Blog Tour: Soul Blade by Aaron Hodges

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Title: Soul Blade

Author: Aaron Hodges

Series: The Sword of Light Trilogy

Genre: Epic Fantasy/Sword and Sorcery

Release Week Price: $0.99

Page count: 300 pages

Soul Blade Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Soul-Blade-Sword-Light-Trilogy/dp/0473375184/

Giveaway: http://blog.ravenpublicity.com/giveaways/sciencefiction-fantasy-win-3-paperbacks-giveaway-kindle-amreading/

Website: http://www.aaronhodges.co.nz

Soul Blade Excerpt Link: https://1drv.ms/b/s!AiW-Qzg6KJmRgbp3yl1h_Rh42xWgcw

Synopsis:

The Three Nations are crumbling.

Darkness is gathering.

And only Eric remains to stand against it.

 

Eric stumbles through the wilderness, searching, hunting – desperate for sign of his sister. But the girl is gone, stolen away by the power of the Soul Blade. With each passing hour its hold on her tightens, her spirit fading before the onslaught of its magic. If he cannot save her soon, it will claim her soul. And he will have to kill her.

 

Meanwhile, Gabriel is locked in the cells beneath Ardath. The darkness presses in around him, absolute, suffocating. Time, hope, sanity, all have long since slipped beneath the waves of his despair. Only it remains – the unrelenting voice of the demon. It haunts the darkness, tempting him with promises of freedom.

How long can he resist its call?

 

Author Bio:

Aaron Hodges was born in 1989 in the small town of Whakatane, New Zealand. He studied for five years at the University of Auckland, completing a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and Geography, and a Masters of Environmental Engineering. After working as an environmental consultant for two years, he grew tired of office work and decided to quit his job and see the world. During his travels he picked up an old draft of a novel he once wrote in High School – titled The Sword of Light – and began to rewrite the story. This book, Soul Blade, marks the final conclusion of that epic tale.

author-picture

 

Fans of Aaron can signup for updates and special offers at:

aaronhodges.co.nz/newsletter-signup/

 

 

The Snow Queen – Cloth Bound and Beautiful

This cloth bound, silver foiled, illustrated edition of Hans Christian Anderson’s timeless tale is even more beautiful than I expected it to be. The tall, skinny hardback feels gorgeous in your hand and the illustrations by Finnish illustrator Sanna Annukka create an atmosphere that combines with the beloved words into something that will stick with you. 41zbzfrlyul-_sx282_bo1204203200_

Published by Ten Speed Press, translated by Odense City Museums, this book brings to life the classic story of The Snow Queen with imagery that makes me feel a part of the story, and reminds me of the ancient picture book edition my mother no longer allows me to play with. Five out of five Dragons to this gorgeous book.

*I received the book in exchange for an honest review from blogging for books*

The Way You Feel Book Tag (Recommendations)

Hello my Literary Lovelies! I saw this tag done as a BookTube video last week and thought that the questions were incredibly interesting. The more I thought about them, the more I wanted to answer them…So I decided to do that through this blog and let you all join me! The originator of the tag is linked down below, I hope you will visit both Liz and Sam’s channels.

And now, without further ado, I present to you….*fanfare…drumroll**

THE WAY YOU (MAKE ME) FEEL BOOK TAG:

1)      You’ve just spent the last 3 months reading nothing but hyped books. Burn out has set in. Try this unique book to cool you down…

I love to read children’s books with my daughter to break up the burn out and if I’m choosing one of those for this answer, I have to go with Shannon Thompson’s the Princess in Black series. So cute, fun, and unique. Like Zorro with a unicorn and frills.

However, if I’m going with a MG and up book, I’d probably have to choose The Young Wizards Series By Diane Duane.

2)      Work was a complete drag and you need to get lost in another world. Check this out…A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. I am currently reading this and it sucks me into a world of wars and intrigue every time I open the book.

 

3)      Are you seeking a book with epic twists & turns? If you want to be shocked, look no further than… Skullduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy. Seriously! I almost used this on both of the previous questions but this book series is full of double crosses, surprise friendships, random twists, and epicness. These are dark MG books that, at times, read like an adult fantasy in the best way possible. Read them. Read them all. Read them now. Just read them!

