Thursday, March 27, 2014

I've Moved! New Blog

As much as I love Blogger I've found that I enjoy tumblr much more. I still participate in blog tours, book reviews and all of that fine stuff, but tumblr allows me more freedom and I feel much more involved through it.

You can find it all here. Quotes, resources I use/like, inspiration, the full nine yards. Because there is so much on this little Blogger blog I'm going to keep it up, although it will no longer be active. It will just be a little archive of sorts.

I do plan on posting some old favorites to the tumblr, but that's in the future.

I understand that not everyone has a tumblr, and that there are plenty of people who aren't interested in having one. There's no reason why y'all should miss out, or feel obligated to make a tumblr, so I've set up the option for people to get updates through the RSS feed where you can subscribe and check things out at your leisure, no tumblr required. Already I have a new review up and a special announcement related to current and upcoming short stories!

Hope to see you there in one way or another, and thank you for your on going support!


Monday, January 13, 2014

Book Blitz Kick-Off! Darkness Watching


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Darkness Watching

by Emma L Adams

Release Date: 10th

Publisher: Curiosity Quills

Genre: Urban fantasy/paranormal

Target Audience: Upper YA/New Adult

 October 2013
Summary from Goodreads:

Eighteen-year-old Ashlyn is one interview away from her future when she first sees the demons. She thinks she's losing her mind, but the truth is far more frightening: she can see into the Darkworld, the home of spirits– and the darkness is staring back.

Desperate to escape the demons, Ash accepts a place at a university in the small town of Blackstone, in the middle of nowhere - little knowing that it isn't coincidence that led her there but the pull of the Venantium, the sorcerers who maintain the barrier keeping demons from crossing from the Darkworld into our own world.

All-night parties, new friendships and a life without rules or limits are all part of the package of student life - but demons never give up, and their focus on Ash has attracted the attention of every sorcerer in the area. Ash is soon caught between her new life and a group of other students with a connection to the Darkworld, who could offer the answers she's looking for. The demons want something from her, and someone is determined to kill her before she can find out what it is.

In a world where darkness lurks beneath the surface, not everyone is what they appear to be...

Read Chapter One
 
Reviews of DARKNESS WATCHING:

"Emma is an amazing writer. She has become one of my favorites. I couldn’t put Darkness Watching down." - Diane at A Creative Mind

"Darkness Watching provides an original world that is fully complete and from a teens POV. It was dark and entertaining and sometimes teen books don’t go full out, this one did. The world building was truly strong in this novel." - Lexi at Book Bliss

"Like good books should, Darkness Watching left me pondering the story after I'd finished reading AND left me wanting more. Adams built a strong world for readers to be immersed. But the regular world retained full realism. Normal every day teen situations felt completely believable." - Erin at Erin Albert Books

I have to say, I didn’t see the ending coming! ... the final showdown left me speechless (You will have to read it!)" - Julia at Never Judge a Book by its Movie

"This was entertaining from the start...I didn’t want to put it down, and fans of urban fantasies I think will enjoy this. Darkness Watching was definitely worth the read." - Jenea at Books Live Forever

"This book is unique, fun and interesting. I kept wondering what was going to happen next...I felt that this book was well written and It was hard to put this book down once I started. " -Jessica at Eat Sleep Read

Excerpt:
It started out as yet another exam dream. I sat in the school hall, looking at an unfamiliar paper, as all the other students began to write with frantic enthusiasm, pens racing down the page.

I didn't revise this at all. Panic rose within me. I looked around desperately. Everyone else scribbled away. The clock ticked, seconds passing. Minutes. Shit.

I felt a familiar surge of dizziness; my breath stuck in my throat, my heart pounded. I stared at the back of the seat in front of me, which seemed to waver and shimmer before my eyes, turning to blackness―

And a face grinned at me. Sharp teeth formed a malevolent smile. Violet eyes stared at me, unblinking. I could see nothing else for the smoke, which completely obscured everything before my eyes.

Then my chair tipped backward of its own accord. In slow motion, it leaned back, teetered for a moment. The demon grinned as I sat there, powerless to move.

The panic inside my chest spilled over and I tried to cry out. But I couldn't move my jaw, couldn't open my mouth. I was frozen to the seat as it hit the floor with a soundless thud.

I couldn't move.

