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Authors Are Rockstars Tour: Tessa Gratton Guest Post + Giveaway

I was so ecstatic when author Tessa Gratton accepted our invitation to be on the tour. I have been in awe of her ever since I read BLOOD MAGIC last year. It was one of my very first trades and I had the chance to devour it early.

Which was a relief. Because, ever since I first set eyes on the cover for BLOOD MAGIC and read its description I was obsessed. I wanted that book. I just knew I would love it. It sounded gorgeous. It sounded dark. It sounded amazing. It was my kind of book.

And oh, I was not wrong. The writing in that book was exquisite and beautiful and I was immediately taken to a place that was so very different from anywhere I’d gone in a book before… or since. And Silla and Nick are two characters that are so very memorable. Yes, even with the many books I’ve read between then and now they are unforgettable.

And after what seems a lifetime, finally this week, with the release of THE BLOOD KEEPER, there’s a new book to read, to fall in love with, and to remember for ever and ever.

So, why is Tessa Gratton a rockstar to me?

Do you mean aside from being such an amazing author? Yes, Blood Magic got my off-the-menu six star rating, was a book I thought was one-of-a-kind and mesmerizing, and even forced me to use a “big word” in my review.

Aside from writing the kinds of stories that cling to me? It’s dark. It’s haunting. It’s heartbreaking. It’s poetic. It’s gruesome. It’s beautiful. It’s everything I love.

Aside from being brilliant and quirky and an incredible performer? Have you seen her latest YouTube video Tessa Does Shakespeare: Hamlet’s Rant for the Internet? Or where she performs Chapter Five from BLOOD MAGIC?

Go ahead and watch. I have time. I’ll be here when you get back… maybe.

Well… aside from all of that, she’s traveled the world, she translated BEOWULF, she loves magic, and she has – and has worn – a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle bracelet. How awesome is that?

Yeah, she’s a total rockstar to me.

If you’re not yet convinced, just check her out online at the places she haunts, take a peek at the descriptions of her books, maybe add one or two of them to your collection, and then take a look below at the awesome guest post where she shares her Top Ten Wizard/Magical Movies.

You can even enter the giveaway if you’d like. And let me get back to reading THE BLOOD KEEPER.

About the Author

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When Tessa was a kid, she wanted to be a wizard. Or a paleontologist. Maybe both.

She’s neither now, but magic and monsters are still her favorite things.

Born in Okinawa, Japan, while her Dad was on duty with the US Navy, Tessa moved around throughout my childhood and traveled even more. She’s lived in Japan, California, Kansas, and England, and visited 4 continents.

After graduating from the University of Kansas in 2003 with a degree in Gender Studies, she went on to graduate school for a Master’s in the same. Halfway through, she ditched the program in favor of the blood, violence, and drama of  Anglo-Saxon and Germanic epic poetry and to focus on my writing.  Tessa doesn’t have a graduate degree, but she did translate her own version of Beowulf!

Despite having traveled all over the world, she settled in Kansas where the sunsets are all in Technicolor, with her partner, two cats, and a mutant mutt named Grendel.


About Blood Magic

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It starts off simply.

Draw a circle… place a dead leaf in the center… sprinkle some salt… recite a little Latin… add a drop of blood…

Maybe that last part isn’t exactly simple. Yet somehow it feels right to Silla Kennicott. And nothing in her life has felt remotely right since her parents’ horrific deaths. She’s willing to do anything to uncover the truth about her family—even try a few spells from the mysterious book that arrived on her doorstep … and spill some blood.

The book isn’t the only recent arrival in Silla’s life. There’s Nick Pardee, the new guy next door who may have seen Silla casting a spell. She’s not sure what he saw and is afraid to find out. But as they spend more time together, Silla realizes this may not be Nick’s first encounter with Blood Magic. Brought together by a combination of fate and chemistry, Silla and Nick can’t deny their attraction. And they can’t ignore the dark presence lurking nearby—waiting to reclaim the book and all its power.



About The Blood Keeper

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For Mab Prowd, the practice of blood magic is as natural as breathing. It’s all she’s ever known. Growing up on an isolated farm in Kansas with other practitioners may have kept her from making friends her own age, but it has also given her a sense of purpose—she’s connected to the land and protective of the magic. And she is able to practice it proudly and happily out in the open with only the crows as her companions.

Mab will do anything to keep the ancient practice alive and guard its secrets. But one morning while she is working out a particularly tricky spell she encounters Will, a local boy who is trying to exorcise some mundane personal demons. He experiences Mab’s magic in a way his mind cannot comprehend and is all too happy to end their chance meeting.

