Help name a character in Witch Fall

Thursday, January 31, 2013
I'm working on Witch Fall right now and I need a name for a character. But this isn't just any character, she's also an elephant and a big metaphor for the entire novel. 

And she needs a name! 

This book is heavily inspired by Chinese culture, so keep that in mind. Here's a draft of the naming scene:

Lilette startled at movement far, far above her.
She craned her head back to find herself not a half dozen steps away from the elephant. The animal was still outfitted in rich trappings covered in tassels that swayed as she studied Lilette with intelligent eyes. It enormous trunk prodded Lilette’s arms, as if searching for something. 
A slow smile spread across Lilette’s face. “Oh, yes. We can use this.”
Keeping her movements smooth, Lilette lifted the bar across the door and shoved them open wide.
Trying to pretend she knew what she was doing, she repeatedly slapped the elephant’s shoulder and said, “Lift leg!” To her utter delight, the elephant sort of crouched down and stuck out its leg. Lilette felt a rush of fear, and something else, excitement. She stepped onto the crook of its leg and scrambled up. And promptly slipped of onto her rear.
The elephant looked at her with something close to amusement in her eyes. Right then, Lilette decided to name her:  


Also, Witch Fall is the #46th most popular October release on Goodreads. Which is great (especially since it doesn't have a cover yet!), but I'm a wee bit competitive. I want to move it up the the list. Waaay up. 

Here's how you can help:

Add Witch Fall to your TBR pile: 

Add/vote for Witch Fall on any Listopia lists:
*You can also add/vote for Winter Queen on most of the same lists! 

{Review} Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson

Wednesday, January 30, 2013
 Blurb: The Bluebeard fairy tale retold. . . .

When seventeen-year-old Sophia Petheram’s beloved father dies, she receives an unexpected letter. An invitation—on fine ivory paper, in bold black handwriting—from the mysterious Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, her godfather. With no money and fewer options, Sophie accepts, leaving her humble childhood home for the astonishingly lavish Wyndriven Abbey, in the heart of Mississippi.

Sophie has always longed for a comfortable life, and she finds herself both attracted to and shocked by the charm and easy manners of her overgenerous guardian. But as she begins to piece together the mystery of his past, it’s as if, thread by thread, a silken net is tightening around her. And as she gathers stories and catches whispers of his former wives—all with hair as red as her own—in the forgotten corners of the abbey, Sophie knows she’s trapped in the passion and danger of de Cressac’s intoxicating world.

Glowing strands of romance, mystery, and suspense are woven into this breathtaking debut—a thrilling retelling of the “Bluebeard” fairy tale.

{My review} 

First off, such a pretty cover! And I adore the title. It sounds very fairy-taleish. 

Bronze and Gold is supposed to be a retelling of Bluebeard, and it was, but it also resonated very well with Beauty and the Beast (but in this version, the beast is hidden beneath charisma and good looks). 

I really enjoyed the imagery of this book. The MC finds hair from the four dead wives of her current guardian (all in varying tones of red) and uses them to create the fire in her tapestry. A very apt metaphor that weaves throughout the novel (I let you discover exactly how yourself). 

It doesn't take long for our heroine to catch glimpses of the monster lurking beneath her Guardian's charisma. But she consistently ignores and explains them away. Then the ghosts of his former wives warn her. 

Just as she determines that she must leave, she finds herself even more indebted to her guardian--to the point that she feels she can never escape. 

I enjoyed how the escalating abuse is so realistically portrayed. The mask that an abuser can wear in public, making him/her appear charismatic. They isolate and erode the credibility of their victim until they feel they have no other option but to continue to endure the abuse. 

Another aspect I enjoyed was that our villain didn't start out that way. The death of his son and the betrayal of his first wife unlocked the madness lurking inside all of us. What emerged was a monster hidden beneath a veneer of genteel ways. 

I struggled a bit with how blind Sophie was. I would have liked her to be a bit more proactive and work to discover the truth. But she's actually a very well written waif archetype. 

Also, the ending was rather abrupt. 

Fans of historical fiction and fairytale retellings who don't mind a waif archetype will enjoy this foray into the life of a very sheltered girl and a very powerful, very twisted man.

