Welcome to Two Chicks on Books!!!

Thanks for stopping by! I'm here to share all things Bookish and also news about Movies, TV Shows, and even Video Games I love! I love to read your comments :)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Blog Tour- WINTERSPELL by Claire Legrand and a Giveaway!!!!

Hey y'all! I am so excited for this tour stop! WINTERSPELL by Claire Legrand is one of my favorite books of 2014! It's a Nutcracker retelling with magic, steampunk, and fae. It's dark and heart-wrenching and very sexy for a YA book, and I loved every page! I'm also really excited because Claire said yes to my crazy idea. I asked her to write a scene from the swoonworthy but damaged Nicholas who is the "Nutcracker" in the book while he was cursed and locked away in his prison and it's AWESOME. Oh and make sure to stick around and enter the giveaway! You're going to want to get your hands on this book ASAP!

Haven't heard of WINTERSPELL? Check it out!

Author: Claire Legrand
Release Date: September 30, 2014
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers 
ISBN: 978-1442465985
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

The clock chimes midnight, a curse breaks, and a girl meets a prince . . . but what follows is not all sweetness and sugarplums.

New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor's ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother's murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer.

Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes.

Her home is destroyed, her father abducted--by beings distinctly not human. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they're to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets--and a need she can't define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won't leave Cane unscathed--if she leaves at all.

Inspired by The Nutcracker, Winterspell is a dark, timeless fairy tale about love and war, longing and loneliness, and a girl who must learn to live without fear.

Now on to the post!

Hi everyone! I’m so excited to be at Two Chicks on Books today—first of all because Jaime is one rad lady, and second of all because, well, what I’m sharing with you today has me crazy excited.

What you’ll read below is new Winterspell-related material, exclusive to this stop on the blog tour! It’s a scene from the point-of-view of Nicholas, the cursed prince of the story. I don’t want to say too much else because the scene is pretty self-explanatory, but I will say this was tremendously fun for me to write. It’s always a blast getting into the heads of non-narrating characters, and seeing what the same story world looks like through their eyes.

I hope you enjoy reading! And keep an eye out for this same scene when you read Winterspell—there, told from Clara’s point-of-view.


From his prison in the corner, Nicholas watched the door and waited.

He had just awoken from one of his halfway-dreams. The magic imprisoning him never let him sleep fully; instead he slept in fits, all of them polluted with dreams that felt manufactured to torment him—and probably were.

Most of his dreams were of long ago—that first moment, eighteen years past, when he had regained consciousness in this place he now knew to be New York City, and realized he would never move again.

He hadn’t been injured, nor had he been dead, although he would soon begin to wish for the latter.

No, he had been encased. Trapped. Bound in a magic so foul he could feel it writhing against him, as though his bindings were made of thick serpents rather than metal and iron.

Understanding had come swiftly, followed by fear, then despair, and then, when he heard that familiar delicate laughter in his ear, rage.

He had then remembered everything—the last night in Wahlkraft, the castle glittering with decorations for the winter festival. Blood spattering the walls. His parents’ cries.

Escaping through the brutal night, Drosselmeyer at his side. Doors. The smell of singed magic in the air. Hulking shapes. A woman wearing a helmet like a crown.

Pain. Encroaching, smothering pain. A vise gripping him. Laughter winding into his ears and nose, down his throat, seizing his heart.

And then . . . waking up here, Drosselmeyer hovering over him.

“Your Highness?” the old man had croaked, and at the sound of his voice, something inside Nicholas had snapped.

He screamed. He pounded on the walls of his new prison. He tore at his arms to free himself of bindings he could not manage to find.

At least, he had tried to scream.

He tried for hours, days, until his throat ached from silent screams and his head pounded with the strain of trying to force his way past the magic that bound him.

He had been vaguely aware of things happening around him—Drosselmeyer struggling to move him; a road full of motion, beasts, and people; a softer presence, a familiar voice. Eventually, lamplit dimness—they had made their way indoors, into a space that slowly became crowded with shelves of toys, a wall of clocks, perches of sleeping birds.

Time had passed. Hours? Months? It had been a haze to Nicholas, punctuated by hated appearances from Drosselmeyer, trying in vain to free him.

And then . . . she came.

A child, at first. Tiny, perhaps two years old. A bundle of lace-trimmed blankets and soft red hair in her mother’s arms.

