Sunday, December 14, 2014

Exclusive Q&A with Sara Raasch, Author of Snow Like Ashes

Hi everyone! Another week is about to end and Christmas is just around the corner, with that we wanted to give you one of our Q&A with one of the most anticipated debut author this 2014. I know, I know it's been months since the book has released and a lot has already read it--I envy you all people--but for those of you who want to know what Snow Like Ashes is all about and its characters, read our exclusive interview with Sara and a short This or That below too. Have fun!

How did the idea of writing Snow Like Ashes come about? Did something/someone influence you to write about witches?

17399160(not part of my answer but: SLA isn't about witches...)

I honestly have no idea where SNOW LIKE ASHES came from. I started writing it when I was a wee preteen, and it's been so long, all the details of its origins have been lost in my eternally worsening memory. I do know that I always loved winter and hated that it got pegged as the "bad guy" whenever it was portrayed in books/shows, so that could have been part of SLA's beginning!

Could you describe the mundane details of writing: How many hours a day to you devote to writing? Do you write a draft on paper or at a keyboard (typewriter or computer)?

I spend about four hours every morning either drafting or editing, then I break for lunch, then I come back and either do more writing/editing (depending on how productive I was that morning, ha) or get caught up on social media goodness. I do all of my drafting on my laptop, and I mix notes between (totally illegible) handwritten and online. Excel spreadsheets are GLORIOUS.

Can you tell us about your protagonist, Meira, and her best friend the future king, Mather? 

Meira is a sixteen year old soldier, one of eight refugees who escaped her kingdom's fall. She wants more than anything to help save her kingdom, but she gets forced into certain roles by the refugees' leader, Sir -- which is good, because he knows what their kingdom needs, but it's also bad from Meira's side, because she wants to feel some connection to the home she doesn't even remember (sort of survivor's guilt). 

Mather is sixteen as well (they were both infants when Winter fell) and suffers from his own form of guilt. Every kingdom in SLA has a magic item, a conduit, that can only be used by that kingdom's given gender. For instance, Winter's conduit can only be used by the oldest living female heir. Mather is Winter's only heir and he, obviously, is not female, which means he can't do very much for Winter, aside from someday having a female heir. This restriction haunts him, but it also fuels him to do everything he can for Winter despite his limitations.

Meira and Mather's shared upbringing and similar weaknesses really unite them -- they both understand one another's pain in ways the other refugees don't. It's an interesting relationship, and one I hope readers fall in love with as much as I have! 

How did you begin writing? Did you intend to become an author, or do you have a specific reason or reasons for writing each book?

I began writing as a child -- one of my earliest memories is of making (really awful) hand-drawn pictures books. I always knew this was what I wanted to do -- be an author -- and I am grateful every day that it happened. It sounds cliche, but dreams totally come true! You know, after years of hard work and dedication ;)

What makes Snow Like Ashes different from other books in the Fantasy genre?

I'd have to say SLA's niche is in its Season Kingdoms -- each kingdom embodies a certain season and that season affects every part of that kingdom's culture, and getting to write this part of the world was so much fun!

Because this is your debut novel, we're very curious; how did you celebrate your first book deal?

Tears. Lots and lots of ugly, sobbing tears. 


Summer or Winter? 
Winter! Obviously. 

Vampires or Zombies? 
Zombies! I actually hid little zombie finger puppets in the table decorations at my wedding. 

Chocolates or Flowers?
Ehh...neither? I'm allergic to cocoa/milk and most types of flowers. How about vegan cupcakes?

Abs or Chest? Oh god. Arms, actually -- there's something about really lean, muscular arms that's just debilitating. 

Skirts or Shorts? Shorts! I've never been able to find a skirt I like.

Hardcover or Paperback? For prettiness: hardcover. For affordability (I am poor): paperback.

The Hunger Games or Divergent? I...haven't read either. *ducks thrown objects* 

Contemporary or Paranormal? Hm. Going off the grid here again to say fantasy, because obviously.

Bad boys or Good boys? Good boys. Bad boys are overrated. 

Young adult or New adult? Young adult! Though I am liking some of the freedom New Adult gives.


Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes#1)
by Sara Raasch
Hardcover: 422 pages
Publisher: Balzer+Bray
Release Date: October 14th 2014
A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

You can purchase Snow Like Ashes at the following Retailers:

About the Author 
Sara RaaschSara Raasch has known she was destined for bookish things since the age of five, when her friends had a lemonade stand and she tagged along to sell her hand-drawn picture books too. Not much has changed since then — her friends still cock concerned eyebrows when she attempts to draw things and her enthusiasm for the written word still drives her to extreme measures. Her debut YA fantasy, SNOW LIKE ASHES, the first in a trilogy, comes out October 14, 2014 from Balzer + Bray. It does not feature her hand-drawn pictures.

Follow her on these sites

So that's it. What do you think of the interview? Have you read the book?
We love to hear from you! Tell us in the comments below *wink*

P.S: Our Signed Legend giveaway has just ended, we'll be picking the winner this Wednesday so stay tuned! :)

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Book Signing Recap: #MarieLuinPH + Giveaway

Last Sunday, NYT bestselling author Marie Lu came to visit here in the Philippines and had a book signing courtesy of National Book Store. Deavelle, Jello (admin of MarieLuPHIL) and I were lucky enough to attend the blogger's forum before the public signing. Before going to the venue we went first to Glorietta because Jello had to talk and meet his co-admins. It was an insane line I'm telling you, the first people who line up arrived 24 hours before the event! Talk about dedication.

After arriving at the venue for Q&A session with Marie Lu with few minutes to spare, we arranged all items that will be given by the Marie Lu PH at the public signing. 

They got bookmarks, shirts and these posters designed by Aegisdea to be given to first 100 people who lined up. It was love at first sight seeing these awesome posters, such brilliant talent Aegisdea! Some of the bloggers even tried to bribe Jello to give them one poster or bookmarks (haha) but it was spoken for so we just settled for pictures of it.

Dea, Leslie of Bibliophilekid and I,
practicing for our future modelling career haha!
At 10 am Marie Lu arrived and we were ready to know more about her and her books. We were given a chance to ask her questions and got to learned so much more about this lovely author. 

So without further ado here's some of the facts about her and her books:

  • Before being a full time author she was an artist in the game industry and would love to do a picture book someday.
  • Day by aegisdea
    June by aegisdea
  • Day street name was inspired by his optimistic view in life while his traits were inspired by Marie Lu’s favorite character like Han Solo and Robin Hood. June’s name is after the month of June and her traits of a Gemini which is known for being intelligent and ambitious like Sherlock Holmes

  •  The plot of Legend was inspired by social climate with those of real life dystopian like Holocaust.
  • Marie Lu always outline/sketch her main characters and their world before making the whole story
  • She said that there isn’t anything inspired by a fan reaction through her writings.
  • Champion was by far the hardest book she wrote. Marie Lu like bittersweet endings and always wanted to have that kind of ending for Champion.
  • She listens to music while writing but she just listens with sounds like rain or with lyrics that she doesn’t understand.
  • Her favorite place while writing would be in a train.
  •  Marie Lu is a very visual person and would just write what she sees in terms of making the action scenes in her books.
  •  Her agent didn’t like the first 100 pages she submits because the character was very bland but asked who Adelina was.  Marie Lu said that Adelina was the most interesting manipulative character and is very interesting to explore, her agent like it and that’s where TYE born. 
  •  Marie Lu actually doesn’t know what happens after the epilogue of Champion.
  • In switching point of view in her characters, she said that it wasn’t really hard with Legend since she wrote alternating first person POV since high school. But it was more complicated in TYE because the POV has to all comes down with Adelina.
  • Republic or Colonies: She chooses New Antarctica to live in.
  • Day is the obvious rebel but June is the greater because she has to change her entire life for it.
  • She was more likely like Day at the beginning of the story but more of June at the end. Marie Lu sees bits of June that is similar to her like dealing with things and being suck at romance.

After the Q&A it was time for signing of books!

She also graciously signed the bookmarks and posters to be given away.

can we just all take a minute and look at her nails and rings? *drools*

We also get to witness her awesome artistic skills when she draw Day, June, Adelina and Enzo on books of some bloggers.

