Freebie Wallpaper | Mirage by Somaiya Daud

Last month, I joined the blog tour for Mirage (full review here). There’s this line in the end that kinda stuck with me and I think these words hold so much power to anyone who will going to read it. So today, I’m sharing it to everyone through a free downloadable wallpaper.  Hope you’ll like it! And if you do, drop your comments down below. I would love to hear from you!Tale Out Loud DividerMirage by Somaiya DaudMirage by Somaiya Daud
Series: Mirage #1
Published by: Flatiron Books
Publication date: August 28, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Pre-order Links:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound | Waterstones

Synopsis:
In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, sixteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty―and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear, and one wrong move could lead to her death…Mirage Wallpaper

Mirage Wallpaper Preview1680 x 1050 | 1920 x 1200 | 2560 x 1400 | iPhone

Credit: Vectors used from Visnezh at Freepik. Thank you so much!

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Cover Reveal | Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich

Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich
Title: Teeth in the Mist
Author: Dawn Kurtagich
Release Date: June 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Horror-Fantasy

Synopsis:
A genre-bending epic horror-fantasy, inspired by the legend of Faust, spans generations as an ancient evil is uncovered—perfect for fans of Kendare Blake and Ransom Riggs.

Seventeen-year-old Zoey has been fascinated by the haunted, burnt-out ruins of Medwyn Mill House for as long as she can remember—so she and her best friend Poulton decide to explore the ruins. But are they really alone in the house?

In 1851, sixteen-year-old Roan arrives at the Mill House as a ward—one of three, all with their own secrets. When Roan learns that she is connected to an ancient secret, she must escape the house before she is trapped forever.

This haunting horror and captivating mystery redefines the horror and fantasy space.

About The Author:
Dawn KutagichDawn Kurtagich is a writer of creepy, spooky and psychologically sinister YA fiction, where girls may descend into madness, boys may see monsters in men, and grown-ups may have something to hide.

Her debut novel, The Dead House, was a YALSA Top 10 Pick, An Audie Award Nominee and an Earphone Award Winner. It has been optioned for TV by Lime Productions. She is also the author of The Creeper Man / And the Trees Crept InNAIDA and the forthcoming Teeth in the Mist, published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and Orion Children’s Books. If you enjoy a creeping chill along your spine, mystery and little bit of terror, then you’re in the right place!

Follow Dawn Kurtagich:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Book Review | The Calculated #0.5: Calculated Extortion by K.T. Lee

Calculated Extortion by K.T. LeeCalculated Extortion by K.T. Lee
Series: The Calculated #0.5
Published by: Vertical Line Publishing
Publication date: November 28, 2017
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Buy Links:
Amazon | Nook | Kobo

Synopsis:
Before Scarlett helped Mike, Parker, and Alexis solve the cases in Calculated Deception and Calculated Contagion, she was a brand-new profiler at the FBI’s Chicago field office. When a high-profile charity is targeted by a cybercriminal, Scarlett is charged with leading a team of special agents to find the individual hiding behind the malicious code.

Mike Moretti is a FBI special agent accustomed to difficult cases. However, to find out who is bleeding the charity of funds, he’ll need to team up with the new profiler…even after he mistakes her for the office intern. As the cyberattacks become increasingly personal, Scarlett and her team must find the criminal hiding where the FBI least expects them.

First book in The Calculated series:
Calculated Deception by K.T. Lee

My rating:
3 star
I read this book (which by the way you can get now for FREE on Kindle) after joining the blog tour for Calculated Deception; you can read my review here. Since it is a prequel novella, I was able to finish it in one sitting.

The trio characters, Parker, Alexis and Mike, which I’ve first met on Calculated Deception, were obviously present in this story. This time there’s more focus on Mike as he met and worked with Dr. Scarlett Callahan who’s a profiler and was recently transferred to the Chicago FBI. But the funny thing was, he mistakenly considered her as an intern. Awkward? Nah! It was really hilarious and I’m thinking of including them on my meet-cute reads.

