Sunday, 27 October 2013

Jen McConnel Tells Us All We Wanted To Know

about her journey from Indie Author to being picked up by Bloomsbury.

BrightFish Press to Bloomsbury Spark: Guest Post by Jen McConnel
As many of you know, THE SECRET OF ISOBEL KEY began life as my first self-published novel.  How did I go from learning the ropes as an indie author to having the title re-releasing in December as part of the launch list for Bloomsbury Spark?  It’s a wild and fun ride, but I’m happy to share it with you.
In 2009, I wrote a novel I called THE BURNING OF ISOBEL KEY, and when it was done, I had no idea what to do with it.  I queried a few agents, had a few requests, and accumulated some helpful rejections.  Eventually, I stuck the novel in a drawer and kept writing other things.  Fast forward to 2012, when I was actively pursuing traditional publication for my YA works.  For some reason, I remembered ISOBEL, and I pulled it out. .  The NA genre was just starting to emerge at that point, and ISOBEL was an intriguingly hard to classify title; it didn’t rest comfortably in any genre box, but I still believed that it was a story worth telling.
Taking a page from my mom’s experiences (she had successfully self-published a book with her writing partner when I was growing up), I decided to apply for a “Doing Business As”: I named my little publishing company BrightFish Press (I’m a Pisces) and I filed the necessary paperwork with my city, county, and state.  Then, I got to work.
I hired a cover designer through ELance, hired a friend with editorial experience to help me polish the manuscript, and started reading about self-promotion, formatting, and indie options.  The book launched in September of 2012, and while I felt like I was learning as I went, I was fairly pleased with the overall experience.
Fast forward again to April of 2013.  I noticed that Meredith Rich, the editor of Spark, was following me on Twitter, and I looked up the imprint.  It was just beginning to get press attention, and they hadn’t announced any acquisitions yet, but I was really intrigued by the idea of a YA and NA eBook imprint at Bloomsbury.  I queried an entirely different project, and received a very thoughtful rejection.  Although that project wasn’t the right fit, Meredith and I began discussing my other work, and I was surprised when ISOBEL came up in the conversation.  I was happy with the indie experience, and I had assumed that that’s where this novel would stay.  But after speaking with Meredith, I decided to submit ISOBEL to Spark and see what happened.  I crossed my fingers, re-formatted the manuscript, and waited.
Well, you know the rest.  The book was acquired this summer, and will be re-released as part of the Bloomsbury Spark launch list in December.  It’s got a new title, a new cover, and has lost some weight; over 3,000 words of revisions later, I’m amazed to watch the story I thought I was done with transform once again.
It’s been an amazing ride, and I don’t regret any of it.  While the indie experience certainly taught me a lot, and I wouldn’t hesitate to self-publish again if I had a title that I thought would be a good indie fit, I’ve been so happy with my experience at Bloomsbury Spark.  I feel so lucky; how many authors get to revisit their debut?  I can’t wait for de ja debut this winter, and I am so excited for y’all to read the new, improved edition of THE SECRET OF ISOBEL KEY.
About Jen
Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. A Michigander by birth, she now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. When she isn't crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches college writing composition and yoga. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time.  Her debut NA novel, THE SECRET OF ISOBEL KEY, is coming December 2013 from Bloomsbury Spark . Visit  to learn more.

Connect With Jen


Lou is in the middle of a quarter-life crisis. Fresh out of college, she’s unemployed and unsure of herself. But when she gets the chance to escape to Scotland with her best friend, it could be the answer to her quest for self-discovery. The trip is not at all what she expected, especially when her tour guide turns out to be the dreamy historian Brian, and together they embark on a hunt for information about Isobel Key, a woman accused of witchcraft in the seventeenth century.

They set out to learn the truth of the condemned witch, but Lou isn’t prepared for the knowledge that awaits her. She must face her own demons if she has any hope of righting the wrongs of the past.

Flashing between seventeenth century Scotland and a contemporary romance, THE SECRET OF ISOBEL KEY is a mystery that will please readers of all ages.
Learn More

Friday, 25 October 2013

Review of SOUL TIES by Lisa Swallow

Author: Lisa Swallow
Publication Date: July 22nd 2013
Source: e-copy provided by author for review purposes

On an English university campus, Ava is hunting Keir. She needs his Nephilim soul to trade for her freedom.

