Tuesday, July 28, 2015

[Excerpt] Wish for me


Wish for Me

By A. Star

(The Djinn Order #1)
Publication date: April 27, 2015
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Steampunk


Three wishes. Two lovers. One destiny.

When the snarky Glory St. Pierre discovers the gold mechanical vase in her deceased grandmother’s basement, she has no idea that she has uncovered a priceless treasure: a genie lamp. With a real genie inside. A very sexy genie with a not-so-sexy grudge against the entire human race.

Irving Amir hates being called a genie. He’s a Djinn, and he is none too happy to be in the service of Glory, who is as intolerable, and beautiful, as humans come. Now he owes her his gratitude for freeing him and three wishes. Damn his luck.

But an arrow through the shoulder alerts Irving to the fact that he is being hunted, and after a truce dinner with Glory ends with them both almost being killed, hating each other goes right out the window. As feelings change and love starts to develop, they must dig through the secrets and lies to find the truth…a truth neither of them will ever see coming.

WARNING: Not suitable for ages 18 and under. A significant source of bad language, sexy times, and dirty jokes. If you suffer from a lack of a sense of humor, take with plenty of wine. If the symptom persists, see a doctor.

Goodreads | Amazon


“So, why are you here?” I held up a hand. “If you’re here to kill me, at least let me put some make­up on so I can be a pretty corpse like the ones in the movies.”

I laughed. He didn’t. I wanted to punch him, but before I could even open my mouth, Irving stalked forward and snatched all of the blankets from my bed.

“Hey! What the hell are you doing?” I exclaimed.

“There it is,” he said.

“There what is?” I looked down and saw the gold mechanical vase. “Oh, the vase thing?”

He shot me a look. “It is not a vase.” He looked down again. “It’s a Chronolier.”

“A what?”

“A Chronolier. It means ‘golden exodus’.”

“Golden exodus?”

“Yes. But in simple, mortal terms even you could understand, it’s a lamp.”

I frowned. “Like a light lamp?”


“A lava lamp?”

“What in the hell...no.”

I thought about it some more. Then laughed. “You can’t mean what I think you mean.”

He cocked his head at me. “What is it you think I mean?”

I pointed. “You think that’s a lamp. Like a genie lamp.”

“Djinn is the correct term and I don’t think anything. I know.”

“How do you know?”

“Because,” he said, “I’m the Djinn it belongs to.”

He didn’t even give me a chance to process that.

“Where is the key?” he asked.

“The key?” I remembered it had fallen off my bed and landed somewhere...

“There.” Irving knelt down and retrieved the key from under my bed.

“So it is,” I mumbled, trying to blink away the approaching dizzy spell.

“Thank Sultan,” he said, examining the key as he stood. He held it up. “This key is quite valuable, Glory St. Pierre. You should try not to be so careless with it.”

“Excuse you? I don’t even know what the fuck you’re talking about!”

Irving rolled his eyes like I was slow and should have caught on already. “You found my Chronolier and you turned this key, at least three times, correct? Which means, I’m yours for three wishes.”

I blinked. “Are you saying–”

“Yes, Glory. I’m a Djinn.” He blew out an impatient breath. “Or a genie. But if you call me that, I will make your life as unpleasant as possible at every opportunity.”

I stared at him. “Okay.” I reached down and dragged my covers off the floor and over my head. “I’m ready to wake up now.” This had to be a dream. I pointed toward the sky. “I blame you for this!” Old Addie would know who I was talking to.

“You are not dreaming, Glory,” Irving said.

The hell I wasn’t. Dude had just told me he was a fucking genie. I better be dreaming.

About A. Star

A. Star is a fan of dirty passion. She loves to read it, and she damn sure loves to write it. She is the author of the Mythos: Gods & Lovers series, the Djinn Order series, and the Knights of the Joust series. She is a night-owl and a coffee junkie, and the only sneaker she would be caught dead wearing are Converses.

