Monday, December 30, 2013

DEFY by Sara B. Larson

Okay, so I've known Sara for about 5 years now. She lives here in Utah with me, and we get together for parties, dinners, launches, write nights, conferences, and various other things. When a fried organized an ARC tour, I signed up.

Then DEFY came up on NetGalley, so I snagged it there too. It's easier for me to read at the gym on my Kindle, and this way, when the ARC finally came, all I had to do was sign it and go through and tell Sara all my favorite parts.

And there were many favorite parts. I absolutely loved DEFY. It's a YA fantasy that fits into the genre very nicely. Let's explore a little bit.

About DEFY: Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect?

I have also written a (trunked) novel about a girl who pretends to be a boy, so I loved this aspect of it. I liked how Sara handled the delicate issues of female body parts while still making this girl a boy on the outside. But Alexa is a girl, and she has female internal reactions, worries, and thoughts. This can be tricky to do, and Sara did it well.

I loved the jungle setting. I don't know why; maybe because I haven't read anything like that for a while. It was different, and for me, different in a book is always good.

DEFY is a fantasy, so it has danger, intrigue, wicked kings, and magic. And there's some kissing, which you know I'm fond of. If you like fantasies like THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS or GRACELING, you'll like DEFY.

It comes out on January 7, so be sure to get your copy!!

Also, I am woefully out of the loop. What should I be looking forward to reading in 2014??

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Story With No Words (Okay, Some Words)

Okay, so there's a couple of things going on today, and I thought about writing them all out. I am an author, sometimes. However, I think sometimes pictures speak louder than words, so I'm opting for an image-fest today.

Now I'm not very good at this kind of stuff, so it'll probably be lame. Judge me if you want.

First, there's this:
That's right! I survived 2013! It feels goooood, too. 

And then this:
Yes, that is my school shirt. Vikings, FTW! Don't judge.
And yes, that looks like me signing something, right?
I AM signing something -- a new agency contract!

This is where I sent the signed agency contract.
I am now represented by Victoria Marini at Gelfman Schneider!

I feel like I could do this:
Because, seriously. 

Or this:

And strong!

And I definitely want to go here:
The adventure of a lifetime! 

And if that weren't enough, this girl and I are meeting today:
This is the world-famous photographer, Erin Summerill.
We're meeting to SHOOT THE COVER OF ELEVATED (my next book, coming February 2014).
I could not be more excited.

So what do you think of my image-fest? Pretty awesome, no? It's okay if you hated it. I'll like you anyway. 

Monday, December 9, 2013


Okay, so my daughter wrote a letter to Santa this year, outlining all the things she wants. I think gift-giving is one of the most fun things of the holidays. And there's a book that has a hero that believes the same: ALL SHE WANTS FOR CHRISTMAS by Sara V. Olds.

Sara is one of my critique partners, and she just released her holiday romance last week. It's a super-fun, fast, and perfect holiday read. I hope you'll consider gifting it to yourself this Christmas, or to someone else who likes to read clean, witty, and swoon-worthy romance.

About ALL SHE WANTS FOR CHRISTMAS: Saving Christmas will take more than Magic.

George Clauson is Santa's daughter, but she can't stand Christmas. All that ho-ho-hoing, caroling and people's greedy wants? No, thank you. She's left the family business and struck off on her own in the human world finding her niche as a humble second-grade teacher.

Ebenezer Herod is a descendent of King Herod. His family has never stopped trying to destroy Christmas. This year they may actually get their wish, but not if Ben can help it.

George wants nothing to do with restoring balance to the Christmas season, and she certainly isn't interested in the shockingly handsome and devilishly rich Ben. A determined do-gooder, Ben's used to saving the day, but he can't rescue Christmas alone. Can George and Ben find a way to work together despite their opposing heritages to make the Season bright?


I hope you'll consider getting ALL SHE WANTS FOR CHRISTMAS as part of your holiday season. 

What great read should I get for myself?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Blog Tours by Elana

Okay, so I've been putting this off for a while now. Mostly because I'm lazy. Ha! But I've gone ahead and done it--created a new site just for the blog tours, cover reveals, and book blitzes I do.

This way, each author I work with will have a place they can direct their friends/family for sign-ups, and I can keep this blog separate for my writing ramblings, news, book reviews, and other more authorly things.

BUT -- you should go check out all the things I have going on! There are some amazing authors who are gearing up for the releases of their books, and I have cover reveals coming, and book blitzes, and blog tours!

INCLUDING -- a cover reveal for my own ELEVATED, a YA contemporary novel-in-verse I am self-publishing on February 18, 2014. So go here to sign up for that.

And poke around the site to find other opportunities to feature new covers and participate in blog tours and book blitzes.

These are my current sign-ups:
Cover reveal for BLOOD CROWN by Ali Cross
Cover reveal for PARIS CRAVINGS by Kimberley Montpetit
Book Blitz for Ann Stampler's AFTERPARTY
Book Blitz for Donna K. Weaver's HOPE'S WATCH
Blog Tour for Derick William Dalton's HOUSES OF COMMON

I have four more tours upcoming (Ali Cross's BLOOD CROWN, Donna K. Weaver's TORN CANVAS, Lee Strauss's SUN & MOON, and Christina Farley's GILDED) that will be announced soon. So please consider checking out my new site, subscribing to my blogger list, and signing up for a blog tour or two, or the chance to help reveal a cover.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Books to Give This Season: TAKEN by Erin Bowman

Okay, so I loved this book. I don't even think "love" is strong enough a word. I L-O-V-E-D this book! I bought it many months ago when it first came out, but I just read it recently.

The book in question? TAKEN by Erin Bowman. If you haven't read it yet, you need to get it, stat. And then you need to buy a copy for someone you love. Because there's nothing better than books for Christmas.

About TAKEN: Gray Weathersby has grown up expecting to disappear at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. They call it the Heist—and it happens to every boy in Claysoot. His only chance at escape is to climb the Wall that surrounds Claysoot. A climb no one has ever survived . . .

Why this book works for me:

1. Super unique concept. A closed society, with a wall that no one has ever made it over? That's full of mystery and intrigue right there. 

2. A main character to root for. I loved Gray, and his steadiness. I loved that he knew what he wanted -- not only a girl he loved, but a brother to save -- and that he went for it. He wasn't overly emotional, something I think sometimes happens to male narrators, and he had a perfect voice for the story.

3. The twists and turns. There's so much more to this book than what's listed in the description. There's the wall, yes. But that's just the beginning. There are secrets Gray doesn't know (no spoilers here!), and I thought the world-building was spot-on. The information was delivered to the reader at just the right time to keep the pages turning. And the set-up for FROZEN, the second book? Brilliant. 

4. The writing. I'm a fan of good writing, and while I can't really explain it, I know it when I see it. And TAKEN has it. I like smart verbs, and smart characters, and a swift plot. TAKEN delivered.

So if you're looking for a great read, pick up TAKEN.

What's on your holiday wish-list? What books are you giving this holiday season?

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