Saturday, November 23, 2013
[Inky] Why hello there! It’s Inky here to kick-off another Nators Discuss! Today we have a very FUN topic chosen by Jessi: Book Boyfriends! Holl-UH. Thanks to Stephanie from Chasm of Books, Shannon from Rex Robot Reviews & Melanie from YA Midnight Reads for inspiring this topic!

[Jessi] What exactly makes a fictional boy swoony? Is it the sexy factor? Boy next door, or bad boy? Sweet, or aloof?

[Inky] Depends on the person I’d say. For me, it’s gonna be a combination or my mood at the time. In generally I’m partial to the goofy best friend personality. The funny boys that make you laugh and smile all over. I do like my share of the dark yummy boys though.

[Jessi] Yes, you do tend to go for the vanilla, er, nice ones, which is why we typically disagree on Teams

[Inky] >.< Thankfully we still get along...most of the time. *coughs* So who are your “book boyfriends?” Any favorites?

[Jessi] To tell you the truth, the only ‘Book Boyfriends’ I have are Warner from Unravel Me and Morpheus from Splintered. I’m extremely picky about my boys, and they have to really stand out to make an impression for me!

[Inky] Morpheus. *snorts*

[Jessi] I sense a little bit of resentment here. Haha. It’s no secret that us Nator Twins have very different opinions when it comes to the Splintered love triangle.

[Inky] Emphasis on VERY DIFFERENT.

[Jessi] But that is a debate for another time! Who’s your favorite book boyfriend, Inkinator?

[Inky] I have no idea. I have so many. Actually did you know I’ve got a scarf named after all my favorite book boys? It’s kind of a long name. But anyway, my favorites? Uuuuh. How to choose? Logan(Deception/Defiance), Percy Jackson (if you don’t know who he is…..), Jeb(Splintered), Falco from Venom, Four from Divergent, Maxon(The Selection), Tucker(Unearthly trilogy), Vane(Let the Sky Fall)…...heeeheee….yeah…..

[Jessi] Sadly I haven’t met most of those :p

[Inky] You are missing out! Read Percy Jackson. If ANYTHING.

[Jessi] I’ll get to it someday! So what is the common factor for you, if there is one? Mine is the bad boy anti-hero kind!

[Inky] Most common? I don’t know. It depends on the guy. I can go for all the types. So many factors can play into romantic heroes, I love the funny type, the cute romantics, smart and strong boys, mysterious, “bad-boy” to an extent. I love me a mysterious-bad-boy, don’t me wrong but honestly, I think I’ve been growing a lot more to the make-you-laugh kinda boy. So normally I guess he’d be seen as the “good” boy? Or the best friend?

But that’s the thing. I hate it when the “good” boy is all hot and cute, but so freaking annoying in either stubbornness or protectiveness. Sometimes it works,  but it’s tricky. I love a mix. HE JUST HAS TO BE PERFECT OKAY? #inkyrambles

[Jessi] I don’t like them if they’re TOO perfect because then they just bore me. I like a little bit of mystery and intrigue! But not too much...because nobody wants an aloof jackass.

[Inky] Well obviously. How about we call it perfectly structured. A balance of weakness and strengths that makes him perfect. Another thing that I kind of innerly-love is the big-brother type. Maybe it’s because I’ve always wanted an awesome older brother, or because I’m an older sibling, but when you get a guy who’s a totally sweet big brother it just makes me all melty inside. Wow that sounds so cheesy.  

[Jessi] But who wants to date their brother?!

[Inky] I never said THEIR brother. A big brother. Never mind then.

[Jessi] Mwahaha. So you like the boy-next-door-slash-best-friend type, and I like the bad-boy-with-less-than-noble-intentions type. But when is the bad boy persona going too far?

For me there’s a very fine line between sexy bad boy and jerkface bad boy. For example: Morpheus vs. Kaidan. I loooove Morph - sure, he may have his jerkface moments, but usually it’s his actions that speak his true intentions, not his words (which tend to be lies…). He acts tough, but he has a soft side. Kaidan, on the other hand, was just a straight asshole. Period. I hated him. Being a cheating douchenozzle is SO not sexy. It can sometimes be hard to find the right balance, though!

