The Legend of the Light Keeper (Guest Post, Giveaway, Blog Tour)



Author: Kelly Hall
Title: The Legend of the Light Keeper
Series: The Light Keeper Series
Publication Date: March 25, 2015
Publisher: Booktrope
Tour Schedule
Summary: After a hurricane destroys her home, Lily Jordan is ready for life to get back to normal. That would be easy if her mother’s recent engagement hadn’t landed her in a house along Southeast Texas’ most haunted ghost road.
The secluded scenic road is steeped in rich history and legends, but when Lily is given an old diary on her birthday, will she find that those legends hold more for her future than she’s bargained for?
With the help of new friends, Hunter and Owen, and forbidden love, Talon, will she uncover dark secrets from the past and find the key to her own gifts? Is it fate or circumstance that brought her to her new home?
Normal gives way to the paranormal in book one of the Light Keeper series where mystery and suspense will keep you guessing until the very last page.



Guest Post

Tips for Choosing the Right Names for Your Characters


One of my favorite parts of writing is choosing my character’s names. I love creating characters with strong, distinct personalities who are memorable. I love the names I chose for my characters in The Legend of the Light Keeper, but I will admit, those choices taught me a thing or two. So here are some things to consider when naming your characters.

Spell Check: My first issue was spell check. I had chosen names like Lily, Hunter, and Talon that would not pick up on spell check since lily, hunter, and talon are nouns and perfectly acceptable not capitalized. I had to keep a close eye on those words. What I finally did was use my Find feature in Word to go through and double check and make the corrections. I’m glad I kept the names I did, because after writing four more books using those character names, they’ve kind of grown on me. I couldn’t imagine them named anything else, but choosing differently from the start would have saved me a ton of trouble.

Spelling: Choose common spellings. Throwing in a ton of extra letters, changing the common Y to EE or adding in a strange Z and a silent G, H, or X is only going to create more work for you and your reader. I’ve read so many books that had some really memorable names that were spelled ten kinds of crazy, and I didn’t ever, not once think they were awesome names or that the author was extra clever or creative. I thought it was unnecessary and too much of that in one book makes me give up and move on to another. Consider your readers. Give your characters that beautiful name that suits them, but keep it simple.

Avoid confusion: One thing I did with The Legend of the Light Keeper, that didn’t survive past the editing process, was name Lily’s grandmother Grammy. That alone would have been great, but with Owen and Hunter’s grandmother being named Granny, it kind of made for confusion, not only for me, but for my readers. So in the end I changed Grammy to Gram. Make sure that your readers can distinguish who you are talking about with ease. Having to pause to figure it out only slows a reader down.

In closing, I’ll remind you to write what you want. These are only suggestions to help you make easier decisions. The most important advice I can give you is to simply write.


About the AuthorKelly Hall was born and raised in Southeast Texas, and lives in a small town just a stone’s throw from the ghost road where her Light Keeper series is based. When she’s not busy writing, or spending time with her husband and two sons, this self-proclaimed creative junkie dabbles in many different forms of art, including cake decorating and mixed media.

Author Links:
Pinterest | Website | Facebook | Twitter





Giveaway

The Winner's Crime (Book Review)


The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy, #2)

Author: Marie Rutkoski
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Series: The Winner's Trilogy #2
Source: Library
Summary from Goodreads: Book two of the dazzling Winner's Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.
The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement... if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.
As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.



Rating: êêêêê

Review

This book left me speechless and struggling with feelings - in the best way possible, The book moved at an excellent pace. The plot is thick, there were plenty of twists that kept me on my toes and the politics of this book were intriguing. My favorite part about this book was the character development. We really get to know the characters in this book. Without being spoilery, one of the things that really hit me after reading this book was the fact that, everything the characters did was consistent with who they are and yet I was still shocked by a few things that some of them did. I think it speaks volumes about how well Marie Rutkowski knows her characters. Typically,I am not a fan of star crossed lovers, but Kestrel and Arin's story had me hooked, I think because it's sort of in the background and not in your face. It was the perfect balance. Overall, this book was AMAZING and you should read it.

Stacking the Shelves #32 (3/21/2015 & 3/28/2014)

Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


For Review

Ashes of ForeverlandHidden Huntress (The Malediction Trilogy, #2)
Ashes of Foreverland by Tony Bertauski
Hidden Huntress by Danielle Jensen


Purchased

Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die, #1)
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige


From The Library

The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy, #2)
The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

A Time of Reckoning


A Time of Reckoning (The Golden Key Legacy, #4)

Author: AJ Nuest
Series: The Golden Key Legacy #3
Publication: January 29, 2015
Source: Netgalley
Summary from Goodreads: Rhys had one job to do. One measly errand that shouldn’t have been a problem, given the nature of his powers. But when an old enemy reappears, detailing the result of his actions, Rhys is forced to make a choice between a future with Faedrah or dying before his time. Frustrated and out of options, he agrees to her suggestion they to leap forward in time to the future…even though a good chance exists his powers will be nothing but a memory in his world. Flying blind on a wing and a prayer, they prepare to fight for everything they love against a wizard of insurmountable power.
Faedrah does her best to gather their closest allies. The sides are squared in a war to control the future of both worlds. With the stakes so high, only one advantage has been cast in their favor. The sigil of utmost protection inherent in Rhys’ signature. If not enough to thwart the evil awaiting at the Austiere gates, she could find herself imprisoned in the future, while her kingdom and all those she has sworn to protect are lost to the mists of time.



