Blog Tour: Hero


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Setting Sail on a Fairy Tale Adventure*

*Family Welcome



Author Interview

I am thrilled to be able to welcome Alethea Kontis to my blog today!!! I read Enchanted last year and loved it, so I was very excited to get to interview her and review Hero for this tour, which releases today.

What was your inspiration and how difficult was it to pull these different fairy tale pieces together and work them into your stories?

I have been accused many times of "cramming all the fairy tales into one book like it was some sort of challenge"--and indeed, it sort of started out that way. The original short story (technically novelette) "Sunday" was an entry in my writing group's fairy tale contest in 2005. We were only required to include three tales or nursery rhymes from a selected list but I'm so well-versed (ha! pun totally intended) in all of them that they all fit together into one family like some crazy piece of John Nash collage art. In order to finish the "short" story, I had to promise myself that I would later go back and write the book about these characters. "Sunday" was published in Realms of Fantasy in October of 2006.

(Here's a link to the original illustration that went with the story in the magazine-- still my favorite illustration of Sunday and Rumbold to date: http://www.grimstudios.com/SGrimandowebPage/FrogPrince.html)

I always like to see what fans create based on books they've loved! Thanks for sharing.

I love how your damsels in distress seem to end up as their own heroes as well, but at the same time have strong male characters who play opposite them and contribute to their happily-ever-after. I really appreciate this balance because I think that’s how relationships should work - with both partners being strong and making each other better. Was this something intentionally done or was it something that developed as you wrote and as your characters developed?

I think it's an organic process-- my characters come from me, and my knowledge and experience of the world, so my characters are typically more "realistic" about their expectations. They are flawed, like me, and like me sometimes they have to work for their happily ever after. And, like me, sometimes magic just happens...and they must choose to go with it, or fight against nature. (I typically go with it.)

I also think as people that our experiences, while unique, are still similar on a global scale. I was a girl who grew up feeling very alone, even when surrounded by friends--turns out, this isn't such a rare thing after all, it's just something that never really got discussed in contemporary literature. I feel very lucky that I get to address the sort of characters and situations that modern day teenagers can relate to...and yet keep it in a fantasy setting. (SCORE!)

You wrote a couple of children’s books before Enchanted was published. What influenced your decision to switch genres or did you always want to write this series in the YA genre?

Enchanted was very much the book I always wanted to write. All the other books I've done have been great opportunities and I've loved every minute of them (and still do!) but YA fantasy is where my heart is. I've been an avid reader since the age of three, which means I was a pretty genius, hyper-aware little kid. I wanted magic to happen in my life possibly more than any other little girl in the whole wide world...barring that, I wanted to one day write books like the ones in which I escaped every day after school. And now I do.

I just have to ask, what is your favorite fairy tale and fairy tale princess and why?

Yay! I love answering this question. My favorite princess is the main character in "The Goose Girl", who is tricked by her evil maid into switching places once they arrive at the palace of her  betrothed.

Like many of the Grimms' fairy tale princesses, the Goose Girl is fairly passive and doesn't really take charge of the situation, but she is surrounded by clever people (like Conrad, and the king) who become her unknown allies and work to see that justice is done without forcing the Goose Girl to betray her oath. Also, she talks to the severed head of her horse every day on the way to work like it was something people did all the time. This scene freaked a lot of kids out, but I loved it--it was something that made the Goose Girl unique and special.

"Ah, Falada, there thou hangest."
"Ah, Queen's daughter, there thou gangest.
If thy mother knew thy fate,
her heart would break with grief so great."

She wasn't just a princess--she was the daughter of a sorceress. To me, that's always been pretty darned awesome.

When you want to read a happily-ever-after fairy tale, what do you read?

