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    A BREATH OF FROST “First Look” Blog Tour: Alyxandra Harvey Interview + Giveaway

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    I am super excited that today is RELEASE DAY for A BREATH OF FROST. Because now – finally – everyone will get the chance to read this awesome new book by Alyxandra Harvey that introduces new characters, a new world and is the start of a brand new series.

    I am also totally stoked that I get to share my interview with the author. I previously had a stop on the tour sharing an introduction to one of the characters, Moira, along with a short excerpt. If you didn’t catch it back in December, you can find it HERE.

    But now I get to reveal the questions I asked the author about her writing, her characters, her new book – A BREATH OF FROST – and the entire series. And I get to share all of her very, very awesome answers.

    Answers in which she talks about jellied calves’ feet, Shakespearean insults, deer-people, cravats, paranormal soup and love stories.

    Awesome, right?

    As I have already rambled – a lot – in that first post on the tour, I’ll keep things brief here. And this way you can just spend your time checking out what this lovely author has to say instead of stumbling through my long and rambling intro.

    FYI… the giveaway is the same as in that other post, so if you’ve already entered, you don’t need to do so again. I just included the Rafflecopter for those who might not have previously had a chance to enter. And, once again, I’ve included some of the other details about the tour for those who might be first hearing about it.

    Now, though, without any further ado…

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    The Interview

    Interview with Alyxandra Harvey

    Q.

    Since you completed the Drake Chronicles you’ve been writing standalone novels. What has it been like to embark upon your new series, The Lovegrove Legacy, with A BREATH OF FROST?

    A.

    It was such a strange feeling to finish the Drake Chronicles. They are still in my head and in fact, I’ve just released an E-novella, The Longest Night, that takes place 6 years after the last book.

    At the same time it was really exciting and liberating to start a new book, with new characters to get to know…and I didn’t have to worry about sunset and sunrise! Having most of your cast be vampires means that when the sun rises, almost everyone passes out!

    I love writing about witches and magical worlds because there is just so much room for the imagination to wander about into corners, cul-de-sacs and off cliffsides.

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    Q.

    A BREATH OF FROST takes place in Regency Era London. What drew you to this time period and setting for your story?

    A.

    I have loved the Regency time period for as long as I can remember. I love Pride and Prejudice, the language, the manners and etiquette (from a distance! I couldn’t live like that.). I especially love the clothing of that time period, and am especially frightened of the food. Jellied Calves’s foot….ew!

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    Q.

    For those of us who are excited to meet Gretchen, Emma and Penelope, can you tell us a little bit about each of them?

    A.

    Emma is the practical one of the trio and she’s a little lonely as she’s always felt as though she doesn’t quite fit in. Once she discovers she’s a witch, that begins to make sense!

    Gretchen is wild and rebellious and impatient. She feels choked by the rules of society and she isn’t too keen on learning a new set of witch-society rules.

    Penelope is romantic and spoiled and kind and very talented at the pianoforte. She’s mad for anything Shakespearean and likes to use odd random bits of Shakespearean insults. She also has a rather prickly temper when her loved ones are insulted.

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    Q.

    If you had to describe A BREATH OF FROST in ten words or less, how would you describe it?

    A.

    Magic, secrets, kissing, deer-people, goblin markets, family.

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    Q.

    What was your favorite scene to write in A BREATH OF FROST and why?

    A.

    I loved writing about the Irish Headless Horseman the Dullahan who has a whip made of human spine. And the secret kisses in the garden was lots of fun to write. No Dullahans there though.

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    Q.

    What can we look forward to in upcoming books in The Lovegrove Legacy series?

    A.

    The second book focuses on Gretchen and the third and last book focuses on Penelope. Everyone else still has lots of spotlight time since the main story arc brings them together. There’s going to be more magic, more secrets revealed, and more running for their lives in ballgowns and cravats!

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    You’ve written about a broad spectrum of paranormal/supernatural beings in your novels – vampires, ghosts, faeries and now witches. So far, which has been your favorite to write about? Which has been your most challenging?

    A.

    I’ve enjoyed them all! I love combining creatures together so that it’s not just one thing. With the Drake Chronicles I focused on vampires because the Drakes are such a big family there wasn’t a lot of room to explore what other creatures might be living in Violet Hill.

    With the Lovegrove Legacy the magical focus allows me to make a paranormal soup! Especially in the Goblin Market where you might run into witches, Pegasus, goblins, warlocks…all sorts of creatures from folklore.

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    Q.

    The description for A BREATH OF FROST promises murder, mystery, the spirits of dark witches, ghouls, hellhounds and a lavish Regency London setting. In addition to all of that, will there be a love story for any of the three cousins? And if so, can you give us a hint about what we might expect?

