Happy Halloween + Giveaway!

Happy Halloween to all of you! This is one of my favorite holidays for a number of reasons all of which make me seem like a legit 5-year old.

-First up is the costumes. I LOVE dressing up so very much! Even though my friends and I are completely lame and do not get invited to any parties (Sidenote: What is up with this? I know we are obnoxious, annoying, and slightly loud sometimes but we attempt to be amusing sometimes…), we still love to dress up in crazy/silly/funny costumes and go trick-or-treating in them (Sidenote: Since we are past the acceptable age of trick-or-treating, we like to hand out the candy now using the following philosophy: one for them, two for me.)

-Second is the candy! I was born with not one but ten sweet teeth. I am a picky eater but sugar is the one food group I eat with practically no complaints.

-Next is the classic Halloween movies like Hocus Pocus, Casper, The Adams Family, and The Goonies. Even though I’ve seen each of these movies more times than I can count, I still get all giddy every time ABC Family plays them on their 13 Nights of Halloween!

-And last but not least, there are the spooky stories! I am a HUGE baby so I make sure the books I read aren’t that freaky but I still manage to come across a few that remind me of Halloween. Over the past couple of years, this blog has led me to a number of great books. There have been books about demons, witches, werewolves, ghosts, vampires, and everything in between!

So in honor of my favorite holiday I am giving away one of my favorite spook-tastic books! Below you will find a list of books that while they may not be super scary, they help put me in the mood for Halloween time!

     

     

   

Giveaway Details:

-This giveaway is open internationally as long as The Book Depository ships to you

-Giveaway ends on 11/7

-Winner will receive their choice of one of the books listed above

Click this link to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

Tune In Tuesday (76): Halloween Edition!

Tune In Tuesday is a weekly feature in which bloggers get to showcase another one of their loves, music! This feature was originally created by Ginger over at GReads! but you can now find it here at Kate’s Tales of Books and Bands. If you would like to participate in this weekly feature, make a blog post showcasing a song (or a few!) and link up at the bottom of this post! While you’re here make sure to check out all the other awesome blogs that have decided to participate!

Is anyone else totally freaking excited that tomorrow is Halloween?!? I get so pumped for this holiday each and every year partly because I FINALLY have an excuse to dress up as crazy as I want and partly because I get to eat as much candy as I can possibly stuff into my mouth before getting sick. I also love this time of year because it puts me in the mood for some creepy music. I tend to stay away from the classic Halloween songs because they can be, well, a tad bit cheesy. So instead of featuring the same old Halloween songs we hear all the time, I decided to post a few (okay, a little more than a few!) of my favorite songs that just happen to be slightly creepy as well as awesome. Hope you guys enjoy!

Angels by Within Temptation

Within Temptation has by far one of the most different sounds I have ever heard from a band. Each song is beautiful and haunting in its own right but this one just happens to be my favorite!

Animal by The Cab

This song just shouts PUT ME IN A WEREWOLF MOVIE SOUNDTRACK RIGHT NOW! And I just happen to adore The Cab <3

Blackout by Breathe Carolina

If I were to be in a slasher/creepy killer movie, and I was getting ready to go kick some major bad guy butt, I would want this song playing in the background.

Bottom of the River by Delta Rae

Goodness gracious, this song and music video really freak me out but I love them both so much I can’t seem to stop listening/watching!

Paint It Black by VersaEmerge

I think VersaEmerge did such an incredible job covering this song! And it definitely has the spook factor going for it.

Hunt Hunt Hunt by There For Tomorrow

LOVE me some There For Tomorrow. Each of their songs has such high energy and like Within Temptation, many of their songs can be haunting and somewhat creepy!

Don’t Fear The Reaper by Pierce The Veil

Pierce The Veil’s regular music can be kind of scary so when you mix them with an already creepy song, you get creep-tastic awesomeness! I love this cover!

I hope you guys enjoyed this Halloween Edition of Tune In Tuesday. What songs scare you to bits but you love anyways? Let me know in the comments! Also, please be sure to link up below and be sure to check out everyone else’s Tune In Tuesday picks for this week!



Guest Post + Sneak Peek + Giveaway: The Akasha Chronicles by Natalie Wright

 

Title: Emily’s House (The Akasha Chronicles #1)

Title: Emily’s Trial (The Akasha Chronicles #2)

Author: Natalie Wright

Today I am very excited to have Natalie Wright, author of the Akasha Chronicles, on the blog! She has put together a super fun post in the spirit of Halloween time and has been gracious enough to not only include an awesome excerpt of her most recent release, Emily’s Trial, but she is also offering up a giveaway! So please give her a warm welcome!