[Inky] One thing I don’t like about aloof boys that could fit into those categories are the ones that seem like players. When the girl knows she’s interested/attracted and the guy knows that too and he uses it to get with the girl or it just seems like he’s playing with her. And when the girl goes along with it, it ticks me off even more. *seeths*

[Jessi] Ugh, yes! I hate players. So not cool. And I also hate dumb boy-clingy females. (A discussion for another day?!)

[Inky] (Sounds good) Merp. It’s such a delicate balance. I love characters that can stand on their on, and yet be compatible with a romantic interest on the side.  

[Jessi] Same here! But you know what I hate? The fact that all these YA love interests seem to only be ‘hot’ or ‘sexy.’ What about just being cute and having flaws, like a real boy? Why do they always have to be perfect?

[Inky] Ooooh yes. Boys in real life are SO not that way all the times. Yes there are awesome guys in life but it’s never as easy to run into them, that’s for sure. As for the perfect thing..yep. I so hear you on that one. They need flaws. And not just the cliched flaws either.

[Jessi] True that! I actually tend to like them better if they do have flaws, because that makes them seem more realistic!

[Inky] Totally! It’s the realism that makes them so awesome. Gotta love your book boyfriends!

That’s all for today, folks! Who are YOUR book boyfriends? What do you look for in a fictional crush? We want to know!!! Spill down in the comments. Want us to talk about something bookish? Submit your topic in the form below.

And if you want to check out Inky’s posting on the writing blog YAvengers about creating a great romance check it out here! #shamelessadvertising
Thanks for stopping by guy! Check out Jessi's post and have a great weekend! XOXO,


Friday, November 15, 2013
Happy Friday everyone! I've got a treat for you today. And interview with Stephanie Parent, indie author extraordinaire and blogger! She's so much fun and I recently read her Neima's Ark duology. I really enjoyed those book and now she's here to talk about them a little bit! First, book info:

Forty Days (Neima's Ark #1)
by Stephanie Parent
Released: 2.10.13
Pages: 123

   The entire village knows Neima’s grandfather is a madman. For years the old man has prophesied that a great flood is coming, a flood disastrous enough to blot out the entire earth. He’s even built an enormous ark that he claims will allow his family to survive the deluge. But no one believes the ravings of a lunatic…
   …until the rain starts. And doesn’t stop. Soon sixteen-year-old Neima finds her entire world transformed, her life and those of the people she loves in peril. Trapped on the ark with her grandfather Noah, the rest of her family, and a noisy, filthy, and hungry assortment of wild animals, will Neima find a way to survive?

Forty Nights (Neima's Ark #2)
by Stephanie Parent
Released: 10.9.13
Pages: 94
Neima, her family, and her grandfather Noah have found themselves trapped aboard an ark as a great flood destroys all life in the world. As their time aboard the ark lengthens, food begins to run out, wild animals grow restless, and family tensions become as much of a threat as the flood outside. In the second and final installment of Neima’s Ark, the stakes are higher, the conflicts are greater, and Neima finds herself facing a choice as impossible as the destruction all around her.
Forty Nights is a continuation of the story begun in Forty Days, and it’s recommended that you read Forty Days first for the best experience. Forty Nights does, however, contain a character guide to refresh readers’ memories. The Neima’s Ark series is a historical, feminist reimagining of the story of Noah’s Ark rather than a religiously oriented one, and the novels are best suited for readers who are comfortable with new interpretations of biblical stories.

And there you have it! Interested? Of course! You might like to know that FORTY DAYS is currently Free for download on most ebook sources including Amazon! So go snag that right now! And watch for my dual review of the books to come soon! Now if you want to know a little bit more about Stephanie and these books, keep reading for an awesome interview. Then you can enter for a giveaway down below.

Reimaginings and retells are becoming more and more prominent in the YA genre. What drew you to reimagine this well known biblical story?

Well, first of all I have to admit that this particular retelling was not my idea. It was actually suggested by my agent at the time, and she was inspired by a huge movie called Noah coming in 2014, starring Emma Watson and Russell Crowe. Our original plan was to try to sell my book on a partial manuscript and have it come out concurrently with the movie. Due to various reasons, that didn’t work out and I’ve ended up focusing on independent publishing for now (more about that below!).