But secrets that were kept from Mab by the earlier generations of blood magicians have come home to roost. And she and Will are drawn back together, time again by this dangerous force looking to break free from the earth and reclaim its own dark power.



Tessa’s Top Ten Wizard/Magical Movies


When I was a kid I really wanted to find a wizard to take me as his apprentice so that I could spend fifteen years studying 17 hours a day and come out at the end as an uber-powerful, unstoppable magic machine. (I loved magic AND school.) Here are my top ten all-time favorite wizards and their magical systems from movies and television:

1) “Labyrinth” – The Goblin King set my basic lizard-brain desire for a white feather cloak when I become a super wizard. I will avoid the goblin minions, though, as they’re not too bright. Singing would be optional.

2) “Spirited Away” – I love magic that is based on names (a la A Wizard of Earthseaby Ursula K. LeGuin, one of the best systems of magic in books). And this one is a perfect fairy tale, to boot. It’s creepy and full of bravery. Plus, when I am a super wizard I will definitely have dragons.

3) “Howl’s Moving Castle” – Howl the Wizard might be the most entertaining of my favorite wizards! He not only has great powers, but he cares very, very deeply about his hair. When his dye is the wrong color, he melts into green slime, which is similar to what happens to me.

4) “Practical Magic” – Here is a fabulous introduction into folk magic, and the kind of every-day magic that families pass down. It’s also about the magic in love and in grief, so although there isn’t an uber-wizard here, the family of witches really knows what magic means.

5) “LadyHawke” – True loves kept apart by a single magical curse? Hawk by day, wolf by night? Ferris Bueller? Epic cathedral during a solar eclipse happily ever after ending? Super 1980s synthesizer soundtrack? What’s not to love?

6) “Legend of the Seeker” – This short lived TV show based on Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth books is so silly and fun, with great magic and a wizard named Zeddicus Zu’l Zorander, which is exactly the sort of name an uber-wizard needs.

7) “Willow” – Not only is Madmartigan hilarious (and sexy), but this movie is all about a man (Willow) learning to become a wizard. He’s doing it while on a crazy quest to save the kingdom, and this magic is hard. It requires focus, determination, and heart.

8) “Sleeping Beauty” One word: Maleficent. So she’s selfish and evil – she also turns into a dragon. A DRAGON. Did I mention how much I want one? But Maleficent doesn’t just have a dragon, she IS a dragon. And it takes other wizards, a magical sword, and a brave prince to defeat her.

9) “Avatar: The Last Airbender” – Elemental magic, for the win. I would like to be a Fire Bender, personally, and occasionally can be found practicing forms for channeling lightning in my office.

10) “FullMetal Alchemist” – This is my favorite anime (I love both versions, even) because of the relationship between the two brothers, and because of the amazingly complex and cool magical system. Alchemy in this world is almost exactly how I imagined wanting magic to be when I was 8 years old. Difficult, full of math and symbolism, and you could gain power just by studying and practicing! LOVE.

If, like me, you’re studying wizardry, any of these movies would be a great place to begin. Good luck!

[Note: This top ten list, excluding the introduction, was previously published at Sugarscape.com and is used with the permission of the author.]

I haven’t had the chance to see all of those films, but I have seen quite a few of them. And agree wholly with her number one choice. “Labyrinth” = best magical film ever!

Oh and “LadyHawke” breaks my heart for a moment every time I watch it. And yes, I happen to be a sucker for ’80s synthesizer soundtracks and scores. Especially The Alan Parsons Project score in this movie.

But I digress….

It was such an honor to be able to host an author that I think is one of the biggest rockstars ever! And while I’m sad today is the last official day of the Authors Are Rockstars Tour, I couldn’t be happier having author Tessa Gratton on the blog today to close things out.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again….

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What’s up for grabs:

The Author’s Giveaway: A copy of THE CURIOSITIES, a copy of THE BLOOD KEEPER and a paperback copy of BLOOD MAGIC to ONE WINNER. (US only)

My Giveaway: A copy of THE BLOOD KEEPER to FOUR WINNERS ordered from Amazon or The Book Depository. (International)


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The deets:

1. One entry per household. (You can enter BOTH giveaways.)

2. There will be ONE winner for the author’s giveaway and FOUR WINNERS for my giveaway.

3. You must be 13 or older.

4. Author’s giveaway is US. My giveaway is International.

5. Contest ends on Friday, September 7th at 9:01 p.m. Pacific.

6. Winners will be chosen by Random.org through Rafflecopter and announced on September 7th in this post.

7. Winners will have 48 hours after notification to respond with their details.

The chance to choose which giveaway you’d like to be entered into is in the rafflecopter form and is the only mandatory entry in the giveaway. But if you’d like to spread the word that would be awesome!