Author links

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter






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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

10 tips for asking a blogger to review your book

I'm sure most book reviewers have noticed a trend by some authors and marketers to send out a mass email asking for their book to be reviewed. 

This annoys the shit out of me and I usually follow those emails up by immediately hitting the delete button. Sometimes I don't even read the whole email. 

Why is that, you might ask? Almost every blogger I know has submission guidelines that are super easy to follow. It's simple things like how to ask, what kinds of genres they are willing to accept and if they require a social media follow.  

I know authors are busy people who probably send out hundreds of review requests. But keep in mind, bloggers are just as busy.

Here are some tips on how to get a blogger to accept your publication for review:

1. Include my name in the greeting. My first name is all over my blog. (It's Ashley, by the way). It's at the top of my Meet the Nerd page and it's at the end of every single post I make. If you can't put forth the effort to find out my name, I can't put forth the effort to read your book. #sorrynotsorry

2. Include a summary of your book and a link to Amazon/B&N/Goodreads. I don't have a lot of time on my hands. Meaning, I don't have a lot of time to go searching to find out what your book is all about. Cut out the extra steps and just tell me what it's about. Sometimes, I also like to read other reviews to find out if there's certain things I'm not a fan of, such as a insta-love. I do try my best to pick novels I think I will enjoy. I'm doing both of us a disservice if I read everything that comes my way.

3. Do NOT ask me to review books I don't accept per my review guidelines. I detest contemporary romance, it makes me want to gouge my eyes out, and I state that in my guidelines. Why are you asking for a one star review? Don't waste my time or yours. Instead, find bloggers who DO like contemporary romance. 
4. On that note, follow my rules for request. I have just one rule really. You have to follow me on Twitter. This is for two reasons. First, I like to be able to tweet out the link once the review is up, as well as build my connections. Secondly, I use it to weed out people who obviously haven't read my guidelines.

5. Mention something about a blog post you read. I had two great authors recently who commented on one of my posts when they asked to be review, and it pushed them to the top of my review list. It's can be as simple as "I totally love your review of XXX" or "I see you still need a K title for your A-Z reading challenge." This shows me you've at least perused my blog, which I appreciate. If you expect me to read your book, I expect you to read some of my posts. It's a give and take. 

6. Don't tell me that you know I will love reading your book. You don't know me, and you don't know what I like to read. I don't like being told what to do or how to feel. Just ask my mother how well that's worked out for her.

7. Make sure your initial email is well-written and concise. No joke, I've had authors email me and I can't even tell what they're asking me. Example "i would love for to read my book. I'ts about a boy who is an alien but loves a girl who is not. please let me knwo and i will send to you." Now, an error or two can be overlooked. I know authors send tons of requests and emails every single day. But, if I can barely get through your email without cringing then I'm probably not going to want to read your book either. Thanks, but no thanks.

8. Don't resend the same email if you haven't heard back from me. I either haven't had a chance to respond to you yet, or I'm not interested. Sending me the same exact email won't help your case. If you want to send a follow up, that's perfectly reasonable. Something as simple as "Just wondering if you've had a chance to look over my request I sent on [date] and your interest level if you have."

9. Email me. I like email, it helps me stay organized. I'm a nut who has 10 subfolders to sort things into. So if you think asking me over Facebook or Twitter is the best move, think again. I'm usually on those two for about five minutes for a quick check and post, but that's about it. It also means there's a very good chance you haven't even looked at my blog. Does that mean everyone prefers email? Not at all. But it's probably the best bet. 

10. Don't be offended if I don't respond ever. While I try my best to get back to authors who do follow my guidelines, I lead a busy life. We all do. Sometimes I read an email and I'm not interested in reviewing for whatever reason, so I put it in the back of my mind to respond to later. Then I forget, because I'm human and sometimes forget things. It doesn't mean I hate you, but after a certain amount of time I'm going to assume you've probably forgotten about me.

In short, be personal, polite and include as much information as possible in your first contact. 

Edit: Here's a great example. I received this just one day after posting these guidelines.  I took out the name and title so as not to embarrass anyone.