Ooh -- good question. My all-time favorites are The Darkangel Trilogy by Meredith Ann Pierce and William Goldman's The Princess Bride...but technically, neither of those count as "happily ever after" books. Next in line would probably be Sharon Shinn's Samaria series, which *do* have happy endings. Jovah's Angel is my favorite, but I definitely recommend reading Archangel first. Of course, there's also Ronia the Robber's DaughterThe Neverending Story, McKinley's Beauty, and Howl's Moving Castle...I have an entire shelf here of titles I've been re-reading since I was 12. And they're all still fabulous. 


Thank you, Alethea, for stopping by! Feel free to do so anytime. :)



Hero (Woodcutter Sisters #2)Hero
(Woodcutter Sisters #2)
by Alethea Kontis
YA Fantasy
Hardcover, 304 Pages
October 1st, 2013 by Harcourt Books                  

Summary

Rough and tumble Saturday Woodcutter thinks she's the only one of her sisters without any magic—until the day she accidentally conjures an ocean in the backyard. With her sword in tow, Saturday sets sail on a pirate ship, only to find herself kidnapped and whisked off to the top of the world. 

Is Saturday powerful enough to kill the mountain witch who holds her captive and save the world from sure destruction? And, as she wonders grumpily, "Did romance have to be part of the adventure?" 


As in Enchanted, readers will revel in the fragments of fairy tales that embellish this action-packed story of adventure and, yes, romance.





My Review

I love fairy tales. I love them as originals and retellings in just about every setting, as long as they're written well, of course. I fell in love with Enchanted, the first book in this series, last year. I was definitely ready to hang out with the Woodcutter family again in Hero

I do have to say that this second book definitely has a different feel to it than the first one did. It is a little more serious and the ending was more open. Of course, that just means I am highly anticipating the next book even more. :)


It took me a little bit to remember who each of Saturday's sisters and brothers were. We see or hear about all of them at one point or another. Even though I didn't remember specifics, I didn't mind because I enjoyed getting to know them again. Most of the times when they appeared in the story were for very short periods of time, but Alethea did such a great job in conveying each of their characters really well in those small moments. This story is really all about Saturday, as it should be.


Saturday is such a great character! She is struggling with figuring out her place in the world and who exactly she is. Her life drastically changed after her sister saved the kingdom in the last book. She's not sure how she fits in this new world and she's tired of being treated as the little sister. I loved that she isn't dramatic, but rather sarcastic. She finds out that she is much more than she thought she was. I also really loved Peregrine! He is a little awkward under the circumstances in some ways, although he has become used to his skin after wearing it for so long. He has a role he must play and he is willing to do it in order to survive. The interactions between these two were fabulous! I loved how Saturday didn't want anything to do with him and how he got under her skin. I loved Saturday's thoughts here:

     To Saturday, falling in love was a nonsense never hoped for. Love and marriage and family would mean the end of her adventuring. She had only just begun to live her life outside the towerhouse. So far, that life had been full of swords and witches and life-or-death decisions. Kissing had no place there.
       And yet, Saturday couldn't bring to mind a tale about Jack in which he'd banished evil or bested a beast without winning the heart of some girl in the end. Saturday sighed. Did romance have to be a part of the adventure? It just seemed so unnecessary and distracting.
(p. 151-152) 
I loved the plot! It was unexpected in many ways and entertaining. I love how Alethea continues to include pieces and references to other fairy tales. She is quite creative. The story felt to me like it should - like a girl thrown into an adventure that she really has no control over, but chooses to be the hero even if she doesn't think she is one.

If you enjoy reading fairy tales or a very creative twist on them, then definitely pick this up!


Content: Clean (There are a few references to the characters being unclothed and a few mild swear words, but nothing that would make this not clean.)

Source: From tour host/NetGalley, which did not affect my review in any way.



Enchanted (Woodcutter Sisters #1)Enchanted
(Woodcutter Sisters #1)
by Alethea Kontis
YA Fantasy
Hardcover, 305 Pages
May 8th, 2012 by Harcourt Books                  

Summary

It isn't easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.

When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.

The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past - and hers?




About the Author

Alethea KontisNew York Times bestselling author Alethea Kontis is a princess, a goddess, a force of nature, and a mess. She’s known for screwing up the alphabet, scolding vampire hunters, turning garden gnomes into mad scientists, and making sense out of fairy tales.

