Wednesday, July 29, 2015

COVER REVEAL: The Affiliate (Ascension #1) by K. A. Linde

Today we’re revealing the cover of Kyla Linde’s The Affiliate! I am so excited about this fantastic YA fantasy!!

Title: The Affiliate (Ascension, 1)

Author: K. A. Linde

Release Day: September 15th

Genre: YA Fantasy

TA Amazon

About The Affiliate:

On the day of her Presenting, in front of the entire Byern Court, seventeen-year-old Cyrene Strohm's lifelong plans come to fruition when she's chosen as an Affiliate to the Queen.

Or so she thinks. When Cyrene receives a mysterious letter and an unreadable book, she finds nothing is as it seems. Thrust into a world of dangerous political intrigue and deadly magic, Cyrene's position only grows more treacherous when she finds herself drawn to the one man she can never have...

King Edric himself.

Cyrene must decide if love is truly worth the price of freedom. Find out in this first book in USA Today bestselling author K.A. Linde’s new Ascension series.

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Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00074]

Exclusive Excerpt:

“Do you enjoy the view?” King Edric asked.

“The rains have made the gardens bloom, and it warms my heart to see it so.”

“It is good to know that the gardener approves of the work.”

Cyrene laughed lightly. “I have not gardened in a month’s time. I fear I can no longer call myself a gardener.”

She remembered when she had told the king of her interest in gardening at the last feast day almost a week ago. After that dance, Queen Kaliana added a list of plants to her assignment, forcing her to reread every page she had already dredged through for information. It had wasted two entire days.

“Perhaps I could change that,” he offered.

He directed her down the staircase and into the courtyard below lit solely by the setting sun in the distance.

Her stomach churned at the thought of him offering assistance to any of her needs. It was like what she had read in her children’s books of the tales of Leifs, and how one request would be necessitated by a much larger sacrifice. Her biggest sacrifice at the present moment was time. She wanted nothing more than to finish her work on agriculture and prove that she could get moved somewhere that involved traveling…and adventure.

“On the contrary, My King, I am fully enthralled in my Affiliate duties, and believe that gardening would only distract me from my work.”

“You cannot spare one afternoon to spend in my gardens?” His blue-gray eyes searched her face. “If you have half the green thumb you suggest, then it would be delightful to have you on the grounds.”

She swallowed. “I really have much work to accomplish before we go on Processional.”

“I could speak to the Queen and request it be lessened,” he whispered into the evening air.

“No!” It was the first time he had ever admitted to discussing her with the Queen. Hearing him admit it aloud made her voice come out strangled.

Cyrene missed her footing on the pebble path and stumbled forward a pace. Edric steadied her. He turned his body to face her in the middle of the garden, and her breath caught at the sight of him in the setting sun.

“You do not wish me to speak to the Queen?”

“I spoke out of turn. Please forgive me.”

“I cannot forgive that which I do not understand. Did the Queen somehow offend you?”

Cyrene shook her head. “I fear that the Queen does not…like me.”

Edric laughed softly, taking one of her hands in his own. “Oh Cyrene, I believe that the Queen likes no one but herself.”

Cyrene found that she, too, could laugh at his comment.

“Now, tell me what the Queen has done to make you believe that she dislikes you.”

“It’s nothing, my King.” She turned her face away from his. She couldn’t possibly tell him the real reason.

“Enough to infuriate you, which is enough for me.”

When she looked back up into his blue-gray eyes she felt that same magnetic pull between them. Somehow she had not realized how close they were standing. His hand felt warm against her bare skin. His body only a few inches away from her. His breath hot on her face. Her heart contracted in her chest, and she forced herself to respond.

“She speaks of…of your interference, as if…as if you…”

Time stretched between them, and she thought for a split second he might move even closer to her. She was rooted in place, captivated by his gaze.

“Yes?” His other hand drifted to her waist, and she was suddenly on fire.

Their breath mingled together as she murmured, “As if you favor me.”

“And do you think that?”


“Yes?” he asked, stepping closer.

“I think you have your queen,” she breathed.

kalinde copyAbout K. A. Linde:

USA Today bestselling author K.A. Linde is the author of The Affiliate, the first book in the Ascension Series. As a military brat, she traveled the world with her family, imaginary friends, and ever-increasing supply of books. She has spent much of her life dreaming up new worlds and characters and forcing them into uncomfortable, usually life-threatening scenarios. After graduating from the University of Georgia with a masters degree in political science, she began spending every waking hour putting those characters onto paper.

