Rebel of the Sands – Giveaway!




Amani is known for many things in The Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton. Me on the other hand have been blogging for less than a year and not “known” for much in the blogging community. However, if you have gotten to know me as a person within the last year then you know I have several obsessions.

  • I am OBSESSED with Sailor Moon
  • I am CRAZY about Doctor Who
  • I am KNOWN for designing some book related graphics (see above) & for Live Love Read
  • I LOVE Penguins!
  • I am WANTED for having too many book boyfriends


What are some of the things you are most well known for or wanted for? Let me know in the comments below!

The Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Publisher: Penguin
Genre: YA Fantasy, Action & Adventure
Release Date: March 8, 2016

“You will cheer for Amani the whole way as she escapes the bonds of oppression and finds her own power, and you will mark your calendar for the sequel.”—Rae Carson, bestselling author of the Fire & Thorns trilogy

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mythical beasts still roam the wild and remote areas, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinn still perform their magic.  For humans, it’s an unforgiving place, especially if you’re poor, orphaned, or female.

Amani Al’Hiza is all three.  She’s a gifted gunslinger with perfect aim, but she can’t shoot her way out of Dustwalk, the back-country town where she’s destined to wind up wed or dead.

Then she meets Jin, a rakish foreigner, in a shooting contest, and sees him as the perfect escape route. But though she’s spent years dreaming of leaving Dustwalk, she never imagined she’d gallop away on mythical horse—or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew.

Rebel of the Sands reveals what happens when a dream deferred explodes—in the fires of rebellion, of romantic passion, and the all-consuming inferno of a girl finally, at long last, embracing her power.

 Available for Pre-Order!

Penuin | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

About Alywn Hamilton

Alwyn Hamilton was born in Toronto and spent her childhood bouncing between Europe and Canada until her parents settled in France. She grew up in a small town there, which might have compelled her to burst randomly into the opening song from Beauty and the Beast were it not for her total tone-deafness. She instead attempted to read and write her way to new places and developed a weakness for fantasy and cross-dressing heroines. She left France for Cambridge University to study History of Art at King’s College, and then to London where she became indentured to an auction house. She has a bad habit of acquiring more hardcovers than is smart for someone who moves house quite so often.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter

The Giveaway





TTT: The Breakfast Club Edition

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is a freebie, which means we get to pick any topic we so desire.  I decided to challenge the girls and myself to pick the Top 5 characters we wouldn’t mind having detention with. Meaning we would be stuck in school on a Saturday, unsupervised, and having fun without getting caught.

This idea was inspired by “The Breakfast Club” written and directed by John Hughes. This is definitely a  movie of mine along with “Say Anything”.  Everyone also needs to go remind Kelly she needs to watch this movie! It’s just not okay she hasn’t seen it yet!  As always Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

In case you need a little reminder/ introduction to these characters…

A criminal, An athlete, A basket case, A princess, & A brain


Melissa’s Picks

The Criminal – Ronan  from The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Athlete – Mather from Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

The Basket Case – Clemence from This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee

The Princess – Bitterblue from Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

The Brain – Nikolai  from Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo



Kelly’s Picks

The Criminal – Jacky Faber from Bloody Jack series by L.A. Meyer

The Athlete – Elias from An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

The Basket case – Puck from The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

The Princess – Eadlyn from The Heir by Keira Cass

The Brain – Aelin from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas



Lauren’s Picks

The Criminal – Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Athlete – Will Herondale from The Infernal Devices by Clarissa Clare 

The Basket Case – Nico Di Angelo from Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

The Princess – Princess Lia from Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

The Brain – Hermione Granger from Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling



What did you all think of our lists? Who would you want to spend a Saturday in detention with? Let us know in the comments below!!



It’s Our 1 Year Blogiversary! *GIVEAWAY*

I honestly can’t believe that it’s been a year already! Where in the world has the time gone? I’m one year older, one year wiser, one year further in my career, and one year closer to my destiny.

For those of you who don’t know, this blog started one year ago after I read Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas, and was so inspired that I realized I wanted to be a writer. I created a twitter, and then figured a blog would be a good place to start… and what a start it was! One year later, this blog is evidence of what myself and my co-bloggers have accomplished.

I was going to do the usual and post all of our stats and accomplishments, but I realized that the stats and general social media success was never what this blog was about. I started this blog with the idea of loving reading, writing, good friends, and most importantly, myself and my journey. Live, Love, Read was never founded to focus on the amount of people we can attract, but rather the people we can connect with, and the journey we can take to finding ourselves. So, in honor of the morals I founded my blog on, I’m only going to say how grateful I am, and sincerely mind-blown, that so many of you are interested in what we say, what we write, and who we are. You all are so wonderful, and I hope that this year, we can get a little bit closer with each and every one of you.

I came up with a short questionnaire for all of us to answer in order to not talk your ears off and to give a little recap of the best this year has offered, since we only like to focus on the positives here at Live, Love, Read! Let’s get this party started!

1. What is your favorite post from this year?

Kelly: My favorite post is probably my most recent Recesses of Heart post, which you can find HERE! If not, I love every one of the Musings of Eternal Dreamers guest posts! If you haven’t checked them out yet, they’re filled with some amazing advice for young writers. Definitely worth a look!

Lauren: This may sound cheesy, but here it goes: my favorite post so far on this blog is still the first post I read from Kelly. It was on fear and writing, you can read it here. I love all the post we did, especially the musings, but this post is the one that lead me to reach out to Kelly with an email. Soon after our friend ship begun. So, even though we have had some great posts, this one is still my favorite! 

Melissa: My favorite post is one from a feature we created together, Musings of Eternal Dreamers. Although I am not an aspiring writer, I love learning more about the writing process and getting inside the author’s head. The best post we’ve had so far has to go to Becky Albertalli, author of Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda. She talked about incorporating pop culture references into your writing, which can be read HERE.

2. What was your favorite book read from this year?

Kelly: Ouch, this is hard! Seeing as I read Sarah J. Maas’ series before I started this blog, I’m going to go with Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone! Laini’s writing is the most descriptive, fluid, and beautiful masterpiece I’ve ever read.

Lauren: Of course Kelly is going to pick one of the hardest questions for a reader to answer! I will give the same answer here I have said in a few other posts about this, my favorite book is a tie. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas and Air Awakens by Elise Kova. 

Melissa: I’m gona cheat because I hate this question =P Fantasy: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard (yes it’s a 2016 book) Contemporary: The Year We Fell Apart by Emily Martin (yes 2016 debut) Historical Fiction: Under A Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

3. What was your favorite review from this year?

Kelly: Mine will probably have to be An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. Though this was written a while ago, I just remember loving this book so much that I ended up going on this huge, long, fluid rant about how amazing the ARC was and how everyone needed to read it and love it like I did. It was the one review that I didn’t use talking points for, and instead I ended up just telling a story about my experience with it. I loved it! 