However, even though the initial seed of the Noah’s Ark idea was planted by my agent, I was immediately intrigued by it. I’ve always been drawn to retellings—I previously wrote a Romeo and Juliet retelling—and I thought the disaster aspect of this story might have some broad YA appeal, while I personally was really excited about the animals. I love writing about animal-human relationships, and researching some of the animals that appear in this story was really fun!

Finally, while preparing to write Neima’s Ark, I found that I really, really love biblically inspired fiction, especially books that focus on the women’s roles we don’t get to see as much in the original stories. The historical realities of biblical times are absolutely fascinating, and books like The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman and Song of the Magdalene by Donna Jo Napoli helped to bolster my enthusiasm for the topic. In fact, I wouldn’t mind writing another biblically inspired story someday!

Despite clearly stating it as a reimagining, were there any challenges or doubts you faced when telling Neima’s story? Especially on a religious level?
Definitely! I was continually nervous about offending or turning off religious readers, while at the same time, I wanted non-religious readers to enjoy the story as well. Since I don’t come from a religious background myself, I didn’t really feel any personal guilt about re-imagining certain characters and situations in a less positive light, but I knew I ran the risk of upsetting others. At the same time, I didn’t want to go the other way and ignore the religious aspect of the story. Noah’s ark isn’t just a disaster story with a bunch of animals—at its heart, it’s about the nature of good and evil and the question of whether human evil can ever really be destroyed. And if you look back to the biblical tale, some of the conclusions it comes to might surprise you.

In your preface, you state the area now known as modern day Turkey as your base for the setting. Can you expand on the research and findings that factored into basing your story there?
Well, first of all I want to say that we can’t know for sure where this story would have taken place, so at some point, I just had to choose a plausible location and stick with it. In researching the story, I read other fictional takes that used more of a desert-like setting, one that probably corresponds to present-day Egypt or Israel. That said, I chose Turkey because the biblical “mountains of Ararat” where the ark landed may correspond to the real Mount Ararat in Turkey. In addition, two rivers where Adam’s descendants settled in Genesis, the Tigris and Euphrates, both have their source in Turkey.

In your books we see Noah portrayed as a prophetic madman, shall we say. What kinds of things factored into your creation of his character, in regards to the original narrative and otherwise?
It’s funny, but even though the Bible story doesn’t tell us how other people reacted to Noah building the ark, it seems a fairly pervasive idea that Noah would have been considered a madman by many of his contemporaries. I read as many different fictional versions of the Noah’s Ark story as I could while writing this book, and all of them portrayed Noah as a figure who was distrusted or even downright ridiculed by the people around him. I always imagined the story this way too—why would everyone believe one old man who claims the world is about to end?—and it definitely increases the tension in the first part of the story.

As for Noah’s character, the Bible does tell us that Noah is “righteous” and “blameless in his generation,” but it’s interesting to note that Noah apparently overindulged in wine later in his life. The Bible says that after the flood Noah cultivated a vineyard, and “one day he drank some wine he had made, and he became drunk and lay naked inside his tent.” This portrayal of Noah makes him seem, at least to my mind, perhaps a bit more flawed than some of the other biblical prophets.

Finally, I thought that calling Noah’s sanity into question was also a good way to make the religious elements of my story a bit more ambiguous. Noah turns out to be right about the flood, of course, but in my version of the story, we’re not so sure the reasoning behind his beliefs is sound. This allowed me to question Noah’s interpretation of certain events—for instance, God’s purpose in sending the flood—in my novel.

How did you choose the names for your characters?
Ooh, good question and complicated answer! All of the male members of Noah’s family took their names directly from the Bible story. I did change the spelling of Ham’s son’s name, Canaan, to Kenaan, since Canaan is also a place and I thought that spelling might be distracting. (Incidentally, the biblical Canaan is actually cursed for his father Ham’s actions after the flood. This gave me the idea to make Ham and Kenaan villains of a sort in my story.) Most of the women’s names came from Noah’s ark stories outside the Bible—see here. Neima is a Hebrew name meaning “strong,” while Shai means “gift.” Since Jorin and Derya aren’t part of Noah’s family, I decided to give them Turkish names instead of Hebrew ones. For them I just picked names I liked the sound of!