Graveyards and Portals and Spells – Oh My!

Halloween is my absolute favorite time of year! I grew up in the Midwest where October meant a chill in the air, fallen leaves, hot chocolate and football.

Now I live in the desert where it has been known to be in the ‘90’s on Halloween. Now, instead of worrying if our costumes will keep us warm, we consider if it will make us sweat!

The Zombie Year

But I’ve found the Halloween spirit flourishes in the American desert southwest. Adults and kids alike don costumes, trick-or-treaters come in flocks of faeries and vampires, ghosts and Harry Potters. Our neighborhood is like Mardi Gras carnival, a giant block party with food, wine and happy kids running and swirling, hyped up on sugar.

The fantasy writer in me loves the opportunity to be someone else for a night. Each year I ponder – Will I wear a saucy, sassy, sexy costume (leaving my frumpy shorts, T-shirt and flip-flops in the closet)? Or will I go for the scare factor with some spooky contacts, fake blood and face paint?

Day of the Dead Festival goers, Tucson

While writing Emily’s House (Book 1 of the Akasha Chronicles), I researched ancient Celtic myth and lore. For the ancient Celts, the holiday that we now call Halloween was known as ‘Samhain’ (pronounced SAH-win). The Celts believed that the end of October/beginning of November was the best time to commune with the spirits of the dead and to go to the “other” worlds. The Celts had a strong belief in the existence in worlds parallel to our own. The legends are full of hapless souls wandering into the “Otherworld,” and when they found their way back – if they found their way back – those they had loved had long ago perished.

It was believed that around Samhain, the ‘veil’ between the worlds was at its thinnest, thus making it easier to slip between the worlds. So be careful on Halloween not to accidentally walk into a portal!

Isn’t it weird that other cultures around the world have a similar belief? I live less than a hundred miles from Mexico, so my hometown of Tucson is enriched by its Mexican-American roots. In Mexico, they celebrate the “Day of the Dead.” In Tucson, there is a parade that ends in a festival with Mariachi bands, Mexican dancers and a festival atmosphere. It is a time when families visit the graves of their deceased family and friends, leaving offerings of food and flowers. Isn’t it strange that a half a planet from each other, two different cultures have a belief that around the end of October is the best time to converse with the spirits of the dead?

Do you think it’s coincidence? Or is there something to it?

Whether fact or fiction, the spookiest time of the year is just too fun not to use in a story! In Emily’s House, Emily and her friends have to poke around an ancient Irish graveyard at night, looking for a magical object. Then they end up at the Sacred Well – a portal to the Netherworld – on Halloween! Perfect time to ‘pierce the veil’ and travel to another dimension.

In Emily’s Trial, Emily once again has some portal hopping to do. Lucky for her, Halloween is near! And what better place for a teenager and her friends to be on Halloween than a cemetery, complete with a full moon and crypts. What will happen when she opens a portal to another world in a graveyard, surrounded by the dead? Will the spooky energy of such a place affect her spells?

I had a blast writing Emily’s Trial! I hope you enjoy reading it!

So what did you guys think? I took a Multi-Cultural Communications class a few years back and Natalie is so right, it’s amazing and kind of cool how two completely different cultures, worlds apart, can have such similar beliefs. Also, I just LOVE how Natalie uses the Day of the Dead/Samhain belief in her books. It definitely adds a spook factor! Be sure to check out the book excerpt below as well as the awesome giveaway we have for you!

Excerpt of Emily’s Trial:

The Apocalypse didn’t start with four horsemen, harbingers of the horror to come. It didn’t start with a plague, or pestilence, or even zombies rising from the dead.

It came slowly and without warning. It crept up on people in the shadows, no more than a vague darkness that spread like an unseen cancer.

And it wasn’t set into action by a divine hand. A teenage girl was the catalyst for the End Times.

I should know. I’m the one that started it.

I didn’t plan to. I didn’t want to start the End Times, and I’m not evil.

Madame Wong taught me to tell the truth, and so here it is. I’m the one responsible for the Apocalypse. And this is the story of how I unwittingly unlocked the door to the darkness; of how a Priestess of the Order of Brighid, entrusted with powerful magic that was supposed to be used for the benefit of all humankind, unleashed a force that would destroy it instead.

And it all began with desire.