Lauren: I always enjoy doing reviews, but so far my favorite has been Air Awakens review by Elise Kova. I honestly never thought I would review this book, but when she sent it to me early and asked for a review I couldn’t help but say yes. Thankfully I did because I then fell in love with the series and have had many chats with Elise! I love talking with her on Twitter. 

4. What was your favorite blogging/book event you’ve participated in this year?

Kelly: This year being my first year blogging, I’d have to say that my favorite is an event I actually went to called BookItCon, which is created by the lovely Nori at ReadWriteLove28! I was actually able to sit down and have dinner with five major authors, and I was so starstruck that I was afraid I’d freeze up and not even be able to breathe. I loved every second of it though. If you’d like to attend, you can find more information at! =)

Lauren: I wish I had some grand story of a blogging or bookish event to tell you about, but sadly my life is boring in that area. However, I did participate in a book bloggers project called OTSPSecretSister. I had an amazing time, and met some of the most amazing people though this project! If you would like to find out more about this project feel free to ask me, or go to the site here for more information. 

Melissa: I agree with Lauren, I have to say the OTSPSecretSister project. Without this amazing opportunity to send another blogger cheerful packages & Twitter chats I wouldn’t have met all of my blogger friends. This led to meeting Kelly & Lauren and be here blogging! I also got to meet so many participants later on at BEA. So thank you Brittany, Alyssa, & Amy!

5. What do you feel is your biggest blogging accomplishment so far?

Kelly: My biggest blogging accomplishment was probably getting over my fear of expressing my own emotions and telling my own stories. It’s so funny because I was so terrified of sharing parts of myself, but now it’s almost like a release, and my Recesses of Heart posts now seem to be my most successful posts. I love you all for reading my aches, pains, and nuisances with such heart and kindness!

Lauren: I’m still working on a lot, especially when it comes to expressing things for others to see. But I have learned to review without being “nice” all the time. I didn’t like the book? I can actually say I didn’t. I used to lie and say I would love every book just to make sure never to hurt anyone’s feelings. I still have a filter to make sure to not be harsh in my review, but I’m not as afraid to say a book was just not for me. I still have a ways to go though. 

Melissa: I still have a lot growing to do as a blogger, so I can’t say there has been any big blogging accomplishments.

6. What was your biggest personal accomplishment during this year?

Kelly: This would definitely be landing my internship with Corvisiero, being brave enough to try to change my career path, and following it all the way to an Apprentice at the agency. Sometimes I still look at my life and wonder who I am, what I did to deserve this, and where in the world this confident person came from. I couldn’t have done it without all of you!

Lauren: I received 3 AAS degrees in business! I’m still working on Nursing school, but getting those degrees are a nice accomplishment. At least I don’t feel like I’ve just been spinning my wheels anyway. 

7. What do you want to accomplish in blogging by our 2nd anniversary?

Kelly: I’d really like to start a few more features, because even though I may not have as much time to read books, I apparently have a gift for talking about life and all of it’s unpredictable majesty. I’ll take that over unhappiness any day. 

Lauren: I would love to be a bit more organized in my own personal blogging life. Kelly and Melissa have been great with helping me keep things running on time, but I have too many, “OH CRAP!! I forgot that is today!!!” moments. Or I let things pile up and have to rush to get it up before Kelly and Melissa fire me as a co-blogger. (I blame school for most of this!)

Melissa: I’m hoping to be more organized with blogging and actually finish writing reviews. I have a bad habit of starting several reviews and try to make the beginning perfect by finding the right words to say. Then I get frustrated and give up, but I know there’s no true formula to writing reviews and I shouldn’t be afraid to write how I feel.

8. What has been your favorite experience (online, in person, etc.) with blogging and/or the bookish community this year?

Kelly: Honestly, getting to know all of you. I’ve really, truly made new friends and a very wonderful family with so many of you. Whenever there’s a problem, obstacle, etc., in my life, I know that I can turn to all of you and you will be there for me. Knowing you guys is and always will be my favorite experience with blogging.

Lauren: I don’t mean to repeat the same thing as Kelly, but that is honestly my answer. The whole reason I have loved the blogging experience is not really doing the blog, it’s the people I have met along the way. I have made friends I would never have been able to otherwise. I LOVE YOU PEOPLE!!! 

Melissa: I can’t be original with this answer can I? It’s never just about blogging for me, it’s the chance to meet new people, gush about books you love, and the chance to do things together that doesn’t revolve around books.

9. What bloggers have helped you get through this year? Give a Shout Out!

Kelly: SO. MANY. BLOGGERS. I know that there’s way too many to name, so please forgive me if you’re not on this list, as I’m only naming a select few who I have to thank for all of my success in life and blogging. The loves of my blogging life are Nori at ReadWriteLove28, Justin at Justin’s Book Blog, Emily at Midwestern Book Nerd, and Chelsea and and Shanna on Twitter!

Lauren: I have quite a few people I have met and have helped me get through this year, even if it’s just been there to chat with me. I have a long list and it would take a long time to mention them all, so I am only going to mention a few: Nori (@ReadWriteLove28), Stacie (@ Book Nerd Addict), Judith Perez(@ Bookdr3ams), Library Luv (@Beyond the Book Reviews), Elise Kova ( @ and Mackayla on Twitter (@mackayla_hearon)

Melissa: I am so grateful to all the bloggers I’ve met along the way and it is a long list. But I’m going to keep this short so I’m sorry if I didn’t add you! Molly @ Cherry Blossoms and Maple Syrup, Elizabeth @ Book YAbber, Nicole @ Nicole’s Novel Reads, Margie @ Bumbles and Fairytales , Nori @ Read Write Love 28, Karina @ A Reader Under the Sea, Jen @ Library of a Book Witch, Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books, Dana @ DanaSquare, and Katie @ Katie’s Book Blog

10. Any additional comments or thanks?

Kelly: I just wanted to say thank you again to everyone who has supported me, been there for me, helped me through this year as I’ve grown into the person that I am today, with such wonderful, amazing friends and opportunities. I can’t thank you all enough, and express how genuinely I truly care about each and every one of you. I look forward to another year spent with you wonderful people by my side. ❤

Lauren: I love you guys!! Honestly, I do! Having bookish people like all of you to reach out and just chat books, tv, and life with has been amazing. It has been a very long time since I have felt like I have had such close friends, and being part of this community I have not only found amazing friends but some of the best people I have ever known! I look forward to another great year and can’t wait to see what we will get ourselves into! You ever want to chat please send me a message! (@betweendpages)


In order to thank you all for your continued friendship and following, I’ve concocted what I hope is another amazing giveaway for all of you. But first, in honor of all of you and my own sentimentality, I wanted to wish you all well. I hope that your journey leads you to only the greatest destinations and that you view every single one of the obstacles that block your path as stepping stones to making you the best possible version of yourself. May your dreams be big, your heart be full, and your courage be mountainous. Thank you all so much, and know that I love every single one of you.


