September 26, 2014

Lark Rising by Sandra Waugh Tour Stop + Giveaway!

About the Author

Sandra grew up in an old house full of crowded bookshelves, in walking distance of an old library that allowed her to drag home a sack of six books at a time. It goes without saying, then, that she fell in love with the old house in Litchfield County, CT, because of its many bookshelves, and she lives there now with her husband, two sons, and a dog who snores. Loudly.

LARK RISING is her first novel and the first in the GUARDIANS OF TARNEC series. SILVER EVE follows in 2015.

☆ How to find Sandra ☆

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About the Book

Full of romance and nature magic, this debut fantasy is perfect for fans of Shannon Hale, Juliet Marillier, and Kristin Cashore.

“A beautifully realized world, a unique voice, and a compelling, action-packed story. This is a striking debut novel with a lovely folkloric flavor.” —Juliet Marillier, author of Wildwood Dancing

Lark has foreseen two things—she will fall for a young man with sage green eyes, and he will kill her.

Sixteen-year-old Lark Carew is happiest close to home, tending her garden and gathering herbs for medicines. But when her Sight warns her that monsters called Troths will soon invade her village, Lark is summoned on a journey to seek help from the legendary Riders of Tarnec. Little does she suspect that one of the Riders, Gharain, is the very man who has haunted her visions. Or that the people of Tarnec have called her there for another reason: Lark is the Guardian of Life, the first of four Guardians who must awaken their powers to recover four stolen amulets. Together, the amulets—Life, Death, Dark, and Light—keep the world in Balance. To take back the Life amulet, Lark will have to discover her true inner strength and give in to a love that she swears will be her downfall.

☆ How to find Lark Rising ☆
AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads

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Hello all! Today's guest post is by Sandra Waugh. Whenever I'm given the option to pick a guest post topic, I try to think of a topic that is unique to the author. While looking on Sandra's website I noticed lots of pictures of plants, then I remembered that Lark's passion is gardening, so I knew there was a personal story there. So let's welcome Sandra Waugh.

When we moved from NYC to the very old house in a very small town, I took on the duty of groundskeeper for our four acres. I did not understand the enormity of the task. Sure, I tended a potted fern that decorated my bedroom growing up (and still lives!) and bought packets of seeds at local harvest fairs imagining some day I’d create beautiful herb gardens to wander through wearing a floaty sundress, snipping a bit of lavender here, a smidge of sage there….

Okay. Fast forward to real life: That’s a moment only achievable if I’m NOT concurrently groundskeeper, cook, laundress, housecleaner, ms. fix-it, wife, and mom. Oh… and writer.

Basically it’s a mad dash outside to mow the lawn and the back field, then off to hack at the forsythia and wild roses and blackberries before they swallow everything. And then there’s poison ivy and God-knows-what-their-names are weeds and moss and various creepers that ruin any hope of lush green carpets to walk upon—things I bravely insist I’ll eradicate and never do. There are the overrun gardens that I’m determined to cultivate into jaw dropping jungles of color at the start of each spring, but then give up halfway through June. Oh and the hornets—I’ve learned the hard way that hornets live in underground nests and attack you from nickel-size holes. This summer I discovered eight such nests. Eight.

By September I am tossing fallen apples and pears into the woods because I forgot to pick any. Come November I shoulder the leaf blower and sweep every blade of grass. This takes four days. On the fifth the winds come and redecorate the lawn with branches and sticks and half the leaves from the neighbors’ piles.

When spring returns I start again.

But the crazy thing is, I am glad to start again. Because no matter how grueling, or annoying, or lame my efforts, the outdoors is so full of wonder and discovery that I will gladly trudge back into the fray. For everything I’ve missed, I’ve still seen. And it’s what inspired LARK RISING.

It’s true that a hawk landed on my porch, prompting the first pages; the rest evolved while mowing the lawn. Plant and creature showed me the way into this story—my own backyard offering glimpses of Lark’s gardens, her fence, Dark Wood, ghisane, the visiting hawk, the fox, the hare. I am inspired by Nature, what’s just beyond my doorstep, what I’ve watched each day on this tiny scale struggling to thrive. LARK is all about Nature—both its fragile balance and its tenacity. To be witness to such beauty, to share it is just… pretty great.

