Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Digging in the Stars by Katherine Blakeney @YorwickCastle #BlogTour


Digging in the Stars
Katherine Blakeney
Published by: Blaze Publishing
Publication date: March 28th 2017
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
A lost ancient civilization and the tomb of a legendary king lie buried beneath centuries of ash on the volcanic planet Thror, but that’s not the only reason sixteen-year-old Carter has tricked her Archaeology of Outer Space class into coming here. Her best friend Conrad has just disappeared on a trip to Thror, leaving behind little more than a broken vintage camera. The strange and disturbing photographs she manages to extract make her suspect Conrad’s disappearance is somehow connected to the hidden tomb of the last king of Thror.
Unfortunately, the ludicrously over-friendly ‘Furry Giants’ who have taken over the planet’s barren surface would rather offer her cheap souvenirs than answers, and the local officials insist they have no record of Conrad’s existence. Inspired by fear for Conrad’s life and the chance to make the greatest archaeological discovery of the century, Carter and her friends follow Conrad’s footsteps deep into the mountains of Thror’s forbidden Black Zone and launch an illicit excavation.
Coded messages, stunning ancient ruins, and clues left by Conrad himself begin to surface as the young archaeologists fall victim to an alarming series of accidents staged by the increasingly hostile Furry Giants. Piecing together a history of dictatorship, terrorism and disguise, Carter glimpses the horrors beyond Thror’s flamboyant fa├žade and startling revelations about the friend she thought she knew. The masks of Thror hide devastating secrets, and the golden tomb buried deep in the frozen core may claim the lives of everyone she loves.
TEASERS:
“Please remain seated as we begin our descent into Thror. Welcome, and enjoy your stay.”
The time for action was at hand, and she still didn’t feel ready. The flight felt much shorter than she’d expected.
The girls exchanged bewildered looks across the aisles. Stunned silence. They couldn’t have missed that final announcement. Avoiding Professor P’s gaze, Carter still felt the look of shock the professor shot across the cabin. Once, Carter had seen herself arriving on Thror as a great explorer. Instead, she would be remembered as a half-baked deceiver and kidnapper. The Throrians would have called her a scent-changer.
* * *
Carter had been so close to her goal. She saw that crack with her own eyes, a portal into a lost ancient world, chambers filed with carvings, images that had never been recorded or reproduced. The greatest discovery of this or any other century, waiting less than twenty feet away. Waiting for her. And Conrad had been there first. The moment she thought it, she felt guilty. She was allowing herself to get carried away by archaeological fervor, mentally competing with Conrad, when he might have paid a terrible price for his discovery.


Author Bio:
I am an author and independent filmmaker/stop motion animator with a BFA in Stop Motion Animation from the School of Visual Arts in New York and a PhD in Film Studies from the University of Edinburgh (Scotland, UK). My thesis focuses on silent film adaptations of late nineteenth and early twentieth century Gothic novels, with a special emphasis on psychological and aesthetic representations of the Monster figure. My debut novel, a YA Sci-Fi adventure called Digging in the Stars, is forthcoming with Blaze Publishing on March 28, 2017.
Raised by an Egyptologist mother, I grew up among museums and excavation sites, where I developed an unhealthy fascination with ancient art and mythology. I divide my time between bringing 12”-tall people to life in my studio in Edinburgh, excavating ancient tombs in the Egyptian desert, and researching Gothic literary monsters in silent film. I have worked for more than 10 years as photographer and videographer for the South Asasif Conservation Project, an archaeological expedition in Egypt and I have published numerous articles on film and archaeology.
I write, direct, design, and animate short films and commissioned projects in my studio in Edinburgh, Scotland and have been employed as an animator, screenwriter, modelmaker and art director for studios in Edinburgh, South Korea and Qatar. I have produced commissioned projects for IdeasTap in London, the Arts Trust Scotland and the British Library. My shorts have won competitions and screened at various international festivals including the Edinburgh Fringe. In 2015, my short film The Burglar With the Yellow Hand was nominated for an Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK) Research in Film Award.
You can find out more about all aspects of my work on my website, http://yorwickcastle.com
My new blog http://KatherineBlakeneyStardigger.blogspot.com is all about Digging in the Stars and my references and inspirations as a writer.

