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Embers and Echoes

    Book Watch: Releasing This Week #87

    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 August 28th-September 3rd that I had and have pre-ordered.

    Embers & Echoes by Karsten Knight was released in the U.S. on August 28, 2012 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to order online in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, the print edition is 480 pages.

    Embers & Echoes is the second book in the Wildefire series by the author. The third and final book in the trilogy, Afterglow, is slated for release in 2013.

    ***

    I had Embers & Echoes pre-ordered from the second it was made available for eBook download. And I also pre-ordered a copy of the hardcover because I just had to see if it was every bit as gorgeous in real life as it seemed online.

    While I had the chance to read it early. Twice. I know I’ll be reading this book again and again and it will be so much easier on my Kindle. And as I have read and reviewed it, I can’t speculate as to what might be happening with Ash as she leaves her life in California behind for an adventure in Miami, because I already know. But I can say that this Polynesian Volcano goddess does not have an easy road ahead.

    There are battles. There is danger. There is heartbreak. And there is page after page of captivating story that makes me wish I could pick it right back up again.

    Speechless by Hannah Harrington was released on August 28, 2012 in the U.S. in paperback and eBook formats. It is currently available to order online in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Harlequin TEEN, the print edition is 288 pages.

    ***

    Speechless is the second book of Hannah Harrington’s that I’ve pre-ordered. And while I still haven’t had a chance to read Saving June, I couldn’t resist putting her next book on my list of books to buy.

    This book sounds incredible. I can’t wait to meet Chelsea Knot and find out if she’ll be able to stick with the vow of silence she’s taken. I am curious to learn just how tough it will be for her to keep silent in the face of the “ridicule” and attacks she has to endure. And I really want to know if she’ll be able to forgive herself for the part she played in almost getting someone killed.

    I’m not sure when I’ll get to read this sequel, but I’m hoping to be able to add it to the pile this fall. Because I’ve been dying to read a book by this author as I’ve heard such amazing things about her writing. And because this story sounds fascinating and possibly heartbreaking.

    Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh was released in the U.S. on August 28, 2012 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available online to order in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers the print edition is 448 pges.

    Enshadowed is the sequel to author Kelly Creagh’s Nevermore.

    ***

    I think I’ve talked about Enshadowed enough. I’ve had it pre-ordered since early 2011. It was my only remaining pre-order for 2011, in fact. And it’s finally been released. Which means I will be devouring it as soon as I finish my current read.

    I have missed Varen and Isobel. I have been dying to find out what will happen to him. Things were left in a dark and haunting place. And I want to see if they’ll get even darker or if there is any possibility for a happy ending.

    I have no idea if this is the final book in the series or if there is more to come. And I don’t want to know. Because I have got to read this book right now. Even if it means after this long, long wait that I will have to say goodbye to the characters and story forever.

    I loved the connection the author made with Poe in her first book and I can’t wait to see just how much Poe and his stories play a role in this sequel. I probably will miss many of the more subtle connections, but I am looking forward to trying to discover them all. Which will hopefully be in a day or two.

    The Blood Keeper by Tessa Gratton was released in the U.S. on August 28, 2012 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to order online in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Random House Books for Young Readers, the print edition is 432 pages.

    The Blood Keeper is the second book in author Tessa Gratton’s The Blood Journals series.

    ***

    The Blood Keeper is another book I’ve had pre-ordered for the longest time. I fell head over heels in love with Blood Magic last year and was dying to get to read more from author Tessa Gratton. She is a gorgeous writer and has such a beautiful, poetic way with words that make her stories just cling to me.

    I love the dark aspect to her stories and can’t wait to see how the darkness blends with the beauty in this one. I’m excited to meet Mab and to see just how blood magic affects her life. And I really excited to find out whether any of the characters from that first book make an appearance in this one.

    The Blood Keeper is another book that I hope to read this week. I don’t think I can wait any longer than that to find out what happens with Mab and Will and the “dangerous force” that is seeking “its own dark power.”

    Isolation by Dan Wells was released in the U.S. on August 28, 2012 in eBook format only. It is currently available to order online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins, the print length is 75 pages.

    Isolation is a prequel novella in the author’s Partials series.

    ***

    While I have not yet read Partials, I just had to pre-order Dan Wells’ novella Isolation. I’ve been in love with the covers for these books and I’ve been dying to dive into Partials for awhile now. Especially as I’ve heard such amazing things about it from a few bloggers I know.

    I can’t wait to see what life is like in this novella set long before the events in Partials, when the world was in a war of isolation and energy was at a premium. I’m super curious to find out how the author handles the power struggle of the various nations and where “ambition far outstrip[s] its foresight.”

    And I am excited to meet Heron and see just what she discovers on her mission into enemy territory. I’m still debating whether to read this prior to reading Partials or if I should just wait and read the books in the order the author intended.

    Starling by Lesley Livingston was released in the U.S. on August 28, 2012 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to order online in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by HarperTeen, the print edition is 352 pages.

    Starling is the first book in a new series of the same name by author Lesley Livingston.

    ***

    I have been a huge fan of author Lesley Livingston for the longest time. I feel in love with her Wondrous Strange series long before I started blogging and I’ve been desperately waiting for Once Every Never to be available for the Kindle.

    So when I heard that she had a book called Starling coming out I instantly added it to my list of books to buy. And while I did get an early copy through a trade, I didn’t get a chance to read it. But I will be reading my eBook copy very, very soon. Possibly as soon as I finish this post….

    I was tormented by the quote in the description – “Love is just the beginning… of the end.” Absolutely, maddeningly cruel. In the best possible way.

    I can’t wait to meet Mason Starling. and I can’t wait to see Fenn again, as I am dying to find out why he’s lost his memory and whether he’ll get it back. I am so intrigued by the promise of Norse mythology and I am excited about the fact that this book has both “sweeping romance and pulse-pounding action.”

