book review

Review: The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet (+ other yummies)

5:16 PM

First of all, a series of Announcements:

1) I think I got the Rafflecopter problem fixed! The giveaway has now ended. I will announce the winner soon.

2) I got interviewed for Briana's Crazy Creatures of the Blogging World feature. *happy dance* You can check that post out here at her blog Reader, Writer, Critic

3) I'M SO SORRY THAT I KINDA TOOK A CASUAL/UNINTENTIONAL BREAK FROM BLOGGING. Yeah...about that. Oops. Many apologies and chocolates!

Publication Date: April 25, 2013
Publisher: Playlist Fiction
Pages: 267
Source: my pockets of change
Format: eBook

Ellie Sweet is a lot of things—good girl, novelist, silent adorer of the new boy at school, Palmer. But when “outcast” gets added to the list, she decides it’s time to take reality into her own hands … and tweak it as needed.

In the pages of her book, she’s Lady Gabrielle, favorite of the medieval Italian court. Her once-friends are reduced to catty ladies-in-waiting, and the too-charming Palmer—who in real life never spares her a second word—gets to be nothing more than a rake wracked by unrequited love for her. She even has a perfect real-life villain in the brooding Chase, who hails from the wrong side of town.

But just when she’s getting along great in her fictional world, the real one throws her a few curves. With Chase pursuing her, Palmer wanting to date her—but in secret—and the details of her manuscript going public, Ellie suddenly receives more attention than she ever really wanted. And when her former-friends discover what she’s been writing, they’re determined to teach Ellie a lesson about the severe consequences of using her pen as her sword.

I wasn't expecting this book to be too amazing. I mean, it sounds like a fluffy contemporary read and I don't read those a lot.

HOWEVER, this book exceeded all of my expectations. It was a really good book! Yeah, it was slightly fluffy but then it wasn't.

Because I'm a party pooper, I'm going to talk about the things I didn't like as much first, just to switch things up a bit.

There was a love triangle. When I first understood that there was going to be a love triangle, I groaned and thought, "Another one?? Really?" But as the story went on, I actually found it really interesting to read how Ellie and the two guys responded to each other. I don't know if this is a spoiler but I totally and completely ship Chase and Ellie.

There were also the stereotypical guy characters-- the popular handsome guy and the mysterious bad boy. I think that Stephanie Morrill did a fantastic job of giving these stereotypes dimension though, in that for the most part they were the stereotype and then they would surprise you.

Palmer did this a lot. I never knew what to make of him until near end. I liked him... I thought he was funny. But was he a jerk? A nice guy? >.< I was in so much turmoil over it because I genuinely wanted to like him. 

Chase was literally so sweet. I mean, at first, he didn't come across as sweet, but then I got more into the book and he remembered the tiniest details about Ellie. I swear I snickered/giggled crazily at so many awkward or sweet moments between him and Ellie.

Aaaand I've somehow morphed this "con" section to the "pros". Trust me, there are a lot of them. Ellie was the best. I think she's my fictional twin because I empathized with her SO much. We have so many things in common and she was a really easy character to understand and read about. She had awesome sarcasm and great come-backs. She used words that normal teenagers don't use sometimes, which we bookworms are known for. #pride She's insecure. She's scared of what the future holds and of failure. She's a late bloomer. And yet, she is having a good life despite these things. She is accomplishing her goals. She's growing and in growing, she's having good times and bad times.

This book is so. darn. realistic.

Also, was I the only one who really appreciated that the author made it so that Bronte (Ellie's writing mentor and critique partner), now married and mother of several kids, not have gone on a date until sophomore or junior year of college?

Here's a list of many things that make Ellie and I twins:

1. She loves books.
2. She wears glasses despite having contacts (because, let's face it, contacts are soo tricky).
3. She writes (admittedly more and better than me, but who's being specific ;)).
4. She doesn't want to party. And that's great because some people don't actually want to party however unimaginable it may be.
5. She has realistic relationships with her other words, everything's not always peachy.

My two favorite parts of The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet (besides Ellie herself) were reading Ellie's journey to becoming an author (reading about querying and revising and agents was SO awesome) and her relationships with family like her parents, grandparents, aunt, etc. I really looked forward to reading the small tidbits of Ellie's book too because I was curious as to how she would translate that day's events into her medieval world. 