Jello's copy with June

Celine of  Two Ends of a Bookshelf with Adelina and Enzo
The goddess of nail arts, Nicole of Twins Read
For more of her works visit her nail art blog Novel Nails Designs

And to end, a group picture! #PHYABookBloggers

After having our lunch and getting our Mockingjay tickets--it was awesome! *cue hanging tree song*-- we then went to Glorietta 1 for the public signing. The picture doesn't give justice for all the people who went to the signing. We have to find space at the second floor to wait for Marie Lu, and while waiting we got to talk to some girls who were number 723. That's when we found out that there were 800+ people who registered! There were banners and cosplayers from Marie Lu's hardcore fans. 

After waiting for an hour, Marie Lu finally arrived and the crowd was crazzzy. We actually didn't hear much of the interview because of the scream but I totally understand them, that's what fans do *wink*

 Thank You again National Book Store for making all these awesome events happen and to Marie Lu!

Before we end this recap, our friends over at MarieLuPHIL will be giving away a signed copy of Legend for everyone to enjoy this book. Don't forget to join and feel free to comment below.

Were you in the event? Did you have fun? We want to know! 
PS: We'll be attending the next event. Lang Leav book signing on December 7. See you there!

For more details about the event click this link #LangLeavinPH

Marie Lu's signing recaps:

Jeselle of Lifelong Bookworm
Louisse of The Soul Sisters
Leslie of  Bibliophilekid
Chyna of Lite-rate-ture

Friday, November 28, 2014

Blog Tour: CITY OF SECRETS by Aoife Marie Sheridan + Giveaway

City of Secrets ( Saskia Trilogy, #2)
Author: Aoife Marie Sheridan
Publisher: Synerg e-books
Sarajane finds herself in the middle of a war… a war over her. While in the City of Secrets, she must learn to use her powers that God gave her to defeat a fallen angel, who wants nothing more than to walk on earth. But will she stop Lucian, the fallen angel in time… even with Tristan and Carew at her side?

A war awaits her arrival,
A warrant for her arrest.
She must rise as a princess,
And Darkness shall fall.
But will their love survive this battle?
For Tristan and Sarajane?.
Step back into Saskia.




     I knew the minute I stepped inside the gold doors I was in the presence of something more powerful than mankind itself. Three beautiful white angels lay in glass boxes. The light that radiated from them was causing my eyes to water. I wanted so bad to touch them. But the closer I got, the light became blinding as I was surrounded in light. A gentle hand grabbed my waist and pulled me back. 

            “Don’t get too close,” Mirium said. He was in awe also of what lay before us. “How is this possible?” I asked to no one in particular. But when I looked around at the occupants in the room I wasn’t surprised. Mirium, Marcella, Avitus and Draco all looked at me. Mirium gave me a warm smile. “They are our founders,” then his smile faded. 

            “They are dying, Sarajane, which means Lucian has started to raise.” The hairs rose on my arms and the back of my neck. I looked back at the angels. I was in the presence of angels. 

            “What are their names?” I knew it was irrelevant but I wanted to know. 
            “Jeremy is to your left. Veronica is the angel in the center, and Sara is to your right.” I just nodded, not able to avert my eyes from them. Their wings were barely visible through the light, but what I could see was snow white feathers that looked so soft.  

            “How much time do we have?” I asked, again to no one in particular. 
            “We honestly don’t know” Marcella answered, in the serious voice I wasn’t used to. “We thought you might be able to tell us,” she said with hope in her voice. I felt like crying. How the hell I would be able to tell was beyond me. I was only a girl and felt it in the presence of something this almighty. But I closed my eyes and asked the question out loud, “How long have I got, in order to save Saskia?”  The angel Veronica stirred, sending my heart rate into over drive. Her glow became less intense and I could see her face. Her beauty made tears come to my eyes. 

            “Come to me Sarajane” she whispered in my head. When I reached her, I fell to my knees. In awe of her, I couldn’t take my eyes away from her angelic face. Her beauty was so unnatural that it did not belong to this world.  “Closer,” she whispered again inside my head. I moved closer, leaning against the glass, as tears slipped from my cheeks, landing on its surface, and then the glass was gone from under my palms and I fell through it. All around was white.  I felt as if my life was slipping away. Maybe it was, but I felt so peaceful. I lay on Veronica’s soft wing.

