Tuesday, July 31, 2012

PAYA Giveaway!

If you follow me on Twitter, then you've probably seen me tweet and re-tweet about the annual PAYA event which comes up in late August. This event is to raise money for libraries in Pennsylvania and donate fantastic YA fiction to libraries. You can read more about it here. Please consider donating books here.

This is the third annual PAYA event, and I am thrilled to be attending for the third time. I have a stack of books to bring to be signed and a list of books to buy there. But since a percentage of books sold there will go to the libraries, I'd like to add another book to my list. So I am giving one away! To be specific, one of the six following books!

From her birth, Abisina has been outcast--for the color of her eyes and skin, and for her lack of a father. Only her mother's status as the village healer has kept her safe. But when a mythic leader arrives, Abisina's life is ripped apart. She escapes alone to try to find the father and the home she has never known. In a world of extremes, from the deepest prejudice to the greatest bonds of duty and loyalty, Abisina must find her own way and decide where her true hope lies.

Love ties them together. Death can't tear them apart. Best. Birthday. Ever. At least, it was supposed to be. With Logan's band playing a critical gig and Aura's plans for an intimate after-party, Aura knows it will be the most memorable night of her boyfriend's life. She never thought it would be his last.

Logan's sudden death leaves Aura devastated. He's gone.

Well, sort of.

Like everyone born after the Shift, Aura can see and hear ghosts. This mysterious ability has always been annoying, and Aura had wanted nothing more than to figure out why the Shift happened so she can undo it. But not with Logan's violet-hued spirit still hanging around. Because dead Logan is almost as real as ever. "Almost."

It doesn't help that Aura's new friend Zachary is so understanding--and so very alive. His support means more to Aura than she cares to admit.

As Aura's relationships with the dead and the living grow ever complicated, so do her feelings for Logan and Zachary. Each holds a piece of Aura's heart...and clues to the secret of the Shift.

When a wealthy sorcerer hires Nimira to sing with a mysterious piano-playing automaton, Nimira believes it will be the start of a better life. But at the sorcerer's estate, rumors swirl about ghosts, a madwoman, and fairies that are tortured for sport. When Nimira discovers-and falls for-the spirit of a fairy gentleman trapped in the automaton, she will also find the fate of the magical world in her hands.

The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen.
The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.
And there are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.

But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi's need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

Colt and Julia were secretly together for a year, and no one ever knew, not even Julia's boyfriend. Why would they-they were from two different crowds. Julia lived in her country club world and Colt . . . didn't. Then Julia dies in a car accident. Colt is devastated but can't mourn openly, and he's tormented that he may have played a part in her death. And when Julia's journal ends up in his hands, he is forced to relive their year together-just when he is trying to forget. The problem is, how do you get over someone who was never really yours to begin with?

It started out as a harmless prank. But soon enough, spiritualism was the fastest growing movement of the nineteenth century, and Maggie Fox was trapped in a life of deceit.

Meticulously researched by the author, We Hear the Dead reveals the secret of how the Fox sisters faked their rapping sounds and their motives for inventing the séance and founding spiritualism.

I began the deception when I was too young to know right from wrong. No one suspected us of any trick, because we were such young children. We were led on by my sister purposely and by my mother unintentionally. Only with the passing of time did I come to understand the consequences of my actions. As Doctor wrote to me: "Weary, weary is the life by cold deceit oppressed."

My sister has used the word "deception." I object to her use of that word, for I do not believe that I have ever intentionally deceived anyone. Maggie has a different understanding of all the events that have happened since that night in Hydesville forty years ago. To her the spirits were always a game. For my sister Leah, they were a means to an end. For my mother, a miracle. And for me, they were my life's calling. I have no regrets.

Rules: 1. You must follow my blog.
2. You must be 13 or older.
3. International giveaway.
4. You must fill out this form.

And... if I get up to 850 followers I'll give away two books!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Book Review: Sirenz Back in Fashion

It's Hell on heels--again

When Shar tries on a ring from Hades, it activates an obscure contractual clause that puts Shar and former-frenemy-now-friend Meg in Hades' service once more. Shar is whisked away to the Underworld to prepare a ball for Persephone, while Meg is sent to retrieve the errant soul of spoiled rich girl Paulina Swanson and send her to the abyss. Just when it appears the girls will be doomed to serve Hades for eternity, Shar meets two possibly helpful demi-gods who also happen to be gorgeous. Can the girls finally ditch the Lord of the Dead once and for all?

Only recently read Sirenz by Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman and loved it. So I was very excited to get my hands on Sirenz Back in Fashion. In the first book, Meg and Shar completed their task and were freed, more or less, from their bond with Hades. But Hades seems like the kind of god who won't let you go easily.

So here our sirens are, trying to enjoy their normal existence as high school seniors, when they accidentally call Hades back to them. And they are once again in his service. Meg is given the task of sending someone to Hades in Tartarus while Shar herself is whisked off to Tartarus.