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Monday, March 27, 2017

#WeeklyMenu Week 190

Happy Monday! Welcome to the brother head hugging pile. This is how my boys show their affection to their older brother.
I'm not sure if he likes it or if he's ready to run.

We spent the whole week being sick. One right after the other came down with the flew. It was terrible, but I think we are passed it all... Finally...

Well, enjoy this weeks menu!

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday
Pork Schnitzle and Potatoes

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Tuna Sandwiches


Sunday, March 26, 2017

#BookReview - Anne Boleyn, A King's Obsession

Title: Anne Boleyn - A King's Obsession
By: Alison Weir
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: May 18th, 2017
Publisher: Headline Review

Summary from Goodreads: 'Weir is excellent on the little details that bring a world to life' Guardian


The young woman who changed the course of history.

Fresh from the palaces of Burgundy and France, Anne draws attention at the English court, embracing the play of courtly love.

But when the King commands, nothing is ever a game.

Anne has a spirit worthy of a crown - and the crown is what she seeks. At any price.

ANNE BOLEYN. The second of Henry's Queens. Her story.
History tells us why she died. This powerful novel shows her as she lived.

SIX TUDOR QUEENS. SIX NOVELS. SIX YEARS.
 



Review: I've always been drawn to this story and how one woman almost brought down a country. This book was written well and kept me intrigued from start to finish. The characters had color and depth. They brought to life the story of the Boleyn sisters. If you like historical fiction, this is a good read.    


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

#BookReview - The List by Patricia Forde

Title: The List
By: Patricia Forde
Genre: Fantasy 
Release Date: August 1st, 2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky 

Summary from Goodreads: Fahrenheit 451 meets The Giver for tweens in this gripping story about the power of words and the dangers of censorship.

In the city of Ark, speech is constrained to five hundred sanctioned words. Speak outside the approved lexicon and face banishment. The exceptions are the Wordsmith and his apprentice Letta, the keepers and archivists of all language in their post-apocalyptic, neo-medieval world.

On the death of her master, Letta is suddenly promoted to Wordsmith, charged with collecting and saving words. But when she uncovers a sinister plan to suppress language and rob Ark’s citizens of their power of speech, she realizes that it’s up to her to save not only words, but culture itself.
 


Review: This book started off with a cray concept. A list of words that are approved and the rest are banned, that's preposterous. There was intrigue and excitement at first, but half way through I lost interest from the slow pace of the story. The writing was good and the characters had depth. It just didn't keep my attention the way I wanted it too. Three stars.  

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

#BookReview - A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

Title: A Crown of Wishes
By: Roshani Chokshi
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: March 28th, 2017
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Summary from Goodreads: Gauri, the princess of Bharata, has been taken as a prisoner of war by her kingdom’s enemies. Faced with a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. Hope unexpectedly comes in the form of Vikram, the cunning prince of a neighboring land and her sworn enemy kingdom. Unsatisfied with becoming a mere puppet king, Vikram offers Gauri a chance to win back her kingdom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together, they’ll have to set aside their differences and team up to win the Tournament of Wishes—a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor.

Reaching the tournament is just the beginning. Once they arrive, danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans and mischievous story birds, a feast of fears and twisted fairy revels.

Every which way they turn new trials will test their wit and strength. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.



Review: A Crown of Wishes is a captivating sequel to The Star Touched Queen. It reminded me somewhat of Caravel that I also loved. I couldn’t put it down and read it cover to cover in 24 hours. The characters had an awesome connection and they were full of color and wonder. I loved the mythological creatures and the magic that flowed around them. Four stars for this magical read.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.

Monday, March 20, 2017

#WeeklyMenu Week 189

Its been such a beautiful day. I can't wait for summer to get here so I can enjoy the sun. We spent the weekend cleaning out our cars from the nasty winter weather, removing all the gunk that's built up over the last few months. 

