Grand finale on Alethea Kontis’ Blog tour

Hero-Final-Cover-687x1024We were thrilled to have Alethea Kontis appear as our very first guest blogger, with her video rant about the inspiration for her book, Hero.  Want to check out the Grand Finale of her tour?  It’s pretty cool!  And there’s a raffle involved and you gotta love that!  I have no idea what’s in the raffle basket but having had the pleasure of meeting Alethea I suspect glitter may be involved.

The Grand Finale
(In case you missed anything!)
On Tour with Prism Book Tours


Hero

by Alethea Kontis

Rough and tumble Saturday Woodcutter thinks she’s the only one of her sisters without any magic—until the day she accidentally conjures an ocean in the backyard. With her sword in tow, Saturday sets sail on a pirate ship, only to find herself kidnapped and whisked off to the top of the world. 



Is Saturday powerful enough to kill the mountain witch who holds her captive and save the world from sure destruction? And, as she wonders grumpily, “Did romance have to be part of the adventure?” 



As in Enchanted, readers will revel in the fragments of fairy tales that embellish this action-packed story of adventure and, yes, romance.  Excerpt

   
Sail Away on the 
Fairy Tale Adventure Tour*
*Family Welcome

Sept 22 – LAUNCH

Sept 23 – The Missing Piece – Althethea Kontis 

Acknowledgements - Alethea Kontis

 I wrote them. And I cried. And I sent them in. And my editor was touched. And then somewhere between then and publication, they fell through the cracks…

 – Video Rant on Debz Bookshelf

Something about Saturday’s story just touched me… and that made my experience reading this book even more powerful. – Debz review
 
 – Celebration on Deal Sharing Aunt

 

Sept 24 – Interview with Miss Print 

The plan is for the Woodcutter Sisters Series to encompass 7 books — one about each sister. That’s always been my original plan. The publisher’s plan was for Enchanted to be a solo book…INTERVIEW

Hero is another excellent installment in the Woodcutter Sisters story and a mandatory read for anyone looking for an antidote to the typical princess story.  – REVIEW

Sept 25 – Interview with Carina Olsen  

What was the first fairy tale you remember falling in love with?  I started reading when I was three and was crazy about reading by the age of five. When I was eight, my French grandmother gave me a giant copy of unexpurgated Grimm and Andersen tales. I mark that date as The Beginning of The End…

 – The Grandfather Pirate on Living a Goddess Life




 – Meet the Inspiration Part I on The Wonderings of One Person

I was a normal kind from a REALLY NOT NORMAL family. My biggest feelings of inadequacy came from comparing myself to my parents and siblings and everyone else and just not measuring up…

Sept 26 – Review on Shannon’s Blog

Coming from a large family, I liked the way the author not only made the heroine one of many siblings, but managed to include all her brothers and sisters…  It wasn’t just an interesting biographical fact that Saturday came from a large family; it actually mattered to the story.

Sept 27 – My Amazing Sister on Leeana Me

My little sister, Soteria, always asks me who she is in the Woodcutter stories, but it’s hard to say. She and I were so close growing up–if I am every single one of my characters, then she is always my sister in every scene.

Sept 30 — USA Today Happy Ever After interview

My 8-year old daughter loves Alethea Kontis. She’s never read one of her YA books, but she knows her as “Princess Alethea” who hangs out with Mommy at book festivals. Alethea lives and breathes fantasy, fairy tales and girl power, and it always pours out of the page. The second book in her Woodcutter series, Hero, is out, and this one has all the trademark spunky heroine and swashbuckling (there are pirates!) fantasy adventure you will find in her books. I was fortunate enough to grab a few moments with Alethea to ask her a few questions…

 Hero by Alethea Kontis

– Review of Enchantment on Colorimetry

What a deliciously fairy tale filling read… with just enough light-hearted fun, deeply dark antagonists, magic straight out of real fairy-tale-dom with real fairy god mothers… and characters that carry their faults around like real people that accidentally fell into the story.

