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ROSEBLOOD Masks, Music & Mayhem Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

roseblood-tour-banner-jpg-final

Welcome to one of today’s two final stops on the ROSEBLOOD Masks, Music & Mayhem Blog Tour.

For my stop, I’m sharing my thoughts about this incredible book by Author A.G. Howard, a book I plan on reading again in its final form when it releases in January. There is also an amazing tour-wide giveaway. So be sure to enter in the Rafflecopter for a chance to win.

And also be sure to check out all the other stops on the tour for some exclusive giveaways, a few guest posts, and other bloggers’ reviews.

ROSEBLOOD was so much more than I had ever hoped it would be. If you haven’t yet had the chance to read it, you will definitely want to add it on Goodreads and pre-order a copy so you can read it on its release day this January.


About ROSEBLOOD

roseblood_cover

Add to Goodreads

Title: ROSEBLOOD
Author: A.G. Howard
Release date: January 10, 2017
Publisher: Amulet Books
Pages: 432
Formats: Hardcover, paperback, eBook

Description…

In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera.

At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | ABRAMS | GOODREADS

Note: This review is based on an eARC received by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.


The Review

It only takes moments after diving into any story that A.G. Howard has penned to discover just how incredible she is at painting pictures with her words. And with ROSEBLOOD the discovery will be even quicker than that. You’ll be instantly transported into this imaginative and magical world she so vividly describes, getting happily lost there until the story ends.

The author has taken a well-known story that has had more than one iteration and interpretation, and has invented her own version of the tale, introduced her own characters, and created her own mystery to intrigue her readers. She has added in her very unique brand of quirky and bizarre. And came up with something altogether new and unexpected which adds layers and depth to her modern-day version of Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera.

ROSEBLOOD blends beauty with the macabre, heartbreak with the horrifying, the normal with the unusual, the past and the present. It is an adventure, a mystery, and a love story. It is gorgeous and captivating and strange. It is haunting and disturbing and brilliant.

It’s not easy to reinvent a classic, but to do so while paying homage to it in both obvious and subtle ways, and building upon it in a way that feels like a natural extension of the story, is a testament to just how talented a writer A.G. Howard is and how much she knows the story she’s basing hers upon.

She makes this story fresh and interesting and current. Her main characters, Rune and Thorn are incredibly appealing, their plights are sympathetic, and their histories are riveting and heartrending.

If ROSEBLOOD is your very first introduction to the phantom, you’ll learn all you need to know about him, and Christine, and more. Certainly more than enough to fall deeply in love with this book, even if not with him. You’ll meet a host of characters who have all sorts of motivations, complications, eccentricities, drama. You’ll uncover all kinds of hidden and not-so-hidden gems the author has peppered throughout. You’ll be fascinated and enchanted and engaged by this rich and stunning and extraordinary tale.

The Rating

06

Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.


The Book Trailer


About A.G. Howard

Author_AG_Howard

A. G. Howard is the author of the New York Times bestselling Splintered series and is a huge fan of the classic Broadway musical The Phantom of the Opera. As a writer, A. G. is most at home weaving all things magical into everyday settings and scenes. When she is not writing, A. G. enjoys rollerblading, gardening, and visiting 18th century graveyards or abandoned buildings to appease her muse’s darker side. You can find her online at @AGHowardWrites or at AGHoward.com.

WEBSITE | BLOG | TWITTER | TUMBLRFACEBOOK | PINTEREST | YOUTUBEGOODREADS


The Giveaway

There is a tour-wide giveaway for…

  • FIVE (5) winners will receive a finished copy of ROSEBLOOD + a mask – US only

Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

a Rafflecopter giveaway


And…

For 5 exclusive, INTERNATIONAL giveaways, visit the blogs below – for direct links to the giveaways scroll down to the tour schedule:

Please Note: On this Rafflecopter, participants have to answer a question after reading the last 1/2 of the chapter on Pique to open the other entries.


The Tour Schedule

Monday, Oct. 24, 2016

Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016

Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016

Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016

Friday, Oct. 28, 2016


THE ARCHITECT OF SONG Blog Tour: Character Interview + Giveaway

THE ARCHITECT OF SONG

I’m am so excited to be on the tour for THE ARCHITECT OF SONG by A.G. Howard. I have always been a huge fan of the author’s and when I learned of this first book in her new series I couldn’t wait to get an early peek.

I loved meeting Juliet and all the characters in this novel. And I really want to talk about them all, and all the many surprise twists, but that would be very spoiler-y. So I will just say that I loved this book. It was interesting and captivating and romantic and heartbreaking. And I cannot wait for everyone to get the chance to read it this August.

In the meantime, I have an interview with Juliet to share. So if you’d like to know more about her, be sure to check out her answers to my questions below.

And if you’d like to enter the giveaway for some seriously awesome prizes, scroll down to the Rafflecopter to enter.