Anyway, the story started when the CEO of World Partners for Peace’s computer systems were hacked demanding a ransom to get the system back up and running again. The case was, it didn’t only happen once but a few times while the suspect sent threat messages to the CEO. So, the team have to figure out what’s the motive and most of all, who was doing it.

I know who the hacker was but, I was surprised with the reveal at the ending because the suspect didn’t know she was hacking the company’s computer system for real. And I for one thought she’s the real culprit. But apparently, she was innocent—one of those who hacks for good (white hat hacker obviously).

Like any CSI: Cyber episodes I’ve watched before, the author was able to show through Jen’s character what a person is capable of in times of desperation. It wasn’t hard to sympathize with her because she just wanted to help Emma’s parents to pay their debts who were drowning in medical bills from the cancer treatment. Though she did it for the right reasons, good intentions with bad results are still bad. Still, I love how both Jen and Emma got their second chances in the end.

Overall, the story was short and easy to read. There was a unique chemistry and humor between Mike and Scarlett. They’re both driven, fun and professional. I also love the trio’s working tandem, which was entertaining and mostly brought humor within the story. If you love watching cyber-crime investigative, I recommend picking a copy of this book.

About The Author:
K.T. Lee is a writer, mom and engineer who grew up on a steady diet of books from a wide variety of genres. When K.T. began to write the kind of books she wanted to read, she mixed clever women and the sciences with elements from thrillers (and a dash of romance) to create The Calculated Series.

Follow K.T. Lee:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Book Cover Battle | Circe by Madeline Miller (US Cover vs. UK Cover)

It’s another fun time for Book Cover Battle which was created by Bibliomantics where you pit two book covers against one another. Today’s BCB is inspired by The Royal Polar Bear IG post (I love his Instagram aesthetic by the way so, I recommend you follow him).

If you are into mythology, especially Greek gods and goddesses, or love watching Hercules when you were a kid, don’t forget to check on Circe by Madeline Miller.Circe Synopsis

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe has neither the look nor the voice of divinity, and is scorned and rejected by her kin. Increasingly isolated, she turns to mortals for companionship, leading her to discover a power forbidden to the gods: witchcraft.

When love drives Circe to cast a dark spell, wrathful Zeus banishes her to the remote island of Aiaia. There she learns to harness her occult craft, drawing strength from nature. But she will not always be alone; many are destined to pass through Circe’s place of exile, entwining their fates with hers. The messenger god, Hermes. The craftsman, Daedalus. A ship bearing a golden fleece. And wily Odysseus, on his epic voyage home.

There is danger for a solitary woman in this world, and Circe’s independence draws the wrath of men and gods alike. To protect what she holds dear, Circe must decide whether she belongs with the deities she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

Book Cover Battle Circe by Madeline Miller

goodreads amazon book depository ed WorderyTale Out Loud DividerAs you can see, both editions were completely different and unique on their own. The US cover is minimal and straightforward which really captures the tone of the book. Yet personally, I prefer the UK Cover this time. I love how exceptionally gorgeous the details are and at the same time, it is really a head turner for me.

How about you? Which cover did you like best? The US Cover (left) or UK Cover (right). Let me know what you think by voting for your favorite in the poll below!

 

Can’t Wait For… The Storyteller by Traci Chee

Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Wishful Endings to spotlight upcoming releases that everyone’s excited about. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday originally created and hosted at Breaking the Spine.

This week, I’m waiting on The Storyteller by Traci Chee. To be honest, I haven’t read the first book in the series but having said that, I’m excited for this because who doesn’t want to read a series with no cliffhanger and no waiting for a year in between each book’s release, right? I’m more of a romance and thriller kind of reader but I have been reading more fantasy books lately. So, I’m more than thrilled to read this book soon!