But Ava didn't expect to find terrible secrets about the fate of the souls she takes. Or fall in love. 

Soul-hunter Ava has retrieved hundreds of souls from demons but has never been assigned the dangerous mission for a Nephilim soul. When she arrives on campus and meets Keir, she discovers he has secrets more valuable than his Nephilim soul - secrets she could trade for the life she wants. She also meets Dahlia, the human girl with an inexplicable hold over Keir, and secrets of her own. 

When she uncovers the true fate of the souls she takes back to her superiors, and what Keir is doing to try and prevent it, Ava’s world is turned upside down. 

Forced into a battle where the lines between good and evil are blurred, Ava is faced with the choice between saving herself by betraying those around her, or helping Keir and risking her life.

Ava’s ultimate choice: retrieve Keir’s soul and live, or join his battle and risk going to Hell.

**Warning: This book contains graphic language!**

* I Hereby Award This Book 5 Wings!*

I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up Soul Ties and when I finished it, I realised I must have had some expectations because it didn't end up being at all what I thought.
From the way it was written, to the story content itself, I was swept away by a fast-paced, page-turning book that kept me on my toes and guessing what might come next. But each time I thought I knew what to expect next, I was proved entirely wrong.

Ava is a soul-hunter, sent to capture Keir's Nephilim soul and return it to the Celestia, his soul is what she plans to trade for her freedom. Without his soul, the Celestia will not give Ava her Will. 
When Ava meets Keir, he has an attitude and a best friend who's attitude is even worse. From the off, neither Keir nor Dahlia like Ava and don't like having to endure being in her company. But they can't just shake her off. She's been sent to do her job and will not return without his soul in the gem provided for retrieval.
As the story moves along, we find Dahlia may have reasons for her reticence to trust the new girl, but still, she keeps up the attitude as if she doesn't have an off-switch.
Keir however, begins to warm to Ava's presence. He's attracted to her like she is to him. That makes things a tad more difficult. She wants to get close to him to take his soul, but the more she gets to know him, the less she wants to take it. What's more important, doing the Celestia's bidding and retrieving Keir's soul to get her Will or helping Keir's cause, falling deeper in love with the secretive yet unforgettable Nephilim?

Soul Ties isn't just your straight-forward love story. There are so many things getting in the way of Keir and Ava's possible relationship. They don't trust each other, he's Nephilim and she's a soul-hunter, those things alone make life very difficult but what makes Ava question everything is the way Keir hunts and captures Demons in order to free their souls. Nephilim don't track and kill other Demons, so what is Keir's agenda?

To find out Keir's agenda and see if the unlikely pair can come together despite the many obstacles in their way, you need to pick up a copy of Soul Ties for yourself.

I love Lisa Swallow's easy style of writing. She writes a complicated plot with many twists, but she makes it all easy to understand. That's no mean feat. Some people write complicated tings just for the sake of it. Swallow's world building doesn't take a lifetime to get to get to grips with. I can't wait for books 2 and 3. From what I hear, book 2 is from Dahlia and Jack's POV and book 3 picks up Keir and Ava's story. I for one would love to hear from Keir's own POV. I hope that's something Swallow will consider as she writes more of the soul tied world.  

Thank you Lisa for the e-copy of Soul Ties, I would LOVE a signed copy to go with my special signed books collection. Here's hoping you a) sell signed copies or b) have bookplates!

To purchase Soul Ties, click one of the following links:

Thank you for coming by to read my review today. Hope to see you here again soon!

Saturday, 19 October 2013

*Cover Reveal* HEART STOPPER by Gemma Blaze

Author: Gemma Blaze
Genre: Romance/Horror
Cover Designer: White Rabbit Designs

Short Blurb:
Have you ever met a man and had the sensation that your heart just stopped? My fantasy became a horror of reality.
*This book contains sexual content and subject matter that may be unsuitable for readers under the age of 18*

About The Author:
For years Gemma Blaze went undercover for her librarian job, putting up her hair, covering her tattoos and putting on glasses to become the sweet and approachable type. As her patrons became more and more interested in her suggestions, and more comfortable revealing their true bookish desires, Gemma realized the stories sitting on her hard drive had an audience and the rest is publishing history. When she's not writing or librarianing, Gemma hangs out with her son in their quaint East Coast city where she shops for Halloween costumes all year round.
Contact Gemma: Facebook

Thank you for coming by for the cover reveal for Heart Stopper. Hope to see you all again soon!

