Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tour Stop!!! KIYA: Rise of a New Dynasty by Katie Hamstead! @KatieTeller1

Today, I am excited to bring you an awesome guest post from Katie Hamstead! Her Queen Kiya trilogy has sadly come to an end, but really, all that means is you can now read them back to back and binge on an amazing series!!! 

Who doesn't love a good book binge!?!?!? 

HUGE congratulations on a fantastic, successful debut series, Katie!!! I'm so proud to have been a part of your amazing journey!!! <3 

KIYA: Rise of a New Dynasty
Queen Kiya, Book Three
By
Katie Hamstead

Tut has grown into his position as Pharaoh, but he is a wild young man. Naomi fears for him, not only because of his recklessness, but because he has put his trust in Ay–the man determined to destroy Naomi—despite her and Horemheb advising against it.
Meanwhile, death and slavery hang over Naomi and her family. With fear of the booming Hebrew numbers causing talk of enslaving them, conscription is reinstated and Naomi fears for the lives of her other children. Especially since Ay's children are now adults, and just as dangerous as their father. They threaten to take Itani, conspire against Tut, and push for power.
But Tut is in trouble. While Ay's daughter draws Horemheb's attention, and Naomi deals with the struggles of her family, everyone's distraction could spell death for the young Pharaoh.


Grab your copy today!





And now, I'll give the floor to Katie . . . take it away, yo! 

Culture and Foods

Holidays in Ancient Egypt usually revolved around the gods. With only the Aten, most of these were done away with during Akhenaten's reign.

But the Hebrews had plenty of rituals and holidays, although, none are touched on until book 2 in the Kiya Trilogy. They did things in seven periods—the 7th day was the Sabbath, the 7th year was a time where slaves were freed, etc. They also had festivals for harvests, and much later, (post Kiya) the Passover was introduced.

During the reign of Akhenaten, the art grew more realistic and stylized rather than the traditional rigid, angular forms. Akhenaten was often portrayed kissing his family, and in other informal scenes previously shunned by royals as they were perceived as showing weakness.

Food. Meat wise, the Egyptians ate food like pork, lamb, mutton, duck, eggs, beef, veal and fish. I wasn't able to find if they ate chickens or not, it's likely though since they definitely had eggs, but those could have been duck or other fowl eggs, maybe even crocodile!

Here are some basic fruit, veg and grains they ate. Naomi mentions most of these foods at some point throughout the books.

I don't know exactly what type of apple they ate, but apples were definitely a popular fruit.

Chickpeas were probably used in a similar way to rice or potatoes today, as filler and a side.

Dates. Tut’s favorite.

 Lettuce

Pomegranate. This is Naomi's favorite fruit. 

Figs


The Egyptians brewed beer. They used barley based recipes.

So there you have it. Egyptian food. Naomi didn't eat things such as pork and likely not beer because she was Hebrew, but she would have eaten everything else.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

COVER REVEAL! Check out the gorgeous cover for KIYA: RISE OF A NEW DYNASTY (KIYA3) by Katie Hamstead aka. @KatieTeller1

Kiya: Rise of a New Dynasty 
(Kiya Trilogy Book #3)
By
Katie Hamstead


Tut has grown into his position as Pharaoh, but he is a wild young man. Naomi fears for him, not only because of his recklessness, but because he has put his trust in Ay–the man determined to destroy Naomi—despite her and Horemheb advising against it.
Meanwhile, death and slavery hang over Naomi and her family. With fear of the booming Hebrew numbers causing talk of enslaving them, conscription is reinstated and Naomi fears for the lives of her other children. Especially since Ay's children are now adults, and just as dangerous as their father. They threaten to take Itani, conspire against Tut, and pushing for power.
But Tut is in trouble. While Ay's daughter draws Horemheb's attention, and Naomi deals with the struggles of her family, everyone's distraction could spell death for the young Pharaoh.