Lark says that she thinks the Earth sings to her.

I think it does. I’ve heard it.

☆ Sandra's Garden ☆

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This is a tour hosted giveaway!
1 winner will receive a leaf necklace, $25 Amazon gift card, sachet, a signed hardcover of LARK RISING, and a bookmark and a postcard. US Only.

1 winner will receive leaf earrings, cuff, soap, sachet and a signed hardcover of LARK RISING, and a bookmark and a postcard. US Only.

3 winners will receive a signed hardcover of LARK RISING, and a bookmark and a postcard. US Only

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☆ The Tour ☆

Week One:
9/15/2014- Mom With A Kindle- Interview
9/16/2014- The Book Landers- Review
9/17/2014- My ParaHangover- Review
9/18/2014- Two Chicks on Books- Guest Post
9/19/2014- Carina's Books- Review

Week Two:
9/22/2014- A Backwards Story- Review
9/23/2014- Word Spelunking- Guest Post
9/24/2014- Literary Meanderings- Interview
9/25/2014- Fall Into Books- Interview
9/26/2014- Magical Urban Fantasy Reads- Guest Post

September 24, 2014

Winterspell Tour Stop! Interview with Claire + Giveaway!

About the Author

Claire Legrand is the author of books for children and teens, including The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, The 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.

☆ How to find Claire ☆

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About the Book

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.

☆ How to find Winterspell ☆
GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & Noble

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Mindy: Hi Claire Legrand! Welcome to Magical Urban Fantasy Reads!

Claire: Hi! I’m so excited to visit you today!

Mindy: I noticed that your previous releases were Middle Grade. What made you decide to write a Young Adult novel? And, which of those novels came more naturally to you, and which was more difficult to write and why?

Claire: This is a great question! I love writing both middle grade and young adult novels, but when I sat down to start planning WINTERSPELL, I knew it would need to be a young adult novel. The Nutcracker has such interesting and mature themes, and to explore them sufficiently, I needed to write the story for slightly older readers.

Of my published novels so far, I think THE YEAR OF SHADOWS, my second middle grade novel, came most naturally to me. More than any other character I’ve written so far, Olivia felt so familiar, like she was a real person existing somewhere outside my head. Also, much of the story revolves around music, and I used to be a musician myself, so I felt very comfortable in that world, because it’s one I know intimately.

Mindy: When you started writing WINTERSPELL, did you already know that you were going to set the story in the era of 1899,or did that come to you while you were writing? With that being said, did you already know that you were going to write about Steampunk and Fae?

Claire: When I started planning WINTERSPELL, I knew that I wanted the “real” world part of the story to feel like something out of a period piece. I didn’t want it to be modern, because to me, the story of The Nutcracker feels so timeless, so classic. I wanted the setting to reflect that. As I continued planning the story, and it became evident what themes I wanted to explore, I decided that the time period should be in the Victorian era, a time in which pretty much everyone was sexually repressed, especially woman. A big part of Clara’s journey in WINTERSPELL is her sexual awakening, coming to terms with her body and her desires. The Victorian era seemed a perfect foil for that.

About the steampunk and fae elements—first of all, I don’t think of the faeries in WINTESRPELL as the traditional fae from European folklore, at least not precisely. Obviously I drew upon certain familiar fae elements, but I also wanted these faeries to be something unique. Instead of being repelled by iron, they use it to amplify their magic. They are creatures of machinery, tinkering, crafting. You’d be more likely to find them in a clockmaker’s shop rather than out in a field or forest somewhere.

I always knew I wanted there to be a steampunk (or at least, a vaguely steampunk) element to WINTERSPELL because of the traces of steampunk in the original fairy tale—toys that come to life, one of the characters being a magical clockmaker and inventor. So the steampunk element was always there, and my version of faeries grew out of that.

Mindy: The villains in your story are extremely creepy. Was it hard for you to write those characters or did they just come naturally to you?

