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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Blog Tour- Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo and a Giveaway!

Hey y’all! I am so excited to have Leigh Bardugo here today for a few reasons! I adore her books, I adore her, and she’s talking about music that she wrote and actually sings!!! Yes peeps Leigh can sing as well as write a fabulous book!!!! So without further ado I give you “Winter Prayer” and why she wrote it!

If you flip to the back of Shadow and Bone, you'll see that my official bio claims I can sometimes be heard singing with my band, Captain Automatic. Unfortunately, it's been a long while since we've rehearsed or played out at a club. This is a pic taken after one of my favorite shows we played at Safari Sam's.

The club no longer exists, and since that photo was taken, two of the guys in it have become dads, one of them bought a house and started his own business. And the lady with the bad case of red-eye landed her dream job and wrote a fantasy trilogy.

But I still miss music and I often find myself driving around making up songs. One of these became "Winter Prayer," the song we released as part of the Siege and Storm pre-order campaign. Honestly, I was really scared to put it out there. But the song isn't just something I made. It represents work from so many of my amazing friends, and I wanted to share it. So how did "Winter Prayer" go from me mumbling on my cell phone to an actual song?

1. The idea: I have a mind like a sieve. A sieve from a giant's kitchen. So, when I get an idea—whether for a story or a song—I record it on my cell. A little over a year ago, I was trapped in traffic on the way back from dinner, playing around with a folk melody that was stuck in my head and thinking about a particular scene toward the end of Shadow and Bone. An idea for a lyric popped into my mind and I sang it into my phone. That became the first verse of the song and it never changed.

2. Though I've occasionally dabbled with bass, I have this problem wherein I don't, y'know, practice. So I called up our lead guitarist (who can play something like twelve instruments) and I sang him the melody. He came over and I described the way I wanted the song to start slow, pick up speed, and wind back down all while keeping to this same repeated melody. We cobbled together a version of it on my upright piano and recorded it on my laptop. This is a bit of the (very) rough recording:

3. The song didn't feel like the right fit for Captain Automatic. I wanted a bigger, lusher, more orchestral feel. I reached out to my friend Aaron who is a composer and producer. (He and his wife had actually both been a part of the original Captain Automatic lineup.)  Once he was on board, I sent him the recording and a bunch of links to different musical references—everything from Florence + the Machine to Bulgarian folk songs. The first time he came back to me, the sound wasn't quite right—too dirge-like, too dignified. I wanted something a little wilder, that felt like it could be sung around a campfire. On his next try, he got it just right. We went back and forth a few times, trying some different things with pacing and instrumentation, and had his wife Laura Recchi step in to record temporary vocals. "For me," says Laura, "this song evokes a sense of place and imagery. I can see the snow, the light and shadows, and I feel the excitement and fear of the journey. I'm also a sucker for a good folk tune in a minor key."

Laura and her daughter Aurora rocking Tsarpunk style at the Shadow and Bone launch party. I look a little sinister. Like maybe I'm gonna steal that baby. Or her hat.

4. Once we had the basics down, Aaron brought in Richard Adkins on percussion. With the rhythm in place, it was time for me to do my part. We recorded at Aaron's house and I have to admit it was stressful. I don't have a lot of training and I'm keenly aware that I'm no Florence Welch. If I'm not flailing around on stage, I tend to get very self-conscious about my voice. But Laura and Aaron were endlessly patient and I got to record plenty of takes.

5. To fill out the sound, Aaron had his friend Daniel Fabiano improvise a part on violin, and Laura and her friend Belinda Wilkins became the choir. Yup, that's just two ladies belting it out in Aaron's living room. (They're actually singing in Ravkan.)
Aaron emailed me the file and we went back and forth, playing with dynamics and ironing out some of the rough edges. Here's what he had to say about the process:

"It's always nice to work with someone who has a clear idea of what they are going for. All I had to do was fill in the 'musical blanks,' so to speak.

It also helped that Leigh and I used to perform together in a band, so I was familiar with her voice and her performance style. Although we tracked drums in a 'real' studio, we took the DIY approach of turning my living room into a mini soundstage to record marching/stomping, violins, and slavic choirs—all using the magic of multi-tracking. It was a lot of fun!"

