Guest Post: A. F. E. Smith – Author of Darkhaven

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Book Boom: Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Reader

Most authors are readers as well as writers. I’ve been obsessed with reading since I was two years old, and even becoming a published author and seeing ‘behind the scenes’ hasn’t changed that. If anything, I love books now even more than I did when I was a child, because I can appreciate how important they are to humanity in general, not just to me. So for the third and final week of my blog tour, I’m focusing less on writing and my own book, and more on reading. And here at The Bibliophile Chronicles, I thought it would be appropriate to talk a little bit about why I think this is such an awesome time in publishing history for readers.

Like many reading addicts, I have a house that’s full of bookcases, and every bookcase is stuffed full of books. They overflow onto the floor, and there are more of them in boxes that I simply haven’t found the space for. Even my toddler’s bedroom contains a full-size bookcase that’s overloaded with children’s books (start ’em young). I love my books. I would never live in a house that didn’t have walls lined with reading material. Yet at the same time, a few years ago it became clear that something would have to change. I was simply running out of space.

And that brings us to reason #1 why it’s a great time to be a reader: ebooks! My husband gave me an e-reader when our first child was a baby, and it was a revelation. I didn’t have to find space for my new books any more. I could carry them with me wherever I went. If I wanted something new to read, I didn’t need to pack the baby up and bundle him off to the store; I could just download the book of my choice. Of course, I didn’t stop reading printed books, because I’ll never stop reading printed books. But as a way to discover a whole raft of new authors at very reasonable prices – and try out books and genres I might never have tried before – and grab the entire back catalogue of an author I fell in love with, without having to worry about where I’d put it … wow. I’ve been reading the vast majority of my books in electronic format ever since.

And of course, the availability of ebooks also leads directly to reason #2, which is the number of
new authors out there to find. Although I’m with a traditional publisher, I read very widely: books from big publishers, books from indie publishers, books from self-published authors. I’ve found amazing books in all three categories. It’s wonderful to have access to all these voices that might not have been heard before, and to be able to read things both within and outside the mainstream. Whatever your interests, and whatever style and genre you prefer, there’s always something new to find.

What moves me more than reading a great story is the fact that books are one of the very few things that can do this. 
Dear books, I love you. I love you more than you will ever know (probably because I keep you in really cramped spaces and flag you so much).
(Taken and submitted by thefirstdream) Of course, that presents the challenge of deciding which books to try when there are so many to choose from – and that’s where reason #3 comes in. Readers have more ways to find out about books than ever before. Instead of relying on a handful of paid critics with very specific opinions and criteria, we can get recommendations from other people like us. Whatever you like, there’s bound to be a blogger out there with similar tastes. And with sites like Goodreads or online stores like Amazon, it’s also possible to get a quick yet thorough impression of whether a book is likely to be of interest to you. I often stand in awe of reviewers and the detail they go into – and it’s rare that I’ll buy a book without reading at least a handful of reviews.

I’m not sure what the future of publishing holds. As a writer, I might be concerned about the driving down of prices and whether anyone will be able to earn a living from writing in the future, given that readers expect their ebooks to be far cheaper than their printed copies. But as a reader, I’m really looking forward to all the new books I’m going to discover in the years ahead. As a reader, I don’t think there’s ever been a better time to love reading!

Darkhaven, Anna’s début book is out now, check it out here!
 

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Feature: May Book Haul!

This is very very belated, and I completely forgot that I hadn’t posted it, but here is my round up of books I bought in May!

1. A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J. Maas
2. Harley Quinn: Hot in the City – Amanda Conner
3. Darkhaven – A. F. E. Smith
4. The Lesser Dead – Christopher Buehlman

16096824 1. A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J. Maas

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

I imagine a lot of people have this on their purchase lists this month! As soon as I heard Sarah J. Maas had a new series in the works, I absolutely had to get my paws on it. Throne of Glass is such a fantastic series, and I have high expectations for this one. I’ve seen some mixed reviews online already, so I’m hoping it won’t be a disappointment!

215559732. Harley Quinn: Hot in the City – Amanda Conner

The cyclone ain’t the only roller coaster in Coney Island…

At least, not after Harley Quinn rides into town. When Gotham’s favourite sociopath inherits a building off the famous boardwalk, she feels right at home in the (literal) freakshow. Unfortunately the legion of bounty hunters after the price on her head seem to know it, too.

Who else but Harley Quinn could handle all that Brooklyn’s criminal underbelly has to offer – Russian spies, senior citizen’s, and rival roller derby teams included – and still have time for a double chilli dog or six?