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Genre: New Adult Historical Romance
Release Date: February 25th 2014


About the Author:

Born and raised in Australia, Katie’s early years of day dreaming in the “bush”, and having her father tell her wild bedtime stories, inspired her passion for writing.
After graduating High School, she became a foreign exchange student where she met a young man who several years later she married. Now she lives in Arizona with her husband, daughter and their dog.
She has a diploma in travel and tourism which helps inspire her writing. She is currently at school studying English and Creative Writing.
Katie loves to out sing her friends and family, play sports and be a good wife and mother. She now works as a Clerk with a lien company in Arizona to help support her family and her schooling. She loves to write, and takes the few spare moments in her day to work on her novels.







Connect with Katie!


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

COVER REVEAL!!!!!! Check out the cover for SHATTERED SECRETS by @KrystalWade!



SHATTERED SECRETS

by
Krystal Wade

COMING MARCH 2014



After being kidnapped, hogtied, and stuffed in the trunk of a car, seventeen-year-old Abigail Nichols' boy problems seem unimportant.
She couldn't be more wrong.
The boy who saves her holds her heart.
But Derick Crawford also holds secrets.
Magical beings who guide human emotions are fighting an invisible war dating back to the dawn of time, and Abigail's one of them. The more she learns of her heritage, the less she wants to know. Armed with a very old, very massive book to teach them about their history, Abigail and Derick run away to a place where they think they can be safe and happy, only to have their troubles secretly hitch a ride.
Her history book is in a sharing mood, and it tells her to keep a secret of her own.
But has she put her trust in the wrong place?
And will the world survive if she has?


Be sure to add SHATTERED SECRETS to your Goodreads TBR

Connect with Krystal!

Friday, February 14, 2014

SALE! SALE! SALE! Looking for a new book boyfriend this Valentine's Day? #EVERTrilogy

Happy Valentine's Day! 

I hope everyone is ready to snuggle down with a good book . . . and an even better book boyfriend! <3 

Might I suggest Toby or Frankie? 

EVER and EVADE are on sale all weekend long, for just $0.99! Grab your copy today!








Saturday, February 8, 2014

18 TRUTHS by @JamieMAyres Blog Tour!


Welcome to today's stop on the 
18 TRUTHS Blog Tour! 



Lying is unbearable, betrayal is inevitable, and choosing which path to take is impossible.

Olga Gay Worontzoff ended her senior year as an eighteen-year-old girl totally in love with Nate, enjoying their new romance and about to attend the university of her dreams. Now she’s spending her summer in the weird subculture of the Underworld, with charmingly witty and powerful angels, and problematic demons, trying to rescue Connor, the best friend and secret crush she was unable to save during a freak accident.

But Nate has other things on his mind, mainly Grace. She’s their first assignment as joint spirit guides, and Olga’s feeling hurt and jealous. His mysterious behavior has Olga questioning everything she believed about him and now she must decide whether to stick to their plan, or follow her heart.

Unfortunately, a series of mistakes threatens everyone around her and plants Olga in the center of cosmic events much larger than she ever imagined.


Only one thing is certain: the chilling truths uncovered during her journey will leave no one untouched. 



Now, please welcome Jamie as she shares her favorite quotes from the book!

Thanks to Jessa for hosting me today!

So during my writing of the 18 Things trilogy, I got really into quotes. I wasn’t very good at coming up with chapter titles, but I wanted something there to remind me of what that chapter was about. Around that time, I’d also gotten a book titled “i never metaphor i didn’t like” from Books-A-Million. There were so many quotes I loved in this book, and it sparked the idea to incorporate quotes at the beginning of my chapters.

I don’t claim that quotes from the books I’ve written will stand the test of time or anything, but here are some from 18 Truths that people have told me they loved!

Truth: Every morning when I woke up, the biggest truth I’ve ever faced landed like a grenade in my heart. I never said this when I had the chance: I love Olga Gay Worontzoff with all my heart, soul, mind, and body.—Conner’s thoughts

Nate leaned toward me and pressed his forehead against mine, his coffee colored hair slipping over his left eye. I felt his breath on my lips, the fresh scent of spearmint washing over me. Somehow, everything about Nate reminded me of my favorite things.—Olga’s thoughts

Lurching forward, I tried the run-like-a-bull approach, but Riel easily popped out his wings and flew behind me.
“Cheater.” (Olga)
“Human.” (Riel)

Dr. Judy crossed her arms over her chest. “There are no do-overs in life once you’re dead. All your friends have that YOLO saying backward. It should be YODO because really, you live every day, but . . . You Only Die Once.”