Oct 1 – RELEASE DAY! – Alethea at Waterworld Mermaids – “Last Minute Wonder”

I can’t even call it procrastination, because it was more like Self-Imposed Ninja Boot Camp…

 – “My Favorite Bit” guest essay by Alethea – Mary Robinette Kowal

…clothes may be an expression of who you are, but they are not the definition.

 – Review at Library of a Book Witch

I think that this series is really good at setting that fairy tale tone with the writing style, being a hard core lover of fairy tales, it makes the books perfect for me. I also love how she weaves in the different stories and pieces it togther like one of Fridays quilts.

Sunday

– Interview & Review at Tressa’s Wishful Endings

Alethea: I have been accused many times of “cramming all the fairy tales into one book like it was some sort of challenge”–and indeed, it sort of started out that way.I just have to ask, what is your favorite fairy tale and fairy tale princess and why?Alethea: Yay! I love answering this question… Interview

Saturday is such a great character! She is struggling with figuring out her place in the world and who exactly she is…  I loved that she isn’t dramatic, but rather sarcastic… Review

Oct 2 – Video Rant Geek Girl In Love 

Princess Alethea rants about Petronella

I found Hero to be a creative and exciting work of fantasy.  The highlight of the book was the exploration of gender roles, and the romance, which was based very much on the idea that people’s differences can complement each other.

  – “The Big Idea” John Scalzi’s blog 

Every author wonders if they’ll be able to hack it in a trial by fire. Well, this author knows she’s got what it takes. I wrote that manuscript in three months, and when they didn’t like that, I took the fourth month to rewrite the whole thing. But I did it, against all odds, and what came out was magic.
Ironically, this is exactly what Hero is all about.

  – My Bookshelf on Mel’s Shelves

I was intrigued with the summary for this book. I come from a family of 7 daughters (and 2 sons). I line up with daughter number 4, Thursday, who ran off with the Pirate King and sends trunks of gifts back home, haha!  – Review of Enchanted

The Shelf I Can’t Live Without



  – Did You See? on Cu’s eBook Giveaways


Princess Alethea has had a busy week!
 
Madeleine DeRondeOct 3 – Hightlighting The Missing Piece on I Am a Reader, Not a Writer 

Last but not least I must thank the members of my very large family… thank you for keeping my feet tied to the ground while I reach for the stars. You are my heart, and I love you all more than these humble words can say. 

 – Review at Books for Kids

I love the way she writes.  Her characters are vibrant and full of life.  Saturday is a fabulous protagonist.  I adore her strength and her stubbornness, her fire and her fight.  I love the way she solves her problems (with her brain) and the way she carries out her plans (with her strength).

Oct 4 – Podcast Anything Goes with Bennet Pomeranz

 
 

 – Review of Hero on Colorimetry

The scene with the lake is burned on my memory forever:  Surrounded by icy walls, with water so clear you can see that the lake is deep, so deep you don’t know how deep, heated from molten lava within the mountain. It’s amazing. I want to go there!!

Oct 5 – Hero LAUNCH PARTY at One More Page Books in Arlington, VA

…where you can get a personalized, signed copy from Alethea!!


 – Meet the Inspiration Part II on Bookmarks

…So you see, I didn’t just have family members growing up. I had legends. I may have been destined for greatness, but only because my family set the bar SO HIGH.



Oct 7 – Character interview with Saturday Woodcutter at I Smell Sheep

Troubadour: I’m here today with Saturday Woodcutter, sixth of the seven Woodcutter daughters, and sister to the Queen of Arilland. Princess Saturday, could you tell me–

Saturday: Call me “princess” again and I punch you in the face. 