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Watch: Releasing This Week #21

Below are the YA books coming out this week that I am spotlighting for my “Book Watch: Releasing This Week” post.

These are books for the week of May 24th-May 30th that I have pre-ordered.


Between Here and Forever by Elizabeth Scott will be released in the U.S. on May 24, 2011 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Published by Simon Pulse, a division of Simon & Schuster, the print edition is 256 pages.

Between Here and Forever is a book that I spotlighted for my Book Watch post and one that I can’t wait to read. I love Elizabeth Scott’s writing and the cover of this new book is so pretty.

The description sounds different from some of the other books of the author’s that I’ve read, but has me intrigued. I can’t wait to find out what Abby’s plans are to bring Tess back, and just how Eli fits into the picture.

I’ve had this on my list of pre-orders for a couple of months and I’m so glad it will finally be released this week.

The Girl in the Steel Corset is the debut young adult novel by Kady Cross. It will be released in the U.S. on May 24, 2011 in hardcover format and on June 1, 2011 in eBook formats. It is currently available online to pre-order in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Published by Harlequin TEEN the print edition is 480 pages.

I can’t wait to see what the cover looks like on the finished copy. The ARC I have doesn’t do justice to its beauty. This is one of the few books that I have decided to purchase in print versus eBook format because of its cover. I did swing by my local bookstore, but sadly they didn’t have copies of this book in early.

Finley Jayne is a great new character – I had a chance to first meet her in the free eBook prequel novella being offered by the publisher. And The Girl in the Steel Corset is an amazing read for someone new to the world of steampunk. For some reason I expected steampunk to read like a science fiction novel – very technical and somewhat difficult to follow for someone who wasn’t in the know.

But the author’s writing style really gives newbie readers a good look at a completely foreign world in a way that is exciting and easy to follow. I cannot wait to get my print copy this week.

To read an excerpt from the author’s website, CLICK HERE.

Book trailer for The Girl in the Steel Corset:

Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly will be released in the U.S. on May 24, 2011 in hardcover, eBook and audio formats. It is currently available to pre-order in all formats from Amazon and in hardcover and eBook formats at Barnes & Noble.

Angel Burn was released as Angel on October 1, 2010 in the U.K. in paperback and eBook formats.

Published by Candlewick, the print edition is 464 pages.

I am so excited that Angel Burn will finally be released. I read this over a month ago and I can’t wait to get my finished copy. I absolutely loved this book and its completely different take on angels.

Vampiric, soul sucking, life stealing angels are definitely not the angels I’ve grown to know and love in all the young adult books I’ve read. And Alex and Willow make such great main characters.

This is quite a thrilling story and I just wish the second book in this series were out already so I can find out what happens next.

If you would like to check out my review, click here.

Book trailer for Angel Burn:

Alex teaser trailer for Angel Burn:

Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton will be released in the U.S. on May 24, 2011 in hardcover, library binding and eBook formats. It is currently available online to pre-order in all formats from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Published by Random House Books for Young Readers, the print edition is 416 pages.

Blood Magic is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at TheStorySiren.com.

I’ve talked way too much about this book, so I will try not to be repetitive. Blood Magic has been on my list of pre-orders since long before the release date was bumped from April to May. I had added it to my list as soon as I saw the amazing cover. It is absolutely dark and gorgeous. And the birds will completely make sense as soon as you read the book.

This was another book I tried tracking at the bookstore early, but was unsuccessful. I’ll have to check back on Tuesday to see if the print edition is even more amazing than the ARC, but I’m betting it will be.

If you would like to check out my review, click here.

Book trailer for Blood Magic:

Something Deadly This Way Comes by Kim Harrison is the third book in the Avery trilogy. It will be released in the U.S. on May 24, 2011 in hardcover and eBook formats and is currently available for pre-order in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Published by HarperTeen, a division of HarperCollins, the print edition is 256 pages.

I haven’t yet read any of the books in this series but just recently purchased the first two. This looks like such a great series and one that I’m glad to get all at once with no wait in between books.