I’m so excited to read this. Harley Quinn is one of my favourite characters from the Batman universe and when I heard she was finally getting her own series, I knew it was going to be just fabulous. I actually bought this volume as well as volume two: Power Outage, so I’m hoping for a weekend of peace and quiet to really enjoy the tongue n cheek humour and fantastic artwork.

3. Darkhaven – A. F. E. Smith

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Ayla Nightshade never wanted to rule Darkhaven. But her half-brother Myrren – true heir to the throne – hasn’t inherited their family gift, forcing her to take his place.

When this gift leads to Ayla being accused of killing her father, Myrren is the only one to believe her innocent. Does something more sinister than the power to shapeshift lie at the heart of the Nightshade family line?

Now on the run, Ayla must fight to clear her name if she is ever to wear the crown she never wanted and be allowed to return to the home she has always loved.

When A. F. E. Smith contacted me about being part of a blog tour for this book, I instantly said yes. It sounds amazing, and has such a glorious cover. I’ve seen a few reviews posted already and they’ve all rated the book very highly. The book is being released through Harper Voyager next month, so stay tuned for a review and a guest post from the author herself!

208934074. The Lesser Dead – Christopher Buehlman

The secret is, vampires are real and I am one.
The secret is, I’m stealing from you what is most truly yours and I’m not sorry—

New York City in 1978 is a dirty, dangerous place to live. And die. Joey Peacock knows this as well as anybody—he has spent the last forty years as an adolescent vampire, perfecting the routine he now enjoys: womanizing in punk clubs and discotheques, feeding by night, and sleeping by day with others of his kind in the macabre labyrinth under the city’s sidewalks.

The subways are his playground and his highway, shuttling him throughout Manhattan to bleed the unsuspecting in the Sheep Meadow of Central Park or in the backseats of Checker cabs, or even those in their own apartments who are too hypnotized by sitcoms to notice him opening their windows. It’s almost too easy.

Until one night he sees them hunting on his beloved subway. The children with the merry eyes. Vampires, like him…or not like him. Whatever they are, whatever their appearance means, the undead in the tunnels of Manhattan are not as safe as they once were.

And neither are the rest of us.

How fabulous does this sound? I read the synopsis on Goodreads and immediately added to my Amazon basket. I loved a good dark and creepy horror, and this sounds like it checks all the boxes. Christopher Buehlman is well known for his well crafted stories, and I’m sure The Lesser Dead will be no exception!

That about concludes the books I bought in May, what about you, what have you been buying? Have you read any of these, what did you think?

Blog Tour: Lee Bross Interview – Author of Tangled Webs


Tangled Webs (Tangled Webs, #1)

London, 1725. Everybody has a secret. Lady A will keep yours—for a price. This sumptuous, scandalous YA novel is wickedly addictive.

Lady A is the most notorious blackmailer in the city. With just a mask and a gown to disguise her, she sweeps into lavish balls and exclusive events collecting the most valuable currency in 1725 London—secrets.

But leading a double life isn’t easy. By day Lady A is just a sixteen-year-old girl named Arista who lives in fear of her abusive master, Bones, and passes herself off as a boy to move safely through the squalor of London’s slums. When Bones attempts to dispose of his pawn forever, Arista is rescued by the last person she expects: Jonathan Wild, the infamous Thief Taker General who moves seamlessly between the city’s criminal underworld and its most elite upper circles. Arista partners with Wild on her own terms in the hopes of saving enough money to buy passage out of London.

Everything changes when she meets Graeden Sinclair, the son of a wealthy merchant. Grae has traveled the world, has seen the exotic lands Arista has longed to escape to her whole life, and he loves Arista for who she is—not for what she can do for him. Being with Grae gives something Arista something precious that she swore off long ago: hope. He has promised to help Arista escape the life of crime that has claimed her since she was a child. But can you ever truly escape the past?


Lee
About Lee: Lee writes YA for Delacorte as @laniebross and for Hyperion as @lee_bross. She also writes NA under L.E. Bross. Repped by Mandy Hubbard.

For those who haven’t read Tangled Webs yet, could you give us a quick summary?

A blackmailing girl in 1725 London is determined to break free from her life of servitude to find freedom and love.

It is unusual for a YA novel to be set in 1725, what made you choose to set it in this time period?

I grew up reading historical fiction and I’ve always loved the sumptuousness of it. It needed to be almost lyrical in my head, and the time period just clicked for me. I also chose the 18th century because it was really full of vice and sin and it worked so well for the back story of this book.

The cover for Tangled Webs is beautiful, how much input did you have in the overall design?

I had no input really but I think I might have squealed when I first saw it! I was so happy and loved it at first sight!