For a while, I wasn't sure what to do with the song so I just let it sit. Then I worked up the courage to send it to my agent and she passed it along to the publisher. A few weeks ago, my editor at Macmillan got in touch to ask if I'd be willing to have "Winter Prayer" used as part of the pre-order campaign. Like I said, it was scary to think about putting something this different out there, but I also hated the idea of just letting it molder. I spoke to Aaron and he suggested having a friend of his mix and master the track before we took it live.

7. Nik Freitas worked his magic at his studio, Poppy Peak:

"When I first got the recorded session of the song, I opened it up and scrolled down the screen and realized there were a lot more tracks than I thought! At first listen I could hear where the song wanted to go, I just needed to clear up some of the instrumentation with equalizer and put more emphasis on certain parts like the bass drum and lead vocal. Once that was sounding good sonically, the song's emotional tone was more in focus and all the other instruments seemed to sit better and do what they needed to do in elevating all their parts. I'm really happy with how the song turned out."

  I like to think Nik is still trapped behind that piano.

We went back and forth a few times, but somehow, we all knew when the song was where we wanted it to be.

It can be easy to say we don't have time for art or to do the things we love, that we're simply too busy. But I believe my writing benefits when I take the time to be creative in other ways. Music has an immediacy to it that writing doesn't. It's there and then it's gone and no two performances are ever alike. When I'm singing or playing, I'm not thinking about all the things I have to do or what is or isn't working in a draft, I'm just in the moment. It's less a distraction than a shift in focus, and sometimes it's just where inspiration is hiding.

When I wrote "Winter Prayer" and recorded it, I really had no idea what I would use it for, if anything. But putting it together gave me a chance to make music and work with some of my wonderfully creative friends. No matter how crazy life gets, I never want to lose that.  

Thank you so much Leigh! This post is awesome! Listen to the final version of Winter Prayer

Haven’t heard about Siege and Storm? Check it out!

Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

Photo by Kevin Rolly
About Leigh:
Leigh Bardugo was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University. These days, she lives in Hollywood, where she indulges her fondness for glamour, ghouls, and costuming in her other life as makeup artist L.B. Benson. Occasionally, she can be heard singing with her band, Captain Automatic.

Her debut novel, Shadow & Bone (Holt Children’s/ Macmillan), is a New York Times Best Seller and the first book in the Grisha Trilogy. Book 2, Siege and Storm, will be published in 2013. She is represented by Joanna Stampfel-Volpe of New Leaf.

Where you can find Leigh:

Relevant Links and Info:
Leigh Bardugo will be on tour in June as part of the Fierce Reads Tour. Get all the info/dates: https://www.facebook.com/FierceReads/events

Siege and Storm is featured in our Spring 2013 Fierce Reads Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/w-F_U3TtW24

Watch the Siege and Storm book trailer

Listen and download Leigh Bardugo’s song, “Winter Prayer”. Yes, we said SONG! https://www.facebook.com/GrishaTrilogy/app_195646697137509

Pre-order a copy of Siege and Storm (hardcover or e-book), submit your receipt, and we’ll send you a specially-branded nail polish! 

Download and read for FREE the first five chapters of Siege and Storm on your e-reader: http://www.macteenbooks.com/ebooks.html#new

Make sure to like the Grisha Trilogy Fan Page! https://www.facebook.com/GrishaTrilogy  The fan page includes chapter excerpts, polls, and giveaways!
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Check out the Siege and Storm Blog Tour Schedule for more awesome posts!

Monday 5/20

Tuesday 5/21

Wednesday 5/22

Thursday 5/23

Friday 5/24

Saturday 5/25

Sunday 5/26

Monday 5/27

Tuesday 5/28

Wednesday 5/29

Thursday 5/30

Friday 5/31

Saturday 6/1

Sunday 6/2

Monday 6/3

Tuesday 6/4
Moonlight Book Reviews

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dying to Read (31)- Endless Knight by Kresley Cole

Hey y’all thanks for stopping by to see my Dying to Read post and of course as always I have to give credit to the lovely Jill over at Breaking the Spine for the Waiting on Wednesday Meme!

This week the book I’m dying to read is ENDLESS KNIGHT by Kresley Cole!!!!! OKNJGFHGDFDDSXJHKJJLKJ!!!! That’s how bad I want this book! I’ll admit I really didn’t like chapters 2-12 of POISON PRINCESS but after the apocalypse things between Jack and Evie heated up and I fell for the other characters! Now Death is coming and he’s a hawt knight and I know I’m going to fall for him! And the cover AHHHHHHH LOVE IT!!!