Enjoy this weeks menu!


Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday
- Spaghetti

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Tuna Sandwiches

Sunday, March 19, 2017

#BookReview - The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

Title: The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane
By: Lisa See
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: March 21st, 2017
Publisher: Scribner

Summary from Goodreads: A thrilling new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa See explores the lives of a Chinese mother and her daughter who has been adopted by an American couple.

Li-yan and her family align their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea. There is ritual and routine, and it has been ever thus for generations. Then one day a jeep appears at the village gate—the first automobile any of them have seen—and a stranger arrives.

In this remote Yunnan village, the stranger finds the rare tea he has been seeking and a reticent Akha people. In her biggest seller, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, See introduced the Yao people to her readers. Here she shares the customs of another Chinese ethnic minority, the Akha, whose world will soon change. Li-yan, one of the few educated girls on her mountain, translates for the stranger and is among the first to reject the rules that have shaped her existence. When she has a baby outside of wedlock, rather than stand by tradition, she wraps her daughter in a blanket, with a tea cake hidden in her swaddling, and abandons her in the nearest city.

After mother and daughter have gone their separate ways, Li-yan slowly emerges from the security and insularity of her village to encounter modern life while Haley grows up a privileged and well-loved California girl. Despite Haley’s happy home life, she wonders about her origins; and Li-yan longs for her lost daughter. They both search for and find answers in the tea that has shaped their family’s destiny for generations.

A powerful story about a family, separated by circumstances, culture, and distance, Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane paints an unforgettable portrait of a little known region and its people and celebrates the bond that connects mothers and daughters.
 



Review: Lisa See has done it again! The whole time I was reading this book, I'm thinking to myself "Is this based on a real story or not." That's when you know its a good book, when you can't tell the real from the fake. There was so much depth to the characters and all the superstitions and traditions that the Akha carried. It must have took the author a lot of time in research. I was sucked into a world that felt old and far away, but was in fact set in the current world and was only a plane flight away. Loved this story!


Saturday, March 18, 2017

#BookReview - The Castaways by Jessika Fleck

Title: The Castaways
By: Jessika Fleck
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: April 3rd, 2017
Publisher: Entangled TEEN

Summary from Goodreads: Mean Girls meets Lord of the Flies in this YA contemporary fantasy.

The Castaway Carnival: fun, mysterious, dangerous.

Renowned for its infamous corn maze…and the kids who go missing in it.

When Olive runs into the maze, she wakes up on an isolated and undetectable island where a decades-long war between two factions of rival teens is in full swing.

Trapped, Olive must slowly attempt to win each of her new comrades’ hearts as Will—their mysterious, stoically quiet, and handsome leader—steals hers.

Olive is only sure about one thing: her troop consists of the good guys, and she’ll do whatever it takes to help them win the war and get back home.
 



Review: Wow! I can't even express how epic this book was. I couldn't put it down and read it from cover to cover in 24 hours. The Castaways pulls you in from the moment you open the cover when you realize that the main character, Olive is being bullied at school. Through the rest of the book, all I could think about was how Olive was going to get off the island alive and would William go with her. At the end, all I wanted to do was scream at William "Go with here!." But, alas, he couldn't. At the end, I just wanted to cry, but the author made everything better. I'm not going to give it away, but it has a happy ending. Five stars for Jessika Fleck!


Friday, March 17, 2017

Birthright by Jessica Ruddick #BlogTour @jessicamruddick


Birthright
by Jessica Ruddick
Genre: YA Supernatural
Release Date: March 20th 2017

Summary from Goodreads:

How do you live with yourself when you decide who dies?

Ava Parks would have killed for an iPod for her sixteenth birthday. Anything would have been better than coming into her birthright of being a seeker for the Grim Reaper, an arrangement made by her fallen angel ancestor in exchange for his re-admittance to heaven. And she isn’t just any seeker—she finds souls that have the potential for becoming angels and sentences them to death. A year and two souls into her role as a seeker with her conscience overflowing with guilt, Ava comes up with a plan to thwart the system. When it goes awry, she is forced to submit the name of a classmate, Cole Fowler, an ornery, rough around the edges guy who always seems to come to her rescue, whether she likes it or not. Her feelings for Cole prompt her to intervene, and she saves him from death, upsetting the Grim Reaper’s agenda.