 

4)      Summer will be over before you know it and you need a nice cozy read. I love to read the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien in the fall. I don’t know what it is about them, but I feel as though those books are amazingly cozy for adventure fantasy books. I also like to read the classics around fall/winter times so Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) and Little Women (and also anything else) by Louisa May Alcott

 

5)      Your Booktube friends are so far away. You really need a great friendship book right about now. Here you goAnne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery is one of my all-time favorite friendship books. I also love MG/YA friendship reads like the Babysitter’s Club Books and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

 

I hope that you have enjoyed seeing my answers to this tag! The original tag was created by Liz over at the blog Let’s Book About It and I snagged it off of the BookTube channel Sam’s Nonsense. You should definitely go check them both out. I will be posting the new ‘fall’ tag from Liz sometime soon as well because…FALL IS AWESOME AND BOOKS ARE AMAZING AND PUMPKINS MAKE ME HAPPY. *ahem* sorry about that, I got a bit excited. ;P

 

If you would like to let us know your responses or chat about any of mine, please feel free to leave a comment! Have a wonderful week and enjoy some words.

Weekly Reading Goals: 8/21-8/27

Every Sunday I go on my BookTube Channel and talk about whatever goals I have for the upcoming week. These videos are more for my benefit (I have to at least TRY if I tell you I’m going to do something) but several people have responded well to them and so I keep going. This week, I decided to things a bit differently. I discussed my goals for reading and writing very quickly, and moved on to other life goals. The more in-depth look at reading goals will go here, on my reading blog (and the writing goals will grace my writing blog.) Simple right? So why did it take me so long to come up with the idea….let’s not go there.

Now that the intro stuff is out of the way, let’s get into the meat of the matter.
My week’s Reading Goals:

  1. Read 300+ pages.

Some of you might find that number to be small potatoes. Others of you might be blown away by it. The truth is, this number was a fairly arbitrary pick for me, so let’s break it down.

a. Clayton Stone at Your Service by Ena Jones

This MG book is 180 pages long but I started it last night so I have about 150

more to go. That’s approximately 1/2 of my reading goal this week.

b.  A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

I am currently on page 515 of 807 so, technically, I have completed this   week’s read-a-long goal. However, I have been reading at least a chapter or two before bed every night and see absolutely no reason to stop that habit at this point. If I read about 100 pages this week, that leaves around 50 left in my goal

c. Heartless By Gail Carriger

The 4th book in the Parasol Protectorate series, I borrowed Heartless from

Overdrive on e-book and I am having a hard time reading it in this format

(my eyes are horrid). However, 50 pages should be fairly easy to accomplish.

BONUS: The Faceless Ones By Derek Landy

No pages here, this is a strictly audio endeavor, which I intend to complete

today. Skullduggery Pleasant is too funny to put away for long.

 

SO what are you reading this week? Leave me a comment and let’s chat about it! Happy week 😀

 

 

3 Reasons to read MG as an Adult

There is a debate happening across BookTube and book blogs right now, one that happens every few years, about reading YA (young adult) fiction as *gasp* adults. I won’t get into it because I am, in fact, an ‘adult’ and I do, indeed, continue to enjoy YA books. It happens. What I do want to discuss today is something I think deserves just as much discussion: Children’s and Middle Grade books. Specifically, the benefits of reading children’s and middle grade fiction long after you’ve passed the top end of that particular age bracket. Don’t worry, I’ve narrowed this down to a top 3 list!

1)      If you are a parent, teacher, caregiver, aunt, uncle, cousin, or person who lives near children (a.k.a. pretty much anyone on the planet) reading children’s and middle grade literature allows you to keep your finger on the pulse of the younger generations. You can not only monitor what they’re being exposed to through their reading, you can also find common ground to strike up conversations. Start a book club with them and discuss the important things, both in the books and in their lives.

Similarly, if you’ve been reading children’s and middle grade books in a wide variety you will be more readily equipped to suggest the book that might change a child’s life. For example, you hate reading but love skateboarding and now you’re grounded until you choose a book and write a review for class? Try out Tony Hawk’s autobiography.  You might just help with an assignment, but this might be the way they get into reading…or pass the fifth grade.

2)      Books meant for a younger audience deal with hard hitting issues such as death, race, orientation, and even terrorism in a more direct and seemingly sensitive manner which can help ease you into dealing with these issues in a much swifter and easier fashion than many adult books, which either swerve around the problem or tackle it with bloody force. Articles on dealing with grief might help eventually, but a good cry while reading through L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables might help you get up and try a lot faster than a ‘professional’ giving step by step instructions.

3)      Finally, sometimes you just want to relax, de-stress, and read something that allows you to revisit the home and innocence of your youth. You miss the times of braces, first crushes, and bff’s for-like-ever. These can all be revisited smoothly and swiftly with an old favorite (I like to curl up with one of Ann M. Martin’s Babysitter’s Club Books or some Winnie the Pooh myself) or even through a new modern ‘classic’ like Brandon Mull’s Fablehaven series. Maybe the feel of a Nancy Drew book can transport you back to the summer of awkward growth spurts and braids, or the flow of Harry Potter remind you of acne and beginning football.  Whatever it is, read to remember the wonder and awe of your childhood. Let the stresses of your ‘adulting’ melt away. Believe again.

