Indie Friday: Samantha Young

Welcome to April’s Indie Friday event!

This month Barbara and I are so pleased to have one of our favorite authors visiting, Samantha Young. My journey with her books started with Slumber, and the moment I finished, I immediately bought and read every book she’s ever written. I enjoyed every last word. Her Fire Spirits series is my favorite so far, and and I couldn’t be more excited to have her here!

Samantha Young is a 25 year old writer who resides in her home county of Stirlingshire, Scotland. She is a self-proclaimed book addict and kindle junkie, using fantasy, dystopian, sci-fi and paranormal novels to feed her addiction.

After graduating from the University of Edinburgh with a degree in ancient and medieval history, Samantha returned to her main passion, writing, and often incorporates history and mythology into her novels.

Samantha’s first release, The Tale of Lunarmorte trilogy, was followed by a second series titled Warriors of Ankh. At present, she is a full-time writer working on a number of projects for near future release. She is the author of nine novels and one novella. Her young adult paranormal series’ are Amazon bestselling novels.

THE RULES OF ATTRACTION

Chemistry between your hero and heroine is extremely important. As an avid reader, who enjoys a good romantic subplot, I know I tend to give up on a book if I feel a lack of connection to the characters and between the characters, because there is nothing quite like an epic romance in a book.

As I say, I read a lot, so narrowing down favourite literary couples is tricky, but a few do spring to mind. Rose Hathaway and Dimitri Belikov from Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. We’re talking forbidden love, lost love, found love, lost love again… it’s epic! The chemistry builds up nicely between them through tension during their training sessions and from there escalates into an explosive love story that is hard to beat in the YA genre. Another particular favourite of mine is Tris and Four from Divergent. Their romance is a quiet, slowly creeping, ‘you get me more than anyone will ever get me’ kind of love, and the writing between them from Veronica Roth is just deliciously brilliant. I can’t wait to see how their connection develops in book two. And finally I adore the love story between Meghan and Ash in Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series. The chemistry between them is electric and fragile because this is the case of two opposites attracting. Ash’s character drives this love story, his fight within himself to stay distant from Meghan — someone he shouldn’t love and doesn’t want to because he’s already lost in love before. It’s butterfly-inducingly good!

As an author I love threading a great love story into my novels. There’s nothing quite as fun as building chemistry between two characters and letting the sparks fly — I spend half my time writing with a big mischievous grin on my face, knowing a certain scene will make my readers happy or frustrate the hell out of them! :-p

It’s difficult to create chemistry between characters if you don’t take the time to feel out their mannerisms or personalities. It’s the little things that tell a reader a character is truly attracted to another. In real life when you have a crush or feel deeply for someone, you notice things about them that other people don’t i.e. chewing a thumbnail when they’re nervous, a certain look in their eye when they’re trying not to laugh. You notice if they change their cologne or perfume, or notice the fact that when they wear red it means they’re in a good mood that day. You watch them, you study them, their hands, their mouth, their eyes, and the room literally blurs around you when they’re with you — your heart pounds whenever they stand too close to you. These are all the things I have to describe as happening to my characters if I want my reader to believe there is true attraction and chemistry between them. If a character begins to note the minute detail of another it should be a clear signal to the reader that an attraction is developing.

Deciding whether that chemistry can become more is all in the couple’s history and personality. For example, take Ari and Jai from Fire Spirits. Despite Ari’s many disappointments from the men in her life, she wears her heart on her sleeve. If she likes you, she can’t hide it. She doesn’t want to hide it. And even when her brain tells her she should run and put up a wall of defense, Ari’s heart tends to win in the end. As a character, Ari is extremely lonely. She has no real family support and she’s a pawn with no idea who to trust. Jai is similar in that he has no real family support either, and only one true friend. But Jai has never felt lonely because of his purpose in life. Where Ari has run from responsibility, Jai revels in it. As a guardian Jinn, he takes his job protecting people very seriously. It’s his life and his reputation. He has no time for the kind of connections Ari is looking for. However, Jai has never met a girl as openly kind and loyal as Ari, or one who doesn’t take his crap just because he’s ‘pretty’. Ari’s complex mix of strength and vulnerability are a lure for someone with Jai’s protective instincts, and Jai’s power and steadfastness is a lure for someone with Ari’s broken and unstable life. Together they are a couple whose attraction makes sense because they each have found something in the other that no one else can give them. However, they have enough differences in their outlooks to make for a realistic push and pull between them. And of course there are outside complications in their lives to make for a dramatic and hopefully epic love story.