    A.

    There’s always a love story. I can’t help myself!

    In A Breath of Frost Emma runs into an ex-boyfriend of sorts, just as all magical hell breaks loose. So she not only has to deal with murders and hellhounds and ghosts…but the very handsome and charming Cormac who has his own secrets to keep.

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    About Alyxandra Harvey

    AlyxHarvey2_Lightened
    Alyxandra Harvey lives in a stone Victorian house in Ontario, Canada with a few resident ghosts who are allowed to stay as long as they keep company manners. She loves medieval dresses, used to be able to recite all of The Lady of Shalott by Tennyson, and has been accused, more than once, of being born in the wrong century. She believes this to be mostly true except for the fact that she really likes running water, women’s rights, and ice cream.

    Among her favourite books are ‘The Wood Wife’ by Terri Windling, ‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte, and of course, ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen. Elizabeth Bennet is her hero because she’s smart and sassy, and Mr. Darcy is, well, yum.

    Aside from the ghosts, she also lives with husband and their dogs. She likes cinnamon lattes, tattoos and books.

    WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | BLOGGOODREADS | TUMBLR | PINTEREST

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    From the Publicist…

    Alyxandra Harvey, popular young adult author of the Drake Chronicles, Haunting Violet, and Stolen Away, is back with a bewitching new young adult fantasy series that will take readers through the streets of magical 19th century London. A BREATH OF FROST, the first installment in The Lovegrove Legacy (published by Bloomsbury Childrens) goes on sale January 7, 2014. It’s full of witches, magic, family secrets, goblin markets, deer-people, and boys in cravats!

    Want to learn more about A BREATH OF FROST? Be sure to check out this “First Look” interview with Alyxandra Harvey!

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    About A Breath of Frost

    Breath of Frost Cover

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    Description…

    In 1814, three cousins—Gretchen, Emma, and Penelope—discover their unknown family lineage of witchcraft when their individual magical powers unexpectedly begin to manifest. Now, beyond the familiar manicured gardens and ballrooms of Regency London, a dangerous, alluring underworld available only to those with power is now open to the
    cousins.

    But by claiming their power, the three cousins have accidentally opened the gates to the Underworld. Now ghouls, hellhounds—and most terrifying of all, the spirits of dark witches known as the Greymalkin Sisters—are hunting and killing young witches for their powers. And, somehow, Emma is connected to the murders … because she keeps finding the bodies. Can the cousins seal the gates before another witch is killed …or even worse, before their gifts are stripped away?

    Series: The Lovegrove Legacy #1
    Release date: January 7, 2014
    Publisher: Walker Childrens
    Pages: 496
    Formats: Hardcover, paperback, eBook

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | INDIGO | INDIEBOUND | GOODREADS

    Praise…

    “Harvey balances a large cast with an intricate plot with flair….A successful blend of Regency and paranormal romance.” Kirkus Reviews

    Filling her latest with a large cast of characters— from the society elite to the magical world’s dark underbelly—Harvey keeps up the action and clever dialogue as the protagonist, Emma, deals with high-class mean girls, familial secrets, and a confusing crush. A smashing blend of adventure, fantasy, humor, romance, and historical fiction.” Booklist

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    The Trailer

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    The Giveaway

    The A BREATH OF FROST First Look Blog Tour includes a few awesome giveaway prizes.

    – GRAND PRIZE: Regency style pewter and crystal necklace made by Alyxandra Harvey and worn in the A BREATH OF FROST trailer (US/Canada ONLY)

    – 5 Finished Copies of A BREATH OF FROST (sponsored by Bloomsbury Childrens US ONLY)

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    The Tour Schedule

    December 10th: The Book Faery Reviews, spotlight on The Lovegrove Legacy

    December 13th: RT Book Reviews, exclusive reveal plus giveaway featuring a video chat with Alyxandra Harvey introducing readers to The Lovegrove Legacy and A BREATH OF FROST

    December 16th: Night Owl Reviews, a “first look” exclusive…get the Travelers Guide to Magical London

    December 17th: Hypable, exclusive reveal plus giveaway featuring a video chat with Alyxandra Harvey. Meet the characters of A BREATH OF FROST and glean an early review

    December 17th: Tynga’s Reviews, exclusive look at Emma and Cormac *swoon*

    December 17th: Bitten by Books, interview with Alyxandra Harvey

    December 17th: Two Chicks on Books, Feeling FictionalYA Bibliophile, and Pages From My Thoughts will introduce readers to Emma