I felt like Stephanie Morrill really, whether intentionally or unintentionally, tackled the big questions in a teenager's life. Or at least the big questions for those of us who are scared of things or introverts or don't want things to change. I mean, if you're none of those, great for you.

Questions like-- Do I really have to wait until I'm an "adult" so that I can do my own things and be my own person?

Do I have to wait? Why isn't now just as good a time?

Why does it matter what other people think of me? Why do I have to pretend like I agree with certain people just so I can be their friend?

Those are really great questions.

Ellie's aunt said something that really struck a chord for me. She said, "Shake off your image issues as soon as you can, Ellie-girl. You can't control what people are going to say, and paying too much attention to it can cost you your dreams."

Ellie's character development was amazing. I could see how much stronger she had become at the end of the book. It doesn't mean she was invincible. It doesn't mean she was a warrior-goddess and charged fearlessly through everything. No. She was still worried, still afraid, but less afraid.

DON'T let other people form the image that you see of yourself. That is so important and I need to remind myself of that once in a while.

I recommend this book to readers who like contemporaries, writing, nerdy girls, indecision, and drinking coffee. 

The only reason I didn't give this book five stars is because it lacked a tiny bit of something for me. But it was still great! 
My Rating:

Disclaimer: I was not reimbursed for this review in any way. I have written it solely for the entertainment of the readers of this blog and myself.

blood reign

Book Blitz: Blood Reign

4:17 PM

Let's just pretend that today is June 27...

Series: #4 in the Blood series
Publication Date: June 27, 2014
Publisher: Createspace
Pages: 306
Genre(s): New Adult, Paranormal

Julia's sworn enemies are safely sequestered in a prison of the fey and her forever mate has been chosen. Not by blood, but by a circumstance shaped from coincidence. However, it's not enough to save Julia and the others who came from Alaska their fate by the hand of the Alaska den, whose reacquisition has come alarmingly full-circle to capture them.

Tharell of the fey aligns with the Singers, Were and remaining vampire to take back the one Queen who could stop the interspecies wars and establish a truce of genetics that would free all the groups from extinction and conflict.

Can they rescue Julia and her allies before it's too late? Will the Red Were's lineage prove to be the catalyst of victory against a corrupt pack that's grown too debauched by greed and power to be overcome?

The Washington state border loomed in the distance. Armed by Canadian Mounties. The horses pitched around nervously, causing the men on their backs to tighten their grip on the reins.

The horses were not dumb. An alert as ancient as any had tweaked their internal alarms.
Julia watched her husband and the other two females move forward. All half-wolfen. This is what the horses sensed.
In a perfect world, they'd all be on horseback, and the horses' scent would mask the Were.
But the world was not perfect. They had upwards of fifteen Were trailing them by their fragrance. Eau de Body Odor, Julia thought with a thinly concealed snort. She figured they kept getting worse as they traveled. No baths, food where they could get it—sleep a luxury. It was a combo for smelly, grumpy and beat.
Jason glanced at her and she gave a tired smile back. When Julia had been taken, she'd been wearing cute but useless tennis shoes. The kind you buy for nearly free and walk to the mailbox in.
They were in tatters. Blisters covered every place she looked. They had been especially bad at the back of her ankle and alongside her toes.
Cyn had healed her from most of it, along with the broken ribs and dislocated shoulder, but the injuries kept returning. The Were changed and suddenly there were no problems—for them. They were in their element out here in the forest. Julia was a regular person who'd just walked fifteen miles on no sleep and inadequate footware.
Jason lumbered back to her position. She looked up into his face, almost seven feet of half-Were and sighed.
“I smell your wounds,” he said and she nodded.
“Likely—they're driving me crazy.”
She laughed out loud when he put his big paws on his hips, thinking about a solution to her shredded feet.
His red downy fur and spinning green eyes regarded her. “What?” he asked and it came out as a growl instead of a word. Julia was feeling the lack of sleep and it translated into giddiness. She so didn't need that, but the more she tried to stop laughing, the worse in became.
She was now the interpreter of wolf speak.
“What? Stop the noise please,” Slash said with more than a little irritation.
“I think she's tired,” Jason restated the obvious with a grin that looked like a grimace on features that were far from human....