I couldn't feel anything.

And I couldn't speak, couldn't scream.

I lay on my back, and around me, people continued to write, like robots programmed to scribble endless pages. No one spared a glance for me. I was trapped there on the floor, and no one even knew I was trapped.

The eyes blinked, then vanished.

My heart restarted with a jolt, hammering in my ears. I fought to escape the trap. My eyes felt as though something heavy weighed them shut, but I managed to force my eyelids apart.

The sight of my digital alarm clock greeted me, sideways; I'd fallen asleep at my desk, my head resting on my laptop, the cold edge digging into my face. 
I tried to lift my head, but I couldn't. I tried to open my mouth, but my jaw remained locked.

Impossible. I'm awake. Trapped again, this time for real. Not a muscle in my body

responded to my pleas. I couldn't feel my hands, but I knew my right hand rested under my chin where I'd used it as a pillow. I couldn't feel my face, either.

I'd lost all feeling in my entire body, as if something invisible laid on top of me, pinning me down.

I tried to cry out, but not a sound escaped.

Move! I thought, trying to lift my head. The weight continued to press on me. I recalled one of those websites I'd browsed had mentioned poltergeists that sat on people in the middle of the night, leaving them unable to move. This felt just like it. Terror washed over me, cold and merciless.

Every short breath hurt my chest. Let me go. Please. Please―I'll do anything, just let me
"Anything, Ashlyn?"

That voice.

What do you want from me?

Somehow, not being able to see the speaker made it a thousand times worse. It felt like a thousand invisible hands gripped me all over, numbing all sensation. At the edges of my vision, I thought I saw dark shapes, but no eyes, no mouth for the voice.

Demons.

Finally, the messages between my brain and nerves seemed to hit home, and I managed to raise my head, to lift my arm an inch. Slowly I regained feeling in my limbs. I shifted, twitched my hands, my feet.

Even then, I knew they watched me.

That day, the fear began.



About the Author
Emma spent her childhood creating imaginary worlds to compensate for a disappointingly
average reality, so it was probably inevitable that she ended up writing fantasy and paranormal
for young adults. She was born in Birmingham, UK, which she fled at the first opportunity to
study English Literature at Lancaster University. In her three years at Lancaster, she hiked up
mountains, skydived in Australia, and endured a traumatic episode involving a swarm of bees in
the Costa Rican jungle. She also wrote various novels and short stories. These included her first
publication, a rather bleak dystopian piece, and a disturbing story about a homicidal duck (which
she hopes will never see the light of day).

Now a reluctant graduate, she can usually be found in front of her writing desk, creating weird and wonderful alternative worlds. Her debut novel The Puppet Spell, published in January 2013 by Rowanvale Books, is a fantasy tale for young adults and the young at heart, inspired by her
lifelong love of the fantastical, mythology, and video games. Emma also writes supernatural
fantasy novels for older teens and adults. Her next book, Darkness Watching, is the first in the
upper-YA/New Adult Darkworld series, and was published in October 2013 by Curiosity Quills
Press.

Links


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Captured Minds Blog Tour!

I am beyond thrilled to be kicking off things for the Captured Minds blog tour! This book was one of the ones that got me out of my reading dry spell and I absolutely adored it. You can find my review of the book here. I also am proud to say that I have the pleasure of interviewing the fantastic author. There's also a giveaway so be sure to check that out too!

"A new kind of world, a new kind of heroine, a new kind of story."
Goodreads Blurb:
For the last decade, famine has had the thriving land of Zoar in its grip. With money and food dwindling, seventeen-year-old Raven Montgomery longs for something more than working in the library. Driven by her love of learning, she enters a competition hosted by the Other World, where she will test her knowledge in order to win supplies Zoar desperately needs. 

Before she can do so, Zoar’s ruler is killed, and hours later the Other World closes its door. Raven can’t believe the two events are connected. Yet, when she stumbles across Other World technology that holds classified information, she learns there may be more to the competition than meets the eye. Sure that her ruler’s death is somehow linked, she now faces the challenge of revealing the truth behind the Other World’s sinister ways before both lands are changed forever.


Interview
Ok, so I figured that you’ve said a lot about Raven and the other fantastic characters in your book through other interviews, so I want to get a look inside your head and see what goes on in the mind of the writer!