So, what do you think and which books are you looking forward to this week? Let me know in the comments below!Tale Out Loud DividerThe Storyteller by Traci Chee CoverThe Storyteller by Traci Chee
Series: Sea of Ink and Gold #3
Published by: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication date: October 9, 2018
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Pre-order Links:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound | Wordery

Synopsis:
Sefia is determined to keep Archer out of the Guard’s clutches and their plans for war between the Five Kingdoms. The Book, the ancient, infinite codex of the past, present and future, tells of a prophecy that will plunge Kelanna in that bloody war, but it requires a boy—Archer—and Sefia will stop at nothing to ensure his safety. The Guard has already stolen her mother, her father, and her Aunt Nin. Sefia would sooner die than let them take anymore from her—especially the boy she loves.

But escaping the Guard and the Book’s prophecy is no easy task. After all, what is written always comes to pass. As Sefia and Archer watch Kelanna start to crumble to the Guard’s will, they will have to choose between their love and joining a war that just might tear them apart.

Full of magic, suspense, and mystery, Traci Chee brings her Sea of Ink and Gold trilogy to a close in this spellbinding final installment.

Books in Sea of Ink and Gold trilogy:
The Reader by Traci Chee The Speaker by Traci Chee

About The Author:
Traci CheeTraci Chee is the New York Times bestselling author of YA fantasy trilogy The Reader (2016),The Speaker (2017), and The Storyteller (2018). An all-around word geek, she loves book arts and art books, poetry and paper crafts, though she also dabbles at egg painting, bonsai gardening, and hosting game nights for family and friends.

She studied literature and creative writing at UC Santa Cruz and earned a master of arts degree from San Francisco State University. Traci grew up in a small town with more cows than people, and now feels most at home in the mountains, scaling switchbacks and happening upon hidden highland lakes. She lives in California with her fast-fast dog.

Follow Traci Chee:
Website | FacebookTwitter | Instagram | Tumblr

Blog Tour + Book Review & Interview with a Giveaway | What the Woods Keep by Katya de Becerra

Hi my lovely book friends! I’d love to welcome y’all on today’s What the Woods Keep blog tour! I’m so excited because this is the first tour I have organized. It was such an honor to have this wonderful experience, since I’ve always been looking forward to read this book. This tour will run starting today up to the 15th of September so, don’t forget to check out on everyone’s tour stops and get a chance to win a finished copy of What the Woods Keep.Tale Out Loud DividerWhat The Woods KeepWhat the Woods Keep by Katya de Becerra
Published by: Imprint Macmillan
Publication date: September 18, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dark Fantasy, Thriller
Pre-order Links:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Books-A-MillionIndiebound

Synopsis:
On her eighteenth birthday, Hayden inherits her childhood home—on the condition that she uncover its dark secrets.

Hayden tried to put the past behind her, and it worked. She’s getting ready for college, living in a Brooklyn apartment, and hanging out with her best friend and roommate Del. But now it’s all catching up with her: her mother’s mysterious disappearance a decade before, her father’s outlandish theories about a lost supernatural race, and Hayden’s own dark dreams of strange symbols and rituals in the Colorado woods where she grew up.

As soon as Hayden arrives at her hometown, her friend Del in tow, it begins: Neighbors whisper secrets about Hayden’s mother; the boy next door is now all grown-up in a very distracting way; and Hayden feels the trees calling to her. And among them, deep in the woods, Hayden will discover something incredible—something that threatens reality itself.

What the Woods Keep is the stunning debut of Katya de Becerra, who combines mystery, science fiction, and dark fantasy in a twisty story that will keep you mesmerized right up to the final page.

My rating:
4 and a half star

If you were like me who thought watching Supernatural, starting from its pilot episode, and reading this book was the perfect combo, please do me a favor to do it in daylight. Because the moment I picked this book, I quickly sense that eerie atmosphere within the story.

