The time it was Top Ten Tuesday {4}

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.

top ten

This week’s topic is: Ten Fairytale Retellings I’ve Read/Want To Read

1. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh — A retelling of One Thousand and One Nights, Wrath is the one of the most lovely, lyrical stories I’ve read in a while.  I’m beyond ready to get my greedy hands on book 2.

2. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas — Beauty and the Beast + Sarah = Obviously.

3. Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross —  I absolutely LOVE this book, but I don’t know many people who have read it. The entire town the book is set in is filled with different fairy tales and I love the world building.  It’s a unique and awesome look at Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and so many others.

4. Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay — Aurora has always been my favorite and Stacey made her a total bad ass. I loved everything about this book…and it’s a stand alone.

5. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge — A Beauty and the Beast retelling that had me captivated from the very beginning. Rosamund creates a vivid and magical world, complete with a mysterious man.

6. Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge — A sort of Little Red Riding Hood retelling, but with a wicked and slightly morbid twist.  Absolutely stunning and just pick up everything Rosamund writes.

7. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer — Another Little Red Riding Hood retelling, but this one has Wolf and the best scene with a can of tomatoes that has ever been created.

8. Cress by Marissa Meyer — A Rapunzel retelling where the damsel isn’t in the normal sort of distress. You’ve probably heard of it.

9. Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce — And yet another Little Red Riding Hood retelling with two bad ass sisters and a swoony woodsman who fight wolves together.

10. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas — According to the chart that Epic Reads made, ToG is a Cinderella retelling.  Perhaps everyone already knew that and I was just oblivious? I know that any list that can have Celaena on it should have Celaena on it.

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This list was a little tricky for me. I was prepared to add books from A.G. Howard, Gena Showalter, and A.C. Gaughen before I realized those stories weren’t actually based on fairy tales.

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What about you? What is your favorite fairy tale retelling?

The time it was about Exposed

I got invited to be part of the blog tour for Exposed right after I requested it on NetGalley.  I’ve known Brighton for a while, so I always want to pimp her words out.  This was the first time I didn’t invite myself to be part of the promo…

As always, Brighton was gracious enough to deal with my fangirling do an interview, but before we get to her answers, let’s check out her newest book.

23014703In this sexy, suspenseful New Adult novel, a young woman hiding from her criminal past is taken captive by her ex-boyfriend, the ultimate bad boy.

Evie is about to embark on the perfect life. Beautiful, poised, and engaged to a rising business star, she fits the part of trophy wife perfectly, except for one thing: her entire identity is a lie.

Five years ago she created a new identity for herself, but it all crashes back when something she witnessed years ago comes back to haunt her. Now she’s in danger of losing more than her social status.

Determined to protect the careful life she’s built for herself, Evie doesn’t want anything to do with Riley, the criminal for hire who broke her heart years ago. But Riley has other ideas. He’s never forgotten Evie, and to protect her, he steals her away. Hidden from the world, sparks begin to fly as old memories resurface and their passion reignites.

Sounds good, right?

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1. Where did the idea for Exposed come from?

While I was writing Captive, I was watching for what the next book could be about. It made sense to do it on Ghost’s brother, and when I met Riley, I knew he’d be perfect. Then there were several plotting sessions between me, my editor, and my agent, and then Exposed was born.

2. Why do you love Evie and Riley and why should we root for them?

I love them both for different reasons. Riley is a good balance to Evie—his lightness to her heavy. Plus I’m a sucker for an alpha who doesn’t have to prove his prowess. Who lets his woman be tough when she needs to be. And Evie…sigh. She amazes me. Her strength and resilience and fire is what makes me love her. And who can’t root for a second chance romance?

3. What makes a good villain and how did you incorporate that into Exposed?

Exposed has so many villains, it’s not even funny. And I don’t want to touch too much on them so as not to spoil. But a good villain, I think, makes you root for the main characters all that much more.

4. What was your favorite part about writing this book?

My favorite part will definitely include spoilers, so I’ll just say, making sure Evie got her HEA.

5. Describe Exposed in 5 words.

Emotional, raw, sexy, suspenseful, and hopeful

Speed [ish] round:

1. You get the call/email/letter that says you’re being published for the first time. Describe the next 5 minutes.

It was a phone call, and it was from Angela James, the executive editor at Carina Press. I was in my bedroom, and I wasn’t expecting a call, and then she said who it was and I proceeded to babble like an idiot. Honestly, I almost wish I’d recorded it, because it’d be funny as shit to listen to again. Once I was done impressing Angie with my intellect, I got off the phone and jumped up and down, squealing a lot bit. Then I ran downstairs and told my husband, who basically just said, “I told you.” LOL

2. What three things would you take to a desert island?

iPhone, chapstick, sunscreen

3. You can only read one book for the rest of your life. What is it?

HOW DARE YOU.