Giveaway Rules:

This giveaway is U.S. ONLY, as I already have the books. I’m so sorry loves!

We have the right to disqualify any person or entry that has not followed the rules and is not following our blog.

We have the right to disqualify any person/social media profile who is what I claim to be a “Giveaway Robot,” whom only enters giveaways and does no other interactions.

This Giveaway will end on Sunday, February 14th at midnight (because I hate Valentine’s day and need something positive to happen during that time).

What’s included in this giveaway: 
1 Vengeance Road HC – signed
1 Six of Crows HC – signed
1 Passenger HC – signed
1 Truthwitch HC – signed
1 Winter HC – signed
1 Queen of Shadows HC – signed
1 Passenger writing notebook
Truthwitch, Teardrop, Maze Runner, and The Giver Posters
Assorted pictured swag





Click here to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway!

Good luck!
All our love…


Michelle Madow’s: Elementals Book 2 Cover Reveal!

Welcome to my first cover reveal of 2016!!!! I’m excited and honored to be part of Michelle’s Team spreading the love for her new series, Elementals. Today I get the opportunity, thanks to Barclay Publicity, to share the cover and blurb of Elemental’s Book 2: Blood of the Hydra. There will also be a giveaway at the end of this post, so don’t miss out!

Have no idea what Elementals is? Well before we get to the cover reveal for book 2, here is the information you may need for book 1:


Title: Elementals: The Prophecy of Shadows (Elementals Book One)

Author: Michelle Madow

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Publication Date: January 26th, 2016


When Nicole Cassidy moves from sunny Georgia to gloomy New England, the last thing she expects is to learn that her homeroom is a cover for a secret coven of witches. Even more surprisingly … she’s apparently a witch herself. Despite doubts about her newfound abilities, Nicole is welcomed into this ancient circle of witches and is bedazzled by their powers—and, to her dismay, by Blake—the school’s notorious bad-boy.

Girls who get close to Blake wind up hurt. His girlfriend Danielle will do anything to keep them away, even if she must resort to using dark magic. But the chemistry between Blake and Nicole is undeniable, and despite wanting to protect Nicole from Danielle’s wrath, he finds it impossible to keep his distance.

When the Olympian Comet shoots through the sky for the first time in three thousand years, Nicole, Blake, Danielle, and two others in their homeroom are gifted with mysterious powers. But the comet has another effect—it opens the portal to the prison world that has contained the Titans for centuries. After an ancient monster escapes and attacks Nicole and Blake, it’s up to them and the others to follow the clues from a cryptic prophecy so that they can save their town … and possibly the world.


Sounds good right? I’m excited for the release of this new series! I am going to have a review for book 1 coming Feb. 1!

Now, time to get to the main reason for this post, THE REVEAL!!

I give to you…


Title: Elementals: The Blood of the Hydra

Author: Michelle Madow

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Release Date: April 18, 2016

Publisher: Dreamscape Publishing

Series: Elementals #2

Format: eBook and paperback

ISBN: 9781311296788



Finding out that her new school had her in a special homeroom for witches was strange enough, but now Nicole must face the realization that she has the rare power to kill with just a touch. It’s a secret she needs to keep not only from the Head Elders, but from the super-sexy witch Blake, who she’s had undeniable chemistry with even before he broke up with his long-term girlfriend, the vengeful witch Danielle.

Now Nicole and the four others gifted with powers over the elements, including Blake and Danielle, must stop a series of monsters that they previously believed to be dead from rising once again and destroying the mortal world. Three magical items are needed, including the blood of the slain hydra – ingredients that they must journey to the dangerous, mystical islands in Greece to retrieve.

The monsters they face on this journey will be more threatening than anything they’ve encountered yet. But with the fate of the world on their shoulders, it’s up to the Elementals to return home victorious. Will they find the ingredients they need? Can Nicole and her friends pull off this mission while the tension between her, Blake, and Danielle threatens to ruin everything? And how long will it be until Nicole is forced to use her ability to kill in front of everyone, revealing the true darkness of her powers?

Find out in The Blood of the Hydra, and join the Elementals on their next journey in their quest to save the world – or die trying.

~*Pre-Order Links*~

AmazonBarnes & NoblesiBookstoreKobo


About the Author:


Michelle Madow has always loved writing stories, but the possibility of being an author used to feel more like a dream than a reality. She didn’t share her stories with anyone until her junior year of college, when she signed up for an Intro to Creative Writing course. Her teacher and classmates read the first chapter of a book idea she had, and they loved it so much that they told her she had to finish the book so they could find out what happened next. By the end of the school year, Michelle finished that book, which would later be published as her first novel, Remembrance.

Michelle grew up in Baltimore, and now lives in Boca Raton, Florida, where she writes books for young adults. Some of her favorite things are: reading, pizza, traveling, shopping, time travel, Broadway musicals, and spending time with friends and family. Michelle has toured across America to promote her books and to encourage high school students to embrace reading and writing. Someday, she hopes to travel the world for a year on a cruise ship.


Such a dreamy guy on the cover! I couldn’t help but stare at this picture for a few minutes before I posted it. What do you think of the cover? Does the story sound interesting to you?

Before you leave, make sure to enter the giveaway!

One SIGNED Paperback copy of Elementals!

I hope you enjoyed this post and I look forward to seeing what people think of the new cover and how they enjoyed Elementals when it is released Jan. 26th!

❤ Lauren

Waiting on Wednesday: Elementals


We are excited to say we are not going to have to wait long for this week’s pick!  As always, the wonderful Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.


Title: Elementals: The Prophecy of Shadows (Elementals Book One)

Author: Michelle Madow

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Publication Date: January 26th, 2016


When Nicole Cassidy moves from sunny Georgia to gloomy New England, the last thing she expects is to learn that her homeroom is a cover for a secret coven of witches. Even more surprisingly … she’s apparently a witch herself. Despite doubts about her newfound abilities, Nicole is welcomed into this ancient circle of witches and is bedazzled by their powers—and, to her dismay, by Blake—the school’s notorious bad-boy.

