Welcome to my stop on the Remember Me Blog Tour. I’m so excited to finally have a chance to lend my support to one of my favorite authors, as well as having an advanced look at her new release, REMEMBER ME so I could write the review. It’s really one of the best things about reviewing books. All that great literature (you hope) for free. What’s not to like?
I fell in love with Ms. Ison’s work with her first solo release, THE TROUBLE WITH NIGHTINGALE. If you haven’t read this one, folks, you really need to get on that right after you finish picking up this latest endeavor.
But, we aren’t talking about that story today. Today is ALL about the newest tale to spawn from Ms. Ison’s fanatically creative mind.
Before we get to my review of the tale, let’s have a closer look at the book beyond its spectacular cover.
by Amaleen Ison
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Decadent Publishing
Release Date: June 11th, 2013
Cover Artist: Scott Carpenter
Blurb: Sera isn’t living. She’s existing—barely. Bedbound by illness, she has no memory of life before the freezing barn she now calls home. A mournful song haunts her dreams and hints at a past not completely buried—one she’s desperate to uncover. Yet Father’s whirlwind visits to draw blood and administer medication don’t provide answers. He only confirms the one thing she already knows; she’s dying.
A lonely death without ever knowing her past seems inevitable until a sudden, mystifying return to health coincides with the arrival of a boy in the opposite out-building. The inextricable pull to the stranger, and the broken memories that storm her mind when he’s near, warn of a history quite different to any she could have imagined. If she’s to uncover the truth she craves, she’ll have to decide whether knowledge of the past is worth forfeiting her second chance at life.
Father snatches the cover away and yanks my bare arm straight. Angry-looking bruises and red track marks riddle my paper-thin skin from wrist to elbow crease. He flicks a spidery-looking vein. “Dammit. Next.” My sluggish movements prove too slow for his liking, and he grabs my other arm. “We’ll give this one a try.”
I turn to Noah. Although younger than Father and not yet graying, his straggly black beard and tired-looking eyes make him appear older. He wears a worried expression and avoids my gaze. Perhaps he pities me, or my condition embarrasses him. Probably both.
The fog of medication descends in my mind and sends its glacial water surging through my veins. The barn wobbles, and my head lolls back on the pillow, giving me a view of the rafters. When it comes, the prick of the needle doesn’t hurt. Only the beautiful, melancholy song that plays constantly in my mind accompanies the odd sense of draining life.
Minutes, hours, days later—I can’t tell—Father holds up a full vial of blood to a shaft of sunlight streaming through the hole in the roof. “Thank you, my angel.” He kisses my forehead and squeezes my hand at the same time. I smile at the show of relief in his eyes, before my heavy lids close.
“She’s sleeping,” he says.
Footsteps draw near.
“She looks worse.” The disembodied comment comes from somewhere near the foot of the bed.
“Her blood isn’t working anymore.” Noah’s voice sounds tight.
“We ought to let her die peacefully.”
Yes, they ought to let me die peacefully.
“No!” Father’s breath comes in heavy gusts. “I won’t give up on her. We’ll capture the other one.”
“We’ll be damned.”
“Too late.” A loud clunk and something metallic skitters across the floor. “We’re already damned.”
* * * * *
The descriptions are so vivid, as if Ms. Ison is painting a portait in your mind. So clear you can just sit back and watch the story unfold. I just love when a story can do that. Make the words disappear and you are left watching a film — a mental movie of the book you’re reading. I really felt IN the story beside Sera throughout her struggles to understand what is happening to her.
The characterizations are just as strong. Each of the characters in the story, from the more prevalent, Sim, Father and Noah, to the less seen, Martha and Angela — each one completely flesh out and three dimensional.
I don’t do spoilers in my reviews, so the excerpt and blurb will have to give you enough clues to go by. I’ll not be adding any. Sorry, folks. You will have to just content yourself with knowing how much I enjoyed the short read, and how highly I recommend it to all the YA fan out there, as well as anyone who just enjoys a great, well written story.
5 Enthusiastic Pirate Skulls for this well woven YA tale.
Amaleen Ison is offering a giveaway as part of the Blog Tour. You could snag yourself an eCopy of Remember Me as well as a $20 Amazon Gift Card. The giveaway is open to International entrants.
Since I can’t host Rafflecopter on a free wordpress blog, you will have to swing over there to enter. The link is below. Good luck!