In this installment in the Sirenz series, more deities are introduced as we delve deeper into Grecian mythology. I love books that use mythology correctly, and at the same time the authors can mix things up without it being absurd or taking us too far from the original stories. Natalie and Charlotte do this well. The story is also fresh and interesting fast-paced. I didn't want to put this one down. I'm very excited to read the third book.

Nat: When not playing with pointed objects, Natalie Zaman is usually writing. She lives in central New Jersey with her family and several fine looking chickens.

Char: Lover of sparkly things, Char doesn't have as many shoes as she'd like, but wouldn't have time to wear them anyway with her three boys, husband, cat with issues, demented squirrels and insistent characters all demanding her time. She is represented by Natalie Lakosil of the Bradford Literary Agency and is hoping to get all her characters into print just so they'll be quiet.


Monday, July 2, 2012

Short Story Review: Far

Lesbian zombies, fucked up love and a sentient world...

Once, Mana stole back souls for a living. As a Runner, it was her job to snatch the dead out of After and spare them from a dubious future provided by a machine known as the Recycler. Through magic and will, she joined the stolen souls to their dead bodies and brought them back to "life" as Reanima. It was gruesome--and illegal--but it was business. Mana was the best Runner in the nameless city...

And then she met Far.

Far had been waiting her entire life to die. The city smothered her, and there was no way out. Far had treasonous questions about her existence, and though Mana loved Far with all her heart, love was not enough to save her.

When Far dies, Mana goes against her wishes and steals back her lover's soul, losing her own in the process. Now a Reanima and alone, Far must decide what's more important: truth, freedom, or the love of her death.

"Far" is a dark fantasy short story, just over ten thousand words in length.

I enjoyed re-reading Sugar Moon by Sarah Diemer so much, that I decided I needed to read something else by this fabulous author. Far is the second ebook I bought, so I read this one today. It's a short story, so it's a quick read, but definitely enjoyable.

Mana is a Runner who sneaks/tricks her way into After, the realm where the souls of the dead go. She steals souls back for coin and reanimates the body with it's soul. It's a way for people to get their loved ones back... temporarily. Until their body starts to decompose. Mana is able to make enough money to support her and her girlfriend, Far, because being a Runner is very dangerous.

The story picks up just after Far's death. Mana buys her body and goes into After on her most important mission. This Run isn't for money; it's to save her lover. The first chapter is from Mana's point of view, and then the following two chapters are narrated by Far. I liked that I got to read from both points of view. I wasn't sure what to think of them and their relationship until I understood it from both girls. The writing was fantastic and the story was unique. If you like zombies and/or lesbian romances, pick this one up!

I'm definitely looking forward to more from Sarah Diemer. Up next: The Dark Wife.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Book Review: Sugar Moon

Sugar Moon

Elise sells magic, charms and dreams out the back door of her brightly painted wagon. A Witch and daughter of the Maja, she believes that everything happens for a reason, but she has never quite understood why there is a hollow feeling in the place where her heart should be.

One night, at the fabled Moon Market, she meets a stranger. The woman's name is Via, and in a single night, love finds Elise; for the first time in her young life, she feels no emptiness.

But Elise's past is catching up with her. In the dark of night and burn of day, the Fevered turn their soulless faces in her direction, changing course. They hunt her, intent on devouring her light.

SUGAR MOON is the first novella in the MAJA Trilogy.

I picked up Sugar Moon by Sarah Diemer because it sounded like something a lovely pagan, such as myself, should read. While I love witchy tales (including Harry Potter, The Hollows, and the Caster Chronicles), there is a distinct lack of witchy tales that are true to the Pagan religion. Most are about waving wands and reciting incantations. And don't get me wrong, I enjoy that, but it isn't what paganism is about. So, perhaps, I should call this pagan fiction. Not witchy fiction.

The main character, Elise, lives her life traveling in a bandyloo (to the right is a picture of what I imagined it looking like) which is pulled by her sweet pony, Matilda. Whenever she comes to a Keep she leaves offerings for her goddess. But the evil which killed her mother is back. The Fevered. 

The Maja ask her to be their representative among a group of magical races to figure out how to defeat the Fevered once and for all. There are five other magical races: Virtue, Elemental, Austere, Shifter, and Hedgewic. They all come together at a Kindred House which are traditionally tended to by the Maja. But this one has long been abandoned and is in disrepair. 

Elise is very independent, and she loves the open road, traveling further than most Maja. The idea of tending a Kindred House is something she can't fathom, but she agrees nonetheless. She's young and single and not really interested in love. Until she meets Via. She falls hard and fast, even knowing that she may only have one night with her. I loved this book, so much so, that I recently re-read it. I'm still looking forward to reading Marrow Moon, when it’s available, as well as some of Sarah Diemer’s other stuff.

Be sure to check out Sarah’s website and follow her on Twitter.

Grl2Grl Winner

And the winner is...

Ricki from Reading Challenged!

She chose "Her Secret Life". Check your email!