I am XXXX and my debut fantasy novel, XXXX has been released recently. So, it would be really great if you could please review it.
- and he didn't even sign his name

Yea, and it'd be great if you could please go away. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

[Review & Giveaway] The Wonderland Effect

The Wonderland Effect

by Robert Arrington

Publish date: July 4, 2015
Genre: Fantasy, young adult
Rating: 4/5

Goodreads summary

Alice Littleton, gifted with the powers of Wonderland, draws a catastrophe down on herself when she tries to use them in aid of a kidnapped child. Now, she and her father are being pursued by a relentless paranormal intent on recruiting other supers- or eliminating potential competition. She finds her way to Prometheus Academy, a new school with a truly empowered student body, where she finally feels like she fits in. When the school comes under attack, Alice must decide whether to run again, or take a stand against the forces threatening her and her new friends.

My thoughts

In all reality, I've never been a fan of Alice in Wonderland. I've always found the story a little creepy and a bit annoying. But I decided to give The Wonderland Effect by Robert Arrington a try because it sounded like a good twist on the original story. 

If you think this is going to be a straightforward story about a girl who has gifts and someone who is after her (based on the blurb), you're dead wrong. This story turned out to be complex with a myriad of interesting characters. We follow Alice on her journey of discovery as she joined by friends fashioned after Lewis Carroll's characters. 

We also see parts of the story told from the other students at Prometheus Academy where Alice attends after she's discovered using her gifts. This means there are a lot of things happening at once, adding depth to the overall story. 

As for Alice, I wasn't so sold on her in the beginning. She's a bit naive and innocent, and she's far to eager to believe what Oglethorpe, the bad guy, is selling. But then I realized she really reminded me of the original Alice. Too curious for her own good. In the end, her spunky personality won me over. 

I really enjoyed the Wonderland characters, like Hatter, Ches and Marchie, as well. They always had Alice's back and added a great comedic element to the story.  

Alice's gifts include being able to talk to animals, the ability to shrink/enlarge herself and a variation of flight. While all of Alice's gifts are related in some way to wonderland, Mr. Arrington created new and interesting powers tailored to each individual student. One student has the gift of illusions and other had supernatural luck.

Overall, The Wonderland Effect gets a solid 4 stars from me, mostly because of the complexity of the story. I would definitely recommend this story to anyone likes a twist on the classics, as well as anyone who likes action, adventure and some superhero-like powers. 

** I was provided a copy of this book in return for an honest review

Good news is that you can get The Wonderland Effect is available now on Smashwords. It will be available on other outlets by July 15. 

Get it here


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[Blitz] Fractured Memories

Fractured Memories 

by Jo Schneider

(Jagged Scars #1)
Publication date: May 20, 2015
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Young Adult


Sixteen year old Wendy never knew the world before the Starvation. She’s learned to put her trust in her knives, and her confidence in her fighting ability. When the Skinnies attack her compound, she’s the lone survivor.

Injured and near death, Wendy is rescued and nursed back to health by mysterious strangers. Her saviors offer her a place among them, but trust has never been one of Wendy’s strengths, and suspicion soon leads to evidence that these people might be the group who killed her family.

The decision to get her revenge, and take the settlement down from the inside out is easy. Keeping her distance from those she must befriend in order to make it happen proves to be much more difficult.

Goodreads | Amazon

About Jo Schneider

Author of Babes in Spyland, New Sight-YA fantasy out April 2014, wearer of a black belt in Kempo and always in search of the next cool place to visit!

Author links

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Q&A with Jo Schneider

1. What does your writing process look like?

Imagine a desk, and at one end is a neat, little pile of papers. Next to that is another pile, this one not quite so tidy. Maybe one paper is slipping off the stack, which leads the eye to an array of notes that may have been, at one time, in a pleasing fan shape, but now looks like someone gave it a noogie. This is usually where you will discover the discarded wrappers of whatever snacks I could find. A glass with the glazed on remains of a Diet Coke will be sitting on a Dr. Who coaster, and the little cup for pens will be empty, because the pens are now hiding under the papers. When your eyes reach the keyboard, you'll see that everything has been pushed aside to make room for me playing of Facebook.