While Ava schemes to find a way to save Cole, she learns he has some secrets of his own. She lets him believe he is protecting her, and not the other way around, until a final showdown with the Grim Reaper forces Ava to make choices Cole may never forgive.

Add to Goodreads

About the Author
Jessica Ruddick is a 2014 Golden Heart finalist for her new adult novel, Letting Go, which was inspired by her own college experiences. She lives in Virginia and is married to her college sweetheart—their first date was a fraternity toga party (and nothing inspires love like a toga, right?). When she doesn’t have her nose in a book or her hands on a keyboard, she can be found wrangling her two rambunctious sons, taming two rowdy but lovable rescue dogs, and battling the herd of dust bunnies that has taken up residence in her home. To learn more about Jessica, please visit her website at www.jessicaruddick.com.

Author Links:
WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook



Blog Tour Organized by:
YA Bound Book Tours


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Bellamy and the Brute by Alicia Michaels #BlogTour @fantasybyalicia @Xpressoreads


Bellamy and The Brute
Alicia Michaels
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: March 13th 2017
Genres: Fairy Tales, Retelling, Young Adult
A fresh twist on a classic story, Bellamy and the Brute proves true love really is blind.
When Bellamy McGuire is offered a summer job babysitting for the wealthy Baldwin family, she’s reluctant to accept. After all, everyone in town knows about the mysterious happenings at the mansion on the hill—including the sudden disappearance of the Baldwin’s eldest son, Tate. The former football star and golden boy of Wellhollow Springs became a hermit at the age of sixteen, and no one has seen or heard from him since. Rumors abound as to why, with whisperings about a strange illness—one that causes deformity and turned him into a real-life monster. Bellamy wants to dismiss these rumors as gossip, but when she’s told that if she takes the job, she must promise to never, ever visit the third floor of the mansion, she begins to wonder if there really is some dark truth hidden there.
Tate’s condition may not be the only secret being kept at Baldwin House. There are gaps in the family’s financial history that don’t add up, and surprising connections with unscrupulous characters. At night there are strange noises, unexplained cold drafts, and the electricity cuts out. And then there are the rose petals on the staircase. The rose petals that no one but Bellamy seems to be able to see. The rose petals that form a trail leading right up to the 3 rd floor, past the portrait of a handsome young man, and down a dark hallway where she promised she would never, ever go…
As Bellamy works to unravel the mysteries of Baldwin House and uncover the truth about Tate, she realizes that she is in way over her head… in more ways than one. Can her bravery and determination help to right the wrongs of the past and free the young man whose story has captured her heart?


Author Bio:
Ever since she first read books like Chronicles of Narnia or Goosebumps, Alicia has been a lover of mind-bending fiction. Wherever imagination takes her, she is more than happy to call that place her home. With several Fantasy and Science Fiction titles under her belt, Alicia strives to write multicultural characters and stories that touch the heart. V-Card, the first book of the Sharing Spaces series, was her first Contemporary Romance.
The mother of three and wife to a soldier, she loves chocolate, coffee, and of course good books. When not writing, you can usually find her with her nose in a book, shopping for shoes and fabulous jewelry, or spending time with her loving family.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

#BookReview - Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop

Title: Etched in Bone
By: Anne Bishop
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
Release Date: March 7th, 2017
Publisher: Roc

Summary from Goodreads: New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop returns to her world of the Others, as humans struggle to survive in the shadow of shapeshifters and vampires far more powerful than themselves…

After a human uprising was brutally put down by the Elders—a primitive and lethal form of the Others—the few cities left under human control are far-flung. And the people within them now know to fear the no-man’s-land beyond their borders—and the darkness…

As some communities struggle to rebuild, Lakeside Courtyard has emerged relatively unscathed, though Simon Wolfgard, its wolf shifter leader, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn must work with the human pack to maintain the fragile peace. But all their efforts are threatened when Lieutenant Montgomery’s shady brother arrives, looking for a free ride and easy pickings.

