Cover Reveal: The Hit List

Book Details
Title: The Hit List
Author: Nikki Urang
Genre: NA Contemporary
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
ISBN: print: 9781939392329, ebook: 9781939392312
Release Date: November 11, 2014
Formats: Paper, e-book

Cover & Summary
The Los Angeles Conservatory for the Arts is supposed to be a new beginning for Sadie Bryant. Moving across the country is exactly what she needs to escape the gossip surrounding her injury, the devastating betrayal of her ex-partner, and to rebuild her career as a solo dancer.

When the school announces that the annual Fall Showcase, a performance that secures a spot studying in London, will now require each dance to have a partner, Sadie's fresh start is a nightmare. Now she has to dance with Luke Morrison, the school womanizer with a big ego. Sadie doesn't know how to trust Luke enough to dance with him after her last partner left her broken, but Luke is determined to change that.

Then, The Hit List comes out. A game of sexual contest where guys get points for all the girls they hook up with—and it seems like every guy at the school is playing.

The girl worth the most points? Sadie. 

Find Nikki online

I love this cover and I love the synopsis! I can't wait to get my grabby hands on this upcoming Contemporary.

A Cover Design Process: The Dragon's Egg (Cover Reveal & Giveaway)

My name is Heidi Bolton, but I use my initials for my writing name, H.B. Bolton. I’m the author of the middle-grade fantasy series, Relics of Mysticus. The Dragon’s Egg (Book Three) is in the final stages of development and is almost ready for its May release date. Today I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to share my newest book cover with you.

Cover artist, Elisabeth Alba, offered an inside peek of her work’s progression through her photographs and commentary. I’m extremely fortunate to know this Scholastic Book illustrator and have had the privilege to benefit from her talents for all three of my covers. In fact, we’ve already started talking about The Mummy’s Amulet (Book Four).

I met Elisabeth about 14 years ago through one of my drawing classes. From her high school freshman year through senior year, she was one of my students (a favorite one, at that). I taught advanced-placement art, which was before having children of my own and creating worlds with unlikely heroes for my mythical stories.

Thank you, Elisabeth, for helping to bring my characters to life!

As a bonus, I’m offering a free eBook version of The Serpent’s Ring (Book One) through Amazon from March 10-13.
~H.B. Bolton (Author)

Progression of a Book Cover Illustrator by Elisabeth Alba 
This is a progression of The Dragon’s Egg book cover from sketch to final drawing. Truth be told, I haven’t illustrated many multi-figure images before, and then add a ton of stuff happening around them, so I was in for a challenging composition — a fun challenge! You can see how I gradually worked out and tightened the image. In the beginning, I had planned to make the background darker but then realized if the glowing fog was everywhere, then it wouldn’t be so dark. It framed the floating castle better as well.

Once I figured out the drawing, which I did digitally, I worked on a color composition to figure out how I would paint it. This was an important step — especially since watercolor is really hard to fix if you make a mistake.
At this stage, I printed the line drawing onto watercolor paper and got to work. I painted with Dr. Ph. Martin’s Hydrus fine-art liquid watercolors to start. I painted the base color first, which in this case was greenish.
After painting more of the base colors, I decided to do some line work with pen and ink to solidify the shapes.
Once the base colors were done, I sealed the image with matte medium. The Hydrus watercolors can be difficult because they are not like normal watercolor. Once they’re down on paper, you can’t wipe them away, but sealing with matte medium helps them not to smear — which is nice! You can also see how my desk lamp caused some glare over the castle when I took the photo.

On top of the matte medium, I painted with acryla gouache to darken and saturate the colors, and to do any highlights like the edge lighting around the figures. Finally, once the painting was done, I sealed the entire image with Kamar varnish. It brought out the colors even more, because once the acryla gouache dried, it became matte and the colors faded some.
Once I scanned the image, I worked on any digital touch-ups (some things are hard to do in watercolor, like getting colors really dark, and also the colors sometimes don’t scan well). This was how it looked once scanned, before any touch-ups. It was a more faded and less vibrant version of the original painting. I also lost the highlights.
Finally, after all of the digital work was complete, the cover was ready for text.

For the typography, I added a dark-blue gradient around the edges to frame the image and help the text stand out. I’ve used the same font for all three books, but in this one, I replaced the “O” in “Dragon’s” with the actual Dragon’s Egg relic.

Official Blurb
The Dragon’s Egg (Book Three)
Sure, the glass castle floating over Evan’s head makes him uneasy, but that’s the least of his worries. With each step inside the Dungeon of Dreadful Dreams, he must battle against his worst nightmares. One after the other, wispy smoke-filled bull sharks come at him — he must remember they’re only illusions pulled from his imagination by those dreaded shadowlike hands. If only the vengeful dragon circling above was also an illusion and didn't have his mind set on destroying the one person who can control him: Emrys.