4. What is the one thing about publishing you wish someone would have told you?

I’m not sure I’d have wanted to know anything before I started… It might’ve scared me off. LOL

5. You wake up and discover you are Bella in Twilight. You know how it plays out. What do you do differently? {Huge thanks to Bookish Broads for letting me use this question}

Well, for one thing, I don’t open that damn present. And I don’t settle for only the leg hitch. (Priorities. I haz them.)

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6548902Brighton Walsh spent nearly a decade as a professional photographer before deciding to take her storytelling in a different direction and reconnect with her first love: writing. When she’s not pounding away at the keyboard, she’s probably either reading or shopping—maybe even both at once. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and two children, and, yes, she considers forty degrees to be hoodie weather. Her home is the setting for frequent dance parties, Lego battles, and more laughter than she thought possible.

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Huge thanks to St. Martin’s Press for the invite and to Brighton for taking the time.  Make sure you’re checking out her website, following her on Twitter, liking her Facebook page, and adding all of her books to your Goodreads TBR shelf.

Now. Haven’t had a chance to get your greedy hands on Exposed? I’ve got one up for grabs! Giveaway is international, book will be coming from TBD, and additional rules are here.

**Good Luck!!**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The time it was about Persuasion

I got the invite to feature Martina Boone on  the blog and I jumped at the chance.  I really liked Compulsion and even though I haven’t read Persuasion yet, it’s sitting in my TBR stack and my greedy hands are itching to pick it up.  Martina was willing to do an interview, but before we get to her answers, let’s check out the book.

23450710Grieving the death of her godfather and haunted by her cousin Cassie’s betrayal, Barrie returns from a trip to San Francisco to find the Watson plantation under siege. Ghost-hunters hope to glimpse the ancient spirit who sets the river on fire each night, and reporters chase rumors of a stolen shipment of Civil War gold that may be hidden at Colesworth Place. The chaos turns dangerous as Cassie hires a team of archeologists to excavate beneath the mansion ruins. Because more is buried there than treasure.

A stranger filled with magic arrives at Watson’s Landing claiming that the key to the Watson and Beaufort gifts—and the Colesworth curse—also lies beneath the mansion. With a mix of threats and promises, the man convinces Barrie and Cassie to cast a spell there at midnight. But what he conjures may have deadly consequences.

While Barrie struggles to make sense of the escalating peril and her growing and forbidden feelings for Eight Beaufort, it’s impossible to know whom to trust and what to fight for—Eight or herself. Millions of dollars and the fate of the founding families is at stake. Now Barrie must choose between what she feels deep in her heart and what will keep Watson’s Landing safe in this stunning addition to a series filled with “decadent settings, mysterious magic, and family histories rife with debauchery” (Kirkus Reviews, on Compulsion).

Sounds good, right?

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1. Where did the idea for The Heirs of Watson Island series come from?

I had done a short story for an adult anthology set in a location similar to Watson Island with a couple of characters who were similar. The characters and setting stayed with me, and then I had a dream about a ball of fire floating through the woods and setting a river on fire. I couldn’t stop thinking about that image of fire—what it meant, where it came from, why it was there. I researched a lot of natural phenomena and mythology, and by the time I was done, I had the core mystery behind the three books in the trilogy. I’d originally planned to do the series as three companion books, one from the perspective of the three founding families, but my publisher and I ultimately decided to stay with the romance between Barrie and Eight while telling the story of the Fire Carrier, the Watson and Beaufort gifts, and the Colesworth curse.

2. Why do you love Barrie and Eight and why should we root for them?

I love Barrie because she’s an ordinary girl with a tiny little bit of magic when she comes into the story, and she faces a lot of difficulties that real girls face. Having lost her family and her home, she’s determined to do things differently, to be more independent, to live life more outloud. But when she arrives at Watson’s Landing, she finds that the plantation, town, and island are even more confining than the life she’s led up to that point. She has to learn to balance her own desire to be loved and liked against her desire to stand up for herself and to find out the answers to the secrets everyone is trying to keep from her.

