Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The Natural Order Book Blitz Excerpt+Giveaway!

Book & Author Details:

The Natural Order by R.J. Vickers
Publication date: March 14th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult


       Tristan Fairholm is one of 15 juvenile delinquents selected to learn magic…for a purpose that is kept secret from them. When they at last learn that the magic they have harvested causes death and ruin in a bid to keep the world from collapse, they must make a choice: do they fight it? Or do they use it?
If you loved Harry Potter and The Golden Compass, you won’t want to miss this new YA fantasy!

Author bio

       R.J. Vickers grew up in beautiful Boulder, Colorado, earned a BA in Writing and Publishing at Emerson College, and was shortly thereafter whisked off to New Zealand by her Kiwi partner.

       She now lives in Christchurch with her fiance, Daniel, where she works as a part-time chef. When she's not writing, she loves hiking and adventuring throughout New Zealand.

       R.J. Vickers is the author of The Natural Order, the first book in a new young adult fantasy series. She swears by NaNoWriMo, and has written seven short novels during the typing frenzy that is November.

Author links:


Chapter 6

The Lemon Tree

                It came as a surprise when Brikkens he would be giving everybody a chance to try magic.
                At the unexpected announcement, Tristan lifted his head from the desk and blinked up at Brikkens, whose bulk was spilling over the arms of his sturdy chair.
                “Ah, Mr. Fairholm” Brikkens said happily. Pushing his glasses even further up his stubby nose, he leaned forward and peered at Tristan.
                “Yeah?” Said Tristan sleepily. He sat up straighter, smoothing his hair over his face.
                Brinley Alldusk tells me that you’re rather good at detecting auras. Is this true?”
                Tristan shrugged.
                “Well, come forward.” Brikkens urged. “You will be the first to attempt a rudimentary spell, because out of everyone here, you are most likely to succeed.”
                Tristan was sure that Amber knew more than him, but he decided not to correct Brikkens. Instead he rose and crossed the room to stand next to the professor. No one was napping now—Leila eyed Tristan with doubtful curiosity, while Zeke sat forward in his chair and smirked.
                Brikkens dug into a pocket of the horrible maroon vest he always wore. Then he grabbed Tristan by the wrist and pressed one of the golden marbles into his hand. Tristan looked in surprise at the marble, cold and metallic in his palm; he had expected something a little more unusual, given that it was spun by pure magic.
                “Now what?” Tristan said. “How am I supposed to use it?” He tried not to look around the room—half the students wanted him to fail spectacularly, while the others anticipated no better.
                Brikkens cleared his throat. “Well the key to magic is concentration. To manipulate the power of this orb you must isolate a single thought from within the complexity of your mind and use this command to direct the magic. Allow any unnecessary thoughts to intrude, and the spell will be broken—hence, the magic will drain away with no results. Or, if you are unlucky, the spell could go awry.”
                Swallowing, Tristan closed his hand around the icy marble.
                “Well, now, let’s see what you can do.” Brikken said enthusiastically. “The amount of magic stored in a single orb isn’t enough to do any real harm, so give us a show, my boy!”
                That was it? Had the professor given better instructions the week before when Tristan had been dozing off? Why hadn’t he paid better attention?
                Tristan took a steading breath and looked around the room, hoping for inspiration. The curving walls shone white and empty, as blank as his thoughts, but when he turned his gaze to the ceiling, he remembered the first day of class. Brikkens had changed the color of the domed ceiling but first….Eli had suggested he grow a tree.
                Cradling the orb in the palm of his right hand, Tristan dug in his pockets with his left. After a moment he unearthed a handful of debris from botany; mixed into the dirt and pebbles were a few likely-looking seeds. He dropped the whole handful on the clean marble floor behind his back.
                Now what? The students were beginning to lose interest. When Brikkens had done his magic show, he’s blown on the marbles before dropping them, so Tristan did the same, just to be safe. Then he closed his eyes and tried to marshal his thoughts.
                Slowly, he managed to dull his awareness, until his mind was empty apart from the single desire.
                Grow. He thought, trying to be stern. I don’t know what kind of plant you are, but you’re getting plenty of sunlight and water and…
                The marble began to change in his hand, growing warmer and warmer, while at the same time, growing less substantial. Tristan opened his eyes just to see if it was still there, and his concentration shattered. The marble hadn’t moved, though it was starting to cool already. He was losing hold of the spell.
                Okay, Tristian continued, ignoring the thrill of anticipation that ran through him. He squeezed his eyes shut once again. This time you’re actually going to grow. He pictures a seed unfurling it’s leaves, easing its root into the earth, stretching a stalk toward the sky…
                The marble was growing hot again, until it was like holding a naked flame. Now grow. He turned his hand over and let the weightless magic vapor slide away.
                Shoulders tingling with excitement Tristan opened his eyes and looked across the polished round table. Damian and Zeke were sniggering and Eli had turned to mutter something to Trey. Leila shrugged and mouthed it’s all right.
                All at once, the room grew silent. Zeke sat up straighter in his chair, and Hayley’s round eyes widened until her eyebrows disappeared beneath her bangs. Tristan didn’t know what they were looking at. Could they see his scars? He pressed his hair into place again.
                Then something nudged Tristan in the back of his knee. He jumped and whirled around—there was something shooting up from the ground.
                His seeds were growing.
                Shocked, Tristan stumbled away from the cluster of plants. The tallest was a pale, delicate tree that shivered as it grew, sending out leaves and new branches that uncurled faster than a lizard’s tongue. There was another plant blossoming to its rear, a tangled dark bush with thorns. As the bush crept it’s way up the tree’s thickening trunk, it budded and then erupted in scarlet blooms.

