, or a fight when the circumstances call for one. She's a daughter, sister, hunter, Performer, and so much more.

The romance is a slow burn, and so fantastic. I love the banter and the struggle to come to terms with their feelings. I loved that the romance(s) wasn't the forefront of the story, but added another layer to an incredible adventure.

Then there was the magical element with the Keepers. Jacare, Pira, Leao, and Tex were so fun to read. I love their relationships with each other and their determination to find the princess. The magic they could do was different and really intriguing.

This book wasn't anything like what I was expecting, and I'm so glad that I picked it up. I can't wait to see what happens in book two, especially with how this book just ended!!

Book Doppelgangers: The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski, The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima, Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas


Music to read to: Dallas Green: City And Colour


At a Glance:
I started listening to City and Colour when I was about 12-years-old. I remember listening to his new album (at the time 2012) and loved it. I was really into music during this time, I was listening to all new music but it was all rock/metal music. The mix is really good, he has one of the best voices I've ever heard, and great music for just chilling with friends or reading a great book with a fire and chocolate chip cookies. To this day, he is my favorite alternative/Indie artist.

Genres:
Folk, Alternative rock, Blues rock, Indie.


Favorite albums by this artist:
All of these albums are on Spotify (If you don't have a Spotify and you listen to music, you should really get one, it will change your life) also on iTunes, youtube, last.fm, ect. 

What books have I read listening to them?
The Dark Divine series by Bree Despain
Altered by Jennifer Rush
The Tigers Curse saga by Colleen Houck
Or really just any contemporary and romance books. 

You + Me rose ave. album (Dallas Green and P!nk):
Dallas Green (City and Colour) and Alecia Moore (Pink) wrote an album together rose ave. They met each other though a mutual friend and one day they got together to just play guitar and sing together and hang out. They ended up writing a song and then a whole album in the matter of just a week. When I found out they did an album together (Thanks to the Spotify ads) I got so excited! When it came out I was listening to it non-stop, I loved it.









Speaking of music...
Anyone remember Andy, Amy's son? ReadingTween? Drummer?? Anyways, he just came out with a new album called Cycles! Just give it a listen, you might like it. His artist name is Midia, he makes glitch-hop and metal and its all instrumental! His music will be best if you're reading an action book, maybe some zombies or spaceships.

Like his Facebook page!
Midia on SoundCloud
MidiaOfficial.com
Or listen on Spotify!







Check out RealeCooking!

Please comment on what music you read to! I'll give a listen and do a review! 

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