1. Writers know that there are a lot of hurdles to overcome when releasing a book. So when releasing Captured Minds (CM), what was the biggest challenge you had to face, and more importantly, how did you overcome it?
The challenges I had to face was editing and figuring out my process for the first time. I hadn't been through the editing process before so figuring out what to keep, what to delete and also how to make my characters three dimensional. I was lucky to have some amazing beta readers to help me get the story to where it is today! It would not have turned out so well without them! I can't really say how I overcame the challenges I just worked until my book felt right and I was happy with it!


2. Technology is a major theme in your book. At times it really holds Raven back and at others it really helps her out. While writing CM did technology help or hinder you?
It helped! Especially the internet! I met my beta readers online *most of them* and did my research online.
 
3. More technology questions! You have some really awesome inventions and use of current technology in your book! Where did some of the inspiration for those things come from?

The Micro- Screen was inspired by the ipad. I wanted something that was like the ipad but smaller and more advanced than the ipad. I got the idea of communication via mirror for Zoar from Beauty and the Beast but I got the idea to communicate through a mirror from the webcams and facetime.

4. Changing the topic a bit, one aspect I adored about Captured Minds was how the characters dealt with their fears. Were there any fears that you had to overcome while writing CM?

Not being scared that people would like it. Its my book and I wrote first for me. I had to remember that and not focus on the readers but on the story that I wanted to tell.

5. What was the most enjoyable part of writing CM?

 Writing a character that would inspire and send a positive message. 

 6. Can we get any hints of what’s to come from Raven and the gang, or is it top secret?

 She'll continue her journey on defeating the Justice and saving both lands. 

7. Anything else you’d like to add before we wrap things up?

Yes! When I was younger and I do this sometimes now, I would turn on music on my CD player in my room and literally stand in front of it and think about my stories. I'd whisper scenes to myself and ideas would normally come from a certain line in a song or a song itself. I got the very beginnings of CM from the song Finale B from the musical RENT. It was a slightly different idea then but still had some of the same elements that Captured Minds does. It was my way to unwind and be away from the world for half an hour. That includes the internet. It was my time to rest and let my muse just go!

Again, thank you so much for doing this interview with me. I know I had a ton of fun writing up the questions and reading your answers, and I'm sure our readers will love it too!

Giveaway
Rafflecopter Code: a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

About R.A. Odum 
RA Odum grew up and still lives in Georgia. Her love for writing and stories started in her grandmother’s attic and never stopped. Born sixteen weeks early and loss of vision in one eye, RA faces obstacles head on. From the time she was very small, she has had a host of characters in her head, screaming for their stories to be told. When she is not writing, she loves to spend time with her family, sing and read. She also enjoys learning and teaching others American Sign Language. She hopes her novels will inspire and make a difference.

Links:
Facebook   

Friday, December 20, 2013

T.G.I.F. Captured Minds Review

"A book review on Friday? Really Anna?"

Sure! Why not? Fridays are my day to show off/share something I love or to celebrate something. So I'm celebrating the fact that I got to read the super addicting book Captured Minds. And that I got it as an early Christmas present (yay! Don't worry that doesn't change my stance on the book, that's just icing on the cake). And that I finally finished it cause I was literally loosing sleep over this book. Also, waiting until Wednesday to post my review might have killed me, so I'm posting it today.


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Goodreads blurb:  
For the last decade, famine has had the thriving land of Zoar in its grip. With money and food dwindling, seventeen-year-old Raven Montgomery longs for something more than working in the library. Driven by her love of learning, she enters a competition hosted by the Other World, where she will test her knowledge in order to win supplies Zoar desperately needs.

Before she can do so, Zoar’s ruler is killed, and hours later the Other World closes its door. Raven can’t believe the two events are connected. Yet, when she stumbles across Other World technology that holds classified information, she learns there may be more to the competition than meets the eye. Sure that her ruler’s death is somehow linked, she now faces the challenge of revealing the truth behind the Other World’s sinister ways before both lands are changed forever.

Review:
Give me a minute to drool over the gorgeous cover before I actually get into the review. Talk about cover love!

Alrighty, on to the review!

Let it be said that I came into this book with very high expectations. They were completely and totally surpassed.