The tour has two stops per day and continues through the end of next week. So if you’d like to learn more about this gorgeous book don’t forget to follow along. I’ll be updating the post with direct links to all the stops as they happen.


About THE ARCHITECT OF SONG

ARCHITECT book cover front for online

Add to Goodreads

Title & Series: THE ARCHITECT OF SONG (Haunted Hearts Legacy #1)
Author: A.G. Howard
Release date: August 15, 2016
Publisher: A.G. Howard
Pages: 425
Formats: Paperback, eBook

Description…

A lady imprisoned by deafness, an architect imprisoned by his past, and a ghost imprisoned within the petals of a flower – intertwine in this love story that transcends life and death.

For most of her life, nineteen-year-old Juliet Emerline has subsisted – isolated by deafness – making hats in the solitude of her home. Now, she’s at risk to lose her sanctuary to Lord Nicolas Thornton, a twenty-seven-year-old mysterious and eccentric architect with designs on her humble estate. When she secretly witnesses him raging beside a grave, Juliet investigates, finding the name “Hawk” on the headstone and an unusual flower at the base. The moment Juliet touches the petals, a young English nobleman appears in ghostly form, singing a song only her deaf ears can hear. The ghost remembers nothing of his identity or death, other than the one name that haunts his afterlife: Thornton.

To avenge her ghostly companion and save her estate, Juliet pushes aside her fear of society and travels to Lord Thornton’s secluded holiday resort, posing as a hat maker in one of his boutiques. There, she finds herself questioning who to trust: the architect of flesh and bones who can relate to her through romantic gestures, heartfelt notes, and sensual touches … or the specter who serenades her with beautiful songs and ardent words, touching her mind and soul like no other man ever can. As sinister truths behind Lord Thornton’s interest in her estate and his tie to Hawk come to light, Juliet is lured into a web of secrets. But it’s too late for escape, and the tragic love taking seed in her heart will alter her silent world forever.

International and NYT bestselling author, A.G. Howard, brings her darkly magical and visual/visceral storytelling to Victorian England. The Architect of Song is the first installment in her lush and romantic Haunted Hearts Legacy series, a four book gothic saga following the generations of one family as – haunted by both literal and figurative ghosts – they search for self-acceptance, love, and happiness.

New Adult: Recommended for ages 17+.

AMAZON | GOODREADS


The Book Trailer


The Character Interview

Q&A with Juliet Emerline

Q. What song or sound or voice do you miss most now that you are no longer able to hear? If you could hear one thing (or one person) what (or who) would that be?

The voice and sound I miss most is one and the same: Mama and her songs. Even her humming—no words, only the melody—was such a comfort to my heart. What I would ache most to hear is the healthy cry of my own newborn babe, one day when I become a mother myself.

Q. What five characteristics/traits are most important to you in a potential betrothed?

1.       Strength

2.       Loyalty

3.       Compassion for all life—including animals and plants

4.       Respect for others differences and beliefs

5.       An appreciation for creativity that we can share and pass on to our children

Q. Do you think it’s possible to love more than one person?

I believe it’s possible for more than one soul to have an impact on your life so profound that your singularity in the world is both challenged and forever changed by them. And oftentimes, such emotional encounters lead to feelings of deep devotion and love.

Q. What are your views on the Rational Dress Society?

As of the moment, I feel their reform of undergarments is a step in the right direction, alongside the subtle movements of women’s education and egalitarianism. However, I should like to see it taken a step further one day … where even our outer garments might be modified without eliciting ridicule from those who have more prudent views. Whether a woman chooses to wear trousers or skirts should not reflect upon her moral aptitude. I should also like to see the Society push for sensible active garments so horseback riding or swimming are as easily accessible for women as for men. Why should men be more comfortable than women, after all?

Q. Please describe your most favorite hat creation?

The first hat I ever made, when I was nine. It was the anniversary of Papa’s death, and—as it was raining outside—I was stuck within, no way to escape from the grief of Papa’s absence. Mama laid out her stash of fabric swatches and bright, colorful feathers, flowers, and beads, then allowed me to have my pick. With the patience of a saint, she showed me how to pour all my feelings into the craft. The therapeutic dip and rise of the needle and thread, alongside the rainbow of colors surrounding me, soothed my sadness and gave me something positive to concentrate on. I converted a staid straw hat into a discombobulated reflection of my mixed emotions:  the black netting and velvet ribbon represented my heartache, but the white wired-chiffon trim mirrored the peace I felt when spending time with Mama. The florals and beadwork lifted my spirits, putting me in mind of sunny spring days spent in a valley carpeted with fragrant wildflowers and lush green grass—so soft my feet sink with each cool, itchy step. And the feathers represented songbirds taking flight in the trees. My senses were awakened, and my melancholy mood laid to rest. In the end, it was far too chaotic to be a masterpiece, but I have it still, and each time I look upon it, I remember how I felt in that moment … simultaneously accomplished and alive. That experience led to my vocation, and to my eternal love for color.