Add to your Goodreads TBR pile:

8 Ways to help your fav author

Thursday, January 24, 2013
*wink, wink, nudge, nudge* 
** Originally posted by Rachelle Gardner at Books and Such. 
Here are a few simple things that can make a world of difference to an author:
1. Amazon reviews. If you have positive things to say about a book, go ahead and say them! Don’t be false; don’t rave about a book you don’t really like. But write a good review if you can. Reviews are a powerful tool on Amazon that can make a big difference in an author’s sales.
2. Reviews on other retail sites. Barnes & Noble, the Apple store, Kobo, Smashwords… it helps to leave good reviews on any of the retail sites you visit.
3. Amazon “Like” button. See that little “thumbs up” icon on the Amazon page, right below the title and author? Click it!

To read the rest of the article, click here

And you know, maybe follow through with some of these ideas for your *ahem* favorite authors. *.* 

{Book Review} The Rules by Stacey Kade

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Back Cover:
1.     Never trust anyone.

2.     Remember they are always searching.

3.     Don't get involved.

4.     Keep your head down.

5.     Don't fall in love.

Five simple rules. Ariane Tucker has followed them since the night she escaped from the genetics lab where she was created, the result of combining human and extraterrestrial DNA. Ariane's survival--and that of her adoptive father--depends on her ability to blend in among the full-blooded humans, to hide in plain sight from those who seek to recover their lost (and expensive) "project."

But when a cruel prank at school goes awry, it puts her in the path of Zane Bradshaw, the police chief's son and someone who sees too much. Someone who really sees her. After years of trying to be invisible, Ariane finds the attention frightening--and utterly intoxicating. Suddenly, nothing is simple anymore, especially not the rules.
The Host meets Hunger Games.

The Rules by Stacey Kade captured me so completely, so perfectly, that I responded in the only way possible: turned back to the beginning and started again.

Readers read because they love it. There's a journey, an adventure waiting for us between the pages of a book. Simply put, some adventures are better then others. But for those of us who read a lot, it becomes harder and harder to find something truly great. Something that rises above average and better than average to become something you shove in your friends' and families' faces and demand they read, knowing full well they'll thank you later. You wouldn't even deny your worst enemy--the girl who hit you in the crosswalk and drove off (true story)--the opportunity to read it.

Also, I'm really hard to surprise. Most authors are, but Kade totally shocked me, which turned my love for The Rules up a notch.

Easy one of my favorite books of all time. Right up there with Hunger Games, Poison (Zinn), and everything Lauren Oliver. If I ever met Kade, I'd embarrass myself by turning into a complete fan girl. I want a signed copy!

It comes out in April. Preorder it now.

Add to your Goodreads TBR: 

{Winter Queen} Character naming contest results

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My options (thanks to everyone who contributed!):

Breena, Nixie, or Tianna
Rhom (Rhombus), or Adàmas. The shape of a diamond, or the Greek word for unbreakable.
Seppen which is snowflake in Japanese or Yuki which is snow.
Nia or Astra 
Storm, breeze, frost, schiv, brre. Crystal, gail, faul, lait,
Lisette, Selaih, Anreid, or Linnenl
Wyntir or maybe Hadiil or Iclacr.
Serena, Angelica (messenger), Zephyra (west wind), Gwenllian (fair, white, flood)

Pretty awesome list! 
So to weed it down, any names with meaning in Winter Queen come from Slovene, so that eliminates any names that come from other languages (even though I really liked some of them). I love Breena though! It's kinda a combination of breeze and freeze and burr. Yet it still sounds feminine and sort of soft, which is how I imagine this fairy. Thanks for the suggestion, Cheri Schmidt. 

And on to the next fairy. Here's the list: 

Strix, named after the great grey owl, or a variation like Strixy, Strixia, Trixie, etc.
Lillia : ) or Justine : )
Adiya~~~ meaning God's treasure or God's ornament
Carynn would be cool.
Or Laellana (ley-lana)
howler, cry, screatch, tallon, niel, fallon, crawler
Isanne, Eria, Alvara, and Maia. I looked up the meanings and I think that Isanne and Eria mean Ice, and Alvara and Maia have to do with warriors. 
Margaux, Eviana, Aiden
Elvey or Brietta or Briana
Luana or Wilhelmina
Myrina (swiftly bounding), Imelda (all warrior), or Aellai (storm winds, whirlwind)

Ah! I wish I knew the base languages of some of these names, because I really like quite a few. Alas, I don't have time to look them all up. Verina, Leylana, Tallon, Fallon are my favorites. Hmmmm. . . Leylana is far too pretty, I think (though I may very well use it for another character). Being that this is a warrior fairy, I'm going to go with Tallon. Thanks for the suggestion, Luke! 