    Waiting any longer to read this book is just not an option.

    Defiance by C.J. Redwine was released in the U.S. on August 28, 2012 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available online to order in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins, the print edition is 416 pages.

    Defiance is the first book in a new series of the same name by the author.

    ***

    I have been fascinated by this book ever since I saw its cover and title. I added Defiance to my list of pre-orders in part because of cover love, in part from the promise of what the story would hold based upon its title and in part because the main character can “deftly wield a sword.”

    I hope to be able to read this book very, very soon. I want to see what’s going on in Baalboden. I want to meet Rachel Adams. And I definitely want to meet Logan McEntire. But most of all I can’t wait to see what happens as they “battle their way through the Wasteland.”

    This story sounds epic. The main character sounds fiery. The protagonist sounds swoon-worthy. And any book with monsters, assassins, romance and heartbreak is one I am sure to enjoy.

    Don’t Tun Around by Michelle Gagnon was released in the U.S. on August 28, 2012 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to order online in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by HarperCollins, the print edition is 320 pages.

    Don’t Turn Around is the first book in author Michelle Gagnon’s PERSEFoNE Trilogy.

    ***

    I first learned about Don’t Turn Around just before the Authors Are Rockstars Tour and instantly added it to my pre-orders. I loved the sound of this world from the moment I read the description.

    Intrigue. Hackers. Mystery. Amnesia. Danger. And romance.

    Yes, this book has just about everything I love. And as I haven’t read anything quite like it in YA before, I’m excited to meet the characters and see just how the author presents the story. I’m very curious to see just what secrets they hold and whether they’ll be able to find the answers they need before it’s too late.

    While I know I won’t get the chance to read it this week, I am really hoping to read it mid-September.

    The Iron Legends by Julie Kagawa was released in the U.S. on August 28, 2012 in paperback and ebook formats. It is currently available online to order in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Harlequin Teen, the print edition is 304 pages.

    The Iron Legends is the bind-up of three former eBook only novellas, Winter’s PassageSummer’s Crossing, and Iron’s Prophecy.

    ***

    I love that all three short eBook novellas are contained in a bind-up. I pre-ordered The Iron Legends in ebook format although I have the first two…possibly all three… stories already as eBooks. But I love that I’ll be able to read all three without having to search for them on my Kindle.

    And I love that this has a little something extra something called the “Guide to the Iron Fey.”

    I’ve read Winter’s Passage and Summer’s Crossing but I still have to read Iron’s Prophecy. So I will be reading it from this eBook bind-up versus trying to track it down wherever it lives on my eReader.

    Julie Kagawa wrote such a delightful series with her Iron Fey books. And while I still haven’t been able to say goodbye to the series, I am glad that I have yet another peek into the world with the Guide, which I will be checking out next weekend.

    Erasing Time by C.J. Hill was released in the U.S. on August 28, 2012 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to order online in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins, the print edition is 368 pages.

    ***

    Erasing Time is yet another book I pre-ordered based on cover and title before even checking out the description. I was fascinated with the idea of erasing time and so curious to see what that meant in context with the story that I just had to buy it no matter what the description might say.

    And then I checked that out too and was even more curious to read this book. The idea of waking up four hundred years in the future is terrifying. And to a world that exists under domes, where the language spoken is hardly recognizable, is even more frightening.

    I can’t wait to meet Taylor and Sheridan and find out how they manage to survive in this futuristic world. And I’m very interested to learn more about Echo and find out just what secrets he holds.

    This story promises heartbreak and “adrenaline-injected chases” and I can’t wait to read all about it.

    The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna was released in the U.S. on August 28, 2012 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to order online in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins, the print edition is 432 pages.

    ***

    The Lost Girl sounded so unbelievably heartbreaking I just had to add it to my list of pre-orders. The idea of the story – a girl created to replace someone else in the event of their death – is both chilling and just so very sad.

    Just reading the description and I already feel my heart aching for Eva and for Amarra’s family. I can’t imagine what Eva’s life must have been like just knowing she could be ripped from her home at any moment and be forced to step into someone else’s life and play the part of them for the rest of her life.

    I am so curious to see what choice Eva will make – stay an echo or become an original. And I’m so interested in finding out more about Eva, what it was like to have to study Amarra and then have to become her, and just how this story will end.

    This sounds like an incredible debut novel and one I cannot wait to get the chance to read. Hopefully I’ll have the time to sneak it in early this fall.

    Inbetween by Tara Fuller was released in the U.S. on August 28, 2012 in paperback and eBook formats. It is currently available to order online in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Entangled Teen, the print edition is 400 pages.

    Inbetween is the first book in a new series entitled Kissed by Death by author Tara Fuller.

    ***

    I had the chance to read Inbetween just a little bit early, but I did not get the chance to finish it. I’m so glad that I pre-ordered the eBook as it will be much easier to read the finished eBook version.

    This story has romance and reapers, a good boy, a bad boy, a good girl and an evil one. It’s sweet and fun and I am very curious to find out what I missed between where I left off and where the story ended. Yes, I took a peek.

    I don’t want to say too much more as I might completely, and very unintentionally, spoil the ending. But I will definitely be picking this book back up to catch up with all that stuff inbetween.

    Silver by Talia Vance will be released in the U.S. on September 1, 2012 (thought it’s official release date is September 8, 2012) in paperback and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Flux, the print edition is 386 pages.

    Silver is the first book in author Talia Vance’s Bandia series. The second book in the series, Gold, is slated for release in 2013.

    ***

    Oh my gosh I can’t wait until Silver downloads to my Kindle this weekend. I absolutely loved this book from the moment I met it. I had no idea I would. It took me completely by surprise. And it was an absolutely awesome one at that.

    I didn’t discover this book because of its cover – but it’s a gorgeous cover. I’d heard of the author for quite awhile on Twitter, but I hadn’t realized that Silver was her book and that it was coming out in September. Not until I was invited on the tour.