(picture attribution: http://www.1860-1960.com/index.html)

(picture attribution: http://www.1860-1960.com/index.html)

And from the author…

The spotlight prize today = three The Architect of Song swag packs.

noname-2

 


About A.G. Howard

Author_AG_Howard

A.G. Howard was inspired to write SPLINTERED while working at a school library. She always wondered what would’ve happened had the subtle creepiness of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland taken center stage, and she hopes her darker and funkier tribute to Carroll will inspire readers to seek out the stories that won her heart as a child.

When she’s not writing, A.G.’s pastimes are reading, rollerblading, gardening, and family vacations which often include impromptu side trips to 18th century graveyards or condemned schoolhouses to appease her overactive muse.

WEBSITE | BLOG | TWITTER | TUMBLR | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | YOUTUBEGOODREADS


The Giveaway

There is a tour-wide INTERNATIONAL giveaway for…

  • 2 – signed The Architect of Song paperbacks;
  • 3 – The Architect of Song e-books
  • 1 – heart locket necklace
  • 1 – Architect of Song poster
  • 1 – faux leather journal
  • 1 – 5X7 musical print
  • 3 – The Architect of Song swag packs
  • 1 – LitCube surprise box

… to 13 separate winners

Enter in the Rafflecopter…

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Tour Schedule

Week One

7.25.16 | Dark Faerie Tales – Guest Post-Hybrid Author

7.25.16 | A GREAT read – Review

7.26.16 | Lisa Loves Literature – Review

7.26.16 | Bookfever – Review

7.27.16 | Fiktshun – Character Interview

7.28.16 | The Reading Café – Review

7.28.16 | Adventures of a Book Junkie – Review

7.29.16 | Please Feed the Bookworm – Review

7.29.16 | 21st Century Once Upon a Times – Review

Week Two

8.1.16 | Once Upon a Twilight – Exclusive Excerpt

8.1.16 | Ramblings of a Daydreamer – Review

8.2.16 | My Friends Are Fiction – Guest Post-Fashion

8.2.16 | Sarcasm & Lemons – Review

8.3.16 | Cornerfolds – Review

8.3.16 | BookHounds YA – Review

8.4.16 | Bookiemoji – Exclusive Excerpt

8.4.16 | Owl Always Be Reading – Review

8.5.16 | Mundie Moms – Review

8.5.16 | Two Chicks on Books – Guest Post-Playlist

8.5.16 | The Cover Contessa – Review


PASSENGER Blog Tour: Interview with Alexandra Bracken + Giveaway

Passenger

I’m not sure which I’m more excited about – that PASSENGER releases in just one week or that I’m today’s stop on the tour and have an awesome interview with Author Alexandra Bracken to share. Luckily I don’t have to choose.

If you haven’t yet had the chance to add PASSENGER to your TBR pile, to your bookish pre-orders, to your “most wanted” book list, now’s the time. This book is EPIC and AMAZING and so, so, so very AWESOME. And it’s totally a must read now kind of book if you love traveling through time and embarking upon incredible journeys with characters you adore.

Of course, if you haven’t yet had the chance to read the description for PASSENGER, it follows below.

And if you’d like to know how Alexandra Bracken describes PASSENGER, or find out what her most favorite part of and most challenging aspect to writing this gorgeous and riveting book were, or get a tiny teaser of what can be expected in the sequel, and more, be sure to check out the Q&A, which follows just after the book trailer.

There is also a tour-wide giveaway for a few copies of PASSENGER. Just enter in the Rafflecopter for a chance to win.


About PASSENGER

PassengerCover

Add to Goodreads

Title & Series: PASSENGER (Passenger #1)
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Release date: January 5, 2016
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Pages: 496
Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

Description…

passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | GOODREADS


The Book Trailer


The Interview

Q&A with Alexandra Bracken

Q. How would you describe PASSENGER in 25 words or less?

A time travel treasure hunt that spans centuries and continents! Also, kissing!

Q. Who was your favorite character to write in PASSENGER and why were they a favorite?

I don’t think I could pick a favorite between Nicholas and Etta! They’re both so alike despite the major, major differences in their upbringings. I had a blast writing these little moments where their values and knowledge from their respective centuries bumped up against each other and they had to sort through that. Etta has a really warm, lively voice to write in and is never down for long (my pirate!), and Nicholas is just so sharp and funny, but has this passionate poet’s heart beating in his chest. Those 18th century men have a way with words!