Later, four years old, noticing him for the first time. Eyes widening, she had tiptoed near to touch his spiked metal hand.

At first, he felt nothing at the press of her tiny gloved fingers; the magic imprisoning him was too complete. He had in fact begun to forget what it felt like to be touched at all.

But then she came, and something about her curious eyes and careful touch made him want to remember.

Years passed. She began to visit more regularly, helping the old man craft his toys. At first she was shy; her gaze flitted often to the corner, but she seldom came close.

As she grew older, however, things began to change.

Sometimes, when Drosselmeyer left the room, she would creep over to the corner, place her hands on Nicholas’s rough metal arm, and whisper to him of how things were getting worse at home. Sometimes she would say hello, and nothing more. Other times she would simply watch him, eyes narrowed and searching, as if trying to understand him.

Once, those eyes had inspected the markings covering his chest, as they so often did, and then, hesitantly, she had begun tracing those same lines with her bare fingers.

The look of intense concentration on her face had made Nicholas hold his breath. He had strained to feel something, anything, a faint hint of warmth where her fingers were touching him. His focus had been so complete that he had forgotten everything else—his anger, his unraveling thoughts, the ever-present hint of cruel laughter that buzzed in his mind like an insect.

In that moment, he had known only Clara.

“Clara? I need your assistance,” Drosselmeyer had called, bustling out of the back room with his arms full of supplies. The connection broken, Clara had hurried away, and for the rest of her visit, she had not looked back at Nicholas’s corner.

But those few stolen moments had been enough for him—enough to sustain him, to keep him whole for at least one more day.


Her name became his constant companion. He fell asleep thinking about her, and his dreams were not so cruel with traces of her in his mind. He woke up thinking about her, and waited impatiently each morning for the shop’s door to open.

When it did not admit her, he spent the day stewing, and his dark thoughts left him afraid of himself.

Would she visit today?

The wall of clocks opposite his corner struck ten o’ clock. Eleven. Noon. He took great pleasure in the idea of taking a mallet to the lot of them.

Then, four o’clock. Four chimes, a hundred times over.

The door opened, its tiny tarnished bell ringing, and in came a gust of icy wind—and her.


Even trapped as he was, ruined as he was, Nicholas could still recognize his racing heartbeat, his flushed skin, the pull he felt toward the young woman unwinding the scarf from her head and shaking snow from her blue velvet coat. Somewhere within the twists of this cruel magic, he—Nicholas—still existed.

He wasn’t sure he would have been able to say that, after so many years, had it not been for her. Without her visits, what was there to live for? The hope that Drosselmeyer would successfully break the curse? There wasn’t much chance of that; each attempt diminished him. It was almost enough to make Nicholas pity the old man.


No, it was only Clara that kept him alive. He had long been convinced of that.

He only wished he could tell her as much. It was his greatest desire, to thank her.

To fold her into his arms—his real, flesh-and-blood arms—and tell her that she was saving him. To remove the pins from her hair, let it fall free, bury his face in those unruly red curls and breathe deep.

To love her as she deserved to be loved.

Darkness fell, shaking him free of his thoughts. Drosselmeyer had doused the lamps, and Nicholas searched the shadows for Clara. How long had he been daydreaming?

“. . . You must move as though through water.”

Drosselmeyer’s voice. Ah. They were practicing. It was the one thing about the old man that Nicholas did not hate—that he taught Clara how to defend herself, how to sneak silently out of impossible situations, how to move through darkness with the certainty of a warrior. She would need such tools, if she were to survive this city.

And if, someday, she were to—

But he couldn’t think about that. It was a possibility too dangerously full of hope.

“The room is yours to know, to possess,” Drosselmeyer went on. “The energy within you subsumes its energy. You are the room. You are the shadows. Try it.”         

Nicholas found her darkened form moving slowly through the room’s chaos. Occasionally Drosselmeyer encouraged her; other times, he attacked her, forcing her to stay prepared as she moved through the shadows. Once, she knocked into a table and cursed. Once, she hit Drosselmeyer so hard Nicholas could have sworn he heard tears in the old man’s voice.

Nicholas smiled as much as his prison allowed him to. He loved when Clara cursed, or laughed, or sang to herself as she practiced lock picking. He especially loved when she bested the old man during one of their spars.

These were the moments when the fear that had overtaken her life faded away, and she was most truly herself.