                When the tree unfolded like an umbrella underneath the domed ceiling, Tristan’s spine  tinged with power. In that instant, he could feel magic coursing through is veins and hovering in the air, just beyond his grasp. This magic wasn’t frightening or confusing—no, it was subtle and potent and good.


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Sunday, 13 September 2015

Upcoming New Feature!

       Today, I was thinking about how I love when authors include a playlist of songs to listen to while you are reading their book. (Melissa Marr did this at the end of Wicked Lovely I believe. I'm half certain that Veronica Roth did this at the end of Divergent but I'm not entirely sure) So I decided that I'm going to make a weekly feature on my blog where I take my current read and pair a song that I think would work well with it. I think I'm going to call this "Rock my Read!" but title is currently under construction. I'm thinking that I'll post these every Sunday, meaning that my first one will be next Sunday! I'm very excited to start this so I hope it works out! When I post my first one up, I'll have all the kinks worked out so I'll be able to explain things better like the general rules and such.

If other blogs already have a feature like this, I'm not trying to take your idea! I'm just trying to have some fun!

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Chat With me Thursday: Blogger Interview with Krystianna

        For the 12th Chat With me Thursday, I have Krystianna, blogger over at Downright Dystopian 

1. How long have you been blogging?

       I've been blogging since July 2012, so it's been a solid 3 years! The time has definitely flown by though. It seems like just yesterday was my first day in the wonderful world of blogging! 

2. What is your current favourite book?

       Armada by Ernest Cline. It was just so geeky and involved outer space so it was perfect for me. It also included tons of nerdy references and video games. 

3. What is your most viewed post? Are you surprised that this particular post is your most viewed?

       My most viewed post is actually an interview with Dianne of Oops! I Read It Again. It's so odd because it has about 4000 views and doesn't even compare to the second most viewed post because of that. 

4. What's your favourite kind of post to write?

       I honestly love writing reviews! I love it more if it's a book I actually enjoyed. 

5. If you could trade places with a protagonist of any book, which protagonist would you choose?

       I'd have to say Anna from Anna and the French Kiss. Etienne was just the best, so I don't see who wouldn't want to switch places with her. 

