November 22, 2015

Sign up for the Top 10 of 2015 plus AWESOME Giveaway!

WOW! Has the year flown by or what? I’m really looking forward to another fun filled week where we look back at some of the best of all things books of 2015 and what books we’re looking forward to in 2016. My totally awesome co-hosts from last year will be hosting again with me this year Jaime from Two Chicks on Books, Rachel from Fiktshun, and Nancy from Tales of a Ravenous Reader! We want to always include a special thanks to our original co-hosts Lisa from A Life Bound By Books and Jessica from Confessions of a Bookaholic who will not be hosting the event with us due to their busy lives. Hopefully they’ll be able to join us in 2016!

This year we've added a giveaway for some highly anticipated 2016 ARC's for everyone who signs up to participate!

The Top 10 2015 event will run for five consecutive days on the last week of the year. We want to invite ALL of YOU to join in on the fun and share your lists with everyone too!

Each day of the event we hope you’ll visit one of the hosting blogs and share your list with the Linky that will be provided. Just be sure you follow which lists goes on which day. Speaking of... here’s what we’re doing for this year’s event!

Monday, December 21st – Best Books I’ve Read in 2015 (Doesn’t have to be released in 2015, just a book you’ve read in 2015)

Tuesday, December 22nd – Best Book Covers of 2015 (MUST be a book released in 2015. Would be best if it’s a book you’ve READ in 2015, but it’s not required)

Wednesday, December 23rd – Best ________ Of 2015 (Readers/Bloggers choice. Please fill in the blank with ONE of these topics – Villains, Contemporaries, Dual POV’s, Novellas, Adult titles, New Adult titles, Love Triangles, Couples, Bad Boys or Debuts. REMEMBER – this list MUST be from books you’ve READ in 2015)

Thursday, December 24th – Best Book Boyfriends of 2015 (MUST be from a book released in 2015 and from a book you’ve READ in 2015)

Friday, December 25th – Top 10 Books I’m looking forward to in 2016. (This list should be comprised of books released ONLY in 2016)

How you do these posts/lists is totally up to you. What books, covers and characters you pick are all your own.

The only rules you need to follow are:
1) Your post must be “on topic”
2) Your post must be limited to 10 items; and
3) Your post must be posted on the dates we've provided.

Now, I know what you’re all thinking. That this will be hard to keep to 10. Some of you might like to break the lists up a bit. Working with a Top 10 for YA books and then a Top 10 for New Adult or Adult titles. Feel free to add honorable mentions if you’re also having a hard time sticking to 10. However, with the honorable mentions, please try to keep it to a minimum or it kind of defeats the whole purpose of things.

Our main focus of this event is for YOU to join in and share your lists with us all and for everyone to visit each other’s blogs’ and see what books have made it on THEIR lists.

The event is simple. Follow the dates and list topics as provided and fill out the linky below. This gives us an idea who will be joining us for the Top 10 week. THEN, be sure to come back to one of our blogs on each of the five days and link up your post for that specific day! Just remember, each day will have a linky for THAT Top 10 topic.

Also, you don’t want to miss a day during the event. We just might have some giveaways up our sleeves and joining in the event, keeping up with our and everyone lists just might help you enter to win! Additional giveaway details to follow, so keep checking back to find out what we’re giving away and when!

Don’t forget to snag our button and to help spread the word for the event. We’d love to have anyone and everyone join us this year. The more the merrier!

Giveaway Details:
Giveaway is ONLY open to those who've signed up to participate.
Must be 13 or older to enter
Giveaway is US ONLY
Giveaway is open until December 20th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific
Prizes will be sent separately from each of the four hosts to the winner via Media Mail.

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Sign-Up Linky Here:

NOTE: this is the SAME Linky on each of the Co-Hosts Blogs. Please only enter your Name, Blog Name, and URL on one blog. Thanks!

November 5, 2015

Ten Thousand Skies Above You Blog Tour + Giveaway!

About the Author

Claudia Gray is a pseudonym. I would like to say that I chose another name so that no one would ever learn the links between my shadowy, dramatic past and the explosive secrets revealed through my characters. This would be a lie. In truth, I took a pseudonym simply because I thought it would be fun to choose my own name. (And it is.)

I write novels full-time, absolutely love it, and hope to be able to do this forever. My home is in New Orleans, is more than 100 years old, and is painted purple. In my free time I read, travel, hike, cook and listen to music. You can keep up with my latest releases, thoughts on writing and various pop-culture musings via Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Goodreads or (of course) my own home page.

If you want to contact me, you can email me, but your best bet is probably to Tweet me. I don’t do follows on Twitter, but I follow everyone back on Tumblr, Pinterest and Goodreads.