Any special inspiration for Neima’s character?
I did love historical fiction when I was younger, and I thought a lot about some of the historical-fiction heroines I had read about, since I wanted to make sure Neima wasn’t too modern in her thoughts and behavior. But I didn’t really have one special or particular inspiration in this case.

You have a few books under your wing now! Could you tell us a little bit about your journey to self-publication?
I’ve had two agents over the past several years and two different books on submission. But with all the changes occurring in the publishing industry right now, I just became really frustrated trying to fit into the traditional publishing world. If I had stayed with an agent and kept writing new books, I may have eventually written one that publishing executives believed had enough commercial appeal to make it worth buying. But I believed in the books I had already written, and I wasn’t willing to just shove them away in a drawer when I had another option. I also love the freedom and community of self-publishing, and for now I think my time is better spent writing and connecting with readers and other authors than pursuing traditional publication.

When did you first know you wanted to become a writer?
I’ve actually always been much more of a reader than a writer. Writing is really hard for me, and to be honest, if I had a full-time job that I enjoyed and that paid the bills, I probably wouldn’t write nearly as much. At the same time, reading has been a part of my identity for as long as I can remember, and I think I knew from the time I began to read on my own that books would play an important role in my life.

Any writing habits? 
Tons of snacks, mostly sweet, sugary tea and coffee drinks, and fruit smoothies are a must. Music tends to distract me but I like some noise, so I like to have TV shows I’ve seen a million times playing in the background. And I usually write at home just because I’m too lazy to lug my laptop around…

Any upcoming projects we can look forward too?
Right now I’m working on a dark, sexy adult book that I plan to publish under a pen name, but since I’m no good at keeping secrets, I’ll let everyone know it’s me! The pinterest board for it is here

Favorite quote from one of your books?
That’s a hard one! I really like this quote from the end of Forty Nights:
“We aren’t steady, yet, but that’s all right—I have learned to live in an unsteady world.”

Chocolate malt balls or sour gummy worms?
Chocolate, for sure!

Bilal or Enise?
No way—that’s like asking me to choose between my two dogs!

Day Bird or Night Owl?
Night owl, but only to stay home and read or write or fool around on the internet. I’m not much of a partier!

Plotter or Pantser?
Somewhere in between—I like to have as much of an idea of where I’m going as possible, but I only write it down if I’m forced to!
Stephanie has some awesome books already available! And you have a chance to win two of them RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW! Since the first book in her Neima's Ark duo (Forty Days) is FREE ON AMAZON, and you can pick that up, you can win ecopies of FORTY NIGHTS and her NA book PRECIOUS THINGS!
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Thanks to you all for visitng and to Stephanie for letting me interview her! It was WAY fun! Leave some comment love for Stephanie and have a lovely weekend! XOXO,


Thursday, November 7, 2013
 Yes you are seeing correctly. It's the blog tour for REVELATIONS! Sequel to RENEGADE! What is this awesome you say? Freaking awesome, I reply! So let's get on with it. First my review, then a MEGA epic giveaway. (PSST! The review is better.) Enjoy!!