I tilted my head to the side, studying his face. “Now who’s the glue sniffer? You have to be out of your mind to think I’ll go along with helping a band of demons.”—Olga to Sam

“Hmm, demon, angel, tomato, tomahto, potato, potahto. Don’t you realize you’re just a pawn in this game? You get that Alpha File 120 for me, and you’ll realize that for yourself real quick. Now, I’ll give you thirty seconds to do the right thing. After that, my offer expires, and you can forget about ever finding Conner. You can forget about everything you’ve ever worked for.”—Sam to Olga

When I felt inadequate and worthless, I had to remember God’s spirit at work within me.—Olga’s thoughts

Riel gave me a hard look. His sharp features startled me with their beauty, even in all his fury. I returned his stare, hiding a thousand insecure feelings behind one wide smile.—Olga’s thoughts

“You’re one of the most beautiful people I know, inside and out. But you have to believe that. You have to love yourself before you love anyone else, or there’s no way you can help others.”—Riel to Olga

Two things I was certain of in that moment: one, I’d just brought butt dialing to a whole ‘nother level; and two, I was about to have my butt handed to me by one very powerful angel.—Olga’s thoughts

His brow furrowed. “We hit the play button on our lives a year ago, always moving forward and doing what we thought was right. It’s a choice we make every day, to live or die. Luckily, God isn’t ruled by emotions like us. He sees our heart and shows us mercy, even when we don’t deserve it.”—Nate to Olga

Thanks again, Jessa! What are some of your favorite quotes? And can I steal them for my next book ;-)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Jamie Ayres writes young adult paranormal love stories by night and teaches young adults as a Language Arts middle school teacher by day. When not at home on her laptop or at school, she can often be found at a local book store grabbing random children and reading to them. So far, she has not been arrested for this. Although she spent her youthful summers around Lake Michigan, she now lives in Florida with her prince charming, two children (sometimes three based on how Mr. Ayres is acting), and a basset hound. She really does have grandmothers named Olga and Gay but unlike her heroine, she's thankfully not named after either one of them. She loves lazy pajama days, the first page of a good book, stupid funny movies, and sharing stories with fantastic people like you. Her books include the first two installments of her trilogy, 18 Things and 18 Truths. Visit her online via Twitter, Facebook, or at www.jamieayres.com.

Friday, February 7, 2014

New Release! Check out BRANDED by Katie Hamstead!



BRANDED

by
Katie Hamstead

Terrorists have invaded Sydney, and Allison King barely escapes her brother’s wedding reception alive. She and her siblings flee, but their parents are killed by firing squad.

Now Ali’s on the run and terrified. While searching for other survivors, she is captured by the General who leads the invasion. He’s smitten by Ali, and when she refuses to submit to his whims, he brands her for death. In a wild act of defiance, she snatches the branding rod and sears the mark onto his face. Marking not only him but also sealing her fate. Ali manages to escape and flees into the bush once more where she finds a group in hiding. Even with the scars left by the General, Ali learns to love and falls in love with the young man who found her—Damien Rogers. 

But the General is hunting her. When he discovers their location, and finds her with another man—Damien—his wrath is kindled and his obsession is inflamed. Ali must put herself on the line or the General could kill her family, those who help her, and most significantly, the man she loves.

Find BRANDED: Goodreads | Amazon 






Now, check out this awesome and exclusive interview with lead hottie Damien Rogers!