NOTE: This giveaway is blitz-wide and international.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Quick Update

10:08 PM

I have an announcement about the giveaway I'm hosting...I know I said it would end today and was going to announce the winner, but I'm having a few technical difficulties with the Rafflecopter so I'm going to be delaying the end of the giveaway. Sorry for all of you who have been anxiously waiting! But if you want, you can visit the Giveaway post here, for more entries. ;)

Tomorrow I talk My Top 5 Most Romantic, Romantic Gestures for the Sunday Swoons link-up. 


Hello, Summer

8:02 PM

Summer is here! *happy dance* That being said--um, first, no school. Just let me cry a few tears of joy in the corner.

Secondly, two words. Sleeping in. Every day. Well, that's four, but you get my point. Summer gives me the chance to do two of my three favorite things in much larger proportions. I eat all year round (wow, I know. you didn't know that, did you?) so this means I now have many hours for sleeping and reading.

I'm tempted to just say summer is my favorite season, except then I step outside and...get slammed into the ground with humidity.

Not surprisingly, all a lot of my summer plans take place inside.

Here are some things I plan on doing this summer:

  • Catch up on reviewing all of my NetGalley ARCs. I have quite a lot. (Bad, Skylar.)
  • Participate in a lot of book tours and blitzes and stuff, this will be infinitely easier as I'm a host for Fire & Ice Book Tours and Xpresso Book Tours.
  • Grow my blog following (dur ;)).
  • Right now I have three story ideas battling for supremacy in my brain. I have no idea which one I'm finally going to settle on, but I want to work on one of them a lot this summer. 
  • Write a few guest posts for different book blogs. 
  • Hopefully, if everything goes well, I'll start freelance writing (blog posts) for various blogs on different subjects soon. It'll be anonymous but it will pay too. So *crossed fingers*.
  • Of course, I love getting review books from anywhere but I want to start finding self-published books to review too. There's something really neat and alluring about self-publishing to me, so I would love to help the authors out there. 
  • Maybe more vlogging? I'm not really sure about this one. Depends on what you all think. :D
What are some of your summer blogging/blogging-related plans? Since the majority of us have nothing better to do with our days, let's talk all things blog and books because it's only a little ways into my vacation and I'm itching to find new and interesting things to do on Life of a Random!

Also, if anyone needs a blog button or two, I'd be happy to help make some. :) Hit me up! Except, don't really hit me. Please. Happy summer vacation!

life of a blogger

Life of a Blogger: School

10:36 AM

Life of a Blogger is a weekly feature hosted by Jessi @Novel Heartbeat where bloggers talk about a different topic each Thursday that relates to everyday life. This way readers can get to know bloggers as real people who do real (boring. everyday. average.) things. As opposed to, you know, superheroes who read uncountable numbers of books by day and solve crime by night. ;)


I love school! I love all my classes! I love all my teachers! 

Okay, sorry that was weird (and not true). 

I have been homeschooled all the way through senior year of high school, which means my parents were crazy patient and resourceful and somehow taught me from kindergarten to twelfth grade. In the earlier grades, I loved school and learned really fast. And while my love of school kind of...faded...I kept doing really well. 

Then I hit high school. And suddenly I had to work harder to get the same grades. There was no more coasting past classes because they were so easy. I had (actually--have) problems with procrastination and I didn't know how to take notes. During this time, starting with 9th grade, I also started to teach myself most of the material.It was a good learning experience but that doesn't mean it was a fun and awesome experience. :D

This year I graduated from high school! I still get an official high school diploma (and not a GED like I would have to otherwise) because from 9th to 12th grade my parents registered me with an umbrella program because of state requirements (my dad didn't want me to do state testing. I didn't either. I'm terrified of all things tests). An umbrella program is an accredited school that also extends to homeschoolers, which means we hand in grades and course descriptions and they hand transcripts, a GPA, and a diploma back. Also, no tests. *happy dance* 

I wasn't a straight A student in high school. I wasn't awful either. I won't know my final GPA for a little while but I got mostly B's near the beginning of high school and more A's as time went on. This last year I took two dual-enrollment (credits count for high school and college) classes at my local community college. I'm SO glad I took them otherwise I wouldn't be prepared at all for college. 

What kind of student was I at these classes? Um...well, I was always on time (usually a little early), I turned in all of my assignments on time, and I got A's in both classes. Yeaaah. I'm a nerd. BUT PROUD. 