Q. What was the most challenging aspect to writing PASSENGER?

Oooh good question! I think it was the time travel itself, to be honest—I was about to put my head through the wall multiple times because it seemed like every “solution” I had for a time travel paradox just created a new one.  If you’re not careful, you can basically go around in circles trying to explain why something is or isn’t a problem and that really bogs the story down. I’m glad I ultimately chose to make my time travel system be more magic-based than science-based so there was some logical wiggle room, but maaaan. Though stuff to sort through.

Q. What was your favorite aspect about writing PASSENGER?

I loved the adventure of it! I’m living vicariously through both Nicholas and Etta and picking locations and time periods that I’ve always been very interested in. As you guys will see, it also has a very different tone from the darkness of The Darkest Minds, which I don’t think is a bad thing—the difference there made everything feel very fresh to me. Oh! And I really just loved meeting all of these characters for the first time and getting to know them.

Q. If you could take a journey to any time and any place where and when would you go? And why?

I would love to take a peek into the future. Spoilers, I know, but still! I’m such a worrywart, I’d love to know what was coming to help prepare myself.  (And, yes, I’m definitely the kind of person that reads the Wiki entry to see how a movie ends before I watch it and I still read the last line of a book before the first. I am a monster.)

Q. What most surprised you when writing PASSENGER – something the characters did or said, a plot twist or turn, an unexpected destination? (Feel free to be cryptic if spoiler-y.)

Yes! All along I’d been planning on setting the finale of the story in Petra, Jordan—an absolutely beautiful location that you guys will probably recognize from its many appearances in films. I thought it would be incredibly scenic, but… um, logistically there was no way for the characters to reach Petra in time from where they’d started by camel or horse, so I picked a new and equally lovely location… which is now in seriously danger of being destroyed due to what’s happening in modern times. (Hopefully that wasn’t too spoiler-y!) 

On the character side, Sophia—another traveler about Etta’s age who’s grown up in this world—went through some serious changes when I went through edits. She began as a sweet-as-sugar best friend type that, I realized (to my horror) wasn’t really serving any other purpose other than to serve Etta’s character. I always want to depict strong female friendships, but here I felt it was more important to create a strong relationship, or at least a strong dynamic. Sophia and Etta now serve as foils to one another. I’m really pleased that Sophia being exposed to Etta’s modern feminism (which Sophia has sadly been denied because time travelers are awful prigs about gender roles) helps inspire her own action and growth.

Q. What can readers expect from WAYFARER – more action, new destinations, new secrets uncovered, new characters?

A little bit of all of that! The end of PASSENGER sets up two parallel journeys, which means you do get to see more time periods and meet a whole host of new characters, including those involved with the mysterious group, the Thorns, and Li Min, a traveler mercenary for hire who is a freaking delight and a half. Etta learns quite a bit more about the blank space that’s been her father’s side of the family, too! The aspect I’m most excited about, though, is that I finally get to play a bit with alternate history. 


About Alexandra Bracken

Alexandra Bracken HD 2

Alexandra Bracken was born and raised in Arizona, but moved east to study at the College of William & Mary in Virginia. She now writes full time and can be found hard at work on her next novel in a charming apartment overflowing with books. You can visit her online at www.alexandrabracken.com or on Twitter (@alexbracken).

WEBSITE | BLOG | TWITTER | TUMBLR | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTERESTGOODREADS


The Giveaway

There is a tour-wide giveaway for…

  • THREE (3) winners will receive a finished copy of PASSENGER – US only

Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Tour Schedule

Week One

Week Two


HOW TO BE BRAVE Blog Tour: Q&A with E. Katherine Kottaras + Giveaway

HTBBBanner

I am super excited to be today’s stop on the HOW TO BE BRAVE Blog Tour with an awesome Q&A with Author E. Katherine Kottaras provided by the publisher in which she talks about yoga, body image, her character Georgia, her bucket list, and gives advice to aspiring authors.

HOW TO BE BRAVE is a wonderful and uplifting story with a positive message and moments that will make you tear up. (If you’d like to check out my review, it’s HERE.) It released this week, but if you don’t yet have your copy, the publisher is offering one up for giveaway. Just scroll down and enter in the Rafflecopter below.

There are more chances to win at some of the other stops on the tour, which runs from November 3rd through the 17th. So be sure to check them out. I’ve included a few direct links at the bottom of the post.

The publisher has also created an awesome interactive trailer. Just click on the image or link below to check it out!

HTBB Trailer

Watch the trailer

And if you haven’t yet had the chance, be sure to check out Griffin Teen’s new WEBSITE, or visit them on TWITTER, FACEBOOK or TUMBLR.


About HOW TO BE BRAVE

How to Be Brave

Add to Goodreads

Title: HOW TO BE BRAVE: A Novel
Author: E. Katherine Kottaras
Release date: November 3, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Pages: 288
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Read an EXCERPT

Description…

An emotional contemporary YA novel about love, loss, and having the courage to chase the life you truly want.