GIVEAWAY

One lucky winner:

-One copy each of Smokeless Fire and Scorched Skies (e-book copies)
-International – books will be gifted through Amazon
-Giveaway will end Thurs, Apr 12 at 11:59pm and winner will be announced Fri, Apr 13. That gives y’all a week.
-To enter: leave a comment on this post, with your e-mail address

Please note: Books will be sent from the US and if you’re outside the country, and the books aren’t available where you are you may need to contact Amazon support to have the title converted into credit.

Good luck y’all!

Find Samantha Young:

Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Hi, you made it!

So what do you think of our fancy new digs?  I’ve been staring at the site for a couple of months now so it all sort of looks the same to me, but I imagine it’s quite a change from the old site.  We’ve brightened things up and with WordPress we get some new options and lose a few that we’d really liked.

Our navigation bar has moved up on top of our header and there are lots of options in a drop down menu under each topic.  Our reviews don’t have their own alphabetical listing on a dedicated page anymore but you can find them listed by grade, they’re searchable by title or author name and if you go to the Sitemap page, you can locate their genre and find them that way.

We have a page set up to showcase our upcoming events and once we get ourselves organized here, we’re going to have a great big giveaway to celebrate our new home.  Since we never did anything specifically for our one year blogoversary (way back in October!), it’ll have to be a super event, I think.

One of the things we’ll miss about Blogger is Google Friends Connect.  Until there’s a better system in place, we would really love it if you supported us by signing up with the new Linky Follower Gadget in the sidebar (it just takes a quick second to sign up) or follow us on Facebook where our posts update daily.  You can also subscribe to our email newsletter which comes through Feedburner and is super simple.

We would love to hear your feedback on the new site!  Find something difficult to read or see?  Catch a dead link?  Does the page load slow or fast or would you like to see bigger images?  Tell us!  If you want to keep it private, just email me, I’d be happy to hear from you.

JLA’s #1 Fangirl

While I would like to say I spent all week reading the books that I “have-to” for review, I can’t. I did the book blogger equivalent of skipping class and spent my week reading every book that Jennifer L. Armentrout has out. Having already read everything she’s written five times twice already, I decided to call it like it is and have named myself JLA’s #1 Fangirl. So, in true book blogger spirit, I’m going to do a post about it. ;-)

Pure Banner
#1.
The PURE tour has kicked off and will be coming our way in a few weeks. There are two tour-long giveaways being hosted by a few bloggers, which you are allowed to enter multiple times if you comment on various tour spots. Trust me, you want to win this book. If you’re even the littlest bit excited about reading Pure, you need to head on over to the tour schedule for more details.

Speaking of PURE, did you know that both B&N and Amazon released the digital version early??!?! It’s on there to be purchased right now if you so desire. And the digital version has a scene (or scenes?) from Seth’s POV, which makes me really want to go buy it. It isn’t too stalkerish to have both the bound version AND the digital version, is it? I honestly don’t think I can continue living if I don’t read Seth’s version of things.

Yes, I may have just put my hand to my forehead in true Southern Belle fashion.
Don’t judge.

Shadows
2.
I finally broke down and bought Shadows this week. I don’t know why I was so hesitant to read it. It was, you know, awesome. It provided some background to the whole series, and it really explained a lot of Daemon’s jerky behavior in Obsidian. The rage and grief that Daemon felt after The Event (don’t want to spoil it for those that haven’t read it yet) was so heart breaking! I confess though, while I enjoyed Shadows I found myself reading it faster so that I could get to Obsidian. I’m obsessed with Daemon and Katy. I’m seriously wondering what is wrong with me that I’m more attracted to the jerky brother than the sweet one. So, if you’re at all into the Lux seris, Shadows is a must-read. It’s quick, and it’ll only take you a few hours but it will sort of tide you over until Onyx comes out. Maybe.

