Friday, October 24, 2014

Mara Valderran's Heirs of War, Crown of Flames



The NA fantasy series Heirs of War has taken Wattpad by storm with over one million reads, and the second installment has arrived. Catch up on Heirs of War (#1) for just 99 cents now!



Heirs of War #1:


When seventeen year-old Zelene finds herself thrust into a world of magic and prophecy, she discovers fighting destiny might not be the toughest battle she has to face. Now she must join with three other girls, complete strangers linked only by blood relation, to fight a war they know nothing of and rescue the twin sister she's never met.


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The adventure continues with Heirs of War, Crown of Flames...

Heirs of War, Crown of Flames
Heirs of War #2
Mara Valderran
Cover Art by Gretchen Byers

Weeks have passed since Ariana and Alec escaped from Kellen's dungeon, but danger isn't far behind them. The guilt of his past weighs heavily on Alec’s shoulders, and his secrets only push Ariana further away. As they travel through unknown lands and encounter multiple threats, their biggest challenge might be trusting one another.

The world appears to be going on regardless of the risks Ariana faces. The Duillaine insist that they are doing everything they can to find Ariana, but their actions betray that claim. Despite the danger and the war closing in around them, all of Anscombe seems to be more interested in the upcoming Imbolc festival and Terrena’s betrothal than rescuing Ariana.

Well…not everyone.

Tired of waiting for the Duillaine to help her twin, Zelene starts plotting on her own and finds a surprising ally in Rhaya, even as the Cynewards prepare to make a move of their own. But Zelene’s plans go awry when she finds herself with a new ability, a mysterious new friend, and more enemies within the walls of Anscombe than she thought.

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HEIRS OF WAR, CROWN OF FLAMES EXCERPT:
Zelene steadied her breathing. "Someone explain to me what is
going on."
"They want to help," Ellowyn explained and rushed
forward. "We can't do this alone."
"We need people we can trust," Zelene shot back and
gestured to Tate, "and he spent his time on Dhara spying on us. How do you
know he isn't spying on us still?"
"I know," Rhaya said.
Tate swaggered forward with ease, stopping directly in front of
Zelene with a scowl on his face. "I get that you don't like me. Newsflash:
I don't like you either. You're a stubborn, spiteful, angry brat as far as I'm
concerned. I'm done trying to play nice with you. But here's the deal: Ariana
is my best friend. Ariana, I like. Which means that if you and the Cynewards
are going after her, I'm in."
Zelene pulled back. "No one said anything about the
Cynewards."
Rhaya raised her hand meekly. "That was me too. I'm the one
who brought Tate in, and I thought that maybe we could send them word of where
we're heading after we leave. Then they won't get in trouble for plotting with
us."
Tate shook his head. "It isn't necessary. They know what
you're planning. Honestly, you thought you could keep this away from them? They
live and breathe to watch over you every second of every day. Even when you
don't see them, they are there."
"Why aren't they trying to stop us?" Rhaya asked.
"Because that isn't their way," Terrena answered as she
and Nolan joined the group. "They aren’t our fathers anymore, they are our
Cynewards, and now they must follow the rules set forth for their kind. They
don't interfere, only protect us. And what’s more…because of the prophecy, they
can't stop us, even though I assure you they want to."
Zelene crossed her arms over her chest. "How do you know
that?"
"Because Kenward told me," Terrena answered and shrugged
at Rhaya's look of disbelief. "You aren't the only one that breaks the
rules, you know."
Rhaya could tell that Zelene was still suspicious of her sister's
involvement. "What made you become such the rebel?"
Terrena wrung her hands together. "I wasn't raised on Dhara,
but I was raised…differently. I don't see things the way you assume I do."
She turned to Zelene. "Like some sort of spoiled princess. That's not how
I lived. I haven't agreed with your methods, Zelene, but when I saw you stand
up for the Tainted…well, I saw you for the leader you truly are."
Zelene scoffed. "I'm not a leader."
"Yes, you are," Nolan disagreed. "You are a true
leader, the likes of which the worlds have not seen in quite some time. People
flock to the Cahirans because they use pretty words and make passionate
arguments. The Duillaine counter that by reciting the rules and taking the same
hard stance they've had for generations. But you? You have the power of the
Duillaine and the passion of the Cahirans, and you truly care about people. And
the people will follow you."
"Right," Zelene muttered. "No pressure. So…time for
a real plan."



ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Mara Valderran is an author of young adult and new adult books, but she's more than just a madwoman with a writing box. She is an avid reader and fan of all things sci-fi and fantasy. She loves roller skating and movies, though typically not together. She lives in Las Vegas with her husband and demanding cat. She hopes to one day meet Daniel Jackson from SG1, or at least the actor who played him. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading, playing video games, or counting down the days until DragonCon.


Find Mara Online: 
Website & Blog  Twitter  Facebook  Google+  Goodreads  Wattpad  Amazon Author

Sign up for Mara's newsletter so you don't miss news on new releases and fun contests!

Want to follow this blog tour? Check out the calendar below!


Monday 10/13
Krystal WadeMargo Bond CollinsHere is What I Read Book Blog
Vicki TraskJessa RussoLorraine Harvey
Priya KanapartiNerd Girl OfficialTerry's Book Addiction
Ali DeanShooting Star Book Reviews
Tuesday 10/14Wednesday 10/15Thursday 10/16
Ali Dean (Review)Jan Farnworth (Review)James Wymore (Guest Post)
Terry's Book Addiction (Review)Jamie Ayres (Promo)
Friday 10/17Saturday 10/19Monday 10/20
Emma Adams (Interview)Laveda Kasch (Excerpt #1)Eliza Tilton (Excerpt #2)
Elsie Elmore (Interview)Jessa Russo (Excerpt #3)
Cait Spivey (Guest Post)Shooting Star Book Reviews (Excerpt #4)
Here is What I Read (Interview)
Tuesday 10/21Wednesday 10/22Thursday 10/23
Michael Panush (Review)Book Lover Blog (Review)Ayden Morgen (Guest Post)
Friday 10/24Monday 10/27Tuesday 10/28
K. L. Schwengel (Guest Post)Katie Teller (Interview)Priya Kanaparti (Guest Post)
Charity Bradford (Excerpt #5)Sharon Bayliss (Review)
Vicki Trask (Review)
Sarah Anderson (Interview)

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday is for Marriage

It seems my Mondays are turning into my date "day" with my hubby. I love it! Last week we both took the day off for our bathroom home project. Today I drove with him for a business assignment. While he's teaching a class, I'm indulging in a mini writer's retreat.

Today I'll concentrate on continuing edits to Talia's sequel. There's a story somewhere under all the word vomit.

Last week I finished my tweaks to Fade Into Me and updated the book trailer. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

  • What works? 
  • What doesn't? 
  • What do you think this book is about from the trailer

I'm worried the word "alien" will throw people off, although it's "technically" true. :) Thanks in advance for your help!






Friday, October 17, 2014

Review--Christmas in Snow Valley

I think the best way to review this collection of stories is by adding my comments after each synopsis. I'll give each individual story a rating and then a rating for the collection as a whole.


1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure




Christmas in Snow Valley is available for pre-order.

Amazon * iTunes * B&N * Smashwords * Kobo


Add to Goodreads

Snow Valley, Montana, is a small community with the tradition of doing Christmas big. Festivities begin with tree lighting in the town square the day after Thanksgiving and continue until the culminating romantic Christmas Ball. From the Polar Express to a Winter Carnival, there’s something for every wonder-filled  child—and every couple who’s in love—or about to be.

Christmas in Snow Valley is packed with six wonderful Christmas novellas sure to bring romance into your holiday season.

An Unexpected Kiss by Cindy Roland Anderson

Lucy Phillips doesn’t want to spend her Christmas vacation dodging her ex-boyfriend, so when he turns up at the airport to give her a ride home, Lucy panics and asks a complete stranger to kiss her. Although the kiss is incredible, Lucy never expects to see the guy again. Is it bad luck or destiny when Lucy comes down with a sore throat and the new doctor in Snow Valley is none other than the guy she kissed at the airport?

This was probably my favorite story out of all of them. In fact, I've already read it twice. There's just something great about surprise kisses. I laughed like crazy when Lucy is at the doctor (hiding her eyes) and says, "Some stupid guy kissed me at the airport." Then she finds Cole standing there and backtracks. "You're not the stupid guy. At least I don't think you're stupid."

An Unexpected Kiss would make the perfect Hallmark movie. The perfect amount of sweetness mixed with great chemistry. I give it a 4.5

Feels Like Love by Jeanette Lewis

Christmas in Snow Valley is the perfect way for April Winston to introduce her city slicker fiancĂ©, Scott Mecham, to life on a farm. If only Wade Hadley, hometown boy and high school sweetheart, will cooperate! But Wade has no intention of letting April go without a fight. This Christmas, Wade is determined to overcome their painful past and show April that she already has what she’s been seeking all along.

