Friday, 28 December 2012

Cover Reveal: Sworn to Raise by Terah Edun + Giveaway!

Here is the beautiful cover for Sworn to Raise (Courtlight #1)!

I love the gold and red in the cover, it makes it look so magical! This sounds like a really good book, and I will definitely check it out when it releases.
Here's the official synopsis - 

Seventeen-year-old Ciardis has grown up in poverty, a cleaner in a small vale on the outskirts of the  kingdom. But beneath her kingdom’s seemingly idyllic surface lies a hidden secret. Whispers of an inept crown Prince are growing ever louder—intensified by the five year anniversary of the soulbond  initiations.

Amidst scandalous whispers, Ciardis finds herself chosen to train for the Companion’s Guild. She leaves her home and sets off on a personal journey to become a Court Companion. A position she’d never thought possible for a lowly servant to obtain, she must prove that she has the skills to attract a Patron. 

But she must master those skills quickly. If the legends are true, only Ciardis can harness the power to raise a Prince in an Imperial Court sworn to bring him down.

This sensational series debut melds intricate storylines with remarkable characters and unforgettable magic. Sworn To Raise is ideal for fans of Kristin Cashore, Michelle Sagara, and Maria Snyder.

Release date: March 15th 2013
Publisher: Amazon Digital

Add Sworn to Raise on Goodreads.

Terah Edun is an international development professional and author/lover of all things Young Adult Fantasy fiction. She is a native Georgian, adoptive Washingtonian, unrepentant expat currently living in South Sudan, brilliant dreamer, lover of dogs and not-so-closet geek. Her first novel, Red Madrassa, was released on November 8th and her second novel, Sworn to Raise, comes out in March 2013.

Find Terah on:

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter


Terah has very generously decided to give away a $60 Amazon gift card, so enter below to win!

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #13: Unbreakable

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick for this week's WoW is...

Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris

Release date: April 23rd 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Four months after Ben disappeared through the portal to his home universe, Janelle believes she’ll never see him again. Her world is still devastated, but life is finally starting to resume some kind of normalcy. Until Interverse Agent Taylor Barclay shows up. Somebody from an alternate universe is running a human trafficking ring, kidnapping people and selling them on different Earths—and Ben is the prime suspect. Now his family has been imprisoned and will be executed if Ben doesn’t turn himself over within five days.

And when Janelle learns that someone she cares about—someone from her own world—has become one of the missing, she knows that she has to help Barclay, regardless of the danger. Now Janelle has five days to track down the real culprit. Five days to locate the missing people before they’re lost forever. Five days to reunite with the boy who stole her heart. But as the clues begin to add up, Janelle realizes that she’s in way over her head—and that she may not have known Ben as well as she thought. Can she uncover the truth before everyone she cares about is killed?

Unraveling is one of my favourite 2012 books. That being said, I think it's pretty obvious how impatient I am for Unbreakable! I love this series so much - it's so different from most of my YA reads. I love that it's science fiction instead of paranormal or dystopian, and in my opinion Elizabeth Norris is an AMAZING writer. If you haven't read Unraveling yet, what are you waiting for? Go pick it up NOW!

Add Unbreakable on Goodreads here.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Review: Rogue Alliance by Michelle Bellon

Trying to escape a horrific past, Shyla has immersed herself in life as a tough, sassy cop in the bustle of LA. When the case of a lifetime takes her back to her hometown of Redding, she is thrown into a world of organised crime, deceit, and bitter reminders of her childhood.

As Shyla’s path crosses that of Brennan, an unwitting and troubled sidekick to the ringleader she’s intent on taking down, she is forced to re-evaluate everything she believes about herself, her job, and what she knows about right and wrong.

Can she face the demons of her upbringing and learn to trust again? Her life will depend on it.

Wow. I was honestly speechless after reading this book. In fact, I couldn't get it out of my head even a whole day after I finished it - that's how much of an impact it had on me! Rogue Alliance was absolutely captivating; I couldn't stop reading even if I wanted to. And I didn't. This book was filled with action, suspense, and mystery, as well as heart-warming romance!