It’s ok, no one will judge you for enjoying a good book.  If they try to, just ignore them and retreat to a well-made couch fort. No one has time for that sort of negativity!

Re-Writing

I’m beginning an overhaul of my first self-published piece: Dragon on My Neck. I absolutely adore this book. The characters are large pieces of myself and I cringe every time I think about this re-write…but then I read bits and pieces of the book and cringe even more. I was a totally different writer 7 years ago! My writing has evolved and matured and is (hopefully) much smoother and just all around BETTER at this point. This writing maturity has come from living more, reading more, writing more…and, more specifically, writing more pieces of the over arching story of The Stone Dragon Saga. So, perhaps, knowing what I know now will help me to create a more streamlined book? Or maybe I will trash the rewrite and keep the original? I don’t know yet, but I do have a question for you, my friends:

As a writer, do you ever go back and completely re-write something like this? If you are not a write, but a reader, do you ever wish the author had rewritten a book?

Let me know!

Saturday Stories 7/9/16

This past week was a doozy in the world of words I like to surround myself with and snuggle down in to.

First of all, I joined a Buddy Read/Group Read of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern which began for most of us on Monday, June 27th and is continuing on as people read and discuss at their own rates (One of the readers set up a thread on an existing Goodreads group) and so we are all still delving into the book even if we’ve finished as more of our compatriots comment on the different sections. I, myself, completed this book around Wednesday and absolutely adored it (rating around 4.5 stars, but I bumped it up to a full 5 or Goodreads). I own the beautiful floppy paperback version and also borrowed the audio book from Overdrive. It was fabulous, though the physical copy makes it a bit easier to follow the fluid and jumping time frames.

In the middle of reading The Night Circus, a read-a-thon started up…one that I have been anticipating and refining my TBR list for over the past 2 months. The #SmoresandMayhem Middle Grade Read-a-thon ran from July 1st – July 8th and had only one ‘rule’: each book must focus on a story that takes place during/in/around summertime.

For #SmoresandMayhem I managed to read 5 1/2 books (and DNF 1 more).

I re-read The Babysitter’s Club Super Special 1: Babysitters on Board (By Ann M. Martin) and High Wizardry (By Diane Duane). I haven’t read either of these books in so long that it was almost as though I read them for the first time. I remember loving the BSC book and feeling a bit MEH about the wizarding book and..my feelings haven’t really changed, except that I’m more outspoken about them now.

Along with those two I also completed Deep and Dark and Dangerous (By Mary Downing Hahn), The Wish in the Bottle (By Morna McLeod), and Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library (By Chris Grabenstein) (this was read on audio book and it was AMAZING. Listen to it!). I quit on The Girl who Circumnavigate Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (By Catherynne M. Valente) within the first two chapters. I have handed it over to my mother in order to determine if this is a book that I really do need to try to read again later, when I’m not still on a high from reading a couple of 5 star books prior to picking it up. I’m having the same issue with my 1/2 read book, The Westing Game (By Ellen Raskin)

The cool thing though, is that all the only physical library book I checked out for all of this was High Wizardry…meaning that I knocked out 6 books from my little TBR bookshelves. I’m down to about 45 now!

With all of that reading going on, I did kind of neglect my #HotandSticky Summer Writing Challenge work. I’m still a bit ahead of the game, but not by much with three days of 0 word count so far this month. Today’s (Friday, July 8th) ending target total word count 19,032 and my total current word count is 22,169. I definitely need to get my booty in gear again!

Unfortunately, I’ve lost over half of the original Sylvester outlines and have changed the story so much I’m now stalled in it trying to remember what I wanted so I know what to change (I hate it when I get all switch happy and forget what happens!). So I switched to writing the new children’s chapter book, a sequel to the recently finished Paulonious Punk (which hasn’t even been properly edited yet!) but the past couple of days has just felt like trying to pull cold taffy so all the myriad of picture book ideas, the children’s book, the 5th in the dragon series, the 2 NA/A fantasy stories, and the 2 rewrites are all just being left to their own devices. Normally one will speak to me and the rest get put aside for a bit but right now, right now I’m woefully falling behind. I better get over this soon, though, because I get CRANKY when I don’t write. It’s worse than PMS…it’s SWS (stalled writing syndrome)..and Midol does NOT help! (Coffee, Coke, Dark Chocolate, Chips and Salsa, 90s alternative music, and Netflix binges…these help. Please send some and save my poor family).

All that being said, here is a clip from the children’s chapter book. I’ve only just begun but I really enjoyed this scene, I hope you do too!

That afternoon Pauly called an emergency meeting of the adventuring club. With Fredrick and Mark Finkle still out of town at their lake house for the summer, Pauly, John, and Grandpa were the only official members available, but a quick vote allowed Sarah to tag to along too. If she got too annoying they could stick Grandma with her and ask them to bake cookies or something.