Girls who get close to Blake wind up hurt. His girlfriend Danielle will do anything to keep them away, even if she must resort to using dark magic. But the chemistry between Blake and Nicole is undeniable, and despite wanting to protect Nicole from Danielle’s wrath, he finds it impossible to keep his distance.

When the Olympian Comet shoots through the sky for the first time in three thousand years, Nicole, Blake, Danielle, and two others in their homeroom are gifted with mysterious powers. But the comet has another effect—it opens the portal to the prison world that has contained the Titans for centuries. After an ancient monster escapes and attacks Nicole and Blake, it’s up to them and the others to follow the clues from a cryptic prophecy so that they can save their town … and possibly the world.


About the Author:


Michelle Madow grew up in Baltimore, graduated Rollins College in Orlando, and now lives in Boca Raton, Florida. She wrote her first book in her junior year of college, and has been writing novels since. Some of her favorite things are: reading, pizza, traveling, shopping, time travel, Broadway musicals, and spending time with friends and family. Michelle has toured across America to promote her books and to encourage high school students to embrace reading and writing. Someday, she hopes to travel the world for a year on a cruise ship.

Follow her on:
Twitter: @MichelleMadow
Instagram: @MichelleMadow

To get instant updates about Michelle’s new books, subscribe to her newsletter and follow her on Amazon!



Top Ten Books Recently Added to TBR


I remembered to do Top Ten Tuesday this week! Last week was hectic!! I was a zombie after ALAMW & the PassTruthTour so apologies!  This week’s topic is Top Ten Books I’ve Recently Added to my TBR. We decided to shake things up a bit and each choose different genres.  As always Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.


Melissa’s Contemporary Picks

Melissa PIcks.jpg

Autofocus by Lauren Gibaldi
Whisper To Me by Nick Lake
Distance from A to Z by Natalie Blitt
The Last Boy and Girl in the World by Shioban Vivian
When We Collided by Emery Lord
American Girls by Alison Umminger
Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldvasky
Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate
Rebel Bully Geek Pariah by Erin Jade Lange

Lauren’s 2016 Debut Picks


Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Banderia
Sword and Verse by Kathy McMillan
These Viscious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas
Into the Dim by Janey B. Taylor
Fear the Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh
A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Summer of Supernovas by Darcy Woods
The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye
Burning Glass by Kathyrn Purdie


Kelly’s Fantasy Picks

Fantasy Collage.jpg

Sanctum by Sarah Fine
Magic-Price by C.L. SchneiderLumiere by Jacqueline E. Garlick
Doon by Carey Corp & Lorie Langdon
Omega by Lizzy Ford
Darkangel by Christine Pope
Embrace by Jessica Shirvington
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
Angelbound by Christina Bauer

What are some title you recently added to your TBR? Let us know in the comments below!



PassTruth Tour: NYC


I think it’s safe to say that Kelly and I are still living on cloud nine!  We are so grateful for the opportunity to sit down to tea with Susan Dennard and Erin Bowman.  Surprisingly I survived the day as I had spent all weekend at ALA Mid Winter 2016 and took the 6 P.M. bus to NY and got in at 11.

Monday January 11th, I met Kelly and her cousin Heather (@hdauub1) at noon and we headed towards Books of Wonder. Well actually we stopped at Starbucks because I didn’t have my coffee for the morning. It was a good thing we went to Books of Wonder first because we got good numbers for the signing line.  We picked up our books and then it was off to the Strand bookstore!

If you’ve never been to The Strand in NY before, they’re known for having some great titles at a discounted price. We dropped our stuff and basically squatted in the YA section looking at books. Surprisingly Heather and I were able to walk away without buying anything!   Due to being crunched for time, Kelly was able to only walk away 3 books! Rebel Spring and Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes as well as Redeemed by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast.

We sped walked back towards Argo Tea, which is a great little cafe on Broadway and 23rd. We were able to grab 2 tables by the entrance that gave us a lot of space. As Kelly and Heather got their tea. I sat with our stuff constantly looking out the window until finally I saw Susan and Erin walking.  It was so surreal seeing them outside of an event and a wonderful feeling to greet them like friends I hadn’t seen in awhile. After hugs all around, Erin and I got in line to grab tea and we got to chat about Baby Bowman, WIPs, and what I’d been up to since I last saw her.

While Melissa and Erin were in line, Heather and I got to chat with Sooz about her stay in NYC, publishing, and the craziness of her tour. It was so much fun chatting with her and not really having to talk business. I had met her before, but never on such a personal level, where we could just sit down with some tea and chat. Needless to say, Sooz is AMAZING. I honestly adore this woman from the bottom of my heart for even coming to tea with us, let alone staying and having some normal, everyday conversations with us. She really takes the time to make sure everyone in her life, even her street team, feels loved and important.

After getting teas and settling in, it was time to shower Sooz with all of her gifts! As leaders of the Earth and Aether Clan, Kelly and I were able to gather things from our clan members and compile it into a big gift. Of course our clans also requested we get documentation of Susan’s reactions, so with her permission we got to take video reactions! Sooz will probably tell you that she lost it, but she kept it together pretty well compared to the appreciation videos we sent her a few months back. Kelly went first with a huge care package from the Earth Clan.

I honestly thought I was going to be freaking out or something when I met with Sooz and gave her Earth Clan’s gifts. I believed I would be so nervous, but all I really felt was this need to make this wonderful woman happy! So I handed the card to her first with a long note and all of the Earth Clan’s names signed on the back, which got the ball rolling. You all know how emotional Sooz gets, right? We promise, we really do love you! Below are the videos that I spent a few days looking at over and over again, filled with disbelief that it was me who was sitting next to Sooz. How did I become this person?!

I was a bit nervous because the first gift was a personal one from me to her.  One of the Heists challenged each clan member to recreate the cover image.  I presented her with the one I handmade and framed it for her. When she told me she would hang it in her office I was elated and kept my composure even though I was screaming on the inside.

She was surprised to get another gift bag from me, but I said well of course this one’s from the whole clan! She was shocked and overwhelmed with the details we put into our pages of the scrapbook. I apologize I didn’t take pictures of the scrapbook itself, but my girls put so much thought into it. A few of us made sure to include all of her fandoms (Zelda, Sailor Moon, Avatar the Last Airbender, Fallout, Anastasia, etc).  Sooz was truly grateful to just take a day moment to sit with us and celebrate the release of her book because she had been so busy.

We have to give a HUGE shout out to Erin for joining us! You were such a great help to Sooz by organizing gifts and taking some back with her to the hotel when she left to meet Alex Bracken. Thank you so much for also taking time out of your schedule to sit and have a casual conversation with us. You are so kind and thoughtful. It truly made us feel special.