Let me begin with the plot. It was unlike anything I've read before. Michelle Bellon introduced a whole new theory of the concept of vampires, and I loved it. I was pleasantly surprised when I found out this book had elements of paranormal in it! The plot was fast-paced, and I was on the edge of my seat for a good portion of it. I really liked reading about cop life in the USA, and Shyla just made that experience even more awesome.

Shyla is a cop with a troubled past. When she is assigned to her hometown, a place she never thought she'd go back to, she begins to doubt herself for the first time. Shyla is a totally kick-ass protagonist, and I liked her spontaneity. She jumps head-first into any situation, regardless of the risks, because she does whatever she can to get the job done. She'll do anything to put the bad guys behind bars, and I mean anything. Her actions even shocked me at times! She's brave and witty, but not without flaws. Her traumatic childhood experiences have changed her forever, and she keeps to herself, not letting anyone in. Until Brennan, that is. She shows a vulnerable side of herself when Brennan is with her, and it made me see her in a different light. Brennan is the one person who can bring out those emotions in her.

Enter Brennan, the 'vampire' in the novel. He's been genetically altered, and has superhuman strength and reflexes. Sounds great, right? One catch. He has to rely on blood for his body to function. I found myself sympathizing with Brennan a lot in this novel. I mean, he's had it as rough as it can get. Locked up in a cell for fourteen years? I'd go crazy! But Brennan survived through it, and was rescued by none other than the villain of this book, whom I'll get to later. Brennan's unfailing loyalty is admirable, though it made me want to hit him in the head sometimes. He's also compassionate, and has a sense of right and wrong. I loved his interaction with Shyla - his initial reservation as well as his instinct to protect her. They make a strong, amazing couple, and their romance was fiery!

Victor Champlain is the epitome of cruel. He's the leader of a criminal organization dealing with illegal drugs, and he rescues Brennan from the institute in order to hire him as his personal bodyguard. Victor is ruthless - he will do anything to get what he wants, and he won't let anyone get in the way. I felt he was developing a sort of affection for Brennan as time went by, but I'm pretty sure I was wrong. Victor doesn't care for anyone other than himself, and he doesn't hesitate to betray his allies. I found myself becoming increasingly scared of him as I went deeper into the novel!

I really liked Shyla's colleagues, the ones who were working on the case with her. Jason and Shawn are young but determined, and I liked how protective Shawn was over Shyla. Hal, the Chief of Police in Shyla's hometown of Redding, was also a very likeable character. He believed in Shyla right from the beginning until the very end, and his trust in her was amazing.
One character I didn't particularly like was Carmen, a thirteen-year-old girl who surprisingly makes friends with Shyla. She seemed slightly superficial and shallow to me, and her mood changes annoyed me. However, this didn't in the least hamper my enjoyment of the novel, so kudos to Michelle Bellon for creating such an incredible piece of work!

Rogue Alliance is a perfect start to what I know is going to be an amazing series. There were a lot of twists and turns, and some of them are downright shocking! The cliffhanger at the end made me want to scream, and I desperately need the sequel now! I strongly urge anyone who likes crime/thriller novels to check this book out, because it will rock your world. With its beautifully crafted plot, highly-developed characters and intense action scenes, Rogue Alliance is definitely not to be missed!

*Thank you to Michelle Bellon for providing me with a copy of Rogue Alliance for review*

Rating: 5/5

Saturday, 22 December 2012

In My Mailbox #5

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren which allows us to share the books we’ve bought, borrowed and received.
Here's my book haul for this week!

(these are just the print copies)


Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout
I guess you could say this is my Christmas present from my parents :)


Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout
ARC of Black City by Elizabeth Richards
Lux buttons
Daemon Invasion bookmark and other swag
Bookmark of Release by M.R. Merrick

Received for Books That Spark: YA & MG 2013

ARC of Catherine by April Lindner

For Review

ARC of Roses in Ecuador by Heather Huffman
Hera, Queen of Gods by T.D. Thomas
ARC of Nobody But Us (from Edelweiss)

So that's it for this week! I'm so so happy about finally getting print copies of Obsidian and Onyx, especially since Opal is going to arrive in just a few days. Also, aren't the Lux buttons gorgeous? And the Release bookmark is so pretty too! I honestly can't wait to read any of these books, they all sound amazing. Looks like I've got a lot of reading to do over the next week, since I haven't managed to read all the books I got last week either!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Review: The Art of Disappearing by Elena Perez

Delia can see the future . . . but can she change it?