☆ How to find Claudia ☆
Website ☆ Twitter ☆ Tumblr ☆ Pinterest ☆ Goodreads ☆ Wattpad

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About The Book

Ever since she used the Firebird, her parents' invention, to cross into alternate dimensions, Marguerite has caught the attention of enemies who will do anything to force her into helping them dominate the multiverse—even hurting the people she loves. She resists until her boyfriend, Paul, is attacked and his consciousness scattered across multiple dimensions.

Marguerite has no choice but to search for each splinter of Paul’s soul. The hunt sends her racing through a war-torn San Francisco, the criminal underworld of New York City, and a glittering Paris where another Marguerite hides a shocking secret. Each world brings Marguerite one step closer to rescuing Paul. But with each trial she faces, she begins to question the destiny she thought they shared.

The second book in the Firebird trilogy, Ten Thousand Skies Above You features Claudia Gray’s lush, romantic language and smart, exciting action, and will have readers clamoring for the next book.

☆ Where to find TTSAY ☆
Goodreads ☆ Amazon ☆ Barnes & Noble ☆ iBooks

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What is the process you use to create the parallel worlds and their elements?

Well, I always begin with one fundamental question: What kind of dimension would be really cool? I don't think readers particularly want to hear about the parallel worlds too much like her own, or our own. Besides, I don't really want to write them! When I first thought of the Firebird concept, it thrilled me in large part because the possibilities were infinite, and I wanted to explore them as much as I could.

However, the dimensions then have to pass a second test: What situations in these universes will bring out interesting aspects of the characters' personalities and relationships? The worlds we spend the most time in have to be more than settings; they have to illuminate or challenge the characters in some unique way. More than a few potentially awesome dimensions were lost this way, I'm afraid.

Once I know which worlds are both interesting and meaningful enough for the story, then I get to dig in. Usually the core idea for a universe has been sparked by something else I've encountered or maybe even loved. Just looking at the cover for TEN THOUSAND SKIES ABOVE YOU might be a hint that I am a huge "Moulin Rouge" fangirl. The Russiaverse came from my having read NICHOLAS & ALEXANDRA shortly before I had the idea for the Firebird trilogy. The Oceanverse had its origins in a book I read about rogue waves. (This is part of why I always tell aspiring writers to read widely and to try some books they might never have considered before; you never know what's going to give you the next big idea.)

Those initial inspirations often serve as my first point of information and research—although some sources (NICHOLAS & ALEXANDRA) are more factually reliable than others ("Moulin Rouge"). But they're just the jumping off point. In the beginning, I only develop the world as far as I need to in order to know exactly how it will serve the plot, and then I delve into other details as the story requires. This has been everything from looking up Faberge eggs, to asking my patient Russian oceanographer friend a whole lot about both Russia and oceanography, all the way to participating in a house swap that took me to the Bay Area for a month, so I could see the kind of neighborhood Marguerite's family might live in, and some of the local sights she'd enjoy.

When the setting in the parallel world is real in our world, too—the Winter Palace, for example—I try very hard to get the facts straight. (I even found a picture of the staircase Marguerite tumbled down. It was a pretty long one!) But I've made mistakes, too, like finding out only after A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU was published that the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas in early January, not on December 25th. I didn't even think to check the date for Christmas, because I had no idea it might be different. This is often true in research: The stuff that trips you up the worst isn't what you don't know, but what you think you do know.

But even though the errors kill me a little inside, I always remind myself…hey, it's a parallel dimension. Maybe things are different there.

This is a publisher hosted giveaway!

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☆ The Tour ☆

Week One:
10/26/2015- Seeing Double In Neverland- Review
10/27/2015- BookHounds YA- Interview
10/28/2015- Fangirlish- Review
10/29/2015- Two Chicks on Books- Guest Post
10/30/2015- Tales of the Ravenous Reader- Interview

Week Two:
11/2/2015- Fiktshun- Review
11/3/2015- Dark Faerie Tales- Interview
11/4/2015- Novel Novice- Review
11/5/2015- Magical Urban Fantasy Reads- Guest Post
11/6/2015- Page Turners Blog- Review

October 8, 2015

Nameless Blog Tour + Giveaway!

About the Author

With her degree in History and Secondary Education, Jennifer had every intention of teaching teens to love George Washington and appreciate the finer points of ancient battle stratagem. (Seriously, she’s obsessed with ancient warfare.) However, life had different plans in store when the writing began. As a proud member of Writers Cubed, and a co-founder of the Teen Author Boot Camp, she feels blessed to be able to fulfill both her ambition to work with teens as well as write Young Adult fiction.

Jennifer has three children who are experts at naming her characters, one loving, supportive husband, a dog with little-man syndrome, and three chickens (of whom she is secretly afraid).

☆ How to find Jennifer ☆
Website ☆ Twitter ☆ Facebook ☆ Goodreads ☆ Pinterest ☆ Instagram

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About The Book

Four clans have been at war for centuries: the Kodiak, the Raven, the Wolf and the Ram. Through brutal war tactics, the Ram have dominated the region, inflicting death and destruction on their neighbors.