PURCHASE EMILY’S TRIAL:

Paperback:

CreateSpace

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Powell’s

E-Book:

Smashwords*

            *At Smashwords you can download the version of your choice – for Kindle, Nook, iTunes, Kobo, Sony, PDF, etc.

Amazon for Kindle

Apple iBookstore

GIVEAWAY:

There will be two separate giveaways. For U.S. only, one lucky person will be able to win a signed copy of Emily’s House (book 1 of the Akasha Chronicles) along with some swag! For International only, one lucky person will be able to win a digital copy of Emily’s House. Here are the requirements for both giveaways:

-Giveaway will end November 5th

-Must fill out the correct form below

+1 For adding the books on Goodreads (Emily’s House & Emily’s Trial)

+1 For following Natalie on Twitter (@NatalieWright_)

+1 For liking Natalie’s page on Facebook (Natalie Wright, Author)

+5 For sharing this giveaway on either Twitter or Facebook (MUST leave link!!!)


In My Mailbox (43)

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. It is a way for book bloggers to post what they have received for review, borrowed from a friend, bought at the bookstore, or picked up at the library!

I got some awesome books this week! There was one review book that I have been SO excited for and I also hit up our local bargain book store! This book store normally has super weird, random titles however, every now and then if  you just dig a little bit, you can find some great books! Well, apparently my digging paid off this time because I picked up 5 books for under $20!

For Review:

Turning Pages by Tristi Pinkston

My Thoughts: When Tristi first contacted me about this book, I had not other option but to say yes! It sounds absolutely ADORABLE. I love that it is definitely influenced by Pride & Prejudice and it also has to deal with a library and books. I mean, I am a book nerd after all so reading books about fellow book nerds makes me feel kind of cool :)

Bought:

The Band: Holding On by Debra Garfinkle

My Thoughts: This is actually the second in The Band trilogy. I haven’t read the first in the series yet but I don’t think I can wait to get it. I love me some music books and this certainly seems like just the book I need right now!

A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley

My Thoughts: A coming of age story about music and friendship? YES PLEASE!

As You Wish by Jackson Pearce

My Thoughts: I saw the cover, read the summary, thought about what I’d do with three wishes, and then decided I just needed to buy this.

Wishful Thinking by Alexandra Bullen

My Thoughts: Again I picked up the second novel without reading or owning the first (maybe that’s why it was so cheap!) and it’s another “wishing” book! Anyways, it sounds like a fun story!

Rosie and Skate by Beth Ann Bauman

My Thoughts: This book sounds incredible! As the big sister to 5 younger siblings I am always looking for books that really touch on sibling relationships. Plus, I really love the cover of this one!

I hope you guys got some AWESOME books this week as well. Happy reading :)

Life As Kate (27) Halloween Edition!

Life has seemed to fly by the last couple of weeks. Work has been crazy-busy, so many school projects have had to be turned in (and all at the same time!), I just can’t seem to get caught up on this blog, and my reading time has been practically non-existent. So instead of having a very long, agitated, and very rant-y & stressed-filled Life As Kate post for you guys this week, I’ve decided to have a bit of fun by recounting some of my past Halloween costumes and going over ones I am just dying to be!

Okay, so technically this one wasn’t from Halloween but I just HAD to share my awesome sense of style on Wacky Wednesday at school for one of our spirit days.

Alright, you caught me again. I did not intentionally pick a soldier costume to wear on the one day out of the year that it is publicly accepted to dress up as anything you want. This one was actually from a dinner show my family and neighbors went to. They pulled all of us kids from our tables and forced us to dress up. And yes, my neighbor a.k.a. the creep in the background, is really that weird ALL THE TIME.

This particular year I was a fairy. Really I was unprepared for the holiday and threw together whatever random things we had lying around the house. And the little booger in the top picture is baby Zeke a.k.a. Tigger!

An 80’s punk rocker has always been one of my favorite things to dress up as. Also, kind of digging the Jabbawockeez costumes!

Holy Snooki, Bat Girl!

I was very unimaginative last year but up until that point I had never been a witch so I just thought I HAD to do it!

And now on for the ones that I am dying to be!!!!

I have a strange infatuation with robots and for the past 6 years I have been begging my friends to be robots with me. How adorable is that costume?!?

Kati, Stacey, and I want to be this one year SO BAD! Of course the costume would make zero sense if we weren’t standing by each other at all times, but whatever. I still think it’s hilarious.