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Author Bio: Amaleen Ison is a married mother of one. She lives with her family in Hertfordshire, England, along with her cats (Oscar and Winston), guinea pig ( LouLou), and gerbils (Blackberry and Pumpkinseed). She writes Young Adult fantasy stories that meander into a variety of sub-genres.
As a child, Amaleen lived most of her life in her head. She imagined herself in mystical lands populated by the weird and wonderful. She still spends way too much time daydreaming, but now she writes about her imaginings and weaves them into stories. The fantasy element is always important, but more so the hodgepodge of emotions that arise from her characters first time experiences.
GUARDIANS INC.: THE CYPHER
A chance reading of a newspaper ad will send 16 year old Thomas Byrne into the world within our world.
Following the ad he will find Guardians Incorporated. A seven thousand year old organization charged with protecting the balance between Magic and technology.
Through their guidance, technology has kept Magic at bay since the Renaissance, but the balance is shifting and soon all those creatures we’ve driven into myth and legend will come back with a vengeance.
To protect the present, Guardians Incorporated needs to know the future and to unlock the future
they need a Cypher.
USA Book News 2012 Finalist -Young Adult Fiction
“Rosado-Machain brings a light, humorous touch to themes of teenage love, loss and betrayal wrapped up in a tasty package of magical coming-of-age.”
“It’s like Julian Rosado-Machain took everything that I love about middle grade children’s fiction and slammed it into one awesome, well-paced fantasy”
~Emi London Oktopusink.blogspot.com
“The Cypher hooked me from the beginning. And kept my attention right through to the very end.”
– Heidi Roth reviewthebook.com
Author Julian Rosado-Machain
Julian has enjoyed pizza in three continents, holds a degree in graphic design, built armored vehicles and computers, handcrafted alebrijes and swears has seen at least one ghost.
He is the Co-owner of Hacienda de Vega Restaurant in San Diego, California and enjoys the sun with his wife, three children and cat.
Book Blast Giveaway
$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
Release Date: September 9, 2013
Target Reader: Young Adult
Keywords: Fiction, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, YA
Back of the Book: Normal people don’t believe their nightmares stalk them. They don’t fall in love with boys who don’t exist, either.
Seventeen-year-old Layla Labelle, though, is far from normal. Her delusions walk the earth. Her hallucinations hunt her, and her skin heats to a burn every time her anger flares.
Or is that all in her head?
Layla doesn’t know what to believe any more because if none of that’s true, Max MacLarnon must be an illusion, and her heart must still be broken.
No matter how much she wants to believe Max is real, doing so would mean everything else is, too. How, then, is that possible?
The answers lie in an age-old legend the supernatural aren’t prepared to reveal, and with a curse that could tear Layla and Max apart forever—if it doesn’t kill them both first.
In TIED, book one in the Fire Born trilogy, learning the truth will mean fighting an arsenal of demons, and being with Max will put Layla on a path toward her own destruction.
Just how far will Layla go to protect the one she loves?
The answer may never be far enough … away.
Se tell me, what do you think of the cover? Does it make you want to pick up the book? Excite you? Confuse you? I’m always curious what sort of reactions readers have to a cover, so please feel free to share. Of course, I wouldn’t ask you all to share without being willing to do so myself, so…
My Thoughts: I absolutely love the fiery phoenix looking image in the center of the cover. It really draws you in right away and gets the eyes wandering over the rest of the cover. Eye catching is always a good thing. I find the wolfish gargoyle like creature in the corner a bit odd — maybe a bit too computer generated or sci-fi looking for me? The keywords mention fantasy, not sci-fi, so Im not sure how fitting it is to the overall cover. Without reading the story, it is of course really impossible to tell how it fits in. In general, I find the cover makes me curious about the story, so I have to give it a Thumbs UP. 🙂
I completely excited to have a chance to be part of today’s cover reveal, as it is for the release of my good friend, Stephanie Lawton’s latest YA story, SHRAPNEL which is being released by Evernight Teen. I’m so happy she found such a good home for the story, and I can’t wait for the actual release date. If this story is half as good as her first novel, WANT — then we are all in for quite a treat.
Without further ado, here is the amazing cover for Shrapnel.
Blurb: It’s been six years since Dylanie and her family visited a Civil War site and the place came alive with cannon fire. Problem was, no one could hear it but her.