Friday, 18 October 2013

Review of HER (Him #2) by Carey Heywood

Title: HER (HIM #2)
Author: Carey Heywood
Publication Date: October 26th 2013
Source: ARC copy from author for review purposes

You know her side of the story, now learn his.

"It was useless. I felt branded beneath my skin by a girl who left without even saying goodbye."

When Will Price was assigned a partner for a sixth grade class project he had no idea she would become his best friend. After years of friendship, she eventually became so much more. Then, one day she left with no explanation. 

Will’s life shattered right before his eyes and he was left alone to pick up the pieces. Floundering, Will must figure out a way to carry on, to find a way to exist without her. 

Seven years later, a chance encounter leaves him desperate to get her back. He has one week to make her his again. Not everyone gets a second chance with the love of their life and Will is determined to never lose her again.

*I Hereby Award This Book 5 Wings!*

This is a story about a love so strong and true that neither person could forget or get beyond it. If you read HIM, you will know Sarah Miller's side of the story, but now it's time to get inside the head of Will Price. 
In my review of HIM, I gushed over one of the most amazing story I had read in a while. Let me tell you, HER is no different in that respect. It's just as amazing, if not more so. Last time we only got Sarah's POV of what happened. I fell in love with Will and couldn't wait to get his side of things. Now was my chance and I grabbed it with both hands, jumping head first into a story that would leave an imprint on my heart. I am sure that Carey Heywood writes books to make me cry. I knew from reading HIM that I would need tissues, so I came prepared. That preparation was not mental though. I was on tenterhooks needing to know why Will did what he did and why things happened the way they did. Not having the mental preparation ahead of time meant that this book wormed it's way in and gripped my tear ducts until they overflowed, even at the slightest things. 
This story was so real and tangible, it felt like the characters were friends and each time they experienced the smallest hint of emotion, I was right there with them. Will and Sarah were apart for 7 years and this was their journey to see if they could find their way back to each other. Their love is the kind of love many of us can only dream of. Seven years is a long time to not be able to move on from or forget love. I mean, I still remember my first love, even 11 years down the line, but I haven't lived my life in hope that we'll reconnect, nor will I. But for some people, their first love is their only. It's real and impossible to deny. That's what Will and Sarah had and Will would do anything in his power to get the girl he can't get out of his head back into his life.
There are not enough words for me to describe how much emotion is packed into this book, but there are a couple of ongs you can listen to and know what I mean. 


Yes, they are all Lady Antebellum songs. Yes it has a tiny bit to do with my infatuation with them. but more so, it has to do with the meaning behind each and every lyric. 
So, I've tried not to give anything away but still leave you yearning for the book. If, like me, you cry at the slightest thing, then make sure you have a box of tissues ready. Scratch that, call a warehouse and have them bring you all the tissues they have! 

Thanks for coming to read my review. Hope to see you again soon!

Review of Ayla by Kelly Anne Blount

Title: AYLA (Necoh Saga #2)
Publication Date: TBA
Source: ARC from author for review purposes

Blurb: TBA

*I Hereby Award This Book 5 Wings!*

Ayla picks up right where Grishma left off but if you haven't read it, I suggest you do so before reading my review for Ayla in case it spoils your enjoyment. That being said, let's get on with my review...

I had been chomping at the bit for Ayla's release since the last word on the last page of Grishma. If you haven't read my review of Grishma, but would like to do so, you can do here
When Kelly asked me if I'd like an ARC, I would've bitten her hand off if it weren't for the fact that we're on opposite sides of the pond. 
I'm so glad to have been given the opportunity to read it early, but let me tell anyone waiting for the release, it's really worth the wait. It's got even more action than Grishma, as if that were possible. It's got drama, tension and love by the bucket load. 
I was glad to get more of a chance to  be one-on-one with Ryder this time round. I have to say, I'm in love with him. He's an all round good guy and his affection for Brooklyn is so pure.
This time round, Ryder is in Necoh and has plans to kill Grishma for what she did to his family. But his revenge may have to be put on hold when something throws a spanner in the works. 

I love Kelly's writing style. It's so fun and easy-going. She has a laid-back air about her even in the midst of the chaos that is this story. I love how she combines the feelings of tension, anger, passion and they flow seamlessly. My emotions were up and down like a roller coaster whilst reading this book. There were so many bumps in the road for both Ryder and Brooklyn and I felt really sorry for them that nothing was ever simple. But you know what they say, nothing easy is worth having!