    December 18th: Fresh Fiction, exclusive reveal plus giveaway featuring a video chat with Alyxandra Harvey explaining how historical fiction & fantasy influenced A BREATH OF FROST

    December 19th: Step Into Fiction, interview with Alyxandra Harvey

    December 20th: Parajunkee’s View, The Story Siren, Bending The SpineBabs Book Bistro, Random Jendsmidt, and Fictitious Delicious will introduce readers to Cormac

    December 23th: Fantasy Book Addict, interview with Alyxandra Harvey

    December 27th: Fiktshun, Preternatura, Shortie Says, Fang-tastic BooksReader Girls, and Cocktails and Books will introduce readers to Moira

    January 2nd: Literary Escapism, sneak peek and exclusive look at the magic in The Lovegrove Legacy

    January 2nd: The Paperback Princesses, early review

    January 3rd: YaReads, Addicted 2 Novels, Xpresso Reads, Confessions from Romaholics, Urban Girl Reader, Jeanz Book Read N Review, and The Book Swarm will introduce readers to Penelope

    January 3rd: The Book Swarm, a “speed date” interview with Alyx

    January 6th: Paranormal Book Club, Ex Libris, El Extraño Gato del CuentoDark Faerie TalesBook Passion for LifeSeeing Night ReviewsThe Book CellarLiterary Meanderings, and Book Brats will introduce readers to the magic school in The Lovegrove Legacy

    January 7th: Fiktshun, interview with Alyxandra Harvey

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    A BREATH OF FROST “First Look” Blog Tour: An Introduction to Moira, Excerpt + Giveaway

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    I am so excited for the upcoming release of Alyxandra Harvey’s A BREATH OF FROST on January 7th. I absolutely adored this author’s Drake Chronicles and love, love, loved her novel HAUNTING VIOLET. So when I learned of this new series, The Lovegrove Legacy, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of book one.

    And when I was invited to take part in the blog tour for this book with both an interview post and this character introduction blast, I just had to say yes! I couldn’t wait to get a sneak peek at one of the characters in this series. I couldn’t wait to start following this tour to check out other peeks at characters in the novel. And I couldn’t wait to start the countdown for this book’s release, which is now less than two weeks away.

    For today’s stops on the tour, we get to share an introduction to Moira along with a short excerpt. And there’s a few seriously awesome giveaway prizes up for grabs. So be sure to check them out below, too. The Grand Prize necklace is the one worn in the trailer video, so if you’d like to check that out, the trailer is also below.

    If you’d like to visit some of the other stops on tour I’ve included direct links to all previous stops and plan on updating the schedule throughout the tour as posts go “live.” You can check out the full schedule at the bottom of this post or on Barclay Publicity’s website by clicking the banner above.

    But now let me turn the blog over to the publicist and author so you can learn a little bit more about the author, her Lovegrove Legacy series, the first book in the series, A BREATH OF FROST, and so you can meet Moira who seems super cool.

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    From the Publicist…

    Alyxandra Harvey, popular young adult author of the Drake Chronicles, Haunting Violet, and Stolen Away, is back with a bewitching new young adult fantasy series that will take readers through the streets of magical 19th century London. A BREATH OF FROST, the first installment in The Lovegrove Legacy (published by Bloomsbury Childrens) goes on sale January 7, 2014. It’s full of witches, magic, family secrets, goblin markets, deer-people, and boys in cravats!

    Want to learn more about A BREATH OF FROST? Be sure to check out this “First Look” interview with Alyxandra Harvey!

    Introduction to Moira

    Moira pic

    Name: Moira

    Age: 18

    Hair: black

    Eyes: grey

    Familiar: orange tabby cat called Marmalade

    Magic: The soles of her feet itch to warn her when she is in danger.

    Moira wants nothing to do with the fancy folk of the Beau Monde.

    And she wants even less to do with the Order of the Iron Nail.

    She just wants to be left alone to run magical errands for One-Eyed Joe in the Goblin Market and run about with the other Madcaps. To be a Madcap is to be a free witch, to owe no one fealty, least of all the Order who have the power to trap your magical familiar in a witch bottle. Moira has spent her entire life avoiding them…until the night all the gargoyles in London fly away.

    Suddenly the Greymalkin Sisters are loose in London and killing young witches, and One-Eyed Joe sends Moira to help three desperate debutante cousins who drag Moira right in the middle of the Beau Monde…and the Order.

    Excerpt

    All around her came the cracking of stone and the splintering of shingles. She could hear it even over the clatter of carriage wheels on the street below, the restless horses in the stable, and an orchestra playing music for the fancy folk. They danced while overhead, the magic they didn’t even know protected them, broke.

