Friday, April 29, 2016

Blog Tour: THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN by Roshani Chokshi (Interview)

Hello, troglodytes! I've participated in another blog tour that Young Adult  and fantasy readers will surely love. Curious? Scroll down to know more about it.

by Roshani Chokshi

Young Adult - Fantasy (Mythology)
Publication: April 26th 2016
Published by St. Martin's Griffin

A lush and vivid standalone debut young adult fantasy that seamlessly weaves the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone with Indian folklore. Featuring a smart, independent anti-princess who must take her place as queen and a forbidden romance that defies the odds, debut author Roshani Chokshi pairs beautiful writing with a thrilling pace and compulsive plot, using her own Filipino and Indian heritage to create a culturally diverse and vividly imagined world.

Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you're only seventeen? 

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran's queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar's wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire... 

But Akaran has its own secrets -- thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most... including herself.

From an incredibly fresh voice, Roshani Chokski’s THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN is a beautifully written standalone novel that will enchant young adult and fantasy readers until the last page. 

Know more about THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN by reading the interview with the fabulous author, Roshani Chokshi!

1. What/Who were your biggest inspirations for the characters in The Star-Touched Queen? Which character in The Star-Touched Queen did you personally relate to the most and why?
  • For Maya and Amar, they were inspired by the Hades/Persephone. But I imagined those two mythological characters a little more differently. In Maya’s case, I knew that ambition was her defining trait, but I wasn’t sure whether that would manifest as seeking emotional or material fulfillment. Turns out, it was a bit of both. Kamala was inspired by my love of fiendish side characters like Mogget from Garth Nix’s SABRIEL and is probably the character I relate to the most. Her sense of humor can be a little abrasive. But she’s fiercely loyal to her friends. Other people in TSTQ were inspired by a collection of people whom I met/knew/heard of growing up.
2. Have you always been drawn to Mythology and what are some of your favorite mythological tales? What myth specifically inspired Star-Touched? 
  • Always! I was raised on mythology. It was one of the most important outlets for me to connect to my Filipino/Indian heritage. My favorite Indian myths are Shakuntula, Nala and Damayanti, and Savitri. My favorite Filipino story is the Igorot tale of the Sky Maiden. My favorite Western myth is Hades and Persephone. TSTQ was specifically inspired by Hades & Persephone.Let's talk inspiration. What Indian folklore inspired The Star-Touched Queen and where could someone who might be interested in reading and learning more about it and other Indian stories (cough, me, cough) learn more? The main Indian folktales/myths that inspired TSTQ or particular scenes were: Shakuntula (plays on the idea of memory and forgotten loves), Savitri & Satyavan (bargaining with Lord of Death, wily females!) and Narasimha (the fourth avatar of Lord Vishnu who defeated the demon king Hirayankashipu). Honestly, most of these were stories I heard growing up with my family. But my favorite thing to read when I was younger were the Amar Chitra Katha comics! They’re these illustrated tales from Indian mythology and I love them so so so much.
3. What scene in THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN was your favorite to write?
  • Definitely the scene where Amar and Maya are working together in the constellation room. I think it’s an important scene about interpretation, which, to me, is a major theme in TSTQ.
4. Did you listen to any music while writing this book? If yes, what would you say was your MOST played artist or song?
  • Sometimes I listen to music when I write. It just depends on whether the song is distracting me or fueling some weird atmospheric part of the scene. Sometimes it’s just one song on repeat. I listen to a lot of hip hop. And when I pretty much rewrote TSTQ in February 2015, I felt furious. Not with anyone. But just with the story. Like it was itching to be told right and I was failing it. I think the songs I listened to the most with TSTQ was either Kid Ink’s “Show Me” or Kendrick Lamar’s “Poetic Justice.”
5. What is your dream movie cast for STAR-TOUCHED? 
  • LOVE this question. I’ve always envisioned Lakshmi Menon (the Sri Lankan model) as Maya-esque. Amar has some definite Arjun Rampal undertones (swoons forever). Gupta is kinda cheeky and nerdy, and reminds me of Imran Khan (actor not Pakistani cricket player). Gauri is cheeky, but fierce, so definitely Preity Zinta or Deepika Padukone. Nritti: Aishwarya Rai. And Mother Dhina: Rekha.
6. What is the most exciting part about publishing your first novel? 
  • Interacting with readers. Talking to the YA community gives me so much life.
7. How did you build your world and keep everything straight for STAR-TOUCHED?
  • Flashcards, charts, webs, etc. I know everyone has their own tricks! Flashcards, backs of receipts, corners of napkins. Which is to say, I did not keep things straight at all. This is why you have beta readers. To throw virtual tomatoes at you and point out that given the rules of your world, you cannot do the thing you just did.
8. What is your next project? Is it in the same world as STAR-TOUCHED?
  • I just finished the companion novel to TSTQ! So, I’m hoping to get started edits soon. I can’t wait for y’all to read it. I love it so much.
9. What is the one thing you want readers to walk away from STAR-TOUCHED with?
  • I hope readers see a little of how fairytales and folklore celebrate our shared experiences across cultural spectrums. And I hope their dreams are a little star-touched and that they close the book thinking they’ve tasted fairy fruit and walked through more than one life. 

