BLOG TOUR – Wicked (A Seven Deadly Sins Novel #1) by Jillian Kleine Der Lowe

The universe started with a bang… And so does Wicked!

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Wicked (A Seven Deadly Sins Novel, Book #1)

Angels and demons and dragons and stilettos… With the Apocalypse thrown in just for good measure… Oh my! Earth: it’s the promised land for Kin, beings from the Astral Planes. Some, beings of light. Others, the Fallen, beings of unimaginable evil…

Seven Cyn, a confident and empowered modern woman, is Kin and a CIA Operative. Sev is awoken in the dead of night by a call from her best friend, Leon. Sev’s responsible for protecting the fate of the whole entire bloody Universe. She certainly is game, but she can probably do with a bit of coffee first. With Leon in tow, she flies to Wales in pursuit of an ancient relic, the Spear of Destiny. Then throw the enigmatic Luc into the mix as he and Sev discover a love that defies the stars.

Yet, there is a catch… Sev has been tasked with ending his life. Along with a twisted pixie named Ace, they uncover the location of the Spear and end up in a race against time with the survival of the whole entire Universe left hanging in the balance in a battle between good verses evil. This unlikely odd-coupled menagerie comes up against a shadow government run by Dark Entities and Fallen Angels possessing mortal souls.

Will Sev unlock the secrets of the Spear in time to avert universal disaster or will the Universe fall into utter darkness? Has Sev finally bitten off more than she can chew? Filled with believable characters and injected with a heaping dose of sarcasm and wit… And just as many twists and turns; Wicked promises not to disappoint. This lighthearted energetic, fast-paced romp will certainly open your mind and tickle your funny bone.

GUEST POST – Jillian Kleine Der Lowe

Why Book Covers Are So Important

Book Covers are one of the most important things when it comes to successfully selling a book. The idiom about judging a book by its cover, usually denotes a persons physical appearance and demeanor. We do, as a society, judge people by their appearance. If I meet a new woman and she’s dressed nicely and has groomed herself… I’ll respond to her better then I do to someone who looks like she just rolled out of bed and threw on whatever jeans and a t-shirt were most likely laying on the floor. Psychological studies have proven that we respond to 80% of what we see (what someone looks like), 15% of what we hear (what someone sounds like) and only 5% of what is actually said. Looks are extremely important.

We respond to book covers the same way. Which is why, book covers need to look professional. Covers of indie novels, need to be able to complete with whatever is coming out of the Big Six.

Since we really do judge books by their covers, not only do you need an attractive cover… You need a cover that fits the content of your book. You wouldn’t put a colorful and cartoonish picture of fluffy bunnies on the front of a horror novel. Not unless the book happened to be titled the Attack of the Colorful and Cartoonish Fluffy Bunnies. A potential reader needs to be able to see a cover and get a feel for the novel.

It is also extremely important to find images that have not been used before, so that you have something that looks incredibly original. There is a drawback to using stock. Most stock is overused. If you use stock you run the risk of your cover being one of these types of covers: Clichés, Clones, Copycats, Deja Vu’s and/or Doppelgangers.

I’m writing book called Design For Authors, which will educate and inform authors as to how they can design their own covers. Coming from a background in Art & Creative Direction, I designed the cover of my novel Wicked, all by myself.

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Jillian Kleine Der Löwe, oft described as the bastard love child of Douglas Adams and Monty Python, is the author of the bestselling Seven Deadly Sins series. She is a writer by day and (not your average) space cadet by night. With many years of experience in advertising, art, design, filmmaking, marketing, public relations, publishing and writing; she decided that the time had finally come for her to self-publish the novel which she had always dreamt of writing. With a steady supply of tea streaming through her veins, she enthusiastically and excitedly battles each day passionately crafting stories, one chapter at a time equipped with only her sarcasm and wit!

She is currently working on Lured, the second novel in the Seven Deadly Sins series.

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Sneaking Candy – Lisa Burstein

Sneaking Candy is not the fluffy confectionery that one would assume given the cover, unlike most New Adult fiction, it is not a maudlin self-indulgent tale of post-teen angst with the amount of tragedy comparable to a Korean soap opera. What it is, is a love letter to readers, all readers well maybe not the literary book snobs out there but to the average everyday Joe who loves a little escapism, or a touch of irreverence in their reading fare.

All I ever wanted was to make a name for myself as Candice Salinas, creative writing grad student at the University of Miami. Of course, secretly I already have made a name for myself: as Candy Sloane, self-published erotic romance writer. Though thrilled that my books are selling and I have actual fans, if anyone at UM found out, I could lose my scholarship…and the respect of my faculty advisor, grade-A-asshole Professor Dylan.

Candice is the slightly repressed daughter of two surgeons and after years of toeing the party line she rebels by eschewing medical school and following in her parents and boyfriend’s footsteps to move to Florida and pursue her dream of being a writer. Her parents respond by disowning her and her boyfriend dumps her unceremoniously telling her that she was a lousy lay and that he cheated on her as well. Forced to find her own way Candice uses her only resource and self-publishes an erotic romance novel under the pseudonym Candy Sloane.