I love Eight because from the outside, he seems to have the perfect life. He’s beautiful, popular, and rich. He drives a great car and has a sailboat. He’s got a baseball scholarship to go pitch for one of the best schools in the country, and he’s filled with that wonderful Southern charm. But beneath all of that, he has to deal with the Beaufort gift and the weight of family tradition that makes him feel like he’s just a number instead of a real person. His father’s expectations weigh on him and make him feel like he can never measure up. All his life, he’s wanted nothing more than to get away from Watson Island, but then Barrie shows up, and she’s so vulnerable and so unheeding of her own safety that his protective instincts kick in. They spend all their time together when Barrie is determined to investigate what’s going on around the island, and seeing things through her eyes makes him see the town and the place from her perspective. He sees the good things as well as the things that need to be changed. At the same time, he sees her desire to fit in and how much that wars with her need to do what she feels is right.

Ultimately, what Barrie and Eight want conflicts. Eight wants to leave, and Barrie is magically bound to stay. They can give up on each other from the beginning, choose to protect themselves by not risking their hearts. Or they can trust that what they feel for each other is something special and give it a chance to grow. That’s complicated by the fact that they can’t be sure how much of what they feel is real, and how much is due to the family gifts pushing them toward each other.

I hope that people will root for them because they’re good for each other—they fight themselves and each other, they struggle against the things that they don’t trust in the relationship, but ultimately, they see the truth of each other before they see the their own value. They push each other to be better, and that’s the best kind of a relationship.

3. What was the weirdest thing you googled while researching?

Hmmh. The research got weirder and weirder as the books progressed, but I now know more than I ever thought I would about different types of blood magic, nkisi, Bakongo cosmograms, hoodoo, voodoo, obeah, boo hags, Raven Mockers, Cherokee magical recipes and healing magic, and making water burn. Probably the strangest and coolest thing I researched is the connection between magnetism, energy, magic, and the various ancient monuments like Stonehenge. There’s a very cool magical twist in Illusion, book three of the series, that is very much based on real science, and the research for that literally gave me shivers.

4. What makes a good villain and how did you incorporate that into this series?

I think that a great villain is one that doesn’t realize he’s a villain. I have a LOT of villains in the series, and really none of them think they’re bad. They’re all just doing what they think is best and necessary for their own survival and comfort. My favorite antagonist is Obadiah from book two and book three, because even I never knew whether he was good or bad until the very end. And the villain I hated the most was Emmett. He’s a character in the past, but his deeds cast a shadow over the entire trilogy.

5. Describe Persuasion in five words.

Barrie’s gift versus Eight’s love.

Speed [ish] round:

1. You get the call/email/letter that says you’re being published for the first time. Describe the next 5 minutes.

Shocked deep breathing and tears.

2. What three things would you take to a desert island?

Satellite smart phone with an eReader. Solar paneled battery charger. Machete.

3. You can only read one book for the rest of your life. What is it?

Pride and Prejudice.

4. Who are your favorite swoony boys/girls?

Four from Divergent, Gansey from The Raven Boys, and Sean Kendrick from The Scorpio Races.

5. What is the one thing about publishing you wish someone would have told you?

It’s even harder after you’re published than it is to get published in the first place. On the bright side, fans are absolutely lovely.

6. You wake up and discover you are Bella in Twilight. You know how it plays out. What do you do differently? {Huge thanks to Bookish Broads for letting me use this question}

Everything.

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6423161Martina Boone is the founder of AdventuresInYAPublishing.com, a Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers site, and YASeriesInsiders.com, a Tumblr site devoted to news, giveaways, and insider secrets of much-loved and up-and-coming YA series.

From her home in Virginia, where she lives with her husband and children, she enjoys writing books that are a mixture of romance, mystery, history, and contemporary fantasy set in the kinds of magical places she’d love to visit. When she isn’t writing, she’s addicted to travel, horses, skiing, chocolate flavored tea, and anything with Nutella on it.

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Huge thanks to Stacey for the invite and to Martina for taking the time.  Make sure you’re checking out her website, following her on Twitter, liking her Facebook page, and adding all of her books to your Goodreads TBR shelf.

Definitely check out Bookish Lifestyle and The Young Folks for more goodies. And Adventures in YA Publishing will be having a feature on the 4th for the paperback release of Compulsion.

Now.  Martina has offered up two different international giveaways! You can enter the first one by using the Rafflecopter below.  And for this month, anyone who enters the individual giveaway gets an automatic entry for the grand prize!

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**Good Luck!!**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The time it was a monthly wrap up {2}

So here we are again for another monthly wrap up. I can’t believe July is over.  Well…technically it’s not over until tomorrow, but I’ve got something scheduled for tomorrow, so we’re a bit early.

monthly wrap up

What did I read?

For the month of July, I read a total of 20 books. Not bad, considered I lost almost a whole week with SDCC happening. And honestly, this number should probably change, because that 3 page scene of Rose and Dimitri meeting for the first time {written in Dimitri’s pov} shouldn’t count and I’m probably going to read more before August officially starts.