Once our gifts were given, we spent a little more time with Sooz before she left to go meet with Tor (Tor! TOR! What?! I feel so famous). We made the trek back to Books of Wonder where we ended up having a Hunger Games race to get seats up front. Legitimately, they told us to get out of the way while they set up seats, and once they told us that we could sit down, it was a fight to the death for that front row! We were supposed to be saving seats for about 16 of us who were in a group chat for the event. That was unfortunately not going to happen! We did end up meeting up with just about everyone though and it was awesome! Not only did we get to meet a few other Clan Leaders, but we met with some pretty amazing bloggers, clan members, and friends as well. I love spending time with all of you and getting to know you more at each and every event! You guys are such amazing people, and we couldn’t ask for better friends to share our passion and time with.

The talk itself was pretty awesome, though short because of all the people who needed books signed. We didn’t record it, so we have no questions and answers for you, but next time you get these three women in the same panel, you all need to go and see the chemistry for yourselves! Also, thank goodness we got there early to get low numbered tickets! That line was over 130 people long! Melissa, myself, and Heather were numbers 10-12, and as Melissa went first, we gave Sooz her final present from the Clan Leaders, which was her own Witchlander shirt with “Empress” written on the back. She didn’t cry that time, though we forewarned her! =)

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Overall, this experience was really an incredible one, and a great day spent with true friends. We had such a blast walking around NYC, meeting Sooz, Erin, and Alex, and attending this event. Even the train ride home, which Heather, Jana, and myself took together, was an adventure. Thank you to everyone who made this day so special. You all helped to make this day a wonderful memory.

Shout outs to: Penny, Jana, Danielle, Brittany, Mariam, & Alexandra!




Musings of Shanna Swendson


Writing Through Difficulty
by Shanna Swendson

It’s relatively easy to stay on target with your writing goals when everything in your life is going well — you don’t have a lot of stress, your relationships are happy, and you don’t have a lot of other things to deal with. But life isn’t always (or even usually) that way, and because writing fiction is such an emotional endeavor, turmoil in your life can spill over into your writing, affecting both the quantity and quality of your work. How can you keep writing in difficult times?

If you don’t have a deadline, the easy answer is that you don’t have to worry about it, but if you hope to make a career out of writing, there will be times you have to keep going when you don’t feel like it. That means it’s good practice to at least try to keep going, even if you have to make some modifications in your goals. There may be some circumstances in which it’s impossible, and it would be impossible even if you had a contract and a deadline — an editor would likely understand a delay if your house burned down or you were undergoing cancer treatment, so you should give yourself the same break — but in other circumstances, there are ways to power through.

First, acknowledge your difficulties. Trying to pretend that nothing is different won’t help. You may need to give yourself permission to work less while you have other priorities, and you should do so without guilt. If you do have a deadline and realize that meeting it will be difficult, notify your editor, agent, co-authors, or anyone else who might be affected as soon as possible. Most of the time, they can make other plans and accommodate you if they have enough warning. Things become difficult if they don’t know you’re not going to deliver until you’ve already missed the deadline. Just making this notification can take a weight off your shoulders and make it easier to work. If you don’t have a deadline that isn’t self-imposed, adjust your goals and targets so you won’t feel like you’re failing.

Next, find a way to carve out an environment in which you can work. Shutting out all your worries for a little while will not only help your work, but may also be therapeutic in giving you a momentary escape. This may entail going somewhere else to work, like to the library or a coffee shop, or finding a place within your home where you can shut out as many distractions as possible. When I’m in this state, I sometimes write at night, with the only light in the house being the light around my writing area. It’s almost like shutting out the rest of the world so that the only thing that exists is my writing.

One problem I face when writing in the midst of turmoil is those thoughts that I can’t quite shut off, swirling around in my brain and blocking out the characters and story. I went through this ten years ago when I was in the middle of the third book in my Enchanted, Inc series and one of my good friends, who had served as a beta reader for my books, passed away. I knew she was ill, but she hadn’t let on just how bad it was, so her death was a huge shock. I really didn’t feel like writing because she’d been a big part of the development of this series, and writing it was a constant reminder of loss. But I had a contract and a deadline, and I knew she’d come back from the grave to haunt me if I didn’t write that book, so I had to keep going. This is when it helps to create a kind of ritual to get you in the mindspace for writing. I went to a quiet corner of my house with my laptop, lit some candles, and put on music that was just enough to block out other noise without being distracting. I played the same music every time, and soon it became like a trigger that told my brain that it was time to write. While that CD played, I could shut everything else out and focus on my work.

It can also help to find ways to deal with your other emotions. If you’re having trouble writing because of emotional upset, take some time to journal and write about your feelings, talk to a trusted friend, or even seek professional help. Getting things out of your brain can stop that swirling around feeling in which you can’t stop thinking over and over again about the same things. Maybe even take some time out during the day when you’re not writing to let yourself really think and feel instead of pushing those things aside all the time. You may even find that you can use this turmoil in your work, if not in the current project, then somewhere down the line. Record how you feel, how it affects you physically, what you think about. Write about yourself like you’d write about a character going through these things. This could give your writing a stronger emotional punch and authenticity.

Find little rewards or treats to associate with your writing. You probably got started doing this because it was fun, so try to recapture that. Have a particular beverage you like that you only get to drink while you’re writing. Reward yourself for a successful writing session. Make writing a retreat from your troubles (as long as you’re not using it to avoid facing your troubles).

Even if you do these things and keep going with your work, your work may be affected, and because you’re so close to it, you may not be able to see it. It’s especially important to get feedback from someone else on this work. Get a beta reader or an editor to look at it before you submit it, or else put it aside for at least a month and then look at it again. When I sent the initial draft of that difficult book to my agent, she said I needed to rewrite the ending entirely. When I looked at it again, I realized that my blue mood really showed. It was a total downer. By that time, I was feeling a lot better, and I was able to write a better ending. (If you want to see the difference, the original ending of Damsel Under Stress is on my web site, on that book’s page.)

I usually find that I feel better if I keep trying to work instead of giving up because of my circumstances. It gives me something positive to have come out of the difficulties, even if it isn’t my best work or most productivity.

About Shanna:

Shanna Swendson earned a journalism degree from the University of Texas and used to work in public relations but decided it was more fun to make up the people she wrote about, so now she’s a full-time novelist. She’s the author of the contemporary fantasy Enchanted, Inc. series and Fairy Tale series and the young adult steampunk fantasy Rebel Mechanics. She’s also contributed essays to a number of books on pop culture topics. She’s a frequent guest at writing conferences and science fiction conventions, where she gets to talk about books and television and consider it “work.” She lives in Irving, Texas, with several hardy houseplants and too many books to fit on the shelves.

Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads

Rebel Mechanics (Rebel Mechanics, #1)

Rebel Mechanics (Rebel Mechanics #1)

A sixteen-year-old governess becomes a spy in this alternative U.S. history where the British control with magic and the colonists rebel by inventing.

It’s 1888, and sixteen-year-old Verity Newton lands a job in New York as a governess to a wealthy leading family—but she quickly learns that the family has big secrets. Magisters have always ruled the colonies, but now an underground society of mechanics and engineers are developing non-magical sources of power via steam engines that they hope will help them gain freedom from British rule. The family Verity works for is magister—but it seems like the children’s young guardian uncle is sympathetic to the rebel cause. As Verity falls for a charming rebel inventor and agrees to become a spy, she also becomes more and more enmeshed in the magister family’s life. She soon realizes she’s uniquely positioned to advance the cause—but to do so, she’ll have to reveal her own dangerous secret.

Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble

Enchanted, Inc. (Enchanted, Inc., #1)

Enchanted, Inc. (Enchanted, Inc. #1)

Katie Chandler had always heard that New York is a weird and wonderful place, but this small-town Texas gal had no idea how weird until she moved there. Everywhere she goes, she sees something worth gawking at and Katie is afraid she’s a little too normal to make a splash in the big city. Working for an ogre of a boss doesn’t help.

Then, seemingly out of the blue, Katie gets a job offer from Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc., a company that provides tricks of the trade to the magic community. For MSI, Katie’s ordinariness is an asset.

Lacking any bit of magic, she can easily spot a fake spell, catch hidden clauses in competitor’s contracts, and detect magically disguised intruders. Suddenly, average Katie is very special indeed.

She quickly learns that office politics are even more complicated when your new boss is a real ogre, and you have a crush on the sexy, shy, ultra powerful head of the R&D department, who is so busy fighting an evil competitor threatening to sell black magic on the street that he seems barely to notice Katie. Now it’s up to Katie to pull off the impossible: save the world and–hopefully–live happily ever after.

Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble

A Fairy Tale

A Fairy Tale (Fairy Tale #1)

Once upon a time, a girl named Sophie Drake danced with the fairies in the woods behind her grandparents’ Louisiana home. But she closed the door to the fairy world and turned her back on the Fae when they tried to steal her little sister Emily. Fourteen years later, Sophie heads to New York City on a desperate mission. Emily, now an up-and-coming Broadway actress, has gone missing. Only Sophie suspects the Fae.

Now Sophie has her work cut out for her. Emily’s abduction is part of a larger plot involving the missing Queen of the fairy realm. An upstart fairy is making a bid to assume control of the entire Realm, unite the fairies, and become master over the human world. To free her sister, Sophie must derail this power scheme and find the true Queen of the Realm.

That’s a lot for a small-town ballet teacher to tackle, but with the unlikely aid of her sometimes flighty sister, a pair of elderly shopkeepers with a secret, a supremely lazy (but surprisingly knowledgeable) bulldog, and a wounded police detective searching for his own missing person, she just might prevail–if she can force herself to confront her own past and face her true nature.

Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble

A huge thank you to Shanna, who continues to be one of the nicest authors I’ve ever interacted with! Her advice and kind words are always appreciated, and this post is full of some amazing musings.

As always, thank you to every author who was, is, and will be a part of this feature. Your time and effort are very appreciated! The words you say here have helped so many people work towards achieving their dreams. I thank you all every day for your kindness and generosity for your efforts to support those writers who need it.

We hope you have a wonderful rest of your week!



Lauren’s 2015 End of Year Book Survey

Jamie @ Perpetual Page Turner, creator of this survey.

It’s weird to be starting 2016 already. I feel like 2015 just started! 2015 was somewhat of a big reading year for me. I used to read a lot when I was younger, but once I hit high school, Harry Potter and Twilight was about all I read that was popular and not school assigned. (Yes, I did read Twilight.) I started to slowly pick up more books close to the end of 2014, but 2015 is when I really got back into reading! I am now finding all new authors (to me) and new series to love! It’s been wonderful! More reading and new bookish friends on Twitter and getting to start and be in a book blog! If 2016 is going to be equally as exciting, I can’t wait to see what is in store for me and my love of books!

2015 Reading Stats 

Number Of Books You Read: 50 (the most I have ever read in a year!)
Number of Re-Reads: none (first time I have not read Harry Potter!)
Genre You Read The Most From: Fantasy! (My heart! Love a good fantasy)

Best in books

1. Best Book You Read In 2015?

I had many good reads in 2015! Narrowing it down to just one as Best is going to be extremely hard, so I am going to cheat. I will give my top 5!

  1. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas.
  2. Air Awakens by Elise Kova.
  3. Magnus Chase by Rick Riordian.
  4. The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
  5. I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

I will have to say, Splintered by A.G. Howard. I love stories that have Alice in Wonderland elements. I was really excited to read this book. I figured I would end up really, really loving it…but sadly I didn’t. Was it a bad book? Not really. I enjoyed it enough to want to continue the series, but definitely not what I was hoping for.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?

That will be The Raven Boys. I had heard about it, but was not quite sure if it was a good book or what it really was about. When Stefani caught me in the library looking for something to read she recommend to to me. So I read it, and ended up really enjoying it.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

What was my most “pushed” book? That would probably be Air Awakens by Elise Kova (Not sure any actually read it though, but they sure heard about it from me.)

5. Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015?

Best series started: Air Awakens and Magnus Chase

Best Sequel: Fire Falling  and Heart of Betrayal.

Series Ender: none. ( I didn’t start or finish many series in 2015)

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?

I have a few that most people probably already know but they are new to me!

Elise Kova. Not only is she an amazing writer (and if you can’t tell by this survey I LOVE her books) she is such a sweet and wonderful person. I have had the privilege to get to know Elise and we have talked quite often. I never believed I would be friends with an author, much less one that I love and look up to. Having a friendship with her is amazing, and just that personal relationship we have created puts her at the top (along with the books of course) of my favorite new author list.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I read dystopians, so this answer may be a little confusing. I pick The Selection Series for this question. Why? Like I said, I read dystopian, but the idea of a book that sounds a lot like the Bachelor is a little out of my comfort zone. I am not a fan of that show, nor am I fan of the idea. Just never really liked it. (No offense to those who love the show!) But I read the first book and fell in love with this series! I know this answer may not answer the question like it was supposed to, but it’s the only one that I could think would apply.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

This is so hard to answer!! I had quite a few books that did this to me! Fire Falling, Heart of Betrayal, Infernal Devices, and so many more! However I think I’m going to pick:

A Court of Thorns and Roses as the most unputdownable book. I got hooked with just a few pages, and couldn’t stop! I think I read this book in 2 days. (which is kinda fast for me.)