Reeling from her mother’s death, Georgia has a choice: become lost in her own pain, or enjoy life right now, while she still can. She decides to start really living for the first time and makes a list of fifteen ways to be brave – all the things she’s wanted to do but never had the courage to try. As she begins doing the things she’s always been afraid to do – including pursuing her secret crush, she discovers that life doesn’t always go according to plan. Sometimes friendships fall apart and love breaks your heart. But once in a while, the right person shows up just when you need them most – and you learn that you’re stronger and braver than you ever imagined.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | GOOGLE PLAY | KOBO | INDIGOMACMILLAN | GOODREADS


Praise

“This is a solid story of loss that fits in well with other recent stories of grief in the face of a parent’s death, like Jennifer Castle’s The Beginning of After (2011) and Jennifer Brown’s Torn Away (2014). The book’s strongest sections are the lyrical flashbacks that tell the story of her mother’s life and death, but Georgia’s struggles with weight and body image are also handled with care. A perfect book for anyone trying to figure out what they want their life to look like, and how to be brave enough to make that life a reality.” —Booklist

“Georgia’s realistically profane voice aptly captures her personality, carrying the novel; her traverse through grief and experimentation make for a believable and satisfying character arc. A thoughtful exploration of grief and life.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Georgia’s Greek-American heritage offers a distinctive backdrop for the novel’s themes of emotional healing and self-discovery, while Georgia herself emerges as a realistically flawed and genuine protagonist.” —Publishers Weekly

“How to Be Brave is a celebration of life, from the captivating open page to the emotional ending. Kottaras acutely and poetically depicts the painful struggle of re-finding yourself after a defining loss-and the stark effects of both success and failure along the way-in a lovely, heartfelt debut.” —Dahlia Adler, author of Behind the Scenes

“Just enough sass, just enough heart, and a narrator to root for. How to be Brave  ushered me into another yet familiar world.  Come along for the ride.  You’ll be glad you did.” —Ron Koertge, award winning author of Coaltown Jesus

“Powerful and rare, How to Be Brave is a wonderfully told story with gleams of humor and wit that will inspire readers to live their lives for real.” —Robyn Schneider, bestselling author of The Beginning of Everything

“How To Be Brave does a cartwheel in your heart. It artfully reminds us that bravery forges a path through fear and grief.” —Courtney C. Stevens, author of Faking Normal


The Interview

Q&A with E. Katherine Kottaras

Q. You are also a yoga instructor and practitioner. How has this influenced your writing?

I am in my head, a lot. My yoga practice grounds me like nothing else. One definition of yoga is the linking of body and breath to focus the mind. I find that when I’m not doing my practice, I can’t focus and I become easily overwhelmed by my fears and my anxiety – and as a result, I can’t write. When I am doing my practice, I’m able to deal with those fears and those anxieties in a way that is healthy.

Q. What’s currently on your bucket list?

Here are a few things on my Do Everything Be Brave List: 

  • Learn how to roller skate and/or ice skate without using the wall.
  • Ride my bike to yoga. (Bike lanes scare me!)
  • Hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon (and all the way back up, I guess…)
  • Visit every continent (I’ve only been to two.)

Here are a few brave things I’ve done: 

  • Flown down the largest zip-line in the continental U.S. despite my fear of heights. (and gave my eight-year old permission to do so as well.)
  • Paddle-boarded during high-wind season in Hawaii.
  • Fallen in love and stayed there for more than twenty years.
  • Become a writer. I tell my students everyday: it’s the scariest thing in the world.

Q. What advice can you provide aspiring authors?

READ. A lot. Both in the genre/style you want to publish in and ABOUT writing – all aspects – the writing process, the publishing process, etc. There are hundreds of blog posts about the writing life, etc. and I read them obsessively to understand what I had to do to get published.

Also, WRITE a lot, of course. Just keep writing, no matter what, even if it’s a journal for yourself where you write a little bit everyday. And keep submitting – the rejections are difficult at first, but it gets easier.

Writing is hard and fun and frustrating and exhilirating. I can’t imagine not writing. And if you write, you understand this strange demand – it’s not a desire; it’s a necessity. Follow that call, whatever it is inside you that asks you to write – and keep writing, no matter what.

Q. How do you address body image issues with your daughter? Was that part of the drive to write this book?

Absolutely. We talk a lot about how the media often “sells” a certain body type. .” I’ve shown her Photoshopping videos like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPnfjwKfkSk

and we discuss, quite openly, how it’s unrealistic to try to change your body to meet the standards presented in magazines and on screens. I try to guide our conversation as a discussion, asking her questions about why she thinks the media represents women and girls in certain ways. We talk about how every body is beautiful, and that she is beautiful, just as she is.

Q. HOW TO BE BRAVE addresses issues of positive body image. Was this something you set out to address or did it spring up organically? Is body image something you struggled with?