Claire: I don’t know what this says about me, but I find it pretty easy to write villains! Not easy as in without challenges, but easy as in, when I’m writing a scene that features an antagonist, everything flows easily. Often the antagonist is the character most clear in my mind when I begin planning a story—which I think is a good thing! A lackluster antagonist kills a story, in my opinion. I also like when an antagonist has layers, when you find yourself feeling sympathy for him/her. And now I really want to talk about the primary antagonist in WINTERSPELL, but I feel it’s best if you go into that part of the story unspoiled.

Mindy: Without spoiling, which scene was your favorite to write and why?

Claire: There’s a scene in Part Three of WINTERSPELL that takes place on a palace rooftop in the snow. This was absolutely my favorite scene to write because it’s a turning point for Clara in a couple of different ways—both as it involves her own personal journey and also her relationship with a particular character. I don’t like to go back and read my books once they’re published because inevitably I find tiny things I wish I could fix, but I will probably go back and read this scene from time to time, just because I love it that much. I hope it’s as powerful for readers as it was for me to write.

Mindy: Do you have any other Young Adult titles in the works? If“Yes,” can you tell us about them?
Claire: I always have other books in the works! Right now, however, I’m mostly working on middle grade titles—one of which is already written and I hope I can officially announce it soon! I have lots of ideas for other YA books, too, but none that I’m ready to talk about just yet.

Mindy: Thank you so much for stopping by Magical Urban Fantasy Reads. Hopefully we’ll get to do this again!

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This is a tour hosted giveaway!
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

☆ The Tour ☆

Week One:
9/22/2014- Alice Marvels- Review
9/23/2014- The Midnight Garden- Guest Post
9/24/2014- Magical Urban Fantasy Reads- Interview
9/25/2014- Cuddlebuggery- Guest Post
9/26/2014- Fiktshun- Guest Post

Week Two:
9/29/2014- Novel Sounds- Guest Post
9/30/2014- Parajunkee- Interview Author or Character
10/1/2014- Takes of the Ravenous Reader- Interview Author or Character
10/2/2014- Two Chicks on Books- Guest Post
10/3/2014- Dark Faerie Tales- Review

September 19, 2014

Mindy video interviews Mindy McGinnis + Giveaway!

About the Author

Mindy McGinnis is an assistant YA librarian who lives in Ohio and cans her own food. She graduated from Otterbein University magna cum laude with a BA in English Literature and Religion. Mindy has a pond in her back yard but has never shot anyone, as her morals tend to cloud her vision.

☆ How to find Mindy ☆

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About the Book

The only thing bigger than the world is fear.

Lucy’s life by the pond has always been full. She has water and friends, laughter and the love of her adoptive mother, Lynn, who has made sure that Lucy’s childhood was very different from her own. Yet it seems Lucy’s future is settled already—a house, a man, children, and a water source—and anything beyond their life by the pond is beyond reach.

When disease burns through their community, the once life-saving water of the pond might be the source of what’s killing them now. Rumors of desalinization plants in California have lingered in Lynn’s mind, and the prospect of a “normal” life for Lucy sets the two of them on an epic journey west to face new dangers: hunger, mountains, deserts, betrayal, and the perils of a world so vast that Lucy fears she could be lost forever, only to disappear in a handful of dust.

In this companion to Not a Drop to Drink, Mindy McGinnis thrillingly combines the heart-swelling hope of a journey, the challenges of establishing your own place in the world, and the gripping physical danger of nature in a futuristic frontier.

☆ How to find In a Handful of Dust ☆
AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads

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This is a tour hosted giveaway!
1 signed Hardcover of IN A HANDFUL OF DUST US Only
a Rafflecopter giveaway

☆ The Tour ☆

Week One:
9/15/2014- A Dream Within A Dream- Interview
9/16/2014- Once Upon a Twilight- Review
9/17/2014- Curling Up With A Good Book- Review
9/18/2014- Reading with ABC- Guest Post
9/19/2014- Magical Urban Fantasy Reads- Video Interview

Week Two:
9/22/2014- Library of a Book Witch- Review
9/23/2014- Fiction Fare- Review
9/24/2014- The YA's Nightstand- Guest Post
9/25/2014- Owl Always Be Reading- Guest Post
9/26/2014- Addicted Readers- Interview

I Heart Robot Cover Reveal + Giveaway


Welcome to the Cover Reveal for

I Heart Robot by Suzanne van Rooyen

presented by Month9Books!

