Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Transcender Trilogy Blog Tour: Character Interview with Jaden and INT giveaway!

Hey, guys! Welcome back! I wanted to repost one of my favorite character interviews that I did with Jaden herself a while ago, because I'm sure that some of you who now have had a chance to read the books, or take a look at the blurbs will enjoy this more than before!

Also, I'm thrilled to introduce Kat from The Art of Midnight, who draws amazing pictures, and drew some great ones of Jaden!


Interview with Jaden, Transcender and Princess of Domerica

Jaden, thanks so much for joining us at Ensconced in Lit! It's not often we get a Transcender here
Can you tell us a little bit about Transcenders?
Thanks for having me. This is my first interview, so I hope I don’t suck at it. I’ll tell you what I can about the Transcenders, but I’m sort of in the learning phase myself. Apparently there’s something in Transcenders’ DNA, a defect maybe, I don’t know, but it makes us able to release the electromagnetic fields holding our atoms together. It’s like we just lose our mass and transform into a kind of wave. It allows us to travel faster than light speed through walls and also through dimensions to parallel worlds. It’s really astounding. I’ve been to a few amazing places recently—some on purpose and some accidentally. I’m still getting the hang of it. Anyway, the whole thing is kind of scary awesome, if you know what I mean.

Wow, that's so cool. I wish I were a Transcender. Back to Earth, for a little bit. Tell us about where you grew up in Connecticut and your family.
Oh well that’s easy enough. The town I grew up in, Madison, is exactly what you think of when someone says New England. Quaint, charming, tons of trees. We have a busy little town square, and lots of pretty and close-knit neighborhoods. My dad’s a senior cardiac nurse at St. Ignatius Hospital, and my big bro is studying pre-law at Duke University. My mom was a Superior Court judge, but she died in a car wreck a few years back. I had kind of an idyllic childhood up to that point. Since then … things have been like a roller coaster ride.

What are the best and worst parts of Connecticut? Of Domerica?
The best part of Connecticut is that my friends are there and I’ll always think of it as home. The worst part is that it can be a bit provincial. Translation: boring. The best parts of Domerica, for me at least, are all the fantastic perks of being part of the royal family—great clothes, great food, being sort of pampered. Also, the countryside is storybook gorgeous and the weather always perfect. The worst parts: no iPhone, no music, no TV, no internet. Oh, and it seems like somebody’s always trying to kill me. That can be annoying.

What was your favorite dress in Domerica and why?
Well, I kind of have a weakness for pretty clothes, and I got to wear some killer outfits when I was in Domerica, but I’d have to say my favorite was this white gown, covered with crystals. I wore it to a feast in Unicoi. It was awesome. The crystals cascaded in diagonals all the way down the skirt, and it had a little train in the back. But it was pretty tight—one of those dresses you have to wear sans panties, so it wasn’t the most comfortable thing to sit in. In fact, by the end of the night, the crystals had made little indentations on my butt. Oops, is that TMI for an interview? Anyway, I still loved it.

Tell us a little about your gorgeous horse.
Oh man, I used to be afraid of horses because they’re just so big. But in Domerica, horseback is the major mode of transportation, and the princess, my mirror in that world, was supposed to be this accomplished horsewoman, so I had to get up close and personal with them whether I wanted to or not. The first time I saw my horse, Gabriel, there was this kind of a soul connection between us. And then when I took him for a test ride, I knew I had to make him mine. It was such an adrenaline rush. His coat is glossy and jet black, his mane long and silky, and he’s fast as lightning. I have to admit, I’m kind of partial to tall, dark, and handsome.