9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

I’m not really sure on this one. I wasn’t honestly planning on re-reading any I read from this year. If any it would be Fire Falling, just to get myself ready for book 3 coming out in February.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?

I have a tie for this one. Both of these are series and I adore the art to them! So here they are!!!

Air Awakens by Elise Kova- I love the painted look of these. They are so eye catching and beautiful, something I wish all fantasy books would do. Plus, Prince Aldrik is on the cover of one of them. *Swoon* I was able to get a print of the 3rd book, Earth’s End, cover from the artist!

The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare- Both the old and new editions are stunning. I have the first two in the first edition, and have all 3 in the new and can’t decide which one I love more. The new editions gets an extra push just because I love the spine art!

11. Most memorable character of 2015?

All the books I read had some character that could stand out and definitely be memorable, but I think this honor will go to: Tessa Gray from The Infernal Devices. I just recently met this character but I feel in love with her by the first page. She is strong, sensitive, independent, and she loves books! Plus she gets to spend time with Jem! (Lucky duck)

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?

If I filled this out a last month I would have a different winner. I have read 50 books this year, and 3 authors stand out to me as beautiful writers. Sarah J. Maas and Elise Kova are two. And they should be mentioned, but I will give this one to:

Cassandra Clare. I have only read two of her books and currently reading the last one for The Infernal Devices, but her words put me in a spell and I love every minute of it!

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015?

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked this book to read, but for me I found it thought-provoking: I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read?

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. I have heard about this one for years, but I never picked it up. Had no plans to read it soon either until my OTSPSecretSister sent me a copy and talked me into trying it. She had sticky notes throughout the pages giving her thoughts on certain points. It was like reading it with her. I feel in love with the characters and was happy to talk with my Secret Sister (Mackayla @mackayla_heoron) about all the feels!

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?

I know several books I love passages and quotes from. But the only one that is coming to my mind at the moment is:

“One must always be careful of books and what’s inside them, for words have the power to change us.” -Tessa, Clockwork Angel

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?

Shortest: Devoted byJennifer Mathieu – 208 pages

Longest: Seal of the King by Ralph Smith – 600 pages

How I did this: Went to my read books on Goodreads and sorted by page number and just looked for what I knew I read this year that was the shortest and longest.

17. Book That Shocked You The Most

(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)

I have to say Fire Falling. Elise Kova knows why!!!

*shakes fists* ELISE!!!! WHY??????????? JUST WHY???

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

I know I have said this several times, but I have SO MANY!!! It’s hard to think of one OTP that I would pick as the best when I have one for every book! Can I pick two that are very close to my heart? Would that be ok?

Tessa and Jem (Infernal Devices) *sorry all the Will fans*

Vhaldrik! Vhalla and Aldrik! (Air Awakens)

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

oh this one is easy for me! It is one of the many reasons I love the story. I will give this honor to Will and Jem!

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

The only author I had read previously this year would be Rick Riordan, so I give this spot to… MAGNUS CHASE!

21. Best Book You Read In 2015That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

*stares completely at Stefani @ Caught Red Handed* I would have to say Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu. Stefani talked me into reading this one. I had no idea what it was really about and she didn’t give me much to go on so I wouldn’t get spoiled. After a few pages I was sucked in! Such a great book, and very interesting.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?

I would love to say Aldrik because… well you would just have to read Air Awakens to know more, but totally worth the crush. But he just doesn’t seem like the kind of guy I would really go for. He is dark and mysterious and a Prince, but not the one.

Now there is one guy I would fall for and did. HARD. James Carstairs (Jem). I feel in love with him from the first time I read about him and have been crushing on him hard since. *note I’m only book 3* He will go down as one of my favorite characters ever!

23. Best 2015 debut you read?

I didn’t really read a whole lot of debuts in 2015, but to no surprise my answer will be:

Air Awakens by Elise Kova!

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

There are several books I felt did a great job creating worlds and giving the readers an enjoyable place to be. Sarah J. Maas did a great job in A Court of Thorns and Roses, and Elise carried me away in Air Awakens with her intricate world. Both good examples of amazing world building.

But I think the most vivid setting I read this year would be the London in The Infernal Devices. I guess maybe because it was an actual place and not a land I know nothing about I could just picture it better. Not that I actually know a lot about London, I’ve never been. But I have seen it on tv. Does that count?

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Hands down this will go to MAGNUS CHASE!! If you need a good laugh I recommend reading this one. The chapter titles alone will make you smile, but there is so much sass and fandom references within the book! What a fun ride that story was. All the classic Rick humor.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015?

Since You’ve Been Gone. This is not really a sad book. For the most part it is a very happy book, but some of the situations or feelings the main character was going through when she lost her friend brought a lot of memories that hurt to mind. I don’t think I actually had to pull out the tissues on this one, but my eyes did get a bit misty.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

I would have to say Dragon of Legend: Destiny by Angelika Meyer. The writing took me a little time to get used to, but the story was pretty fun. Plus it had dragons in it!

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Not even going to try and pick one for this. ALL THE BOOKS!! Pretty much every book I read this year crushed me in some way.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015?

Dear Carolina by Kristy Woodson Harvey. Unlike many books that you read where you read from a certain POV, this story was told in letters. From a mother who wrote to her daughter. It was an interesting and heartfelt story. I know the letter thing may not be completely unique, but it was compared to the other books I read this year.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

The Selection Series. That whole series was like a guilty pleasure for me and usually something I would stay away from. I loved to the books and would recommend them to people, but the whole time I was reading them I kinda wanted to through the books across the room at parts. Ugh, the characters could be so frustrating at times!

My Blogging/ Bookish Life

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2015?

I just really discovered blogging this year, so every blog I found had been my favorite!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2015?

Probably the reviews for Elise Kova. I was lucky enough to do two for her, and getting to have that friendship with her made reading the story and writing the review so much better!

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

The Musings posts we do. This is mainly done by Kelly, so all credit goes to her, but I love getting to read the posts from all the different authors.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

Sadly I have never been to big book events. The only event I could say I have been to is an author signing we had at a local book store. I accompanied Stefani to see Ernest Cline. As he is one of my favorite authors, this was a pretty big deal for me!

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015?

Getting the chance to be a co-blogger on this blog. I had started my own, but it had only been going for 6 months. Then I met Kelly. We started talking and she offered the spot to me and I jumped in without a second thought! Best blogging decision of my life so far!