If your name wasn't chosen, don't feel too bad. I'm going to use quite a few of these. For sure: Verina (she'll be a summer fairy because it sounds like vervain). Leylanna could be a main character name, I like it so much. Fallon might be Tallon's sister. I like that! Also, Myrina, Imelda, and Aellai all sound like pretty fierce warriors. Luana is pretty and I like Eviana. Isanne is a good one as well. Oh, I could go on and on, but I have writing to do! 

Thanks for your participation, all! 

Also, I have 4 thousand bookmarks. I'm going to have to get rid of lots in the next few months. I'm going to offer bookmarks to book bloggers who do a book review (and have a decent following). Any other brilliant ideas?

{Review} The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa

Monday, January 14, 2013

Don’t look at Them.
Don’t speak of Them.
Never enter Their world.
Those are the rules that Ethan Chase lives by when it comes to the dark fairies that robbed him of his sister.
But they are still on his trail and Ethan can’t fight fate forever. Now the deadly fey are at his school, colliding with his real life, Ethan will sacrifice everything to keep his mortal friends safe, even if it means becoming entangled in the world he’s spent his whole life trying to deny. His destiny and birth right are calling. And now there’s no escape.

Review: I'm not sure I can give an unbiased review because I think I would have really enjoyed this book more had I not read Kagawa's Iron Fey series, and it's not fair to compare one series to another, especially since IF is one of my favorites. 

But by golly I'm gonna try. 

There's some great character development and pacing. Ethan starts out as an annoying snot of a boy (for some very good reasons). Toward the end of the story, he was starting to grow into a man I could root for.  

I really enjoyed the heroine, Kenzie. She's tough and yet very feminine (which is harder to pull off than it sounds). In fact, I liked her so much that I would have rather read the story from her POV. 

Also a big bonus: there is no love triangle! 

The pacing is intense, the characters well rounded, and the story well developed. 

That being said, I would have liked to experience a sense of wonder again--some new part of this world that we haven't seen yet. Something unknown for me to discover. 

If you liked Iron Knight, you'll enjoy Lost Prince, as they read a lot alike. 

Winter Queen Cover Reveal

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Ilyenna, the MC, is dancing across the skies, her aurora wings flaring behind her. She is surrounded by the fairies of winter. Her pose and clothing is reminiscent of ballet. Her dress is made of snow and ice from the storm. 

Winter Queen

Fairy Queens 1

~Becoming a winter queen will make Ilyenna as cold and cruel and deadly as winter itself, but it might be the only way to save her people from a war they have no hope of winning.~

Mortally wounded during a raid, seventeen-year-old Ilyenna is healed by winter fairies who present her with a seductive offer: become one of them and share their power over winter. But that power comes with a price. If she accepts, she will become a force of nature, lose her humanity, and abandon her family.

Unwilling to pay such a high price, Ilyenna is enslaved by one of the invaders, Darrien. While in captivity, she learns the attack wasn’t just a simple raid but part of a larger plot to overthrow her entire nation. 

With the enemy stealing over the mountains and Darrien coming to take her to his bed, Ilyenna must decide whether to resurrect the power the fairies left behind. Doing so will allow her to defeat Darrien and the other invaders, but if she embraces winter, she will lose herself to that destroying power—forever.
I appreciate you sharing the cover on your blog, facebook, or twitter.
Please include the following links on your post:

Also, you have the opportunity to name two characters-the fairies on the back cover and the front flap-from the last book in the series (Daughter of Winter). I'll choose my favorite sometime next week.  To participate, leave your favorite names in the comments of the following posts:

I'm crazy proud of this book. It's the best thing I've ever written. It's multi-layered and the world building is fantastic. I hope you all enjoy my latest novel. Thanks for your continued support.

Page One:

Ilyenna’s horse danced nervously beneath her, the animal’s hooves clicking against the snow-covered stones that coated the land like dragon eggs. Reaching down, she patted her mare’s golden neck. “Easy, Myst. What’s the matter, girl?”