Revelations
by J. A. Souders
Published: November 5, 2013
Pages: 352

   Six weeks after her arrival on the Surface, Evelyn Winters is no closer to unlocking the memories lost in her subconscious than she was when she first came. Isolated in a strange new society, Evie has only Gavin Hunter to remind her of who she once was.
   But even with a clean slate, it’s easy to see that Evie doesn’t fit in on the Surface. And as her differences make her feel more and more alone, she can’t help but yearn for that place she doesn’t remember: the isolated city hidden in the depths of the ocean. Elysium. Home.
   But she can’t exactly tell Gavin what she’s feeling. Not when he’s the one who helped her escape Elysium in the first place, and has the scars to prove it. Though the doctors say otherwise, Gavin believes that Evie just needs time. And if her memories don’t come back, well, maybe she’s better off not remembering her past.
   But the decision may be out of their hands when Evie’s ever-elusive memories begin to collide with reality. People and images from her past appear in the most unlikely places, haunting her, provoking her…and making her seem not only strange but dangerous.
   Evie and Gavin can’t wait around for her memories to return. They’ll have to journey across the Outlands of the Surface to find help, and in the end, their search may just lead them back to the place it all started…
After the insane ending of Renegade, I was totally pumped to continue on in this series, I loved everything about the first book, the terrifying world of Elysium, Mother and her villainous ways, Gavin and his hotness, everything. Revelations brought a very fun sequel to the table, with lots of questions, and of course....revelations. Pun intended. So let's talk about it!

**Please note this a sequel, and the ending of Renegade will be mentioned**

So we all know that there was a lot to learn after they reach the Surface, and well Evie forgets like everything. I'm very cool with where Souders has taken the world in this book. We meet the devastated world, with all the creepy mutations in science and nature. It added a new thread to the book. I found a lot of the explanations and discoveries to be intriguing and working. It rocked. Lots of awesome is poured out on us. The world is creepy, the revelations are fascinating, and well it all comes back to Elysium. We all know how creepsters Elysium and Mother are. *shivers*
One comment, the pacing could have been a lot faster. If you read the synopsis it is not hard to guess what's going to happen in the end. YES we learn a lot of interesting and necessary components as we get to that point. But we also have lots of romance drama and unnecessary stuffs that I personally feel pulled away from the intriguing plot of the book. At the end I just wanted more. I wanted to know what happened after that. I don't know how I'll wait for book three!

As with Renegade, we saw a split in narration. It's still Evie and Gavin, and I liked that we still had a chance to get a good look into both their heads. I still love our main protagonists, but honestly, there were sometimes they just needed to grow up. But before I get into that, one word. Mother. I still love her villainy. We don't really see her at all this book, but we get something awesome. The last chapter in her head. Holy crap. I want more of Mother's narrative voice. I want to know all about her. Why. What. How. I love when you can get a villain like her. Mother wins all. Kudos to Souders for the chapter! Can we have a Mother novella?
Evie's in a messed up spot. I mean she had her freaking memory lost, I feel for her. It's got to suck to have so much hidden from you and to have to rely wholly on strangers. In a way she whined and complained a lot, and I wanted her to just get a backbone. However she is stuck on Gavin because she knows what her heart and her messed up brain tell her, and that's about it. Amidst all this, she's coming to her new strengths throughout the book and I'm so glad to see that she found her strength at the end of the book. So while she stumbled and struggled, she pulled through. She's gonna be a kick-butt girl in book 3! Not gonna say too much about her messed-up-ed-ness, but I found the "hallucinating" to be an interesting play as well. So yay.

As for Gavin.. I just don't know. He blew me away in Renegade. I loved him for his spunk, and forward character, that contrasted Evie so well. They worked so well, and he was so fabulous, but I'm gonna have to say he was the lowest point for me in this book. He's got Evie with him now, and she's hurting and confused. It's hard to see loved ones that way. But back off dude!
Give her space to make her OWN decisions. Be the hero all you want, and she may have lost some memories, but she still has the capabilities to make choices for herself. You are being WAY TOO OVERPROTECTIVE and stubborn. I really hope we get to see Gavin pull out of this phase and tricky spot with him and Evie in book three, so we can get a happy cute couple again.

A quick word about a certain side character that you will meet once you read it. If you have, you'll know who I'm talking about. I was scared a love triangle was coming in. I was like, "I may not be liking Gavin that much right now, but still..NO." With that said, I am so glad this character came in. I love how they end and it's so great. Evie needs this relationship in her life, and I am glad that it'll keep things going. I have a feeling So-and-so is gonna rock in book three. Also, totally saw IT coming.

Okay I think I got all my thoughts out. Way too long, but whatevs. #blabbermouth Conclusion? I did really enjoy this book. I was interested and fascinated with learning all a bout the world. I did find the characters lacking to an extent, but Revelation pulled through to be a great sequel that left me eagerly anticipating the doubtless kick-butt ending that book three will be. And the cover rocks. Let's not forget that. I almost hope the roses that keep showing up on the covers will play in somehow. Probably not though. It's just a gorgeous cover rendition.