Now, as it's summer break, there is no school. And I'm currently rejoicing in its absence. However, and I think most of you know this, I've been accepted into a college that's around two hours from my house and will be moving there to live in the dorms this fall! I'm in a state of nervousness plus excitement. It doesn't really make sense admittedly, but it results in a lot of butterflies in my stomach. I will be an art major, art with an emphasis in design. It's a new program at the college and basically their graphic design major. 

That's it from me :) Stay awesome.

book review

Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

8:32 PM

Yes, yes, I am aware that I'm extremely late to this...well, hype I guess?

Anyhow, I've only just read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and was impressed. I think it deserves all the hype and...I guess you'll see the rest of my thoughts below. ;)


Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Pages: 452
Source: Library
Format: Hardcover

Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.

I'm just going to say right here that this review will be very hard to write without including spoilers, but I will try my best. I mean, look what I have to work with. A six sentence blurb? Dude.  

It is impossible not to mention the characters. On the other hand, it's also impossible to mention them (or at least some of them) without revealing spoilers. You see my dilemma here. 

I loved the characters! Mara was so relatable. There isn't any of that beautifully poetic prose that so many YA novels are famous for (e.g. Shatter Me, The Raven Boys, etc.). Both her talking and inner dialogue sounded like an average teenager might sound without coming across as tacky. She draws too which I found neat, since I draw. She insults the school's hottest player boy with seriously inventive cussing. She kicks the vending machine when it doesn't spew up her drink/snack. She's real. She also has this whole I-don't-care-what-you-think-about-me thing going on, which is awesome. Mara also has real relationships with the people around her. 

Her mother. Mara loves her, but is also frustrated by her because she's over-protective. Her mom wants to communicate better but Mara just needs time alone to figure things out, not over analyze them. These are very authentic aspects of parent-child relationships. 

Her dad. Even though her dad wasn't around a lot it was, I felt, okay because of valid reasons. He was a lawyer and had to work on an important case much of  the time. And even with that, I loved the way the author showed the obvious love between Mara and him. 

Her brothers. Let me take the time to say right here--the sibling relationships in this book were freaking amazing. They were so supportive, sweet, and caring towards each other, and had each others backs in general. I can't count the times that Daniel, Mara's older brother, got her out of a sticky situation with their mom. And even though he's the perfect one, getting accepted at all the Ivy League colleges and always being on time, etc. he worries about Mara and isn't bothered by the fact that because of what Mara has been through he has to watch over her more which takes away from time for his own things. He is legit the best big brother in the world! I want one. And Joseph, the younger brother, was the sweetest combination of enthusiasm and seriousness. I loved that he was into stocks and texted advice on the market to one of Mara's friends. 

Noah. Ah, Noah, Noah (aka "the love interest"...this is not a spoiler). Basically, he appears to be the player, bad boy type (and he is to some degree) but he cares. He cares deeply which is why I think he tries to not care most of the time. So it won't hurt him. He's so nonchalantly infuriating, and amazing person for all his strengths and weaknesses. 

I also loved Mara's friend,who I honestly can't remember the name of right now. *grimaces* Sorry. I'm not good with names. But he was the epitome of diverse. If my memory serves me right, he was a short Jew with dreadlocks and was bisexual. He brought an awesome sense of humor to the mix.

And this is where I say-- I can't remember the last time I've loved the whole cast of characters so much. Kudos to Michelle Hodkin. 
I'm in awe of the author's writing ability. First of all, it was a little choppy which was unique but not why I'm in awe. Her ability to portray Mara as someone struggling with deciding whether or not they were going crazy was epic! As I read, Mara materialized in my mind as a confused girl who was really nice and good, but who also threatened to become bad or do bad/wrong things for good purposes. There were times in the book where I would wonder if maybe Mara was crazy, if only a little. I believed in Mara, but there was always a lingering fear in the back of my mind that she would embrace her darker side and believe that she was only capable of wrong.

Okay, whew, those are the things that stand out the most after finishing this book. One thing I noticed is that the plot doesn't really move from one big checkpoint to another. It kind of only addresses a few similar points about the same thing and at the end there are still many things that are unexplained. BUT, I wasn't bothered by this. I don't feel like it affected the awesomeness of the book. Also, the ending. OH. MY. GOSH. Cliffhanger. Plot twist. All the good things. It will slap you in the face and then you won't do anything about it because you'll just be sitting there with a stupid look on your face because how. It was amazing! 

I recommend this book to readers who like paranormal, confusion, flashbacks, mysteries, and confusing dark nights. Lots of confusion.  

My Rating:

Disclaimer: I was not reimbursed for this review in any way. I have written it solely for the entertainment of the readers of this blog and myself.


Sunday Swoons #1: 5 of My All Time Favorite/Most Swoon Worthy YA Relationships

10:09 PM

This is a brand new link-up hosted by Briana @Reader, Writer, Critic. Every Sunday Briana is going to discuss, list, rave about, fangirl (or fanboy) about, quote, or mention something totally swoon worthy that she's read. AND all you have to do to join in is link back using the handy linky button that will be on her posts and mention her in your post. Check out her first post here. This is going to be so fun! (Even though I'm joining late)

5 of My All Time Favorite/Most Swoon Worthy YA Relationships
(not in order)

1. Mara & Noah from The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

What can I say? Mara and Noah are meant for each other. They are both broken but they hold each other together. There's physical attraction, yes, but it's more than that. Mara insults Noah! I mean, come one, that alone gives them many points. I ship them SO HARD. 

2. Joy & Indelible Ink from Indelible.

Joy and Indelible Ink were just so gosh dang sweet together. I loved the way that Joy fell in love with Indelible (at this point I can't remember if he was called Indelible or Ink for short. just go with the flow) even though he was SO different, not even human. And most of all, I loved reading the way that he looked at and treated Joy. There were so many emotions--joy, pride, love--but always wonder. 

3. Jace & Clary from The Mortal Instruments series.

What is their ship name? I don't even know. (Googles it) Well. Turns out even the TMI fandom is confused. Is it Jalary or Clace? (I'm going with Clace) Clace was forever for me almost as soon as I started reading about them. There was a connection, dynamics, something. They fit. And although I could do with a little less of their frenzied making out sessions, they are an awesome couple. Kicking butt in black. Hey, they know how to do it right.

4. Mary & James from A Spy in the House

Mary and James are not well-known. In fact, their romance isn't even a big part of the books (at least the first one) that they're in. However, I totally support their couple-age. First of all, best sarcasm in a posh English voice. Second of all, uh, they're cute together.

P.S. It's fun seeing James alternate between awkwardness and falling-in-love-ish-ness and frustration and curtness.

5. Mallory & Oliver from Going Vintage

I love Mallory all by herself. I love Oliver all by himself. Put them together and what have you got?

No, but seriously, they are awesome. They're like best friends (teasing each other and stuff) but also meant for each other romantically. *wiggles eyebrows*


Giveaway! (Hint: It starts with a 'b' and ends with 'Susan Dennard swag')

4:35 PM

As I promised *jazz hands* a giveaway!

This is not a gigantic or even slightly large giveaway because I wanted it to be international and postage...yeah. But this is fun and collectible and I'm so happy I've got something to give away. Seriously, I was scared I wasn't gonna be able to come up with something.

The giveaway features signed 'Something Strange & Deadly' and 'Strange & Ever After' (by Susan Dennard) bookmarks. There will be one winner and the giveaway is international. Spread the word (even though I know that of course you want this all to yourself ;) ) and enter!

And while we're on the subject, you should really check out Susan Dennard's amazing trilogy (the pictures are linked to the books' Goodreads pages):

This giveaway will last for about a week. When it's over, I'll try to get the bookmarks in the mail as soon as possible along with a short note from mwah.

Let the games begin! And may the odds be ever in your favor.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

book review

Review: Sea of Shadows

1:24 PM

Publication Date: April 8, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 416
Source: Library
Format: Hardcover
In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.

Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.

Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court—one that will alter the balance of their world forever

First of all, this cover is SO gorgeous. I didn't realize it at first glance but the cover's background is a dark forest (I originally thought it was a drape or tapestry which now that I think about it is um..yeah, why did I think that again?) and the bird on the front is formed out of many tiny red leaves which can also be seen on the floor of the forest. Immense cover love!

The premise is amazing, in my opinion. Twin sisters who have to put angry souls to peace together? Yep, I'll read that book. Then there is the fact that the twins are the Seeker and the Keeper, who always have to be twins and who have to undergo an extremely merciless test when they're infants in order to decide if they're the Seeker and the Keeper. The whole concept is very unique. I like unique and it's what made me want to grab this book up (besides, you know, the cover). 