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7 8 9 10 11 12

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What did I get?

With SDCC taking over my life for 4 1/2 days, it was nearly impossible not to pick up some pretty new books. I also got my greedy hands on the hardcover arc of Illuminae and if you follow me on Instagram, you know I can’t stop swooning over it.

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What did I do?

Interviews:

Fangirled over:

Special stuff:

What’s coming up in August:

  • Interviews with Martina Boone, Brighton Walsh, Megan Erickson, Bethany Hagen, Liz Braswell
  • Fangirling over Barry Lyga and Peter Facinelli
  • MY APPOINTMENT FOR MY HARRY POTTER TATTOO

What about you? How was your month? What was your favorite read in July?

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Tell me everything.

The time it was a new email set up

So, for a while, I’ve been hearing rumors on the interwebz that Feedburner is coming to an end.  Some of these articles are from years ago, some are from months ago, but I did find one dated last month.  I’m a bit paranoid and always expect these rumors to come to fruition when I’m unable to do anything about them {I don’t know where I’m expecting myself to be…}, but coupled with the constant unreliability, it seemed like time to sit down and figure some stuff out.

Anyhoo.

I’ve disabled the Feedburner subscription on the blog and have upgraded to Mail Chimp.  I would like to say that everything is perfectly set up and there won’t be issues, but to be completely honest, I have no idea what I’m doing.  I was sent an awesome tutorial and I was able to complete all of the steps {and I’ve sent myself all sorts of test things to all 5 of my emails}, so hopefully there will be a seamless transition.

This post is just an FYI. If you were subscribed and all of a sudden you’re not getting emails, or you’re getting duplicates, let me know.  I am still working on making it pretty, so disregard the fact that it doesn’t line up.

And as always, your support just blows me away.

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The time it happened in line

I saw that Chuck D was signing at The Grove the day before the event. Hubs was insanely excited, so we took a chance and headed up to LA as soon as we could.

We hit horrid traffic and didn’t get to the bookstore until 1:30. The event started at 2, so we had just enough time to get our wristbands and get in line.  I saw Lita and said hi. We were planning to go to Starbucks, but Lita said that things were starting early, so we stayed in line.

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We heard someone in line say that Chuck D was already in the store. And then he started walking through the line, shaking hands and asking people’s names.

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He was beyond cool. He took photos and told stories, deciding to sign his way through the line. He said he didn’t want to sit at the table. Someone said that he was supposed to use the table and he said, “maybe you didn’t know this, but I don’t like to do things the conventional way.”

When Chuck got to us, Hubs asked for a photo and he said no problem.

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He thanked us for coming and shook our hands again. Chuck walked away before I could get a photo, but Hubs asked him, and Chuck came right back.

The whole thing took maybe 10 minutes. At one point, Lita went over to him to ask about getting photos for the press who were there. I didn’t catch his full answer, but did hear him say that he needed to talk with his crew first.  Turns out there were people from Def Jam Records and they all worked together.

We stayed for bit, watching Chuck socialize.  After a few minutes, we decided to leave right before they got him to go up to the table.

Chuck D was amazingly personable and grateful.  He is definitely all about his fans and it was delightful to watch him interact with people. Even though the entire thing was short and sweet, it will leave a lasting impression.

The time it was about Chaos

I got approved for Chaos by Jamie Shaw and instantly fell in love with it. After I devoured it and then Mayhem the next day, I may or may not have lost my mind all over Jamie.  I asked if she would be available to do an interview, and even though she was super busy with other things {and a new baby!}, she agreed!

Before we get to her answers, let’s check out the newest book in the series, shall we?

23149165From the moment she saw Shawn Scarlett perform at a school talent show, Kit Larson has loved two things: the guitar, and the gorgeous, green-eyed boy who inspired her to play. But one careless night in high school shatters her hope of ever being more than a notch on his bedpost.

Six years, two bands, and one mostly-mended heart later, Kit’s about to make her rock star dreams a reality as the new guitarist for Shawn’s band, The Last Ones to Know. He may not remember their reckless night together, but Kit has never forgotten… and she’s determined to make him eat his heart out.

The release of their new album means a month cooped up on a tour bus, sleeping inches away from the ridiculously sexy musician she’s never quite gotten over. And as Kit gets to know the real Shawn—not Shawn Scarlett, the rock god, the player—their attraction becomes too hot to resist. But the past is paved with secrets, and when they finally surface, Kit could lose everything: the band, the music, her dreams… and Shawn.