Inside the castle’s glass tower, Emrys sleeps in an eternal slumber, and Evan’s uncertain whether he can save the great wizard. Especially now that Emrys’ former student, the Lady of the Lake, has joined forces with the cunning immortal Alamaz. Together they have already stolen the Dragon’s Egg, but their greed doesn’t end there. The Siren’s Pearl calls to them, and that means only one thing … Atlantis is in trouble.

Join Evan, Claire, and Dunkle — along with a few other unlikely heroes — as they travel across the realm of Medieval Legends, float through the Ancient Isle of Avalon, plunge inside the Dungeon of Dreadful Dreams, and be there when Atlantis rises once again.

You can see more artwork by Elisabeth Alba and keep up with her future creations through her sites:

Elisabeth is a Queens-based illustrator whose work focuses on fairy tales, fantasy, and historical subjects. She earned her MFA in illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Her clients include Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, and Henry Holt Books for Young Readers. Elisabeth wants to thank Heidi for being the best high school art teacher ever, and setting her on the path to becoming an illustrator!

Connect with H.B. Bolton here:

Signed copies of The Serpent's Ring and The Trickster's Totem (US)
ebook of The Trickster's Totem (you can grab the first book for free!)
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Lucky Is Reading Giveaway Hop

I'm happy to be participating in this hop organized by Val at StuckInBooks! It's been a while since I've been part of a hop. It was time for me to have another fun giveaway.

Remember that there are quite a few blogs participating for this hop. Check out all of the amazing prizes being offered. You may do this by checking out the linky at the end of this post (if it's working), or check the list at Val's blog HERE

Thank you for stopping by my blog and good luck to ya!

Giveaway Details
  • International entrants are welcome to enter as long as The Book Depository delivers to your country (double-check the list).
  • If the winner is a resident of the US, his/her book will be shipped from Amazon. 2-day free shipping is hard to beat. :)
  • If you are entering this giveaway, I ask that you be 13 years old or older.
  • Since it will be someone's lucky day, I will let the winner choose his/her book of choice.
  • NO cheating. Entries will be checked. Please don't be a doofus!
  • The winner will be emailed on March 22. He/she will have 48 hours to reply to the email or a new winner will need to be selected.
  • Smile!

Hey! Don't forget to visit more participating blogs for more great prizes!

Of Stardust: Blog Tour & Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the Of Stardust book tour.
Catch up and follow the remainder of the tour here!
About the Book
Title: Of Stardust
Release Date: 10/28/13
200 pages

Summary from Goodreads
“Dreams are sacred…”

At the age of twenty-six single, geeky bookseller Till Nesbitt inherits the shock of a lifetime: a huge Victorian farmhouse filled with unique tenants, and the knowledge that there is a reason she’s always been different. She’s destined to become a Fairy Godmother, because the skills are written into her DNA.

Till embarks on her fairy education at Dreams Come True University with much trepidation, guided on her journey by a unique mentor: a Celtic hybrid with a secret by the name of Gus.

When Till falls head over heels for Gus, will she break the most serious law in the Fairy Code, or will the truth of what really happened to Gus’s parents keep them from repeating history?
About the Author
February Grace is a writer, artist and poet who lives somewhere that is much colder than she would like most of the time.

She sings on key, plays by ear, and is more than mildly obsessed with music, clocks, colors, and meteor showers.

Her poetry, prose, and/or flash fiction have appeared in The Rusty Nail Literary Magazine, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and Rose and Thorn Journal. Her work can also be found in the following anthologies: Poetry Pact Volume One, Anything Prose...And Poetry, Too! and Orange Karen, Tribute To A Warrior.

GODSPEED, her debut novel, is a labor of love she refers to as "Literary romance with steampunk embellishments." 

Her second novel, OF STARDUST, is a modern, romantic fantasy tale.
2 print books of Of Stardust (US)
7 ebooks of Of Stardust (INT)
Contest is void where prohibited. Entrants must be 13 or else have parent or guardian’s permission to enter. Winners will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner's name will be selected. Winning entries will be verified for authenticity.

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Blog Tour Hosted by:

Entangled Teen Release Day: March 4, 2014

Today is release day for four amazing Entangled Teen titles and I am excited to share them all with you!  There's a little something for everyone this month so read on to find out more about them. 

