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Saturday, January 4, 2014

{Blog Tour} THE ALMOST GIRL by AMALIE HOWARD ---with review, interviews, and giveaway!


This is going to be a huge post...sharing not only a review, but also a giveaway, interview with author, interview with main character, and spotlightly Amalie's other books and upcoming releases! READ ON! |||



PRESS RELEASE:
‘BLOODSPELL’ WRITER AMALIE HOWARD RETURNS TO BOOKSHELVES WITH FIVE NEW RELEASES
Young adult author’s debut novel named a Seventeen Magazine Summer Beach Read


NEW YORK CITY – Young adult author Amalie Howard enchanted readers with her debut novel “Bloodspell,” a Seventeen Magazine Summer Beach Read. She returns with an impressive five new books to be published throughout the next two years.

First, readers will take a dive into the deep blue sea in the first novel from Howard’s new oceanic science fiction two-part series, The Aquarathi. “Waterfell” (October 29, 2013, Harlequin TEEN) tells the story of an alien shape-shifting princess who hides among humankind, and fights to save her species in the depths of the Earth’s oceans when an enemy murders her family, threatening the future of her underwater kingdom. The sequel “Oceanborn” will follow in 2014.

Continuing a tradition of strong female characters, “The Almost Girl” (January 7, 2014, Strange Chemistry) introduces readers to a tough, independent soldier from a parallel universe who is thrown into an earthly mission that has her second guessing life as she knows it. “The Almost Girl” is first in a two-book series.

Howard’s “Alpha Goddess” (March 2014, Skyhorse/Sky Pony Press) seamlessly blends Indian mythology and fantasy. Her unique take on the Hindu myth of Ramayana, the epic love story of Rama and Sita, has already piqued the interest of a Hollywood producer who is eager to adapt the book into a film.


Having landed publishing deals with three presses in just the span of one month, Howard is a sought-after novelist with her finger on the pulse of young adult readers. After the release of her first book “Bloodspell,” she earned a stellar reputation as an engaging writer with a sixth sense for what young readers are really looking for in literature. Howard has been honored by the Royal Commonwealth Society, and is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She lives in New York with her husband and three children.
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Seventeen-year-old Riven is as tough as they come. Coming from a world ravaged by a devastating android war, she has to be. There’s no room for softness, no room for emotion, no room for mistakes. A Legion General, she is the right hand of the young Prince of Neospes, a parallel universe to Earth. In Neospes, she has everything: rank, responsibility and respect. But when Prince Cale sends her away to find his long-lost brother, Caden, who has been spirited back to modern day Earth, Riven finds herself in uncharted territory.

Thrown out of her comfort zone but with the mindset of a soldier, Riven has to learn how to be a girl in a realm that is the opposite of what she knows. Riven isn’t prepared for the beauty of a world that is unlike her own in so many ways. Nor is she prepared to feel something more than indifference for the very target she seeks. Caden is nothing like Cale, but he makes something in her come alive, igniting a spark deep down that goes against every cell in her body. For the first time in her life, Riven isn’t sure about her purpose, about her calling. Torn between duty and desire, she must decide whether Caden is simply a target or whether he is something more.

Faced with hideous reanimated Vector soldiers from her own world with agendas of their own, as well as an unexpected reunion with a sister who despises her, it is a race against time to bring Caden back to Neospes. But things aren’t always as they seem, and Riven will have to search for truth. Family betrayals and royal coups are only the tip of the iceberg. Will Riven be able to find the strength to defy her very nature? Or will she become the monstrous soldier she was designed to be?

“The Almost Girl” is a richly imagined story of defiance, courage, and heart. It is the tale of a girl who finds her own way on her own terms, a girl who won’t let what she is define her, and a girl who will sacrifice everything she is for the ones she loves. It is a story of someone who eclipses her predestined fate to become something more … something extraordinary.


