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

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Giveaway: Embrace by Cherie Colyer

We’re one of the stops on the tour that will be giving away an ebook copy of Embrace to a lucky winner! It’s super easy to enter – the only requirement is filling in your name and email in the Rafflecopter form and if you’d like an extra entry, just “Like” Cherie’s Facebook page. There’s also going to be a Grand Prize at the end of the tour on the 28th that you can win by commenting at every stop (the linky list of all the stops is at the end of the post).

So…super easy entry, super book – get to entering and good luck!

Embrace
By Cherie Colyer

Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Publication Date: December 20, 2011
Source: Publisher/Blog Tour

Sometimes you end up hurting the ones you love.

You find you can’t save them or yourself.

Madison is familiar enough with change, and she hates everything about it. Change took her long-term boyfriend away from her. It caused one of her friends to suddenly hate her. It’s responsible for the death of a local along with a host of other mysterious happenings. But when Madison meets a hot new guy, she thinks her luck is about to improve.

Madison is instantly drawn to the handsome and intriguing Isaac Addington. She quickly realizes he’s a guy harboring a secret, but she’s willing to risk the unknown to be with him.

Her world really spins out of control, however, when her best friend becomes delusional, seeing things that aren’t there and desperately trying to escape their evil. When the doctors can’t find the answers, Madison seeks her own.

Nothing can prepare her for what she is about to discover.
Dangerous, intoxicating, and darkly romantic, Embrace is a thriller that will leave you spellbound.

Goodreads Summary

The Giveaway has ended – thank you to everyone who participated!

Make sure you check out the other stops on the tour for additional chances to win an ebook copy of Embrace and remember – comment at each stop to be eligible for the Grand Prize!

On a Dark Wing Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

We’re happy to be part of the blog tour for Jordan Dane’s upcoming release, On a Dark Wing.  Throughout the end of December and into the beginning of January, participating blogs will feature reviews, excerpts, character interviews, dream casts and author interviews.
There will be prizes given during the tour (check out mine below my review) and one big huge Grand Prize from Jordan – a Kindle Fire!
You can enter to win the Grand Prize by clicking on either the tour banner above or you can click here to go to the form.  Contest rules are posted on the Rafflecopter form.  Winners will be announced in a live chat with Jordan hosted by YA Bound on January 5th, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. EDT (don’t worry, you’ll be emailed too if you miss it).
Don’t forget to keep scrolling after my review to check out my giveaway!

On a Dark WingOn a Dark Wing
By Jordan Dane

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: January 1, 2012
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Jordan Dane’s Website
Source: NetGalley

The choices I had made led to the moment when fate took over. I would learn a lesson I wasn’t prepared for. And Death would be my willing teacher.

Five years ago, Abbey Chandler cheated Death. She survived a horrific car accident, but her “lucky” break came at the expense of her mother’s life and changed everything. After she crossed paths with Death—by taking the hand of an ethereal boy made of clouds and sky—she would never be normal again.

Now she’s the target of Death’s ravens and an innocent boy’s life is on the line. When Nate Holden—Abbey’s secret crush—starts to climb Alaska’s Denali, the Angel of Death stalks him because of her.

And Abbey finds out the hard way that Death never forgets.

Goodreads Summary

*****

Abbey’s mother died in a car accident five years ago and she’s been blaming herself every day since then. Her relationship with her dad is strained at best, she’s living in Loserville at school and she’s developed a fixation on Nate, an unattainable boy. The one totally normal relationship she has is with her best friend Tanner, a cute guy in a wheelchair.

Nate is planning a dangerous trip up Denali right as the anniversary of Abbey’s mother approaches and she and her father head to their cabin in Healy. With death and guilt on her mind, the single crow that seems to have been watching over her lately turns into a flock – and Abbey finds out that Death has been watching her, learning what she likes and wants to have life, even at the expense of someone else’s.

In a way, there are three separate stories running here, all very different, and I like the way Dane writes all of them for the most part. Back at home, Tanner is dealing with some bullying targeted at him and Abbey as well as keeping track of Nate and Denali because of his own interest in climbing. On Denali, there’s the story of Nate, his friend Josh and then their families when the climb goes wrong. Then in Healy, there’s Abbey, her father and Death. The story is told various alternating perspectives, Abbey’s first person POV, Nate and Tanner’s third. I was going to say I really liked Nate’s but then again, I really liked Tanner’s too. The sections with Nate on Denali were very powerful and if there had been a better way to weave him into the book, I’d have liked to see more of his character. I liked his family, especially his little sister.

Tanner was also a special character, one that I was glad to see more of as the story gained momentum near the end. He was sweet and funny and it was interesting the way his being in a wheelchair was worked into the story without it ever really being an issue. I can’t say that I always “got” Abbey but I think so much of what she did was driven by her grief and self-directed anger, maybe I wasn’t supposed to always figure her out. She did some unhealthy things which I would think is normal for someone who blames themselves for something monumental but she did a number of things when Death showed his face that I can’t imagine a fifteen-year old doing.

I’ve always liked the concept of Death itself as an entity (Jackie Morse Kessler does a great job of this in her Riders of the Apocalypse series), so I was intrigued by Dane’s take on it. I definitely like her idea – that Death can remember a soul that it didn’t get to take and has the ability to stalk it and try to experience things through it. There were some questions I wanted answered – why hadn’t Death done this before? Why only Abbey, surely there had been others? How could Death be ageless but now know certain things?  When Death expressed almost child-like emotions, I think I understood it the most.

My Summary: On a Dark Wing is a nicely told story about love, loss, guilt, obsession, forgiveness and friendship. I liked the majority of the story’s puzzle pieces, although they didn’t necessarily always fit well together for me, mostly because I just didn’t always understand Abbey. Dane is a talented author who writes with beautiful imagery and she made the story worth reading.