Long lost love? Yep, this one is a classic love lost (or run away from) only to find that it was what she needed all along. Wade is so clearly a better choice from the first moment we meet him and Scott. He just has to make April see it.  Of course, a week after reading I sort of get this couple mixed up with Molly and Kevin down below. I give it a 4.

Full Court Devotionby Cami Checketts

Kazlyn is too busy with her schooling and future plans to enjoy life, let alone fall in love with a man who has heartbreak written all over him. Tyrese Hamilton, a college basketball star and major heartthrob, is intrigued when Kazlyn doesn't pursue him or even seem interested. Ty's career is in jeopardy, and he needs a miracle and Kazlyn to save him.

This was my other favorite story. I loved Tyrese and Kazlyn from the first moment. Both are confident and sassy characters. Tyrese never gives up hope he can get closer to Kazlyn and she's there when he needs her the most. Sweet and pulled at the emotions. I give it a 4.5.


The Christmas Eve Kiss by Taylor Hart

When Molly O’Hare gets a prediction that she will kiss her true love on Christmas Eve, she thinks it’s utterly ridiculous. But when she gets teamed up with Kevin Snow, aka her ex-boyfriend, to decorate a Christmas tree, things start to change. Too bad getting over the past is hard and seeing him kiss another girl is even harder. Now Molly is left with a choice—run away from home and heartbreak or let Christmas work out a miracle all of its own.

Another sweet story, that a week later I can't remember much about. I do remember Kevin's sister is sick, but get the story of Wade and April mixed up with Molly and Kevin. I give it a 4.
Update: After a second read I can say I probably relate to Molly more than any of the other girls. Maybe that's why I chose to forget? Instead of dealing with things that hurt her she ran away. Totally what I would do! She returns home because her dad has a heart attack, but that's only the first fear she has to face. Still give it a 4. 


Risking it all for Love by Award-Winning author, Kimberley Montpetit

Succumbing to family pressure, Jessica Mason reluctantly comes home for Christmas. Ever since her high school boyfriend's death from a car accident three years earlier, Jessica and religion have not been compatible. So, when she visits Michael’s grave, she's surprised to meet the handsome James Douglas, Pastor John’s nephew, who’s studying for the ministry. James can not only dish back Jessica’s finely-tuned sarcasm but understands grief all too well, turning Jessica’s world upside down. Is she ready to take another risk on love?

Jessica just breaks your heart. Three years is a long time to hold on to guilt. And James Douglas makes the church look better and better for Jessica. I give this one a 4


Blue Christmas by Lucy McConnell:

As head of Snow Valley hospital's fundraising effort, Paisley Hackett barely has time to organize the craft show, cookie decorating party, and the annual Christmas Ball. What she doesn't have time for is falling in love with Clay Jett, the incredibly handsome bass player who sweeps into town. She's been burned by a tourist romance before and, with everything going on, Paisley will have to work overtime to protect her heart from Clay and his swoon-worthy ballads.

My other favorite. What's not to love? A scared emo kid grows up into a handsome well adjusted man who just happens to turn Paisley to pudding. She fights it so hard and that's what makes this one so much fun. Another 4.5.


I know these are very short reviews, not very in depth, but it's been two weeks since I read them. All of the stories were good clean romances and my three favorites had some sizzle. As the stories went on, I enjoyed catching the little clues where the couples "passed" each other by. These authors did a wonderful job keeping the town of Snow Valley consistent. Each one took a character (all had been friends growing up) and told an independent story that also touched with the others. Very well done in my opinion. 

There were several typos and spots where it looked like a sentence had been moved or changed and a random word was left behind. Some stories had more than others, but for the most part it was an enjoyable read. 

I give the collection as a whole a solid 4.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bathroom DIY

For years I've been telling my sweet  hubby that he needs a hobby. And he always says he'd feel guilty spending money on something that takes him away from our family even more than work and church obligations already do.

Well, he's finally found something not church or work related that makes him fill happy. He's a creative sort like me and he just needed an outlet.

Craig's List + Pinterest = Happy Hubby

Seriously, I think he's addicted to finding free stuff (or really cheap) on Craig's list, "flipping them" and then making money off of it. Think almost $400 in the last while from stuff we got for free and then fixed or just painted. His latest find really made my bathroom a wonderful place to relax. 

