Author Interview, Book Love, Book Reviews, Giveaway

YA Author Interview & Giveaway: Jenna Morland

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I’ve started a monthly highlight blog of Canadian authors and upcoming authors. I’m so excited to announce that Jenna Morland is my first author participating!

Today is her book birthday! Let’s get started.

Loie: It’s great to have you here and celebrate the release of your magical and romantic debut, Empress Unveiled. I just want to say how amazing it is to meet a fellow Canadian Young Adult writer. I loved this book so much, and I cannot wait to read more of your work!

Jenna: Thank you! I think it is so cool that you are featuring Canadian authors and upcoming authors. I really appreciate all the support and love. I am ecstatic that you enjoyed Empress Unveiled and I am beyond grateful for all the wonderful reviews so far.

Okay, on to the questions 😊

Loie: How long have you been writing?

Jenna: Years ago, I dabbled in song-writing but Empress Unveiled was the first piece of fiction I had ever written. To be honest, I was terrible at English. Actually, I got a C in Grade 12 English! But I did read—a lot. I have always been a creative person and I found it fascinating to rearrange words until they created something beautiful. I started writing Empress Unveiled 2 years ago, and it just kind of spilled out of me. The first draft only took a couple of months to write.

Loie: Wow, sounds like it was the story you had to tell 🙂 I love that! What is your favorite genre to write and why?

Jenna: I really enjoyed writing fantasy. The only limit is your imagination and I find that freeing. I also love romance! I am such a sucker for a good love triangle. I find the complicated trials of the human heart to be inspiring.

Loie: I love writing fantasy and romance as well, haha! Who inspired Swayzi? Sidenote: I love Swayzi so much ❤

Jenna: I love that you love her!! Swayzi is a combination of many characters I have loved over the years. I think there is a piece of me in Swayzi as well, but mostly, I created a character that I wanted to read. She is imperfect, awkward, and most of all—relatable. You can’t help but root for her!

Loie: What books have influenced you the most?

Jenna: Without a doubt, Harry Potter. JK came into my life when I was 12. That awkward time in everyone’s life when you go from being a kid to becoming a teenager. It kept me young, it made me dream and it fanned my curiosity of the journey the imagination can take you on. Twilight also had a big impact on me. It was a beast, and it affected the world. Stephanie Meyer created a story that people young and old could relate to. Like me, she had no experience as a writer and was a stay-at-home mom. She made me believe anything is possible!

Loie: JK Rowling and Stephenie Meyer both had a huge impact on me as well ❤ When I was thirteen, JK made me realize I could dream up stories like she did. Stephenie made me fall in love with storytelling and romance💕

Do you find anything particularly challenging when writing?

Jenna: Now that I have been through so many grueling rounds of editing it’s easy to pick apart my writing. I am currently working on the sequel to Empress Unveiled and it took me a long time to let go of perfecting my writing as I worked. It was stifling my creativity.

Loie: Ah, yes. I understand that feeling completely. I worked with two published authors this summer for a writing mentorship called #WriteMentor. We edited my seafaring fantasy a lot and I learned a ton, haha. After you’ve been through an editing process, you start to pick up on imperfections as you go. I love NaNoWriMo month because I dive into a new project and try to get the words down and worry about editing later.

How did you find your publisher and what was the process like working with an editor?

Jenna: #PitMad on Twitter! I submitted my “elevator pitch” and Oftomes was one of the publishers to like my tweet. I sent them my manuscript and I didn’t hear back from them. I received an offer from another publisher and like any writers wish, I was able to send out the “Offer Received” email to all the agents and publishers I had queried. I had this weird feeling that Oftomes was meant to publish Empress Unveiled. In fact, I said that in my last email to them. They sent me an offer 24 hours later.

I had two different editors and each experience was different. There were times when I really enjoyed it, I could see the beauty that was formed with collaboration and it made me excited. I knew the story was better off. Other times—it was awful. I love the creative side of writing, the tedious details of editing on the other hand, was a struggle for me.

Loie: Can you tell us anything about the sequel to Empress Unveiled? Or other projects you are working on?

Jenna: I love where the sequel is going right now. I am so excited to be in Empress and to fall harder for these characters. There are new additions to the cast, and surprises that will leave you stunned. 

I do have one other project that I had to set aside to write the sequel and I will go back to it. It’s something very different from Empress but I love the characters and the idea of it. I need more hours in a day!

Loie: Favorite 2018 book?

Jenna: Turtles All the Way Down!

Loie: What’s your most anticipated read of this year?

Jenna: I am really looking forward to reading Saving Death by R.L. Endean. She is my Oftomes sister and from what I hear—it’s amazing!

