3 Month Blogoversary Giveaway (INT)!


I am in shock right now. Seriously. I just noticed the date on my laptop a few minutes back and I seriously can’t believe that it has been THREE months already since I started my blog. Yes, on May 15th, 2013, That Artsy Girl’s Book Blog entered this (virtual) world. It feels like yesterday when I thought, “Hey, I like books. I like writing. So, what don’t I start writing about books I like?”

Over these three months, I have met some amazingly good authors, some insanely helpful bloggers and readers who are just as crazy about books as I am. And I just made a spur of the moment decision to thank all you people out there who took the time to read my blog. And what better way to thank book-crazy people than to host a giveaway of books?

So, here it is, all official looking:

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The winner of this giveaway will win ANY BOOK OF HIS/HER CHOICE. The giveaway is INTERNATIONAL as long as the Book Depository ships to your country. Thanks so much guys for all your love!

***GIVEAWAY***

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Review + Giveaway: Cobweb Bride by Vera Nazarian


I’m really sorry I haven’t updated my blog in quite a while, but I broke my laptop a week back and now it’s display is shattered to smithereens. Hopefully, it will be back in good condition by next week in which case I will be able to post more often. In the meantime, I’ll be using my friend’s laptop, so please go easy on me if the posts are sporadic.

So, anyway, today I bring to you a book that will appeal to all fantasy fans. Plus, there are TWO awesome giveaways. The first is blog specific and is for five ebook copies of Cobweb Bride. And the other giveaway is for paperback and hardback copies of the same.

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Release Date: July 15, 2013

Publisher: Norilana Books 

Imprint: Leda 

Trade Hardcover
(First Edition)
ISBN-13: 978-1-60762-112-6
ISBN-10: 1-60762-112-6

$24.95 US / 20.00 UK

Trade Paperback
ISBN-13: 978-1-60762-113-3
ISBN-10: 1-60762-113-4

$14.95 US / 12.00 UK 

Ebook (multi-format)
ISBN-13: 978-1-60762-114-0
ISBN-10: 1-60762-114-2

$5.99

Many are called…
She alone can save the world and become Death’s bride.

Cobweb Bride is a history-flavored fantasy novel with romantic elements of the Persephone myth, about Death’s ultimatum to the world.

What if you killed someone and then fell in love with them?

In an alternate Renaissance world, somewhere in an imaginary “pocket” of Europe called the Kingdom of Lethe, Death comes, in the form of a grim Spaniard, to claim his Bride. Until she is found, in a single time-stopping moment all dying stops. There is no relief for the mortally wounded and the terminally ill….

Covered in white cobwebs of a thousand snow spiders she lies in the darkness… Her skin is cold as snow… Her eyes frozen… Her gaze, fiercely alive…

While kings and emperors send expeditions to search for a suitable Bride for Death, armies of the undead wage an endless war… A black knight roams the forest at the command of his undead father … Spies and political treacheries abound at the imperial Silver Court…. Murdered lovers find themselves locked in the realm of the living…

Look closer — through the cobweb filaments of her hair and along each strand shine stars…

And one small village girl, Percy—an unwanted, ungainly middle daughter—is faced with the responsibility of granting her dying grandmother the desperate release she needs.

As a result, Percy joins the crowds of other young women of the land in a desperate quest to Death’s own mysterious holding in the deepest forests of the North…

And everyone is trying to stop her.

Rating:

four-stars

Review:

I received a free copy of this book from Fiction Addiction Blog Tours and I’m so glad I did.

I have read many books to date but none like this. The best word I can think of to describe this book is unique. Everything about this book is unique – the story telling, the characters, the plot, everything. When I first started this book, the language seemed a little too flowery for my taste but as I delved deeper, I realized the language was just setting the tone for the book. The story is every bit as beautiful as the language in which it is written. The characters are far from flat. They jump out of the pages. They are very, very real. They are neither good, neither bad. They are gray, as are all humans. The descriptions and world building are important elements of the story as they add the necessary magical touch to the book. Plus, unlike many books that are coming out now, romance is kept on the backseat while plot develops at a slow but steady pace. If you are looking for a good fantasy book with awesome characters and close to no cliches, I would definitely recommend this book for you.

As for cons, the only thing that bothered me about this book was the pace. In some parts, I wished the story would move a little fatser but that didn’t make me lose interest in the story in any way.