    Gargoyles of all shapes and sizes, all sneers and smiles, deserted their posts. A few crumbled to dust but most—too many—launched off roof points, dormer windows, and rain spouts. They took to the air, the stretch and flap of their wings leathery and brittle. They shed cast off pieces of shingle and stone all over London. Moira had never seen anything like it.

    With the gargoyles gone, the rooftops weren’t safe.

    London wasn’t safe.

    About A Breath of Frost

    Breath of Frost Cover

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    Description…

    In 1814, three cousins—Gretchen, Emma, and Penelope—discover their unknown family lineage of witchcraft when their individual magical powers unexpectedly begin to manifest. Now, beyond the familiar manicured gardens and ballrooms of Regency London, a dangerous, alluring underworld available only to those with power is now open to the
    cousins.

    But by claiming their power, the three cousins have accidentally opened the gates to the Underworld. Now ghouls, hellhounds—and most terrifying of all, the spirits of dark witches known as the Greymalkin Sisters—are hunting and killing young witches for their powers. And, somehow, Emma is connected to the murders … because she keeps finding the bodies. Can the cousins seal the gates before another witch is killed …or even worse, before their gifts are stripped away?

    Series: The Lovegrove Legacy #1
    Release date: January 7, 2014
    Publisher: Walker Childrens
    Pages: 496
    Formats: Hardcover, paperback, eBook

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | INDIGO | INDIEBOUND | GOODREADS

    Praise…

    “Harvey balances a large cast with an intricate plot with flair….A successful blend of Regency and paranormal romance.” Kirkus Reviews

    Filling her latest with a large cast of characters— from the society elite to the magical world’s dark underbelly—Harvey keeps up the action and clever dialogue as the protagonist, Emma, deals with high-class mean girls, familial secrets, and a confusing crush. A smashing blend of adventure, fantasy, humor, romance, and historical fiction.” Booklist

    About Alyxandra Harvey

    AlyxHarvey2_Lightened
    Alyxandra Harvey lives in a stone Victorian house in Ontario, Canada with a few resident ghosts who are allowed to stay as long as they keep company manners. She loves medieval dresses, used to be able to recite all of The Lady of Shalott by Tennyson, and has been accused, more than once, of being born in the wrong century. She believes this to be mostly true except for the fact that she really likes running water, women’s rights, and ice cream.

    Among her favourite books are ‘The Wood Wife’ by Terri Windling, ‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte, and of course, ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen. Elizabeth Bennet is her hero because she’s smart and sassy, and Mr. Darcy is, well, yum.

    Aside from the ghosts, she also lives with husband and their dogs. She likes cinnamon lattes, tattoos and books.

    WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | BLOGGOODREADS | TUMBLR | PINTEREST

    The Trailer

     

    The Giveaway

    The A BREATH OF FROST First Look Blog Tour includes a few awesome giveaway prizes.

    – GRAND PRIZE: Regency style pewter and crystal necklace made by Alyxandra Harvey and worn in the A BREATH OF FROST trailer (US/Canada ONLY)

    – 5 Finished Copies of A BREATH OF FROST (sponsored by Bloomsbury Childrens US ONLY)

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    The Tour Schedule

    December 10th: The Book Faery Reviews, spotlight on The Lovegrove Legacy

    December 13th: RT Book Reviews, exclusive reveal plus giveaway featuring a video chat with Alyxandra Harvey introducing readers to The Lovegrove Legacy and A BREATH OF FROST

    December 16th: Night Owl Reviews, a “first look” exclusive…get the Travelers Guide to Magical London

    December 17th: Hypable, exclusive reveal plus giveaway featuring a video chat with Alyxandra Harvey. Meet the characters of A BREATH OF FROST and glean an early review

    December 17th: Tynga’s Reviews, exclusive look at Emma and Cormac *swoon*

    December 17th: Bitten by Books, interview with Alyxandra Harvey

    December 17th: Two Chicks on Books, Feeling FictionalYA Bibliophile, and Pages From My Thoughts will introduce readers to Emma

    December 18th: Fresh Fiction, exclusive reveal plus giveaway featuring a video chat with Alyxandra Harvey explaining how historical fiction & fantasy influenced A BREATH OF FROST

    December 19th: Step Into Fiction, interview with Alyxandra Harvey

    December 20th: Parajunkee’s View, The Story Siren, Bending The SpineBabs Book Bistro, Random Jendsmidt, and Fictitious Delicious will introduce readers to Cormac

    December 23th: Fantasy Book Addict, interview with Alyxandra Harvey

    December 27th: Fiktshun, Preternatura, Shortie Says, Fang-tastic BooksReader Girls, and Cocktails and Books will introduce readers to Moira