Katya de Becerra lures the readers in with the mystery behind Hayden’s character who has this weird and odd personality. Not only the way how she has different colored eyes, because that’s basically had science explained as heterochromia, but how her mom’s strange disappearing a decade ago promised a dark, creepy tale in it.

Every inch there is in this story gave a slice of horror. First, the setting of a quiet, small town with people who looked as if they’ll going to eat you alive for dinner started out predictable. But anything that has to do with the forest and a house in the woods easily creeps me out.

The cryptic messages from Hayden’s mom, blood dials, rituals and images that were vividly described and a bit too outré, I could literally visualize them on my head, didn’t escape my being extra spooked. Even the letters, patient’s appendices of Hayden, Arista Kazan’s notes, findings and Dr. Holland’s journals attached in some of the chapters were pretty spooktacular too.

As Hayden unfolds the mystery and truth about her mother, all things that she could make sense using science and physics changed because her father was right all along. This made the suspense grows steadily and the twist on the Nibelungs absolutely popped up on the pages.

The story also explores Hayden’s need to have that sense of comfort, to belong, where she found on her best friend Del. Even being completely opposite, their friendship became one of the highlights in the story—how Del didn’t leave Hayden knowing every supernatural completely freaks her out or how Hayden will do everything to save her.

And let’s not forget about Shannon, Hayden’s former childhood friend. It’s not easy for her to trust and get along with other people. But with Shannon, she felt that there’s nothing have changed, that’s if he was not using her for the Institute.

When the story nears its end, the scenes went in high gear and completely turned my head in a mind-bending spiral. Hayden, knowing that she’s completely not human and going into a wholly different universe of the Nibelungs? I could have easily heard a pin drop.

Everything became too intense and before I know it, the story ended. Honestly, I want more! I need to know what happen to Abigail, to Hayden’s father and everyone in Promise. So, I asked Katya about this in an interview, which you can read later as you went on in this post.

What the Woods Keep is a plot-driven story about learning one’s true identity while discovering the unknown, punched with a deeply chilling vibe and consistent spine-tingling narrative. From the settings, characters, plot, storytelling, and even the title and cover itself, this book captured an excellent blend of science fiction, fantasy and horror.

I highly recommend this book to everyone. It’s a great addition to your fall TBR.

I received an eARC of What the Woods Keep from the publisher via NetGalley and this in no way influence my rating nor my opinion on this book.
Behind The Pages with Katya de BecerraHi Katya! Welcome again here at Tale Out Loud for the second time and Congratulations to your debut novel, What the Woods Keep!

I’m so excited to return to Tale Out Loud once more! It was super exciting to first guest blog for you earlier this year! You hosted my first very feature dedicated to What The Woods Keep, so it only makes sense that I come back for an interview now that my debut is about hit the shelves!

I’m so thrilled to have you back! When you shared The Anthropology Behind What the Woods Keep months ago, you had mentioned how you were standing in a three-hour line, waiting for your turn to get a book signed and the idea of writing a book hit you. But when exactly was your lightbulb moment and realize that you need to write a story like What the Woods Keep?

It was a strange metamorphosis and it’s not easy to pin down the exact moment. I mean, I did write another book first. It wasn’t very good. But I had to get it out of my system, I guess. So after I wrote that first book and queried it to agents (with zero success), I knew I had to keep writing. So I tried different things. I wrote some stories, and got one published in an online magazine. That story was set in a small forest-locked town and ended with a cliffhanger, and that made me wonder: what happened next? That short story from years ago became a sort-of unofficial prequel to What The Woods Keep (at least in a thematic way), but then the story seemed to evolve naturally and I found myself writing what eventually became What The Woods Keep!

I’m sure you’re talking about Smoke and Mirrors, right? I was actually intrigue the moment you announced it in your pre-order campaign. It is set in Paris and upon reading What the Woods Keep; I realized whom it was all about. Are there any chance that you will developed it into a full manuscript?

