Archive for December, 2013

Review: CONJURE (Hoodoo Apprentice, #1) by Lea Nolan

Posted December 4, 2013 By bookophile81

CONJURE-by-Lea-NolanAuthor: Lea Nolan
Release Date: October 23, 2012
Pages: 314
ISBN #: 9781620610985
FTC Disclaimer: Book was provided by the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.

Lea Nolan’s Conjure introduces the reader to Emma Guthrie, a smart, sassy and lovable 14 year old. She and her fraternal twin Jack spend every summer in the South Carolina Lowcountry with their father. Through these idyllic, lazy summer days, Jack and Emma spend most of their time sailing with their best friend, Cooper Beaumont. Little do they know, their summer is about to take a turn for the supernatural.

They discover a bottle with a message inside that leads the trio on a search for hidden treasure. Along the way they meet Maggie, a mysterious girl who is more than what she seems. She encourages Jack’s obsessive search for the treasure, which ultimately leads to serious consequences. He unknowingly releases an ancient curse, performed by a powerful HooDoo root worker as an act of revenge against the family who sold her daughter and the pirates who bought her, that little by little takes over his body and slowly kills him.   Knowing she has made a grave mistake, Maggie sends them to Miss Delia, a Hoodoo root worker. With Emma’s begging and willing spirit she agrees to take her on as a Hoodoo Apprentice in an effort to save Jack. Remember Cooper? Well, he isn’t free and clear either. Its a race against the clock as Emma hones her skills desperately trying to save both her brother and the boy she secretly loves.

Let me start by saying that this story is absolutely AMAZING! Each character seems to come to life right before the readers eyes! The story itself flows nicely from scene to scene and chapter to chapter. I never once felt  like I had been ripped out of the story. Emma is a strong, beautiful main character and I enjoyed getting to see her change from a shy, artistic girl into a confident young woman whose love is so powerful that she is willing to do anything to keep those she cares about safe. She is definitely on the same level with Katniss Everdeen or Hermione Granger. Also, its a bonus that the setting is South Carolina (which is where I am from!). This book is a definite “must read”!


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Going UnderCOVER with Kaitie Wood

Posted December 3, 2013 By Jennifer

Today is release day, my lovelies!! As are all Tuesdays, but today I’m excited to be celebrating the release of Dakota Cassidy’s newest Accidental novel, ACCIDENTAL WEREWOLF 2: SOMETHING ABOUT HARRY. To add to our celebration, Dakota is offering a digital copy to one of YOU lucky readers!!! Here’s a bit about the book… and then a special Q&A with the cover illustrator, Katie Wood. See below for how to enter to win the digital copy!!

17239873He’s in a furry situation.

Accountant Harry Ralph Emerson has always been a by-the-numbers kind of guy. But when he finds himself trapped at work sprouting an obscene amount of hair, he knows his odds for maintaining normalcy are zero to none. After a frantic internet search, Harry goes through the OOPS—Out in the Open Paranormal Support—checklist and comes to a disheartening conclusion: He’s turning into a werewolf and he needs help ASAP.

She might be the only solution.

Werewolf Mara Flaherty has long carried a torch for Pack Cosmetics’s sexy single accountant, even after her attempt to seduce him went down in flames. When her sister-in-law, Marty, shows up to handle Harry’s OOPS emergency, she tasks Mara with showing the hirsute hottie the ropes. But Mara knows Harry’s condition is a result of her lab experiment gone wrong—and the previously mild-mannered object of her affection is about to give her a piece of his mind

All of the covers for Dakota’s Accidental series, and her Hell series, were done by fanciful and talented cover artist and illustrator Katie Wood. I just love her style and how she incorporates little bits of the story into her cover design. Big thanks to Katie for taking a few minutes to chat with us today.

1. I love your whimsical style. Is that a style you’ve intentionally developed, or has your work always had that kind of “free-flowing” design?

I think it’s important to stick to your individual voice when creating artwork. That’s what makes it unique. I’ve been lucky to work as a freelance illustrator for a few years and I think that your style naturally develops over time. I try not to think about how to create the artwork too much – I just like to go for it and see what happens!