Alethea is the co-author of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter Companion, and penned the AlphaOops series of picture books. Her short fiction, essays, and poetry have appeared in a myriad of anthologies and magazines. She has done multiple collaborations with Eisner winning artist J.K. Lee, includingThe Wonderland Alphabet and Diary of a Mad Scientist Garden Gnome. Her debut YA fairy tale novel, Enchanted, won the Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award in 2012 and was nominated for both the Andre Norton Award and the Audie Award in 2013.

Born in Burlington, Vermont, Alethea now lives in Northern Virginia with her Fairy Godfamily. She makes the best baklava you’ve ever tasted and sleeps with a teddy bear named Charlie.



Giveaway

Fairy Tale Gift Bundle: Signed copies of both Enchantment and Hero by Alethea Kontis plus swag!

Runs from 10/22 - 10/17

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Sail Away on the 
Fairy Tale Adventure Tour*
*Family Welcome

Sept 22 - LAUNCH
Sept 23 - The Missing Piece at Alethea Kontis
 - Review on Debz Bookshelf
 - Celebration on Deal Sharing Aunt
Sept 24 - Interview with Miss Print
Sept 25 - Interview with Carina Books
 - The Grandfather Pirate on Living a Goddess Life
 - Meet the Inspiration on The Wonderings of One Person
Sept 26 - Review on Shannon's Blog
 - Meet the Inspiration continued on Bookmarks
Sept 27 - Meet the Sister on Leeana Me
Sept 30 - USA Today Happy Ever After Interview
 - Review of Enchantment on Colorimetry
Oct 1 - RELEASE DAY!
 - Release Day at Waterworld Mermaids
 - My Favorite Bit (with Cat Valente) at Mary Robinette Kowal
 - Review at Library of a Book Witch
 - Interview & Review at Tressa's Wishful Endings
Oct 2 - Video Rant at http://www.geekgirlinlove.com
 - The Big Idea at John Scalzi's Blog
 - My Bookshelf on Mel's Shelves
 - Did You See? on Cu's eBook Giveaways
Oct 3 - The Missing Piece on I Am a Reader, Not a Writer
 - Review at Books for Kids
Oct 4 - Podcast with Bennet Pomeranz
 - Review of Hero on Colorimetry
Oct 5 - Hero LAUNCH PARTY at One More Page Books in Arlington, VA
Oct 7 - Character interview with Saturday Woodcutter at I Smell Sheep
Oct 8 - A Twist in the Tail at A Backwards Story
 - Review at JL Mbewe
Oct 9 - Enchanted Inkspot
 - Deleted Scene at Fragments of Life
Oct 10-15 GRAND FINALE

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Cover Reveal: The Accidental Marriage




The Accidental Marriage
by Annette Haws
LDS Romance
December 10th 2013 by Cedar Fort Publishing & Media

Summary

Nina Rushforth was born with a silver spoon caught in her throat. She and her father have mapped out a future that includes a brilliant legal career, a marriage to an equally stellar attorney or Wall Street whiz kid, and eventually the production of three perfect children. A semester at St. Andrew's University in Scotland, was part of the plan, but falling in love with a handsome missionary was not.

Six months later, after Elliot returns from his mission and after a tumultuous courtship, Nina finds herself teaching at a junior high school, learning to keep house in a minuscule apartment, and living with a man who doesn't know any more about being married than she does. Intimacy, cooking, laundry, lesson plans, and a tug-of-war with a possessive mother-in-law prove to be more overwhelming than Nina can successfully manage. The newlyweds awaken to realize the head on the adjacent pillow belongs to a stranger.

This novel captures the heartbreak of young love caught in the turbulent social crosscurrents of the 70's, at a time when brave women struggled to find dignity and equality in the workplace, as well as peace at home.
 