Content: Milderate
(Quite a bit more intense language such as S and F scattered in. Some kisses and mild innuendo)
-ABOUT THE AUTHOR-
Website Blog Twitter Facebook Goodreads Pinterest
J.A. SOUDERS is the author of the Elysium Chronicles and lives in the land of sunshine and palm trees with her husband and two children where she spends her time writing about the monsters under the bed, day dreaming about living in an underwater colony, and failing miserably at playing video games.

She is so awesome!! Her books rock and she sounds like so much fun, so don't miss the chance to spam talk to her online. Aaaand, Yes of course you now have a chance to win big! There are three awesome prizes up to grabs! Just make sure to thank Rockstar Book Tours for hosting, check out the rest of the tour schedule, leave J. A. Souders some comment love, and then you may enteraway!

 -THE GIVEAWAY-
Grand Prize- 1 Signed set of Renegade and Revelations, 1 scrabble tile pendant with covers of both books, and a $25 gift card to Amazon or B&N!
Second Place- 1 Signed set of Renegade and Revelations and 1 set of scrabble tile pendants with covers of both books.
Third Place- 1 set revelations themed swag

OPEN TO US ONLY
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Thanks so much for visiting! Ta-Ta for now! XOXO,


Friday, November 1, 2013
Hey guys! Happy November! I've got something totally snazzy for y'all today. A cover reveal! I haven't done one of these in a long time but when I asked by this awesome author I couldn't say no! Want to know a little about the book? Read the synopsis below!

    In the year 2185, Aloy must masquerade as a boy to claim her country's presidential role and save her people.

      Aloy’s father is the current Elected, the leader of the country, just as her grandfather and great-grandfather were before. Her older brother should fulfill the role, but he disappeared eighteen years ago. Without an Elected, East Country would fall into civil war. With no one else to take his place, Aloy’s parents cut her hair and told her that she could never be a girl again. To assume the role, she must conceal her gender at all costs. If discovered, she risks execution.

     In two weeks, Aloy will turn eighteen and take her father’s place. She hopes to govern as he did, but she is inheriting a different country. The long concealed Technology Faction is boldly stepping out of the shadows and, as turmoil grows within East Country, cryptic threats arrive from beyond their borders. After generations of isolation, Aloy knows nothing about their only neighbor, Mid Country. And, East Country doesn’t have the resources to defend itself.

       As she struggles to lead, Aloy maintains her cover by marrying a woman, Vienne, but battles with feelings for Griffin, the boy who knows her secret - the boy who is somehow connected to East Country's upheaval. When assassination attempts add to the turmoil, Aloy doesn’t know whom to trust. Aloy knows leadership requires sacrifice. She just didn't expect that the sacrifice might be her life. 
Add it on GOODREADS

What. The. Heck. CRAZY right? Are you excited to read this now? Shall I tease your buttons off with a little excerpt? I think I shall. Because I can.

One blonde curl is wrapped lusciously around my pointer finger. I gaze down at it and then force my eyes upward to drink in the image of my face. Long blonde hair trails past my shoulders and onto my back. In the cracked mirror, my eyes squint, trying to capture this one fleeting picture of myself as a girl. This is what I could look like if I weren’t forced to masquerade as a boy.

Are you hooked yet? Well it's time to reveal the cover!! Scroll down the page!


























ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rori Shay's debut novel, ELECTED, is book one of a young adult sci-fi trilogy, which challenges the notion of duty above desire. Rori is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Rori lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and two proficient hair shedders: Misch the cat and Gerry the 90-lbs black lab. Rori studied public relations and marketing at the University of Maryland and received an MBA from George Washington University. She enjoys travelling, running, reading, pumpkin-picking and snow-shoeing!

So that's the cover! What do you think? Love it? Excited for the book? Let me know and leave Rori some cover love in the comments below! And don't miss a chance to enter for an ARC of Elected!

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And that's all for today folks! Thanks for stopping by! Happy November! XOXO,


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