6. Is there any couple in any book that you hate, but everybody else seems to love?

       Yes! The girl that Thomas ends up with at the end of The Death Cure by James Dashner. I'd say who it is but I don't want to spoil. JUST KNOW THAT I DON'T SUPPORT IT. 

7. Do you re-read books? If so, which book have you re-read the most?

       I do! My most re-read book would have to be either The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins or Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling. 

8. Do you ever plan on stopping your book blog?

       I don't so I hope that never happens! I love blogging about books so much. If anything, I'd switch to making booktube videos if I ever got the confidence, but I'm always going to do my best to keep up my blog!

9. Who is your favourite author?

       My favorite author is Ernest Cline, just because I literally feel like the books he writes are just for me. They're perfect for me in every way. 

10. Do you have any ship that never sailed, but you desperately wish it did?

       Harry Potter and Hermione! I feel like they'd have been perfect for each other. Oh, well. :/

Follow Krystianna!


Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Top 10 Tuesday: Series I Have YET to Finish


       This lovely weekly feature is hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish.

       I have a lot of series' and trilogies that I have YET to finish so this topic was a pretty easy one to complete

Gone trilogy by Micheal Grant
I read the first book back in 2012 and I thought it was pretty good, I just haven't gotten around to reading any of the other ones yet.

House of Night series by PC & Kristen Cast
I'm not even going to post the covers of these, I stopped reading after I finished Awakened, which I believe is the 8th book in the series. I'm not sure I'm ever going to pick these books up again, it's just way too long and drawn out.

Shatter me trilogy by Tahereh Mafi

I still haven't read the final book. It's killing me inside, even though I know I could read it at any time I want.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver
I read the first book and I thought it was great, I don't know why I haven't tried to read the second one, I do have access to it

The Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

It's been so long since I've read the first book Beautiful Creatures. I know I need to refresh my memory by rereading it before I can move on, but the books are so long and I just don't have the time.

The Maze Runner series by James Dashner
I read the first book The Maze Runner in 2013 I believe, but I don't know if I liked it nearly enough to continue on.

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
Sometimes you'll hear me rant about how I have the first 3 books of this series on my shelf--Unread--but do you think I've read them yet after at least 1 1/2 years of ranting? Nope.

The Legend trilogy by Marie Lu
I read the first book Legend probably sometime in 2014 and I loved it. I still reread it on long car trips, so I cannot for the life of me understand why I haven't continued reading.

Unwind by Neil Sushterman
I read Unwind a long time ago. Before I even started this blog, I think. I feel like Unwind is harshly undiscovered, but, it to this day is one of my favorite books. The only reason I have not continued is because I haven't been able to find the next book anywhere.

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkings
I do plan on continuing with this, eventually. In time, my friends. In time.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

My Secret to Tell by Natalie D. Richards

Author: Natalie D. Richards
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Expected publication: October 6 2015


       Emmie is the good girl her parents need. She's on her way to getting into law school, she volunteers at the animal shelter, get's good grades, and does whatever she can do to make others happy.

       When her friend Deacon shows up at her house covered in blood and on the verge of hysteria, Emmie decided that she doesn't want to be the good girl anymore, she wants to make her own decisions, her first being helping Deacon, but helping Deacon might mean helping a criminal. But at this point? She doesn't really care. She just knows that the blood on Deacons hands is his father's, and if she doesn't find out who committed the crime, Deacon's going to go down for it.


       I'm seeing a theme in Richards' book covers. The main character of the book, featured on a white/light colored bright background. Regardless of that, I think this cover, and all of her other book covers are very pretty.


       One of the biggest reasons I love Richards' books is because of the style in which she writes. Her books are full of sentences like this:

       "His smile is a crime"

       "Getting into my denim shorts is an exercise in misery"

       "My heart lodges in the space between my tonsils, Banging out an SOS message in every beat"

       "His laugh is an oil stain in the putrid air"

       A lot of sentences are more poetic than that, but in my brief skim of the novel to find pretty sentences, I found these.