When I was growing up in the 1980s, I didn’t have access to the amazing body of work known as “YA literature” as it exists today. I was fairly obsessed with Sweet Valley High, but Elizabeth and Jessica were suburban twins (I’m an only child) with “perfect size-six figures,” and that was totally outside the realm of my experience.

Thankfully, I did have Judy Blume, who was bravely offering characters that worried and obsessed about their growing bodies. Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret? and Blubber spoke to me about my awkward body and bullying and the need for kindness.

But for the most part, I didn’t belong in the books I read. I was the only child of a Greek father and Russian-Jewish mother who were both of peasant stock (farmers on both sides) and who owned a restaurant in downtown Chicago. I didn’t know anything about suburban high schools, about size six.

This last one was especially hard for me. When I was twelve, my pediatrician told me that I needed to lose twenty to thirty pounds, thus starting a lifelong battle with my weight. My ballet teacher told my mother I was too big too dance and she was wasting her money. I was constantly picked last in gym, alongside my BFF, who also struggled with her body. When I asked her recently what she remembered of our time as kids, she said:

“I remember our PE teachers who didn’t help or guide but rather assisted with shaming by making the whole class wait for ‘free day’ until a pull-up was done (as though the situation was rooted in straight up defiance rather than inability) leading to a life-long dislike of physical activity.”

I remember those many days, feeling embarrassed and shamed by my teachers, which led to feeling more uncomfortable and awkward (as though my own self-shame wasn’t enough). By the time I was in high school, I absolutely hated my body.

I spent my twenties battling my weight. I yo-yo’d between diets and hunger and new workout trends and gyms. No matter what I did, no matter how hard I tried, I never was able to become a perfect size six – nothing even close to that – and my body retained its fullness, its roundness, its hardy, muscular, stocky, peasant stock shape. My short arms weren’t going to suddenly become lean and long. My thick thighs always remain thick. My belly likes being round, what can I say?

I fought it for so very long. And then, after giving birth to my daughter, I stopped fighting. I had to. I learned to love my body in a new way. It was life-giving. It was strong. It was mine.

So when I sat down to write my own book, I knew the character had to be several things: she had to be Greek, she had to live in Chicago, and she had to have immigrant parents who didn’t always understand her. I also knew that she would struggle with her body. BUT. I didn’t want losing weight to be central to her experience. I knew I didn’t want it to be a goal. For the longest time, it was for me. I didn’t want to do that to her.

HOW TO BE BRAVE is about a girl who has lived her life in fear and who sets out to try new things, despite her insecurities. Before her death, her mom commanded Georgia to live differently—to try everything at least once and to never be ruled by fear.

When Georgia is first creating her list, she asks her best friend, Liss:

“What about losing weight?”

And Liss responds: “You don’t need to be brave to do that.”

Georgia agrees, but of course, her insecurities don’t just disappear. They are always there. However, at the end Georgia finally realizes, “I’m not going to kill myself trying to achieve microscopic proportions. I’m still curvy me, and I always will be.”

Of course, there are many similarities between Georgia and me. Georgia also feels uncomfortable in her body that’s deemed “overweight” by society’s standards, and part of her storyline is that she finds confidence in her body, as it is – that losing weight does not equal being brave. This has been part of my storyline has well.


About E. Katherine Kottaras

E. Katherine Kottaras CREDIT Emily Mae Marie

E. Katherine Kottaras is originally from Chicago, but now she writes and teaches in the Los Angeles area. She holds an M.A. in English from the University of California, Irvine and teaches writing and literature at Pasadena City College.  She is at her happiest when she is either 1) at the playground with her husband and daughter and their wonderful community of friends, 2) breathing deeply in a full handstand, or 3) writing. She now lives in Los Angeles where she’s hard at work on her next book.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | TUMBLR | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS


The Giveaway

Courtesy of the publisher, St. Martin’s Griffin…

  • A copy of HOW TO BE BRAVE to ONE winner – US/Canada

***Prizing sent by the publisher. Giveaway ends November 20th ***

Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Tour So Far

Nov. 3rd | The Young Folks – Q&A + Giveaway

Nov. 4th | The Reading Date – Excerpt + Giveaway

Nov. 5th | Melanie’s Musings – Q&A, Review + Giveaway

Nov. 5th | Miss Riki – Review

Nov. 6th | Fiktshun – Q&A + Giveaway {You’re here!}

Nov. 6th | The Hollow Cupboards – Excerpt + Giveaway

Nov. 7th | The O.W.L. – Excerpt + Giveaway

Nov. 8th | Addicted 2 Novels – Excerpt + Giveaway

Nov. 8th | Reviews Coming at YA –  Q&A

Nov. 9th | Ex Libris – Review, Excerpt + Giveaway

Nov. 10th | Blackplume – Q&A + Giveaway

Nov. 12th | The Reading Nook Reviews – Q&A + Giveaway

Nov. 13th | Books and Ladders – Review, Excerpt + Giveaway

Nov. 14th | Carmel and Kyla – Q&A + Giveaway

Nov. 14th | The Bookish Babes – Excerpt

Nov. 16th | Miss Print – Q&A

Nov. 17th | A Bookworm’s World – Review, Excerpt + Giveaway

Nov. 18th | Falling For YA – Giveaway


FALLING KINGDOMS Series Promo: My Favorite Kingdoms + Giveaway

FallingKingdoms-CoverImage-2

I have owned every single one of the three currently available Falling Kingdoms books since their respective release dates but have only recently had the chance to embark upon the adventure. And all I can say is, “What have I been waiting for?”