I HEART ROBOT Cover Art from Suzanne van Rooyen

I'm not the most artistically inclined. While I do love art and have been known to bust out the pencils and paints myself, it's not an area where I'd consider myself particularly talented. In short, I knew that cover design was something best left to the professional and I had every confidence in Month9Books.

I am so grateful to Georgia McBride for allowing me to have the amount of input I did when it came to cover creation for I Heart Robot. This is a novel that is as much about a civil rights struggle in a futuristic, post-war city as it is about romance, and we wanted a cover that reflected both elements. Finding the right balance between romance and science fiction was a tall order, but Month9Books delivered in spades by presenting me with two stylistically different covers. I loved elements of both, and by working closely with the cover artist and with Georgia we managed to combine all the best parts of both original covers into what we have today: a cover that reflects the gritty world my characters live in while emphasizing the fact that this is above all, a love story.

The Cover!

Publish Date:
March 31, 2015

Sixteen-year-old Tyri wants to be a musician and wants to be with someone who won't belittle her musical aspirations.

Q-I-99 aka 'Quinn' lives in a scrap metal sanctuary with other rogue droids. While some use violence to make their voices heard, demanding equal rights for AI enhanced robots, Quinn just wants a moment on stage with his violin to show the humans that androids like him have more to offer than their processing power.

Tyri and Quinn's worlds collide when they're accepted by the Baldur Junior Philharmonic Orchestra. As the rift between robots and humans deepens, Tyri and Quinn's love of music brings them closer together, making Tyri question where her loyalties lie and Quinn question his place in the world. With the city on the brink of civil war, Tyri and Quinn make a shocking discovery that turns their world inside out. Will their passion for music be enough to hold them together while everything else crumbles down around them, or will the truth of who they are tear them apart?

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About the Author

Suzanne is a tattooed storyteller from South Africa. She currently lives in Finland and finds the cold, dark forests nothing if not inspiring. Although she has a Master’s degree in music, Suzanne prefers conjuring strange worlds and creating quirky characters. When not writing, she teaches dance and music to middle schoolers and entertains her shiba inu, Lego. Suzanne is represented by Jordy Albert of the Booker Albert Agency.

☆ How to find Suzanne ☆

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This is a publisher hosted giveaway!
Winners will receive their book on release day

a Rafflecopter giveaway

September 18, 2014

Made For You by Melissa Marr Scavenger Hunt + Giveaway!

About the Author

Melissa grew up believing in faeries, ghosts, and various other creatures. After teaching college lit for a decade, she applied her fascination with folklore to writing.

Melissa writes fiction for adults, teens, and children. Her books have been translated into 28 languages to date and been bestsellers in the US (NY Times, LA Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal) as well as various countries overseas. She is best known for the Wicked Lovely series for teens and Graveminder for adults.

Wicked Lovely was her first novel; it was simultaneously released in the US and UK by HarperCollins in 2007 (with translation rights also sold in twenty-some countries). It debuted as a NY Times Bestseller and evolved into a multi-book series with myriad accolades and international bestseller lists.

Her debut adult book, Graveminder, released to strong critical reception in 2011. Following that she has edited anthologies with Kelley Armstrong (Enthralled and Shards & Ashes) and with her friend Tim Pratt (Rags & Bones), and released a second adult novel (The Arrivals) in 2013.

With Kelley Armstrong, Melissa is the co-author of the Blackwell Pages trilogy (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), a children’s series about the Norse myth of Ragnarök.

Her upcoming HarperCollins 2014 release, Made For You, utilizes both her graduate degree in Southern Literature and her personal experience with stalkers in a story about a killer who terrorizes a small North Carolina town.

Her first picture book (Bunny Roo) will be released in 2015.

Currently, Melissa resides in Virginia with her spouse, children, and many dogs.

☆ How to find Melissa ☆

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About the Book

Bestselling author of the Wicked Lovely books Melissa Marr’s first contemporary YA novel is a twisted southern gothic tale of obsession, romance, and murder. A killer is obsessed with Eva Tilling. Can she stop him, or will he claim her?