Rating: êêêê

Review

This book is the perfect conclusion to the Golden Key Legacy. One of my favorite parts about reading this series was the parallels that mirrored the Golden Key Chronicles. The action is this book moves the plot along at an exciting pace. I love that there was time spent in both realms. Faedrah and Rhys's relationship is amazing. I love the raw passion between them. The ending is so perfect, it really ties the two series together.

Stacking the Shelves #31 (3/7/15 & 3/14/15)


Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


Gifted



Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
(I don't know why the signature picture won't rotate)


Blind Spot for Boys by Justina Chen
Splendor by Elena Arnold
A Want So Wicked by Suzanne Young
Dualed by Elsie Chapman
Far Far Away by Tom McNeal
Thank you to Caroline @ The Attic

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkowski
Thank you to my sister!

Purchased



For Review 

The Beholder

Lion Heart by AC Gaughen
The Duff by Kody Keplinger
The Beholder by Ivan Amberlake

Book Blogger Hop #13 (week of March 13)


The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. Its purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new blogs, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to their own blog.

Each week bloggers answer a different question. This week's question is: What is more important to you when you are deciding to read a book?

The most important thing to me is the summary - it needs to get my attention and make me want to read the book. Next are the title and cover.

The Winner's Curse


The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1)

Author: Marie Rutkoski
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Source: Purchased
Summary from Goodreads: As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.
One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.
But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.
Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.



Rating: êêêê

Review
This book was enthralling. The world building was excellent, I could easily envision the empire and the society. I felt surrounded, as if I were in the book and watching the story unfold. 

The characters are well done. Kestrel and Arin are the most developed and of course my favorite. But I have a soft spot for the general and I enjoyed Kestrel's friends Jess and Ronan. While it's clear from the summary that Kestrel and Arin are "kindred spirits" and it's an obvious hint at the romance, I didn't feel overwhelmed by their relationship. It builds over time and still has a lot of growing to do. At The Winner's Crime release event I went to, Kristen Cashore, emphasized that all relationships in books are important and that she felt there were certain relationships in this series that were incredibly important, so I tried to pay attention to them. I think reading the book with this particular focus helped me appreciate the general, Jess and Ronan so much more.

In terms of pacing, the beginning is a bit slow, but no dreadfully so. Once the plot gets moving, the book becomes action driven and moves along at an enjoyable pace. There are some twists in the story and it left me wanting more. I'm looking forward to continuing this series and Kestrel's story.

The Winner's Crime Book Tour

Image result for harvard book store

Image result for winner's curse and winner's crime
The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski was released on March 3 and Harvard Book Store scheduled a free discussion and book signing with Marie and Kristin Cashore (author of one of my favorite YA fantasy series: The Graceling Realm).

Image result for graceling fire and bitterblue

Unfortunately, Marie's flight was cancelled and she was unable to attend the event. But the show must go on!

Harvard Book Store is absolutely adorable! It has an old library feel to it and I was immediately drawn toward the shelves. Before the event began, my sister and I were able to browse a bit, and I got to check something off of my bookish bucket list! I got to climb a book ladder like Belle, I didn't get to ride it like her because the ladders are for staff use only and I didn't realize that until I saw a sign (oops), but it was still a glorious moment.


Once Kristin was introduced, she apologized for Marie and let us know that she would do her best flying solo. The staff let us know that Marie would be signing and personalizing book plates since she wasn't able to be here and sign physical books.

Kristin was incredibly sweet and sincere. In order to help support the release of Marie's book, Kristin selected a scene to read - it was a powerful scene and I can't wait to read the book through and encounter that scene again. Next she read a parallel scene from her own book Fire. Both scenes were father-daughter scenes. Kristin explained that books have many types of relationships in them and typically the romantic relationships get the most attention, but she wanted to emphasize the importance of other types of relationships.



Next, Kristin talked about her writing process - which is honestly one of the coolest things I think I've ever learned about. Kristin writes her book by hand! She brought one of her notebooks with her and it was remarkable to watch her flip through the pages, to see her small handwriting, to see lots of scratch marks, sections scribbled out and even complete pages crossed out, and to see her notes in the margins to herself. It literally took my breath away. She also talked about how writing is about getting it wrong over and over until you get it right - it was inspiring. She explained that after she writes a good chunk, she uses dictation software to transfer the books to a digital file. She also said she does all of her editing my hand. It just blows my mind to think that her books are such a labor of love. 