Long minutes passed. The wall of clocks ticked on.

And then, as if in one of his fevered dreams, she was there.

Her foot must have caught on his large, spiked one. She stumbled, fell—and then, slowly, took hold of his arms and pulled herself up. 

She could have moved away immediately, but she didn’t.

Instead she slid up his metal body, her hands moving up his arms and settling on the broad, hard planes of his chest.

Once, Nicholas had not been able to feel her touch. But years of yearning for it had made him so attuned to her that he now felt everything—the fabric of her thin chemise snagging on the rough plates of metal that made up his outer shell. The soft puffs of air against his chest as her breath started to come more quickly.

The warmth of her, pressed so intimately against him.

Even though he knew it wouldn’t be possible, he tried to move toward her. This wasn’t nearly close enough, and he felt like growling with frustration. He needed to pull her into his body, thread his fingers through her hair.

He needed to kiss every one of the freckles dotting her cheeks, and then kiss her neck, her mouth. He needed to kiss her until all she knew was his lips on her skin.

He needed to tell her . . . so many things. The words would no doubt crowd and catch in his throat, but he would try.

Clara. Clara . . .

He burned with the effort to say her name, but the magic choked him. Its grip tightened, punishing him.

The delicate laughter in his mind turned louder, mocking.

Little prince, little prince, it hissed, you’re not strong enough. You never were.

But Clara was there, curling against him, and so the laughter was unimportant, and faded. Clara sighed, cupped his face, tenderly caressed the lines of his iron jaw.

He would say her name. He would, magic or no. He would tell her what she meant to him.

Clara. Clara. You have saved me.

The swipe of a match. The hiss of flame.

“That’s enough,” the old man growled, from across the room.

Clara stepped away, flushed, and Drosselmeyer was standing there in the fresh lamplight looking murderously at him, as if he knew—but Nicholas didn’t care.

He could still feel the warmth of her against him. He could still sense her gentle hands on his body, touching him as if weren’t a statue, but a young man once more—and that would be enough to keep his dreams kind.

It would be enough to keep him alive and himself, even if only for another day.

Thanks for stopping by Claire I loved this sooooo much!!!!

About Claire:
Claire Legrand is the author of books for children and teens, including The Cavendish Home for Boys and GirlsThe Year of Shadows, the upcoming Winterspell, and its prequel, Summerfall. She is also one of the four authors of The Cabinet of Curiosities.

When not writing books, she can be found obsessing over DVD commentaries, going on long walks (or trying to go on long runs), and speaking with a poor English accent to random passersby. She thinks musicians and librarians are the loveliest of folks (having been each of those herself) and, while she loves living in central New Jersey, she dearly misses her big, brash, beautiful home state of Texas.

Her work is represented by Diana Fox of Fox Literary, LLC.  

Giveaway Details: 10 Prize Packs
10 prize packs/10 winners! The prize packs = finished copy of Winterspell + swag (bookmark, bookplate, character postcards) + map of Cane + Winterspell-themed jewelry.US only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the Tour Schedule for more awesome posts!

Week One
9/22/2014- Alice MarvelsReview
9/23/2014- The Midnight GardenGuest Post
9/24/2014- Magical Urban Fantasy ReadsInterview 
9/25/2014- CuddlebuggeryGuest Post
9/26/2014- FiktshunGuest Post

Week Two
9/29/2014- Novel SoundsGuest Post
9/30/2014- ParajunkeeInterview 
10/1/2014- Mundie MomsInterview 
10/2/2014- Two Chicks on BooksGuest Post
10/3/2014- Dark Faerie TalesReview 


  1. First of all, the cover is breathtakingly beautiful. I love the purple (favorite color)! I have been wanting to read Winterspell since I first heard about it. After reading the book teaser I now want to read even more. So excited!

    - Beckie @ Bittersweet Enchantment

  2. Yaaaaayyyy!!! I cant believe i won!
    ~ Brittany T 😝

    1. Unless there are 2 Brittany T's in ehich case id feel pretty silly

  3. Took me forver to comment, hih, sorry :D BUT ANYWAY. This is the best blog post. <3 NICHOLAS. Point of view! LOOOOVE. This is just stunning. Sniffs. Thank you Claire for writing. <3 And Jaime for sharing :D You guys are awesome. I cannot wait to re-read Winterspell soonish. :)


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...