When Eva Tilling wakes up in the hospital, she’s confused—who in her sleepy little North Carolina town could have hit her with their car? And why? But before she can consider the question, she finds that she’s awoken with a strange new skill: the ability to foresee people’s deaths when they touch her. While she is recovering from the hit-and-run, Nate, an old flame, reappears, and the two must traverse their rocky past as they figure out how to use Eva’s power to keep her friends—and themselves—alive. But while Eva and Nate grow closer, the killer grows increasingly frantic in his attempt to get to Eva.

For the first time, New York Times bestselling author Melissa Marr has applied her extraordinary talent to contemporary realism. Chilling twists, unrequited obsession, and high-stakes romance drive this Gothic, racy thriller—a story of small-town oppression and salvation. Melissa’s fans, and every YA reader, will find its wild ride enthralling.

☆ How to find Made For You ☆
AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads

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Scavenger Hunt

The mystery word for the Scavenger Hunt in the chapter below is bolded and colored BLUE. Simply find the word and then put that word in the rafflecopter as a giveaway entry. Make sure you check out the tour schedule below to check out the chapter samplers and enter into the giveaway! Enjoy!

Day 1: “The Act”


I sit and wait in my stolen car. The engine is still; the lights are off. I can’t even listen to music. I don’t want anyone to see or hear me.

I thought Eva understood me. Last night, she proved me wrong. She looked straight through me like I wasn’t there and spent half the night paying attention to him, one of the countless people who will never ever deserve her. He’s not right for her. I am.

When I see Eva walking away from the mostly empty parking lot and heading down the deserted street, I wish I had another option. I’ve been waiting for her to see the real me for so long, doing the things she asked of me so she would know I was the one for her.

I listened to every secret message she gave me. She was like a goddess in my mind.

Maybe that’s where I went wrong. The Lord ordered that “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” In my heart, I raised Eva up like a false idol. That was a mistake. Now I have to atone, not just for my sake, but for the safety of my future children. The good book says “I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children.” I have to protect the children I’ll one day have.

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” I say the words quietly as I wait in the dark and quiet.

I picture her even after I can’t see her anymore. She could’ve called Grace to pick her up tonight. She didn’t. It would have been a sign if she had. I watch the signs. Eva Tilling—princess of Jessup, North Carolina—is alone. I made sure she would be, but I hoped we would be saved from this.

I turn the key, and the engine wakes. I turn on the stereo and shift out of park. My eyes burn, and my hands tighten on the steering wheel as I drive into the dark where she waits. I flick the high beams on and turn the music up so loud that she can probably hear it now. I feel like I can hear the gravel crunch under the tires as I swerve onto the shoulder, but I can’t, not over the music. I searched for the perfect song, “Lift Me Up,” to tell her all the things I can’t say. I hope she is listening. I know the Lord is.

I feel like my heart is beating in tune with the thundering drums, and I slam the gas pedal down before I can hesitate. I feel the thump, and through my tears, I see her hit the hood of the car and slide off.

I don’t slow down. I can’t. I can’t even look in the rearview mirror. I did it, but it hurt. God, it hurt to sacrifice the one person I thought was meant to be mine. My Eva is bleeding along the side of the road. This was the only choice left to me.

I had to kill her.

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This is a tour hosted giveaway!
1 winner will receive a full set of the 5 Wicked Lovely series and the Wicked Lovely companion book (all paperback) as well as a hardcover copy of Made For You. US Only

1 winner will receive a paperback of Graveminder & of Arrivals, as well as a hardcover copy of Made For You. US Only.

1 winner will receive a hardcover of Made For You. US ONLY.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

☆ The Tour ☆

Week One:
9/8/2014- Katie's Book Blog- Scavenger Hunt
9/9/2014- Crossroad Reviews- Review
9/10/2014- Fire and Ice- Scavenger Hunt
9/11/2014- Reading with ABC- Review
9/12/2014- BookHounds YA- Scavenger Hunt

Week Two:
9/15/2014- Ticket to Anywhere- Review
9/16/2014- Fiktshun- Scavenger Hunt
9/17/2014- Seeing Night Reviews- Review
9/18/2014- Magical Urban Fantasy Reads- Scavenger Hunt
9/19/2014- Fictitious Delicious- Review

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.