1.      What do you want for your future?
To be free again, with Ali, so we can raise a family together. It’s amazing how war makes you appreciate the simple things.
2.      What part of love comes easy?
My admiration and respect for Ali. From the second she stumbled onto the beach, I knew she was a fighter. Even battered as she was, she still kicked up a fuss.
3.      What do people notice first about you?
That I’m a broad shouldered Maori guy. People seem to think that means I play rugby. Don’t get me wrong, I love playing it, but I’m not a rugby player, you know? But apparently I should try to play for the All Blacks, even though I’ve lived in Australia all my life! *Grins* Oh, but Ali thinks it’s my grin, maybe my eyes. She’s secretly sappy.
4.      What are you most proud of about your life?
I don’t know really. Before the war I earned a bachelor’s degree at Uni. Yeah, I worked as a social worker. It’s a rough job at times, but there are moments when it’s all worth it.
5.      What's the most important thing in your life?
My family, especially Ali.
6.      What is your biggest fear?
My biggest fear is that the General will catch and break Ali before this war ends, or worse, I’ll have to watch him kill her after he’s broken her, then he goes after her family, and my family. So, the General is my biggest fear.
7.      What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Peace. A quiet home in the suburbs, a few kids, Ali smiling.
8.      Who is the greatest love of your life?
I think that’s pretty obvious. *winks*
9.      Where would you love to go the most?
I miss the beach. Any beach, anywhere. I used to love the bush, but I think from now on, if we ever get free, the bush will forever hold terrible memories. But the beach is peaceful, warm and no war memories are associated with it.
10.  What is your greatest regret?

Not talking to Ali before the war, when her brother said I should. I can’t believe I turned my nose up at her. I almost missed out on the best thing in my life. But then again, I wonder if we would have both survived if I’d been with her from the beginning, because there is no way I would have let the General take her in the first place.




About the Author:

Born and raised in Australia, Katie’s early years of day dreaming in the “bush”, and having her father tell her wild bedtime stories, inspired her passion for writing.
After graduating High School, she became a foreign exchange student where she met a young man who several years later she married. Now she lives in Arizona with her husband, daughter and their dog.
She has a diploma in travel and tourism which helps inspire her writing. She is currently at school studying English and Creative Writing.

Katie loves to out sing her friends and family, play sports and be a good wife and mother. She now works as a Clerk with a lien company in Arizona to help support her family and her schooling. She loves to write, and takes the few spare moments in her day to work on her novels.


Katie's Blog


Sunday, February 2, 2014

SJ Pajonas Blog Tour + Guest Post

Nogiku banner

Hi all! This post is part of the blog tour for the Nogiku Series by S.J. Pajonas, organized by Lola's Blog Tours! The tour runs from January 20 till February 2, and you can view the complete tour schedule on the Nogiku Series blog tour page on the website of Lola's Blog Tours.

***BE SURE TO SCROLL DOWN, as I have included an AWESOME guest post from the author that is all about something I love: SAKE!***

REMOVED 
(Nogiku series #1)
By SJ Pajonas
removedDuty knows no family. Love has no price. Secrets can cost you everything. Twenty-year-old Sanaa Griffin, a sweet and smart half-Japanese girl, is about to get more than she bargained for when she wishes for love and excitement on New Year’s Eve 3103. Mark Sakai, who knows more about her than any stranger should, thinks Sanaa is the perfect person to spy on the heads of the three biggest Japanese clan leaders in Nishikyo. He wants her to gather enough evidence to keep them from going to war when they land on Earth’s colonization planet, Yusei. Nishikyo, built by the Japanese 300 years ago to house the rest of mankind, is failing and everyone is preparing to leave. Sakai has known Sanaa’s family all her life but she knows nothing of him! And despite all the time they spend together, he keeps his distance from her. Then one day, he brings her to Jiro, his nephew, to learn sword fighting, and it changes her life irrevocably. Between falling in love with Jiro and the information she is gathering on the clans, Sanaa realizes Sakai is holding back secrets about her family and her deceased parents, secrets as to why she was chosen for this job, and learning the truth puts her and all of Nishikyo in danger.