Hardcover, $17.99; eBook, $6.99
ISBN: 978-1908844804
Young Adult
Strange Chemistry
January 7, 2014


“A riveting union of science fiction thriller, romance, family drama, and conspiracy theory, The Almost Girl had me wishing I could crawl inside the pages and join Riven on her epic journey between parallel worlds. Amalie Howard¹s writing is sharp and smart. I¹m definitely craving the next installment!”
Page Morgan, author of The Beautiful and The Cursed


“Amalie Howard writes a fast paced and thrilling story with a kick butt, authentic heroine and a brilliantly crafted world.”
Eve Silver, author of Rush


“The Almost Girl is a feminist tour de force. It is filled with powerful, interesting female characters. Riven is one of my favorite fictional characters ever; she is fierce, passionate, funny and smart. This sexy, fast-paced story is impossible to put down. A must read! Fans of Divergent will love it!”

Kim Purcell, author of Trafficked

 Amalie Howard's THE ALMOST GIRL starts off with a prologue that is intense and action-packed, just slamming you into your seat. From there, we fast forward a few years and are in a more familiar setting - a high school classroom. After three long years of hunting for him, it seems that Riven has finally found her target, Caden, brother to Cale, Prince of Neospes. Stumbled across him is a more apt description.

I enjoyed all the physics and supertech from Neospes and how it is a few levels above ours, but quite believable. Riven and Caden are both interesting characters and I enjoyed the give and take between them. Riven's a strong female lead who is accused by her sister of being "like a machine" and totally a "cold-hearted ice queen." And you can see how that may have been true, but something is changing Riven. She has to fight to shut down her emotions. She feels drawn to Caden in ways she can't explain.

Fight sequences are amazing and really demonstrate Riven's prowess and why she was a Legion General at such a tender age. And the story...oh the story. I felt so bad for Riven as everything she "knows" is upended. And yet, this girl is one tough cookie, able to weather each storm that comes her way.

This book was fantastic up to the very last page. And on that last page, while a satisfying ending, my jaw dropped. I won't say why; I won't ruin it for you. I will just tell you to EXPECT. I'm hoping to see more in this world, I'm hoping to see another novel pursuing the ending. But at the same time, I'm quite satisfied with what we have and don't feel as if I'm missing anything. This book was a kindle-bruiser for me. I didn't want to do anything else except finish reading. Loved it.   

COMING SOON
In Serjana Caelum’s world, gods exist. So do goddesses. Sera knows this because she is one of them. A secret long concealed by her parents, Sera is Lakshmi reborn, the human avatar of an immortal Indian goddess rumored to control all the planes of existence — Illysia (the Light Realm), Earth (the Mortal Realm), and Xibalba (the Dark Realm). Marked by the sigils of both heaven and hell, Sera’s avatar is meant to bring balance to the mortal world, but all she creates is chaos. A chaos that Azrath, the Asura Lord of Death, hopes to use to unleash hell on earth.

Torn between reconciling her past and present, Sera must figure out how to stop Azrath before the Mortal Realm is destroyed. But trust doesn’t come easy in a world fissured by lies and betrayal. Her best friend Kyle is hiding his own dark secrets, and her mysterious new neighbor, Devendra, seems to know a lot more than he’s telling. Struggling between her opposing halves and her attraction to the boys tied to each of them, Sera must become the goddess she was meant to be, or risk failing, which means sacrificing the world she was born to protect.

Retellings of classic fairy tales and Greek myths are becoming staples in the young adult and adult fiction genres, and now Amalie Howard, author of the popular “Bloodspell,” brings the myth of Rama and Sita’s love story to an exciting new level. Howard’s stunningly fresh voice and imaginative characters promise to make “Alpha Goddess” an exciting addition to the young adult fiction world. Aimed at readers ages 13 to 17, both girls and boys will relate to Sera’s and Kyle’s realistic teen persona and dilemmas while learning more about a famous Hindu myth.

Releasing March 4, 2014************************

NOW AVAILABLE

The spell was simple...
Cruentus Protectum (Defend the Blood)

But what do you do if your blood is your enemy?

Victoria Warrick has always known she was different. An outcast at school, she is no stranger to adversity. But when she receives an old journal for her seventeenth birthday, nothing prepares her for the dark secrets it holds -- much less one that reveals she's a witch with unimaginable power.

What's more, when she meets the dazzling but enigmatic Christian Devereux, she has no idea how much her life is about to change. Enemies will hunt her. Friends will turn on her. The terrible curse that makes her blood run black will stop at nothing to control her. And Christian has a sinister secret of his own...