    January 2nd: Literary Escapism, sneak peek and exclusive look at the magic in The Lovegrove Legacy

    January 2nd: The Paperback Princesses, early review

    January 3rd: YaReads, Addicted 2 Novels, Xpresso Reads, Confessions from Romaholics, Urban Girl Reader, Jeanz Book Read N Review, and The Book Swarm will introduce readers to Penelope

    January 3rd: The Book Swarm, a “speed date” interview with Alyx

    January 6th: Paranormal Book Club, Ex Libris, El Extraño Gato del CuentoDark Faerie TalesBook Passion for LifeSeeing Night ReviewsThe Book CellarLiterary Meanderings, and Book Brats will introduce readers to the magic school in The Lovegrove Legacy

    January 7th: Fiktshun, interview with Alyxandra Harvey

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    Review: Relativity

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    RELATIVITY by Cristin Bishara was released in the U.S. on September 10, 2013 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to order online in both formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by Walker Childrens, the print edition is 288 pages.

    NOTE: This review is based on an eARC received from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion about the book.

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    Description…

    If Ruby Wright could have her way, her dad would never have met and married her stepmother Willow, her best friend George would be more than a friend, and her mom would still be alive. Ruby knows wishes can’t come true; some things just can’t be undone. Then she discovers a tree in the middle of an Ohio cornfield with a wormhole to nine alternative realities.

    Suddenly, Ruby can access completely different realities, each containing variations of her life—if things had gone differently at key moments. The windshield wiper missing her mother’s throat…her big brother surviving his ill-fated birth…her father never having met Willow. Her ideal world—one with everything and everyone she wants most—could be within reach. But is there such a thing as a perfect world? What is Ruby willing to give up to find out?

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    Review

    RELATIVITY is a smart, thought-provoking and incredibly captivating novel that explores the concept of alternate realities and invites readers to contemplate the idea that one small change in a distant past can result in a radically different present, the notion that some things are meant to be, and the possibility that no matter how many different realities may exist, a perfect alternate may not.

    Ruby Wright’s life hasn’t turned out quite as she had hoped it would. Her mother is not much more than a distant memory. Her father seems to care more about his deadlines than her. And she had to leave behind her home and her best friend George to move halfway across the country to live with her father’s new wife Willow and her daughter Kandy, who is anything but sweet.

    So when a portal opens, giving her access to nine alternate versions of her reality, she is anxious to explore each of them in order to find one more perfect than her own. One where her mother is still alive. One where her father is more involved in her life. One where she can finally know what being happy really means.

    But finding a better reality, one that has everything she wants, might not be possible. And even if she does find one, she’d have to give up everything from her reality – her past, her friend, the possibilities of that future – permanently displace a version of herself and slip into her new life knowing she took it away from someone else. Though, for her, the chance at a perfect life might be worth the cost.

    She just needs to find it before the portal closes. Before time runs out and she’s left wondering whether one of her unexplored realities is even better. Before choosing a reality is no longer an option. Before she finds herself trapped in a reality far worse than the one she hopes to leave behind.

    Author Cristin Bishara takes readers on a journey with her character, Ruby Wright, who is looking for a life that isn’t missing quite as many pieces as her own. She lets Ruby see what could have been and what might be, and gives her the chance to pick her future. She created a character who is intelligent and curious and incredibly determined but who is also vulnerable and in need of affection, which makes her both likable and relatable and a character worth rooting for.

    RELATIVITY touches upon the science behind traveling between realities and presents it in a way that is interesting and easy to understand. It offers up food for thought about what might have happened to make one reality so drastically different from another, what would happen if Ruby chose to abandon her own reality, and why certain events seem destined to reoccur – it’s a story that allows readers to use their imaginations to explore all the possibilities.

    At under 300 pages, RELATIVITY is a quick and engaging read, but one that will continue to make readers think long after they’ve turned the final page. With scientific concepts that are fascinating, a journey filled with excitement, anticipation and more than a little trepidation, a character whose plight is heartfelt and a story that asks the question “what if?” this book is a must.

    Reviewer gives this book…

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    On a personal note…

    I am not someone who is particularly curious about science. I am not someone who typically reads science fiction. And yet from the moment I read the description for RELATIVITY I knew it was a book that I had to read.

    The idea of alternate realities intrigued me. The fact that this story would take me through multiple realities made me even more excited to read it. And the possibility that one of those realities could be better than the one the main character, Ruby, was living made me want to find out if that was the case.

    I was instantly drawn into the story. I loved that it moved quickly into the events that lead to Ruby’s travel between realities and developed the backstory during the course of her journey instead of dumping it all right at the outset. I loved that the science was explained in a way that was not dry or dull or boring. And I loved that there wasn’t just a quick peek at most of the alternate realities, that this story explored a number of them.

