Sunday, March 29, 2015

Resist - Takhayyal 7

Photography by Florin Albei

Winter scalds me,
Takes away my green warmth,
Bathes me in rain and snow,
Howls at me with wind,
But always fails to crush me.

I shudder in its presence,
Looming over me,
But I resist.

There is hope,
A light shines everyday
Stronger than the one before it

I hear the birds,
The forest awaits it
With open arms

I feel it approach:
Warm, kind and pure

Spring will come for me,
Rescue me
From winter's icy clutch

I will be green again
And a rainbow
Of colour, magic and beauty
Will surround me once more

All I have to do is

Photography by Florin Albei

For this week's Takhayyal, I used both pictures, although winter and spring in Egypt are not like those described in the poem, but I was using the pictures not the real ones.

As always comments are highly appreciated. 
If you find the one or both of the pictures inspirational, post your piece or link to it here.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

New series Orenda plus Q&A, guest post with Ruth Silver

A little late posting this one; author Ruth Silver has a new series titled Orenda for ages 14+. The book is currently available for FREE on Amazon and iTunes!

Orenda by Ruth Silver
(Orenda #1)
Published by: Booktrope Publishing
Publication date: December 5th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult


Join forces with a parallel universe.

Dark forces, magical creatures, and the world Lil thought she knew collide when a dream transports her to the strange world of Orenda. Stunned and terrified, Lil comes face to face with her doppelganger, Willow, who possesses the ability to travel between the two worlds. Everything Lil knows logically says that Orenda can’t exist, but a small clue may be proof that it was more than an ordinary dream. With the threat of her sister in danger, Lil crosses dimensions but it may cost her even more than she bargained for.
A sword wielding girl, the eternal suit, and a parallel universe come together in this action-packed Young Adult fantasy adventure that will keep readers of all ages turning the pages.

Add Orenda to your Goodreads' to-read list:

Purchase (FREE on Amazon and iTunes right now):
And B&N

Quick Q&A with author Ruth Silver

Q: What’s your favorite, go to, writing website?
RS: YA Highway is a fantastic resouce for all writers. You don’t have to be just a YA writer to find it beneficial. Here’s the link:

Q: What inspired you to write Orenda?
RS: I wanted to write a fantasy appropriate for middle grade as well as young adults. I loved the show Fringe and how they brought a parallel world into the mix. I wanted to do something similar and yet completely different with Fae, dragons, and magic.

Q: In a few brief words, tell us how you market your novels?
RS: I’m a huge believer in social media. I use Twitter and Facebook a lot. You can always find me on there. I’m also a book blogger, I run the website Write Away Bliss and Ravyn Rayne Reads. I connect those blogs to Triberr, which helps my posts get seen. I believe in both helping other indie authors and self-promoting. Aside from that, I create teasers, run promos and ask other blogs to help with those postings.

Q: How can a new writer get published?
RS: Get a publisher. Seriously. Write a great book, then query it to publishers and/or agents. You can self-publish but you’ve got to have it professionally edited, formatted properly (study similar books and look at text size/font/format), and market the crap out of it. Even then, you still won’t have all the resources of even a small press company. It’s tough, I’m not going to sugar coat it. I’ve done both and I would never go back to self-publishing or co-op publishing. Resources are key. There are connections you can’t get on your own.

Q: What the heck is a Query letter?
RS: It’s not a cover letter or a synopsis. It’s a selling point. You’ll start with a blurb that will entice the reader but not give them every detail about what your book is about. Overall, a query explains why the publisher/agent should read your novel. Often it compares your novel to two or three similar books that would be next to it on a bookshelf. You’ll also include word count, genre, and if you bring something special to the table that they agent/publisher should need to know (i.e. You’re a YA librarian and writing a YA novel). Check out that link above (YA Highway) for sample query letters, even if you’re not a YA writer.