This book is awesome. It's a subtly flavored dystopian that can easily go on the same shelf as The Hunger Games trilogy. Luckily for us, Raven's story is fresh and separate from HG (and it must be said that pretty much every dystopian book these days will be compared to HG simply for how much of an impact it had on the genre, in this case it's a good thing).

The characters are easy to get behind. While Raven experiences a lot of anger throughout the book, it's all incredibly warranted and best of all others react realistically to it. This book is a breath of fresh air because of the realistic interactions everyone has with each other. I've got to say that my favorite characters are Raven, Kate, and Taylor (in no particular order).

I also really like how well thought out and well paced the plot was. The way the author takes on our technology and changes it into something else, or makes it have a deeper meaning is really impressive. It could be argued that this book is a subtle commentary on technology and our attachment to it; while that's not all the book is about (it's much deeper than that), technology is certainly a key element in the book.

Captured Minds is also about trusting yourself and others; it's about people. And the way that's brought to light is really interesting. I think that was my favorite aspect of the book. In my mind it's also where the title comes from. Our minds are a prison if we let them be. To see the characters realize that on their own terms and to fight against that (or to not in some cases) is wonderful and empowering.

I also loved the plot twists. Every time I thought I knew where the book was going wham! Another twist! I never felt like any of these plot twists were done needlessly, each one really propelled the book forward and made the ending...wait, that's right, I'm not letting myself talk about the ending. Other than to say that it's a cliff hanger and I kind of sort of need the second book now!

I really do think that everyone can get something out of this book. There's plenty in there to like, and plenty to take away from it, and it never feels preachy.
For those that are fans of the Hunger Games trilogy or dystopian books and are looking for something else to immerse yourself in, read Captured Minds. It's a really addicting book.
If you're looking for a book to take a chance on, take a chance on this one. It's well worth the investment! 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Color My World With Words

Books are weird. No doubt about it.

Honest to goodness it can take a person years to write something and then someone can read it in under a week. Books can rip out your heart and make you cry at the most inappropriate times. I totally did not cry during class when I finished The Sight. Nope. Not me. No idea what you're talking about. They also can suddenly become your best friend, right when you needed one the most.

Weird right? But have you also noticed that books are colorful? Not just the covers, but the words, the places. Really good stories have colors. Not "colorful characters" or a description, but where colors mean something. Where the colors themselves are almost a charachter.

I find that this happens in really excellent books and movies, and I am completely in love with it.

Our world is made of colors, why shouldn't books be the same way?

Take Shiloh by Helena Sorensen as our first example. Shadow, darkness, grey. These words are more than just words. they convey fear, uncertainty, and they reflect the inner turmoil of the characters. These colors and shades add so much depth to the point that they become a character themselves.

In Abarat by Clive Barker, you have something unique in the fact that this is a picture book for grown-ups. While the beautiful pictures add an element of life, you'd still be reading an amazing book without them (I don't recommend it, because together they're so awesome, but hey, each to their own). Why? Because of the colors.

Candy leaves a brown, chicken feather filled world into a place of blue water, sky, and strange islands. And each island is during a different time of day. Each has it's own shade. It's never said outright, but it's implied by the choice of words and colors.

It's not just dark. It's a black dark. Or perhaps it's a deep blue sort of dark. And those variations make the book. Subtle, yet it adds so much to the emotion and tension that is happening at the moment.

What about May Bird and the Ever After (by Jodi Lynn Anderson)? The tinges of color throughout are even more subtle, but they're there. Although it took me a second reading to realize this, at any moment the colors could betray May for what she is-alive-and be the death of her. And yet there's a variety of subtle colors throughout. The colors and lack thereof are both a challenge for May to overcome and a way that we know that the Ever After is truly otherworldly.

Just like in real life colors make all the difference. They can be overwhelming when shoved on us at parties or in poorly decorated rooms, but they can be beautiful when they float around us naturally. Sometimes they float about so naturally and subtly that we take it for granted. I think that's one of the beauties of life though. Even if we can't see all the colors clearly, and even when shades become muddled, the fact that there is variation there makes the world interesting and beautiful on a whole new level.

The same goes for books. With the small details and the attention to what surrounds us, a book can go from "good" to "fantastic". A book can leave you outside of it, or it can fully immerse you. And I find that with some well placed color, a book can be just as visual and beautiful as life outside it.