Giveaway #1

Giveaway #2

Book Review: That Ghoul Ava and The Queen of Zombies by T. W. Brown


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Ava Birch killed herself and woke up a ghoul with an attitude and a hunger for the dead. With no manual and very little help coming from the supernatural community, Ava offers her services to the regional psychic. Her newest job? Apparently zombies have been spotted in a small town nearby. Ava wades in thinking that this job will be a piece of cake…or at least as tasty. Navigating meddling vampires, bothersome witches, and a peculiar case of memory loss…and now her best friend and human companion has up and walked out. Things go from bad to worse when Ava discovers that there is a force behind these recent zombie sightings that may date back to the time of the Black Plague. Sometimes a ghoul would just rather stay in bed…or at least her sound proof basement where nobody can hear you scream.

Rating:

four-stars(4 stars)

Review:

Now, I’ve never read a ghoul book before. I’ll admit I didn’t even know what a ghoul did (or ate) before this book. So, in many ways, this book was refreshing to read. But that said, it took me some time to get into its whole vibe. There was just something about That Ghoul Ava and the Queen of Zombies that left me wishing that there had been a bit more. Maybe it was the fact that Ava was a bit too smart-alecky for my liking. Don’t get me wrong, I love snarkiness in a girl, but Ava was just… I don’t know, immature maybe? But that doesn’t mean that the book wasn’t enjoyable. I found myself laughing out loud at a lot of parts. The author has a very lively way of writing that grabs your attention instantly. The thing I loved about the book was the description of the creatures, even the way Ava talked about her preferred food. Also, there is a tiny bit of romance in the book, and might I add that it is not the corny type of romance either, so that was good. On the cons side, the characters were a little two-dimensional, but I guess, this is the kind of book where you look for plot rather than characterization. I found the ending to be a bit abrupt, but then again, as Ava would say, not everything has to end in violence, right? All in all, this was a short but enjoyable read, but I’ve come to the conclusion that it is not my type of book. This book didn’t make me want to pick up more books dealing with ghouls. Maybe ghouls and I are just not meant to be. But if you’re into zombies or ghouls, you should definitely give this book a try. It is laugh-out-loud funny without being cheesy.

Interview + Promo Post: Angella Graff (Author of Alexandra Fry, Private Eye)


Hey guys! So, I’ve been a little busy and haven’t been able to write the review for the book I just finished, That Ghoul Ava and the Queen of Zombies, but I will have it ready in a few days. I promise! In the meantime, I have an interview with an amazing author, Angella Graff who is the lady behind the book, Alexandra Fry, Private Eye. There’s also a promo post following the interview where Angella talks about her book and the Tucson Alliance for Autism. Hope you enjoy!

INTERVIEW

Hi Angella! Welcome to That Artsy Girl’s Book Blog. I’m so glad to have your here. 🙂 Why don’t you give us a little intro about yourself?

Hi!  Thanks for having me, I really appreciate it.  Well I’m a pretty simple person.  I’m married to a wonderful man and we have three gorgeous kids.  I work as an editor for a publishing house by day, and when I’m not doing stuff with the kids, I’m usually writing (or at Zumba!) or spending the evenings digging away in my garden.  Nothing extraordinary, but I definitely feel like I hit the ground running from the moment I wake up!

Your book, Alexandra Fry: Private Eye sounds like a supercool book. Tell us what the book is about.

Well Alexandra Fry, Private Eye is a young adult series about a girl, Alexandra, who has a very unique gift.  She can see ghosts.  The ghosts who visit her are some of history’s most famous, and they come to her for help in finding items that used to belong to them that have been stolen.  She gets into a lot of sticky situations trying to recover these items, but with the help of her friends Penelope and Jack, they get the job done.

Alexandra is your typical twelve-year-old girl dealing with Middle School, too.  She experiences things like bullies and embarrassing moments, and her first sort-of crush.  Her best friend Penelope is pretty quirky, and Jack has his own, very interesting secrets.

Fifty percent of the book’s proceeds are also going to my local Autism Alliance, so every purchase of the book is a donation.

What inspired you to write the story? Was it a sudden spark or something that has been on your mind for sometime?

Actually my ten-year-old daughter inspired me.  She was joking around, playing pretend, and made up a rhyming name for her pretend character.  It was something like Melanie Proctor, Future Doctor, or something, and I started brainstorming on what would be catchy and cute.  Then my daughter and I started coming up with plot ideas on what kids would like to read, and that’s how Alexandra was born.

Who is the lead character of your book modeled upon?

She’s a compilation of many things, really.  I draw a lot of her experiences from my own from middle school, and I try and take inspiration from my daughter and her friends, watching them interact with each other, paying attention to the trends they like and don’t like.  I like to think Alexandra is her own, very unique person, but my kids are definitely in there as well.

What is the very first story you wrote and when did you write it?

The first story I wrote was this 700 page epic fantasy about dragons when I was about sixteen.  That’s not counting a lot of the short stories I had been writing since I was in first grade.  I’d always wanted to be a writer, so trying to track down my first ever is tough.

What is your artistic muse?