This brings me to the most important part of a book for me...the characters. I liked the characters. But that's the problem. I liked them, I thought they were nice, I rooted for them, but I didn't fall in love with them and feel their happiness and sorrow. I didn't feel as connected to them as I would have liked. The twins, Moira and Ashyn, are close. Moira is the younger twin but she takes care of Ashyn and gives her courage. She's the fierce and strong one, the good fighter. Ashyn, the older one, is quieter (much quieter) and is timid. This is one aspect of a sibling relationship that I really liked, that, yes, younger siblings are protective of older siblings sometimes. 

Hey, I should know. My younger sister says she will kill any guy who dares hurt me. So.

The love interests were nice, but I felt like their characters weren't as well-rounded as they could have been. They were a little stereotype-ish. The rogue character who gets into trouble and plays dirty but actually has a very good heart (even though he kind of comes across as a player). The sullen and silent guy who glares at everybody, is gigantic in size, but softens for that one girl. 

It seems like I've read this somewhere before.... 

However, I was really happy about the setting and the creatures. In the beginning, it seemed like the book was set in some type of medieval fantasy era, except that I read somewhere in there that for a meal people had rice. And there were other hints too. So I was like, "Whaaat?" After I finished the book, I actually read on the author's website that the setting was a mix of European and Asian culture so I thought that was neat. 


Very creepy. Very I-don't-want-to-get-near-you. But amazing. I have no idea how the author thought them up. 

One thing I want to touch on really quickly is that from the blurb of Sea of Shadows I assumed that the spirits of the dead would be a pretty big part of the story, but they only made an appearance in the beginning of the book and then once or twice as the story went on. That was a little disappointing.

Plot! Yes, the plot. Well, I thought it was tiny bit slow, but I don't really think that's a big problem for this story. I did find myself wanting to get to something exciting though and the exciting never really happened (or it might just be my opinion after reading many mind-numbingly, actiony dystopian novels). 

I would recommend this book to readers who like fantasy, paranormal, thieves and warriors, scary-butt deserts, and amazing pets. 

My Rating:

Disclaimer: I was not reimbursed for this review in any way. I have written it solely for the entertainment of the readers of this blog and myself.



Holla~I'm Popular

8:22 PM

So... I know I haven't posted the Sea of Shadows review yet, but it will be posted (eventually). I'm actually not doing very good on reading this month. I think I've read like one...or maybe two...books so far. I know. It's awful.

But I do have some exciting news :D

Oh, yeahhhh.

I'm so excited about this because it's awesome and it's a mile-marker. And woop! Also, I'm almost to 30 GFC followers which is equally as awesome as I had I think around three followers at the end of 2013.

Thank you guys SO much. You're the best and I owe it to your awesomeness!

Because of these two great things, I want to do a small giveaway. But ONLY when I hit 30 followers so spread the word. And I believe (if everything goes well) that the giveaway might be international ;)


Okay, that's basically the whole purpose of this post. I'll have some serious semi-serious posts up soon.

blog tour

Blog Tour: The Night of Elisa (Interview + Giveaway)

10:48 AM


I'm happy to present a gothic novella by Isis Sousa, and hope you enjoy the blurb, review, and interview. Make sure to read all the way to the end of the post as there will be links to the author's blog and a giveaway for autographed copies of this book. :)

The Night of Elisa by Isis Sousa
Publication Date: May 30, 2014
Publisher: Tragic Books
Pages: 186
Source: Author
Format: eBook 
Genres: Gothic, Paranormal, Dark Fantasy 

Promotional Price: $1.49 (Original Price $3.99)
Coupon Code: TH22W
Expires: June 13, 2014
Redeem it on Smashwords:

Sometimes, life and love can follow the most obscure paths, just as they did for Elisa.

Her life becomes a dark, cold, lonely cage the day the Devil takes her as his wife. He robs her of almost everything she holds dear: her health, her wealth and what is left of her family.

Trapped between the nuances of life and beyond-life, Elisa finds herself struggling for a better tomorrow. With her health deteriorating, how will she summon the courage and strength to stand her ground? And how far will she go in the pursuit of a dream?

Embark with Elisa on this puzzling Gothic adventure set in the late Victorian era, between the world of the Living and the picturesque, melancholic Duskland.

In your bio, you said that writing wasn't a passion for you and that you see it as a necessary evil, so...what made you start writing?
Well, *it's complicated* (grins)! What made me take the decision on writing was the fact that I had many stories in my mind, which I could, of course, express as illustrations. But somehow it would always miss the job of the words. So writing and illustrating seemed to be the best way to share those ideas with the world. Words complete images and images complete words.