    So, yes, I decided to read it early. Yes, I’ve written my review. Yes, I completely and totally loved it and am now suffering the long wait until Gold is released next fall…2013 that is.

    I cannot pretend to guess what might happen in this book because I know exactly what happens. And I didn’t forget one single moment of action, romance, nail-biting suspense or heartbreak.

    And I could never forget how easily I connected with the story and the beautiful and enchanting writing that was used to deliver it. Writing such as this, from a quote included in the description – “As I step into the room, a silver flash blurs my vision. Before I can take a breath, the world falls away.”

    Oh I may have just sighed again. And I may just have to re-read this book the moment it downloads next weekend. Because I still haven’t lost that connection with Brianna, Blake or Austin and I’m not sure I’m ready to let go just yet.

    ***

    UPDATE: I apparently have yet another book pre-ordered this week that hadn’t been included on my post earlier today….

    Iron’s Prophecy (The Iron Fey #4.5) by Julie Kagawa

    Pub. Date: September 1, 2012

    Published by: Harlequin TEEN

    (Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

    I KNEW I couldn’t possibly have missed Iron Prophecy’s release! I knew I owned, and read, the first two novellas in the bind-up, but I wasn’t sure about this one. Well, clearly, since it hadn’t been previously released, it couldn’t possibly live anywhere on my Kindle.

    And while I already have this eBook included as part of the bind-up, I still plan on purchasing this short novella separately. Why not, right?

    END OF UPDATE

    ***

    I had thirteen fourteen books pre-ordered – not nine or ten as I’d thought! Twelve of which have already downloaded and which are vying for my attention on my Kindle. Fortunately I’ve already read a couple of them, though I want to read both of those again. But not counting those potential re-reads, that still means books in the double digits are being added to my TBR pile. And I don’t even want to think about what this quantity of books is doing to my wallet.

    Especially since next week there are a ton of new releases, too.

    I have been waiting a very long time to read quite a few of these books, some of which I’m sad that I didn’t get the chance to read early like I’d wanted to. And others I didn’t have the opportunity to read in advance, but am dying to read this week. I really hope I’ll have that chance. But that remains TBD.

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

    And if you have any great suggestions of “must read” books to buy that are releasing this week, please let me know!

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    Embers & Echoes Blog Tour: Meet Aurora + Giveaway

    When I was invited to be on the tour for EMBERS & ECHOES I may have fainted dead away. No joke. I mean, if you’ve checked out the seriously amazing blogs that are on this tour, I was more than humbled just to be considered. And I didn’t actually believe it until I received the tour schedule. Which is why you might not have heard me exclaiming about it on Twitter until just the other day.

    As you may know, I am a huge fan of author Karsten Knight. He is one of those rockstar authors that has blown me away with not only his writing but with his many talents that include singing, dancing and vlogging. But it will always be his writing that tops my list of favorite superpowers of his.

    I think I may have on more than one occasion referred to his writing as “phenomenal.” And I still stand by that. Because EMBERS & ECHOES is… well, you’ll have to read my review, which I’ve linked below, if you want to find out what I really think.

    My mind was blown when I read WILDEFIRE last year and waiting for EMBERS & ECHOES was torturous. I’m so glad I had a chance to read it early and got a second chance to read it before its release…WHICH IS TODAY!

    Happy Release Day EMBERS & ECHOES!

    Anyway… for my stop today I have an excerpt to share that introduces Aurora, one of my favorite characters in this book. When you read it, if you know me, you’ll know exactly why she is. Of course there’s that other reason, but… well… I can’t reveal that one.

    But before you get to meet Aurora, just in case you haven’t yet been introduced to this author and his awesome books, here’s just a bit about them all.

    About Karsten Knight

    Karsten Knight has been writing since the age of six, when he completed his first masterpiece: a picture book series about an adventurous worm.

    In the two decades that have followed, Karsten has worked as a proofreader, a bookseller, and a college admissions counselor before he finally decided that his true calling was to be a volcano goddess biographer.

    He lives in Boston, and for more information or to watch his video blog, visit KarstenKnight.com.

    Find him: TWITTER, FACEBOOK, WEBSITE, GOODREADS, YOUTUBE

    About WILDEFIRE

    Every flame begins with a spark.

    Blackwood Academy was supposed to be a fresh start for Ashline Wilde. A secluded boarding school deep in the heart of California’s redwood forests, three thousand miles from her old life–it sounded like the new beginning she needed after an act of unspeakable violence left a girl in her hometown dead.

    But Blackwood is far from the peaceful haven Ashline was searching for.

    Because terrifying, supernatural beasts roam the forests around campus.

    Because the murderer from Ashline’s hometown–her own sister–has followed her across the country.

    Because a group of reincarnated gods and goddesses has been mysteriously summoned to Blackwood…

    …and Ashline’s one of them.

    Find it: AMAZON, BARNES & NOBLE, GOODREADS, FACEBOOK

    About EMBERS & ECHOES

    Every flame casts a shadow.

    Ashline Wilde is about to discover that when you’re the reincarnation of a Polynesian volcano goddess, “new beginnings” are just a myth.

    Leaving the fiery ruins of her sophomore year behind her, Ash travels to the sizzling beaches of Miami, hot on the trail of the little sister she’s only seen in visions. But her happy family reunion isn’t all palm trees and paradise. A cult of evil gods-on-earth, known as the Four Seasons, has kidnapped her sister to use in its terrifying new religion. Soon, the streets of Miami erupt in chaos and violence…and Ash gets caught right in the tropical crossfire

    Ash isn’t without help, however. Unexpected romance arrives in the form of Wes, an Aztec god of night with his own vendetta against the Four Seasons. As memories of Ash’s previous life begin to flicker into her dreams, the boundaries between ally and enemy, life and death, and love and hate all bleed together. And when a mysterious trickster from her past reappears to derail her new quest, Ash must choose between the echoes of a once-forgotten yesterday and the embers of an uncertain future.