I truly loved this book and I hope you will too. If you haven't picked up a copy of Grishma, do that now before Ayla is released, then you can be all caught up.

Thank you for reading my short but sweet review (I didn't want to give anything away).

See you again soon!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Welcome To My Stop On The Blog Tour...

Hi Guys and Girls *waves*
Today I am honoured to be on the blog tour for DECLARATION by Rachael Wade. Having read the previous two books in this trilogy, I am extremely excited for this third and final installment.
If you don't already know about this trilogy, I would love for you to find the books on Goodreads and see if they are your cup of tea. Also, there is a tie-in with another book, Love and Relativity - Carter from Declaration meets Whitney in L&R.

Here's a little teaser for you...

Today I bring you two character spotlights, one for Carter and one for Whitney. Also, the playlist that Rachael Wade made for this book and the Blog Tour Schedule so that you can check out the rest of the tour. 
Firstly, here is Carter:

Hometown: Seattle, WA

Celebrity look-a-likes: Joseph Gordon Levitt
Socially Awkward


-           Ginger Spice
-           BBC
-           Sweaty rock and roll
-           Spoiling Whitney
-          Watching Whitney eat
-          Watching Whitney belly dance
-           …do you see a trend here?


-           High School
-           Big parties
-           Flamingos
-           The price of flights to England
-           Waiting for the next season of Downton Abbey
-           Dean’s singing

 Now that you've 'met' Carter, here's Whitney:
Eyes: Green

Hair: Black
Hometown: Sanibel Island, FL
Celebrity look-a-likes: Mila Kunis and Vanessa Hudgens
Food enthusiast
Maid/ waitress/ student
Beach bum


-          Music!!!
-          Reading
-          Belly dancing
-          Trying new things (duh)
-          Sparring with Jackson Taylor (I always win)
-          Running the show, of course.
-                                                                   Cleaning. 
         *sings the Milkshake song* My kitchen floor is cleaner than yours…damn right, it’s better than yours


-          Jackson Taylor
-          Ex-boyfriends and almost/not-quite boyfriends
-          Cages
-          Boring menus
-          Skimpy buffets
-          Mundane routines

Now for Rachael's playlist:
Home - Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros
What Did I Ever Come Here For - Brandi Carlile
Sweet Nothing  - Calvin Harris ft. Florence Welch
Fade Into You – Mazzy Star
Paint it Black – Rolling Stones
6 After the Storm – Mumford and Sons
Mad World –Brandi Carlile Cover
Otherside – Red Hot Chili Peppers
  9 Trouble - Coldplay
   10 Stars - Grace Potter and The Nocturnals
   11 Furr- Blitzen Trapper
   12 Hang with Me – Robyn
  13 Slow it Down – The Lumineers (Carter’s Song)
   14 Beverly Hills – Weezer
  15 The Lucky Ones - Kerli
   16 Young Folks - Peter Bjorn and John
   17 Pork and Beans - Weezer
18 Bulletproof – La Roux
  19 Phantom of the Opera (Techno Remix)
   20 What Makes a Good Man – The Heavy
   21 Titanium – David Guetta ft. Sia
   22 How to Save a Life – The Fray
   23 Living on the Edge- Aerosmith
  24 Stubborn Love – The Lumineers (Theme Song)

Shall we have another teaser before we go?  I think so...

Thanks all for coming by. Hope we've peaked your interest. Don't forget to follow the rest of the tour:
Declaration Blog Tour
10/8 – 10/22

·       From 10/8 to 10/15 Preservation (book 1 of the series) will be on sale for $0.99 via Amazon

10/8 :

Gothic Angel Book Reviews – (me)

A Love Affair with Books -

SubClub Book Reviews -

Author Susan Griscom -

Wild Wordy Women -


A Little Bit of R&R -

Rotten Apple Reads -


Bookish Temptations -


Book 2 Book -



Fabulous and Fun-

The Book Bellas -


The Novel Tease -

10/15 (Release Day):

Sweet Spot Book Blog -

Rachael Wade Blog (Launch Day Giveaway and Promo) -



The Book Hookers -


Smardy Pants Book Blog -


Author Nikki Jefford -


A Thousand Lives Reviews -

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...