RELEASED 
(Nogiku series #2)

by SJ Pajonas

released**Contains spoilers for those who have not read REMOVED (Book 1)** 
Left in the desert to recuperate from her injuries, Sanaa Itami paces the floors and contemplates her mistakes. She trusted too easily, and now people she loved are dead, killed at the hands of men coming to assassinate her. Sanaa feels beaten, but life awaits her at home. While Nishikyo recovers from the earthquake, negotiations for Sanaa's eventual rule on Yusei continue. New allies must be made, new friendships brokered, new skills acquired -- at all costs. Life at the top of the chain is complicated and lonely, though. With relations in Sakai clan rocky and uncertain, Sanaa must learn to trust others again more than she's willing. Who amongst the clans is left holding a grudge? And will the new family Sanaa has found with Jiro support or betray her? From Nishikyo to Yusei, RELEASED, Book TWO of the Nogiku Series, is the second book in a captivating New Adult post-apocalyptic romance series that harnesses the cultures and traditions of Japan and sweeps them into the future between Earth and a faraway land.
RELEASED on Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo


About the Author:
sj pajonasS. J. Pajonas loves all things Asian and has been in love with Japan for as long as she can remember. Writing about Asia and Japan came naturally after studying the culture and language for over fifteen years. She studied film and screenwriting first and eventually segued into fiction once she was no longer working a full-time job.

Released is S. J. Pajonas’s second work, book two of four in the Nogiku Series. The first book in the series, Removed, is described as “a wonderful story” with “engaging characters, seamless world building, and an action packed plot.” It’s an “up-til-3am-because-I-read-it-in-one-sitting book.” She also writes contemporary romance and her upcoming first book in the Love in the Digital Age series will be published in 2014.

S. J. lives with her husband and two children just outside of New York City. She loves reading, writing, film, J- and K-dramas, knitting, and astrology. Her favorite author is Haruki Murakami and favorite book is The Wind-up Bird Chronicle.
You can follow her here: - Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Flickr Instagram Tumblr


And now, the moment you've all been waiting for . . . . .  

WHAT IS SAKE? 
A Guest Post by S.J. Pajonas

Sake is very misunderstood outside of Japan so I’m glad I get to write about it today for the Nogiku Blog Tour. Sake is the drink of choice in both REMOVED and RELEASED, and Sanaa and Jiro always have a bottle or two in the fridge. In Japan, it’s considered the life-blood of the country and there’s even a song for it!
 Here in the U.S., I hear, “What’s the deal with hot sake? Is that an actual thing in Japan or just the way we serve it in America?” all the time. This is a very common question for Americans who know nothing about Japanese food besides sushi. They think sake is always served hot and there may be only a few varieties, and this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Let’s start with the basics. First of all, please do not call sake “SAH-KEY.” Saki is an entirely different word in Japanese, and you will get stares of incomprehension if you don’t pronounce it right. The word is pronounced “sah-kay” and sometimes in English we put an accent over the e to help you pronounce it correctly.

Okay, now that you know how to ask for it properly, you’re wondering, “Don’t I just ask for sake and take what they give me?” Depends. If you’re eating sushi at a little place not well-known for being authentic, probably. But if you’re lucky to happen upon a sushi restaurant or even an izakaya that serves a variety, this is where it gets fun!

What is sake?

Sake is not the same as vodka or other similar clear alcohols, but it’s actually more like beer, and comes in just as many artisanal varieties and from many different regions just like beer in America. Sake is brewed, as beer is, but the main component is rice. (If you’re looking for a hard alcohol made from rice, you should try shochu). Sake is usually clear but can range in color, from cloudy, milky white or even taking on a caramel hue. It comes filtered and unfiltered, in big bottles and small, and is available in small handcrafted batches and from big distributors. Sounds familiar, right? And although beer is its own thing with many ingredients (and there are many different Japanese beers that are amazing too!), sake is its Japanese cousin. So, for this blog post and making sake easier to understand, I’ll use American beer comparisons.

Choosing your first sake

The most prevalent brand of sake in the U.S. is definitely Gekkeikan. I’m sure most people have seen it because it comes in small and REALLY large bottles. It’s what I would term as the Budweiser of sake, and I call it “The Gek” at home, as in, “Honey, bring a bottle of the Gek up from the basement, please!” I mainly use Gekkeikan for cooking, to be honest. It’s lower quality sake, in my opinion, but perfectly drinkable, if you drink it warm! The majority of lower quality sake is served warm to mellow out the harsh tones, and once it’s warm, I can put away a ridiculous amount of Gekkeikan. But, oh my god, the hangover!