The heroine, Avery, sounds like she is pretty fierce. And a series filled with reapers, dark angels and time travel sounds like it could be pretty wild.

This trilogy will be the first books I’ve read by the author, but the descriptions of these books sounded so amazing that I just had to grab the first two and added this upcoming release to my pre-orders.

I hope to be able to read this entire trilogy soon, as I don’t want them falling to the bottom of the pile.

Book trailer for Something Deadly This Way Comes:


This is a great week for new releases. I have all five of these on pre-order and can’t wait to get the finished copies for both the new books and those I’ve already read.

There are a couple books I’m currently reading for review that I will be ordering shortly after release date, but aren’t on my list of pre-orders – Awaken and Putting Makeup on Dead People. So this will most likely be a seven book buy week.

As always, I would love to hear what you’re hoping to add to your collection this week!

Please let me know if there is a “must read” that I’ve missed. I do not like to miss out on owning great books, even if I can’t read them right away.

The Crush List #1

There are books that you fall in love with, that leave you breathless and sobbing your eyes out. Books that take your heart and stomp on it, leaving you completely destroyed.

Then there are books that steal your heart. These bookish thieves take but do not destroy, leaving you forever captivated by their charms and always begging for more.

These are the books that are the source of our undying crushes. The ones that leave us sighing, with a small smile that is just for them. We give our hearts to these books and would follow them to the very ends of the earth. Some of them make us do just that, and we follow, oh so willingly.

A crush may be a fragile thing, but we certainly have room for many. I know I’ve crushed on hundreds of books in my lifetime and I’ll crush on many, many more. They say crushes are harmless, after all, so what’s wrong with having just a few…or a few more?

Here are a few books that I’m crushing on big time

Die for Me by Amy Plum is a new crush. I’ve just met this book and already I’m infatuated. Sure, I was little bit infatuated before I actually read it, but now “I Heart Revenants” too!

Why I’m crushing: Paris, love before all, mad swordfighting skills, and one hot revenant…maybe two.

Wildefire by Karsten Knight is a fairly long-standing crush for me. I crushed on it when I saw the cover and I became slightly obsessed after it arrived in my mailbox. I devoured this book and went back for seconds.

Why I’m crushing: Kick a** heroine, to-die-for writing, wicked cool gods and goddesses, one killer ending, and just a dash mountain of sarcasm thrown in to keep things interesting.

Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton became a crush the second I saw the cover. It became a mad crush the moment I started reading. Just so freaking awesome. Definitely appeals to my darker nature.

Why I’m crushing: Dark and disturbing, mesmerizing, macabre, poetic, do I really need to say more? Okay, how about dark magic performed in a cemetery.

Daimon by Jennifer L. Armentrout is a new crush, but it really is just an extension of my existing crush. You see, I have been crushing on Half-Blood since I read its description ages ago, but once I got my hot little hands on this bad boy, I was all over it… And it was all over for me.

Why I’m crushing: Action, action, action. A chase, daimons, demi-gods, oh yeah, and did I say action? And one heroine with some pretty bad taste in music. What’s not to love?

Red Glove by Holly Black is an ongoing crush. It came into being when I read White Cat a few months ago. It continued right on through this second book in the series. And I am so hoping for a gloveless society. Curse Workers rule!

Why I’m crushing: Con artists, curse workers, mystery, and the only gloved hero I will ever love – Cassel Sharpe.

Illusions by Aprilynne Pike is an old crush that started with Wings. A three book crush is a pretty fierce thing and is now walking that fine line between crush and stalking. If this series lasts too much longer I’ll have to find some new crazed fan-dom category for this.

Why I’m crushing: Super sweet, one swoonworthy faery, one insanely cruel love triangle, and a slew of evil trolls. All ingredients that make up the perfect fairytale.

Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready is a year-long crush that started with Shade. I still consider this crushworthy although it borders on those “tear your heart out” books I mentioned earlier. We’ll see where things go with Shine to see if this falls off the Crush List and onto Heartbreak Row.

Why I’m crushing: Undying love, a naughty heroine, a mystery, the river scene, and a love triangle verging on a square. And who could forget those Keeley’s – no wonder Aura is having such a tough time.

Sirensong by Jenna Black is another three book crush. This series just gave me the warm and fuzzies right from the start. I couldn’t help but fall in love. And my cover love is almost as intense as my book crush.

Why I’m crushing: Danger, thrills, an adventure through Faerie, and more than one hottie to choose from. And, oooh, the return of the Erlking makes my heart go pitter-patter.