All Delia wants is to be popular. She has the perfect plan: join the cheerleading squad with her best friend, Ava, and rule the school from the coolest table in the cafeteria. But everything changes the day she watches a boy die—before it actually happens.

After dreaming about a classmate’s demise, she’s shocked when she witnesses his last breath—just like she dreamt it. Ava insists Delia stop acting so strange, but Delia worries her abilities are beyond her control.

Torn between who she is and who she wants to be, Delia wishes she could simply disappear. She doesn’t get her wish, but when someone close to her vanishes, Delia must use her gift to solve the mystery, before it’s too late.

I have to say this book was quite different from what I expected, but I liked it. It was refreshing, and the underlying plot is something we can all relate to. The Art of Disappearing is a strong debut from Elena Perez, and I would definitely check out new material from her.

Delia is a freshman in high school, and is part of a very tight-knit group of friends consisting of her, Ava and Trish. When Delia finds out she's psychic, her life turns upside down. She desperately wants her friends and family to understand her and support her, but instead she has to figure everything out all by herself.

I liked the concept and the plot, because who wouldn't like a nice psychic story? This book reminded me a little of Jinx by Meg Cabot. I loved that one, so of course I liked this too. The pacing was good, though a bit slow at times. I liked the ambiguity of Delia's dreams, and the fact that we as readers had to figure stuff out too. Moreover, that ending! Normally I don't like endings where all the plot lines haven't ended, but in this case it worked. The last part gave me chills! If you read the book and don't particularly like it much, you'll find out that it's all worth it to read that ending.

What I didn't like about this book were the characters. I liked Delia well enough - she was kind, smart, and insightful. I definitely did not like Ava. She was extremely shallow and self-centered. I guess she was meant to be that way, but nevertheless it dampened my mood while reading. I found the character development in this book lacking. Trish lacked substance, as did Delia's mom. I don't even know why Andrew Carr was even mentioned at all. But another character I really liked (probably my favourite) is Zach, Delia's cousin. He was unique and quirky, and I loved his punk attitude. This brings me to Regina, a new friend of Delia's and Zach's. She has similar tastes to Zach, and there's a hint of a brewing romance between them in this novel.

Despite the fact that there was no romance in this novel, I quite enjoyed it. It was a light read, and it also gives you perspective. I loved reading the song lyrics of The Angrists which were mentioned throughout the book, because I could relate to them, being a teenager myself. Having said this, I would recommend this book to all the teenagers out there, the ones who feel like they're having a hard time dealing with life and also the ones who are confused about what paths they're going to follow.

Even though I liked the plot, I still feel there was a lot of ambiguity there, and I wish things could have been clearer. As I mentioned before, I would have liked it better if the pace was a bit faster. Also, the book lacked a climax or any discernible turning point. 
However, I enjoyed reading it, and finished it in just two days. Delia's growth in this novel is great to see, and her desire to fit in with her friends is something we have all experienced or are still experiencing.

Overall, I think The Art of Disappearing is a solid debut by Elena Perez. I liked the incorporation of psychic abilities, even though the main focus was Delia's discovery of herself. It was fun experiencing Delia's journey with her, and that ending stayed with me for quite some time!

*Thank you to Elena Perez for providing me with a copy for review*

Rating: 3/5

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Mid-Winter's Eve Giveaway Hop 2012

Hey guys, this is my first time participating in a giveaway hop and I'm really excited about it! The Mid-Winter's Eve Giveaway Hop is co-hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Oasis for YA, and there are almost 200 blogs taking part this year!

I've decided to give away books with a winter-looking background. Basically this includes books with mostly blue and white on the covers. But only books that have just released or have not yet been released. So here are your choices! The top four books have already been released, and the bottom four are 2013 pre-orders.


1. You must be 13 or older to enter.
2. You can enter as long as The Book Depository ships to your country. If you're not sure, check here.
3. Entries will be moderated and checked, so be honest.
4. One winner will win a book from the choices above.
5. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email.
6. This giveaway runs from December 21st to December 27th 2012, and it is international.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to check out the other blogs on the hop!