            “My child,” my heart skipped a beat at the golden voice that rang in my ear. I couldn’t seem to open my eyes but I didn’t mind. The breath that brushed my face was as warm and fresh as the most beautiful summer's morning. More tears came to my eyes. “I will tell you the future of what I see, and I see it so clearly. There are two paths. The first is that you will win this war, but you will die, and in doing so save Carew. Or he will die saving you. Your second path is a more unfortunate one. You will try to save a loved one’s soul, but in doing so you may lose your soul, and if that happens the world will be no more.” Both sounded awful, but the second one, of course, more so.       

 How would I lose my soul? I could feel the angel stir underneath me, her hand reaching out to my face. I didn’t need to see to understand what she was doing. The warmth that washed through me was enough.  I felt as if the angel had touched my very being. “You have been touched by the hands of God,” and then there was a burst of light so strong that I was sailing through the air. 
 The wind was knocked out of me when I hit cold, concrete ground. I didn’t want to open my eyes, as the warmth was leaving my body. I knew I was no longer in the presence of the angels. I was lifted and could feel movement around me. A door closed, more walking, then another. I was laid down on a bed no comparison to the angel’s soft wings. 

            “Veronica,” I called out like a child wanting its mother on a cold and frightening night. 
            “Get some water,” someone commanded. My face was held by old hands. “Sarajane come back to me,” Mirium's voice said gently. I knew he would be worried but I didn’t want to come to this world. But I had to. I opened them slowly, expecting to be blinded by light. But only one candle burned in the dark room. Mirium's worried face smiled at me. He didn’t said anything only kissed my forehead. 

            “What did she say?” Marcella asked unable to control herself. Everyone looked at me, waiting. But my eyes filled with tears not of fear but in want of the angel. Mirium brushed my tears away, and smiled sympathetically as if he understood what I missed. 

            “It can be unbearable to leave them, when we are in their presence. I can not imagine what it must be like to be touched by one.” 

            I went to explain, but my mouth opened and closed, but no words would do the angel justice. Mirium nodded in understanding and then Avitus appeared with water, waiting patiently as I sat up. “Thanks” I whispered. I stared into nothing, thinking about what Veronica had just said, the shifting bodies in the room made me look up. Marcella, Draco and Avitus waited patiently. Everyone was waiting for my answer.  I took a deep breath and told them exactly what the angel told me, without meeting anyone’s eye. I could feel them watching me. Mirium let out a heavy breath. 

            “Okay this is good then. We could win this,” he said turning to Marcella and Draco, who also looked optimistic. 

            “We just need to keep the war outside at bay” Marcella said in her new voice. She could see the disbelief in my voice. “I’m a good actress darling,” she said in her old crazy voice. 

            “Why?” I genuinely couldn’t understand. 
             “It keeps people away from Humus, the crazy leader with no brain. It keeps my people safer.
No one sees me as a threat,” she explained. It seemed a bit over the top, but an amazing deceit.     Draco went into military mode. “We must attack back now at the gates before they try to overpower us again.”

            I zoned out as they talked, and Mirium joined them. I couldn’t stop thinking of all the implications of what Veronica had said, even if we won this war against Lucian either me or Carew would die. My heart felt heavy, and yet I was confused with my own feelings. Why did it bother me so much that Carew might die, what hold had he over me?  

            Avitus moved to my bedside. “I am going to organize our new lodgings so you rest and Mirium will walk you over later” Avitus patted my hair, with such tenderness. I fell asleep for a few hours; when I awoke only Mirium was in the room. He took me back to Avitus' new home, not far from his own. I was greeted with open arms. Avitus had a fresh bed made up for me, along with clean nightwear. 

            “Goodnight,” he said as he closed my bedroom door. I changed and fell into bed, feeling warmth around me that sent me into a deep sleep. “Veronica” I whispered just before my mind went blank. 

About the Author 
Aoife Maire Sheridan is twenty eight years of age. She lives in Kells, Co. Meath, a small town just outside Navan. Aoife was raised in Navan but left with her family at the age of sixteen. Aoife has always had a passion for writing but mostly poetry. This is her first time to write a novel. 

Aoife Marie Sheridan studied Accountancy and qualified as an accountant technician. She worked in this profession for several years but with the economic downturn she was made redundant. 

Aoife Marie Sheridan now works in retail as well as spending endless hours reading and writing.
Follow her on these sites

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