“There.” Her father pointed at the base of a forested hillock not fifty paces beyond the road. Ilyenna saw the shadowed form of a large animal.

Bratton soundlessly pulled an arrow from his quiver and nocked it. “Bear?” He directed the question at their father.

The word stirred currents of tension in Ilyenna’s body. The cold stung her cheeks and formed a vapor no matter how shallowly she breathed. As she glanced up and down the road, her hand gripped the knife belted around her bulky wool coat.

“I think it’s a horse,” Bratton finally said.

Ilyenna eased her mare forward for a better look. It was a horse—a bay. “Then where is his rider—” The words died in her throat when she spotted a motionless gray lump at the horse’s feet. Without thought, she rammed her heels into her mare’s ribs.

“Stop!” her father cried at the same time Bratton called, “Ilyenna!”

But the healer in her couldn’t be denied. In three of the horse’s strides, she was in the forest. She pressed herself flush against Myst’s muscular neck. Still, larch trees managed to slap her, leaving the sharp scent of their needles in her hair and clothes. Clumps of snow shook loose from their sagging boughs, falling across her horse’s mane and into her face. Yet Ilyenna barely registered the icy shock.

Cover Reveal Countdown 1 + Sneak Peek

Monday, January 7, 2013

This is Ursella (so named from Ursula from Little Mermaid). Her wings are shards of ice, and her personality is as sharp as her wings. She creates ice that's so clear you could swear it was glass. 

Cover Reveal Countdown 2 + Sneak Peek

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Qari has fans of frost flowers at her back. Have you ever seen the frost flowers in the ice? Qari puts them there.  They're beautiful. 

Cover Reveal Countdown 3 + Sneak Peek

Saturday, January 5, 2013

This is Chriel. She's a rabbit fairy, and her wings and dress are made of their fur. She's the gentlest and most human of the fairies. She's also my favorite. 

Cover Reveal Countdown 4 + Sneak Peek

Friday, January 4, 2013

This Tanyis. She's a hoar frost fairy. So in the morning, when you wake up and frost covers the grounds in millions of sparking shards, you have her to thank. Her wings are frost shards. 

Cover Reveal Countdown 5 + Sneak Peek

Thursday, January 3, 2013

This fairy is on the back flap of the hardcover. She's a snowflake fairy. When she wills it, snowflakes spin out of her wings. Enough snowflake fairies and you have a snowstorms. She's carrying a diamond to put in Ilyenna's headdress. She doesn't have a name either. You guys can name her in the comments. I'll pick my favorite one. 

Cover Reveal Countdown 6 + Sneak Peek

Wednesday, January 2, 2013
In Winter Queen, the Summer Queen gifts Ilyenna with a flower, which I call an Elice (so named for my mother, Alice) blossom. Each petal has the ability to heal one person. As captive, Ilyenna treasures the gift because she knows it can save three of her people. But she is later faced with the choice of watching two of her captors die (one an infant) or saving the gift for herself and those she loves.

If confronted with a similar situation, what would you do?  

The flower itself is based off a sego lily, which has special significance to my people. After years of massacres,  injustice, and an extermination order (which made it LEGAL to murder us and wasn't  rescinded until 1976)), we arrived in the Salt Lake Valley with little to no food. The Native Americans showed us how to dig up the sego lily bulbs (about the size of a marble). That delicate  little flower saved hundreds from starvation. 

In the book, Ilyenna is ultimately confronted with a choice to become a healer or a killer (as a Winter Queen is an unthinking force of nature). On the cover, she holds a blossom in her hand, a symbol of the choice she must make. 

Image of Utah State Flower: Sego Lily

Cover Reveal Countdown 7 + Sneak Peek

Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Seven days until Winter Queen's cover reveal (January 8th)! Each day, I'll post a sneak peak. Today's peek:

This is a warrior fairy (notice the ice spear in her hand). We were going for creepy. She's based off a winter owl (as each fairy is either an animal fairy or a elemental fairy (frost fairy, snow fairy, cold fairy, etc)). Also, the background has been removed. She doesn't have a name yet (she's a character in the yet to be written 3rd book in the series-Daughter of Winter).  Put your names in the comments and I'll pick one.

File:Snowy Owl - Schnee-Eule.jpg
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