    But what I loved most was that this story gave me a lot to think about. As interesting as the description was, I didn’t expect it to engage me in the way that it did. I didn’t expect to wonder what might have happened to make one of Ruby’s realities so very different from another. I didn’t expect to have to think about things like fate and destiny. And I didn’t expect to be as fascinated by the science as I was, so much so that I looked up wormholes online to learn more.

    I could have spent hours exploring each of Ruby’s realities with her. I would have loved there to have been more time spent in each one, though I found the amount of time spent was enough to satisfy my curiosity. I would have loved to have answers to all of my questions, but at the same time I loved the fact that it was left up to me and my imagination to come up with my own.

    When I first met Ruby I wasn’t sure she’d be a character I would like or relate to. Her interests weren’t ones I was ever interested in. Her dissatisfaction with her life seemed more a cry for attention than true unhappiness. But it didn’t take long for me to change my mind.

    I was excited for her when she made certain discoveries about her family – no, I have no intention of revealing those spoiler-y discoveries here. I was heartbroken for her at the difficult decisions she was forced to make. And I was hopeful that whatever happened in the end – whatever, or whomever, she’d have to leave behind – wouldn’t be too devastating for her to recover from.

    Even though this story wraps up nicely at the end, it still left me wondering what might be or what might have been. I found myself pondering just what tiny thing might have made one of the realities so very similar to another and what other tiny thing might have caused them to be so different. I’m still wondering about that. And I’m still wondering what happened in those alternate realities that Ruby visited after she’d left.

    RELATIVITY totally surprised me by its intelligence. I was also caught by surprise at just how much I loved it, how quickly I devoured it and how much I would love to read a sequel. And while I normally don’t gravitate toward books in this genre, if the author wrote similarly themed books I would dive right in.

    The story was engaging, it had a great pace, it offered up a touch of romance and a few moments that made me tear up. It made me think, which is not something that often happens with the books I read. And it made me wish for a happily ever after, which is also not something that’s happens very often.

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    Favorite passage…

    I have a favorite passage that brought me to tears. But revealing it would spoil something important to the story so I’ve opted to share just a bit of a scene that isn’t nearly as spoiler-y. And it’s one that made me smile.

    I don’t belong here. I need to click my way through the universes and get back.

    “Is that a yes or no?” George asks. His lips are parted, half-curled into a smirk, and he’s daring me. To say yes. I slide closer and this time he doesn’t inch away.

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

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    Authors Are Rockstars Tour: Simone Elkeles ‘Wild Cards’ Excerpt + Giveaway

    Fiktshun-presents_Simone_Elkeles

    I am so thrilled to be able to host the very amazing Simone Elkeles for the final day of the 2nd Annual Authors Are Rockstars Tour. I have been a fan of this author since before I started blogging when I discovered her Perfect Chemistry series and fell in love with two of the Fuentes brothers – Alex and Carlos. (I didn’t have the pleasure of getting to know Luis until much later.)

    And while I loved her writing, her characters and her stories, it was hearing her talk on a panel at RT 2011 in Los Angeles that made her a rockstar author to me. It allowed me to get to know more about her, both as a person and as an author, and learn about how she researched her stories and how she developed her characters. She also shared her thoughts about bad boys and bad girls.

    After the event I bought every book she’d written for my collection that I didn’t already own and love. I even got one or two in print because they weren’t available in eBook format at the time. And while I have yet to read the How to Ruin series, I love, love, love every single one of the books in all her other series.

    And that includes WILD CARDS, the first book in her newest series that’s releasing this October.

    I had been dying to read this book ever since I first learned about it last year. I was so excited to have been approved for the eGalley so I didn’t have to wait quite as long for its release. And it was every bit as awesome as I’d thought it would be.

    Which is why I’m totally stoked to be able to share an excerpt from WILD CARDS for my stop on the Authors Are Rockstars Tour today. And while I’d have loved to have been able to share the scene that involved corn fritters and trampolines or the one that involved shaky hands and an ice pack, the one I was given for my stop is kinda sorta perfect.

    Because it’s tells the story of how Derek and Ashtyn meet. And it’s anything but predictable.

    As I am such a huge fan of this author and because I totally loved this book, I’m offering up a few copies for giveaway. So, if after checking out the book’s description and the excerpt you’d like to enter for a chance to win, the giveaway details follow at the end of this post.

    And before I can be accused of taking over this post completely, I’ll step away from the keyboard. But I just have to share my reasons why I think Simone Elkeles is a rockstar before I do.