Without knowing whom to trust, can Victoria survive her blood's deadly desires? Or will she lose everything, including herself?

Praise for Amalie Howard’s “Bloodspell”

“You’ll love it if… you’re sick of all the lovey-dovey stuff other books can’t seem to leave out of their supernatural stories. This is just the right amount of romance here, but it doesn’t overpower the plot. The fight scenes are terrific, and much more satisfying than listening to people whine about wanting to be together forever!” – Kara McGrath, Seventeen Magazine


“Conjures up elements of teen angst: forbidden love, loss and, of course, supernatural powers, in this fast-paced tale of a young witch come into her powers.” – Nancy L. Claus, Westchester Magazine

“It takes a calling, skilled writing and more than a little courage to release yet another vampire stories these days, but Larchmont writer Amalie Howard has created a world of vampires and witches that addresses many real-world issues faced by modern teenagers.” – Polly Kreisman, The Loop NY

“The story itself is compelling and interesting, the descriptions of the locales are beautiful, the teen melodrama mostly manages to stay at the level of actual drama, and the ideas are fresher and newer than most in the genre.” – Samantha Holloway, Albedo Magazine

“From the first page this story grabbed me and did not let me go until I closed the book. This narrative moves. It is not kinetic – it is highly compelling. Amalie Howard is a good storyteller and a nuanced writer who knows her material, knows how to draw us in as readers, and clearly cares about her characters – therefore we do. I loved the back story of Victoria’s family and the connections that are brought forward to the present in the narrative as a riddle for both the protagonist and the reader to discover together. They are beautifully woven into the story from beginning to end.”
– Jon Lunievicz, author of “Open Wounds”

Readers on Amazon

“I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a fresh new perspective to a world that we all love hiding in.”

“‘Bloodspell’ is dark and brooding with the perfect story of forbidden love intertwined into it, along with feuding families and a never-ending power struggle for supremacy.”

“Howard’s characterization sets the right tone for love, intrigue, betrayal, lust, power, human frailty and grandeur, against a backdrop of soulful Maine, larger than life New York, enthralling Paris and historical England and France.”

Readers on GoodReads

“Amalie Howard turned a now seemingly common topic of vampires and witches and made it extraordinary. The mythology that she weaves into the story is fantastic. The plot is complex, full of action and does not shy away from the dark aspects of vampires and magic.”



“Amalie Howard’s ‘Bloodspell’ is a winner. From the intricate yet captivating storyline to the setting and characterization, Amalie’s novel unfolds in a masterful display of language.”
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NOW AVAILABLE

Nerissa Marin hides among teens in her human form, waiting for the day she can claim her birthright-the undersea kingdom stolen from her the day her father was murdered. Blending in is her best weapon-until her father's betrayer confronts Nerissa and challenges her to a battle to the death on Nerissa’s upcoming birthday-the day she comes of age.

Amid danger and the heartbreak of her missing mother, falling for a human boy is the last thing Nerissa should do. But Lo Seavon breaches her defenses and somehow becomes the only person she can count on to help her desperate search for her mother, a prisoner of Nerissa’s mortal enemy. Is Lo the linchpin that might win Nerissa back her crown? Or will this mortal boy become the weakness that destroys her?
Advanced Praise
“A coming-of-age story complicated by regicide, superhuman powers, the duty to protect a kingdom and one hot surfer. A fantastical surf-and-turf romance.“
– Kirkus Reviews
“Exhilarating, romantic, and totally unique, WATERFELL is an absolute page-turner!”
– Kristi Cook, author of the Winterhaven Series from Simon Pulse.


AMALIE HOWARD grew up on a small Caribbean island where she spent most of her childhood with her nose buried in a book or being a tomboy running around barefoot, shimmying up mango trees and dreaming of adventure. Traveling the globe, she has worked as a research assistant, marketing representative, teen speaker and global sales executive. In between writing novels and indulging her love of reading, Amalie is also a books review editor for TheLoopNY, and blogs at amaliehoward.com. She is represented by the Liza Royce Agency.