He found a place that sold pallet wood for 10 cents a board. We picked it up in the rain, set them in the garage to dry, and then laid them out to get a good mix of light and dark boards. 

Before

 The first line goes up.

Time for more math... 

 Almost done! We love it so much. This part of the project only cost us $7!

A fresh coat of paint to lighten it up and make the wall pop. 
We will need a few accessories and re-stain the vanity, but I think it's almost perfect. 

After a day of being creative in a more visual (and physical) way, I settled in to work on my writing. There are a few last minute tweaks to FIM and then back to big revisions on SFK. It just feels good to be working on it again.

How are you doing? Working on a home project? Getting ready for Nanowrimo

Monday, October 13, 2014

Are you ready for Christmas, or just romance?

I have a soft spot for cheesy Hallmark movies. Many of them pick Christmas as their setting, and this new romance boxed set looks like my kind of thing. (I'm hoping they aren't as cheesy as those movies!)
I'll let you know as soon as I read all the stories. :) Until then, here's a little introduction.

Update: Since pre-scheduling this post I've finished all six stories! Now I'm totally in the holiday spirit and think I should take my hubby to Snow Valley for a Christmas get away.  Review coming soon!



Christmas in Snow Valley is available for pre-order.



Add to Goodreads

Snow Valley, Montana, is a small community with the tradition of doing Christmas big. Festivities begin with tree lighting in the town square the day after Thanksgiving and continue until the culminating romantic Christmas Ball. From the Polar Express to a Winter Carnival, there’s something for every wonder-filled  child—and every couple who’s in love—or about to be.

Christmas in Snow Valley is packed with six wonderful Christmas novellas sure to bring romance into your holiday season.

An Unexpected Kiss by Cindy Roland Anderson

Lucy Phillips doesn’t want to spend her Christmas vacation dodging her ex-boyfriend, so when he turns up at the airport to give her a ride home, Lucy panics and asks a complete stranger to kiss her. Although the kiss is incredible, Lucy never expects to see the guy again. Is it bad luck or destiny when Lucy comes down with a sore throat and the new doctor in Snow Valley is none other than the guy she kissed at the airport?


Feels Like Love by Jeanette Lewis

Christmas in Snow Valley is the perfect way for April Winston to introduce her city slicker fiancĂ©, Scott Mecham, to life on a farm. If only Wade Hadley, hometown boy and high school sweetheart, will cooperate! But Wade has no intention of letting April go without a fight. This Christmas, Wade is determined to overcome their painful past and show April that she already has what she’s been seeking all along.


Full Court Devotion by Cami Checketts

Kazlyn is too busy with her schooling and future plans to enjoy life, let alone fall in love with a man who has heartbreak written all over him. Tyrese Hamilton, a college basketball star and major heartthrob, is intrigued when Kazlyn doesn't pursue him or even seem interested. Ty's career is in jeopardy, and he needs a miracle and Kazlyn to save him.


The Christmas Eve Kiss by Taylor Hart

When Molly O’Hare gets a prediction that she will kiss her true love on Christmas Eve, she thinks it’s utterly ridiculous. But when she gets teamed up with Kevin Snow, aka her ex-boyfriend, to decorate a Christmas tree, things start to change. Too bad getting over the past is hard and seeing him kiss another girl is even harder. Now Molly is left with a choice—run away from home and heartbreak or let Christmas work out a miracle all of its own.


Risking it all for Love by Award-Winning author, Kimberley Montpetit

Succumbing to family pressure, Jessica Mason reluctantly comes home for Christmas. Ever since her high school boyfriend's death from a car accident three years earlier, Jessica and religion have not been compatible. So, when she visits Michael’s grave, she's surprised to meet the handsome James Douglas, Pastor John’s nephew, who’s studying for the ministry. James can not only dish back Jessica’s finely-tuned sarcasm but understands grief all too well, turning Jessica’s world upside down. Is she ready to take another risk on love?


Blue Christmas by Lucy McConnell:

As head of Snow Valley hospital's fundraising effort, Paisley Hackett barely has time to organize the craft show, cookie decorating party, and the annual Christmas Ball. What she doesn't have time for is falling in love with Clay Jett, the incredibly handsome bass player who sweeps into town. She's been burned by a tourist romance before and, with everything going on, Paisley will have to work overtime to protect her heart from Clay and his swoon-worthy ballads.
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