Cover Reveal: Changed by Rose J. Bell

Here is the cover for Changed (The Hunters #1) by Rose J. Bell!

I find the eyes really cool XD And I'm really looking forward to reading this!

Here is the official blurb - 
In a world, where hunters and angels reign, war is daily fare and one girl is destined for saving them all.
After the brutal murder of her father, Rosa Petrova has dedicated her life to the eradication of angels and the revenge of her father´s dead. Therefore she becomes one of the fastest, deadliest and best Hunters in the world.
As Rosa hunts those who caused her father´s death, two Nephilim, the children and warriors of the archangels, appeared in Boston, although it is forbidden for them to enter the enemy’s city.
Rosa has to find out why the Nephilim Jason and his friend risk their lives, but ends up in between the fonts, which forces her to make a dangerous decision that could change her live forever. At the same time, she is falling in love with the one person she´s forbidden to love. And this love could kill her...
Tentative release date: January 2013
This book sounds really interesting, and I will definitely check it out when it releases. You should, too!
Add Changed on Goodreads here.

Rose J. Bell is a pen name for an 18-year-old author living in a small town in Germany. In between going to school and reading too many books, instead of learning for her exams, she writes young adult urban and epic fantasy. She loves chocolate, supernatural, fairy tales and kick-butt heroines. Changed (The Hunters, book 1) is her debut novel. For more information please visit her blog:

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #12: Dare You To

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick for this week's WoW is...

Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Release date: May 28th 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

"I dare you..."

If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does...

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all...

I just read the first book in the series, Pushing the Limits, a week ago, and I absolutely loved it. So much that I'm now a huge fan of Katie McGarry and I'm impatiently waiting for Dare You To, because I really really want to read Beth's story. She was the most interesting supporting character in Pushing the Limits, and I can't wait to see a completely different side of her in this book!

Add Dare You To on Goodreads here.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Top Ten Tuesday #7: Top Ten Books I Read In 2012

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and it features top ten lists of various topics.

Wow this is hard! I've read so many amazing books this year and I don't know if I can choose just 10. I'll try, though!
So here are my top ten books of 2012. Some of them will come as no surprise to most of you :P

1. Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout - Of course this has to be my top book. It was absolutely amazing, so much more than I had expected. And that's saying something, because I expected a lot! And that ending... It was simultaneously the best and worst ending I've ever read. You'll know what I mean if you've read it.

2. Deity by Jennifer L. Armentrout - Again, no surprise. This had so many twists and turns, and it was filled with action and humour; the way I like it. Plus, the romance was incredible! Again, that ending... Jennifer is definitely the queen of cliffhangers!

3. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green - Loved, loved, LOVED this one. I was actually surprised about how much I loved it, because it doesn't seem like the kind of book I'd like. But John Green completely sucked me in with his beautiful writing and awesome characters, and I actually had tears in my eyes at the end.

4. Unravelling by Elizabeth Norris - I loved the sci-fi concept of alternate universes, and I really really loved Janelle and Ben. Janelle is one of the most kick-ass YA heroines I've read about, and Ben's just plain awesome. Their chemistry together was amazing, and the mystery part of the book was epic. Again, an ending that brought tears to my eyes. I think devastating endings are a must-have for really good books!

5. Divergent by Veronica Roth - I'm a huge fan of dystopian books, and I've got to say that this is my favourite so far. The idea of factions is very original and interesting, and I loved the character development in this book - not only of Tris, but of Four and Catherine as well.

6. Through The Ever Night by Veronica Rossi - I would have put Under The Never Sky in this list too, but I decided one book from each series will do. Since I liked Through The Ever Night better, it made my list. This is again one of my favourite dystopian series, and Perry is one of my favourite characters ever! I was beyond excited when I won an ARC of this book, and I devoured it in a day. It blew my mind, and I can't wait for everyone to read it next month!

7. If I Stay by Gayle Forman - This is the book that really got me into YA contemporary. It was so moving and intense. It really made me wonder about a lot of things, and of life in general. It's the kind of book you can't help thinking about as you lay in bed the night after you finished it. Another book that made me tear!

8. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi - I just read this one a couple of weeks ago, and it drew me in instantly. I've never read anything like it before, and the strikethroughs just made the reading experience even more interesting for me. Plus, I absolutely love Tahereh Mafi's writing style. It's so beautiful!

9. Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins - This was an awesome paranormal read - it was fun, intense and romantic all at the same time. I loved the incorporation of angels and demons in it, and of course Kaidan is the main reason I loved this book so much! He's one of those typical misunderstood bad boys, but Kaidan is completely unique all by himself. And my heart melts when he goes all sweet with Anna!

10. Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare - Even though this was one of the first books I read in 2012, it made it to this list because it was incredible! I bought this book as soon as it came out, and couldn't put it down until I'd finished the last page. And that cliffhanger ending, oh my god. I really cannot wait for Clockwork Princess to come out so I can finally know how the trilogy ends!

11. A Million Suns by Beth Revis - Okay I had to have 11 books on this list because there's no way this book couldn't be on it. A Millions Suns surpassed my expectations immensely, and I loved the element of danger at every turn, as well as the mystery woven throughout the plot. Again, with that ending, I'm dying to read Shades Of Earth!

Okay so that's eleven books. Hey, I'm not perfect! 
I realize that this list is very similar to the one in my last Top Ten Tuesday post, but it makes sense since these authors are among my favourite new 2012 ones!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Release Blog Tour: Review, Author Interview with M.R. Merrick, and Giveaway!

Hey guys! I'm so psyched to be a part of the Release Blog Tour hosted by the very awesome Valerie at Stuck In Books.

After uniting the shifters and calling in reinforcements, Chase has to face his toughest challenge yet: learning to control his emotions. But as tensions rise and his powers grow, controlling his emotions becomes the least of his problems.

Terrorized by a multi-shifter who is hell-bent on turning him, Chase questions just how far he’s willing to go to stop his father. Meanwhile, Tiki’s virtuous nature has placed him in the middle of Vincent’s past, leaving Chase to oppose a senate of vampires and defend a demon he hates.

Trying to balance his friends, his enemies, and his inner demons, Chase is left searching for answers about the Mark, his destiny, and where he can find the next soul piece. Stopping Riley is his top priority, but as more obstacles arise, he finds himself doubting all the decisions he’s made - especially regarding Rayna.

One thing is for certain: Chase has finally realized that he doesn’t know anything. The light doesn’t always quell the darkness, the monsters don’t always stay in the shadows, and the past doesn’t always stay in the past - sometimes, the demons inside are the hardest to fight.

I absolutely loved Release - it was spellbinding, intense and thrilling. This is the third book in The Protector series by M.R. Merrick - one of my favourite series of 2012. The stakes are higher than ever in this captivating installment, and I read the entire book with my heart in my mouth and my eyes glued to the screen.

Chase has grown so much over the course of this series. He learns a lot about himself, and he's a lot stronger too - physically as well as mentally. His loyalty to his friends is unfailing, and he would do anything to save them.

Riley could kill me, but Rayna, Willy, Tiki, and Marcus would all walk away from this. I would die before I let anything happen to them. They were all I had left; they were my family.
Even though he's stronger now, Chase encounters some major glitches with his magic. His revelations shocked me, and I'm desperately hoping that they get resolved in Endure, the fourth and final book in the series.

Rayna is as badass as ever in Release, and I loved that. She's also more open, and starts to let Chase in a bit more. I loved their romance in this book, and I can't wait to see more of it in the next one! Rayna is so supportive of Chase, so understanding. She can motivate him like no one else.
“I saw who you were and I see who you’ve become, and I know in the depths of my heart that you’re going to make it through all this. And I know more than anything that you’ll never stop fighting.”
Rayna grabbed both sides of my face, and locked her gaze with mine. “Listen, you are not allowed to leave me. I need you here, fighting with me.” I smiled, and this time it was as true as any I’d ever had. “Until the end.”
Rayna shows a more compassionate side of herself in this book, but she hasn't lost any of her spunk. She grows a lot too, just like Chase does. She learns to accept who she is, and comes to terms with her newfound powers. She's a witch, but a very rare and different kind. We get to see Rayna doing some cool magic in Release!