Because… OH. MY. GOSH. I am in LOVE with this series!!!!!

I fell in love from the very first line in FALLING KINGDOMS:

She’d never killed before tonight.

Talk about great first lines. It was instalove for me. And that love has grown exponentially as I’ve continued to read.

I will be all caught up by the time my pre-order copy of FROZEN TIDES downloads to my Kindle on December 15th. Of course that means I’ll have to suffer the agonizing wait for the final two books in the series. But it will be so worth the wait.

If you haven’t yet had the chance to discover this seriously amazing series, you can check it out on PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE and on GOODREADS or visit the series WEBSITE.

Details on each of the books in the series are also below. And there are also links to connect with the author.


My Favorite Kingdoms

For this promo post in anticipation of FROZEN TIDES’ release we were asked to talk about which kingdom(s), region(s), or world(s) we would conquer, rule, or live in as a merchant. Here are just a few.

Kingdoms/Worlds I’d Conquer

The Winter Realm – a.k.a. The Unseelie Court from Julie Kagawa’s IRON FEY series. The Unseelie have always been the most interesting of the fae and I would love to take Queen Mab’s place and rule in her stead. And, hey, someone has to take Queen Mab down, why not me?

The Kingdom of Spring – one of the kingdoms from Sara Raasch’s SNOW LIKE ASHES series. Spring has caused so much trouble for the Winterians. I’d love to conquer it just ensure that its former king does not try to take power again.

Kingdoms/Worlds I’d Rule

Auranos – from Morgan Rhodes’ FALLING KINGDOMS series. While I might change my mind as I continue my journey with these books, I’d love to rule the kingdom that has the most resources and best climate. And yes they have enemies. But I’d like to think I’d have been a smarter and more fair ruler and thus avoided some of the enmity.

Cane – from WINTERSPELL by Claire Legrand. It was and could be again a beautiful and magical place. I suppose first I’d have to have taken it from Anise, but I wouldn’t just want to conquer, I’d definitely want to rule this land.

Kingdoms/Worlds I’d Live In

Lothlórien – one of the Elven kingdoms from LORD OF THE RINGS by J.R.R. Tolkein. Though I’d be happy to have lived in any of the Elven kingdoms, even though they fell eventually.

Gilead – from THE DARK TOWER series by Stephen King. This is not a kingdom. But this world that Roland lived in is one I would have loved to have lived in. It, too, fell. But living there when Roland did would have been amazing.

***

Of course I’d love to live in almost all of the fictional faerie worlds I’ve read about and even be ruler of one or two – Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series comes to mind. I’d live in any of those faerie courts.

I would love to conquer the more evil kingdoms and vanquish their rulers in any of the fantasy novels I’ve read – Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in the Ashes series, Rae Carson’s Fire & Thorns series, Josephine Angelini’s Worldwalker trilogy.

And I’d love to visit any number of worlds or kingdoms, even if I were forced to be just a merchant – The Elemental Trilogy by Sherry Thomas, The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker, Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, and the Defiance series by C.J. Redwine.

How about you?

What are your favorite worlds or kingdoms? Would you want to be a ruler, risking your life at every moment to keep your kingdom safe? Or would you prefer to visit or live in one of the kingdoms you’re most curious about? Or are you all about conquering kingdoms to increase your power or to oust an unjust ruler?


Pre-order FROZEN TIDES

Frozen_Tides

Add to Goodreads

Title & Series: FROZEN TIDES (Falling Kingdoms #4)
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Release date: December 15, 2015
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 432
Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

Description…

The plans are laid and the players are determined…but nothing can prepare these unlikely warriors for what the elemental gods of Mytica have in store. 

CLEO: Reeling after a shocking realization about Magnus, Princess Cleo must cast aside her feelings and look toward her kingdom with the eyes of a queen.

MAGNUS: The steely prince of Limeros is once again torn between love and duty, leaving him wondering whether he’s strong enough to rule his people.

LUCIA: Heartbroken and blind with fury, the betrayed sorceress allies with the awoken Fire god, who also seeks revenge.

JONAS: The defeated rebel leader reunites with Princess Cleo, only to become a pawn in the dangerous hunt for the elusive Kindred.