We think that Ryder is totally hot. Can you tell us a little about the first time you met him?
The first time I laid eyes on him, I thought he had to be an angel or something, because no normal guy really looks like that—flawless golden skin, gleaming raven hair, and bottomless blue eyes. He stole my breath away. Once I realized he was in the process of kidnapping me, though, his six-foot-five frame, black armor, and wicked long sword, made my heart race faster for a different reason—stone cold fear. Weird as it sounds, even though he was holding me against my will, his kindness and decency shone through, and I couldn’t hate him. In fact, I was kind of crushing on him that first day, and I worried it might be some bizarre Stockholm Syndrome thing. But it turns out he really is a great guy.

Have you ever played a joke on Ralston? If so, tell us about it!
Seriously? I’m always playing jokes on Ralston. He’s not what you’d call gullible, but he’s a little stuffy, so I can’t resist ruffling his up-tight British feathers from time to time. Once I “borrowed” his glasses without asking. They don’t have corrective lenses, but they do have some very interesting capabilities that I was hoping to try out. He was furious! I won’t be doing that again.

We LOVE your Skorplings. Will you tell our readers a little more about them?
Fred and Ethel are amazing. A Skorpling looks like a cross between a koala bear and a monkey, furry, gray, and cuddly. Plus they can actually speak. Their vocabulary is limited and they can’t pronounce certain letters, but they’re adorable, and different as night and day. Ethel is a sweetheart, always smiling and kissing me. Fred is a total prankster, always getting into some kind of mischief. But I love them both so much. I highly recommend them as pets if they ever make their way over into this dimension.

Since you can Transcend anywhere, what's on your to see list and why?
There are rumors circulating in the Transcender community about a parallel world where people actually have wings and can fly. I don’t know if it’s true, but that’s something I’d really like to see. Also, I want to visit Venice, Italy. During carnival time. I can't imagine anything more romantic and exhilarating than losing myself in a sea of beautifully masked faces and dancing my way along the Grand Canal at midnight.

Thanks so much for stopping by, and I hope we'll see you again soon!
Thanks for inviting me. It was fun!

Question for the giveaway: What do you think of the great pics by Kat and/or Jaden's Interview?

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Don't forget the rest of the tour!

July 21  Ensconced in Lit - review 
               Crystal in Bookland – Transcender Character quiz
July 22 Pandora's Books - Transcender movie wish list
              Ensconced in Lit – character interview with Jaden

July 23 YA Book Nerd Reviews - review 
               Wonderland of Reading - review
July 24 The Whimsical Mama – guest post
                Fly to Fiction  – Review
July 25 Tea and Fangirling – Review
                A Reading Nurse – guest post
July 26 I Heart YA Fiction – Author Interview
Mary Had a Little Book Blog – Character Interview with Ryder


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Monday, July 21, 2014

Transcender Trilogy by Vicky Savage Blog Tour: Review and Huge Giveaway!

Welcome, everyone, to the Transcender Trilogy blog tour! I'm so thrilled to be able to host this for one of my all time favorite indie authors, Vicky Savage, who not only has written books that I'm in love with, but she's become a dear friend over the past few years. I've been a huge fan of the Transcender Trilogy from the beginning, and I'm stunned that it's finally over! But now it's time to celebrate her tremendous accomplishment and share these books with all of you!

Book Blurb of Transcender: First-Timer: 
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005DR94EI

Suddenly plucked from her quiet Connecticut life and dropped into a post-disaster parallel world where most of the earth's population resides in enormous domes, eighteen year old Jaden Beckett lands in the middle of a kidnapping—her own!

Undercover Agent Ralston of the Inter-Universal Guidance Agency helps Jaden escape from her captors and promises to return her home as soon as he can arrange it. But he conceals from her the fact that she is really a Transcender, capable of traveling among alternate worlds at will. While waiting for passage home, Jaden assumes her parallel identity as a princess in the nation of Domerica. She discovers her mother is alive in this world—a miracle she never dreamed possible. But perhaps even more compelling is her blossoming, breathtaking romance with Ryder Blackthorn, her once and future soul mate.
When it comes time for Jaden to leave, she flatly refuses. IUGA claims the welfare of the entire galaxy depends upon her timely return. Jaden contends that, in this case, eternal love trumps destiny. Who will prevail?