Willy is...well, Willy. He's as adorable as ever, and I like that he stands up for himself a lot more in this book. Also, we get to learn more about his past, and one particular event almost had me in tears! I was heartbroken for him. And I still am. Willy is still struggling a lot with his past, and I found myself sympathizing with him at every turn. There is a huge plot twist involving Willy, but I can't say any more. You'll have to read the book to find out!

Vincent is probably the most ambiguous character in this series. I've had mixed feelings about him previously, but now, on the whole, I think he's a good guy. I think he's taken a turn for the better, and he has a lot of potential. Of course, he's still extremely annoying, and pisses Chase off a lot. But I found their banter hilarious!
“When this is all over, I think I’ll have a statue made,” Vincent said.
“Why bother? Nobody worships you,” I said.
This one had me laughing out loud. Now that they're not at each others throats all the time (okay, most of the time), they seem comfortable with exchanging casual insults, and this added a lot of humour to an otherwise intense book. I was actually really surprised with most of Vincent's thoughts and actions in this book, because I never pegged him as a guy who could actually care about people. But he really does. He cares for his adopted vampire family, and he does whatever he can to protect them. I found that really sweet. I really hope Vincent comes all the way to the good side in Endure, because he really is one of my favourite characters.

Tiki. Oh my god I love him. He's so quirky, so unique, and he surprised me multiple times in Release. I love how loyal he is to Chase even though they barely know each other. Tiki is gentle and calm most of the time, and I think he's the most reasonable person in their little group. More so than Marcus, even. He's adamant to see the good in everyone, even Vincent, and manages to convince Chase to help Vincent out. He's completely honest with everyone, and of course, he's also a very powerful demon. It astonishes me when his demon comes out, because I can't imagine gentle Tiki being so ferocious. Tiki plays a much bigger part in Release, so if you love him as much as I do, you'll love this book!

There are so many twists and turns in this novel, it's actually quite hard to keep up. The plot is fast-paced and filled with action, just the way I like it. Release was incredible! Though Shift remains my favourite in the series so far, this one is a close second. M.R. Merrick's writing is, of course, as amazing as ever, and the beautiful imagery made it so easy for me to visualize exactly what was going on.

And now the ending. I really don't want to say anything, but I can't help myself. It was heartbreaking. I couldn't believe what I read, and I really really hope it didn't actually happen. That's all I'm going to say about it, even though I have this huge rant in my mind!

Overall, I found this book mind-blowing, and I absolutely cannot wait for the next one, even though I don't want this series to end. I can't wait to see more of Chase and Rayna kicking ass together, and more of Tiki and Vincent too! M.R. Merrick has truly created a beautiful world in this series, and that cliffhanger ending has me begging for more.

Rating: 5/5

And now, help me welcome author M.R. Merrick for an interview!

Interview with M.R. Merrick

Me:  What inspired you to start writing Exiled, and how did you get the idea of creating such an amazing fictional world?

Matt: It was actually kind of a random thing. I’ve always enjoyed writing but had never tried my hand at fiction. After a particularly rough week, I decided I want to escape. There was no book, or movie, that could give me the escape I wanted, so I just sat down and started writing. I had no intention of writing a book, I certainly had no intention of letting anybody read it, but after about five or six hours of intense word-smithing, I sat back in my chair and realized I had something here. I hadn’t just discovered a story, I had discovered a passion for creating that which did not yet exist. I’d found a love for putting on paper things that have always danced around in my imagination.
I’ve always been pretty imaginative. I invent stories sometimes for my daughter at bedtime and I’ve always been a fairly unrealistic dreamer, but Exiled was something I never knew I had in me. I’ve had a long-running obsession with the idea of controlling the elements, and once I started to tell Chase’s story, I realized this was the place where I could bring that magic to life.
The first scene I wrote was a fight scene between Chase and my version of the vampire. I was writing this scene and all these questions started popping into my head: Who is this guy? Why is he alone? Why is this demon after him? And as the answers came, more specific questions came to mind: Why did he get exiled from the Circle? Why doesn’t he have any powers? And within a few hours, the plot began to unfold in front of me and I had this idea for a mash-up between Urban and Epic Fantasy, and it all existed through the eyes of Chase.