Enter James Walker, super-hot local barista and—surprise!—my student. Even though I know a relationship is totally off-limits, I can’t stop myself from sneaking around with James, taking a few cues from my own erotic writing…if you catch my drift. Candy’s showing her stripes for the first time in my real life, and I’ve never had so much fun. But when the sugar high fades, can my secrets stay under wraps?

Much like all of us Candy is the alter ego who says and does the things that we think of ten minutes after the opportunity has passed. Caught between a rock and a hard place Candice is torn not only between two men but also between following her heart and her head career-wise.

“You’re this serious writer,” I said “I figured you’d view it as fluff, me as fluff. I mean, anyone in the program would.”

Sneaking Candy revitalized my faith in the New Adult genre introducing us to a heroine who is not a victim, perhaps a little repressed, but with the confidence to do and READ or write what our own inner-Candy dictates.

Heartbeat – Elizabeth Scott

I am Emma, seventeen. I live with my stepfather. My mother is dead. Inside her is a baby. 

Elizabeth Scott has picked a controversial topic and handled it deftly with sensitivity and consummate skill. Emma is enraged, coldly incapacitated by fury and as such Emma is not an easy character to like, but for a moment consider, what teenager really is? So many issues are at play in Heartbeat yet it never becomes maudlin or self-indulgent in its portrayal of the right to live and die with dignity.

Emma would give anything to talk to her mother one last time. Tell her about her slipping grades, her anger with her stepfather, and the boy with the bad reputation who might be the only one Emma can be herself with.

But Emma can’t tell her mother anything. Because her mother is brain-dead and being kept alive by machines for the baby growing inside her.

Each day after school Emma goes to the hospital to visit her mother, after suffering a brain embolism she is on life support to try and save the life of her unborn child. Emma is so enraged by the situation she cannot even bear to speak to her stepfather convinced that if he mother had a choice that she would not be in this situation.

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Her daily routine is changed when she comes across Caleb Harrison at the hospital. He is doing community service after his myriad of criminal activities catch up with him. Caleb is the one person who seems to truly understand Emma’s feelings of impotent fury and powerlessness.

I look at him and my heart, which I was so sure was dead, burned out, beats hard and fast. Beats like I’m alive, like there is life in me, like I didn’t die when Mom did.

While reading Heartbeat I was awed and impressed at Elizabeth Scott’s storytelling prowess, her characterizations were impeccable. From Emma’s stepfather, who is so blinded by his grief and determination to save his son that he is largely unaware of the downward spiral his daughter is undergoing to the troubled teenage boy, who becomes Emma’s salvation. Often when reading N/A literature I have found that the depths of the tragedy become almost comedic particularly when the author has so unrealistically depicted these circumstances as a uniting factor between characters rather than the opposite. However in the case of Heartbeat the actions of the characters are all too believable, particularly Emma. When the story concludes the catharsis of the characters is realistic and satisfying. This is the first book I have read by Elizabeth Scott but I can guarantee you it won’t be the last.

elizabethsElizabeth Scott grew up in a town so small it didn’t even have a post office, though it did boast an impressive cattle population. She’s sold hardware and pantyhose and had a memorable three-day stint in the dot-com industry, where she learned that she really didn’t want a career burning CD’s. She lives just outside Washington, DC, with her husband, and firmly believes you can never own too many books.

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BLOG TOUR – Static – L.A. Witt

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It’s not a secret that I love sci-fi romance, even better if there is plenty of conflict. I am particularly looking forward to Static, a novel approach from a traditional romance to one not quite so common.

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  • Author: L.A. Wit
  • ISBN: 1611241332 (ISBN13: 9781611241334)
  • Series: Stand Alone
  • Published: June 26th 2011 by Riptide Publishing
  • Format: eBook
  • Genre/s: M/M Romance
  • Source: Netgalley

After two years together, Alex has been dreading the inevitable moment when Damon learns the truth: that Alex is a shifter, part of a small percentage of the population able to switch genders at will. Thanks to a forced implant, though, Alex is suddenly static—unable to shift—and male. Overnight, he’s out to a world that neither understands nor tolerates shifters . . . and to his heterosexual boyfriend.

Damon is stunned to discover his girlfriend is a shifter, and scared to death of the dangers the implant poses to Alex’s health. He refuses to abandon Alex, but what about their relationship? Damon is straight, and with the implant both costly and dangerous to remove, Alex is stuck as a man.

Stripped of half his identity and facing serious physical and social ramifications, Alex needs Damon more than ever, but he doesn’t see how they can get through this.

Especially if he’s static forever.

L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer currently living in the glamorous and ultra-futuristic metropolis of Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, two cats, and a disembodied penguin brain that communicates with her telepathically. In addition to writing smut and disturbing the locals, L.A. is said to be working with the US government to perfect a genetic modification that will allow humans to survive indefinitely on Corn Pops and beef jerky. This is all a cover, though, as her primary leisure activity is hunting down her arch nemesis, erotica author Lauren Gallagher, who is also said to be lurking somewhere in Omaha.