Now she’s sixteen, her dad’s moved out, her mom’s come out of the closet and Dylan’s got a spot on Paranormal Teen, a reality TV show filming at historic Oakleigh Mansion. She’ll spend a weekend with two other psychic teens—Jake and Ashley—learning how to control her abilities.
None of them realized how much their emotional baggage would put them at the mercy of Oakleigh’s resident spirits, or that they’d find themselves pawns in the 150-year-old battle for the South’s legendary Confederate gold. Each must conquer their personal ghosts to face down Jackson, a seductive spirit who will do anything to protect the gold’s current location and avenge a heinous attack that destroyed his family.
About Stephanie Lawton:
After collecting a couple English degrees in the Midwest, Stephanie Lawton suddenly awoke in the deepest reaches of the Deep South. Culture shock inspired her to write about Mobile, Alabama, her adopted city, and all the ways Southern culture, history and attitudes seduce the unsuspecting.
A lover of all things gothic, she can often be spotted photographing old cemeteries, historic buildings and, ironically, the beautiful beaches of the Gulf Coast. She also has a tendency to psychoanalyze people, which comes in handy when creating character profiles.
MY THOUGHTS: Let me say that I LOVE this cover. Very YA and very goth to me. Really gives you a sense of the characters without really telling you anything. Just enough mystery and eye appeal to make me want to pick it up and see what it’s about.
SO… what do you all think? Love it Hate it? Share your opinions below.
You are all in for a big treat today, as I managed to score a slot in the Blog Tour, as well as a little one on one time with the fantastic YA author, Julie Reece, whose debut release, CRUX is one the hot lists for summer releases.
Ms. Reece also happens to be one of my favorite people and an original member of the author group, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pens. (If you are ever curious who my favorite female authors of the day are, you simply need to check out The Sisterhood blog, and they are all there.)
My 17yr. old daughter, Casey and I were lucky beta readers of Ms. Reece’s novel, and we both just loved it. My full review can be found HERE, if you want to check it out. I would highly recommend the read to anyone who enjoys YA Urban Fantasy — or, well, anyone who likes YA in general. It was just THAT good.
Anyway, without gushing all over her pretty shoes, let me get right to it and introduce Julie Reece.
Me: Thanks for coming by, Julie. I’ve been quite anxious to get you into the interview chair so I could really pick your brain about Crux.
Julie: *cringes* Oh boy…
Me: Don’t worry. I promise to be gentle. *grins* I’ll start slow and easy. What inspired you to write your novel, Crux?
Julie: My daughters. We started reading together and the more we read, the more we talked about story ideas, plots and characters-what we liked and didn’t like. I had so many ideas that were different than what was on the YA shelves, finally my daughters looked at me and said, “Yo, mom, write one yourself. We like the ideas and we think other people will, too.” So that’s what I did. I wrote the book I couldn’t find hoping others would like what’s in my wacky imagination, too! 🙂 It was scary to try, and I didn’t know if I could do it. I would think to myself, Be a quarter as brave as the heroine in your book, Julie. That’s what I tried to do.
Me: Well, I think you did one heck of a job with that – no doubt about it What sort of writer do you consider yourself? What I mean is, are you a pantser (like me) or a plotter?
Julie: Panster all the way, baby! I wish I was a plotter, I really do. I’ve tried, but when my characters whisper about going a different way than I’ve plotted for them, they can be very persistent. They’re a very rebellious lot and they usually end up getting their way 🙂
Me: Do you have any writing rituals or special processes you complete before sitting down to write?
Julie: Not really, the only thing I need is quiet. Library quiet to focus because of my ADD and other learning disabilities. I’m am easily distracted unfortunately. PS, I do like to hear birds singing, a cat’s purr, wind, rain or the sea. Those noises never bug me. Maybe because they are white noises???
Me: If you could only write in one genre for the rest of your career, what genre would you choose? Why?
Julie: Young Adult urban fantasy. Man, it’s hard to explain why I love this genre so much. It has everything! You can go anywhere and do anything with a teenager’s point of view. Everything is brand new and there’s a lot of hope and wonder and acceptance from a sixteen year old who’s experiencing different areas of life for the first time. Teenagers are brave and wise, then they do stupid stuff that they have to get themselves out of! I adore YA books!!!
Me: I have to agree with you there. I have become a big fan of the YA genre, especially after reading books like yours and Stephanie Lawton’s. I think I may already know this answer, but the readers may not, so I will toss it out there anyway. Which of the characters in your current release is your favorite? Why?