Her debut novel, BLOODSPELL, was selected as a Seventeen Magazine Summer Club Read. She is also the author of The AQUARATHI series from Harlequin TEEN (WATERFELL Nov 2013 and OCEANBORN Aug 2014), THE ALMOST GIRL from Strange Chemistry Jan 2014, and ALPHA GODDESS from Skyhorse/Sky Pony Press Mar 2014.

For tour and upcoming events, check out amaliehoward.com for more information

Author Website | Twitter  | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | Virtual Tour Page


Character Interview with Riven


1) What was it like growing up in Neospes?

Neospes is a very different place to any of the cities in this world. We live inside a giant dome that was built to protect its inhabitants from the elements as well as outside threats. During the day, we have temperatures that soar into the hundreds, and at night, they can drop well below freezing. It can get so cold that the any liquid will freeze in seconds. An unprotected person will freeze to death in minutes. On top of that, there are many creatures—left over from the tech war—that will rip apart a human for food or parts. It’s a desolate wasteland beyond the borders of Neospes. Inside the dome, the city is divided into Sectors, with each Sector responsible for specific jobs. It’s a highly organized society where everyone has a purpose and is responsible for doing their part.

2) What can you tell us about the Vectors?

The Vectors are dead soldiers reanimated with nano-technology. They’re programmed to obey orders without question. They are lethal and will fight to their destruction, if so ordered. They are also disposable. If you come up against one, run.

3) Tell us a little about Shae and what’s going on between the two of you.

Shae is my sister, half-sister to be precise. We grew up together, but she left Neospes when I was very young. When we were kids, she always looked out for me, but when push came to shove, she left me at the mercy of my father and defected. It’s … hard to be mistrustful of someone you once loved.

4) If you could choose one world to live in for the rest of your life, which would you choose—here or there?

As much as I enjoy things like showers, organically grown foods, and an endless water supply, I would have to choose my home. I was born there for a reason—brought into the world to do something, to make a difference. I wouldn’t just give up and leave it because life appears to be easier here. We all have a purpose. Mine is to defend and uphold the Neospes throne. And the truth is, I don’t fit in here. I feel like a stranger in my own skin, if that makes sense, like an imposter.

6) Any last words?

Treasure what you have. I know there are many organizations here that are actively involved in pollution prevention and ocean conservation—find out who they are and support them. Do your part to protect your home. After all, it’s the only one you have. I speak from experience, having inherited a devastated world from my ancestors. We abused our resources and spent countless years trying to reverse the destruction we caused.

Love and respect your neighbors. Artificial intelligence was first explored to defend borders, and it turned into a nightmare. Whole continents were destroyed in the quest for power and world domination. Sadly, instead of dominating the world, we lost it. To them, the androids we had created.


Make something of yourself. Just because you have everything you could ever want at your fingertips doesn’t mean that you should sit back and be a taker. Decide what it is you want to give back, and do it. Be a contributor.  Build something up instead of tearing it down. Embrace your strength—you were born to do something meaningful. 



                        

Q&A with author Amalie Howard


You released your first book “Bloodspell” in 2011, which led to an impressive five book publishing deals. How the heck do you have time to write so much, and what does it feel like to have your work recognized in such a great way?
I am so incredibly grateful that my wonderful editors saw something they loved in my books and wanted to publish them. All three of my upcoming novels—WATERFELL, THE ALMOST GIRL, and ALPHA GODDESS—each brings something different and unique to the table, so I’m really excited that readers will get to sample such a diverse range of what I have to offer as an author.
As far as writing so much, I’m very lucky that I’m a fast writer, so once I get an idea in my head, I just go. I plot a basic outline of my expectations, and then I let the story take me on its journey. And as I always say to my teen creative writing classes, writing is like homework. You have to make time for it and be diligent about doing it.

What will fans of “Bloodspell” like best about your upcoming titles?
Fans of BLOODSPELL will enjoy meeting some very special new characters and being introduced to completely different worlds—figuratively and literally, especially in THE ALMOST GIRL. In WATERFELL, I was particularly excited to share my love of the ocean (I grew up on an island) and surfing! I also wanted to explore the myth of the sea monster and shift it from something terrifying into something beautiful … enter the mysterious world of the Aquarathi!
I’ve always been fascinated by quantum mechanics (even though I was hopeless at physics in high school) and the possibility of alternate universes. In THE ALMOST GIRL, I was able to explore that and more in this book, like the whole concept of nature versus nurture and whether we evolve differently based on harsher environments. I think this book will take readers on an interesting journey.
In ALPHA GODDESS, I wanted to explore some of the stories I’d been told as a child. I also wanted to share some of my experience with readers. My father comes from a long line of Hindu priests, so these myths were a large part of my childhood. The Ramayana is a particularly beautiful love story, and while my novel is a work of fiction, I really enjoyed crafting my version from such an inspiring mythology.