2. What book do you wish you could have written?

Ender's Game. That book has captured so many people's imaginations, I would love to have been the person to have written it. Plus, Ender's Game sits somewhere in the middle of commercial fiction and literary fiction, a place I hope to venture someday.

3. How important are names in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any other name choosing resources you recommend?

Names are very important, and I'm sometimes horrible at finding just the right one. Ages ago, I bought a baby name book--a book that my fiance packed up when we got married and moved in together and was a little concerned about--and I often use that to find names. Sometimes I look at meanings. Often I will end up with names that all sound the same (one syllable for instance) or all start with the same letter. When that starts to happen, I find a letter I haven't used and I flip open the book. Sometimes I use the web too. Especially if I need, say, legitimate last name from Africa.

In my first novel, New Sight, I couldn't think of a name for the bad guys, so I named them the New until I came up with something better. By the time I got finished writing the book, the New had stuck. It's a dumb name, but now it's theirs.

4. What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?

This one is easy, and maybe you're expecting me to say "Finishing my first manuscript!", but that's not it at all. While writing isn't easy, it's something that I can do. What I struggled for six years to get is my black belt in Shaolin Kempo. I'm a round girl--always have been--and I had to put some seriously hard, physical effort into every single thing I did at the dojo. I can write all day, but ask me to do a push up, and I still inwardly roll my eyes and do them from my knees. So yeah, black belt. I'm pretty proud of that.

5. What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Years ago, I was at a little, tiny writing/Sci-fi/Fantasy convention and I went to a class by a guy I'd never heard of. A guy named Brandon Sanderson. His first Librarians book was about to come out, and he was talking about magic systems. I don't really remember what he said about that. What I do remember is one simple statement he made, "Don't be afraid to suck."

I've lived by this creed ever since. Don't expect to be the best author in the room, don't expect to get everything right the first time, and don't expect to wow every reader you encounter. What all authors need to do is keep writing. Find some people who will help you get better and listen to them. It's okay to suck, as long as you're willing to try again.

6. Do you read reviews? Do you respond the them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

I started out reading my reviews, but quickly gave up. Partly because it's like an emotional roller coaster with some ups, some downs and often times afterwards I just wanted to throw up. My fix for all of this was to have my husband read them. He then tells me if there are any common threads. For instance, if three or four people say they felt the ending was rushed, then that's something I should look at.

I remember getting a review of my first novel that said it was horrible and she couldn't connect with the characters and she didn't even make it through the book. I was devastated. How could anyone be so mean? In a fit of rage, I looked up her blog to see if she was mean to everyone, or if it was just me. That's when I found out that she reviews fluffy romances, not action/Sci-Fi/Fantasy stories. No wonder she didn't make it through, there wasn't nearly enough googly eyes and sexual tension for her. That's when I asked my hubby to read the reviews for me. One romance writer hated my book. That's totally fine, but her feedback isn't terribly pertinent to me, because I'm not writing Twilight.

7. What is your biggest failure?

I still haven't received any death threats for killing off a character. This will happen.

8. What is your biggest fear?

The dark. No, wolves. No, the lack of toilet paper in the apocalypse.

9. What do you want your tombstone to say?

Okay, two things here. The mom of one of my best friends growing up wants this on hers, and I think it's brilliant, "See, I told you I was sick." I can probably talk my husband into this.

If not that, then something silly. None of the sweet, tear jerking messages that people leave.

Those are lovely, but not really me. I'm more like, "Did you turn the lights off before you left?" or, "Be good. There is no try."

10. If you had a superpower, what would it be?

Flying. Fast. Then I'd figure out some weapons and the bad guys would hate me. Buahahaha!

11. What super talents do you have?

I'm killer at writing dialogue.

I'm really good at making people feel stupid (the question didn't say good super talents).