Blogging Tips and Advice for Writers

1.      Make friends with authors. When they share your books, share theirs in return. Every single time.
2.      Share indie and traditional published books. Don’t just focus on the mainstream.
3.      Write reviews but be constructive. Never attack an author.
4.      Share cover reveals, blog tours, book blitzes so you’ll have new content.
5.      Join Triberr and connect your blog through Twitter or Facebook.
6.      Always comment on people that leave a comment. If they’re taking the time to leave a message, thank them for stopping by.
7.      Only use images that you have the copyright to use. Going to Google and saving an image and using it isn’t legal. It will get you into trouble and if you ask bloggers to share that image, it will get them in hot water as well.

About the author:
Ruth Silver first began writing poetry as a teenager and reading heaps of fan fiction in her free time. She has written under three unique pseudo names and penned well over a hundred stories. 
She attended Northern Illinois University in 2001 and graduated with a Bachelor's in Communication. While in college she spent much of her free time writing with friends she met online and penning her first novel, "Deuces are Wild", which she self-published in 2004. Her favorite class was Creative Writing senior year where she often handed in assignments longer than the professor required because she loved to write and always wanted to finish her stories.
Her love of writing, led her on an adventure in 2007 to Melbourne, Australia. Silver enjoys reading YA novels and sharing her favorite books with other readers. She runs her own book blog and also enjoys photography and traveling.

Author links:

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bound by Spells by Stormy Smith - Book Review

What a blast!

Bound by Spells, the second instalment in the Bound series by Stormy Smith, picks up where the first book, Bound by Duty, left off. The opening chapter is a powerful one with interesting, even slightly scientific but enjoyable, descriptions of Aidan's transformation.

Also narrated from the first person, the second book alternates between Aidan's and Amelia's viewpoints, each being in a different place. These shifting perspectives keep the reader on edge while also showing us events happening at the same time.

As Bound by Spells progresses, we get many reminders of scenes mentioned in the first book, so one does not feel lost or confused, but rather the reader is able to connect events better and begins to make connections as the characters themselves do.

Amelia continues to be bound by her duty towards her family and her people. In the final scene of the first book and the opening scene in this one, she is seen leaving Aidan, not because she wants to but because she has to go with Micah and Queen Julia, whom we see more often that we would like in this instalment.

Since the novel picks up where the first left off, we are thrown directly into the action, which is quite fun and different from most books, which start out slow.

Bound by Spells is rich with characters both from book one and new ones. I particularly loved Dillon, the ten-year-old AniMage, and the way he talks and how he is quite wise and brave for a child. Also, we get to see Nathaniel, Amelia's father in a new light.

I also loved how this book has more animals and AniMagi and how Stormy Smith gave a fairly important role to Charlie, the dog and whom we learn is called a 'Sentinel'. 

Apart from Amelia, Aidan is a centre-piece in this instalment. We see his character grow and develop, in more ways than one. His love and care for Amelia are enviable.  

As with the Bound by Duty, Amelia's uncontrollable sarcasm gets the better of her and lands in worse trouble than she is already in. I can personally relate to Amelia at this point, particularly as sarcasm gets me into trouble – but not as life-threatening J

Also, we get to see more of Bethany, who, despite being only human, proves to be a major character in the novel. She provides comic relief, insight, kindness and is just fun with her southern-accent tirades.

The reader gets more than their fair share of the abominable Queen Julia, who tries to win Amelia to her side and demonstrates her twisted Hitler-like logic. Amelia and the reader see her for she really is, a mad woman on a mission to eradicate races in the name of purifying them for polluting Mage blood. While her intentions may have been well at first, she quickly shifted into a heartless abomination without a care for the innocent lives that may be lost.

At one point or rather moment, the reader sympathises with the queen, but that's only a moment and then her craziness returns.

Throughout the novel we see Amelia struggle with her Keeper power; the fight for who wins over the other is never-ending and a bit painful to read.

As with the first book in the series, Bound by Spells boasts many beautiful images, such as:

"I walked into a minefield wearing clown shoes."
"Our power was a faucet constantly turned on. As long as it ran, we lived. But if it turned off, we were done". Rereading this line and connecting it with the ending, a shiver runs down my spine.
"Her darkness sucked the light of my flame into an abyss, like a black hole eating the particles of light and the pieces of stardust from the universe."