Onyx
3.

I have a bit of an Onyx announcement to make:

Daemon will be HERE, on the blog, May 20.

SQUEEEEEEE!!!

I’m so freakin’ excited for this book I can hardly stand it. I can’t get enough of Daemon’s sexy abs (thank heavens he has such an aversion to wearing shirts) and jerky attitude. And of course, the sweet moments where his wall comes down and he shows us how vulnerable he really is are the BEST. EVER. Swoon worthy, y’all.

Daemon has decided to try his hand at writing an advice column, and has opened a forum for you to submit your problems and questions. Go HERE to write him – check out the sidebar too, we’ll keep a way there for you to send in questions. I can’t wait to see what his answers are!

4.
Speaking of the Lux series, I was catching up on my JLA blog reading the other night, and she had posted an interview with the cover models of Obsidian and Onyx. I’ve never really thought the guy on the cover was as cute as I pictured Daemon to be in my head. And then I saw real life photos of the cover model, and HOLY COW is he good looking. I’m stealing these from JLA’s post, and I just had to share:

Onyx models 1

Onyx models 2

Holy hotness Batman. For some reason seeing him in real life makes him so much better looking on the covers. And his name is Pepe. PEPE. Can you believe it? That’s such a perfect hot guy name. The two are actually engaged, and the interview post over at JLA’s blog is pretty fun to read.

And on that note, I’m going to leave y’all with Pepe’s gorgeous self and conclude my fawning over all things Jennifer L. Armentrout. Are you excited to read JLA’s upcoming releases yet? My review for Pure will be up soon, and I’m anxiously awaiting for the release of Onyx. In fact, “anxiously awaiting” is really too mild to describe how I feel. When I come up with an appropriate description of the intense excitement and longing I have, I’ll let you know.

Have a great weekend y’all!

Excerpt: I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

I've Got Your NumberBy Sophie Kinsella

I’ve lost it. The only thing in the world I wasn’t supposed to lose. My engagement ring. It’s been in Magnus’s family for three generations. And now, the very same day his parents are coming, I’ve lost it. The very same day. Do not hyperventilate Poppy. Stay positive!!

Poppy Wyatt has never felt luckier. She is about to marry the ideal man, Magnus Tavish, but in one afternoon her ‘happy ever after’ begins to fall apart. Not only has she lost her engagement ring but in the panic that followed, she has now lost her phone. As she paces shakily round the hotel foyer she spots an abandoned phone in a bin. Finders keepers! Now she can leave a number for the hotel to contact her when they find her ring. Perfect!

Well, perfect except the phone’s owner, businessman Sam Roxton doesn’t agree. He wants his phone back and doesn’t appreciate Poppy reading all his messages and wading into his personal life.

What ensues is a hilarious and unpredictable turn of events as Poppy and Sam increasingly upend each other’s lives through emails and text messages. As Poppy juggles wedding preparations, mysterious phone calls and hiding her left hand from Magnus and his parents… she soon realises that she is in for the biggest surprise of her life.

Goodreads Summary

“You have to stop him. Go up to him and stop him leaving the hotel. Go up to him now. Do whatever it takes.”

“What?” I stare at the phone. “Look, I’m sorry, but I’ve never even met you–“

“Nor me you,” he rejoins. “Who are you, anyway? Are you a friend of Violet? Can you tell me exactly why she decided to quit her job halfway through the biggest conference of the year? Does she think I suddenly don’t need a PA anymore?”

Aha. So Violet’s his personal assistant. This makes sense. And she’s walked out on him! Well, I’m not surprised, he’s so bossy.

“Anyway, doesn’t matter,” he interrupts himself. “Point is, I’m on the stairs, floor nine, the lift jammed, I’ll be downstairs in less than three minutes, and you have to keep Yuichi Yamasaki there till I arrive. Whoever the hell you are.”

What a nerve. “Or what?” I retort.

“Or else a year of careful negotiation goes down the tubes because of one ridiculous misunderstanding. The biggest deal of the year falls apart. A team of twenty people lose their jobs.” His voice is relentless. “Senior managers, secretaries, the whole gang. Just because I can’t get down there fast enough and the one person who could help won’t.”