ROSHANI CHOKSHI comes from a small town in Georgia where she collected a Southern accent, but does not use it unless under duress. She grew up in a blue house with a perpetually napping bear-dog. At Emory University, she dabbled with journalism, attended some classes in pajamas, forgot to buy winter boots and majored in 14th century British literature. She spent a year after graduation working and traveling and writing. After that, she started law school at the University of Georgia where she's learning a new kind of storytelling. More information on the author can be found at

Monday, April 25, 2016

Backlist Revival Project 4: Just for the Record by Six delos Reyes

Back in January, I announced that I will be working with Ms. Mina Esguerra. We are doing Backlist Revival Project to help bring attention, new reviews, and new readers to books that are a few years old. We will feature a book per month and the featured book of the month is a contemporary romance that was published in 2014 or earlier. So, if you are interested to REVIEW books by Filipino authors, please let us know.
 For this month, the featured book is JUST FOR THE RECORD by Six delos Reyes.
Publication Date: March 31st 2014

Goodreads Synopsis:
Just for the record, the heat can get to even the most calculated of minds.

Let it be stated that Rhys loves Ryan forever and ever. But certain needs are not being met, leaving her frustrated and asking for too much than the conservative and almost-rock star, Ryan, is willing to give. Uncooperative (or cooperative, depending on your point of view) weather provides her an opportunity to ask not what she can do for her friends, but what a friend can do for her.

Isaiah likes to say that the best thing about Rhys is that he can stand in her breathing space and feel nothing. Something of a breather when dancing with Lia short circuits his entire operating system. But all his beliefs are challenged when Rhys chances upon him in a steamy practice room in the middle of a heat wave.

|| Add JUST FOR THE RECORD on Goodreads ||
|| Buqo || Amazon ||

Tell us what Just for the Record is about in the length of a tweet.
Rhys and Ice do something they shouldn't do, pretend it never happened, but totally do it again anyway. Relationships get complicated.

Where did you get the idea for this novel?
Feels, mostly. I had too many Isaiah feels but nowhere to put them. I started writing JftR in the middle of a heatwave, and I needed something to distract me from the face-melting heat. So it seemed my solution was to make the heat enjoyable, in a manner of speaking. I had previously written Nico's story and Rhys's story (though they remain unpublished and in the middle of endless revisions and rewrites) and thought to myself, "What if?" at the time, I've been listening to some random music and Omarion's O started playing and well...JftR's first chapter, Heat Wave, happened. To Rhys and Isaiah, characters who have not really interacted much in their respective stories. In my head, they made sense. They both needed the distraction and a way out of their heads.
I planned Heat Wave as a one shot just for my personal entertainment, but it soon took a life its own and the book wrote itself. I stopped midway, unsure how to end it, until Mina's workshop #buqosteamyreads gave me the motivation to get it done.

Can you think of 3 songs that go perfectly with your book?
I've been rediscovering local music due to the research I'm conducting for Unplugged (Rhys's standalone novel) so these songs have stuck with me when I think about Just for the Record:

Agos by Hans Dimayuga
This is definitive Isaiah to me. The lyrics really talk about Isaiah's emotional journey throughout the events of the story. This song captured the overall theme and feel of the story, and the words express the characters’ sentiments exactly. Rhys is a natural disaster that swept Isaiah away from the safety of the shore, but he’s okay with drowning just like it says in the verse. I especially like the bridge, how it says there are reasons against them, but there will always be loopholes. 

Tama o Mali by Thyro and Yumi
The title explains it all. What they do straddles the border between right and wrong, and the gray area is where they set up their playground. The main characters start off not quite friends, do thoughtless things they know they shouldn’t have done, but then come to a point where the reader has to ask: is this really all they are or will there be something more? You come to the point where you have to ask them, which is worse? Continue to do what they know is wrong? Or stay away from each other when being apart feels wrong?

Shout by BV
Bea Valera is my dream cast for Rhys, and this song of hers is Rhys's character in song form. A huge part of the conflict is Rhys feeling trapped in her own skin and just wanting a way out of the loneliness that seeks a soulmate. This really expresses her frustrations in life. Feeling alone in the middle of a loud crowd at Catharsis, and being torn between wanting to remain backstage to write songs and a secret desire to be on that stage herself.

For international music, there's a lot of Zedd (Spectrum, Clarity, Find You) because I listened to his album the entire time I was writing Just for the Record. These are songs that capture the dynamics in the relationship between Isaiah and Rhys. These are also the types of songs Rhys would write and produce.

What character do you wish you could pull out of a book?
I always say I hate Nico, but it would really be awesome to have a friend like Nico in real life. Even if maybe most of the time you'd want to kill him. But if I'm allowed to cheat, instead of one character, I'd probably pull out the entire East Dragon Studio and Catharsis out of the book.