KING GAIUS: A desperate King of Blood flees Mytica and sails to Kraeshia, where he attempts to ally with the famously brutal emperor across the Silver Sea.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE | GOODREADS


About Morgan Rhodes

Morgan_Rhodes

Morgan Rhodes lives in Ontario, Canada. As a child, she always wanted to be a princess—the kind that knows how to wield a sharp sword to help save both kingdoms and princes from fire-breathing dragons and dark wizards. Instead, she became a writer, which is just as good and much less dangerous. Along with writing, Morgan enjoys photography, travel, and reality TV, and is an extremely picky yet voracious reader of all kinds of books. Under another pen name, she’s a nationally bestselling author of many paranormal novels. Falling Kingdoms is her first high fantasy.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | TUMBLR | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE | AMAZONGOODREADS


About FALLING KINGDOMS

Falling_Kingdoms

Add to Goodreads

Title & Series: FALLING KINGDOMS (Falling Kingdoms #1)
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Release date: December 11, 2012
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 432
Formats: Hardcover, paperback, audio, eBook

Read an EXCERPT

Description…

War brought them together. Love will tear them apart.

Princess Cleo of Mytica confronts violence for the first time in her life when a shocking murder sets her kingdom on a path to collapse. Once a privileged royal, Cleo must now summon the strength to survive in this new world and fight for her rightful place as Queen.

The King of Limeros’s son, Magnus, must plan each footstep with shrewd, sharp guile if he is to earn his powerful father’s trust, while his sister, Lucia, discovers a terrifying secret about her heritage that will change everything.

Rebellious Jonas lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country cruelly impoverished—and finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making.

Witches, if found, are put to death, and Watchers, immortal beings who take the shape of hawks to visit the human world, have been almost entirely forgotten. A vicious power struggle quickly escalates to war, and these four young people collide against each other and the rise of elementia, the magic that can topple kingdoms and crown a ruler in the same day.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE | GOODREADS


The Falling Kingdoms Trailer


About REBEL SPRING

Rebel_Spring

Add to Goodreads

Title & Series: REBEL SPRING (Falling Kingdoms #3)
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Release date: December 3, 2013
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 416
Formats: Hardcover, paperback, audio, eBook

Read an EXCERPT

Description…

War brought them together. Love will tear them apart.

Auranos has been conquered and the three kingdoms—Auranos, Limeros, and Paelsia—are now unwillingly united as one country called Mytica. But alluring, dangerous magic still beckons, and with it the chance to rule not just Mytica, but the world. . . .

  • CLEO is now a prisoner in her own palace, forced to be an ambassador for Mytica as the evil King Gaius lies to her people
  • MAGNUS stands to eventually inherit the new kingdom but is still obsessed with his feelings for his adopted sister, Lucia
  • LUCIA is haunted by the deadly outcome of her breathtaking display of magic that allowed her father to capture the kingdoms
  • JONAS watches at the palace gates, a troop of rebels behind him, waiting for him to tell them how he plans to overtake King Gaius

When Gaius announces that a road is to be built into the Forbidden Mountains, formally linking all of Mytica together, he sets off a chain of cataclysmic events that will forever change the face of this land.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE | GOODREADS


About GATHERING DARKNESS

Gathering_Darkness

Add to Goodreads

Title & Series: GATHERING DARKNESS (Falling Kingdoms #3)
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Release date: December 9, 2014
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 432
Formats: Hardcover, paperback, audio, eBook

Read an EXCERPT

Description…

War brought them together. Love will tear them apart.

Alliances form across Mytica and beyond as royals and rebels alike race to hunt down the Kindred—the four elemental crystals that give their owners god-like power. The stakes have never been higher for Magnus and Cleo, who are brought together by a life or death decision that will lock their fates and change the course of the kingdom forever.

THE REBELS forge ahead. Princess Cleo slays with sweetness—and a secret that might control Lucia’s magic—as she and vengeful Jonaslead the hunt for the all-powerful Kindred.

THE KRAESHIANS join the fray. Ashur and Amara, the royal siblings from the vast kingdom across the Silver Sea, prove to be just as ruthless as they are charming as they manipulate their way to victory.

THE WATCHERS follow Melenia out of the Sanctuary. They ally, in the flesh, with King Gaius, who vows to use Lucia’s powers to unveil the Kindred.

And which side will Prince Magnus choose, now that everyone he’s been betrayed by everyone he’s ever loved?

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE | GOODREADS


The Giveaway

There is a promo-wide giveaway that runs from Oct. 26-Nov.27 for…

  • A SIGNED set of FALLING KINGDOMS, REBEL SPRING, and GATHERING DARKNESS by Morgan Rhodes to THREE (3) winners – US only

***Rafflecopter hosted by and prizing courtesy of the publisher***

Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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