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    Simone Elkeles is a Rockstar Author because…

    In her books, through her characters, she does sarcasm and does it well.

    She creates unconventional character pairings that feel real and believable and have amazing chemistry… some might even call it perfect.

    She balances toughness with vulnerability which makes her characters sympathetic, relatable, likable.

    She isn’t afraid to make her teenage characters act like teenagers.

    She isn’t afraid to make her characters flawed.

    She isn’t afraid to tackle difficult subjects, difficult relationships and complex issues.

    She writes stories and characters that have an edge, that aren’t perfect, that have pasts that affect them.

    She creates characters that are diverse.

    And she writes passages that surprise me, make me grin, make me roll my eyes, make me swoon, make me tear up, make me anxious, break my heart and make me fall in love with her characters even when I’m reluctant.

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    About the Author

    Simone Elkeles

    About SIMONE ELKELES

    Simone Elkeles is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of novels for teens. Simone’s books have won many awards including being YALSA Top Ten Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, being named to the YALSA Popular Paperbacks and Teens Top Ten lists, and added to the Illinois “Read for a Lifetime” Reading List. Simone also won the coveted RITA award from the Romance Writers of America for her book Perfect Chemistry. Simone is especially proud of the fact that the Illinois Association of Teachers of English named her Author of the Year. You can learn more about Simone’s awards by clicking on each of the book titles below.

    TWITTER | FACEBOOK | WEBSITE | BLOGYOUTUBE | GOODREADS

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    About the Book

    Wild Cards
    Title: WILD CARDS (Wild Cards #1)

    Release date: October 1, 2013

    Publisher: Walker Childrens

    Pages: 352

    Formats: Hardcover, eBook

    Description:

    After getting kicked out of boarding school, bad boy Derek Fitzpatrick has no choice but to live with his ditzy stepmother while his military dad is deployed. Things quickly go from bad to worse when he finds out she plans to move them back to her childhood home in Illinois. Derek’s counting the days before he can be on his own, and the last thing he needs is to get involved with someone else’s family drama.

    Ashtyn Parker knows one thing for certain–people you care about leave without a backward glance. A football scholarship would finally give her the chance to leave. So she pours everything into winning a state championship, until her boyfriend and star quarterback betrays them all by joining their rival team. Ashtyn needs a new game plan, but it requires trusting Derek—someone she barely knows, someone born to break the rules. Is she willing to put her heart on the line to try and win it all?

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

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    The Excerpt

    My muscles are tense when we pull into the driveway at my stepmother’s childhood home in a small suburb of Chicago.

    As soon as we step out of the cars, an older man I assume is Brandi’s father appears on the front porch of the two-story redbrick house. The dude is staring at Brandi as if she’s a stranger.

    I don’t know what went down with Brandi and her old man.

    She didn’t explain much, except to say she left home right after her parents’ divorce and hadn’t been back . . . until now.

    Brandi grasps Julian by the hand and tugs the tired kid up the porch stairs. “This is my son. Julian, say hello to Grandpa.”

    Brandi’s son is a cool kid who can talk your ear off. But he’s acting shy right now and doesn’t say hello to his grandfather.

    “And this is my stepson, Derek,” Brandi finally says as she waves her hand in my direction.

    Her father looks up. “You didn’t say anything about a stepson when you called.”

    “Didn’t I? I’m such a flake I must’ve forgotten to tell you, with all the moving and packing and . . . other stuff . Derek can stay in the den.”

    “The den is filled with boxes,” he tells her. “And I gave the old couch that was in the den to charity a while back.”

    “If you’d rather, sir,” I drawl, “I can sleep on the porch. Just give me a blanket and toss me scraps of food every now an’ then and I’ll be just fine.”

    “I’ll move the boxes and put a blow-up bed in the den,” her dad says, reluctantly giving in when he realizes that I’m not about to hightail it back to California.

    “I’m cool with that,” I say.

    “Derek, can you and my dad bring our stuff in the house while I put Julian down for a nap?” Brandi asks.

    Before I can answer, she slips through the front door with Julian, leaving me alone with her grouchy old man.

    Her father scans me up and down. He doesn’t look impressed.

    “I don’t expect you to call me Grandpa.”

    “I wasn’t plannin’ on it.”

    “Good. I suppose you can call me Gus.” He disappears inside. I’m tempted not to follow, but I have no choice. He leads me down a hall to a back room and swings open a door.

    “This’ll be your room. I expect you to keep it clean, do your own laundry, and make yourself useful.”

    “Do I get an allowance?” I joke.

    The guy looks at me with a deadpan expression. “You’re a real comedian, aren’t you?”