I am especially excited for Searching for Beautiful and Til Death! They are ordered and I'm itching for some down time to dive in!
About the Book: Searching for Beautiful
Author: Nyrae Dawn
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pub. Date: March 4, 2014

Before it happened…
Brynn had a group of best friends, a boyfriend who loved her, a growing talent for pottery. She had a life. And then…she had none.

After it happened…
Everything was lost. The boy she now knew never loved her. The friends who felt she betrayed their trust. The new life just beginning to grow inside her.

Brynn believes her future is as empty as her body until Christian, the boy next door, starts coming around. Playing his guitar and pushing her to create art once more. She meets some new friends at the local community center, plus even gets her dad to look her in the eye again…sort of. But letting someone in isn’t as easy as it seems.

Can Brynn open up her heart to truly find her life’s own beauty, when living for the after means letting go of the before?
Find Nyrae Online:

About the Book: Til Death
Author: Kate Evangelista
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pub. Date: March 4, 2014

Sixteen-year-old Selena Fallon is a dreamer. Not a daydreamer, but an I-see-the-future kind of dreamer. Normally, this is not a problem, as she has gotten pretty good at keeping her weird card hidden from everyone in her small town. But when Selena dreams of her own rather bloody death, things get a little too freaky—even for her.

Enter Dillan Sloan. Selena has seen the new guy in a different dream, and he is even more drool-worthy in person. Beyond the piercing blue eyes and tousled dark hair, there is something else that draws her to him. Something…electric. Too bad he acts like he hates her.

When Selena learns she’s being targeted by a force bigger and darker than anything she ever imagined, she’s had enough. Despite her death dream, Selena is not going to give up easily, especially when she discovers that Dillan isn’t what he seems…and might not actually hate her after all. Dillan might be the only person who can save her.
Find Kate Online:

About the Book: Knight Assassin
Author: Rima Jean
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pub. Date: March 4, 2014
Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, B&N

Get your copy of Knight Assassin soon! It is just $.99 for a limited time.

Seventeen-year-old Zayn has special powers she cannot control—powers that others fear and covet. Powers that cause the Templar Knights to burn Zayn’s mother at the stake for witchcraft. 

When a mysterious stranger tempts Zayn to become the first female member of the heretical Assassins, the chance to seek her revenge lures her in. She trains to harness her supernatural strength and agility, and then enters the King of Jerusalem's court in disguise with the assignment to assassinate Guy de Molay, her mother’s condemner. 

But once there, she discovers Earic Goodwin, the childhood friend who still holds her heart, among the knights—and his ocean-blue eyes don’t miss a thing. Will vengeance be worth the life of the one love she has left? 
Find Rima Online:

About the Book: Donna of the Dead
Author: Alison Kemper
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pub. Date: March 4, 2014
 Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, B&N, iBookstore

Get your copy of Donna of the Dead soon! It is just $.99 for a limited time.
Donna Pierce might hear voices, but that doesn't mean she’s crazy. Probably.

The voices do serve their purpose, though—whenever Donna hears them, she knows she’s in danger. So when they start yelling at the top of their proverbial lungs, it’s no surprise she and her best friend, Deke, end up narrowly escaping a zombie horde. Alone without their families, they take refuge at their high school with the super-helpful nerds, the bossy class president, and—best of all?—Liam, hottie extraordinaire and Donna’s long-time crush. When Liam is around, it’s easy to forget about the moaning zombies, her dad’s plight to reach them, and how weird Deke is suddenly acting toward her.

But as the teens’ numbers dwindle and their escape plans fall apart, Donna has to listen to the secrets those voices in her head have been hiding. It seems not all the zombies are shuffling idiots, and the half-undead aren't really down with kids like Donna…
Find Alison Online:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Donna of the Dead

Are you off to download any of these beauties? Have you already downloaded any? Let me know and let's chat about the books soon!

Standalone Reading Challenge 2014 - March Sign-Ups

It's month three for the Standalone Reading Challenge, and this time, we've got three awesome prizes for one lucky participant. And it's March, so everyone's got an extra dash of lucky, eh?

The Standalone Reading Challenge is easy and fun - plus you'll get a chance to win some awesome prizes. Read more about the challenge and SIGN UP HERE. And be sure to grab a button for your sidebar too!

So what are you waiting for? Read a 2014 standalone - if you're not sure what counts, check out our list of Standalones here - write your review, link up, and get your name in the hat for March's prize pack!

(1) THE PROMISE OF AMAZING Signed Hardcover
(1) DON'T LOOK BACK hardcover

Special thanks to the donators:
Rula Sinara
Robin Constantine

Please note, prize pack contents are subject to change. Open to US Only.

So what are you waiting for? Read, Review, and Link up! Drop any questions in the comments :)

And if you still haven't signed up, do so HERE.