I’m smiling deviously as I type this… Smoke and Mirrors is something I’ve written recently to give readers an in-depth insight into Hayden’s bestie Del’s life before the US. I don’t want to give away too much at this stage, but there’s a certain incident from Del’s life that involves her sister – Smoke and Mirrors is about that. On another hand, the story that inspired What The Woods Keep is called The Fetch. It got published in 2012 in Dark Edifice Literary Magazine which likely doesn’t exist anymore. (But I did reprint it on my blog, read here.)

Just to reiterate though, The Fetch is not a true prequel to What the Woods Keep but it did inspire it in a way.

Yes! I know about that particular scene! And now I’m hype to read The Fetch after this. LOL! Going back, What the Woods Keep, even from the title itself definitely has a pinch of horror vibe in it. What particular reason that drawn you to write the story which gave that sense of atmosphere?

I love spooky stories, but not full-on horror, you know. To me the menacing atmosphere and hints or horror is as far as I can comfortably go! I guess it’s just my personal comfort zone.

I agree! That’s why I don’t read or watch full-on horror like Stephen King’s. But your book is definitely not just horror but also a mixed of science fiction and fantasy. Do you consider yourself as a cross-genre writer?

I didn’t know I was a cross-genre writer until I wrote What The Woods Keep! It was when I wrote my query and was about to query agents when it hit me: I needed to define it as one genre to pitch it properly. And I really struggled to define it. I think I settled on “Urban Fantasy with elements of Science Fiction” or something, but really I could’ve chosen anything (fantasy horror, fantasy thriller, fantasy mystery, etc.). Now that I’ve written my first and my second book (Oasis is a standalone set to release in late 2019, and it’s been labelled as “horror adventure”), I can tell that yeah I love to mix different genres together! I just can’t help it!

You’ve done amazing and I love the twists you did for What the Woods Keep! And one of the obvious inspirations you have in this book is Norse mythology, specifically the Nibelung. Is it something you have always known before you decided to include it in your story’s plot?

Thank you! Actually, I didn’t have the Nibelungs in the early drafts of What The Woods Keep. Instead, I was developing the book’s supernatural element completely from scratch. However, as I revised my book I felt like it was missing something. This is where the Nibelungs made a come back from my blurry childhood memories. It was one of the major light bulb moments for this book! I combined a lot of my original world-building with the Nibelungen mythology, with hopes that those who know a little bit about the Nibelungs (even if just the name!) would be intrigued, while others would still enjoy my storytelling regardless.

I don’t know a lot about Norse myth than Thor, Odin and Loki. So, it was really refreshing to learn about the Nibelungs here in your book. Now, let’s talk about Hayden. Is she someone you write and find as a complex character?

When I was writing Hayden, my goal was for her to be realistic but also a bit of a contradiction. Her father is a scientist and she has a sort of allegiance to science. Her logical approach to the world is a bit of an armour for her, a space where she retreats when she encounters something unexplained and mysterious. I hope that readers find her worldview interesting and follow her on her journey from a wannabe sceptic to something else entirely.

Del, one of the characters, grew up moving around with her family. As an expat, did you modeled her character with your own experience?

In a way, yes! Since Hayden hasn’t traveled out of the country, her roommate being more of a cosmopolitan and well-traveled made for interesting dynamics between them. And you’re right, I definitely drew on my own experiences as an expat (and on those of my expat friends, to a degree) when writing Del, though in her case she’s moved a lot throughout her childhood because of her dad’s job. The teen-me hasn’t really traveled that much.

I’m really curious because as one of the readers, we weren’t able to know what happen to the other characters in the story like Abigail, Hayden’s father or to Promise. Can you share to us what could have been the outcome for all of them after What the Woods Keep?