Cover Reveal




Praise for The Accidental Marriage

“A thoughtful, heartbreaking, and often laugh-out-loud romp… Annette Haws explores the interesting question: What keeps a marriage together?”
--Terrell Dougan, a columnist for the Huffington Post and the author of That Went Well: Adventures in Caring for my Sister

“Haws delivers a story that makes you want to rush to the end to find out what happens and prose that makes you want to slow down and savor it.”

--Karey White, author of For What It’s Worth, Gifted, and My Own Mr. Darcy



“If you want a story with plot, character and real, deep meaning that will leave you thinking long after you’re done, this is the book for you.”
--Shannon Guymon, author of Do Over




About the Author


Annette Haws’s literary strengths are based upon her experiences in the classroom. She began her teaching career as a junior high teacher in Richmond, Utah and ended it teaching Sophomore English at Murray High School in Salt Lake City. However, her favorite assignment was a five year period at Logan High School teaching English, coaching debate and mock trial, and watching the antics of her own three children who were also students in the same school.

Her first novel, Waiting for the Light to Change, won Best of State in 2009, A Whitney Award for Best Fiction, and the Diamond Quill Award for Best Published Fiction in 2009 from the League of Utah Writers. In July of 2008, the Midwest Book Review selected it as a Top Pick for Community Library Fiction Collections. 

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Great eBook Deals - October


It's a new month, so that means it's time for another round of ebook deals. These are the ones I found on Amazon:


Now I'm off to find bargain books for this month. :) Happy reading!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase of any type using these links, I receive a small kickback. 
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Monthly Giveaway: Fierce Reads


It's October, so time for another giveaway. You might have noticed that I'm also participating in the Wicked Returns Blog Hop. I'll have two additional posts with giveaways as part of that as well this month.

Since Halloween is in October, I'm going to do something a little different this time around and for some of my giveaways this month. I have these awesome and cute costumed/paranormal owls that I have been dying to use. I'll be posting one somewhere on my blog each day, on a post, on the sidebar, just on my page somewhere. You get an extra entry in the giveaway for that day if you find where the owl is and can tell me which owl it is (i.e. angel, werewolf, bat, etc.) and where you found it. There is already one posted for October 1st, so go find it!

What can you win this month? You can win a signed paperback of Cinder by Marissa Meyer and a signed hardcover of This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales, if you live in the US. Also, because I haven't had an international giveaway for a while, I'm also going to give away an ebook (for Nook or Kindle) of Cinder or This Song Will Save Your Life for non-US entrants only. You just have to live outside the US and be able to download one of those formats.

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1) This Song Will Save Your Life


You have until October 31st to enter, with 31 extra entries if you count all the owl sightings. :) Enter the giveaways via the Rafflecopter below.










Please note that you must be at least 13 years old. This giveaway is open to US entrants only for the physical books and international residents only for the ebook. Please ensure that you correctly enter your email (and check your junk mail folder if I'm not on your contact list) so that I have a way to contact you. You can read my giveaway policy on my policies page.

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Something Wicked Returns Blog Hop

 
Something Wicked Returns once again this year. For those of you who are new to Wicked, it is a month long blog tour/ blog hop giveaway featuring all things paranormal/supernatural and Halloween themed.  This year it is being hosted by Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings, Candace@Candace's Book Blog, Maja@The Nocturnal Library, and Ali@My Guilty Obsession. The original link up post is here.

Here are your choices (US only):

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1) Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2) Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3)
Hemlock (Hemlock, #1) Thornhill (Hemlock, #2)

This giveaway is open to US entrants only. The ebook giveaway for A Nothing Named Sirus is open internationally. Please ensure that you correctly enter your email (and check your junk mail folder if I'm not on your contact list) so that I have a way to contact you. You can read my giveaway policy on my policies page. Enter via the Rafflecopter below. Thanks and good luck!