Loie: Oooo. I can’t wait to read that one as well 🙂 Thanks so much for visiting, Jenna! Huge congrats to you on your fantastic debut.

Jenna: Thank you so much for asking me to do this interview, I really enjoyed it! I am kind of freaking out that Empress Unveiled has been released into the wild, but I seriously loved the journey to publication and I can’t wait to do it all over again with the sequel.

Loie: Thanks again, Jenna!

I hope you all enjoyed this interview 😊. For those interested in winning a copy of Jenna’s novel, here are ways to gain entries:

  • Leave a comment below on the blog
  • Follow Jenna on Twitter (@jennamorland)
  • Instagram (@jennamorland)
  • Follow me on Twitter (@loiedunn)
  • Follow my blog

Leave your usernames for both so I can track the entries. At the end of the month I will choose a winner randomly.

Good luck and thanks for visiting!

Loie

Author Interview, Book Love, Book Reviews, canadian authors, Giveaway

Launching Monthly Interviews with YA and MG Canadian Authors

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Hey everyone!

How are you all making out? Hard to believe the beginning of September has breezed on into our lives. I had my first pumpkin spice latte on August 31st 😉 Couldn’t wait, haha!

I wanted to write a short post and share about something new I am starting tomorrow here on my blog.

There is a ton of talent here in Canada. Seeing as I am an Atlantic Canadian writer, I love to meet fellow Canadian authors of children’s literature. I decided to begin a monthly blog series where I highlight a Canadian author or an up and coming writer. Of course, I love all writers, but I wanted to share some of the talent here in this country.

Tomorrow I have a special treat planned for you all!

I have a blog going live that will feature a fantastic debut YA Fantasy author who wrote a romantic and magical story. Can’t wait for you to find out who it is! There will be an interview with said author and a giveaway of their debut novel ❤

Please check back tomorrow!

Talk soon,

Loie xo

 

Book Reviews

Fury’s Kiss Audiobook Blog Tour

Author: Nicola R. White

Narrator: Elizabeth Tebb

Length: 9 hours 2 minutes

Series: New England Furies, Book 1

Publisher: Strange Roads Press

Released: Sep. 18, 2017

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Tara Walker dreams of more excitement than slinging plates of seafood for Cape Cod tourists, but as she learns when she is attacked and forced to fight for her life, fate sometimes has a funny way of giving you exactly what you wish for. Faced with strange new powers and embroiled in a murder investigation, Tara must now race to uncover the secrets of the ancient Fury that has woken inside of her – and of the evil that stalks her.

As if Tara’s life hasn’t gotten complicated enough, she is forced to ally herself with Jackson Byrne, witness to her assault and uncle to a pint-sized oracle whose fate is intertwined with hers. Skeptical, stubborn, and oh-so-sexy, Jackson wrestles with demons of his own. He is determined to ignore the attraction rising between them even faster than the body count, but like it or not, he and Tara need each other if they are to unravel the mysteries that surround them.

Nicola R. White comes from a small city on the east coast of Canada where ghost stories and superstitions abound. Although she is a lawyer by profession, her passion is reading and writing fiction. In 2016, Nicola’s debut novel, Fury’s Kiss, won the $10,000 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize in Romance. She is currently producing her first graphic novel.

Nicola is a member of Romance Writers of America and Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada. She is a frequent guest and speaker at literary events such as Word on the Street and Hal-Con, the largest sci fi/fantasy convention east of Montreal.

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Narrator Bio

I am a literacy specialist with experience performing in a number of roles. Having spent a great deal of time speaking publicly as both an educator and an administrator, I have accrued a varied skill set that I feel confident I can use to advance and advertise bodies of work. My passion for literature drives me to bring the voices within it to life.

  • Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
    • Fury’s Kiss was the first audiobook I produced. Since I self-published this book, I wanted to do the same with the audiobook. I used a marketplace service offered by Audible.com for authors and narrators to connect and produce audiobooks that will be distributed through the site. Potential narrators submitted auditions and I selected the wonderful Elizabeth Tebb!
  • Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
    • Absolutely! I always think about the possibility of my books being adapted into all sorts of different mediums, whether audio, film, graphic novel, or something else I haven’t thought of yet.
  • How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
    • Elizabeth and I kept in contact by email and touched base every month or so, but I don’t like to micromanage anyone so I trusted her to let me know if she needed support from me. I provided her with a character sheet and notes about accents and pronunciation of some unusual names, but that was pretty much it! When she was done recording the book, I listened to the chapters and provided feedback for minor revisions.
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
    • My problem tends to be the opposite of burnout – I always have more enthusiasm than time! I usually have several projects on the go at one time so that I don’t get bored with any one project in particular. Right now I am working on a comic book and a game script in addition to my usual romance writing schedule. For me, burnout is more of a problem in relation to my day job, so I have taken steps to make sure I have enough energy for my work as a writer (which is my real passion).
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    • Of course! I love the way a good narrator can make you feel as if the story is coming to life. I also like the convenience of being able to multitask while listening to a good book. My favorite place to listen to audiobooks is in the car.
  • How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
    • I don’t know that I did actually celebrate at the time. I am a lawyer by profession and I finished the first draft while I was studying for the bar exam. I started writing this book as a way to de-stress while I was in law school and didn’t start seriously thinking about publishing it until I had re-written most of it several times over. The real celebration happened when I published Fury’s Kiss and it won the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize a few years later.
  • In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series?
    • As a reader and an author, I prefer a series to a stand-alone. From a reader perspective, if I like a book, I want more! From an author perspective, books in a series are easier to sell and readers seem to prefer them. It’s fun to create and explore a world in detail, although the con is that it can get hard to keep track of everything (especially if the series is based on mythology, like in the New England Furies series!).
  • What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
    • Don’t give up! Even if it seems like things aren’t working out the way you hoped, writing is really just a numbers game. If you keep working at it long enough, you will eventually enjoy some degree of success, whatever that looks like for you. Learn as much as you can about the business side of publishing and never sign a contract you don’t fully understand. Finally, don’t compare yourself to other people. Roosevelt was right when he said that comparison is the thief of joy.

Narrator

Elizabeth was brilliant! This was my first time listening to an audio book. Elizabeth captured each unique character by using a new accent or tone of voice. So cool! I found myself lost in the story in a different way than reading a hard-copy book. Very eyeopening. I can see why audio books are so popular.

I listened to Fury’s Kiss in between editing my own manuscript. It was a nice change to sit back and listen to a story. It gave my eyes a break 🙂

Story by Nicola R. White

It was such an honor to review this audiobook! Nicola is a member of the Atlantic Canada division of Romance Writers of America which I joined earlier this year. It’s so awesome to meet local writers and authors.

I enjoyed this paranormal romance a ton! It was unique and different. Our main character, Tara, is a spunky and brave young woman. Jackson is swoonworthy and their romance sizzled. Nicola captured the voice of a young twenty two year old woman SO well. I loved how we got to see Tara going about her life with her two best friends who are also her roommates. Their conversations had me in stitches at times. Every character that showed up in this story was quirky and three dimensional. I felt truly immersed in their world.

The story was peppered with mystery that kept me intrigued. Information was slowly revealed throughout while we got to learn more about Tara and her day to day life. I also enjoyed that Tara had powerful abilities and her love interest didn’t. I found that refreshing and new. I’ve read a lot of paranormal romance where the two love interests both have some sort of power. It was neat to see how they navigated Tara’s powers.

The paranormal bit about Fury’s was new and unique to me. Here is a bit of information about them: “THE ERINYES (Furies) were three goddesses of vengeance and retribution who punished men for crimes against the natural order. They were particularly concerned with homicide, unfilial conduct, offenses against the gods, and perjury. A victim seeking justice could call down the curse of the Erinys upon the criminal. The most powerful of these was the curse of the parent upon the child–for the Erinyes were born of just such a crime, being sprung from the blood of Ouranos (Uranus), when he was castrated by his son Kronos (Cronus).”

I give this audiobook 5/5 stars 🙂

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Nicola R. White. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Giveaway

Fury’s Kiss Giveaway: 3-month Audible Membership

Also available from Nicola R. White

Man’s Ruin is available for adoption on the Adopt-An-Audiobook page!

Jul. 10th:

Happily Ever BookWorm

Audiobook Romance

Loie Dunn

The Book Junkie Reads . . .

Jul. 11th:

Notes from ‘Round the Bend

The Bookworm Lodge

Jul. 12th:

T’s Stuff

Jazzy Book Reviews

Jul. 13th:

Angel’s Guilty Pleasures

Lilly’s Book World

Jul. 14th:

Book Addict

Up ‘Til Dawn Book Blog

Jul. 15th:

Smada’s Book Smack

Bookworms Corner Blog Spot

Wonderlandians Books

Jul. 16th:

The Book Addict’s Reviews

Chapter Break

Declarations of a Fangirl

➜Sign up as a host here

 

Book Reviews

Book Review: Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault

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Published by Parliament House Press

 June 26th, 2018

Book 1 in a Duology

Goodreads 

Some see it… Some don’t…

People in the town of Deer Park, Texas are vanishing. There is a strange museum, known as Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault, that appears overnight. Perrie Madeline’s best friend and ex-boyfriend are among the missing. Perrie and her friend August go on a pursuit for them in the mysterious museum. Could the elusive Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault have anything to do with the disappearances?

Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault is the start of a thrilling duology full of magic, danger, and romance.

General Gushing and Characters I Love

Candace created three dimensional characters that I fell in love with from the get go. Our main heroine, Perrie, is a spunky and real teenager. She’s fallen in love and has had her heart broken. She is a great friend to her cousin and bestie, Maisie. I love that she is a musician and plays the cello. (Sidenote, I’ve always wanted to play the cello or harp 😉

Maisie is so fun and cool. If only I had her rocking confidence when I was a teenager ❤ I love how quirky she is. Perrie and Maisie are #friendshipgoals. There is a quote from Perrie that I scribbled down that I wanted to share.

“That’s what I love best about her is the fact she doesn’t care what anybody thinks, and just wants to see everyone happy.”

This is Perrie observing Maisie inviting everyone to dance at their prom, not caring about the different cliques. I loved that so much ❤ This really shows us how kind and caring Maisie is.

Neven and August are intriguing. (Aren’t all the character names awesome ?!?!) Both boys have interesting personalities and vie for Perrie’s attention. There is a twist at the end of the book that I absolutely did NOT SEE coming. Well done, Candace. I have a #bookhangover and I need the sequel ASAP, pretty please 🙂

Favorite Moments

When Perrie goes to the Glass Vault to rescue Maisie. Talk about fearless! She does not only seek to help Maisie but others as well.

A funny moment with Perrie and August: “Please tell me you’ve taken karate or something like that.”

(This is when August and Perrie are facing a fight, haha! I laughed out loud.)

If you love horror, mystery, and fairytales, I highly suggest you pick up this book. It is a brilliant mash up and it did not disappoint. The pacing was outstanding. Every time I came to the end of a chapter I felt propelled forwards, unable to stop reading. (I also took notes, as a writer, haha.)

Writer Thoughts

Like I said before, the pacing was brilliant. I also enjoyed how Candace seamlessly weaved backstory into various chapters. This helped me understand Perrie and her friends a lot better. I saw how much Perrie loves Maisie and cares for her best friend. We also got to see what happened between her and Neven.

Her descriptions were spot on, building a lush and horrifying world at times. Can’t wait for your next book, Candace!

Author Candace Robinson 

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My name is Candace Robinson. I’m just your average hemiplegic migraine sufferer. My days are spent writing, book reviewing and traveling through books for my blog, Literary Dust. I live just outside of Houston, Texas, where it feels like the hottest place on Earth with the crazy weather. No, seriously, one day it’s 30 degrees and the next it’s 70 degrees! I live with my husband and awesome daughter!

Candace has an awesome book blog called Literary Dust! Go check it out 🙂 Isn’t that website name awesome?!

If you want to order this book on Amazon, just click here 🙂

You can also order it on Parliament’s website!

What are you reading at the moment? I would love to hear in the comments below.

Until next time,

Loie xo

Book Reviews

Friday Book Review: The Fix

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Published in 2015 by SkyPony Press

Young Adult Contemporary

Standalone

Goodreads

“One conversation is all it takes to break a world wide open.

Seventeen-year-old Macy Lyons has been through something no one should ever have to experience. And she’s dealt with it entirely alone.

On the outside, she’s got it pretty good. Her family’s well-off, she’s dating the cute boy next door, she has plenty of friends, and although she long ago wrote her mother off as a superficial gym rat, she’s thankful to have allies in her loving, laid-back dad and her younger brother.

But a conversation with a boy at a party one night shakes Macy out of the carefully maintained complacency that has defined her life so far. The boy is Sebastian Ruiz, a recovering addict who recognizes that Macy is hardened by dark secrets. And as Macy falls for Sebastian, she realizes that, while revealing her secret could ruin her seemingly perfect family, keeping silent might just destroy her.

The Fix follows two good-hearted teenagers coming to terms with the cards they were dealt. It’s also about the fixes we rely on to cope with our most shameful secrets and the hope and fear that comes with meeting someone who challenges us to come clean.”

General Gushing

So, I mainly read young adult fantasy or adult fantasy so this was a change. Did I ever love it! I went to my local bookstore and was browsing through the teen fiction section and my gaze landed on that beautiful cover with the shiny gold sticker 😉 After picking it up and reading the first chapter, I decided that I wanted it. It was raw and real and tugged my heart strings. I related to it so much, about meeting someone in your youth that truly saw you, not the image you had created but rather the hurts and secret dreams that you cradled within.