Endless Knight (Arcana Chronicles)
Kresley Cole
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 978-1442436671

In the second book of the Arcana Chronicles Evie has now fully come into her powers as the tarot Empress. And Jackson was there to see it all. In the aftermath of killing Arthur, the tarot Alchemist, Evie realizes that a war is brewing between the other teens that, following the apocalypse, have been given powers and its kill or be killed.

Things get even more complicated when Evie meets Death, the mysterious, sexy Endless Knight. Somehow the Empress and Death share a romantic history - one that Evie can't remember, but Death can't forget. She is drawn to the Endless Knight, but is in love with Jack. Determined to discover why she's been granted these powers, Evie struggles to accept her place in a prophecy that will either save the world, or completely destroy it.

So what do you think? Will you be adding this to your pile? What are you dying to read this week?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Blog Tour- Impostor by Susanne Winnacker and a Giveaway!

Hey y’all! I have Susanne Winnacker, author of IMPOSTOR on the blog today! I'm really looking forward to reading this one and I think you will too after reading these quotes! Susanne has a top ten post with her favorite quotes from IMPOSTOR and check below there’s a giveaway make sure to enter to win a copy!

Wow, it wasn’t easy to find quotes that weren’t too spoilery, and then it was even harder to narrow down the quotes to only ten. I hope I did a good job!

1. I coaxed the memory of a little girl I’d bumped in the mall. I pictured her delicate features, her narrow shoulders, her slender limbs. I imagined looking through her eyes, inhabiting her body. Immediately, the familiar rippling sensation started in my toes and crept up my calves.

- I love this because it’s the first time we get a glimpse at Tessa’s talent

2. “Morphing into a little girl—that’s quite a party trick, Tessa.”

- Just love the teasing quality of this!

3. Average human—only Major was able to make it sound like an insult. He looked at me like I was precious, his most prized possession. His trophy Variant. 

- Well, it’s a good quote to get a taste of Tessa’s relationship with her “boss” Major.

4. Major leaned back in his chair, his face businesslike. “You’ll get a few minutes alone with the victim so your body can gather her data.”
He made it sound all clinical and easy, but it wasn’t.

- Another good example. (Sorry! It’s so hard to say why I exactly I love certain quotes!)

5. And now I was supposed to pose as someone else’s daughter, become a part of a normal family, which was the last thing I knew how to pretend.

- This is a very important quote, because it hints at Tessa’s past.

6. Soon, I’d be able to copy her perfectly despite the fact that I didn’t yet know anything about her—not about her worries, her fears, or her dreams. I’d be nothing but a hollow imitation of the girl she used to be.

- Good example of Tessa’s worries about the mission.

7. “You always do that, you know,” Alec said.
I swallowed a gummy bear. “Do what?”
“Bite their heads off first.”
I shrugged. “It’s the nice thing to do. If you could choose, would you rather be eaten alive starting at your feet or would you want it to be over quickly?”
“Well, if it was up to me, I’d rather not be eaten at all.”

- Okay, what can I say? Playful banter between Alec and Tessa? Enough said.

8. Alec always said his Variation helped him cheat death but the FEA helped him survive.

- In this scene we learn more about Alec’s past!

9. A horrible thought crashed into my mind. Had I changed back to my own body by accident? But no, it couldn’t be. Devon didn’t look freaked out enough for that. If he’d seen his sister shape-shift into a stranger, his face would have shown something much greater than puzzlement.

- Just love the scene surrounding this quote!

10. What had been a comfortable silence, now felt like the moment when the birds go quiet in the forest and you know something terrible is stalking you.

- I always liked this quote. Not sure why, I just do!

These are great thanks so much for stopping by Susanne!

Need more? Here’s some info about IMPOSTOR!

Can Tessa pose as Madison . . . and stop a killer before it’s too late? 

Tessa is a Variant, able to absorb the DNA of anyone she touches and mimic their appearance. Shunned by her family, she’s spent the last two years training with the Forces with Extraordinary Abilities, a secret branch of the FBI. When a serial killer rocks a small town in Oregon, Tessa is given a mission: she must impersonate Madison, a local teen, to find the killer before he strikes again.