L. A.’s backlist is available on her website, and updates (as well as random thoughts and the odd snarky comment) can be found on her blog or on Twitter (@GallagherWitt).

Trusting a Stranger – Kimberley Brown

Be careful of strangers bearing gifts, the contract to obtain photos of Ethan MacDonald’s home is too good to be true but Hayley Wolfe cannot resist the lure of money to pay her father’s hospital bills.

When a stranger is discovered surveying his compound Ethan is sure it is another attempt by his wife’s family to find and kidnap his daughter Katy. Rather than dismiss her out of turn he decides to interrogate her instead to try and turn the tables on his brother in law.

Hayley Wolfe will do anything to keep her father healthy and comfortable for as long as possible. When she is offered a hefty contract in return for some international travel, she jumps at the chance, and the security the paycheque provides. Though the beautiful Tuscan villa doesn’t look like a hotbed of crime, nor its owner a deviant and evil man, looks can be deceiving…

Trusting a Stranger had potential, Kimberley Brown’s writing style is easily engaging with good pacing. What compromised an otherwise intriguing story was a few preventable faults in the plot. We never know why it is so important that the Tomasi family obtain custody of Katy. The villain, Ethan’s sister and other supporting characters lacked any real development and possibly the worst transgression of all was the placement of the love scene. Mid-chase after one’s daughter has been kidnapped I don’t think any responsible parent would stop to make love even when travelling by train. However, these are all errors one would expect from a new writer and as such considering the strengths Ms. Brown displayed in Trusting a Stranger I expect future offerings will be far superior.

Disclaimer: ARC was kindly provided by the publisher for an honest review. http://www.escapepublishing.com.au/product/9780857991188

When The World Was Flat (And we were in love) – Ingrid Jonach

when-the-world-was-flatDéjà vu, from French, literally “already seen”, is the phenomenon of having the strong sensation that an event or experience currently being experienced has been experienced in the past, whether it has actually happened or not.

Reading When the World Was Flat And We Were In Love was strongly reminiscent of another story of star-crossed lovers that you may be familiar with. A new student, an electric connection but for some unfathomable reason he wants nothing to do with the girl to whom he is unwillingly drawn.

  • WhenTheWorldWasFlat-144dpiTitle: When The World Was Flat
  • Author: Ingrid Jonach
  • ISBN13:  9781908844576
  • Series: Stand Alone
  • Published: September 3rd 2013 by Strange Chemistry
  • Format: Audio-book
  • Genre/s: YA
  • Print Length: 312 pages
  • Source: Library
  • Rating: C

Lillie’s world is forever changed when a new student arrives at her school, the feeling is not mutual. Tom is immediately claimed by the exclusive social elite of which Lillie and her closest friends are not welcome.

When sixteen-year-old Lillie Hart meets the gorgeous and mysterious Tom Windsor-Smith for the first time, it’s like fireworks — for her, anyway. Tom looks as if he would be more interested in watching paint dry; as if he is bored by her and by her small Nebraskan town in general.

But as Lillie begins to break down the walls of his seemingly impenetrable exterior, she starts to suspect that he holds the answers to her reoccurring nightmares and to the impossible memories which keep bubbling to the surface of her mind — memories of the two of them, together and in love.

As they begin to get to know each other Lillie begins to wonder if she has met Tom before when she starts to either hallucinate or “remember” things that she couldn’t possibly know.

When The World Was Flat was an ambitious story, perhaps too ambitious for a debut novel. The scientific component of the story at times read like an academic paper, statement, fact, statement, fact. While the story itself was interesting even engaging at times there was that illusory component missing, the dollop of grape jelly that is rumored to turn red sauce from ordinary into a culinary extravaganza. Regardless I am intrigued by the thought of what Ms. Jonach has in store for the future.

Ingrid JonachIngrid Jonach writes books for kids and teens. Her debut young adult novel When the World was Flat (and we were in love) is due out in September 2013 by global imprint Strange Chemistry.

She is also the author of the picture book A Lot of Things and the chapter books The Frank Frankie and Frankie goes to France published by Pan Macmillan Australia. Ingrid has worked as a journalist and public relations consultant, and has a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing with Honors in Communications. She lives down under — in Canberra, Australia — with her husband Craig and their pug dog Mooshi.

Fairy Texas – Margo Bond Collins

Genre: YA Fantasy

Content/Theme(s): Romance/Mystery

Release Date: February 5, 2014

Publisher: Solstice

Shadows Publishing

Fairy,Texas. A small town like any other. Laney Harris didn’t want to live there. When her mother remarried and moved them to a town where a date meant hanging out at the Sonic, Laney figured that “boring” would have a whole new meaning. A new stepsister who despised her and a high school where she was the only topic of gossip were bad enough. But when she met the school counselor (and his terminal bad breath), she grew suspicious. Especially since he had wings that only she could see. And then there were Josh and Mason, two gorgeous glimmering-eyed classmates whose interest in her might not be for the reasons she hoped. Not to mention that dead guy she nearly tripped over in gym class.

She was right. Boring took on an entirely new dimension in Fairy, Texas.