When not writing, she spends her time dancing, collecting paperbacks in the hopes of filling a Beauty and the Beast style library one day, traveling to visit her friends who live all over the country, and still reading anything she can get her hands on. She currently resides in North Carolina with her husband and two puppies, Lucy and Riker, where she is hard at work on her next novel.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

REVIEW: Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes #1) by Sara Raasch

Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes #1) by Sara Raasch
Publication Date: October 14, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Book Purchased by Reviewer
Guest Reviewer: Doris aka La Chiquita
Buy it at: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.
Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.
So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

Oh my dear sweet snow! I could NOT get enough of this book! I am the first to admit that I am a cover whore. If it looks pretty I'll send it a drink at the bar. Walk up to it with a smile and say "Hey beautiful, do you come here often? No? Why don't I show you around? Oh come on, just a little peek at your jacket won't hurt anyone. I promise I'll even read the acknowledgements." Then you finally get it open and read the first chapters and you are neglecting the world around you. Suddenly you don't need to eat, all the loved ones that start talking to you irritate you and you just want to know what happens next regardless of the emotions of the real live people in your bubble.

Snow Like Ashes deserves all the praise. The world is so well built that you feel like you have been hearing about Primoria all your life. Of course you know about the Rhythm and Season Kingdoms why wouldn't you? In the story, Meira is from a land that she never saw herself. She was made to leave because her country was taken over and her people enslaved. She has had to create loyalty to a land built on other peoples memories. In away the reader is swept in there with her. The way she talks about the chill in the air and the smell of fresh snow on the ground made me cold. I love the growth of Meira. She is not your typical wide eyed teenage girl. She was raised to be a soldier and knows that she is more than a pretty face. Granted she does have normal problems being stuck in a hunk sandwich.

You heard me right swooners, prepare yourself for an epic tale of the teen love triangle. Meira has to not only understand her feelings for her King, which she was raised next to and until recently thought she harbored feelings alone for, but she is also introduced to Theron who swoops her off her feet at a time she feels the most vulnerable. What makes this triangle epic is that they are fighting for her at the same time in front of each other. There is no maybe he does maybe he doesn't, this is a pissing contest from the locking of eyes and the way Sara writes it is pure magic. Meira knows that the two guys she has feelings for are fighting for her but she knows that is small pebbles compared to the greater evil of getting her people freed from the Shadow of the Seasons Angra.

 Angra is a whole new level of evil. I love it when I love to hate a villain. He makes you want to reach out and punch him in the face just in hearing his name. He is the king of Spring and the master mind behind the whole oppression of the Winterians. He alone sought out every single one of them and brought them to heel. But even that is not enough for him. The entirety of his need for more makes him darker, slimy even. It makes you root for Meira and her people even more.

I have always been a fan of Fall. 1) it holds my birth date, 2) the color changes 3) the weather always seems right. But after this book I'm ready to shake off my rabbit skins and get me some snow! We are WINTER! 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

FEATURE: Waiting on Wednesday~ Not After Everything by Michelle Levy (#47)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Morning Swooners :-)

This week my "can't-wait-to-read" pre-publication selections are:

Expected release date: August 4, 2015
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Summary from Goodreads:

Tyler has a football scholarship to Stanford, a hot girlfriend, and a reliable army of friends to party with. Then his mom kills herself. And Tyler lets it all go. Now he needs to dodge what his dad is offering (verbal tirades and abuse) and earn what his dad isn’t (money): He needs a job. It’s there that he reunites with Jordyn, his childhood best friend, and now the token goth girl at school. Jordyn brings Tyler an unexpected peace and, finally, love. But with his family in shambles, he can’t risk bringing Jordyn too deeply into his life. So when violence rocks Tyler’s world again, will it be Jordyn who shows him the way to a hopeful future? Or after everything, will Tyler have to find it in himself?

Why I'm waiting:

This sounds heartbreaking and beautiful. I feel like I need this in my life right now! That pretty much sums it up for me.

What are you anxiously waiting for?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

REVIEW: Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard
Publication Date: February 10, 2015
Publisher: Orion
Source: Book Purchased by Reviewer
Guest Reviewer: Doris aka La Chiquita
Buy it at: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.
To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.
Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.
But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win

Damn this book for being so good! Damn its sexy cover for luring me to buy it in February! Now I have to wait until 2016 to get book 2! Damn it! I don't know where to start about this flipping book because it's been a whole 48 hours from when I read the final page of the epilogue and I still think about this book. Lets start with the negatives.