Oh that depends because my muses are all over the place.  I’m three books in to an Urban Fantasy series for adults, also with a bit of detective mystery and mythology thrown in there, so it really depends.  A lot of time a phrase, sentence, song lyric, almost anything, will spark my interest and I’ll just sit down and write for hours.

Favorite authors and books?

Oh this is always such a tough question for me because I don’t read a lot of fiction books.  I have a degree in Medieval Theology, so I read a lot of theology theory books.  My favorite is Elaine Pagels, who wrote the Gnostic Gospels, one of my favorite.

I will give a shout out to Phillip Hall, who wrote Memories of the Dead, which was the first “vampire” book I’ve read in years that I actually enjoyed.

To you, what is the best thing about writing?

For me, writing is so many things.  It’s a way to unwind after a hard day, it’s a creative outlet, and sometimes it’s a way to escape.  Writing for me is like reading for a lot of other people, where I can just get lost in another world, and sometimes I forget where I’m at until one of the kids comes up to me and drags me out of it.

What do you do when you don’t write?

Oh a ton of things.  Right now since it’s summer, I spend a lot of the day trying to entertain my three kids who are on their break, which isn’t easy since where we live it’s boiling hot outside.  I edit during the day, so I spend a lot of hours in other people’s manuscripts.  In the evenings I’m usually out in my garden, and three or four nights a week I do Yoga and Zumba just to throw in some “me” time.  Late nights the hubby and I try and spend an hour or two together after the kids are asleep, but it always feels like there’s not enough time in the day.  Sometimes I wonder how I actually find time for writing!

You mentioned that half the proceeds from the sales of your book will go to your local Autism Alliance. What made you take this decision?

Well truthfully, it was always something I wanted to do.  I moved to Tucson in 2004 when my son was three.  He’d been at several doctors and we’d spent over a year trying to give him a proper diagnosis.  His pre-K teacher was the first person to notice some of his symptoms, and once he was diagnosed, the Tucson Alliance for Autism was invaluable in their help when it came to parenting techniques, coping mechanism, and peer therapy for him.  The information I got there really helped relieve a lot of the stress caused by trying to parent an Autistic child without knowing what steps to take.

He’s an amazing kid, at the top of his grade and with the coping skills he’s learned from the Autism Alliance, he’s been able to be more social, and even joined the band this year which is something I never thought he’d do!  I felt like giving back to the Autism Alliance was the least I could do for them.

If your book was turned into a movie, who do you think would be apt choices to play the lead characters?

Oh gosh that’s also a tough one.  I hadn’t even thought about it that far, which is probably terrible.  I’m sure if I gave this question to my daughter, though, she’d have the entire cast-list written out in five minutes!

And finally, what is the one thing that you would change in the world if you could?

In all honesty, I think that people are way too focused on forcing other people live up to other’s values.  I believe strongly in freedom of choice, as long as the choice you’re making doesn’t take away the choice from another person, and doesn’t cause them harm.  If more people participated in a live and let live philosophy, I think there would be a lot more peace and tolerance in the world, leading to happier, and more productive people.

PROMO POST

Alexandra Fry, Private Eye: The Curse of the Lion’s Heart will be free on Amazon.com/Amazon.Co.UK starting June 26th and June 27th .

As 50% of the proceeds are being donated to autism, the free books will not count toward any donations.  If you download this book for free and enjoy it, and want to make a donation, please do so here at http://angellagraffbooks.wordpress.com/donate-to-the-tucson-alliance-for-autism/

$1.00USD will go toward the donations for the Autism Alliance. 

Alexandra Fry is just your average seventh-grader.  Or is she?  Starting a new school, Alexandra hopes to leave her old life, and old reputation of “Loopy Lexi” behind.  But it’s not so easy when Alexandra is the kind of girl who sees ghosts.  And not just any ghosts, but history’s most famous.  They come to her to solve mysteries, when things from their past life fall into the wrong hands.

Desperate to be normal and make some friends, Alexandra is devastated to be visited by none other than Queen Elizabeth the First during a lesson in school.  But Queen Elizabeth doesn’t just have your average, run of the mill problem.  The thing that was stolen was a locket– a cursed locket, and if it’s not returned to the museum, the entire world will be in danger.  It’s up to Alexandra and her new friends Penelope and Jack, to find out who took the locket and why.  Ducking security guards, breaking and entering, and finding out someone isn’t who they said they were is just your average day for this seventh grade girl.