How did you get the idea for The Night of Elisa?
It all started with a bizarre dream I had 11 years ago.... I was in this place with the dead and it was beautiful but so melancholic....This dream marked me, as it was an omen for a real event in life. That's where the idea for the world of Duskland started, though only two years ago I had the idea for the plot. So I drafted the first chapter, which was basically world building and a mystery. The other chapters are more character and plot and smaller pieces of the puzzle. 

As for the characters, all of them are "outsiders," apart from the antagonist and and their personalities, traits and flaws are inspired by real life figures and who live or lived and my view of the world.

3. What about inspiration? Did you listen to certain music or pin pictures on Pinterest to get your creative juices flowing (that analogy is slightly weird)?

I like weird (grins)! I do listen to music prior to or during writing (heavy metal, gothic metal, hard rock). I do also extensive research. For “The Night of Elisa” I collected tons of Victorian photos of people and places to stay on track. I also have some books about costumes of that time, and the physical characteristics of the characters and their costumes are solidly based on the research + a personal touch. I also get inspiration on films, such as Bram Stoker’s Dracula by Francis Ford Coppola, which happens to be one of my top favs. Thought I look in the films for cues on how they solved the storytelling and the visual consistency. I never like to copy or base my work on the work of someone else, I like to present something fresh and most original possible.

4. Your artwork is amazing! I'm jealous ;) Did you design and make the cover of The Night of Elisa?

Many thanks for the compliments! ^.^ Yes, I did paint the illustration, the half portrait of Elisa, and added the typography afterwards as well as full layout/design for the back cover and spine. The portrait of Elisa is painted from scratch, using a graphic tablet Wacom Intuos Pro and Painter X3.

5. You own an indie publishing brand called Tragic Books, right? (I do my research :P) How did you pull that together? You don't have to explain in detail, I'm just curious :)

Tragic books happened out of a rebel act. I was researching the whole industry for a literary agent, and after looking through the whole industry, I found out there was no agent or publishing house which could take my work because: it didn’t have the right number of words, it was illustrated, it was not within the genre they were open for, and it didn’t go by the book. The two publishing houses which would be a perfect fit for my work and accept unsolicited manuscripts were not accepting material at the time.

So, Tragic Books came as an answer to the industry: I don’t need to make my work fit in your square rules – as indie publisher I can do anything I want artistically. You will see it through the next titles, as each new book will have a unique writing style and unique graphic presentation, all in the name of artistic freedom.

6. What are the top three things you need to get in the writing zone?

Loneliness, water and hot beverages, a sketch book and a computer or laptop.

7. Are you a pantser or a plotter?

I am totally a pantser, really, I imagine a lot before writing and during wrting and try to see all possibilities and I let it flow. However, once the words are there, I always look for consistency, and that’s how plot is born! :)

8. Now, this is the most important question. What's your favorite food?

Hmmmmm, that’s a hard question! I love cheap food/street food, really! Also, love pasta and lasagna… Hm, and my mom’s food and my aunts’ food… And my mother-in-law’s food… Sorry, it is very difficult to pick up one! :P

Giveaway(s): Enter to win one of three print and autographed copies of The Night of Elisa!

Isis will also be giving away one e-book copy at each tour stop. To enter, simply leave a blog comment with your email address. Follow the tour and enter at each stop to increase your chances of winning!
5/30 | Stop 1: Fantastic Indie Authors (Interview)
          Stop 2: Book Freebies, Contests, Sweepstakes, and Giveaways
6/2 | Stop 1: Musings of a Book Maven
        Stop 2: Peace, Love and Writing
6/3 | Fantasy Books List (Interview)
6/4 | Stop 1: Urban Fantasy Recommendations (Playlist)
        Stop 2: Bestselling Thrillers
6/5 | Hardcore Books, Video Games, and Readers
6/6 | Bestseller Books
6/9 | Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews
6/10 | Stop 1: The Cat's Pajamas Book Haven
          Stop 2: Cheap and Free Kindle Books
6/11 | Life of a Random (Interview + Review)
6/12 | Bella Harte
6/13 | Stop 1: Memories in a Box (Character Interview)
          Stop 2: Cryptic Reads (Review)

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