So, these are just a few books from my slightly eclectic crush list. Who says I have to only be obsessed with just one type of book? This is only the tip of a very large iceberg and by next month I’m sure I’ll have quite a few more to add.

Do you crush on books?

What makes a book crushworthy for you?

I would love to know!

Book Watch: Blood Magic

Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton will be released in the U.S. on May 24, 2011 in hardcover, library binding and eBook formats. It is currently available for pre-order in all formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Published by Random House Books for Young Readers, the print edition is 416 pages.

Blood Magic is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at TheStorySiren.com.


I know I already spotlighted a book for May 24th last week, but I just had to post one for Blood Magic, which was such a wicked cool book. I loved it and was so glad I got a chance to read this book early. In fact, I might have read it a little too early as I thought that it was releasing in April when I agreed to give the ARC away. So, I read it in March and reviewed it here on the blog. But this is a book that I have not forgotten.

The story is dark, the writing is mesmerizing and there is a lot of blood. So, if you’re a visual reader and are super squeamish about reading about blood, then read this on an empty stomach while lying down. But do read this.

I cannot wait until it finally comes out and I can get my finished copy of the book. As I gave it away I don’t even have it here to look through. I miss Silla and Nick even more than I did immediately after reading the story and this is definitely one of those books that I wish was part of a multi-book series.

I know there’s a standalone companion novel coming out in the same world, but it’s not the same as a sequel. I would love to see what happens to Nick and Silla after we leave them at the end of this book. And there are just so many questions I have. I definitely want to know more about the magic and the world.

The author’s writing is true poetry. This is a story you can completely get drawn into, even though it is macabre and disturbing. As far as May 24th releases go, there is no question that this is a book to watch out for.


To read an excerpt courtesy of the publisher, click here.

The Blood Keeper, a companion novel to Blood Magic, is slated for release in summer 2012.

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Goodreads description:

This page-turning debut novel will entice fans who like their paranormal romances dark and disturbing. It’s a natural next-read for fans of Stephanie Meyer, Carrie Jones, and Becca Fitzpatrick. But instead of mythical creatures, blood magic has everything to do with primal human desires like power, wealth, and immortality.

Everywhere Silla Kennicott turns she sees blood. She can’t stop thinking about her parents alleged murder-suicide. She is consumed by a book filled with spells that arrives mysteriously in the mail. The spells share one common ingredient: blood, and Silla is more than willing to cast a few. What’s a little spilled blood if she can uncover the truth? And then there’s Nick—the new guy at school who makes her pulse race. He has a few secrets of his own and is all too familiar with the lure of blood magic. Drawn together by a combination of fate and chemistry, Silla and Nick must find out who else in their small Missouri town knows their secret and will do anything to take the book and magic from Silla.


Book trailer for Blood Magic:

The author reads from Chapter One:

The author reads from Chapter Five:

The author reads from Chapter Sixteen:


The Trailers: May

They’re back! For those times when you just need a short break from reading. Here, for your viewing pleasure, are a few amazing book trailers for just some of the upcoming books releasing this May.

As so many of the May release trailers have not yet come out, I’ve included a few videos of the authors talking about their upcoming books.

If the May trailers ever decide to make themselves known I’ll be sure to post another “The Trailers: May” with those MIA, like Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready, Between Here and Forever by Elizabeth Scott, Hourglass by Myra McEntire and oh so many more.


But I Love Him by Amanda Grace (a.k.a. Mandy Hubbard)

Release date: May 1, 2011 (eBook)/May 8, 2011 (paperback)

(Mandy Hubbard Author)


Illusions by Aprilynne Pike

Release date: May 3, 2011



Compulsion by Heidi Ayarbe

Release date: May 3, 2011

(HarperTeen) – Not a trailer. The author reads from and discusses her upcoming book


Divergent by Veronica Roth

Release date: May 3, 2011

(HarperTeen) – Not a trailer. The author discusses her upcoming book


Graveminder by Melissa Marr

Release date: May 17, 2011

(William Morrow) – Not a trailer. Author discusses her upcoming book


Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly

Release date: May 24, 2011

(Candlewick Press)



Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton

Release date: May 24, 2011

(Tessa Gratton) – Not trailers. The author enacts two scenes from chapters one and five as her character Josephine Darly.



Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

Release date: May 31 2011

(HarperTeen) – Not a trailer. The author discusses her upcoming book


We hope you enjoyed the lovely distractions. Stay tuned…we’ll be back with our regularly scheduled programming later today.

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