My Rating: B-

The awesome people at Harlequin Teen have donated ten signed copies of On a Dark Wing to be given away during the tour and you can win one of them right here (US only).  Abbey’s even going to sneak a “special surprise” into the package (don’t ask me, she’s apparently sworn everyone to secrecy).  Just fill in the super-simple Rafflecopter form, don’t forget to check out other stops on the tour for more chances to win copies of On a Dark Wing, and make sure you enter to win the Kindle Fire Jordan’s giving away!

The Giveaway has ended – thanks to everyone who entered!

Giveaway: Trading Cards from Author Laura Kaye

If you’ve been to any of the conventions or have seen any author swag lately, you’ll know that book trading cards are really popular.  I have some I use for bookmarks and some I like to keep in really pristine condition – just glancing around my desk I see a few tucked into my day planner.

Laura Kaye has sets for each of her books, Forever Freed, Hearts in Darkness, Just Gotta Say and North of Need, and she’s offering a fun package that includes all of them for one lucky giveaway winner here.  Entry couldn’t be easier – just fill in the Rafflecopter form leaving your information!  Comments are always appreciated (and loved for my interview with Laura!), but not necessary.

The giveaway begins December 15th at midnight and will end the 22nd at midnight.
Good Luck!

Giveaway is closed – Thanks to everyone who entered!

E Van Lowe’s Earth Angel Cyber Monday Giveaway

Earth Angel by E Van Lowe is going on a month-long blog tour to announce its release and Bewitching Book Tours is having a Cyber Monday Giveaway of an awesome prize package to celebrate.  The winner will even get their goodies in time for Christmas!
Here’s a look at what’s included:
Signed copies of both Boyfriend from Hell and Earth Angel
Bath and Body Works Winter Candy Apple Gift Set

Special Delivery! This adorable striped mini-mailbox holds travel sizes of Shower Gel, Body Lotion and Fragrance Mist (3 oz. each) in Bath and Body Works Holiday Winter Candy Apple Scent! BBW Exclusive Winter Candy Apple is a mouth-watering blend of crisp apple, candied orange and rich cinnamon spice.
Includes a gift tag on the mailbox’s red flag.
Tin mailbox is a fun, reusable container.
Over $20 value.
Fuzzy Black Winter Hat
Purple and Black Striped Fuzzy Gloves
Purple and Black Striped Slipper Socks
Bewitching Witch Hat Mini Notebook
Bewitching Book Tours Broom Pen
Jennifer Scales Novel by Mary Janice Davidson


This giveaway is U.S. only.  You can earn extra entry points by commenting here, following E’s blog, signing up for his newsletter or liking his Facebook page or by liking Bewitching Blog Tours’ Facebook page.

I’ll be reviewing both books in December (Boyfriend From Hell got a snazzy new cover to match Earth Angel) so come back for it!
Now you know you want to smell nice and be warm in some fuzzies while you read these terrific books, so go forth and enter.  🙂  And good luck!

Contest has ended

E Van Lowe was born in the Bronx a long time ago, back in the days when children were supposed to be seen and not heard. Fortunately for E, his parents allowed him to speak freely. Unfortunately for his parents and older brother, E had a lot to say. He was speaking quite freely until one day, while his mother was trying to watch her “stories” (which is code for soap operas), she suggested that instead of speaking freely, he write all his important thoughts down. E wrote down many important thoughts, such as: crayons melt when you leave them on the radiator, or toy soldiers melt when you drop them in the muffin batter before mom puts it in the oven. His brother thought he was weird, but E was only ten years old at the time. What did he expect, Shakespeare? E liked writing things down so much, he decided that when he grew up, he was going to become a professional writer.

As a teenager, E tried very hard to be popular. One of the things he tried was hanging out with the “bad” kids. He encouraged them to write their thoughts down, as well. They explained that if they wrote down their thoughts it could be used as evidence in a court of law, and encouraged E to move on. But E kept writing down his important thoughts.
E wrote many short stories and poems all through high school and college. He entered them in writing contests, but the contest people didn’t think they were important enough. E was not discouraged. He kept writing.

When E graduated from Lehman College in the Bronx, he moved to Los Angeles. There he enrolled in the Masters In Professional Writing Program at the University of Southern California. It worked! While a student at USC, E sold his first short story to a romance magazine. His brother thought that was the weirdest thing ever. E didn’t care. He had become a professional writer. E told his brother quite eloquently, “nah, nah, nah!” and continued writing.

E has gone on to write for many award winning TV shows including: The Cosby Show, and Even Stevens. He also co-wrote the Academy Award nominated short film, Cadillac Dreams. Never Slow Dance With A Zombie was his first teen novel. Boyfriend From Hell is the first in the Falling Angels Saga. The second novel in the saga, Earth Angel, will be coming out soon. It seems E still has lots of important, and weird, thoughts to share with readers.

Gratitude Giveaway Blog Hop

This is very close to also being one year from the day I started the blog (October 27th, 2010), so I feel like I have a double dose of gratitude for my followers.  There definitely have been times I felt like quitting but a couple of special people in particular reminded me that I started doing this because I loved it.  So, duh.  Keep doing it.
My giveaway is open internationally, anywhere The Book Depository ships.Contest is open until midnight, November 27th and I’ll have a winner drawn Monday, November 28th.
Rather than specifying that the giveaway is for one book, I’m giving away $25US of whatever book-ish stuff you’d like from The Book Depository.  Go wild on discounted books, get a nice hardcover or pick up a pretty journal and a bookmark or two.
Thank you!
(Giveaway is closed)