I read it in one sitting. I was supposed to be working on a project but I couldn’t put this book down. I cried and laughed and cheered Macy on. Thank you Natasha, for writing such a moving and real story.

Characters I loved

I loved Macy. I loved her with all of her imperfections and could understand why she acted the way she did with guys. Sebastian was swoonworthy and so intriguing. I loved how honest and open he was with Macy, where she felt comfortable enough in his company to share her darkest secret.

Moments I loved 

There were a few scenes from the beginning that came full circle by the end of the book. The swimming pool scene at the END of the book was my favorite ❤ Powerful way to end the book and I cried again 🙂

Upcoming books by Natasha Sinel: 

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Woohoo! This book came out on Tuesday, June 12th. I will definitely be heading to the bookstore to pick up Natasha’s latest book.

Writer Thoughts 

As I writer, a goal I hope to accomplish in my writing is to create real characters that people can connect with, love, cheer for, and maybe even cry with. I loved Natasha’s book for this reason – I fell in love with the cast of characters and felt the heart in each and every one of them. They were complicated and messy and broken. But they also had hope.

Until next time,

Loie xo

Book Reviews

Book Review: Between the Sea and the Stars

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Forthcoming: June 19th, 2018

Parliament House Publishing

Book 1

Goodreads

A Legend, 
A Magical Shell 
A Girl Who Dreamed Of Something More… 

Lena, a Merrow girl, lives in the Skagerrak sea with her father, Carrick and her brother, Javelin who tells her of the legend of the Merrow Queen murdered by her human lover when greed takes over. But what’s worth spilling the queen’s blood? Gifted from Poseidon, himself, a magic shell gives any human the ability to control both land and sea. 

When Javelin is called to join a clan of Merrow soldiers bent on protecting their waters from human invasion, Lena resists Merrow law and ventures to the shore with no choice but to swim to land. 

With newfound legs, Lena is whisked away on a new adventure with new friends and new trouble. Everyone seems to want something from her as intrigue lurks around every corner. 

Trying her best to hide who she is and remain safe from the dangers of the human world, will Lena finally find where she belongs, or will she be swept into a strong and stormy current by lust, greed, and jealousy?

General Gushing

This book is magical. I devoured it in a few days because I couldn’t stop reading 🙂 Chantal is a fantastic storyteller and I felt completely immersed in Lena’s world.

As many of you know, I am revising a seafaring fantasy at the moment. I love EVERYTHING about the sea and I was so excited to get to read this ARC from Parliament House Publishing. Thank you so much, Parliament 🙂 All the lush details of the sea world were beautifully done. I loved the time we spent underwater with Lena and her family ❤

On land, I felt for Lena as she navigated the new experience of living above water. Lena is a character I happily rooted for. She’s sweet and sparky at the same time, unafraid to share her opinion.

I eagerly flipped the pages, wondering what was going to happen next.

Moments I loved

Lena helps an older blind gentleman on land, named Edwin. Together, they share stories and they develop a sweet relationship. Lena is so kind and patient with him. He sends her to retrieve new books for him that are written in Braille. This is where she meets Soren Emil, who is a bookkeeper ❤ Soren is probably my other favorite character, alongside Lena.

Lena says this to one of her new friends, Jace, in Chapter 17: “But greatness and goodness are two different things.” This is so true. I love how wise Lena is.

The Little Mermaid 

This story definitely nods to The Little Mermaid. I love all the references peppered throughout the prose. It is a unique retelling and I am eager for the sequel. Can’t wait to read more books by Chantal 🙂

Find Out About Other Books by Chantal Gadoury 

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About the Author

Amazon Best Selling Author, Chantal Gadoury, is a 2011 graduate from Susquehanna University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing. Since graduation, she has published “The Songs in Our Hearts” with 48Fourteen Publishing, and “Allerleirauh” with Parliament House Press, with future titles to follow. Chantal first started writing stories at the age of seven and continues with that love of writing today. Writing novels for Chantal has become a life-long dream come true! When she’s not writing, she enjoys painting, drinking lots of DD Iced Coffee, and watching Disney classics. Chantal lives in Muncy, Pennsylvania with her Mom, Sister and furry-‘brother’ (aka, puppy) Taran.

Purchase Links

Between the Sea and Stars

Amazon

Goodreads

Allerleirauh

Amazon

Parliament House Press

Thank you again to Parliament House Press for sending me this Advanced Readers Copy.  What are you all reading at the moment? I would love to hear below.

Until next time,

Loie xo