Your next release, “Waterfell,” departs from the world of vampires and witches but stays in the realm of fantasy and science fiction. What do you like about those genres?
Clearly, I love escaping reality. Fantasy and science fiction have always been my true loves. Don’t get me wrong, I love a great contemporary novel as much as anyone, but getting lost in a an epic fantasy world or meeting characters from other planets who have superhuman powers is icing on the cake for me. I like being able to push the boundaries of reality, to create mind-boggling ‘what if’ scenarios … for example, with WATERFELL, what if sea monsters really did exist? And what if they were a species from another planet hiding on ours? And what if they could shift into human form? With science fiction and fantasy, the possibilities are endless.
  
Like all of your books so far, “The Almost Girl” features a strong, independent female character as the protagonist. What do you hope readers learn from her?
I’m a huge fan of strong female protagonists (that said, I do have a novel with a strong male protagonist so I’m not gender-biased). I do like strong protagonists on the whole, but I also do think there has to be character growth that is transparent and meaningful to the reader. No one’s going to relate to a character who stays the same. With Riven from THE ALMOST GIRL, I love that she has to dig deep down to embrace her emotions. A soldier first, she’s so hard on the outside but still vulnerable on the inside—I really connected with her struggle to just let go of all her rules and be a girl. We build so many walls to keep from being hurt that we don’t allow ourselves to connect with others. I love that she was brave enough to trust her heart. In the end, I’m hopeful that readers will empathize with Riven and learn, as she does, that humans are born to feel, and that being open to life and love doesn’t make you weaker … it makes you stronger.

“Alpha Goddess” is your take on an Indian mythological tale. Where did you first hear about it?
Although ALPHA GODDESS is a work of fiction, a lot of my inspiration for the characters and the world-building in this novel is based on Hindu mythology. My father is a second generation Brahmin (priest class in traditional Hindu society), so Indian mythology was an integral part of my childhood and religious education. Fascinated by stories and legends of various Hindu gods who incarnated as avatars to avert human tragedy, I wanted to write an epic story that encompassed some of the Hindu mythology elements I enjoyed as a child, like the Ramayana, the story of Rama and Sita. Of course, ALPHA GODDESS is my own invented take on another reincarnated version of these characters, and does not actually exist in Indian scriptures.

You are quite the world traveler. How do you incorporate the cultures you come across into your writing?
I love meeting new people and exploring different cultures. I really believe that traveling the world has helped me to craft my characters, especially the ones that aren’t human (whom I have to invent). How do they evolve? How are they different from regular people? How are they the same? I enjoy using elements and facets from all the different cultures I’ve interacted with over the years to develop compelling scenarios and create robust characters in my writing.
I also like to include some of my favorite cities in my novels, for example, Paris and New York in BLOODSPELL, San Diego, California in WATERFELL, and Fort Collins, Colorado in THE ALMOST GIRL. Although a writer can research anything online, writing about a place I’ve actually been to helps me to picture scenes and places more vividly. It allows me to create more authentic descriptions, so that my readers can feel like they are there, too.  

We can only imagine you’re working on something new. Can you give us any sneak peek into the mind of Amalie Howard and what’s to come?

            I’m working on several different projects. I’ve just finished writing OCEANBORN, which is the sequel to WATERFELL, and I’ve also just completed a near-future, technological YA thriller/romance, which has a male protagonist that I’m very excited about. That one is now in the capable hands of my agent. In addition to that, I have outlined a companion novel to ALPHA GODDESS, and I am about to start writing the sequel to THE ALMOST GIRL. Lastly, I’m fleshing out a joint project with another YA writer that’s super secret and under wraps for now. So yes, I’m busy, but I’m embracing it all (with a lot of gratitude). 




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