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

Actually meeting my goal. When I set my goal for 50 books I figured I would reach it no problem. When it was November and I only had 35 books read I started to panic. Thankfully with a few graphic novels and a couple of novellas I was able to reach my goal!

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

The most popular post on the blog was actually the post and giveaway when I joined! *Thank you Kelly for helping me find this out!*

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

I wish our Musings post would get some more love. They get a few views, but the authors that participate in this feature deserves so much more for their hard work!

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

My new bookish friends on Twitter!! I have made some amazing friends and no store or site would be able to beat them!

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I did! I had a goal on GoodReads for 50 books this year and I reached it! Actually finished my last two books on the last day! Talk about procrastination.

Looking Ahead

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016?

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. I am so far behind and I know. The new ShadowHunters show is coming out on 1/12 and I plan on having the book read before I watch the show! I am trying to finish up Clockwork Princess now and that will be my next read!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)?

The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan. If you don’t know this about me, Percy Jackson is one of my favorite series right after Harry Potter. So I was already excited to know Rick was coming out with another Greek related book, but then I found out Percy will be in it. *Flails* So now I can’t wait to read it!!!!

3. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

I honestly don’t know many 2016 debuts coming out this year, but the one I do know and looking forward to is Fear The Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh. It sounds wonderful and the cover is beautiful!

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016?

I haven’t started any series to end this year, so I’m going to have to go with sequel. And this happens to be a tie!

  1. Earth’s End by Elise Kova.
  2. The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2016?

I hope to get through a few more popular series. I hate  feeling left out on discussions because I have not read some of the more popular series and books. Such as: Throne of Glass, Cinder, Mortal Instruments, and so many more.

6. A 2016 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

I’m afraid at the moment I don’t have any 2016 releases that I have already read. However, I did just get approved to read an early ARC of Elementals by Michelle Madow! I plan to read it within the week and I can already tell people they need to read it!

❤ Lauren




Musings of Tara Sim


Starting a New Series/Sequel
by Tara Sim

It is extremely difficult for me to write standalone novels. Maybe it comes from a childhood of reading fantasy series, but something about writing a singular book is rather outlandish to me. I keep wanting to know what happens next, how these characters will develop, what new earth-shattering problems will arise.

But that doesn’t mean I find writing series any easier. I’ve written three series and have just begun a new trilogy, and every journey shows me new pitfalls and new strategies. The more books you write, the more you begin to see patterns, especially if you’re partial to trilogies. (For example, my book twos tend to end with cliffhangers. Sorry in advance).

If you’re writing a sequel for the first time, though, that can be scary. Really scary. And fun. But still scary.

So how exactly should you approach writing a sequel or a series? Generally, from my experience, there are two methods:

– You know ahead of time that you’re writing a series.
– The fact that you’re writing a series will sneak up and club you in the head when you least expect it.

First approach: Congratulations, you’re embarking on a series! This means you get plan things ahead of time, which is, trust me, your best friend. In terms of what to plan for, here are some things I find most helpful:

– Character Arcs: Who are your characters in the first book? Who will your characters be at the end of the series? What will happen to them in the middle to change them into those people?

– Escalation of Plot: My number one rule for writing a series is that the last book has to be the worst possible scenario in your world. After that terrible thing happens, that’s it—that’s the end. So all the books that come before have to somehow ramp up this tension in lesser, but still dramatic, ways. For example, let’s say that worst thing that could happen in your world/to your characters is the destruction of the planet. In earlier books, you could show the destruction of smaller things—a nation, a continent. This will ramp up to that big terrible thing in the last book’s climax.

– Themes: What type of story are you trying to tell, and what themes should you explore in each book? What are your overarching series themes that will come to a head in the last book? How can you show those themes being developed in the middle books?

Second approach: Oh no, this is going to be a series. What now? This is actually what happened to me when I wrote TIMEKEEPER, my debut coming out later this year, which is the first of a trilogy. This approach is harder, because then you have to make sure that everything lines up, and you’ll frequently return to the first book to add threads connecting it to the others.

Here are some useful tips if you find yourself in this situation:

– Find the most linear approach to your storytelling. Always keep in mind what comes next in the plot or what came before. Cause and effect is your friend.

– Read through the first book again and find ways in which your characters can develop, what new information they can learn, what new obstacles can get in their way (that most makes sense to their character/role in the story).

– What is the one thing that most connects these books? If someone was looking at your series and had to choose one image to portray it, what would that image be? (For example, TIMEKEEPER’s would be clock towers).

Writing a sequel or a series can be intimidating, but it’s also amazing to watch your story, your world, and your characters evolve—sometimes in ways you never even expected! Plan as much as you can, but also: HAVE FUN.

Bonus Tip: I’ve found that using Scrivener for worldbuilding purposes comes in very handy. Use a different template to break down things like characters, countries, magic systems, religions, etc.

Tara Sim

About Tara:

Tara Sim is a YA author typically found in the wilds of the Bay Area, California. When she’s not chasing cats or lurking in bookstores she writes books about magic, clocks, and explosives. TIMEKEEPER (Sky Pony Press, Fall 2016) is her debut novel. Follow her on Twitter: @EachStarAWorld.

Website ~ Goodreads ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

Timekeeper (Timekeeper #1):
*Cover to be released!*
*Book to be released later in 2016!*

Every city in the world is run by a clock tower. If one breaks, time stops. It’s a truth that seventeen-year-old Danny knows well; his father has been trapped in a town east of London for three years. Despite being a clock mechanic prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but time itself, Danny has been unable to free his father.

Danny’s assigned to a damaged clock tower in the small town of Enfield. The boy he mistakes for his apprentice is odd, but that’s to be expected when he’s the clock spirit who controls Enfield’s time. Although Danny and the spirit are drawn to each other’s loneliness, falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, no matter how cute his smiles are.

But when someone plants bombs in nearby towers, cities are in danger of becoming trapped in time—and Enfield is one of them.

Danny must discover who’s stopping time and prevent it from happening to Enfield, or else he’ll lose not only his father, but the boy he loves, forever.

Website ~ Goodreads

Thank you to Tara Sim for writing this wonderful guest post! I was just talking to one of my writing friends about this the other day. Writing a series is definitely stressful and a lot of work! You spend half the time stressing about whether this will all fall together, whether it’s even worth writing, and whether or not you will actually be able to write it. Thank you for giving your advice and helping to guide us down the path to conquering our fears. You are so wonderful! Everyone, keep your eye out for her books!

As always, a huge thank you to everyone who was, is, or will be a part of this feature. Your guidance, advice, and stories are invaluable to all writers as we continue to embark on a treacherous journey we call life.

Have a wonderful weekend!