With the humans on guard against one of their own, tensions rise, drawing the attention of the Elders, who are curious about the effect such an insignificant predator can have on a pack. But Meg knows the dangers, for she has seen in the cards how it will all end—with her standing beside a grave
 


Review: Not all books are my style and this book proves it. The writing was good. The characters were great, but I just couldn't get into it. I gave it a good 30% before shelving it.

I went back onto Goodreads and read some of the other reviews, wondering if I was just crazy and I noticed that people either loved it or didn't. I guess I'm not the only one. I'm not going to give this book a rating since I wasn't able to finish it.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

#BookReview - Surviving the Angel of Death by Eva Mozes Kor

Title: Surviving the Angel of Death
By: Eva Mozes Kor and Lisa Rojany Buccieri
Genre: Historical / Non-Fiction
Release Date: October 14th, 2009
Publisher: Tanglewood

Summary from Goodreads: Eva Mozes Kor was 10 years old when she arrived in Auschwitz. While her parents and two older sisters were taken to the gas chambers, she and her twin, Miriam, were herded into the care of the man known as the Angel of Death, Dr. Josef Mengele. Mengele's twins were granted the privileges of keeping their own clothes and hair, but they were also subjected to sadistic medical experiments and forced to fight daily for their own survival, as most of the twins died as a result of the experiements or from the disease and hunger pervasive in the camp. In a narrative told with emotion and restraint, readers will learn of a child's endurance and survival in the face of truly extraordinary evil. The book also includes an epilogue on Eva's recovery from this experience and her remarkable decision to publicly forgive the Nazis. Through her museum and her lectures, she has dedicated her life to giving testimony on the Holocaust, providing a message of hope for people who have suffered, and working toward goals of forgiveness, peace, and the elimination of hatred and prejudice in the world.



Review: What an incredible story. Its hard to imagine someone going through something like the holocaust and surviving, let alone having a sibling survive along side of them. I'm glad the author didn't go into too much detail about some of the terrible things that happened, but she still gave me enough detail to give me an insight into life as a Jew during WW2.I'm glad I was able to read this truly inspiring story.


Monday, March 13, 2017

#WeeklyMenu Week 188

Apparently, I have a comic book loving man child. Love my husband!

Writing news: Chugging along on my new manuscript. Up to chapter six. That's approximately 12k words. 

Turned in my book cover sheet for Seeker and now I'm just waiting for the contract. So many exciting things going on right now.

Enjoy this weeks menu! 

Monday

Tuesday
- Ground Beef Tacos

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday
Tuna Sandwiches


#BookReview - Garden of Thorns by Amber Mitchell

Title: Garden of Thorns
By: Amber Mitchell
Genre: Fantasy 
Release Date: March 6th, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Teen

Summary from Goodreads: After seven grueling years of captivity in the Garden—a burlesque troupe of slave girls—sixteen-year-old Rose finds an opportunity to escape during a performance for the emperor. But the hostage she randomly chose from the crowd to aid her isn’t one of the emperor’s men—not anymore. He’s the former heir to the throne, who is now leading a rebellion against it.

Rayce is a wanted man and dangerously charismatic, the worst person for Rose to get involved with, no matter what his smile promises. But he assumes Rose’s attempt to take him hostage is part of a plot to crush the rebellion, so he takes her as his hostage. Now Rose must prove where her loyalties lie, and she offers Rayce a deal—if he helps her rescue the other girls, she’ll tell him all the Garden’s secrets.

Except the one secret she’s kept for seven years that she’ll take to her grave if she must.



Review: Epic! I loved everything about this book. The story was unique and the characters had so much color and depth. The love story was touching, but not overwhelming like so many are. There was mystery in Rose's background, and it kept me wondering what her big secret was. I kept scream, "Tell him. You need to tell him." When she finally did, I was able to exhale a sigh of relief. Five stars for Garden of Thorns! Can't wait to read more from Amber Mitchell.


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