Then she opened the floor for questions and I learned some more fun and interesting things. Here are a few of the things that really stuck out to me
  1. Kristin and Marie are friends. The Winner's Crime is dedicated to Kristin (how sweet is that?!).
  2. Bitterblue took Kristin three years to write and she really doesn't like ciphors.
  3. Kristin is currently working on three things (a contemporary YA, a difficult to describe crossover type book, and a fantasy)



After the Q&A, Kristin signed books and chit chatted a bit. She was humble, sweet and down to earth. I am so happy that I finally got to meet and and had my books signed, The Graceling Realm series is one that got me back into reading and I will be eternally grateful to Kristin for that.


My sister bought me a paperback copy of The Winner's Curse (I previously purchased the e-book) and she purchased all three of Kristin's books to have her own signed set. After the signing, we went downstairs to the used book section, there are some really interesting selections. I was able to find a used copy of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, so I picked that up. I decided that since my sister surprised me with The Winner's Crime that I would like to wait for The Winner's Curse to be released in paperback so that my set will match.



All in all, it was a fun night. I hope that I will be able to attend another one of Marie's events in the future to meet her. Kristin seems to have a relationship with Harvard Book Store, so hopefully when her new books are released, I will be able to meet her again. 




Liebster Award #3


Thank you to Serena at Reading Over Sleeping for this nomination!

The award can only be given to Bloggers who have less than 200 followers and the purpose is to build up blog views and followers, while also building a fun and supportive blogging community.





Eleven Facts About Me:
  1. I am in my last semester of graduate school and the workload is kicking my butt.
  2. I drink about 4-5 bottles of water a day.
  3. I have a terrible sense of direction.
  4. I hate grocery shopping.
  5. I need to go back to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter because once wasn't enough.
  6. I have zero HTML skills and can't do any blog design stuff.
  7. This winter I shoveled a moat in my back yard because there was so much snow my dog could walk over the fence.
  8. I love to travel.
  9. I hate being late.
  10. I always do out all the steps in a math problem.
  11. I think 11 is a weird number.

Serena's Questions:

1. Who is your ultimate book crush?
This is a tough one, I think Rowan from Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas... "to whatever end" made me come undone.

2. What fictional character do you think you're the most like and why?
OK, another tough one. I don't really think about myself relating to characters. I either like them or don't.

3. If you could live in any fictional world, which would it be?
Hogwarts!

4. What's your favorite Disney movie and/or character?
Movie: Sleeping Beauty
Character: Maleficent

5. Who is your favorite author(s)?
JK Rowling, Sarah J Maas, Kristen Cashore

6. What are your favorite bookish quotes?
"to whatever end" from Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas

7. Are you an eReader or physical book person?
Both. I love my ereader because it is so light and I can literally have a book within seconds. But I love physical books too, like holding them and looking at them on a bookshelf.

8. Why do you like blogging?
I like to write down my thoughts about books and I like connecting with people who love reading.

9. If you could be stranded on a desert island with only three books, which would you like them to be?
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling
The Giver by Lois Lowry

10. Which book would you love to see turned into a movie or TV series?
Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

11. What is the best book you've read so far this year?
The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

My Questions:

  1. Where is your favorite place to read?
  2. What book do you always recommend to people?
  3. What is the first book you remember loving?
  4. Who is your favorite book couple?
  5. If you could have a super power, what would it be?
  6. If you could meet any book character, who would it be and why?
  7. Is there any movie that you thought was better than the book?
  8. Do you like holiday books?
  9. What is the most important part of a book/story to you? (plot, characters, relationships, climax, etc)
  10. Besides reading, what are your hobbies?
  11. How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?

I nominate...
Amber @ My Bookshelf is Hungry
Val @ The Innocent Smiley
Talina @ Sassy & Dangerous
Crystal @ Elysian Fields
Jules @ Jules Bookshelf

and YOU!

Adults who read YA - Bookish Discussion



Adults who read  YA

So, technically speaking I am an adult. I mean I'm in my late 20's, I'm married, I have a Bachelor's degree, I almost have a Master's degree, I am a high school teacher, I have two cats and a dog. But just because I have all of the qualifications of an adult does not mean I have to read books written for adults.

I choose to read YA, particularly fiction and fantasy. It's what I know and love. Let's be honest, I have a skill. I can walk around a book store, look at covers, and read summaries; and will be able to find at least one book that I know I will enjoy. So what if the main character is ten (or sometimes more) years younger than me and the world is one that was conceived inside the author's head?