 –  Craft “Stealing from the Best” on Romance Writers of America & Fantasy Futuristic &Paranormal Chapter

In my teen novels, I retell the classic Grimm and Andersen (and a few others’) fairy tales. I don’t regurgitate the exact same sequence of events–though as they’re public domain, I suppose I could. I prefer, instead, to fill in the blanks I feel the original authors left.

Oct 8 – Families in Fiction at A Backwards Story

In real life, we have families. Some of us have REALLY LARGE AND OBNOXIOUS families. And though we feel alone sometimes in those awkward middle school years, we’re never really alone-alone.
Even when we want to be.

 – Review at JL Mbewe

There’s that saying that“it takes a village to raise a child” well, in the publishing world, books are the author’s children. And it takes a village to raise them, too…

The first thing that jumped off the page at me was the author’s style. It’s playful, fun, and fresh filled with an out-of-this-world yet grounded fairy tale experience. I loved it… Review

AK – Beloved is a parallel novel to Hero, chronicling the adventures of Friday and the rest of the Woodcutter crew back in Arilland, in the tragic aftermath of the appearance of Saturday’s “impossible ocean.” Apprentice seamstress Friday becomes a leader of the children (because that’s Friday’s thing), and gets caught up in trying to break a curse involving seven swans, a mute girl, and the need to weave seven shirts out of stinging nettles.

I’ve always loved all the bird-tales (“The Goose Girl” is my favorite) and I have to say…I am SO IN LOVE with writing this book. Beloved is such an appropriate title.

 – Deleted Scene at Fragments of Life

It was a sad road that led Peregrine to his mother’s bedside… 

All in all, Hero was like a tapestry of fairytales interwoven together: vibrant, fun, humorous, tragic and100% magical. I strongly recommend this to readers who love fairytale retellings and fantasy. – Review

Oct 11 – 13 – CaplaveOct 11-15 – GRAND FINALE

Contact BurgandyIce(at)live(dot)come if you’re interested in sharing this Grand Finale!
Hero (Woodcutter Sisters #2)

Tour-Wide Giveaway

Sept 22 – Oct 17

Fairy Tale Gift Basket (US only): Signed copies of both Enchantment and Hero by Alethea Kontis plus swag!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mini Review: Hero, by Alethea Kontis

Hero-Final-Cover-687x1024Alethea Kontis came by last week with a video talk about the fairy tale “Petronella“.  Her own book, Hero, came out on October 1.  Hero is a creative, fun, touching fairy tale with great imagery and fascinating characters.  My full-length review of Hero is up today at Smart Bitches Trashy Books, so go check it out – or just skip the review and read Hero!

Wednesday Video: Princess Alethea Rants About Petronella

cover of PetronellaHey, who is this tiara clad person visiting our blog?  Why it’s Alethea Kontis, author of Enchanted and the just published Hero.  Alethea kindly sent us this rant about the inspiration for Hero as part of her blog tour.  It’s story time!

Curious?  Here’s a description of Hero:

Rough and tumble Saturday Woodcutter thinks she’s the only one of her sisters without any magic—until the day she accidentally conjures an ocean in the backyard. With her sword in tow, Saturday sets sail on a pirate ship, only to find herself kidnapped and whisked off to the top of the world. Is Saturday powerful enough to kill the mountain witch who holds her captive and save the world from sure destruction? And, as she wonders grumpily, “Did romance have to be part of the adventure?”
As in Enchanted, readers will revel in the fragments of fairy tales that embellish this action-packed story of adventure and, yes, romance.

I found Hero to be a creative and exciting work of fantasy.  The highlight of the book was the exploration of gender roles, and the romance, which was based very much on the idea that people’s differences can complement each other.  In this case, the woman, Saturday, is impulsive, physically strong, and action-oriented.  The man, Peregrine, is gentle, thoughtful, and interested in feelings and in long-term consequences of actions.  Together, Saturday and Peregrine make a fascinating team.

For more info about Alethea’s blog tour, give aways, and of course how to buy the book, check out this page and the bookseller links below:

 

Review: The Drowning Girl, by Caitlin R. Kiernan

Cover of Drowning girlMy Nebula Review Series continues with The Drowning Girl, by Caitlín R. Kiernan.

The Drowning Girl is certainly not a romance, and yet within its pages a quite touching romance unfolds, almost without the reader noticing it.  The overall tone is one of menace and confusion and dread, but the resolution involves healing and love, and healing because of love (and a lot of therapy and medication and art and research – there’s nothing trite about the story).

The plot is hard to describe because a lot of the story is ambiguous.  India, also known as Imp, is a writer and painter who is living with schizophrenia.  She is able to control her symptoms with a complicated regimen of medications and therapy.  One night Imp sees a naked woman walking down the side of the road, and she picks her up and takes her home.  This woman’s name is Eva, and she becomes an object of obsession for Imp.

As Imp goes on and off and on her meds, she doubts her own perceptions of what is happening.  In one version of her story, Eva comes to her in July, and her function is that of a siren.  In another, Eva arrives in November, and her function is that of a wolf.  How many Evas there are, and whether they are mermaid or wolf, and what they want from Imp, are mysteries Imp struggles to solve as she wrestles with her mental illness.

The two most important technical components of this book are voice and imagery.  Imp is the book’s narrator.  Listen to this incredible passage, from a period when Imp is deeply obsessed with Eva and has stopped taking her medication:

All our thoughts are mustard seeds.  Oh, many days now.  Many days.  Many days of mustard seeds.  India Phelps, daughter of madwomen, granddaughter, who doesn’t want to say a word and ergo can’t stop talking.  Here is a sad, sad tale, woebegone story of the girl who stopped for two strangers who would not, could not stop for me.  She, she who is me, and I creep around the edges of my own life afraid to screw off the mayonnaise lid and spill the mustard seeds.

And here’s a more lucid passage, in which she talks about the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood:

 Anyway, even with the happy ending, the story terrified me.  For one thing, I never pictured the wolf as a real wolf, but as something that walked upright on two legs, and looked a lot more like a man than a wolf.  So I suppose I saw it as a werewolf.  When I was older, and saw a National Geographic documentary, I realized that the way I’d seen the wolf, in my mind’s eye, made the story truer, because men are much more dangerous than wolves.  Especially if you’re a wolf, or a little girl.

I read Drowning because it’s nominated for a Nebula Award for best novel.  I expected something dark and scary, not anything romantic.  So it was a delightful surprise to find that the love affair between India and Abalyn is quite beautiful and vital to the rest of the story.  Abalyn is Imp’s lover and roommate.  In a story in which characters are always changing their identity, Abalyn is the only character who seems completely sure of who she is.  Abalyn is a male to female transsexual, and despite the altering of her physical form, she is very clear that she didn’t “change her sex” – she was always female.  Abalyn is also Imp’s link to the rest of the world and her tether to sanity.  Even though the focus is on other things, I grew to adore Abalyn, and her relationship with Imp is what allows Imp to move through the obsession with Eva and heal.

I recommend Drowning Girl to anyone who has an interest in revisionist fairy tales, in psychological horror, or in books with a strong narrative voice and an unreliable narrator.  It’s prose was lovely and horrifying, and although neither I nor imp is completely sure of what happened, it’s nice to know that love, as well as a very good therapist, helped things get to some sort of a happy ending.

Mini Review: Scarlet, by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet is Book Two of the Lunar Chronicles Series.  This series, while not strictly a romance series, is a high-quality romance-friendly crossover, and its inventive steampunk/science fiction twists on fairy tales make it a must-read for genre fans.  I enjoyed the world-building and the twists on fairy tales.  I do recommend that readers read the first book, Cinder, before reading Scarlet.  Cinder is the book that sets events in motion, and frankly, I think is a stronger book overall, although both books are compelling.  For a full length review of Scarlet, check me out at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.