Tessa hates everything about being an impostor—the stress, the danger, the deceit—but loves playing the role of a normal girl. As Madison, she finds friends, romance, and the kind of loving family she’d do anything to keep. Amid action, suspense, and a ticking clock, this super-human comes to a very human conclusion: even a girl who can look like anyone struggles the most with being herself.

About Susanne:
Susanne Winnacker studied law before she became a full-time writer. She lives with her husband, a dog that looks like a sheep and three bunnies that have destroyed every piece of furniture she's ever owned in Germany. She loves coffee (in every shape and form), traveling and animals. When she isn't writing, you can usually find her in the kitchen, experimenting with new vegan dishes.

You can find her on Twitter and on facebook.

Check out the rest of the tour schedule here

Oh and if you want to enter the giveaway click on the link!
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Friday, May 24, 2013

Cover Reveal- Darker Days (Darker Agency #1) by Jus Accardo and an Excerpt!

Hey y’all! I’m really excited for this book! I love Jus’s Denazen series and I know this one is going to rock as well! So without further ado I give you the cover, synopsis, and an excerpt from DARKER DAYS!

Darker Days (Darker Agency, #1)
Jus Accardo
Release Date: August 2013
Publisher: Entangled DigiTeen

Jessie Darker goes to high school during the day, but at night she helps with the family investigation business. Cheating husbands and stolen inheritances? They’re your girls—but their specialty is a bit darker. Zombie in your garage? Pesky Poltergeist living in your pool? They’ll have the problem solved in a magical minute. For a nominal fee, of course...

When gorgeous new client, Lukas Scott, saunters into the office requesting their help to find a stolen box, it sounds like a simple case—until the truth comes out. The box is full of Sin.

Seven deadly ones, in fact.

They’ve got five days to recapture the Sins before they're recalled by the box, taking seven hijacked human bodies with them. Easy peasy—except for one thing...

There’s a spell that will allow the Sins to remain free, causing chaos forever. When the key ingredient threatens the life of someone she knows, Jessie must make the ultimate choice between love and family—or lose everything. 

 And here’s the excerpt!


“So not your biggest fan at the moment,” I said, closing the office door behind me. The runofffrom my jeans had soaked my sneakers pretty good. With each step, I gave a slight squishing noise accompanied by an annoying squeak against the old tile floor.

From across the room, Mom stared. “What happened to you?”
“It attacked me.” Tossing my bag on the couch, I sank into her chair and made sure to grind my butt into the cushion. Got it nice and wet. I was all about sharing the love—and right now, the love was soggy.
She laughed, waving a folder in my direction. “Surely you’re overreacting. It was one little zombie. They don’t attack people.”
“I’m serious, Ma. It tried to drown me. And the client assaulted me with ugly footwear. As far as punishments go, I’d say we’re probably square. I’ve learned my lesson.”
“You’re serious?” Amused expression now replaced by concern, she crossed the room and leaned over her desk to get a better look at me.
“As a coronary.” Once I was sure the chair had sponged up all it could, I stood and huffed past her. Pulling at my favorite T-shirt—the word Fate inside a blood red heart, is a four letter word on the back—I said, “Child welfare would not be happy to hear you tried to feed your only child to a walking corpse…”

“But why would it attack? Did you provoke it?” Folding her arms, she frowned. “Insult it, perhaps?”
I winked at her. “Provoke it? Sure. I went and wiggled my ass in front of it yelling lunch just to see what’d happen.” I’d called it Stinky, but that didn’t count as an insult. Something couldn’t be considered an insult if it was true, right?
Right eyebrow twitching, she fought against a smile. “But you’re okay, right? No bites, broken bones, head injuries, possessions…?”

I smiled and did a little twirl. “All in one piece and still me.”

Mom had a checklist she went through at the end of each job. I was known for taking almost as much damage as I inflicted.