So, in general, if this is the sake available to you, I highly recommend using it for cooking or drinking it hot on a night before you have a morning to recover. You have been warned. You can heat sake in a carafe by placing the carafe in a hot pot of water. If you’re short on time you can microwave it! Just make sure to stir it before serving to get rid of hot spots. I have just learned there are Japanese microwaves that have a sake button, like we have a popcorn button in the States. I love the Japanese.

If you have a liquor store that stocks other brands of sake, you’re in luck! There are a lot of decent sakes sitting on liquor store shelves to choose from. This is where I, as a sake novice, have the most fun. The first thing I do when confronted with new sake is look at two things: the label and the price.


Here’s the label of my favorite “everyday” sake, Tozai “Living Jewel.” I find this at my local liquor store and it runs about $15 per bottle. $15 per bottle is what I consider to be the equivalent of buying Blue Moon beer over Budweiser, great for a small gathering of people sipping sake with a meal. There’s a lot you can learn from this label: grade, profile, prefecture (where it’s made), and the kind of rice used.

I always look at grade first. When I want a good, drinkable sake that’s served cold, I go with junmai grade or better. In general, the better the grade, the colder its served. When I drink Living Jewel, I pull it from the fridge and pour it into a double old-fashioned. No fancy sake cups. No pretensions. Just drink and enjoy.

So look at the label! Buy something in the junmai, tokubetsu (special) junmai, ginjo, or daiginjo (daiginjo being the best) grade.

Once you have a real interest and taste for sake and want more, try experimenting with sake from different regions. Recently, I’ve been buying from Iwate prefecture which was hit by the earthquake and tsunami. If you’re interested, here’s a great article from The Japan Times Online about Tohoku’s brewery one year on from the tsunami. When I’m out at a sake bar in NYC, I buy Nanbu Bijin. It’s my favorite upscale sake from the Iwate prefecture.

I’ve used my sake knowledge in Book 1, REMOVED, of course. The story starts out with Sanaa celebrating her 20th birthday. In NishikyŨ, the city in which she lives, the legal drinking age is 20 so when she shows up at the izakaya to celebrate, her bartender friend immediately pulls out a bottle of daiginjo sake and serves her. He doesn’t heat it because daiginjo is the best grade of sake, and it’s served cold. I’m sure if you know nothing about sake, you would probably read that and thinking something was wrong with my story! Hopefully now you know.

Storing your sake

Rule of thumb: store sake how you bought it. If you bought it from the shelf, store it on the shelf. If you bought it from the cooler, store it in the fridge. If it’s served chilled, put it in the fridge ahead of time and then keep it there. Sake never goes bad! Seriously. I’ve bought sake, drank half the bottle, and then let it sit for up to three weeks before drinking more. It DOES change in flavor, though. Sake, as the brewer intended for it to taste, should be consumed within 24-48 hours of opening. When I’ve had a bottle in the fridge for a long time, I tend to use it for cooking and then move onto a fresh bottle.




Feeling adventurous?

You’re out at a nice Japanese restaurant, one that offers a wide variety of sakes, and are totally confused by the menu? Do yourself a favor, put on a smile and ask for a recommendation. I bet the waitstaff or bartender would be more than happy to help! In fact, if you can, ask for a tasting flight of sake. This is a great place to start. Try a few and figure out what you like best, then ask to see the bottle. I have been to many bars in NYC and done this. It’s not uncommon to find me taking out my iPhone and snapping a pic of the label so I won’t forget! It always makes the bartender smile.



Want more info?

I have three favorite sake books to recommend!
     The Book of Sake: A Connoisseur’s Guide – This is great starter information with thorough background on types of sakes, how to read the labels, how to pair sake with food, the regions and their styles.
     Sake: A Modern Guide – Also great starter information but has a fun section full of sake cocktails and food to pair with sake.
     The Sake Handbook – I use this to find common sake and learn more about it. It contains information on the top 100 brands and gives good tips for choosing a sake.


I have also prepared this Japanese Sake Pinterest board for you to look at. Enjoy and Kanpai!