What was your favorite scene to write in ‘Just for the Record’?

Anything with Nico. But especially Act Three Part 1 when Nico catches Isaiah and Rhys in flagrante delicto. Their group dynamics = squad goals for me. As soon as I finished writing Heat Wave, I knew immediately that this scene was going to happen. Nico would find out in the most inconvenient way possible and he would take advantage of the situation and take control like the way he was born in his Mastermind ways to do. Nico is such a fun character to write.
Visit other blogs:
|Racquel Sarah|Will Read For Feels |

About Six delos Reyes:
Six de los Reyes has been reading and making up stories for as far as she can remember. In fifth grade, she learned to wield dragons and phoenixes through written word. As a pretend grownup, she writes contemporary romance and young adult novellas and novels. Her day job doing Science has something to do with being a part-time mermaid and a part-time labrat. She currently lives next to the sea.

Her first new adult novella, Just for the Record, is available on ebook stores Amazon and buqo.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Blog Tour: ISLAND IN THE SEA by Anita Hughes (Interview + Giveaway)


Publication Date: April 12th 2016
Published by St. Martin's Griffin (Imprint of SMP)
Add the book to your TBR shelf on Goodreads!
Juliet Lyman is a senior executive at Yesterday Records. Music is her passion and she's very good at her job. That's why her famously philanthropic boss Gideon sends her to Majorca, Spain to work with a very tortured, but talented client. Lionel Harding is one of the best song writers of the 20th century, the multi-Grammy award-winning lyricist of the third most recorded song in history. But now he's 42 and six months overdue on the his latest paid assignment. Juliet is not leaving Majorca without either new lyrics or a very large check.

To Juliet, business comes first. Emotions are secondary, and love isn't even on the menu. But to Lionel, love is everything, and he blames Gideon for his broken heart. He's determined to show Juliet that nothing is more important than love, but Juliet is just as determined to get Lionel to create the music that made him famous. If she can sign up local talent, even better. Her new friend Gabriella has a voice like an angel, but she's not interested in fame. Her grandmother, Lydia, wants the world for Gabriella, and she wants Juliet's help to give it to her.

As her professional and personal lives start to mix for the first time, Juliet is forced to reevaluate her priorities. Gideon hasn't been totally honest, and love may be the only thing that gives them all what they need.

Island in the Sea is Anita Hughes' captivating sixth novel, filled with exotic descriptions of food, fashion, and romance.

Want to know more about ISLAND IN THE SEA? Check out my interview with Anita Hughes below!


1. Hello, Miss Anita! Welcome back to Carmel & Kyla. It's an honor to have you here again. I heard that you have a new book coming out— entitled Island in the Sea. Could you tell us more about it?

• Thank you so much for having me! Island in the Sea is about a young female record executive who is sent to Majorca to make a famous but tortured songwriter, Lionel Harding, fulfill his contract. It is full of gorgeous descriptions of the scenery and foods of Majorca. And of course there is plenty of romance!

2. Juliet Lyman, the main character, seems like a strong-willed kind of woman. Can you tell us more about Juliet?
• Juliet has worked very hard to get where she is - a senior executive at a major record label. She hasn't ever been in love and doesn't really believe in love. Of course, it is Lionel who sets about changing her mind. I really enjoyed writing Juliet because music is so important to her. Music has had a lot of meaning in my life and I think many readers can relate to that.

3. What inspired you to write Island in the Sea?
• I was inspired by that wonderful song, The Girl From Ipanema. It is the number two best-selling pop song of all time. When you listen to it, you imagine white sand beaches. Then I started thinking what it would be like for a bestselling songwriter to have been unlucky in love. Lastly, I picked the location - I have always loved Spain and especially the island of Majorca.

4. How long did it take you write this novel?
• Most of my books take me three months to write. I miss the characters when I'm finished!

5. Lastly, recommend Island in the Sea to the readers.

• I think lovers of travel and music and romance will find a lot to appreciate in Island in the Sea. I really tried to conjure up the feeling of being in Majorca. I hope your readers will enjoy it!


Anita Hughes was born in Sydney, Australia and had a charmed childhood that included petting koala bears, riding the waves on Bondi Beach, and putting an occasional shrimp on the barbie. Her writing career began at the age of eight, when she won a national writing contest in THE AUSTRALIAN newspaper, and was named "One of Australia's Next Best Writers." (She still has the newspaper clipping.)

She received a B.A. in English Literature with a minor in Creative Writing from Bard College, and attended UC Berkeley's Masters in Creative Writing program.

Her debut novel MONARCH BEACH was released in June 2012, followed by MARKET STREET in March 2013 and LAKE COMO in August 2013. 

FRENCH COAST was released in April 2015... and ROME IN LOVE will be released in August 2015

She lives in Dana Point, CA with her family, where she interrupts her writing to watch the glorious sunsets.




• Giveaway is open to US/CAN residents only. 
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