Let’s just start off with 2 facts. Fact #1 I’m short and built like a 12-year old so that ^^^^ would not exactly look the same on me. Fact #2 I do not actually want to be a SWAT person at all but Kati has been talking about being a SWAT team for literally our entire friendship. Every single year she comes up with some new addition to the costumes she wants us to wear but we have yet to do it. One year I’m just going to give in so I don’t have to hear her talk about it anymore!

And now for the costumes my future pets will be wearing!!!

      

My lucky, lucky future pets!

Hope you guys enjoyed. What were some of your favorite costumes as a kid? What ones do you really want to be?

This Or That (7)

E.C. Myers!

Hello readers, bloggers, authors, and generally awesome people (who happen to love books!) and welcome to This Or That! This Or That is a feature posted every week and it works like this: each person is asked a series of This Or That/Would You Rather-type questions, some serious and some funny, and by doing so we get to learn just a bit more about our favorite bookish people!  This feature is currently scheduled through April 2013 but if you would still be interested in signing up, please check out this post and fill out the form!

I am so excited about having the very first author on my This Or That feature! Eugene (the E part of E.C.) is the hilarious, awesome author of the Coin series! I have yet to read the series (don’t worry, it’s sitting on my TO READ ASAP bookshelf!) but you better belive I am even more excited to read them after seeing some of his answers to my questions. Without further ado, let’s meet the one and only E.C. Myers!

About the author: E.C. Myers was assembled in the U.S. from Korean and German parts and raised by a single mother and a public library in Yonkers, New York. He has published short fiction in a variety of print and online magazines and anthologies, and his young adult novels, Fair Coin and Quantum Coin, are available now from Pyr Books. He currently lives with his wife and a doofy cat in Philadelphia and shares way too much information about his personal life at ecmyers.net and on Twitter @ecmyers.

Do you prefer reading paperback or hardcover books?

It doesn’t matter, but if I love a book, I want to own it in hardcover.

What type of books do you tend to enjoy more: laugh-out-loud-writing or make-you-ponder-life’s biggest-mysteries-writing?

More the latter, but my favorite books manage to include both.

Favorite genre: fantasy or sci-fi (because yes there IS a difference, lol)?

Science fiction, but the stories I tend to like are closer to fantasy than hard SF. Time travel and warp speed are basically magic!

Would you rather be stranded alone on an island with endless amounts of books or be surrounded by people but you only have one book to last you for forever?

So none of those other people would be writers, then? I think I’ll take the endless amount of books, as long as my glasses don’t break.

Cover talk: Do you like people on the covers or a design?

I care most about characters in a story, so I prefer seeing them on covers, preferably doing something interesting and not just standing around in anatomically-improbable poses.

You MUST pick one: reading or writing?

Reading, which is less trouble and more enjoyable.

If given the option, would you want your books turned into movies or turned into TV shows?

Which pays more? Just kidding… I’d prefer movies because I don’t think either book would benefit from being stretched out for a season or more of television. Plus TV shows typically require multiple writers and directors, and the longer they’re on the air, the more likely they are to jump the shark or vary wildly in quality from week to week. Actually, I think a four-episode miniseries would be perfect.

Which do you enjoy doing more, author interviews or character interviews?

I haven’t done any character interviews yet, but I did write a fake blurb from one of my characters, Nathan, who said, “You’ll flip for Fair Coin!” (cue groans) I assume author interviews are easier to do than character interviews.

Do you outline your books like a crazy person or do you just start writing down whatever pops into your head?

I generally start writing down whatever pops into my head…like a crazy person.

Would you want to be turned into a vampire or werewolf?

No thanks.

It’s Halloween time: will you be dressing up as something freaky or something funny?

I don’t have a costume this year, but my regular clothes could be described as freaky or funny, depending on whom you ask.

You’re forced to be your main character for a week, do you choose to live through book one, Fair Coin, or live through book two, Quantum Coin?

Oh my God, book one. My approach in Quantum Coin was to make Ephraim’s life as difficult as possible, from start to finish. Sorry, dude.

Dessert time: cookies or cupcakes?

Cookies! Especially peanut butter cookies.

Are you a cat person or a dog person?

I’m a dog person who has a cat, but will hopefully have a dog soon too.

Do you listen to one specific type of music or mixed genres?

Mixed genres—anything and everything. I like keeping Pandora on its toes. Just when it thinks it has my tastes figured out, I add something new to my station.

Getting crazy: Would you rather type out your entire book using only your pointer fingers or only using your toes?

My pointer fingers. It wouldn’t be too different from how I really type. I’m fast, but it’s just not normal.