Sounds good, right? {They’re amaaaaaazing!!}

1. Where did the the idea for the Mayhem series come from?

Back when I got the idea, I was reading a LOT of NA, and I was listening to a lot of new bands, and those two loves just kind of came together. I think I was swooning over the lead singer of Brand New when I got the idea to write about a normal girl who hooked up with a rock star. ;) The very first scene of Mayhem is actually something that happened to me when I was a teenager. A bunch of friends took me to see the band Muse, but I had no idea who they were, so when the lead singer cut in front of me in line and knocked on the door to the club….. yeah, I seriously stepped up and told him, “They’re not letting people in yet.” Afterward, after he was let inside, I found out who he was, and I was absolutely mortified.

2. Why do you love Kit and Shawn and why should we root for them?

I love Kit because she’s a freaking rock star. She sports piercings, combat boots, and blue highlighted hair, and she plays the guitar like no one’s business. The girl doesn’t take shit from anyone, but when it comes to Shawn, she can’t help feeling like a total girl. Hell, if I was her, I’d feel the same way! Shawn Scarlett is hot. He’s smart, talented, and has that introspective sensitive side to him that only true musicians seem to have. Those two were made for each other—it just takes them a while to figure it out! Readers can see it a lot faster than they can, which is why we’re rooting for them to get together the whole time.

3. Without spoilers, were there any scenes you had to cut that you wish could have stayed?

Surprisingly, the answer to this is no! My contract for this book was approximately 80,000 words, and I started freaking out when the book got up to 90,000… 95,000… 98,000…… But my editor loved it so much that she let me keep it all! And in fact, she asked me to add stuff!

4. What was your favorite part of writing Chaos?

I loved writing from the perspective of a rock star. Through Kit’s eyes, we get to see what it’s like to be in a rock band. We get to perform onstage under the heat of the lights. We get to look down into the eyes of hundreds of screaming fans. We get to spend four weeks on a tour bus with four insanely hot rock stars. I loved living her life for a few months while I wrote this book.

5. Describe Chaos in 5 words.

Rock Stars for the Win. ;)

Speed {ish} Round:

1. You get the call/email/letter saying you’re being published for the first time. Describe the next five minutes.

Phone calls! Call my mom, bawl my eyes out. Call my husband at work, bawl my eyes out. Call my best friend, bawl my eyes out. Hahaha. I was a mess. It was a dream come true.

2. What 3 things would you take to a desert island?

My Kindle (books!!!). Sunscreen (my vampire-pale skin wouldn’t agree with the desert island sun). Aaand… can a cooler full of margaritas count as one thing?

3. You can only read one book for the rest of your life. What is it?

Honestly, I’m not much of a re-reader. BUT, if I could have amnesia and keep re-reading the same book for the first time, I’d pick Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster. It was the first NA I fell head over heels for, and I read it all in one late-night sitting.

4. Who are your favorite swoony boys/girls?

From books? Travis Maddox (Beautiful Disaster), Roth (Dark Elements series), Will Herondale (Infernal Devices series), Noel Falcon (Rock the Heart), Shane Baxter (Better When He’s Bad), Brennus (Premonition series). …I kind of have a thing for bad boys, in case you couldn’t tell.

5. What is one thing about publishing you wish someone would have told you?

How ridiculously time consuming it is. It’s very difficult to balance the writing portion of this job with the promotion portion. I never imagined how much non-writing work writers have to do.

6. You wake up and find that you are Bella from Twilight. You know how it plays out. What do you do differently? {Huge thanks to Bookish Broads for letting me use this question}

Wait until I’m a vampire before I sleep with Edward! Or… invent some type of super-vampire-strength condoms… No vampire babies for me, thanks! I’d want to enjoy Edward for a few hundred… thousand years first. ;)

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Author+PicBorn and raised in South Central Pennsylvania, JAMIE SHAW earned her M.S. in Professional Writing from Towson University before realizing that the creative side of writing was her calling. An incurable night-owl, she spends late hours crafting novels with relatable heroines and swoon-worthy leading men.

She’s a loyal drinker of white chocolate mochas, a fierce defender of emo music, and a passionate enthusiast of all things romance. She loves interacting with readers and always aims to add new names to their book-boyfriend lists.

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Huge thanks to Jamie for taking the time to do this!! Make sure you’re checking out her website, following her on Twitter, liking her Facebook page, and adding all of her books to your Goodreads TBR shelf.

Now. Haven’t had a chance to get these books in your greedy hands? I’ve got some up for grabs.  Three winners will win e-copies of all three books.

**Good Luck!!**

a Rafflecopter giveaway