Oh, bloody hell. “All right!” I say furiously. “I’ll do my best. What’s his name again?”

“Yamasaki.”

“Wait!” I raise my voice, running forward across the lobby. “Please! Mr. Yamasaki? Could you wait a minute?”

Mr. Yamasaki turns questioningly, and a couple of flunkies move forward, flanking him protectively. He has a broad face, still creased in anger, and a wide, bullish neck, around which he’s draping a silk scarf. I get the sense he’s not into idle chitchat.

I have no idea what to say next. I don’t speak Japanese, I don’t know anything about Japanese business or Japanese culture. Apart from sushi. But I can’t exactly go up to him and say “Sushi!” out of the blue. It would be like going up to a top American bussinessman and saying “T-bone steak!”

“I’m… a huge fan,” I improvise. “Of your work. Could I have your autograph?”

He looks puzzled, and one of his colleagues whispers a translation into his ear. Immediately, his brow clears and he bows to me.

Cautiously, I bow back, and he snaps his fingers, barking an instruction. A moment later, a beautiful leather folder has been opened in front of him, and he’s writing something elaborate in Japanese.

“Is he still there?” The stranger’s voice suddenly emanates from the phone.

“Yes,” I mutter into it. “Just about. Where are you?” I shoot a bright smile at Mr. Yamasaki

“Fifth floor. Keep him there. Whatever it takes.”

Mr. Yamasaki hands me his piece of paper, caps his pen, bows again, and makes to walk off.

“Wait!” I cry desperately. “Could I… show you something?”

“Mr. Yamasaki is very busy.” One of his colleagues, wearing steel glasses and the whitest shirt I’ve ever seen, turns back. “Kindly contact our office.”

They’re heading away again. What do I do now? I can’t ask for another autograph. I can’t rugby-tackle him I need to attract his attention somehow.

“I have a special announcement to make!” I exclain, hurrying after them. “I am a singing telegram! I bear a message from all Mr. Yamasaki’s many fans. It would be a great discourtesy to them if you were to refuse me.”

The word discourtesy seems to have stopped them in their tracks. They’re frowning and exchanging confused glances.

“A singing telegram?” says the man in steel glasses suspiciously.

“Like a Gorilla Gram?” I offer. “Only singing.”

The interpreter murmurs furiously in Mr. Yamasaki’s ear and after a moment looks at me. “You may present.”

Mr. Yamasaki turns and all his colleagues follow suit, folding their arms expectantly and lining up in a row. Around the lobby I can see a few interested glances from other groups of business people.

“Where are you?” I murmur desperately into the phone.

“Third floor,” comes the man’s voice after a moment. “Half a minute. Don’t lose him.”

“Begin,” the man in steel spectacles says pointedly.

Some people nearby have turned to watch. Oh God. How did I get myself into this? Number one, I can’t sing. Number two, what do I sing to a Japanese businessman I’ve never met before? Number three, why did I say singing telegram?

But if I don’t do something soon, twenty people might lose their jobs.

I make a deep bow, to spin out some more time, and all the Japanese bow back.

“Begin,” repeats the man in steel spectacles, his eyes glinting ominously.

I take a deep breath. Come on. It doesn’t matter what I do. I only have to last half a minute. Then I can run away and they’ll never see me again.

“Mr. Yamasaki…” I begin cautiously, to the tune of “Single Ladies.” “Mr. Yamasaki. Mr. Yamasaki, Mr. Yamasaki.” I shimmy my hips and shoulders at him, just like Beyonce. Mr. Yamasaki, Mr. Yamasaki.”

Actually, this is quite easy. I don’t need any lyrics– I can just keep singing “Mr. Yamasaki” over and over. After a few moments, some of the Japanese start singing along and clapping Mr. Yamasaki on the back.

“Mr. Yamasaki, Mr. Yamasaki. Mr. Yamasaki, Mr. Yamasaki.” I lift my finger and waggle it at him with a wink. “Ooh- ooh-ooh… ooh- ooh- ooh…”

This song is ridiculously catchy. All the Japanese are singing now, apart from Mr. Yamasaki, who’s standing there, looking delighted. Some nearby delegates have joined in with the singing, and I can hear one of them saying, “Is this a flash mob thing?”