  1. If you are a fan of the Game of Thrones franchise you will have an ah-ha moment at the way the royal structure is set up. Once the correlation of the two stories are made you can't pull away from it. I wanted it to be not so obvious, I would have had less of a bad taste in my mouth if the resemblance was more distant and hints of loved characters and not shadows. Since I made this correlation it ruined a lot of the plot line because it became too obvious what needed to happen.
  2.  If you enjoyed the Hunger Games, you will smell something similar to Katniss and Gale in Red Queen. Mare and her BFF Kilorn grew up together and Mare is trying to figure out how she feels for him when she's thrown to the lions. They have this back and forth draw to each other that I hope Victoria takes in another direction than the expected.
  3. You can tell this is her debut novel. Not knocking her writing, I ate this book so quickly I can still taste the pages in the back of my teeth. There were moments where she had a killer line, and then kept drawing out the idea farther than it needed to. I found my self skipping those lines. I didn't want to let it take away from the meat of the story.

Phew, did that hurt you guys as much as it did me? I really liked the story though. This book really made my imagination work overtime. From the super cool powers to the scenarios that the royal families travel through. At first I thought it would be a medieval world, no electronics, no cars, limited passage and manipulation of the resources. But then you find out the world is a little more third world modern than completely medieval. The amount of poverty Victoria weaves in her tale makes you feel the dirt under your nails, the smell of mud under poorly made shoes, the sound of an empty stomach who has forgotten the feeling of being full.

The range of powers in this world is pretty awesome too. My favorite has to be Mare's electricity. If the literary powers that be except prayers in the next book she will have leather whips that are conductive to her electricity. They will wind up her arms and slowly coil out when she needs to attack. If you were a mutated red who could have power which would you want? Would you want a traditional power like the silvers share? or something never before seen, untamed? If I was born silver blooded I would want to be a whisper, and if I was a mutated red I would want to be like a super shield. I would be able to protect others from strangers ability kinda like what Bella can do in twilight.

Then of course the love interest. TRUST NO ONE! That is all. If I write anymore I will give it all away because that's what they do to you, they get you invested just to mess with you and hurt your feelings. Oh hum! When does the second book come out.... *looks at good reads* [enter facebook distraction time] only 2016... the stories continues, le sighe.  

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

REVIEW: Afterworlds by Scott Westerfield

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfield
Publication Date: September 23, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: ARC received from Publisher at Book Expo America 2014
Guest Reviewer: Doris aka La Chiquita
Buy it at: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

*This book was received from the publisher, but it did not influence this review in any way *

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Darcy Patel has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she's made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wings…
Told in alternating chapters is Darcy's novel, a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the 'Afterworld' to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many unsolved - and terrifying - stories need to be reconciled. And when a new threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she loves and cares about most.

I AM DARCY PATEL! Well the warning tale of what happens when us Darcy's of the world don't follow that nagging need to write. Since I was a pre-teen I have been writing stories, poems, anything to take up the time felt between breaths. But not once did I feel brave enough to really finish the story, send it to the right agent and hope for the best. Reading about the life after the submission was my favorite. I am fairly (brand spanking) new to the literary world and this candid glance of what it can be for authors new and old truly had me turning pages. 

               Not only was I excited to read about the makings of a story but the story that Darcy writes i found myself wanting to read alone, as a separate book. I can definitely see myself sitting on the floor of the local Barnes and Nobles and thumbing though pages of "Afterworlds" and thinking when does the sequel come out? And how can I get my hands on it before that date. The story isn't one that I would have thought of writing, a love story that plays with the notion of life that is lived versus the life that is remembered. Scott Westerfield being a white middle aged man writing as a 18 year old Indian girl who wrote about a white California girl who falls in love with a Hindu death god, is a lot to get your head around. You wouldn't think that the story would work, but I gotta say it does.

               My only hiccup was that things were too easy for Darcy. There was no struggle in falling in love with her friend. (No spoilers, read it if you wanna know!) Then no struggles in finding out who she really is. The story was written for it to be pretty straight forward. This girl is paid to write this book, they work to publish the book, she gets a love interest for the first time then things go in a straight line after that. I wanted more movement. More pain, more realness of emotion. The only emotion Darcy allows herself is self doubt and worry. Through out the book she states that she is worried that one day the world will realize that she is an impostor and just take her "adult card" away.  For me, if you were brave enough to bare your bones by writing a story, you should be a pretty tough cookie. I wanted Darcy to be more like her protagonist Lizze who took her troubles as just that, troubles. They did not change who she was or what she decided to do.

               So to all my fellow Darcy's, you are not alone. You can live vicariously through Darcy in Afterworlds and get a good story at the same time. Win, win!