    Because when old flames return from the dead, even a volcano goddess can get burned.

    Find it: AMAZON, BARNES & NOBLE, GOODREADS

    And now for why you’re really here….

    This awesome excerpt from EMBERS & ECHOES introduces Aurora, who has a wry sense of humor, a terrible Spanish accent and just a bit of a mouth on her. Yep, she is definitely a favorite of mine.

    And while I really, really want to say more about why I adore this character, it would be way too spoiler-y if I did.

    MEET AURORA

    Aurora tapped on the bar to get the bartender’s attention. “Tres avocado coladas, por favor.”

    The bartender snickered a little bit and said, “But of course.”

    Aurora puckered her slips when she turned to Ash. “I’ve lived in Miami for four years, and my Spanish still makes the natives laugh.”

    “At least you don’t get carded,” Ash said.

    Aurora tugged at the black cardigan over her shoulder. “Probably because hiding my wings requires an elderly fashion sense sometimes. Tough to look stylish and sexy when you have a nine-foot wingspan that needs to go unnoticed.”

    Ash clinked martini glasses with Aurora in a toast and said, “On the bright side, wings make it easier to pull off the angelic look.”

    Aurora shook her head and laughed under her breath. “Do you carry around a book full of these jokes, or do you pull them all out of your ass?”

    Not only do we get to post an excerpt as part of the tour, but we get to post our reviews of this seriously amazing sequel. But as some of you know, my reviews tend to be just a bit long and would make this post rather… how shall I say it… cumbersome. No, I was not going to say “boring.” So I thought I’d just start it off here and if you’d like to read more, you can just click to read the full review.

    And no, there are no spoilers or long, rambling summaries about the book, but there may be just a bit lot of gushing involved.

    From my review….

    If I could give this book as many stars as it would take to fill the night sky I would. Embers & Echoes was so utterly amazing…. (Click HERE to read the rest of my review.)

    The Tour runs from Monday through Friday ONLY, so be sure to check out all the stops on tour to read exclusive excerpts from EMBERS & ECHOES!
    The Tour

    Monday, August 27 – Intro & Meet LUCY – Cindy @ Books Complete Me

    Tuesday, August 28 – Meet AURORA – Rachel @ Fiktshun (HERE)

    Wednesday, August 29 – Meet THORNE – Debbie @ I Heart YA Books

    Thursday, August 30 – Meet WES – Kari @ A Good Addiction

    Friday, August 31 – Meet WES and ASH – Stacey @ Page Turners Blog 

    This seriously awesome tour also includes a giveaway for two sets of WILDEFIRE and EMBERS & ECHOES. The giveaway is open to U.S. mailing addresses only and is the same at each stop. So if you’ve already entered elsewhere on the tour, you won’t be able to enter again.

    But if you haven’t, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below….

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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    Authors Are Rockstars Tour: Karsten Knight Interview, Guest Post + Giveaway

    Today is the first day of the Authors Are Rockstars Tour and I am so unbelievably excited to be able to welcome Karsten Knight to the blog. He is one of my top five favorite debut authors of 2011 and is one of my favorite authors of all time… and no, it’s not because of his videos.

    No, really it’s not.

    Wildefire was one of my most anticipated reads of 2011. I was so unbelievably lucky to get the chance to read it early and it was every bit as awesome as I thought it would be. And so much more. Karsten Knight is one seriously talented author. He completely blew me away with his writing. He kinda rocked my world.

    And it wasn’t just Wildefire but Embers & Echoes… though I’m not quite ready to talk about that just yet, so I’ll let a brief passage speak for me instead.

    Your dress ignites again, not on purpose this time. This is a dry, uncontrollable wildfire fueled by an ocean of dark thoughts. Your flesh turns to molten rock, cracking in places to let the magma fluoresce through. A corona extends from your body outward, outward, until the fire streams up the walls, over the seats beside you, over the dashboard controls….

    Yeah. Wow. A poet with his words. A total rockstar.

    As an author, Karsten Knight surprised me. His videos, some of which you will have a chance to watch, below, show a disarming, charming and incredibly humorous side of him. But his writing shows depth, intensity and beauty.

    And the way he ends a book? Killer. Absolutely killer.

    So, aside from all that, why do I think he’s a rockstar?

    He isn’t afraid to take chances with his stories, characters and worlds. He has created a seriously kick-a** heroine that not only doesn’t blend in with the crowd but crushes it.  His writing is beauty. His words bewitching. His characters entertaining. His stories riveting. His series amazing.

    And while I love his videos, its his writing that makes him a rockstar. His videos… well… they just make him one heck of an awesome personality.

    In case you haven’t “met” him yet, here’s just a little bit about him…

    About the Author

    … as if he really needs any introduction!

    Karsten Knight has been writing since the age of six, when he completed his first masterpiece: a picture book series about an adventurous worm.

    In the two decades that have followed, Karsten has worked as a proofreader, a bookseller, and a college admissions counselor before he finally decided that his true calling was to be a volcano goddess biographer.

    He lives in Boston, and for more information or to watch his video blog, visit KarstenKnight.com.

    Find him:  TWITTERFACEBOOKBLOGYOUTUBEGOODREADS

    To find out more about Karsten Knight on Simon & Schuster’s website, such as his greatest fear and his biggest pet peeve, CLICK HERE.

    Q. We think authors are amazing. You are our rockstars. Do you have an author or authors that you look up to or are inspired or amazed by?

    I think my two favorite YA novels in recent memory have been IMAGINARY GIRLS by Nova Ren Suma and MARCELO AND THE REAL WORLD by Francisco X. Stork. But lately, I’ve been reading a lot of adult literary fiction. Maggie Shipstead’s SEATING ARRANGEMENTS actually made me laugh like a mad man in public while I was listening to the audiobook–I got a lot of weird stares. And Dennis Lehane’s DARKNESS, TAKE MY HAND made me afraid to go out at night for about a month.