Out of the following sucky situations, which would you rather do: A year re-doing high school or a year without books?

Ugh. I would fail high school if I had to do it over again, so I choose a year without books. I mean, that was kind of my freshman year of college, so I know I can do it. And I have a lot of TV and movies I can catch up on instead.

Are you a Coke person or a Pepsi person?

Pepsi, especially Pepsi Throwback.

If you had one day to be a super hero or a super villain, which one would you pick?

What makes you think I’m not a superhero already? I would have to be the good guy, or I would be the worst super villain ever.

To flip the coin or to not flip the coin?

Flip it! What could possibly go wrong?

So what did you guys think? I told you that after reading some of his answers you would be dying to read his books especially the part about book 2 being particularly…difficult for the main character! Also, don’t worry Eugene, some people think my daily clothes are freaky/funny too! A HUGE thanks for E.C. Myers for agreeing to being my very first author to participate in This Or That, I hope you had as much fun as I did!

Author Website

Author Goodreads Page

Fair Coin Goodreads Page

Quantum Coin Goodreads Page

Twitter

Book Review: Casey Barnes Eponymous by E.A. Rigg

Title: Casey Barnes Eponymous

Author: E.A. Rigg

Pages: 220 e-book

My Rating: 3/5 stars

Source: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review

It’s three weeks into the school year when music junkie Casey Barnes gets a second chance with her mysterious, heartbreaking ex-boyfriend. She comes up with a plan to win him back, but it soon spins out of control as rivalries, revelations about him, and music itself all start to collide. For Casey the newfound attention means learning the difference between wanting center stage and actually being on it.

I read this book this past summer and really enjoyed it! It is a really cute coming of age story which happens to include one of my favorite things, music!

Our main character is Casey and she is all sorts of fun, quirkiness, and spunk! Right from the beginning I was able to relate to her love and passion for music. She likes to make up three-song playlists for random people as a way of enhancing their day and musical knowledge. If I wasn’t such a shy recluse in high school, I most certainly would have been doing something like that, it’s just so fun! Her flat-out love for music was what really made me connect to Casey. However, Casey’s love for music, and the fact that she is a fellow band t-shirt, jean skirt, converse wearing girl, are not the only things I liked about her. I also really enjoyed the fact that she was not your normal, gawky, and mostly awkward sophomore. She was brave, confident, a bit of a rebel, and marched to the beat of her own drum. Basically the type of person I try to be now and wish I would have been in high school! She had her own sense of style and she really didn’t let what others thought of her hair, clothes, or musical preferences dictate her life. She was also quite snarky for lack of better word. Her spunk was fun but some of the time it was a little over-bearing and made it hard to like her. I get that most teenagers are all angst-y and “OMG adults are so freaking annoying” but I feel like she pushed the attitude just a bit too much, talked back to adults just a bit too much, and cared about her education/responsibilities just a bit too little. Even though this facet of her personality made her a little hard to take sometimes, I still enjoyed her as a main character.

Other characters were introduced throughout the book which added a lot of variety and fun to this book! Casey’s best friend, Leigh was all sorts of funny! She definitely had her own quirks that made the story so entertaining. We also meet Casey’s brother Yull. Their relationship was definitely believable with all their banter back and forth but at the end of it all, they still had each other’s backs.

The guy that Casey is trying to impress is Alex Deal and he is….eww, just eww. I did not like him a single bit (but that’s okay, you’re not really supposed to like him)! Through my experiences as a teen and heck, even as a near-adult, I TOTALLY get the whole fall-for-the-bad-boy thing. Most every girl goes through that stage where she wants the hot, tough guy to fall for her. Alex Deal is the one bad relationship we all go through, and even though I didn’t like how crappy he treated Casey and how desperate Casey was for his attention, he was very important to the story. His presence, and lack thereof, really helped Casey to grow as a person and eventually learn to move on.

This story is full of things that are relevant to what most high schoolers are dealing with today. There’s getting over bad relationships and learning to notice the good guys for a change. It’s about being unique and brave and learning to fight through your fears. It’s also about finding confidence and learning to stay true to yourself. I just think there were many wonderful, little messages that readers can take from this story!

Overall this was a cute book! There were certainly a few things I could have done without, like the overly snarky attitude of our main character, but for the most part it was a great coming of age story. Most of the characters, the premise, and the things you can take from this book are all fantastic. But if I’m being 100% honest, the music is easily my favorite part! If you’re looking for a quick, fun, and musically-infused book to read, I definitely suggest Casey Barnes Eponymous!