Tangled Webs is set to be released in June, what are you working on now it is almost printed?

I just turned in the sequel to WEBS, so now I’m working on an NA book that comes out in February and an adult book that comes out in April under my pen name L.E. Bross.

Early responses for the book have been fantastic, how does that make you feel?

Like I’m dreaming really. That people get the story and like the characters means so much to me. It’s hard putting yourself out there like that and there will always be a level of insecurity, but in the end, I just hope that I can entertain my readers and make them happy.

What was the process like for writing the novel, how long did it take you to write?

I sold it on proposal, so I had the first 100 pages done and pretty solid. It took about four weeks to draft the rest after I got my editors feedback and then probably a couple more months total in edits and revisions. I think the most terrifying part of the process was first pass pages where it looks like a real book and you realize there is no going back after that!

What are you currently reading yourself?

I just finished A Court of Thorns and Roses which was so amazing that I had to just ride the book hangover for a few days, but other than that, I don’t really have much time to read. I can’t read while I’m writing because that voice tends to seep into my current project without me realizing. Once I was reading and writing and I wrote a whole chapter in first person when the rest of the book had been in third!

Thank you for taking part in this interview, is there anything you’d like to add to finish us off?

I just want to thank you for having me and I hope that everyone loves WEBS!

Lee is also giving away ten copies of the book (US only) as part of this tour so click here to enter!

Thank you for checking out my stop on the Tangled Webs tour, be sure to check out the rest of the stops, you can find them by clicking the tour banner below!

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Feature: Top Ten Tuesday – Topic of Your Choice

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday (run by The Broke and the Bookish) is a freebie topic of your choice. Last week’s topic was “Top Ten Authors I Want to Meet” and as I had a blog tour scheduled last week I was unable to participate, so I’m going to use this week’s freebie to do it!

I have been lucky enough to meet the majority of my favourite authors, but there are still so many I’d love to meet. Getting a book signed is so much fun and I’d definitely love to have a few more in my collection!

1. Oscar Wilde

Sadly this is impossible, but I would still have loved the opportunity to meet him. Oscar Wilde is my favourite author and having read his books countless times, it would be wonderful to meet the man behind my favourite stories. He seems like such an interesting and fascinating character, I bet he’d be great at a dinner party!

2. Anne Rice

I adore Anne Rice’s novels. The Vampire Chronicles were such a massive inspiration to the vampire genre and so many of her books have kept me up long past my bed time. Lestat is the reason I love vampire novels so much, and I would love the opportunity to thank her for her wonderful wonderful books.

3. Cate Tiernan

Every time Cate Tiernan releases a book I rush out to buy it and then am not seen for a few days. Everything she has ever written is addictive and exciting and I’d love to have my Wicca books signed, I read the series so many times growing up and I still return to it as an adult.

4. Maria V. Snyder

I talk about Maria V. Snyder on here all the time, but I love her books and sadly missed her in Edinburgh a few months ago. With the release of Night Study planned for next year perhaps I might get that chance, as I’d love to meet the might behind Yelena and Valek!

5.  Veronica Roth

I think Veronica Roth will be on a number of these lists. Divergent is such a fantastic, influential series. If I had the chance to get a signed copy it would sit pride of place on my bookshelf!

6. J. R. R. Tolkien

Alas this is another one that is no longer possible but if I had a time machine I would definitely be looking to meet Mr. Tolkien. He’s had an influence on so many books that I love, as well as writing a good few of them too.

7. Lemony Snicket

I absolutely adored A Series of Unfortunate Events growing up, I read them over and over and I would love to meet the man behind those wonderful stories.

8. J. K. Rowling

Another one that I imagine is on a lot of people’s lists. I grew up reading Harry Potter as well and they had a massive influence on me. It’s been a long time since I’ve had the chance to read them, but I know I’ll always go back to them.

9. Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman has the most incredible imagination, his stories range from terrifying to heartbreaking. If I ever got the chance to meet him my only problem would be deciding which book to take with me, because I love so many of them.

10. Amy Poehler

This one is technically a cheat because she’s more an actress than an author, but I love Amy Poehler and her recent book Yes Please is great, so I’d definitely jump at the chance to get my copy signed!

Feature: Let’s Talk about Books – Judging a Book by the Cover

Welcome to a new feature here at The Bibliophile Chronicles. Each week we’ll be taking the time to look at some different topics in the book world. Feel free to comment with your opinions and ideas, I’d love to hear from you!

Do you judge a book by its cover?

This is a well known saying, and many would stand up and say “No, the cover is not important – the content is what really matters.” And I would have to agree, the cover is unimportant if the story is an amazing one, but with so many books out there, there has to be something that makes you pick one over another, right?