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Here are the rest of the giveaway stops:


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Blog Tour: The Silver Strand




silver strandThe Silver Strand
(Mastermind Academy Series #1)
by L.J. Clarkson
MG Fantasy
October 1st 2013 by Indicated Publications and Promotions                   

Summary
Ever since twelve year old Isabelle Tresdon’s silver strand of hair sprouted, it’s been nothing but trouble: bleeding pink dust and sparking like a firecracker. Refusing to be known as the girl with the freaky, grandma hair, she wishes it never grew and the hair withers and tarnishes.

The only problem is, the strand is Isabelle's source of magic, and she can transform particles of energy into matter. It's also her ticket into Mastermind Academy, a secret school inside the earth’s core. Five days remain before the strand drains her magic and life, forcing Isabelle to enter into a deal with two trickster Masterminds to save it. But what she doesn't count on is there is more at stake than just her life.

The Silver Strand, a MG Fantasy Adventure for 9-12 year olds, is book 1 in the Mastermind Academy Series.




Excerpt

“One thing before we go.” Esme snatched her bracelet back. “I’ll need this while we travel to Agartha. Then it’s all yours. Just don’t play with it or try to fly it, ok?”

“Fly it?” said Isabelle, shooting Esme a doubtful glance.

“Yes, fly it.” Esme pressed the crystal on the bracelet. Sparkles the size of pin pricks popped and sizzled. Tiny metal panels sprouted from it, expanded to the size of a computer screen and curved inward. They clinked together to form a sphere about two and a half meters diameter. A portal slid open on one side.

Whatever this strange metallic bubble was, it had to be one of the coolest things Isabelle had ever seen. It emitted a humming noise, which rattled in her chest, and the metal rippled at her touch.

“This marvelous gadget is known as a Mesura,” boasted the cat. “It is fuel free, and propelled through the air using anti-gravity and crystal-based technology.”

Esme butted in. “English translation: it’s a flying machine.”

Boldrick sniffed and pranced inside.

“Wow.” Isabelle circled the craft. Who’d have thought such a thing would pop out of a bracelet? The idea of flying one made her dizzy with excitement.

Sadly, the Mesura wasn’t filled with cool computer screens and high tech gadgets like the flying craft’s she’d seen in movies. The only exciting thing inside the cabin were the transparent, silvery walls, and the flexible metal in the seats that curved around her body.

“Invisibility shield on,” Esme commanded in a pilot voice.

The metal rippled in response. Isabelle didn’t notice anything different, but it must have worked because a poor sparrow flew into the Mesura with a thud. Dazed and confused, it chirped and flew into the tree above.




About Author L.J. Clarkson

louisaOne thing you need to know about LJ Clarkson is that she tells BIG lies. She tells everyone that she gave up her career as an Environmental Engineer and Project Manager to write full time. But that's not entirely true. Ten percent of the time she sleeps in. Fifteen percent of her day, she spends surfing the internet, researching for new books and her business. Ok, fine. Two percent is for research. But she's only admitting it so she doesn't end up like Boldrick. For eighteen point seven five percent of her day, she runs her promotional and support site for authors, called Indicated (www.indicated.com.au). The rest of her time involves writing, reading, watching movies and TV, walking her dogs and falling asleep whenever her boyfriend talks technical computer lingo. Truthfully, she hates early mornings, mondays, grammar (yuck! just ask her poor editor!), broccoli and cleaning. If you would like to drop her and line and let her know what you think of the book, she would love to hear from you. Just not before 8:30am in the morning.




Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 10/9/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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Book Blast: Eternal Starling





Eternal Starling
(Emblem of Eternity #1)
by Angela Corbett
YA Paranormal
December 6th 2011 by Pendrell Publishing 
(first published December 2nd 2011)             

Summary
A love so strong, even eternity can't separate them. Evie Starling has lived a relatively uneventful life hanging out with friends, gossiping about boys, and driving her 1966 Mustang. 