2. I work in a bookstore, and have seen your illustrations in a few of the children’s series we carry. I also LOVE the covers you sophiedo for Dakota Cassidy’s Hell series and Accidentals series. Was illustrating for books and covers always your career plan? How did you get involved in the publishing world?

How wonderful! I love bookstores! Illustration for books and cover art is kind of a dream job for me. I love getting involved with the characters and trying to get their personalities show in my drawings. Dakota writes amazing characters, they always have a special sparkle!  It’s also so wonderful to see your work in print and hold a book in your hands!

3. How much input from an author do you need to create the artwork? Do you read the who book, or do you create from bits and pieces of information?

It depends on the type of book. If it’s a children’s book then it’s usually already been written and they are looking to pair an artist with the story. I get the whole manuscript and a brief explaining the type of illustration the need for each page. For adult books then it’s often the case that the manuscript hasn’t been completed before I receive the brief. I usually get a synopsis and character description so that I can get the general vibe of the book. Unfortunately I’m not usually in contact with the author but the design team at the publishing house.

4. What series would you LOVE to do artwork for? What’s your dream cover job??

I think maybe a classic. Famous Five would be amazing!

5. Can you run us through your design process? From original concept drawings to finish product?  How long does each design usually take?

As soon as I read a brief I usually have a character design in my head and I start to sketch them out until I’m happy with how they look. Then I’ll submit up to 8 cover sketches for the design team to choose their favourite. Dakota’s books are the most fun books because they challenge me to find a subtle hint about what happens to the character during the story.

KatieCard6. I also noticed that you’ve created your own greeting card designs. How did that come about?

Creating my own greetings card range is always something that I’ve wanted to do. I was creating some personal artwork and a character appeared that I just couldn’t stop drawing! That’s when I knew that I should go for it with a range of greetings cards. Oh My Studio was born! It’s been such a friendly industry to start working in I haven’t looked back.  I’m constantly thinking up new design ideas for my range, it’s my pet project! My sister has recently started working with me on this too – we’re a great team!

7. Your blog is gorgeous. I love that you illustrate each of your posts. How long does it take to do those images? Do you do other artwork just for fun?

Thank you! I wasn’t sure if anyone actually read it! he he! It’s a great way for me to let people know about my latest artwork, like a diary. I try and do as much artwork as I have time for. I wish I had a camera in my mind for all of the ideas and an extra day in the week! I try and keep a sketch book of scribbles and possible designs, some of them make it to final artwork. For some reason this always increases when I’m working on a big project, I guess it’s a way for my imagination to release! Unfortunately my personal work usually takes a back seat but I think it’s really important to grow as an artist. Note to self: make more art and put it on my blog!

8. Who were/are some of your biggest design influences?

I’m a really big fan of Adolie Day. Her illustrations are some of the most beautiful I’ve seen and her characters are so charming! My other favourites include Helen Dardik – how one person can create so much artwork I’ll never know! Her blog and use of colour is amazing. I like to try keep an eye current trends around me, in fashion/home decor etc and hopefully reflect it in my work. I’ve also just discovered Pinterest (I know, bit late to the party!) and it’s like opening a door to the most amazing art gallery in the world. It’s so inspiring! Although I don’t look at it when I’m trying to create artwork because I find that it kind of clouds my ideas. It’s a great way to find new artisits though, my new favourite is Olaf Hajek.

9. Can you tell us about what you’re working on now, and what’s up next for you??

I’m currently working on a brilliant children’s book by Jenny French. It’s about a fantastic character called Betty and her love of cycling. In this story she is cycling around London with her grandpa. I’m having so much fun with these illustrations. I also have a trade fair coming up for my greetings cards so I’m busy designing for that too. Never enough hours in the day!

*****So, my lovelies!! I’d love to hear what you think of Katie’s designs, or your thoughts on Dakota’s Accidentals series! Comment below with your thoughts on the covers of the Accidentals books, AND/OR suggest another “Accidental ________” title for the series. If you’ve been following Dakota, you’ll know she’s got a lot of imagination. I’d love to see what YOU all think her next accidental creature should be, lol!! One commenter will win an ecopy of ACCIDENTAL WEREWOLF 2: SOMETHING ABOUT HARRY!! Contest will end tomorrow night (Wednesday) at midnight pacific time. GOOD LUCK!!*****

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