Bound by Spells is gripping novel full of power, love, emotional surges and blue and purple orbs of power.

Stormy Smith has managed to write a book that is absolutely action-packed with bits of sarcasm, raging fury and tempers and above all an enjoyable ride. I couldn't put the book down and I'm currently dying to see what third instalment will unveil.

Note: I received an advanced reader's copy (ARC) of Bound by Spells in exchange for an honest review.

Massive YA Book Giveaway: A Bookaholic's heaven

Hey everyone,

I’d like to announce a MAJOR SPECTACULAR young adult GIVEAWAY. The blitz is prepared by author Sarah Dalton and is organised by Xpresso Book Tours and includes over 70 authors and 100 books, ranging from YA contemporary to YA sci-fi with everything in between.
The giveaway is done through a Google form instead of Rafflecopter. There are literally TONS of choices and this is the ultimate haven for bookworms.

To get more info about the books in the giveaway, participating authors, read their descriptions, and the giveaway terms and conditions, go to the giveaway’s official page, here:!ya-spring-fling/ciql

From 20 March to 3 April, over 70 authors come together to give away hundreds of books. The YA Spring Fling is an opportunity for readers to find new books, new authors and take part in something very special. Here is a sneak peek of some of the books involved in the giveaway.

All are featured in the YA Spring Fling giveaway. Click here to win free books!

Below are the PARANORMAL books and authors BUT there several genres including YA dystopian, horror, contemporary, and science fiction.

Minor Gods and the Complete Summoners series by A.M. Yates
After witnessing her mother's murder by a vengeful Earth Goddess, seventeen-year-old Josie wants nothing more than to seek justice. But when she becomes a target too, a shadowy Fire God comes to her aid.

The Complete Summoners Series
Minor Gods, Lost Gods, and Fated Gods

The 13th: Destiny Awaits and Frozen Destiny by Ela Lond
Kate, the school outcast, has always been able to see ghosts, and she constantly fears that someday, her so-called 'gift' will drive her mad like it did her mother.

In the haunted ruins of an old monastery, seven teenagers have gone missing in recent years. Kate, who is the Soul Reaper, goes there with her friends to investigate

Prophecy Girl by Faith McKay
Destiny: it doesn't really matter if your mother kills you first.

Sound of Sirens by Jen Minkman
An ancient land protected by a Tower of Light,
its people ever tempted by Siren song,
and a girl who falls for the wrong boy.

Untethered by Katie Hayoz
Sylvie is a social misfit who accidentally astral projects. She's been pushing away her power for years.  But when the boy she loves falls for someone else, she finally decides to make use of her gift...for all the wrong reasons.

Grunge Gods and Graveyards by Kimberley G. Giarratano
It's 1996 and 17-year-old Lainey Bloom harbors intense guilt over the death of Danny Obregon, the only boy Lainey's ever loved until the one night when Danny's ghost comes back begging for her help. To save Danny, Lainey must go up against her family, best friend and the entire town.

Kissed and Destroyed by Kimberley Loth
Three Boys. Two Kisses. One Devastating Choice.

Unclaimed by Laurie Wetzel
Getting close to MJ could cost more than her heart--it could cost Maddy her soul.

Guardians: The Girl by Lola Stvil
They told us to walk away from our love but we couldn't........And now the world is burning.....

Aqua by M.A. George
Seventeen-year-old Layla McKelland's new coastal home brings intriguing new friends, who reveal secrets about her missing father that run deeper than the gulf waters.

Sleepless by Michael Omer
Amy knew she’d hate Narrowdale, a boring suburban town. How could it possibly compare to L.A., where she lived her entire life?
And that was before she started having the same nightmare over and over again, Before she woke up every night to a shrill whistle outside her window.
Some things seem to happen only in Narrowdale, where dark secrets are hiding beneath the surface…

Wave Links to Gods by Randall Boleyn
The truth about the links might be deadly for Llad Fleck. Searching for clues about his cryptic lineage to Norse berserkers, he fights for his life against a powerful paranormal enemy. Haunted by dreams of a mysterious girl trying to help him learn to use the bizarre psychic talents, Llad needs sort out the truth—if he is to survive.