Seventeen-year-old Zo is a Wolf and a Healer who volunteers to infiltrate the Ram as a spy on behalf of the allied clans. She offers herself as a Ram slave, joining the people who are called the “nameless.” Hers is a suicide mission – Zo’s despair after losing her parents in a Ram raid has left her seeking both revenge and an end to her own misery. But after her younger sister follows her into Rams Gate, Zo must find a way to survive her dangerous mission and keep her sister safe.

What she doesn’t expect to find is the friendship of a young Ram whose life she saves, the confusing feelings she develops for a Ram soldier, and an underground nameless insurrection. Zo learns that revenge, loyalty and love are more complicated than she ever imagined in the first installment of this two-book series.

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Hi Jennifer! Thank you for stopping by Magical Urban Fantasy Reads. I’m about half-way through NAMELESS, and I am loving it so far!

Can you tell us a little about each of the clans in the world of NAMELESS?

The four clans in the book were inspired by four of my favorite cultures/civilizations throughout history. The Ram Clan (which is featured more than any other in Book 1) was inspired by Ancient Sparta. The Kodiak by the Maori people, the Raven by the Navajo, and the Wolf Clan by the Vikings and Norse legend. As a lover of all things historical, I’d always wondered what it would be like to pluck different cultures from history and put them into the same world. Thus, NAMELESS was born.

The central characters in your story are very well developed. When you picture your characters in your mind’s eye, how do you describe each of their character traits?

Thank you! Creating realistic characters with motivation and internal (as well as external) conflict is very important to me, so I appreciate the compliment.

When I picture Zo, I see a girl who is fundamentally kind and compassionate, but past experiences have created a sort of hard leather shell around her heart. She’s slow to trust and defends those within her small circle of loved ones with fierce intensity… mostly because she can’t stand the thought of losing someone again.

Gryphon has also experienced loss, but in a very different way. When his father deserted the clan shortly after his birth, he left Gryphon a crummy inheritance: family dishonor, a broken mother, and a massive chip on his shoulder. Instead of letting this lead to his ruin, he used his anger to fuel his training and success within the clan.

In the creation of your story, what was the first to develop?

As mentioned before, I’d always wanted to write this type of story, however, the plot didn’t unfold in my mind until Zo’s character took shape.

A few years ago, a teenage girl very dear to me moved into our home. She’d just graduated from high school and had battled with severe anxiety and depression for years. Her life had taken a dark turn and we hoped we might provide a good change in scenery as she prepared to attend college. Watching her struggle with anxiety and depression changed me to the core. At times, when things were really bad, I feared that no matter how hard I tried to help her, defeating her inner-demons was impossible.

I created Zo not because my cool book concept needed a heroine so much as because I personally needed to put a character into the worst circumstances imaginable and see her not just survive, but fight back. I’m happy to report this girl is doing phenomenal things in her life right now. It really is a fundamental truth that out of great trials come tremendous blessings.

Here is a quick Q&A to get to know you!

Facebook or Twitter? I’m on the fence on this one. (Cop out! I know) If I say Facebook, does that make me old???

Most visited online website? Email, Amazon, and Pandora

Kindle or Nook? Kindle

Favorite food? Salmon

Morning or night? Night!

Strange quirks? I have this thing about people eating cereal. Even if they’re chewing with their mouths closed, I can’t be in the room with them because every slurp and sound involved shivers my spine.

Guilty pleasure? Old Fashion, Chocolate Glazed donuts with milk. *Sighs*

Preferred weapon? Bow and arrow

What do you like to do in your spare time other than writing? Read (obvious and boring, I know. But it’s my favorite!) I also enjoy anything random and adventurous include skiing (water and snow), mountain biking, horseback riding, hiking, etc…

Top fave movies? Count of Monte Cristo, the latest Les Miserables, Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves (old-school, Kevin Costner style),

Top authors that inspire you? Patrick Rothfuss (the guy is sick-talented), Libba Bray, Shannon Hale, Maggie Steifvator (Raven Boys blew my mind), and of course, J.K. Rolling

Mindy: Top 5 fave books? WOW! There is no way of answering that question! But I’ll try…

In no particular order: Under the Never Sky, The Books of Bayern series, A Great and Terrible Beauty, Raven Boys, and really anything by Sarah M. Eden.

Favorite TV show when you were a kid? Full House and old Nick at Night reruns (Anyone remember F-Troop?)

Thanks again for stopping by Magical Urban Fantasy Reads! Maybe when your next book comes out we can have you again!

I’d love that! Thank you so much for having me!

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Dear followers, fans and peeps! Some of the books I review on Magical Urban Fantasy Reads are provided to me for free by either the publisher or author in exchange for my honest review. Please know that I am in NO WAY compensated for my reviews. All opinions are mine and I am not required to give a positive review in exchange for a free book! But some of the purchase links on my blog are monetized through places like Amazon, Book Depository or Barnes & Noble.