I'm good at diffusing tense situations. With either humor or logic.

Sometimes I think I'm around to look dumb, just so other people can feel good about themselves.

12.What is one place you want to visit that you haven't been before?

I've had the opportunity to travel a lot, but I've never been to Antarctica. I know it sounds insane, but I totally want to go! Seriously, penguins and the driest place on earth. Plus ice. I'm so there.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

[Review] Wolfskin


by W.R. Gingell

Publish date: May 1, 2015
Genre: Fantasy, young adult
Rating: 4/5

Summary | Goodreads

‘If you want adventure, you have to march right up to it and kick it in the shins . . .’

At fourteen, barefoot and running wild, Rose is delighted to be apprenticed to Akiva, the witch of the forest. She thinks it will be all enchantment and excitement, and not so much fuss about baths. The reality is much more sober and practical- that is, until she meets a mysterious wolf in the forest and is tricked into stepping off the path . . .
In young, naive Rose, Bastian sees a way of escape. Cursed to remain in the shape of a wolf after running afoul of a powerful enchantress, he has lived many decades under a spell, and now he is both desperate and ruthless. But by breaking part of Bastian’s curse, Rose has caught the attention of Cassandra, the enchantress who cursed him: and Cassandra is by no means ready to forgive and forget.
Meanwhile, wardens have been disappearing from the forest, one by one. Rose is certain that Cassandra is behind the disappearances, but can she and Bastian get to the bottom of the matter before Akiva disappears as well? And are Bastian’s motives entirely to be trusted?

Sometimes the little girl in the red hood doesn’t get eaten, and sometimes the wolf isn’t the most frightening thing in the forest.

My thoughts

Honestly, in the beginning I was a little unsure about reading and reviewing Wolfskin by W.R Gingell. Now that I'm in my mid-20s (sigh... getting older) I tend to lean more toward stories with slightly older characters or NA fantasy. I find that I can relate more toward characters that are closer to my age. 

So with that in mind, I did get a little frustrated with the main character and her childish reaction to things. She was a little bit whiny and pouty. However, then I reminded myself that I was a little brat at 14 too, and I started to really enjoy the story once I got that out of the way. 

What's good. The story itself was excellent. It wasn't anything like I had expected at all, which is always refreshing to see in a fantasy. Our main character, Rose, has a lot of learning to do in her apprenticeship and we learn right along with her. I found myself confused at times by what was happening, but it made me connect with Rose more, since she was struggling to understand everything at the same time I was. 

The characters were new and refreshing. After I got over my initial dislike of Rose, I came to love her energy and curiosity. It reminded me a lot of myself at that age. 

Then there's Akiva, the guardian witch Rose is apprenticed to. She's not your typical lovey, dovey fairy godmother. She's a tough, no nonsense old broad. She really makes Rose work for everything and never just gives her the answer to whatever problem she's facing. 

Lastly, we have Bastian. His character is very drawn out through the novel. When we meet him, he's a conniving, vicious wolf who's about to eat Rose on their first meeting. After she breaks the first part of his curse, we don't see that much of him. Rose runs into him here and there, but he doesn't really play a bigger part until the second half of the novel. 

What could have been better. The pacing was a little off for me. Sometimes it would take an entire chapter to go through a few days. Other times it was months down the road within a few sentences. To me, it didn't quite flow as well as it could have. I like it better when there's a consistency to the timeline.  

I would have like to have seen more of Bastian in the beginning half of the novel. After Rose broke the first part of the curse I thought he'd be around more. He still had two more parts to the curse but didn't seem to be in a hurry to break them. 

Overall, I gave Wolfskin a rating of 4/5 because I really, really enjoyed the storyline. The few things that I didn't like were very minor and didn't take away from the book as a whole. I'll definitely be recommending this one.

** I was provided a copy of this book in return for an honest review

Get it here

About the author

W.R Gingell is a Tasmanian author who enjoys reading, bacon, and slouching in front of the fire to write.

Author links:
Website | Twitter | Goodreads 


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