Fifty percent of the proceeds for Alexandra Fry, Private Eye series will be donated to the Tucson Alliance for Autism.  The Tucson Alliance for Autism is a wonderful organization helping parents and kids with all levels and types of autism.  They provide services, counseling and peer support.  My twelve-year-old son is Autistic, and when he was younger, I wasn’t sure what to do.  But the Tucson Alliance for Autism provided me with so much material and support that my son is now a flourishing sixth-grader with friends, activities, and he’s even joined the band at his new middle school– something I thought he would never do.  I’m thrilled and excited to help give-back to my community and this wonderful organization that has helped so many people here in Arizona.

Thank you in advance for your purchases and support of this amazing cause, and for any information please visit their website at www.tucsonallianceforautism.org

To make a flat donation to the Tucson Alliance for autism click here.

Book review: Phantasma by Penelope Reece


Rating:

4stars

Alphie Brewster attends school, has friends, and a loving family. She’s even taken an interest in the hot new neighbor. It’s the normal life of your average eighteen-year-old. There’s only one problem. Alphie isn’t normal. She’s anything but. You see, Alphie’s got this problem. She’s always tired, is plagued with vivid nightmares, and can’t remember her past.

After Alphie stumbles upon a necklace that once belonged to her grandfather, and unintentionally opens a portal that sends a ghostly figure hurtling out at her from her bedroom mirror, she finds herself faced with another problem. A six foot four inch tall eccentric spook, named Noer, who fills her with fire while draining her energy as if she were a Duracell Battery.

With Noer constantly making her go all weak in the knees, Alphie wants nothing more than to be rid of both him and the necklace. Especially, since the sexy neighbor, Cary, has taken a fancy to her. And that’s not all. With both spook and Cary fighting for her attentions, Alphie starts to remember things. Things that she wished would stay buried. Then Alphie visits Noer’s home in Limbo, and things start to get even weirder.

If that all isn’t complicated enough, a vicious stranger comes looking for the necklace. And this stranger will do anything to get it. Within this chaos, will Alphie be able to come to terms with her past in order to save her family? Or will she become just another lost soul without a body?

I was given a free copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. So, here goes.

***MILD SPOILERS AHEAD***

Okay, first things first. Sure, the blurb is kind of big and a little too informative. When I pick up a book, I want the blurb to be enticing without revealing everything about the story. So, yeah, I wish they’d shorten up the blurb. Now, moving on to the actual story, I have to say that the first 15% or so of the story didn’t hook me in. It was sort of cliche and the writing was forced and stilted. The conversations between Alphie, our leading girl of the book, and her sister Robyn sounded contrived. Another thing I didn’t like was Alphie’s name. I mean, I get that a lot of female leads inYA books (especially of the paranormal variety) tend to have weird names, but Alphie? Seriously? I didn’t like it.

Then, Alphie opened up the portal. And BOOM! The story picked up pace quickly after that and the writing seemed more fluent and spontaneous. I found myself not wanting to put the book down at all. It was a bad, bad decision I made to start reading the book at 11 in the night. I didn’t – couldn’t – get to sleep until I finished the book at 6 in the morning. Thank God I have summer vacation right now or else I would have had to skip my classes. So, anyway, the story becomes much, much interesting after Noer enters the plot. Even though Cary was nice and all, and even though Noer was made to appear creepy, I was still rooting for Noer and Alphie. Plus, once I was past the halfway mark, I didn’t even mind Alphie’s name. I was actually starting to like it. I loved the way Alphie’s “episodes” were written. I could almost imagine it happening to me. So, all in all, the book was a really good read, really enjoyable. The plot was something different from all the other YA books I’ve read so far. But the feeling I got while reading the book – the emotions – kind of reminded me of when I read Nevermore by Kelly Creagh. That is a huge compliment because Nevermore is one of my most favorite books. This book didn’t have the standard happy ending other YA books have, although it is a happy ending “in a strange sort of way”. The only cliche I found in the book was the fact that Alphie had a really low self-esteem. What is it with YA girls and low self-esteem? So, anyway, it would be nice if there is a sequel to this story, maybe telling a bit more about what exactly happened to Edger and about the life Noer and the “new Alphie” are living now.

Pros:

  • Unique plot
  • Best friend who is not annoying, for a change
  • Sister who actually cares about Alphie
  • Romantic interest who doesn’t smother
  • Romantic interest who isn’t perfect in all the ways (*ahem*Edward*ahem*)
  • Eerily scary at times (in a good way)
  • Really good ending (non-cliche)
  • The villain (who happens to have a surprising link to Alphie) scared the shit out of me!

Cons:

  • First 15% is sort of blah
  • Alphie’s self-esteem issues
  • Alphie’s Mom was kind of absent throughout the whole story. I wish more chapters had dealt with the relationship between Alphiea and her mom.

Verdict:

Phantasma was funny, scary, romantic, thrilling and packed with suspense. It was a really exciting read for me. More people should read it and see what an amazing story it is!