Book Blurb of Streaming Stars: 
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AVY3FXY
 
Jaden Beckett makes the journey once again from her home in Connecticut to the nation of Domerica on an alternate earth. The Inter-Universal Guidance Agency has granted her thirty days within which to choose her ultimate destiny. She may remain in Domerica, return to Connecticut, or join the other Transcenders in Arumel.

On her arrival, Jaden finds that all is not perfect in paradise. Her mother, Queen Eleanor, is ill and grows frailer with each passing day. Her scheming uncle has moved into the palace and assumed the role of Lord High Steward of the land. But even more troubling are events that took place in Jaden’s absence which have caused her to question the depth of her fiancĂ©’s love.

All the while, Jaden's friendship with a handsome, young Transcender from Arumel deepens. He teaches her how to use her astonishing gift to travel to exotic parallel worlds and introduces her to others in the Transcender community.

When the time draws near for Jaden’s final decision, her choice is anything but simple.

Book Blurb of Illuminosity: 
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KC7IVPW 

Jaden Beckett has a secret unknown to those in her adopted homeland of Domerica: she is a Transcender, capable of traveling among parallel worlds at will. When the powerful Inter-Universal Guidance Agency's sophisticated computer models predict that Jaden will eventually cause the downfall of that agency, IUGA decides to destroy her first. In order to save herself, her family, and the man she loves, Jaden must fake her own death and leave Domerica for good. The plan seems sound, but on the day of IUGA's attack, things go terribly wrong.

Heartsick and alone, Jaden ventures to Arumel, a progressive nation on an alternate earth, where Transcenders conduct valuable inter-universal research. Just when she thinks she's found a safe, new life, IUGA makes its presence known. This time, Jaden is determined not to be driven away. She will fight to discover her place in the multiverse, the true meaning of destiny, and the keys to the mystery of eternal love. 


About Vicky.

Vicky Savage grew up gazing upon the beauty of the Wasatch Mountain Range right outside her family’s kitchen window. She thought the Rocky Mountains would always own her heart, until she moved to sunny Florida for law school and instantly fell in love with the ocean. Her passion for new adventures and exotic locales led her on a circuitous path to writing science fiction/fantasy about strange new worlds and parallel universes. Although she has lived in seven different states and London, England, the siren call of the ocean always brings her back to her beloved Florida, where she currently lives with her husband, son, and two dogs.

Contact Vicky through her website: https://www.vickysavage.com, follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SavageVicky, and visit her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/vickysavageauthor.


My overall rating for the trilogy: 5 couches 

My review of the trilogy: 

I won't talk about the blurbs since you can see them above, but I wanted to talk about the trilogy as a whole.

I remember reading book one, and I've recently reread it and its sequel, Streaming Stars, to prepare to read Illuminosity, and marveled that both have definitely stood the test of time. Even though I've read hundreds of mostly traditionally published books, Vicky's trilogy still remains a favorite even in comparison, which is hard for a self published book to do in this day and age. 

First, there's something so magical and riveting about the world that Vicky has created. While there may be nothing new about the possibility of alternate universes, Domerica is still one of my favorite worlds to travel to. I love all of Vicky's lush description of the land, the politics, and the intrigue that surrounds this location. 

While none of the books are tiny or by any means short, the pacing is great, and it didn't seem to be as long as the weight of the paperback. I just thoroughly enjoyed myself from start to finish and this was the case with all three books, which is a hard feat for an author-- to stay consistently good from first book to third in a trilogy.

I loved the world building, and in particular, all the descriptions of the palace and how Jaden tries to integrate into the world of a princess. Again, while the idea may not be new, what girl/woman hasn't wanted to play dress up just for fun? I devoured the descriptions of the rooms, dresses, meals, and of course, want a Skorpling of my own.