    [Fiktshun: Loved IMAGINARY GIRLS! And I will definitely have to check out DARKNESS, TAKE MY HAND if it’s that chilling.]

    Q. For those who don’t already know, your series’ main character, Ashline Wilde, is a Polynesian Volcano Goddess – I don’t think I’m spoiling anything as it is in your brief bio. I don’t know if it would be possible to create a character more different from yourself than Ash is from you… unless you are really a Polynesian Volcano Goddess and you haven’t been forthcoming with your fans. Hmmm… What’s been the most difficult part of sharing a brain with this particular character over the course of the series?

    I joke a lot about how writing from a female POV is easy, because I grew up with two sisters…but honestly, the biggest challenge in writing Ashline Wilde has been the reincarnation issue. The central premise of the WILDEFIRE trilogy is that all the gods and goddesses from every pantheon around the world–Polynesian, Aztec, Mayan, Shinto, Roman, Norse, etc–are reincarnated on Earth every century with no memories of their previous lives. And yet, lifetime after lifetime, they still find each other, and the sparks fly…romantically and violently.

    In Ash’s case, by the time you finish the trilogy, you’ll get to see her in four lifetimes: as a modern-day American teenager; as a bank robber in 1920s New Orleans; as a protector of the Hawaiian islands in the 1830s; …and a time period I can’t divulge right now. So each lifetime, Ash might have the same face and the same fiery, volcanic powers, but the novels explore how different cultures, time periods, and environments can shape us. Essentially, I had to write four variations of the same character–you know, since Prohibition-era outlaws are probably just a *teensy* bit different from a 21st Century teenager raised by attorneys in Upstate New York.

    [Fiktshun: I really can’t see how writing a Prohibition-era outlaw would be any different from writing a teen raised in Upstate New York…. But seriously, I think it’s amazing that you have been able to take your characters on such journeys, not only geographically but through time and lifetimes. So far – as I haven’t yet had a peek at AFTERGLOW – you have done such an amazingly brilliant job.]

    Q. Your books offer the YA market something a little bit different than the norm. Your characters are diverse and your female main character is stronger, fiercer, and more independent than most. How did you “pitch” the story to publishers? And how would you best describe your books to someone who hasn’t yet read them?

    I wrote most of this series while I was getting a Master’s degree in Writing for Children at Simmons College, which is where I began to study a lot of trends and conventions that are overused in YA…particularly paranormal and dystopian fiction. My main goal while writing this trilogy was to try not to lean on any of those crutches, at all costs.

    You’ll notice just from the table of contents in each book that even the story structure is kind of weird–each section is a single day, instead of a short chapter. As I mentioned before, the stories also jump from century to century without much warning. Some people are going to love Ashline’s story, while some people will inevitably hate it; but I’ll call it a success as long as you turn the last page of AFTERGLOW when it comes out next year and say, “Well…that was different.”

    [Fiktshun: I have no doubt in my mind that I will turn to that last page and think it was different. I also have no doubt that it will have been an entirely exciting adventure. Ash may not be the most lovable – and probably not much of a hug-able – character, but she is incredibly unique and, to me, has such an appealing personality. I also have no doubt that I will turn to that last page of that last book and wish there were more.]

    Q. Without revealing too much, which of the three books in your series was your favorite to write? Which was the most challenging? What was your favorite scene to write? And if you have finished writing the series, how tough has it been to say goodbye to your characters? Is killing them off easier than saying goodbye or are both just as tough?

    That’s like asking a mother to pick her favorite child…though I’m sure my mother would, without hesitation, answer, “Karsten.” All three books are so different that sometimes they almost don’t seem like they belong in the same series. EMBERS & ECHOES (which comes out August 28th) is the darkest of the three books, so it was really challenging to balance the grimness and violence with Ashline’s sense of humor. AFTERGLOW was probably my favorite to write, because I finally got to bring the story to my hometown: Boston!

    The epilogue of AFTERGLOW was easily my favorite scene to write…ever. There’s no non-spoilery way to describe it, but I will say a) it brings the story “full circle,” b) it will mess with your head, and c) if it leaves you feeling chilled but chuckling darkly to yourself, then you probably read it correctly.

    As for killing off characters, the good news: when you write a book about reincarnation, they never stay dead for long…

    [Fiktshun: I’d forgotten how modest you were. Though, if I recall, your mother helped you choose a winner in an ARC contest of yours last year and she seemed incredibly proud of you, so maybe she would in fact pick you. And yes, EMBERS & ECHOES was dark. Deliciously dark. Wonderfully dark. Perfectly… okay, I’ll stop. I hadn’t realized just what a tease you could be. Now I’m even more desperate to find out what happens in AFTERGLOW and especially in that epilogue. These next thirteen or so months will be incredibly long….]

    About Wildefire

    Every flame begins with a spark.

    Ashline Wilde is having a rough sophomore year. She’s struggling to find her place as the only Polynesian girl in school, her boyfriend just cheated on her, and now her runaway sister, Eve, has decided to barge back into her life. When Eve’s violent behavior escalates and she does the unthinkable, Ash transfers to a remote private school nestled in California’s redwoods, hoping to put the tragedy behind her.

    But her fresh start at Blackwood Academy doesn’t go as planned. Just as Ash is beginning to enjoy the perks of her new school—being captain of the tennis team, a steamy romance with a hot, local park ranger—Ash discovers that a group of gods and goddesses have mysteriously enrolled at Blackwood…and she’s one of them. To make matters worse, Eve has resurfaced to haunt Ash, and she’s got some strange abilities of her own.

    With a war between the gods looming over campus, Ash must master the new fire smoldering within before she clashes with her sister one more time… And when warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm.