All of that changes when she moves to Gunnison, Colorado, to start college and meets two mysterious men. For centuries, Alex Night and Emil Stone have yearned for Evie but they each have their own reasons for wanting to be with her. When both men claim to be her soul mate and tell her about an unbelievable past, Evie learns that she s not the person she thought she was. Soon, Evie finds herself in the middle of an age-old battle between the Amaranthine Society the soul protectors, and the Daevos Resistance the soul destroyers. With a past she doesn t understand, and a future rife with danger, Evie has to decide who she can trust. But Alex and Emil aren t the only ones who want Evie, and her soul is about to become the rope in an eternal tug-of-war.

   




About the Author


As a child, Angela Corbett’s most prized possession was a set of read-along books. She used to follow along with the narrator on the stereo and dream of when she would be able to read by herself. Her childhood reading habit led her to consider her future career. However, after consulting with her parents, she realized she had already exceeded hobbit height and since fairies and dragonslayers were tricky jobs to get, she decided she wanted to create worlds of her own. She started writing poetry in elementary school and worked as a journalist in high school and college, but could never leave her love for writing fiction behind.

She is a graduate of Westminster College where she double majored in communication and sociology. She has worked as a journalist, freelance writer, and director of communications and marketing. She loves classic cars, traveling, and escaping in a good book. She lives in Utah with her incredibly supportive husband and their five-pound Pomeranian, Pippin, whose following of fangirls could rival Justin Bieber’s.

Eternal Starling is her debut novel and the first book in the Emblem of Eternity trilogy.


You can find Angela here:
Website

  


Giveaway


7 Winners will receive an E-Book Copy of Eternal Starling.
2 Winners will receive a Signed Copy+Swag of Eternal Starling.
Must be 13+ to EnterInternational Giveaway


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Weekly Update #33


Welcome to my Weekly Update where I post my blog's schedule for the week. I have a pretty busy schedule this week (and basically this month). Here's what to expect:

I will be posting for the The Silver Strand's blog tour, a cute MG read. I am also posting a book blast for Eternal Starling.
The Silver Strand (Mastermind Academy Series Book 1) Eternal Starling (Emblem of Eternity, #1)

I will be taking part in the blog tour for Hero. I really love this series and am so excited to be on this tour!!! Come by to see what the author, Alethea Kontis, has to say and read my review. I am also posting a cover reveal for The Accidental Marriage (you'll have to come back to see it).
Hero (Woodcutter Sisters #2)

I will be posting for a book blast for Just Ella. I'll be reviewing this later in the month for its tour and am really excited to read it after seeing how much Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer loved it!
Just Ella

I'll be posting for another book blast, this time for Cerberus. I'll also be a stop on its tour next week.
Cerberus (Solace, #1)

I'm taking part in the blog tour for Tiy and the Prince of Egypt. This is a MG title. I'll also be posting for Stacking the Shelves if I have some books to share.
Tiy and the Prince of Egypt

There is only one day left to enter the giveaway for Blackmoore and my Monthly Giveaway for September, both US entrants only. There is also an ebook giveaway of A Nothing Named Silas going on.
  A Nothing Named Silas

I'm taking part in the Wicked Returns Blog Hop that will run all month. You'll have your choice of three books (US only), so come check that out on Tuesday. I'll be posting my monthly giveaway for October on Tuesday as well (that is turning out to be a very busy posting day). I'll be doing something really fun and a little different for this one in celebration of Halloween. I've been waiting for an opportunity to use these awesome owls....You'll just have to come back a lot this month to see them. :)

You will see some fun things this month, some of which will be for Wicked Returns. I also mentioned for my monthly giveaway that there will be some special owls making appearances. I'm planning on posting at least one or two additional reviews this week as well.

Now, I have to share that I am super excited to be visiting my local independent bookstore, Changing Hands, Monday night for the Fierce Reads tour. I'll get to see Marissa Meyer, Leila Sales, S.A. Bodeen, and Alexandra Coutts. Don't know what they wrote? Here they are:
Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1) This Song Will Save Your Life The Compound (The Compound, #1) Tumble & Fall

Can I just take a moment here to do a happy dance?.....Okay. All done (for now). ;) My monthly giveaway for October will include some signed books and swag from the event.


What do you have going on this week?
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