“Oh, and you’re probably going to get a call from the client. I sorta smashed her fence in the process.”
Mom groaned. “I told you to be more careful.”
“It’s not like I tried to break anything.”
“Something tells me you didn’t try hard enough not to break anything, either.”
“In my defense, it wasn’t a simple trap and slap…”
“We can’t afford this.” She reached down and pulled a white envelope out from under a stack of papers. “This is the bill for that Mercedes you smashed.”
“Oh! So not my fault. How was I supposed to know that Spring Heel was gonna land on the car? If it makes you feel any better, I think he was aiming for my head…”
“If you keep this up, we won’t even be able to afford the rent.”
She was right, of course, and it made me feel horrible. “I’m sorry. I guess I’m a wrecking ball wrapped in blue jeans. Take my cut of this job and put it toward the repairs. Keep my paycheck for the next month, too.” A good start, but it didn’t feel like enough. Sure, it would cover the damages—I hoped—but I felt guilty about upsetting her. The bills that were piling up kept her awake at night. This was only going to make things worse. We got a fair amount of business, but the overhead in our line of work was sky high.

As much as I hated the idea, I knew what would cheer her up. “I’ll even throw in pet possessions for the next month.”

About Jus Accardo

JUS ACCARDO spent her childhood reading and learning to cook. Determined to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps as a chef, she applied and was accepted to the Culinary Institute of America. At the last minute, she realized her path lay with fiction, not food, and passed on the spot to pursue writing. Jus is the bestselling author the popular Denazen series from Entangled publishing and is currently working on the first book in a new adult series due out summer 2013. A native New Yorker, she lives in the middle of nowhere with her husband, three dogs, and sometimes guard bear, Oswald.

Where you can find Jus Accardo

So what do you think? Are you excited for DARKER DAYS? I know I sure am!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Swoon Thursday (8)- The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

Ok so you said you’d like me to keep doing Swoon Thursdays and I am here to please! Thanks to the lovely ladies at YA Bound for this awesome meme! I love being able to a share swoon-worthy snippet with you!

So this week I’ve decided to share a swoon-worthy scene from the book I’m currently reading! So far this book was awesome and I know you all will be dying to get your hands on it after this passage!

THE BURNING SKY by Sherry Thomas

This book is awesome and the scene I’m going to share isn’t sexy times but it’s very sweet. When I read is I awed and swooned! I absolutely adore Titus and I can’t wait for the world to meet him! Ok so a little set up here Iolanthe has been transformed into a canary for her own protection and Titus doesn't think she will remember what he has said to her when she transforms back into a human. Will she remember? You'll have to read the book to find out ;)

“Remember it will be unpleasant and you will not be able to move immediately afterward. I will wait in the repository.”

She chirped after a few seconds, perhaps trying to make sure he had vacated the premises.

“I am still here, shuffling along.” He answered.

She chirped again. She was most likely telling him to hurry, but he chose to have a little fun with her—there was a severe scarcity of fun in his life. “You are anxious? Imagine how I feel, darling.”

She chirped twice in a row. He wished he did not feel so wretched—carrying on an imaginary conversation with her would otherwise have been a highly rewarding use of his time.

“How can you help? If you will only…” He stopped.

He had been trying, with no apparent success, to bridge the chasm between them. But that was not all he wanted, was it? No, he was far more ambitious than even he had realized. He wanted her to…

“Fall in love with me.” He heard, loud and clear, the words the truth serum compelled from him. “If you loved me, everything would be so much easier.”

So what did you think? Does this make you want to add it to you TBR? I’d love to hear what you think!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Dying to Read (30)- Revelations by JA Souders

Hey y’all thanks for stopping by to see my Dying to Read post and of course as always I have to give credit to the lovely Jill over at Breaking the Spine for the Waiting on Wednesday Meme!

This week the book I’m dying to read is Revelations by JA Souders!!!!! I’ve been dying to use this one for a long time! I LOVED Renegade, book 1 in the series and I fell hard for Gavin lol (of course right?) and this book has one of the creepiest villains!

Revelations (Elysium Chronicles #2)
JA Souders
Release Date: November 5, 2013
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Tor Teen
ISBN: 978-0765332462

The follow-up to J. A. Souders’s riveting SF psychological thriller for teens, Renegade

Six weeks ago, Evelyn Winters was locked away in Elysium, a city hidden miles beneath the sea, brainwashed into submission. With the help of Gavin, she fought free of her captors and the fog in her own mind. He took her back with him to the Surface, a world she's never known. Now she will begin a new life.

But her past is closer than she thinks...

So what do you think? Will you be adding this to your pile? What are you dying to read this week?
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