Me: Can you name some of the songs you listened to while writing the Protector books?

Matt: The list is long, but a big portion of the music playing in the background when I write is Paramore. Their music and her voice represent a tone that fits Chase and the world around him. When I’m watching the scenes in my mind, that music works seamlessly with everything I see.
Eminem and Rise Against were runner’s up in the music category. They each have their place for certain scenes and I use different songs to help bring out specific emotions. Music is a huge part of my life and it’s carried me through some difficult periods, so using some of that magic I was able to infuse things into the story I might not have been able to achieve without. 

Me: I love Paramore and Eminem! I will definitely listen to them while reading this series now! Random question - Coffee or tea?

Matt: Lots of Coffee.

Me: If you could be any paranormal creature from your books, which one would you pick?

Matt: The type of creature I’d pick you haven’t seen in my story yet. They aren’t making an appearance until the fourth and final book in the series. If I had to pick from the first few installments, I’d probably pick a vampire. I love the foundation and history behind my version of the vampire, I love how they operate, and they represent a lot of different aspects to me.

Me: Can't wait to find out what this new creature is! If you were in Chase's place, would you make the same decisions he did, or go down a slightly different path?

Matt: Chase and I, once upon a time, were very much alike, and I understand him and his decision to such depth, that it’s hard for me to think of any other path for him to take. That being said, we do differ in some key areas and I believe that had I been in his shoes, I would have handled certain situations differently. The outcome might have been the same, but my approach would have been a little softer in some aspects, and much harder in others.

Me: Any idea how many books there are going to be in the Protector series?

Matt: There are going to be four books in the heart of the series. Exiled, Shift, Release, and the fourth book whose title I will be revealing soon and should be out late spring 2013. I have some ideas for other things that I might incorporate into the series, or branch off of from the series, but they’d be complete extras and not at all necessary to the main story arc. 

Me: I'm always looking forward to new books from you! Lastly, do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Matt: There’s so many things I’d like to say, but in the same of time, I’ll just be brief and list a few.
1. Don’t ever give up. No matter what anyone tells you, no matter how much you don’t fit into the world. Don’t ever stop chasing your dream. You’ll get knocked down, you might hang out down there for a while, but always be sure to get up and keep on pushing.

2. Just because “a real author should do this, or read this, or have read this many books,” doesn’t mean you have to. Will it help? Well it certainly won’t hurt, but it’s not a requirement. You have one requirement to become a writer: write. Every word you write hones your ability, and every story you tell will be better crafted than the last.  

3. And lastly, don’t ever forget to remember. Remember your inner child, remember the fictional dragons you battled, the raging seas you explored, and the treasure you discovered. Remember your struggles, in both imagination and real life and infuse them into your stories. Remember that the only thing that can truly stop you, is you. And remember to always believe. Believe in magic, believe in failure, believe in success, and believe in you. 

Thank you so much to Matthew Merrick for taking time out to answer my questions! I love the detail in your answers, Matt :)

M.R. Merrick is a Canadian writer and author of The Protector Series, a Young Adult mash-up between Urban and Epic Fantasy. Having never traveled, he adventures to far off lands through his imagination and in between cups of coffee. As a music lover and proud breakfast enthusiast, he’s usually found at the computer between a pair of headphones and in front of a large bowl of cereal.

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Grande Prize Pack (3 Winners)
3x Signed paperbacks (Exiled, Shift, Release)
3x Signed 8x10 posters (Exiled, Shift, Release)
5x Bookmarks
1x Notebook (Winner’s choice of cover)
1x Magnet
Runner-up Prize Pack (5 Winners)
1x Signed paperback (Winner’s choice of Exiled, Shift, or Release) with signed poster
1x bookmark (Winner’s choice)
1x Magnet
Secondary Prizes A (10 Winners)
Release eBooks
Secondary Prize B (10 Winners)
1x bookmark (winner’s choice)
1x The Protector magnet
Winners will be chosen as followsFirst 3 names drawn from Rafflecopter will get the grand prize. The following 5 names get therunner-up prize. The following 10 names win ebook copies of Release, and the final 10 names win the swag pack.