“This is gonna be SO GREAT,” Pauly exclaimed before remembering his role and sheepishly banging his small gavel on the president’s podium (a miniature dinosaur with flat top hair do and a mouth that would open and burp bubbles when you tickled its left ear). “I officially call this meeting to order! Is there any new business to attend to?”

“Yes,” Grandpa Punk solemnly raised his hand and waited to be called on. “Thank you, President Pauly,” he cleared his throat. “THIS IS GOING TO BE SO AWESOME!!!!!!!”

This caused the entire group to dissolve into a laughing it that was so loud and long it disturbed Grandmother Punk, who was in the process of baking and became afraid that her desserts would fall apart if the laughter continued.

When they had sobered up and managed to settle down a little, Pauly posed a serious question.

Fetching the club’s brand new “adventure notebook” (a pleather bound journal with the picture of a mountain on the cover) from its place of honor on top of the cluttered old desk in the corner, he began, “I think that we should each write down what’s going on and our thoughts and stuff about it from now until the end of the trip. That way we have a…a….a.”

“A reckoning of events for posterity,” Grandpa suggested with a smile.

“Exactly, a whatever it is that Granpa just said,” Pauly straightened his spine and schooled his facial expression into one of solemn thoughtfulness, “All in favor?”

Two ‘ayes’ and a ‘yupyup’ rang out among the many inventions and tools of the fort/shop.

“It has been decided,” Pauly intoned seriously, “So it shall be done.“   He passed the notebook and feathered pen to his second in command. “Johnny, will you start us out please?”

Wired for Story Chat | Intro and Ch. 1

I have decided to do a series of videos dicussing each chapter in this book and how it affects what I, as an author, am writing. This is a nonfiction that connects Neurology with Writing and is not only important, but interesting and well written as well. I hope you enjoy this (long) video. I promise the rest will be shorter!

Please comment with any suggestions, ideas, constructive criticisms, etc.

Leonard the Lemur

Our new Picture Books – Leonard the Lemur – is OUT!!! Beginning tomorrow (Tuesday April 12th) and going until Thursday (April 14th) the Kindle version of Leonard will be available for free. Please feel free to grab the book!

If you do, please remember to leave a review or comment telling me what you think.

Thank you! Have a great week.

Review – American Housewife

Hello everyone! If you’ve been around for a while then you probably picked up on the fact that I typically review Young Adult and/or self-published books. Don’t worry, I’m not going to stop that! However, the following book was recommended all over my friends’ BookTube videos recently and I decided to check it out on Overdrive and give it a whirl. So here we go!

American HousewifeBook Summary via Amazon:

A sharp, funny, delightfully unhinged collection of stories set in the dark world of domesticity, American Housewife features murderous ladies who lunch, celebrity treasure hunters, and the best bra fitter south of the Mason Dixon line.

Meet the women of American Housewife: they wear lipstick, pearls, and sunscreen, even when it’s cloudy. They casserole. They pinwheel. They pump the salad spinner like it’s a CPR dummy. And then they kill a party crasher, carefully stepping around the body to pull cookies out of the oven. These twelve irresistible stories take us from a haunted prewar Manhattan apartment building to the set of a rigged reality television show, from the unique initiation ritual of a book club to the getaway car of a pageant princess on the lam, from the gallery opening of a tinfoil artist to the fitting room of a legendary lingerie shop. Vicious, fresh, and nutty as a poisoned Goo Goo Cluster, American Housewife is an uproarious, pointed commentary on womanhood.

Book Review:

I was immediately captured by the witty, sarcastic writing style. Within the first few sentences I felt as though I was merely riding along with a few friends, discussing the random happenings of our lives..albeit slightly stranger happenings than normal but still…

Character Believability:

These characters are not the type that you would imagine to be completely believable. However, they’re written very realistically and the way they come across is highly believable.

Flow and Pace/Reader Engagement:

Like I said earlier, I was immediately engaged and remained so throughout the entire book. Each story maintained a wonderful pace and the entire book flowed together in a wonderful voice and overall feel.

  Reader Enrichment:

One wouldn’t imagine a short story collection of this sort to be particularly enriching for its readers. However, I feel as though I’ve been revived as an author by reading these little pieces (some of which discuss authoring along with their other themes). The way these little vignettes were written is refreshing and my brain feels as though it expanded and twirled in just the right directions to move along with the directions my own stories have been wanting to take.

Overall Impression:

Helen Ellis is the ‘bomb diggity’ of short story writing! The cover is gorgeous, the story telling is well done, the stories themselves are hilarious, and I absolutely adored this book.

Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 5
Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 5
Reader Enjoyment: 5
Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars