Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Author Interview: Hazel West

Follow the tour!


Title: An Earthly King
(Modern Tales of Na Fianna #2)
by Hazel West
Genre: YA, urban fantasy, alternate history

Synopsis
Six months after Ciran defeated King Lorcan and instigated a peace treaty between the High Court of Ireland the Goblin realm, things have been slowly getting back to normal in the kingdoms. That is, until the council decides that it's time for High King Eamon to find a queen.

On top of that, there seem to be stirrings of rebellion in the Faelands, as not all the Fair Folk like the High Court's treaty with the Goblins. So it's up to Ciran Mac Cool and his company to stop the rebellion before it goes too far, while also trying to keep Eamon safe from potential assassins. And with all the prospective brides rubbing elbows with the High King, that's easier said than done.

With the help of their friends and a spunky agent from the Bureau of Protection Against Fair Folk, Ciran's Company attempts to stop the Faery plots before Ireland is thrown into all out war. Again.

An Earthly King is another action-packed book in this Celtic urban fantasy series with lots of friendship, humor, angst, and even traces of the Ballad of Tam Lin.

Purchase Links


Want to start at the beginning? You're in luck! Check out this promotional chance to get a FREE Kindle Edition of Book #1: Blood Ties and begin the Modern Tales of Na Fianna now!

Interview

We at The Reading Hedgehog are super thrilled to once again host a stop on author Hazel West's latest blog tour! And we're also thrilled to be interviewing her again!


MP: So obviously An Earthly King is a sequel to Blood Ties - the first book in the Modern Tales of Na Fianna. What was some of the inspiration for this sequel?

HW: Well, I had known this was going to be a series, so I had already been thinking of sequels by the time I was halfway through writing the first one. I think my first idea for this one was, ‘what if Eamon was pressured into having to marry so they had a huge event where all the eligible ladies were presented to him and he was forced to mingle with them?’—which he would be very bad at. From there it turned into a story about faeries, and evil faeries, and rebel faeries who may not be evil. Obviously, another inspiration for this one was the Ballad of Tam Lin (from which the title is derived). I’ve wanted to write a Tam Lin retelling for a while, and while this isn’t a heavy retelling, nor probably the only one I’ll ever write, I kind of wanted to craft something more subtle for the people who knew the story.

MP: Since An Earthly King is a sequel, how did the writing experience differ from writing Blood Ties?

HW: I kind of have a bad track record with sequels, actually, haha. But this one amazingly flowed pretty well. I wrote the first half for NaNoWriMo and then put it away for a while, then wrote the next half several months later. This story is a little more light-hearted than the first one too, not that there isn’t plenty of angst and mangst, but I think there’s more opportunities for humor. The plot for this one made me think more too, haha. But overall, it actually, surprisingly, took me less time to write it than the first one. But I think that’s mainly because I had dealth with all the world building in Blood Ties so this one was just a matter of building on top of that.

MP: Who is your favorite character in An Earthly King? Why?

HW: In this one, definitely Oberon, the rebel faerie prince. (Writer confession: he actually wasn’t even in the original idea for this story, but lo and behold he popped up one day and insisted he was going to be there, and certainly NOT in the capacity I had first thought he should be :P)

MP: Assuming you can talk about the villain in An Earthly King: how did working with this villain live up to Blood Ties's villain?

HW: Well, in this one, we get to see the Unseelie Queen Eolande as a main baddie. In reality I’m not sure who is worse, her or King Lorcan in Blood Ties but I enjoyed writing them both. There’s something to be said for a wicked queen. I think overall, I liked Lorcan better, but either way, I always enjoy writing baddies.

MP: Throughout the writing process, which character did you get along with the best, and who gave you the most trouble?

HW: Unlike in Blood Ties, which was all told from Ciran’s perspective, you get three character perspectives in this one, Ciran, Eamon and a new character, Bree. Eamon and I get along very well as a rule, we share a lot of the same traits; he’s actually rather introverted and likes his quiet and his library. While Ciran was never a difficult character to write, I think I enjoyed writing Eamon’s perspective more, and actually found out a few things about his character I didn’t know before like his dry, rather sarcastic sense of humor which he keeps mostly in his head—unless he’s sharing it with his Captain of the Guard. 

Bree was the most difficult. I’m not good at writing from a female perspective, I think it’s some psychological thing about it being ‘too close to home’ or something but Bree gave me difficulty for a while, but after several drafts I was finally able to really crack her down. 

MP: What was your first reaction upon writing THE END on your final draft of An Earthly King?

HW: I was thrilled. This one gave me a lot of issues ESPECIALLY in the editing process, but overall I was happy with how it turned out.

MP: What can Readers expect next? Do you have a new book in the works? Tell us a bit about it.

HW: Well, Book Three will be coming out (hopefully) in the summer of 2017! This one will be dealing with a couple minor characters you get to meet in An Earthly King as well as other issues back in Tara. You’ll get to see how BPAFF (Bureau of Investigation Against Fair Folk) works on a regular basis and there will be a lot more faeries. (Fun fact: if you buy the paperback copy of An Earthly King you can read the first two chapters of Book Three in the back!)

Also, depending on how well my NaNo project goes this year, you guys may get a novel that I will be posting as an online serial, which I’m not quite in the discussion stages as of yet—unless you want to join me in NaNo, then we can chat!

About the Author
Hazel West lives in Purgatory, er, Florida, with her books and her hedgehog Horatio. When she's not writing, she's reading other people's books, studying folklore, or binge-watching something on Netflix - drinking coffee is also a given.

Stalk Hazel Here!

Read an Except from An Earthly King!


Everything happened at once. Eamon had bent over to unlock the passenger side door for me, turning, likely to ask why I was standing so far away, when a dark shape came hurtling out of the shadows and bowled him over before I could shout a warning.

A wicked blade came into the attacker’s hand and I threw my knife as soon as I saw it, catching the figure’s wrist and causing him to fall back with snarl. Before I could do anything else, Killian had come up from behind the creature and swung his sword, decapitating it in one swift movement. He reached down to help Eamon up while I went to inspect the attacker.

“Redcap,” I told them grimly, seeing the distinctive red cap on the decapitated head as well as the pointed ears and lean figure. I stepped on the thing’s arm and bent to pull my knife from its wrist, wiping it on the sleeve of the Fae’s coat. I turned back around to see Killian cleaning his own blade.

“Are you all right, Eamon?” I asked.

He nodded, as Killian turned to me with a glare. “Oh, it’s Eamon is it? By the bloody fae, this really is getting into the gossip rags.”

“She saved my life, Killie, I think she deserves to call me by name; and is this really the time?” he said, still looking at the dead Faerie. “So, what exactly am I supposed to make of that?”

I shuddered slightly despite myself, and it had nothing to do with the cold wind. “I’m afraid this might mean we have quite a bit to worry about after all.”




Thursday, August 18, 2016

ARC Review: Ghostly Echoes - William Ritter

Ghostly Echoes by William Ritter
Series: Jackaby #3
Genre: YA, historical fantasy, supernatural, mystery
Published on August 23, 2016
Published by Algonquin Young Readers
Pages: 352
Read In: July 2016












SYNOPSIS


Jenny Cavanaugh, the ghostly lady of 926 Augur Lane, has enlisted the investigative services of her fellow residents to solve a decade-old murder - her own. Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer, Detective R. F. Jackaby, dive into the cold case, starting with a search for Jenny's fiancĂ©, who went missing the night she died. But when a new, gruesome murder closely mirrors the events of ten years prior, Abigail and Jackaby realize that Jenny's case isn't so cold after all, and her killer may be far more dangerous than they suspected. 

Fantasy and folklore mix with mad science as Abigail's race to unravel the mystery leads her across the cold cobblestones of nineteenth-century New England, down to the mythical underworld, and deep into her colleagues' grim histories to battle the most deadly foe she has ever faced.


Review



Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Ghostly Echoes

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.
It's a weekly meme about upcoming books we're excited about!



Ghostly Echoes
by William Ritter
(Jackaby #3)
Publisher: Algonquin Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: August 23, 2016

From Goodreads:

Jenny Cavanaugh, the ghostly lady of 926 Augur Lane, has enlisted the investigative services of her fellow residents to solve a decade-old murder - her own. Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer, Detective R. F. Jackaby, dive into the cold case, starting with a search for Jenny's fiancé, who went missing the night she died. But when a new, gruesome murder closely mirrors the events of ten years prior, Abigail and Jackaby realize that Jenny's case isn't so cold after all, and her killer may be far more dangerous than they suspected.

Fantasy and folklore mix with mad science as Abigail's race to unravel the mystery leads her across the cold cobblestones of nineteenth-century New England, down to the mythical underworld, and deep into her colleagues' grim histories to battle the most deadly foe she had ever faced.

Ever since Jackaby was first released - actually, before then, as I was lucky enough to receive an ARC several months in advance - I have been an avid fan of this series. Doctor Who meets Sherlock is absolutely the best description, and it might sound a little ridiculous to some Readers, but believe me - it's a combination that works admirably well. All the while, William Ritter retains his own originality, so it doesn't feel like a ripoff in the slightest. I've been dying to see what happens next since the end of Book #2, especially concerning Jenny's past!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Top 10 Books I'd Buy Immediately If Someone Handed Me A Fully Loaded Gift Card

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish 


It's Top Ten Tuesday REWIND! Where I got to pick a topic that I missed or wanted to revisit! Well, I've been a lot of topics recently, due to my absence, so this one sounded super fun!! WARNING: lots of sequels.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Hiatus Update

Hello, everyone!

So, yeah, I've been unexpectedly absent again! Why? Well, there's a lot of reasons. And hopefully I can line 'em all up in a clear manner.

  1. Life happens. This whole adulting thing doesn't leave me much leisure time, and while I actually got a ton of reading done in July (well, more than the last few months), it takes time to then write/record reviews and the like. Also, some personal things happened recently and it's taken all of the joy out of so much.
  2. Writing. In case you haven't heard, I have a new blog: The Freelance Chronicles (go check it out! It's my pet project at the moment and it takes up pretty much ALL of my spare time. I'm writing installments every week, plus promoting it, plus editing, plus plus plus - well, pretty much the only thing I'm not doing is the artwork.
  3. Booktube vs. Blogging. I'm still trying to decide whether it's more feasable to go all the way on Youtube, or to maintain a blog on top of it. This will be answered when I finally figure out a video review format that I like. And I still haven't done that.
So! What does this mean for The Reading Hedgehog? I still exit; I haven't disappeared. Not permanently, anyway. And I've been missing it and interacting with my followers. But I beg understanding and patience with all of you. My life is in a transitioning period right now - it feels like it has been for the past 2 years, but big transitions take a long time. To be honest, I burned myself out something awful a few years back, which is why I've been on and off about blogging. Slowly, though, like a victim recovering from trauma, I'm getting my mojo back. I poured myself into this blog for so many years because I burned myself out with creative writing. With The Freelance Chronicles, I've rediscovered the joy of writing again. And I'm rediscovering the joy of the book community as well - again, slowly. I went to my first author event in a long time just a few weeks ago, and it felt amazing. I've been reading a lot more and like I said - I've been missing doing book reviews.

Please keep having patience with me. Don't be afraid to ask when I'm coming back if you don't hear from me for a while! And please don't give up on The Reading Hedgehog. ^_^

Monday, May 2, 2016

2016 TBR Update #8

So it's been a (long) while since I've done one of these updates, but I'm going to try and do them on Mondays on a regular basis. Not only so you can stay up to date on my reading challenges, but also my TBR progress for the months.

So my May TBR has 18 official books. Out of those, I have completed 1 this week.
  • Illusionarium by Heather Dixon (3/5 strawberries)
I have 15 left to read:
  • Calamity by Brandon Sanderson
  • Daughter of Dusk by Livia Blackburne
  • Empire of Night by Kelley Armstrong
  • A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
  • Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
  • The Golden Yarn by Cornelia Funke
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling
  • Hopper's Destiny by Lisa Fiedler
  • Ignite by Sara B. Larson
  • Palace of Mirrors by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  • Raging Sea by Michael Buckley
  • Yellow Brick War by Danielle Paige
  • Curio by Evangeline Denmark
  • Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly
  • Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
I have also read:

I am currently reading 3 books:
  • A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
  • Yellow Brick War by Danielle Paige
  • New Moon by Stephanie Meyer
I have caught up on 0 series, and I have started 0 new series/trilogies/duologies.

So I sort of failed in last year's all-year-round challenge, but this year I'm doing another one just because I can! And I'm doing the 2016 Monthly Keyword Reading Challenge. Click the link to see detailed rules, but essentially each month there are a set of keywords, and I have to choose a book that adheres to one of those keywords in the title. For me, I'm going to try and select more than one keyword, because I like a challenge.

This month's keywords are: 
Cure, Trial, Family, Key, Thief, Bend
()


JUN: Moon, In, Only, Whisper, Sleep, Trap

JUL: Rose, Sun, Clock, Day, Angel, Unto

AUG: Prince, Boy, Glass, Heart, Lost, Now

SEP: Wind, Color, Touch, At, How, Sweet

OCT: Rock, Ghost, Fall, Away, Sky, Storm

NOV: Dream, Holiday, And, Of, Dawn, Beautiful

DEC: End, Promise, Everlasting, Ice, Snow, My

And because I feel like stressing myself out, I'm taking on a second reading challenge. The A-Z Reading Challenge. It's very simple: I have to read a book that begins with a letter from the alphabet, until I've gone through the entire alphabet! So this is my lineup!

A:
B: Bad Beginning, The - Lemony Snicket
C: Castle in the Air - Diana Wynne Jones
D: Daughter of Dusk - Livia Blackburne
E: Empire of Night - Kelley Armstrong
F: Firelight - Kazu Kibuishi
G: Glass Sword - Victoria Aveyard
H: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J. K. Rowling
I: Illusionarium - Heather Dixon
J:
K:
L:
M: Monstrous - MarcyKate Connolly
N: New Moon - Stephanie Meyer
O:
P: Pirate's Wish, The - Cassandra Rose Clarke
Q:
R: Rise of the Wolf - Jennifer A. Nielsen
S: Sword of Summer, The - Rick Riordan
T:
U:
V:
W: Wrath and the Dawn, The - Renee Ahdieh
X:
Y: Yellow Brick War - Danielle Paige
Z:

Friday, April 22, 2016

Review: The Fire Wish - Amber Lough

The Fire Wish by Amber Lough
Series: The Jinni Wars #1
Genre: YA, fantasy
Published on July 22, 2014
Published by Random House
Pages: 320
Read From 03.09.16 - 03.26.16










SYNOPSIS
The Princess

Locked in a caravan on her way to marry a prince of Baghdad, Zayele will do anything to escape. 

The Jinni

Trained as a spy in the war against the humans, Najwa knows there's something about Zayele that the other jinn are hidden. 

The Wish

Zayele captures Najwa and makes a wish. With a rush of smoke and fire, they fall apart, them re-form - as each other. A jinni and a human, trading lives. 

Both girls must play their parts among enemies who would kill them if the deception were ever discovered - enemies including the fascinating young men Najwa and Zayele are just discovering they might live.

Review



Others in The Jinni Wars Series:
1)The Fire Wish
2)The Blind Wish

Monday, April 4, 2016

2016 TBR Update #7

So it's been a (long) while since I've done one of these updates, but I'm going to try and do them on Mondays on a regular basis. Not only so you can stay up to date on my reading challenges, but also my TBR progress for the months.

So my April TBR has 18 official books. Out of those, I have completed 1 this week.
  • Rise of the Wolf by Jennifer A. Nielsen (5/5 strawberries)
I have 17 left to read:
  • Calamity by Brandon Sanderson
  • Daughter of Dusk by Livia Blackburne
  • Empire of Night by Kelley Armstrong
  • A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
  • Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
  • The Golden Yarn by Cornelia Funke
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling
  • Hopper's Destiny by Lisa Fiedler
  • Ignite by Sara B. Larson
  • The Pirate's Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke
  • Palace of Mirrors by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  • Raging Sea by Michael Buckley
  • Yellow Brick War by Danielle Paige
  • Curio by Evangeline Denmark
  • Illusionarium by Heather Dixon
  • Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly
  • Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
I have also read:

I am currently reading 2 books:
  • A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
  • The Pirate's Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke
I have caught up on 1 series (The Praetor War), and I have started 0 new series/trilogies/duologies.

So I sort of failed in last year's all-year-round challenge, but this year I'm doing another one just because I can! And I'm doing the 2016 Monthly Keyword Reading Challenge. Click the link to see detailed rules, but essentially each month there are a set of keywords, and I have to choose a book that adheres to one of those keywords in the title. For me, I'm going to try and select more than one keyword, because I like a challenge.

This month's keywords are: 
Far, Life, Stay, One War, Thorns
(Yellow Brick War)


MAY: Cure, Trial, Family, Key, Thief, Bend

JUN: Moon, In, Only, Whisper, Sleep, Trap

JUL: Rose, Sun, Clock, Day, Angel, Unto

AUG: Prince, Boy, Glass, Heart, Lost, Now

SEP: Wind, Color, Touch, At, How, Sweet

OCT: Rock, Ghost, Fall, Away, Sky, Storm

NOV: Dream, Holiday, And, Of, Dawn, Beautiful

DEC: End, Promise, Everlasting, Ice, Snow, My

And because I feel like stressing myself out, I'm taking on a second reading challenge. The A-Z Reading Challenge. It's very simple: I have to read a book that begins with a letter from the alphabet, until I've gone through the entire alphabet! So this is my lineup!

A:
B: Bad Beginning, The - Lemony Snicket
C: Castle in the Air - Diana Wynne Jones
D: Daughter of Dusk - Livia Blackburne
E: Empire of Night - Kelley Armstrong
F: Firelight - Kazu Kibuishi
G: Glass Sword - Victoria Aveyard
H: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J. K. Rowling
I: Ignite - Sara B. Larson
J:
K:
L:
M: Monstrous - MarcyKate Connolly
N:
O:
P: Pirate's Wish, The - Cassandra Rose Clarke
Q:
R: Rise of the Wolf - Jennifer A. Nielsen
S: Sword of Summer, The - Rick Riordan
T:
U:
V:
W: Wrath and the Dawn, The - Renee Ahdieh
X:
Y: Yellow Brick War - Danielle Paige
Z:

Friday, April 1, 2016

April 2016 TBR

I'm such a mood reader these days, but I'll still try to have a monthly TBR that I will (sort of) stick to.


Thursday, March 31, 2016

Hedge's Reading Recap: March 2016


Time to recap all the books I read this month! All in all, it was a pretty "tame" month. I had a lot going, so I didn't read as much as usual. But the books I did read were quite good!

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