Julie: Well dang, that’s really hard. I guess it would have to be my heroine. Bird is the sum total of a person who has every reason to be bitter or give up and quit, but she doesn’t. I liked that about her. She’s a fighter.
Me: For sure. She is my favorite by far. Just love her to bits. I’d bet she’d be a grumpy bear in the mornings. What about you, though, Julie? Morning person or grumpy bear?
Julie: I’m sorry to tell you I am ‘Miss Mary Sunshine’ in the morning. I probably drive the rest of my family nuts being all happy pants in the early am but I turn into a pumpkin around 11:00 when my brain shuts off, so I guess it even out.
Me: Heheh — okay, back to the book questions for a little bit. What is the one thing about the book publishing process that has surprised you the most?
Julie: How much releasing a book into the world feels exactly like watching your five year old walk onto the playground at school. You are proud and nervous and you pray he will fit in and the other kids will like him!
Me: Speaking of other kids liking you… What group were you a part of in High School? Jocks? Nerds? Metal heads?
Julie: Um yeah. This is weird, but I sort of orbited all those groups. I was friends with everybody and didn’t really fit anywhere. School really sort of sucked for me, but I admit some of that was my own doing. I struggled in school and had a chip on my shoulder for a while over that, something I really regret now.
Me: I am amazed by how many writers I meet are sort of the same — fringers at the edge of the groups but not really being part of one of them. I can be an information nerd sometimes — but this isn’t about me 😛 It’s about you. Tell us one thing it would surprise us to know about you?
Julie: I love gardening, and have a phobia of sharks, spiders and clowns. If you dressed a shark up as a clown and gave him a pet tarantula on a leash, you would have the trifecta of my fears.
Me: What is next for you?
Julie: I have am editing a finished, 90k word, YA historical paranormal romance novel. (This is actually this first book I ever wrote) I’m sending it out to my beta readers to see if they like it or its junk! 🙂 I have three (I know, yes three) other YA urban fantasy novels in various stages of completion I want to finish.
Me: Do you have any unique skills or talents? If so, what?
Julie: I’m a painter and I like to draw. I wish I was better at it and am basically a frustrated wannabe, but I love art! I might have been a wedding planner, decorator, or landscape architect. Anything creative, I guess. 🙂 I’m good with animals, and since I’m fairly good at figuring people out, I might have made a decent criminal profiler, then again, maybe not!
Me: Tell us something about your book we won’t find in the back cover blurb?
Julie: When I wrote it, I wanted to convey the idea of forgiveness and courage and trust and determination but most of all … hope. That no matter how bad your life is, if you wait one more day, something amazing might happen.
Me: Who is your favorite author and why?
Julie: I read Mary Webb’s ‘Precious Bane’ when I was in high school. It ripped my heart out, shredded it and then sewed it back together. I wanted to evoke that kind of feeling in someone else. *sigh* Now I love Cassandra Clare, when the writer inside me grows up, I want to write like her. There is a list of YA writer as long as my arm I feel that way about. I love their story telling and am jealous of their incredible genius.
Me: Coke or Pepsi?
Me: If I were to look in your closet right now, would I find frills and lace or denim and tees?
Julie: Denim and tees … and pumps and bling. 🙂
There you have it folks. Thanks for stopping in Julie, and best of luck with your debut novel, though I don’t think luck with have much to do with its success.
For you readers out there, here is where you can learn more about Julie Reece, and where you can pick up your copy of her debut novel Crux.
She should have run. Now, she’ll have to fight.
Eighteen year old Birdie may be homeless, but she’s surviving, that is until a mysterious guy throws money in the air like a crazy game show host, and she grabs some with the idea she’ll be able to buy dinner that night.
In that singular moment, unassuming Birdie becomes the girl in everyone’s viewfinder. Thugs want to kill her. Money-guy wants to recruit her. The very hot, very rich, and very out of her league Grey Mathews wants to save her.
Birdie, though, wants nothing to do with any of them, until she realizes fate didn’t bring them all together.
Her heritage did.
Now, with only twenty-one days left, she’s got to decide whether to follow in the footsteps of those before her or risk her life for people she’s only just met.
Where to Buy:
Learn More about Julie by visiting her website: http://www.juliereece.com
As a thank you for stopping in, I will be sending a signed CRUX bookmark to 3 lucky random commenters. Just make a comment below, ask a question, whatever — just make sure to leave a way for me to contact you should you win, and that’s it — you will be entered in the drawing.