I've seen a few articles and blog posts questioning why adults read YA and whether it is a problem. As an adult who loves YA I felt compelled to talk about it. So here are the reasons why I read YA:

  1. It provides an opportunity to escape. By reading fiction and fantasy, the worlds allow me to escape my world, which is full of responsibilities. I can tune out all of my real world stuff and relax while I read.
  2. I feel a connected to the characters. I know that seems strange, but it wasn't too long ago that I was a teenager. Plus, as a high school teacher, I also think that these characters also help me understand my students. As an "adult" I can read about the events and growing pains that YA characters go through and sympathize and reminisce.
  3. I rarely find adult books that draw me in. Usually, I find that adult books are way to romance driven or just boring. Like I said, my skill involves finding the right YA books, so maybe I just can't find the right adult books.
  4. I enjoy it! This is probably the most important. I read because I enjoy reading, so I read what I know I like.
What is all boils down to is we all read because we enjoy reading, it's a hobby. Are the people who are passing judgment on adults because we read YA also passing judgement on young people who knit? I hope not. I say, read what you enjoy because there is certainly not enough time to read books that you don't like.

What genre do you read and why?


Resources: 
Graham, Ruth. "Against YA." Slate. 8 July 2014. Web. 1 Mar. 2015.<http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/books/2014/06/against_ya_adults_should_be_embarrassed_to_read_children_s_books.html>.
Howlett, Georgina. "Why Are so Many Adults Reading YA and Teen Fiction?" The Guardian. 24 Feb. 2015. Web. 1 Mar. 2015. <http://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/2015/feb/24/why-are-so-many-adults-reading-ya-teen-fiction>.
Pratt, Non. "Why Adults Shouldn't Be Embarrassed to Read Children's Books." The Guardian. 10 June 2014. Web. 1 Mar. 2015. <http://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/2014/jun/10/adults-reading-ya-kids-teen-fiction-non-pratt>
Wolitzer, Meg. "Look Homeward, Reader: A Not-So-Young Audience for Young Adult Books."The New York Times. 17 Oct. 2014. Web. 1 Mar. 2015. <http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/19/fashion/a-not-so-young-audience-for-young-adult-books.html?_r=0>.

The Sin Eater's Daughter


The Sin Eater’s Daughter (The Sin Eater’s Daughter, #1)

Author: Melinda Salisbury
Published: February 5, 2015
Source: Purchased
Summary from Goodreads: Seventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, Twylla isn’t exactly a member of the court.
She’s the executioner.
As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla’s fatal touch, avoids her company.
But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the Goddess. Yet Twylla’s been promised to the prince, and knows what happens to people who cross the queen.
However, a treasonous secret is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies, a plan that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?



Rating: êêêêê

Review

This book was captivating and enchanting. The first thing that struck me was the opening sentences; you can tell from those 2 sentences that this is going to be amazing. The next thing I noticed while reading this book was the effortless world building. I was engrossed in the world, yet I was curious; if Twylla is the executioner, who left her life and training as the Sin Eater's daughter and the book centered around Twylla's new life and role at the castle, why was the book titled The Sin Eater's Daughter? Well, the more I learned about Twylla's life and role at the castle and the the more I learned about her mother's Sin Eating, the more intrigued I was.

I loved characters. Each was well developed and served their role perfectly. I found myself emotionally invested in them. I expected there to be a love triangle, based on the hints from the summary, but what I got was not at all what I expected. There is a complex story here which is linked to the complex history and mythology of the world in which our characters live. The details were intricate. The story moves at a perfect and consistent pace. I found myself reading late into the night with no interest of stopping to sleep. There is a phenomenal twist that I didn't see coming and the ending was surprising. I was left speechless, and feeling greedy for more.

Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge Progress


This challenge is hosted by Falling for YA. Basically the goal is to tackle your review books and get your feedback percentage up.

I participated in this challenge last year. My goal was 25 books and I completed 20 and my percentage is 100%. This year I am going to set my goal at 25 books and to maintain a percentage of 80% or better. I am also going to sign up at Edelweiss this year.

My current percent is 88%.

Here is my progress so far:
1. The Donor by Nikki Rae
2. A Wizard Rises by AJ Nuest
3. Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton

March 2015 Book Blog BINGO Link-Up



Welcome to the February Review and Progress Link-Up for the 2015 Book Blog BINGO Challenge. Before linking up, make sure you signed up for the challenge. Don't forget, you can update or change your goal at any time!

My Goal
A Double BINGO (2 traditional BINGOs in any direction)

My Progress

A book that takes place in a school: The School for Good and Evil
A book purchased in 2014: Shadow and Bone
The second book in a series: Siege and Storm
A book with magic or paranormal characters: Ruin and Rising
A book written by an author that you've never read before: The Donor
A book with romance: A Wizard Rises
A book published in 2015: Bright Fire

How is your challenge going? Share and link up in the comments
 
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