As a writer I like to have a few “loose ends” in the book and leave some things up to readers’ imagination. Having said that, I understand that readers might want more closure on the characters, but also if there’s even a slightest possibility of a sequel I have to be careful not to give out too much at this stage. I’ll tell you this: all is not lost and there’s hope for everyone. Abigail and Hayden’s dad might make an appearance in What The Woods Keep themed short stories and – who knows – one day I might get to write a sequel (fingers crossed!)

I’m actually going to ask if there’s a possibility for a follow-up novella because the story has an open-ending or a cliffhanger which made it seem as if there will be a sequel. And you’re answer just gave me hope of continuity for the characters. I’ll watch out for that sequel!

Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to write one (but I do love my cliffhangers.)

You made the ending so much more interesting that I personally want more. Where can we read What the Woods Keep themed short stories by the way? I’m sure readers would love to know more about it.

I’m SO GLAD to hear that! As for short stories, Smoke and Mirrors is so far the only one I’ve written that’s set in the world of What The Woods Keep. At the moment, it’s offered as part of my pre-order campaign for What The Woods Keep alongside other cool stuff. (The details of my preorder incentives are here). For future stuff, readers could follow me on social media – I announce things as they happen, so Twitter is probably the best way to keep track.

As a debut author, what are the things you have learned while on the process of writing What the Woods Keep—from your characters and the story as a whole?

In terms of writing process itself, I learned a whole lot about the causation between a character’s motivation and their actions! I know it sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s something I’m still learning as I work on improving my craft.

What I learned from my characters… that friendship is important and can save your life. Literally!

Lastly, what advice would you like to give to new writers, someone who is just starting out?

Read a lot. Read widely. Pay attention to books that appeal to you and ask yourself way: this is a great way to study the craft and develop your own style. Regardless of which way you go, traditional, indie, hybrid, keep in mind that there’s a lot of rejection and it’s rarely personal. Just keep trying. Keep writing. Keep going!

Thank you so much Katya! Lovely to have you here and Congratulations again with your debut!

Thank you so much for having me – again – on your awesome blog! I’m super excited for the book to be out there at last! Thank you and all the wonderful bloggers and early readers for helping me spread the word about What The Woods Keep!

About The Author:
Katya De BecerraKatya de Becerra was born in Russia, studied in California, lived in Peru, and then stayed in Australia long enough to become a local. She was going to be an Egyptologist when she grew up, but instead she earned a PhD in Anthropology. What the Woods Keep is her first novel.

Follow Katya de Becerra:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | InstagramRafflecopter GiveawayWhat The Woods Keep Tour Banner (1)

Want to know who joined the blog tour? Don’t forget to visit these amazing book bloggers to learn more about What the Woods Keep by Katya de Becerra.

What the Woods Keep Blog Tour ScheduleSEPTEMBER 10 (MONDAY)
Karlita — Tale Out Loud (That’s me!)
Kester — LILbooKlovers (Guest Post)

SEPTEMBER 11 (TUESDAY)
Salwa — Voguish Perusal (Review, Favorite Quotes, Guest Post)
Amanda — MetalPhantasmReads (Review)
Laura — Bucks, Books & Beyond (Review, Favorite Quotes)

SEPTEMBER 12 (WEDNESDAY)
Liv — Liv’s Wonderful Escape (Review, Creative)
Sifa — Sifa Elizabeth Reads (Review)
Katherine — Kat’s Books (Review)

SEPTEMBER 13 (THURSDAY)
Austine — NovelKnight (Review, Q&A)
Imogene — Amidst the Pages (Review, Favorite Quotes)
Mari — Andico Mari (Review)

SEPTEMBER 14 (FRIDAY)
AJ — Diary of an Avid Reader (Review, Novel Aesthetic Board)
Justine — Bookish Wisps (Review, Favorite Quotes)
Nikole — A Court of Coffee and Books (Review, Q&A)

SEPTEMBER 15 (SATURDAY)
Jamie — PrincessofPages (Extract)
Preethi — Young Adult Media Consumer (Review)
Crimson — Crimson Talks Books, Mostly (Review)