Hidden by Shalini Boland
Now an international bestseller. Fans of Twilight and Interview with the Vampire will enjoy this paranormal adventure that spans the centuries. On her sixteenth birthday, Madison Greene inherits a huge mansion house... but the house hides a secret. Eighteen-year-old Alexandre lives in 19th century Paris. Spoilt and bored, he longs for adventure, but he should be careful what he wishes for. Madison and Alexandre's lives are about to collide. Falling in love has never been so dangerous . . .

Hidden Intentions by Stacy Claflin
Clara is keeping a dark and deadly secret from the love of her life. If she tells him, she could lose him. If she doesn’t tell him, she will.

Finned, Rifted and Overfalls by Sutton Shields
Hook (pun totally intended): Take a fish-phobic girl, divide her by one hot merman, add a splash of his crazy ex-merbitch, and you get one stinky school year.

Two secret wishes. Only one will be granted. Let the Mer-Nor Games begin.

Someone wicked walks among them. Heartbreak usually requires time to heal. For Marina Valentine, however, time has other plans: like sticking her with a shiny, stubborn accessory, sending her on a surprising date with someone other than Troy Tombolo, and introducing her lips to kisses that could save or destroy everything and everyone.

Steths Cognition by Karl Fields
A 16-year-old with the ability to hear heartbeats, and the emotions within them, must act to save a wrongly condemned man from the death penalty.

First Impression by Pauline Creeden
Chirac lives as an outcast in her private school until her best friend invites her on a trip with the popular kids to scope out a haunted house. When the malevolent spirit targets the group, the new kid in school, Ben, seems to know more about surviving the situation than anyone else.

The Enchanted Rose by Nadia Nader
When Vivian’s mother dies in a tragic accident, Vivian’s world is turned upside down. A new life, full of her mother’s secrets, begins…

Doppelganger by Milda Harris
Sixteen-year-old Citrus Leahy gets to school late one day and sees herself already inside her classroom. It's probably aliens taking over the world and her life has just turned totally upside down. Luckily, her crush Aedan has the exact same problem!

A quick Q & A with the organiser – Sarah Dalton

Q: How can readers enter the YA Spring Fling giveaway?

SD: Head over to my website and find the page for the YA Spring Fling (handy hint, it’s HERE). Once you’re there you can browse through the books on offer, or check out more information about the participating authors.
You should see plenty of links prompting you to enter the giveaway. Simply fill out the Google document telling us which books you’d like to win, the format you prefer, and whether you would also like to win paperbacks and swag. It’s that simple. Pick the books you want and sign off.

Q: How will I know I’ve won?

There are so many books on offer that I’d be surprised if you didn’t win something! So you will be hearing from us. :)
After 3 April, I will collate all the entries and pass them on to the participating authors. They will then choose the winners at random and Email the winners to let them know the good news.

Q: Will my email or personal details be used outside the giveaway?

SD: Absolutely not. We’re all against spam and promise not to use your Email for anything other than contacting you as a winner. If you joined up to the YA Spring Fling mailing list you will receive one Email telling you the giveaway is open, and another warning you it is about to close. That’s it!

Q: Is the giveaway open internationally?

SD: Yes! But there are some paperbacks on offer that are region specific. Not all of our authors are sending paperbacks and swag internationally, purely because it costs us so much money and we ain’t made of it. ;)
We will ask for your country of residence in the Google document. That’s so we can work out the winners for region specific paperbacks more easily. Everything else is open internationally.

Q: I have a question, who can I contact?

SD: Me! Send me a message on Facebook. My Email might be clogged by answering author queries, so Facebook might be the easiest method.

Q: Who can I tell about the giveaway? And what can I do to help spread the word?

SD: You can tell everyone and anyone who might like YA books. If you’d like to spread the word it would be awesome if you could follow or like some of the authors and share their posts about the giveaway. You can find a full list of the participating authors and their social media links here.