As for the characters, Jaden is a very likeable, resourceful, and intelligent protagonist. She is a strong character, and goes through a lot of turmoil over three books, but I believe comes out even stronger. I like how we discover the world through her eyes, and experience the other worlds through what she goes through. The other key characters include both of her parents-- I appreciate Savage doesn't fall into the trap of both parents being completely absent, Ralston who may be my favorite character in the whole series, Asher who is a mysterious stranger but also plays in a hint of a love triangle, Ryder who is sexy beyond belief, and several other characters who you'll meet in the last two books, but I don't want to ruin the surprise. :-)

There are some great twists and some of the books end in cliffhangers that you'll need the next book right away to satisfy your craving for MORE!

I just can't say enough about how wonderful these books are, and I hope Vicky Savage continues to write for a long time to come. She not only is a terrific writer who is always looking for ways to improve, but she also is an amazing person, and I've been lucky to develop a friendship with her over the past couple of years. 

Now that I've taken time to be all mushy about Vicky and her great trilogy, please enter the giveaway below! The more you visit the different posts over the week for the blog tour, the more likely you are to win! Plus, all the posts are great, so you won't want to miss out.  

Question for the giveaway: What elements of this book look interesting to you?

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Don't miss the rest of the blog tour!

July 21  Ensconced in Lit – review
Crystal in Bookland – guest post
July 22 Pandora's Books - guest post
                Ensconced in Lit – character interview
July 23 YA Book Nerd Reviews YA Book Nerd Reviews- review
                Wonderland of Reading - review
July 24 The Whimsical Mama – guest post
                Fly to Fiction  – Review
July 25 Tea and Fangirling – Review
                A Reading Nurse – guest post
July 26 I Heart YA Fiction – Author Interview

 

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Cover Reveal: A Murder of Magpies by Sarah Bromley and Giveaway!

You guys, one of my favorite things to do as a blogger is support really awesome authors from my home town of St. Louis. I'm so lucky to get to do this! So this cover reveal (and the one earlier this week with Paula Stokes) is for one of our talented writers-- Sarah Bromley! She's such a sweetie, and I'm so glad I get to support her!
 Without further ado... THE COVER!


I absolutely love this cover-- it's creepy, and gives sort of a Poesque vibe. Very striking! But wait, we have more!! Sarah has been kind enough to give me a teaser to share with you all!

TEASER:
I glanced to my brother and father talking to Monsignor. That Jonah hadn’t chased off Ward was a tacit tolerance of him. “A few cuts. I’ll live.” I twisted my black hair, skimming my hips. “You hardly needed to play the white knight. Marty’s not much of a dragon, more like a salamander.”

“Maybe I like fighting salamanders.”

Chipped gray polish colored his nails, artsy in an I-don’t-give-a-damn-I’ll-wear-it-if-it’s-clean way. If Monsignor noticed, that’d earn Ward a detention or two.

“Listen, gadjo.” He didn’t deserve social devastation all because of my cavalier brother. He needed to back off from us. While he still could. “Marty won’t bother you if you don’t bother him. Tangling with him will never be forgotten.”

His mouth twitched, neither a grin nor a frown. “I don’t scare easily.”

He slipped on his headphones once more. Must be nice to be so untouched, unfazed. Must be peaceful.

“Hey,” I called. He lifted one side of his headphones. “What are you listening to?”

“Music.”

Smart ass.

Thud!

A chair had overturned in Monsignor’s office and rocked ever so slightly. A chair no one had been sitting in. Dad’s muffled voice came fast as he pulled Jonah by the arm. From the dark expression on his face, we were in for a major talking to.

“We need to leave. Now,” Dad said as he steered Jonah out of the office.

He whisked us past the sanctuary where our footfalls echoed on wood floors polished by nuns until glistening. The school was a dour extension off a century-old Catholic parish. The walls in the language arts wing were painted rich blue, the Virgin’s color. Hung between classrooms were carvings from the Stations of the Cross, thick with dust except for the Christ’s gaze, which followed us and knew my family’s secrets and sins.