“Mr. Yamasaki, Mr. Yamasaki, Mr. Yamasaki… Where are you?” I mutter into the phone, still beaming brightly.

“Watching.”

“What?” My head jerks up and I sweep the lobby. Suddenly my gaze fixes on a man standing alone, about thirty yards away. He’s wearing a dark suit and has thick, black rumpled hair and is holding a phone to his ear. Even from this distance I can see that he’s laughing.

I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella, to be published Feb 14, 2012

I just wanted to give y’all a little taste of Kinsella’s brilliance before the book releases. I LOVED this book, and it’s become my favorite out of all her work. I may or may not have already read it twice in the last few weeks… ;-)

 

Book Blogger Love-A-Thon

Book Blogger Love-A-Thon

I’m going to try to do this one without copying and pasting the original sign-up post. Forgive me if I start typing in tongues!

So there’s a blogger named Katelyn Torrey (who just recently renamed her blog Tales of Books and Bands). Kate is one of the nicest, most supportive bloggers I’ve had the pleasure to be ‘friends’ with – she’s hilariously funny too – and she’s organizing an event called the Book Blogger Love-A-Thon.

It’ll be sort of a cross between Bloggiesta, a Giveaway Hop, a Follow Friday and…a bunch of other stuff. The point is to support and spread the love for your fellow bloggers through Twitter, Facebook, commenting on blogs, a giveaway or two, maybe some mini-challenges and just letting your fellow bloggers know that they’re appreciated and giving everyone a nice boost. We all need one after all the craziness that’s gone on this month, right?

The big event will start February 17th at 12:00 a.m. and end on the 18th at 12 a.m., and I’ll be making posts here, doing some tweeting and adding some things to our Facebook page. All of the participants will be using the #LoveAThon tag on Twitter if you want to join in or just read some of what’s going on.

If you want to sign up – and you totally, totally do because who doesn’t want to spend a day having fun, making new blogger friends and getting all sorts of pats on the back – you can head over to the sign-up page at Katelyn’s blog, read over the post and fill in the form.

Whew. Not one piece of cut and paste. But I’m sure I missed something. Just go to Kate’s blog and check it out. :)

Top 10 Book Boyfriends in 2011

Heroes.  The guys we swoon over, who get our heart rates up, make us devoted to a series or inspire us to fervently declare that we’re on their Team.  They’re our Book Boyfriends and today Cait and I reveal who our favorites were this year.Go ahead, confess yours in the comment section!

Barbara went all fancy and looked up everyone’s last names, but I guess I don’t love y’all that much. ;-) My favorite thing in books are the heroes (I’m shamless), and there were SO many good ones to choose from this year! Again, the list isn’t necessarily an order of my favorites from top to bottom, and some weren’t published this year.
Anna and the French Kiss

Waterfall

Etienne St. Clair  – Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Tucker – Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Daemon – Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout (Review)
Marcello – Waterfall by Lisa Tawn Bergren
Logan Quinn  – Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep (Review)
Caden Grayson – Hearts in Darkness by Laura Kaye
Dragos Cuelebre – Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison
Ruper Carsington – Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase
Eric Donovan – Real Men Will by Victoria Dahl (Review)
Sean Kendrick – The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (Review)

~Cait

 

 

I almost hate to break it to Cait (notice that isn’t stopping me), but for most of these characters, I just remembered their last names.  *taps forehead*  For the dudes, it’s all in here, baby.  Oh, do I have a plethora of cover art to choose from for this bunch…   

A Lot Like Love

Mesmerized

Sig from the Secret McQueen series by Sierra Dean
Kane from Falling, Freestyle by Vivian Arend
Dragos Cuelebre from Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison
Brian Sinclair from Backstage Pass by Olivia Cunning
Andrei Solace from Mesmerized by Lauren Dane
Gabriel Rossiter from Naked Edge by Pamela Clare
Caden Grayson from Hearts in Darkness by Laura Kaye
Raphael from Archangel’s Consort by Nalini Singh
Nick McCall from A Lot Like Love by Julie James
Hawk from Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh

~Barbara

 

Coming up tomorrow: our favorite characters of the year!