    Find it: AMAZON, BARNES & NOBLE, GOODREADS, FACEBOOK

    To browse inside Wildefire courtesy of Simon & Schuster, CLICK HERE.

    About Embers & Echoes

    Fan the flames: A teen goddess fires up her search for love and family in this sequel to Wildefire.

    Ashline Wilde may have needed school to learn that she is actually a reincarnated goddess, but she’s ready to move beyond books. She leaves her California boarding school behind and makes for Miami, where she meets a new group of deities and desperately seeks her sister Rose, the goddess of war. But she’s also looking for love–because even though her romance with Cole had to be snuffed, Ash is a volcano goddess–and she doesn’t get burned.

    This sequel to the edgy and action-packed Wildefire “continues a fiery drama on an immortal scale.

    Find it: AMAZON, BARNES & NOBLE, GOODREADS

     And, if an interview weren’t enough, this spectacular, rockstar author shared his…

    “Why You Shouldn’t Divorce a Polynesian Volcano Goddess”

    This is the video I filmed at Simon & Schuster’s author studio in NYC. One of the reasons I love my publisher is that they’ve been completely supportive of my weirdness. Evidence: typically authors take these interviews very seriously, discussing the inspiration for their work, why it’s important to them, etc. I asked my publisher, “how about we just film three minutes of me saying random nonsense?” They obliged.

    [Fiktshun: Gotta say it – Best. Publisher produced video. Ever.]

    “Why You Shouldn’t Write Your Novel on an Etch-a-Sketch”

    A retrospective look at some of my earliest written fiction. I was a very prolific six-years-old. Also, my cat Maverick makes a cameo.

    [Fiktshun: Prolific indeed. You can easily see what a talent this author will become from his earlier works.]

    “The Top 10 Things That May Surprise You About WILDEFIRE”

    Probably the first and last time I will ever use the phrases “fire-breathing dolphin” and “I’m a sassy unicorn.”

    [Fiktshun: I’d love to put a wager down on whether those two phrases will be repeated. I was glad to learn the characters don’t wear “brightly-colored spandex.” I am surprised not surprised to learn the author does…. I am curious as to whether that priceless My Little Pony collection ended up on eBay. And, for the record, I have not once misspelled the title for the author’s book. I have, however, misspelled “wildfire” on numerous occasions ever since. ]

    “Karsten Summarizes Seven Years in Two Minutes”

    This is one of the only vlogs I’ve taken semi-seriously. I was having a nostalgic, reflective week a few summers ago while working on EMBERS & ECHOES, so I made a video scrapbook of the last 7 years of my life, leading up to WILDEFIRE’s publication.

    [Fiktshun: I did not know the author was a talented singer, too. Loved the personal photo slideshow and the author’s wistful stare into the distance just before the end shots. Made me just a bit reflective, too.]

    “The Karsten Knight Holiday Spectacular”

    I think I spent most of this vlog discussing why I should be the next Bachelor on ABC. I stand by this assertion.

    [Fiktshun: While I think the author might make an excellent candidate for ABC’s The Bachelor, I’d be a little afraid of just what it would do to his writing….]

    Wow! I am just so unbelievably thrilled to have had the opportunity to interview you here on the blog and to have you share five of your favorite vlogs. While I might have added “Sunday Runs a Risky Business” to list, I have to agree that they are some of your best vlog moments.

    So, thank you so much for participating in the Authors Are Rockstars Tour. Thank you for being such an amazing writer. Thanks for creating stories that I will never forget, characters I will love and hate for all time and endings that continue to shock and surprise me.

    You have been such a rockstar to me long before this event and you will continue to be one long after.

    What’s up for grabs:

    A signed copy of Wildefire by Karsten Knight (original hardcover) – to TWO WINNERS and

    A pre-order of Embers & Echoes (ordered from Amazon or The Book Depository) – to FOUR WINNERS

    The deets:

    1. One entry per household.

    2. There will be SIX winners.

    3. You must be 13 or older.

    4. Giveaway is International.

    5. Contest ends on Wednesday, August 15th at 9:01 p.m. Pacific.

    6. Winners will be chosen by Random.org through Rafflecopter and announced on August 15th in this post.

    7. Prizes will be awarded based on the order Random chooses. The first two winners will be for the signed books, the next four will be for the pre-orders.

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

    There is no requirement to like or follow. But there is an extra entry opportunity for following the author on Twitter!

    And if you’d like to spread the word that would be awesome!

    To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form:

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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    My Reading Pile #69

    It was a quiet week at the mailbox….

    And this week it really was. But quiet doesn’t mean bad, because I got an awesome book in the mail this week.

    Credit for mailbox sharing goes to TSS

    I absolutely love surprises and this week’s surprise was a signed copy of ASHFALL by Mike Mullin. I have heard this book was amazing and have been dying to move it up in the pile, especially with the sequel, ASHEN WINTER coming out in October. Well, now I have even more of an incentive.

    I can’t wait to meet Alex and see what happens in this world where a volcano has erupted and changed the country as we know it. I love stories where characters have to embark upon a journey and I am really looking forward to going on this adventure with Alex.

    And I will definitely be adding it to the pile in a few weeks, so that I won’t have too long to wait for the next book in the series.

    While this new book won’t be added to this week’s pile, I do have a couple reads planned. So…

    Here are the books I have in my reading pile this week.

    (July 8 – July 14, 2012)

    ***

    First up on the pile is Wake by Amanda Hocking. It’s the first book in the author’s Watersong series and I can’t wait to read it. I have loved every book I’ve read by the author and I am so excited to get a chance to read this one early.

    If I wasn’t already excited to read it, the description would have definitely lured me in with the promise of “a new world brimming with dark hungers and unimaginable secrets.” I am already rooting for Gemma to choose this world versus staying in the one with those she loves.