Outside was better. Riding in the car, the windows lowered to allow in the fire-musk smell of October, but there was something else, an odor of things buried deep in the black earth. Dad steered into a parking lot by a grocery store. The heavy silence in the car made it impossible to push back the memory of the last time we pulled over like this. Instead of a parking lot, it’d been off a highway in a forest in northern Georgia and, with the haze of morning fog guarding the Chevy we’d escaped in, Dad had vowed we were going straight to Black Orchard, a town in Wisconsin near Canada. There, we would start over.

Find somewhere new. Claim different names.

Dad pushed his fingers through his black hair, streaked with silver, and set his eyes, the same green as mine, on my reflection in the rearview mirror. “This stops now. Your mama might’ve called what y’all do Mind Games sp. But I won’t play.”

“Yes, Sir,” Jonah and I answered.

 “Mind Games, if you must work them, are private. Working them in public is how your mama found trouble.” He twisted his wedding band. “We can’t risk a repeat of Georgia.”

I jerked my head to the view out the window. Black Orchard, Wisconsin. Easter egg-colored Victorian homes lined the streets, and people spoke with northern accents, which sounded friendly no matter what they said. But pretty towns and nice people could betray you.

CREEPY!!! But awesome! Can't wait to get my hands on a copy!

And now...  enter to win some great prizes from Sarah!

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Cover Reveal: Liars, Inc by Paula Stokes!

Guess what, guys?? I am so thrilled to get the chance to show you this awesome, amazing, fabulous cover of LIARS, INC by the equally fantastic Paula Stokes for her February 2015 release, LIARS, INC.

About LIARS, INC:

It all starts with one little lie…

Max Cantrell has never been a big fan of the truth, so when the opportunity arises to sell lies to his classmates, it sounds like a good way to make a little money and liven up a boring senior year. With the help of his friends Preston and Parvati, Max starts a business providing forged permission slips and cover stories for the students of Vista Palisades High. Liars, Inc. they call it. Suddenly everybody needs something and the cash starts pouring in. Who knew lying could be so lucrative?

When Preston wants his own cover story to go visit a girl he met online, Max doesn’t think twice about hooking him up. Until Preston never comes home. Then the evidence starts to pile up—terrifying clues that lead the cops to Preston’s body. Terrifying clues that point to Max as the murderer.

Can Max find the real killer before he goes to prison for a crime he didn’t commit? Paula Stokes starts with one single white lie and weaves a twisted tale that will have readers guessing until the explosive final chapters.


And now the moment you’ve been waiting for—THE COVER!



Paula's thoughts on the cover: 
OMG, I’ve been flailing about the awesomeness of this cover since April. I saw it and was basically like HOLY COVER LOTTERY!! :D 

I’ve talked about how LIARS, INC. is very different from THE ART OF LAINEY, and this cover really highlights that. LIARS has first-person narration, a bit of romance, and similar fast-paced dialogue to LAINEY, but that’s where the major similarities end. This book is a dark mystery for fans of I HUNT KILLERS, PRETTY LITTLE LIARS (the TV show, because I’ve never read the books), or old-school Christopher Pike novels. I hope you love it, because if it does well I might get to write a companion novel, and I’m seriously not ready to let go of these characters. Max is a little aloof and slackerish so it might take you time to warm up to him, but his girlfriend Parvati is totally badass and fun, and both of them really grow and change over the course of the novel. (You know how I love me some character development!) And no worries, this is a total standalone book, plotted and written as a solo novel. 

Christina's thoughts on the cover:
AHHHH I just looove how stylish this cover is. It evokes mystery, and the grays, whites, and blacks really enhance the mood/film noir feel of the book. Not to mention the shadow, just pops! Wow! So excited to get to show this off on my blog!

What do you think? Do you like this cover?

Enter to win an ARC of this awesome book!


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