       Obviously, there's a love story between Deacon and Emmie, but it was only a small part of the book, seeing as Deacon has some bigger problems and he isn't aware that Emmie thinks about him in that way.


       I liked Emmie, she had an interesting personality especially with her OCD-like tendencies as I haven't read about a character like that before.


       I really liked Deacon. His backstory type deal was cool and I liked watching him progress with his fear of blood. He in some ways is the stereotypical bad boy, but he was still interesting.


       Chelsea annoyed me. A lot. She's Deacon's wholesome sister, and Emmie's best friend, but quite honestly, if I was Emmie, I would be angry at her a lot. I hated the fact that there was a big secret that she was keeping from Emmie, even when the secret started getting tangled in with Emmie's life. Of course, she apologized eventually, and I kind of understand why Chelsea wouldn't want anybody to know the secret, but c'mon.


       I liked the plot, but at some points nothing was really happening. It wasn't too often and I never considered putting the book down, I was too interested in the actual story, but some chapters were boring.


       I was super excited when I was granted access to the title, because I practically fall in love with anything this author writes,but this novel of hers wasn't my favorite of hers. It was still very captivating and I would probably buy it if I get the chance. I would recommend this to anybody, really. Boys or girls, as long as they like suspense/mystery type books.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Chat With Me Thurday #11:Melissa A Craven

       Today I bring you another Chat With Me Thursday, this time with author of Emerge: The Awakening, Melissa A. Craven! I wrote a review of her book earlier this month and if you read it, you can tell that I thought it was absolutely wonderful and I was very happy when she agreed to do this interview with me!

1. Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
       I grew up near Atlanta, Georgia, but I've always moved around a lot and I mean, a lot! At this point, I'm a Nomad so I wouldn't expect me to stay put anywhere indefinitely. I tend to do things the hard way because I'm stubborn and I don't like doing things just because that's the way everyone else does it. I think it's very important to make decisions that make sense for me so I really tend to deviate from that traditional life checklist (college, job, marriage, house, kids ...)
2. When did you decide that you wanted to be a writer?
       Um ... probably when I was about ten chapters into Emerge. It was something I started on a whim that I never thought I'd actually finish. The night I started writing Emerge, I'd had a conversation with a co-worker about the serious lack of good reading material at the time. He just looked at me and said, "you're smart, why don't you write something yourself and stop complaining about it?" The first words out of my mouth were, "I can't do that!" And I absolutely hate those words. After he left, I had a conversation with myself and decided I could do it if I really wanted to. That's how it started and I quickly fell in love with writing.
3. How did you find the publishing process? Was it easier or more difficult than you originally thought?
       I was very naive about the whole thing in the beginning. The publishing world can be extremely confusing, but once I figured out the right course for my book, I felt much more confidant. I set out to pursue the "traditional" publishing route, but I only submitted a few query letters to agents before I decided the whole process involved way too much red tape for me. I'm a huge supporter of indie authors, but it can be a very lonely and intimidating process. You just have to take one thing at a time and educate yourself on the right way of doing it. In my humble opinion there is a huge difference between self-publishing and being a true indie author.
4. Who was the most difficult character to write in Emerge?
       Allie. There were several things I wanted to accomplish with her character, but mostly I wanted her to be real. I wanted her to struggle with insecurities the way we all do, but at the same time, I wanted her to grow into her confidence. I wanted her to be a great example of a strong independent young woman, but I also wanted her have moments where she was vulnerable and uncertain because no one is strong 100% of the time. Shaping her character is sometimes a difficult balancing act. And Aidan is a similar challenge.  
5. Who was the most fun?
        Without a doubt, Darius is the most fun because I really never know what he's going to do or what's going to come out of his mouth next. He's that character that just came out of nowhere and did his own thing. He was never supposed to be anything more than one of Aidan's many brothers, but no one ever told him that. He likes to do his own thing so I'm certain we'll see more of him throughout the series.
6.If you could go back and change anything about your book, would you?
       Not a thing. I absolutely love the way it came together. Emerge starts at a slow boil and continues to simmer through the world building and backstories before it explodes. I set out to write a much more complex story than we usually see in YA and I know that will not appeal to every reader. My readers are super excited about this series and I want them to know that everything we learned in book one is vital to the series in some way or another. Especially the history of the Immortals--that story definitely isn't over yet. But I do get a lot of requests for a family tree to help keep track of all the characters and their family connections, which you can expect to see on my website, hopefully sometime this fall.   
7. Do the reviews you get affect you?
       Most of my reviews are extremely positive and hugely motivating so I try to stay focused on that, but sometimes a comment here or there really stings. I'd be lying if I said it didn't. But I also think having a variety of ratings is very important for the success of any book. That more than anything gives potential readers a realistic view of what to expect when they buy a book. When I'm checking out a new author, I always look at the bad reviews first. I know the book is good when even the bad reviews have something positive to say.
8. How did you come up with the plot for Emerge?
       Well, it just kind of developed and morphed into what it is. I made the decision to write a book before I actually thought about what kind of story it would be. I knew I wanted to do something different and I decided early on that my characters would be young Immortals with cool powers and that their parents would have interesting histories. I also knew that beneath all the supernatural elements, I wanted to represent gender equality. So often in YA, strong female characters overshadow their male counterparts. And vice versa. I wanted to create a dynamic of mutual respect and strength among all my characters. Over the years, Emerge has gone through many different phases and it's light years away from my original draft, but those core elements have always remained the same. 
9. How long did Emerge take you to write?
       Way too long! If you want to know the best way to NOT write a book, I'm your girl. From the first attempt to the final draft, it took about five years. Some of that time was me walking away from it for several months at a time, but I always came back to it because I could not get the story out of my mind and I knew I had to finish it. When I finally had a very long, very rough draft, and I was dedicated to finishing it, it took about two years.
10. Are any of your characters based in any way on people you know?
       A few of my characters have been inspired by people I know, but as that character develops and the story progresses, they definitely take on a life of their own.
11. Overall, how are you enjoying the experience of being a writer?
       I love it. I feel like I have the best job in the world and there are days where I have to pinch myself because I'm not sure I should be having such a good time at work. I'm blessed to be able to do the thing I love most in the world.
12. Who are some of your favourite authors?
       I'm going to reveal my inner dork and admit that my love for epic fantasy began long before Game of Thrones made it cool. The Demon cycle by Peter V. Brett is one of my favorites. But I'm a YA girl at heart. One of my goals this year is to add all the best examples of strong female MCs to my recommended reading list on my website (which is currently under construction.) Kayla Howarth's, The Institute series will probably be the first on that list. I'm not a fan of Dystopian, but she does an incredible job with her MC, Allira. She and Allie would definitely be friends.  
13. Any advice for aspiring authors?
Two things:
       1.) Ask for help. Looking back over my own experience, I should have sought the advice of other writers and readers long before I finally did. Writing a book is like building a house. It takes a team of skilled individuals to create a set of construction documents and see it though from the foundation to placing the very last window. No one person can do it all. It's the same with a book. It takes more than just one author with a good idea to tell a great story, and editing is the most vital part of that process. Educate yourself on what the editing process actually entails because it's so much more than fixing typos and using correct grammar. It continually astounds me how many authors don't realize that.

       2.) Don't listen to all the noise. This is a weird time in the world of publishing and everyone has an opinion about how and when authors should promote their books. Some of it is great advice, but take it all with a grain of salt. Keep your head down and write a good book because nothing else matters if your product isn't the best it can be. Write a good book and all that other stuff will fall into place.