I recently attended an event run by The Society of Young Publishers, and Canongate’s  Rafaela Romaya stated that she was in the business of “selling books by the cover.” She argued that humans are visual people, and the books they publish are designed to look good in a home, whether it be on a shelf or on a coffee table. She argues that particular detail is taken on the spines for that exact reason. So clearly a lot of work goes into creating a beautiful cover, bit what effect does that have on the buyer?

In the past I would be one of those people who would stand up and say “actually, I don’t judge a book by the co21017636ver,” but I think in some capacity, we all do. I am often told by friends and family that I have a “book type” that the cover often contains swords, or crowns a female warrior or a dragon. This is probably correct, and clearly book covers are designed with that in mind. Genre is immensely important and a book cover goes a long way in deciding which genre that book falls into.

With the price of a new book not exactly being cheap, every aspect of the book has to draw the reader in if they are going to take it home and make it part of their collection. The cover, the font and the colour all things that draw the reader in, and as I look at my shelves I see so many books that in my opinion, have absolutely beautiful colours.

Of course a book can have a bad cover and be a completely wonderful story, but when standing in a book store surrounded by books, a beautiful cover might be just the little nudge that makes you take it off the shelf.

So from now on, I might stop saying “don’t judge a book by the cover” and start saying that perhaps the cover is one of the most important elements of all.

What do you think, do you judge a book by the cover? Or are you purely interested in the story. Do you have a certain type of cover that immediately draws your eye? Let me know in the comments! 

Feature: March Book Haul!

It’s that time of the month where I’ll be highlighting the books I purchased over the last 30 days!

1. Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard
2. Windhaven – George R. R. Martin & Lisa Tuttle
3. Snow Like Ashes – Sarah Raasch
4. Forest Mage – Robin Hobb

Red Queen 17878931

“The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.
To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.
Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.
But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?”

This book has been getting loads of attention online, with Epic Reads posting about it constantly running up to the release date and lots of mixed reviews – some seem to love it and some seem to hate it. With all the stir about it – and that gorgeous, gorgeous cover, I just knew it would be on my purchase list this month, I have to see what all the fuss is about!

Windhaven

24967806“Among the scattered islands that make up the water world of Windhaven, no one holds more prestige than the silver-winged flyers, romantic figures who cross treacherous oceans, braving shifting winds and sudden storms, to bring news, gossip, songs and stories to a waiting populace.

Maris of Amberly, a fisherman’s daughter, wants nothing more than to soar on the currents high above Windhaven. So she challenges tradition, demanding that flyers be chosen by merit rather than inheritance.

But even after winning that bitter battle, Maris finds that her troubles are only beginning. Now a revolution threatens to destroy the world she fought so hard to join – and force her to make the ultimate sacrifice…”

I must confess to being a bit of a George R. R. Martin-aholic. Pretty much everything that he puts out I end up buying in some format or another, I am yet to be disappointed, his writing is always fascinating and keeps me hooked for hours. When I heard that a new edition of Windhaven was being released I just had to get my paws on it, looking forward to finally getting a chance to read it!

Snow Like Ashes

“A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.17399160

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.”

This is another one that I’ve heard loads of good things about, and just seems to tick all the right boxes. Magic? Check. Determined female protagonist? Check. Possibly a love triangle? Check. Not to mention a beautiful cover and more books to come. I’m really looking forward to this one, With the second book out in October, I’ll have plenty of time to get reading this one!

Forest Mage

Forest Mage (Soldier Son, #2)“The King′s Cavalla Academy has been ravaged by the Speck plague. As the infirmary empties, Cadet Nevare Burvelle also prepares to journey home. Far from being a broken man, Nevare is hale and hearty after defeating his nemesis, Tree Woman and freeing himself of the Speck magic that infected him and attempted to turn him against his own people.

Yet his nights are still haunted by dreams of the voluptuous Tree Woman, dreams in which his Speck self betrays everything he holds dear in his waking life. Has the plague infected him in ways far more mysterious than the merely physical?

Despite his fears, Nevare will journey back in full expectation of a jubilant homecoming and a reunion with his fiancée, Carsina. But his life is about to take a shocking turn, as the magic in his blood roars to life, a magic that seeks to destroy all he loves.”

I absolutely love Robin Hobb, (in fact I met her at last years WorldCon, and she was absolutely lovely) and this is one of her books that I haven’t had the chance to read yet, so I’m really excited about it. I managed to pick it up for only one pound, and it’s always great when book purchases don’t cost an arm and a leg.

So those are my march books. What have you bought this month? Have you read any of these? If you have let me know what you thought!!