    I am getting an early copy because I’m part of The Bookish Brunette’s tour in August, which I am so thrilled to be a part of. How could I not be? It’s Amanda Hocking!

    Anyway, as soon as I get my eGalley I will be rushing this one to the top of the pile this week.

    Next up on the pile is a “back on the pile” read – Embers & Echoes by Karsten Knight. I actually read it awhile ago but now that release date is approaching I have to re-read it for review. Well, want to is the more correct word choice. Because it was such an awesome follow-up to Wildefire.

    While I’d love to talk all about the book, I better not. I don’t do spoilers. But I will say that I am so happy that I was able to read this early as a purely for pleasure read and not have to take notes.

    But I’m just as happy to get the chance to re-read it, even if I do have to keep track of all those little details. Ashline is one kick-a** character and this story is just as captivating as the first book. Maybe even more so because we already know Ashline and we know what happened at the end of Wildefire.

    The description wasn’t lying when it said that it continues a “fiery drama on an immortal scale.” And I can’t wait to dive back in later this week.

    Wishful Thinking reads:

    I am only going to wish for one book to read this week and it’s not a YA read. It’s One Grave at a Time by Jeaniene Frost, the sixth book in the Night Huntress series by the author. I am obsessed with this series. I devoured books two through five this past week and I wish I hadn’t run out of time so I could read book six.

    Of course with book seven not releasing until 2013 it may be best that I don’t have a chance to read it….

    Those left behind:

    True to my word I read Unravel Me instantly. It was amazing. Absolutely amazing. All my fears and worries about this sequel went away immediately. It was absolutely gorgeous and heartbreaking and stunningly beautiful. And I was left a complete wreck when I finished it.

    So, of course I couldn’t pick up Scarlet. I needed just a little time to get over Unravel Me. It hasn’t quite left me yet, but at least I was able to get back to the books on the pile.

    Although I took a detour and tried to read Prada and Prejudice, but that too couldn’t quite distract me from all that was Unravel Me. So I went to non-YA and the Night Huntress series. Which definitely distracted me. So much so that I couldn’t put the series down all week.

    I am re-reading Demon Eyes right now, and should be finished by tomorrow when I’m to start on this new pile, so that isn’t left behind. Just Scarlet. But I have a little time to read it and I hope to get it back on the pile next week.

    Of course I’m seriously behind on reviews. Which I also hope to remedy this weekend… We’ll see.

    NetGalley Pile Adds:

    I did not request anything new from NetGalley, though the eGalley for Wake will be coming from them. I was not approved for one of my earlier requests due to a limited distribution or so they said and never heard back about Burn for Burn but as I have the printed ARC I will get to read it regardless.

    I did not write any reviews this past week, though I really wanted to get caught up. But the holiday week kept me busier than I thought it would. And while I never planned on posting a review this week because this particular week is a bit slower on the blog, I had hoped to have the reviews for next week already written and scheduled.

    I’m still planning on writing those reviews, but as always seems to be the case, they’ll be last minute and not scheduled in advance.

    I had such a fun week reading some amazing books. Once I finish Demon Eyes later today I will have officially read six books this week instead of my planned three. So that’s something, I suppose.

    Now if I can only write those reviews…. But how was your week?

    ***

    Do you create a reading pile?
    If so, what’s in your pile this week?

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    Top 10 Books I’m Looking Forward to in 2012

    Today is day five of Top 10 of 2011.

    Top 10: A Week of Looking Back….
                                    ………and Looking Forward.

    If you haven’t yet signed up, there’s still time to participate, even though today is the final day of topics. Just click on the banner above to read the details in the original post and sign up with the Linky.

    I was so excited to be invited by Jessica from Confessions of a Bookaholic and Lisa from A Life Bound By Books to co-host this event along with my very best blogger friends Jaime & Patricia from Two Chicks on Books.

    As fun as this event has been, it’s been so unbelievably difficult coming up with so many top tens. And while in some ways I’m sad to see it end, I’m so happy that I don’t have to cut those lists down to ten anymore. Not that I was too successful in the first place….

    I’m much happier with all things Top 100! And yep, today’s post was impossible. I just couldn’t do it, so I totally cheated. Again.

    ***

    Today’s topic is “Top 10 Books I’m Looking Forward to in 2012.” And sorry but, there’s no way that I can possibly narrow this to ten. I mean, I have over one hundred books I’m dying to read, so there’s no way that I could list only ten and leave out the rest.

    So, while I was originally going to do a bunch of Top 10s: “Top 10 Debut Books I’m Looking Forward to…” and “Top 10 New Series I’m Looking Forward to…” and “Top 10 Non-Debuts I’m Looking Forward to…” and “Top 10 Vampire Books…” – yeah, you get the picture – it would have been just be too insane.

    So, I decided to do a Best of/Rest of post. As in the Top 10 Books I’m Dying to Read in 2012  and then all the Rest of the Books I’m Dying to Read in 2012….

    ***

    Because many of the books in 2012 don’t yet have covers, I decided just to do a collage of a few of the covers that do exist for my top ten.

    1.

    Demon Eyes by Scott Tracey

    2.

    Before I Wake by Rachel Vincent

    3.

    Embers and Echoes by Karsten Knight

    4.

    Shadow Bound by Rachel Vincent

    5.

    Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

    6.

    Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

    7.

    Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton

    8.

    Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

    9.

    Shatter Me #2 by Tahereh Mafi

    10.

    Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout

    ***

    As I’ve already read A Touch Morbid by Leah Clifford, Never to Sleep by Rachel Vincent and Everneath by Brodi Ashton I couldn’t list them in the top ten, though I am definitely looking forward to them.

    And because I’m currently reading Cinder by Marissa Meyer, I can’t list it among the “Rest of” list, below.