    “To people with a sense of humor, yeah.”

    He makes a harrumph sound in response.

    I follow again when he makes an about-face and heads back to the car. It doesn’t take us long to lug everything into the house. There’s no conversation. This is definitely going to be an interesting living situation— not in a good way.

    I’m moving boxes to the corner of my room to clear space when Gus reappears. Without a word, he hands me an air mattress and leaves me to figure out how to inflate it.

    I shove my suitcase behind the door and take in my new room.This place doesn’t feel like home— not by a long shot.

    Suddenly this house feels like it’s suffocating me.

    I head to the backyard. I walk through a small garden of weeds to a big wooden shed. An old padlock on the latch is open, so I push back the door.

    Rusty garden tools hang on wall hooks, bags of weed killer are scattered on the workbench, and little metal buckets crowd the floor. I kick a bucket aside, then pick up a second one, thinking about everything that’s changed in the past two years.

    I swear under my breath and whip the bucket across the shed, the sound of the metal hitting the wall echoing in the small space.

    “Stop or I’m calling the police!” demands a girl’s voice from behind me.

    I turn to find a hot chick about my age with blond hair in one long braid snaking down her chest. She’s blocking the doorway and holding a rusty pitchfork. She looks like she’s ready to stab me to death, which lessens her hotness factor, but not by much.

    “Who’re you?” I ask, taking in her black T-shirt and matching hoodie.

    “You thugs from Fairfield think you can come here and—”

    I hold up a hand, halting her tirade for the moment. Me, a thug? That’s hilarious. This girl’s thug radar is way off. “I hate to break the news to you, sweetheart, but I’ve got no clue where Fairfield is.”

    “Yeah, right. I’m not stupid. And I’m not your sweetheart.”

    “Put the pitchfork down, honey.” I take a step closer to her and the exit.

    “Not on your life. I’m warning you . . . take one step closer and I’ll stab you.” One glance at her shaking hands tells me she doesn’t have the nerve to go through with her threat.

    I put my hands up in mock surrender. I’m standing directly in front of her now, the points of the pitchfork an inch away from my chest. “You really don’t want to stab me.”

    “Yes, I think I do.” For a second I’m sure the warrior girl’s about to lower her weapon, until I hear something creak behind me. As I glance over my shoulder, a bracket holding a bunch of tools on the wall crashes to the ground.

    The sound startles the girl and she drops the pitchfork. On my foot.

    What the—

    She stares at the pointed tine sticking out of my left shoe and her mouth opens in shock. Before I know it, she backs up and slams the door shut. I’m swallowed by darkness as I hear the padlock snap into place. Two thoughts cross my mind: she thinks I’m a thug and I think she’s a wackjob.

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    Other Books by the Author

    Perfect-Chemistry-Series

    PERFECT CHEMISTRY SERIES

    PERFECT CHEMISTRY (Perfect Chemistry #1)AMAZON | B&N | GOODREADS

    RULES OF ATTRACTION (Perfect Chemistry #2)AMAZON | B&N | GOODREADS

    CHAIN REACTION (Perfect Chemistry #3)AMAZON | B&N | GOODREADS

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    Leaving-Paradise-Series

    LEAVING PARADISE SERIES

    LEAVING PARADISE (Leaving Paradise #1)AMAZON | B&N | GOODREADS

    RETURN TO PARADISE (Leaving Paradise #2)AMAZON | B&N | GOODREADS

    PARADISE (Leaving Paradise #1 & #2)AMAZONTHE BOOK DEPOSITORYGOODREADS

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    How-to-Ruin-Full-Series

    HOW TO RUIN SERIES

    HOW TO RUIN A SUMMER VACATION (How to Ruin #1)AMAZON | B&N | GOODREADS

    HOW TO RUIN MY TEENAGE LIFE (How to Ruin #2)AMAZON | B&N | GOODREADS

    HOW TO RUIN YOUR BOYFRIEND’S REPUTATION (How to Ruin #3) – AMAZON | B&N | GOODREADS

    RUINED (How to Ruin #1-#3)AMAZON | GOODREADS

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    giveaway

    What’s Up for Grabs

    A pre-order hardcover copy of WILD CARDS to THREE (3) Winners – International

    The Deets

    – You must be 13 or older to enter

    – Giveaway is International

    – Giveaway ends on September 14th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific.

    – Winners will be chosen by Random via Rafflecopter

    – Books will be ordered from Amazon or The Book Depository

    – Winners will be announced in the Rafflecopter and contacted by email

    For each giveaway there is a mandatory “Leave a Comment” entry. All other entries are optional. The tweet entry is a daily option.

    Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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