    ***

    The Rest of the Books I’m Dying to Read in 2012*

    A

    Above by Leah Bobet

    All the Kingdoms of the World by Gabrielle Zevin

    Angel Fire by L.A.Weatherly

    Arise by Tara Hudson

    Ascend by Amanda Hocking

    As Dead As It Gets by Katie Alender

    B

    Bad Hair Day by Carrie Harris

    A Beautiful Evil by Kelly Keaton

    Balthazar by Claudia GrayBlack Dawn by Rachel Caine

    Black Heart by Holly Black

    The Blood Keeper by Tessa Gratton

    Blood Moon by Alyxandra Harvey

    Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer

    Blue Blood’s 2nd Cycle by Melissa de la Cruz

    Body and Soul by Stacey Kade

    Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

    C

    The Calling by Kelley Armstrong

    Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr

    Caster Chronicles #4 by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

    The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg

    Charmfall by Chloe Neill

    City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

    Clockwork Priincess by Cassandra Clare

    Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

    Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout

    D

    Dark Days by C.A. Kunz

    Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen

    Dark Water by Tricia Rayburn

    Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris

    Deadly Little Lessons by Laurie Faria Stolarz

    Dead to You by Lisa McMann

    Dearly, Beloved by Lia Habel

    Deity by Jennifer L. Armentrout

    Destined by Aprilynne Pike

    Destiny and Deception by Shannon Delany

    Destiny’s Fire by Tricia Wolfe

    Dreamless by Josephine Angelini

    E

    Endlessly by Kiersten White

    Endure by Carrie Jones

    The Enemy Within by Angeline Kace

    Envy by Elizabeth Miles

    Eve of Destruction by Patrick Carman

    Exile by Rebecca Lim

    F

    Faery Tales & Nightmares by Melissa Marr

    Fated by Alyson Noel

    Fever by Lauren DeStefano

    First Comes Love by Katie Kacvinsky

    Forgiven by Jana Oliver

    Fracture by Megan Miranda

    Fugitives by Alexander Gordon Smith

    G

    Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

    The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross

    Glimmer by Phoebe Kitanidis

    Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter

    The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

    Gone, Gone, Gone by Hannah Moskowitz

    H

    Heaven by Alexandra Adornetto

    Hidden by P.C. and Kristin Cast

    I

    Immortal City by Scott Speer

    Immortal Hearts by Ellen Schreiber

    The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

    Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

    Inevitable by Lani Woodland

    Infamous: The Chronicles of Nick by Sherilynn Kenyon

    In Honor by Jessi Kirby

    Insurgent by Veronica Roth

    Intertwined #4 by Gena Showalter

    Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

    K

    Katana by Cole Gibson

    L

    The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting

    Last Rite by Lisa Desrochers

    The Lies that Bind by Lisa and Laura Roecker

    Loss by Jackie Morse Kessler

    M

    The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

    Magic Under Stone by Jaclyn Dolamore

    Middle Ground by Katie Kacvinsky

    A Million Suns by Beth Revis

    Mirage by Kristi Cook

    N

    New Girl by Paige Harbison

    O

    Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

    Once by Anna Carey

    Outpost by Ann Aguirre

    P

    Perception by Kim Harrington

    Pure by Jennifer L. Armentrout

    R

    Rapture by Lauren Kate

    Return to Eden by G.P. Ching

    S

    The Savage Grace by Bree Despain

    Scorched Skies by Samantha Young

    The Selection by Kiera Cass

    Serpent’s Kiss by Melissa de la Cruz

    Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready

    Slide by Jill Hathaway

    Social Suicide by Gemma Halliday

    Something Deadly and Strange by Susan Dennard

    Soul Bound by Mari Mancusi

    Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

    Spellcaster by Cara Lynn Shulz

    The Springsweet by Saundra Mitchell

    Stolen Away by Alyxandra Harvey

    Struck by Jennifer Bosworth

    Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols

    Surrender by Elana Johnson

    Switched by Amanda Hocking

    T

    Taken at Dusk by C.C. Hunter

    Taken by Storm by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

    Tempest by Julie Cross

    Ten by Gretchen McNeil

    Thumped by Megan McCafferty

    Timekeeper by Alexandra Monir

    Timepiece by Myra McEntire

    Torn by Amanda Hocking

    Toxic by Jus Accardo

    Truth by Julia Karr

    U

    Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

    Underworld by Meg Cabot

    Until I Die by Amy Plum

    V

    Velveteen by Daniel Marks

    W

    Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

    A Want so Wicked by Suzanne Young

    The Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King

    Wolf Pact by Melissa de la Cruz

    The Wood Queen by Karen Mahoney


    * I should caveat this to say that these are the rest of the books I can think about right now. I’m sure there are a few others I’ve forgotten or accidentally deleted while sorting and a few new discoveries I’ll make along the way.

    ***

    Stats

    As I’ve listed quite a few books above, and it has taken me a lot longer to create this post than anticipated, I’ll keep the stats to a minimum. Especially since I don’t really keep track of stats and because I haven’t updated the few that I do keep.

    Books Read AND Reviewed in 2011 – 109

    Debut Books Read AND Reviewed in 2011 – 34

    Books Read in 2011 (not including re-reads) – 123

    Books Read in 2011 (including re-reads) – 144

    Reviews I’m Behind On in 2011 (for books I’ve read)  – 8

    Books I’m Behind On That I Should have Read AND Reviewed in 2011 – 42

    Total Posts Written on Fiktshun.com in 2011 – 544

    Total Posts Written on Fiktshun’s Ramblings in 2011 – 157

    Total Posts Written on My Reading Pile in 2011 – 84

    ***

    This event runs through today – yep, no new topics! But if you haven’t posted your lists yet or would like to join in for at least one of the daily topics this week, check out the original post or the update post for more details.

    NOTE: this is the SAME Linky on each of the Co-hosts Blogs, so please only enter your Name, Blog Name and the URL for YOUR Top 10 post of the day on one blog. Thanks!

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