Wednesday, March 22, 2017

BLOG TOUR Q&A: Drew Leighty | THE STRUGGLE by Jennifer L. Armentrout


The Struggle is real for Jennifer L. Armentrout fans, especially those headed to Apollycon this weekend. I’m excited to welcome special guest, Drew Leighty, the Titan Series cover model, to the blog today!


Hey Drew, thanks for chatting with me today!

Jen: Apollycon is this weekend in Orlando. What’s one thing you’re excited for? Aside from seeing me again, obviously. JK
!  


Drew: One of my favorite things about Apollycon are all the people that attend.  I’m excited to see all my friends I have made over the past Apollycon events and meet new ones as well. Everyone that attends somehow seems to not only be nice but also really supportive and fun. So I’m stoked to get back and be in that positive atmosphere again.
 
Jen: How does it feel being the face of Seth? Is there any pressure to live up to reader's expectations when you meet them? 

Drew: Haha I don’t feel any pressure at all, but I think that’s because half the things I do in my daily life are Seth. Whether that’s a good or bad thing- I haven’t made that decision yet, but it takes the pressure off of me at events and on social media. Do I love being the face of Seth? Absolutely! I grew up with a baby face for years, I was a late bloomer, being a small, skinny, and young looking guy for my age, all made me come off as an innocent (I’m not saying I was but that’s the vibes I portrayed).  So I always wanted to come off as the opposite, a cocky bad ass and THOSE, are Seth’s vibes.  

Jen: The Titan Series covers aren't the only ones you're on. Is it weird seeing yourself on a book cover? 
 

Drew: Seeing myself on The Return was exciting, I wouldn’t say it was weird. When I read the book, that was a little weird because the way Seth acted was a younger me mixed with me today. Proud, confrontational, cocky, honest, I mean I could keep going but to be blunt, as a youngster I was a bit of an ass. Nowadays I’m not so confrontational, just cocky, proud, and honest :). Seeing myself on other covers is always an ego booster and I’m always grateful, but I have only read The Return and The Power out of all the books I have been on. And I think that’s mainly because I’m worried these other characters won’t have as much in common with me as Seth does. 

Jen: In addition to modeling, you’re also an actor. Your most recent project, Never Hike Alone, which you’ve chronicled on Instagram, is a throwback to 80s horror movies. If you could play any role—past or present—what would it be and why? My dream role would be Princess Leia. She’s a total badass and she gets to kiss Han Solo. 
  
Drew: Well, if that’s the case I want to be Han Solo then ;). <-- Such "Seth" answer.
I really love horror movies, especially ones that deal with a character’s twisted psyche. Never Hike Alone has been so much fun, it’s a passion project and it’s a lot of action which I also love, but we are putting all this effort in for a genre and franchise that we respect and cherish.  However getting down to the depth of a character is the most exciting and once you tap that it’s also the most rewarding part of acting.  So that being said I would really love to have played the role of Kevin “Wendell” Crumb in Split. Although I haven’t seen it yet, James McAvoy had to tap into not one, but 23 (or 24?) different characters, which is a difficult task that I would have liked to tackle. 

Jen: When you aren't making movies or mugging for book covers, what else do you like to do? 

Drew: I hustle.  I’m always trying to work, so when I’m not working, I’m working to work. I also work in the restaurant industry and have since I was 14 years old. I started as a dishwasher and I have worked just about every position in a restaurant. That being said I have also worked in animation on a recent feature film “Rock Dog,” I’ve worked in fashion for a clothing line called Brandy Melville, I’m currently finishing up illustrating a children’s novel for a charity (which I will post all about once it’s nearing release), and I would say my most important job of them all is being a great dad; to my son Landon and my dogs June and Nah Nah. 

Jen: What song do you have on repeat at the moment?  

Drew: I don’t really listen to one song, I change my music up when I’m in the car from one radio station to the next, my Pandora station is pretty set to Chance the rapper all the time. However, Landon is currently playing Hallelujah by Pentatonix on repeat when he gets in the car. <--- Landon has good taste.
  
Jen: I ask all of my blog guests this one...Brownies, cupcakes, or pie? 

Drew: Cupcakes all day, every day! I even consume the wrappers. <--- I approve! Except for eating the wrappers. 
 
Thanks for your time, Drew, see you soon! 


Drew Leighty also known to some as the face of dearly beloved (or hated) Seth, is a California based actor and model. He grew up playing any sport he could get his hands on, then focused on baseball in college while studying theatre arts. Since then he has been pursuing his goal of becoming an actor and an established model. Drew may be best known as Seth to readers in the book industry, but he is also working on a couple different films and is currently in the process of illustrating a children’s book for charity.

Website | Twitter | Snapchat | Facebook | Instagram





About the Book

The Struggle: A Titan Novel (Book 3)
Publication: March 20, 2017

A bloody path has been chosen…

The war against the Titans continues, and they remain determined to wreak havoc on the world, but Seth has become something all gods fear. Now the most dangerous, most absolute power no longer resides in those who have been freed from their tombs.

The Great War fought by the few is coming… 

All may doubt and fear what Seth has become. All except the one woman who might be his final chance at redemption. Josie will do anything to prove that Seth is on their side, but fate has a nasty way of changing lives, of changing people.

In the end, the sun will fall… 

The only way they can save the future and save themselves is by facing the unknown together. It will take more than trust and faith. It will take love and the kind of strength not easily broken. No matter what, their lives will never be the same.

For what the gods have feared has come to pass. The end of the old is here and the beginning of the new has been ushered in… 






#1 New York Times and #1 International Bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA.

She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins. 






Tour Schedule
March 19 - Krista Dust Jacket - Chapter 1 Reveal
March 20 - The Escapist Book Blog - Top 5 Seth Moments
March 21 – Vi3t Babe/Deity Island - Top 5 Josie Moments
March 22 - Jenuine Cupcakes – Q&A with Drew Leighty
March 23 - K-Books – Titan Series Dreamcasting
March 24 - Stuck in Books - Fave Greek God




GIVEAWAY
~ OPEN INTERNATIONALLY 
~ ENDS 3/31 at 12AM EST 
1 WINNER 
PRIZES: 
SIGNED HARDCOVERS by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass & A Court Of Thorns and Roses Series)
 SIGNED PAPERBACKS by JLA (Lux, Dark Elements, and the Titan Series)
Assorted JLA Swag



 
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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

TILL DEATH BLOG TOUR: BOOKS & CUPCAKES

  Thanks for stopping by, there be cupcakes here today!
*whispers* Really creepy cupcakes.

If you have followed this blog or my Instagram or Pinterest board for any length of time, you've probably seen some of the bookish cupcake creations I've made over the past few years. Book inspired cupcakes, characters as cupcake flavors, release party cupcakes, that sort of thing. Making cupcakes for people makes me happy. 

However, of all the different kinds of cupcakes I have been asked to make, today's definitely take the cake--or the cupcakes--or the finger. 
Wait. What? 
Stay with me, I'll explain. 

But first...

Publication: February 28, 2017
By: William Morrow


In New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout’s gripping new novel, a young woman comes home to reclaim her life—even as a murderer plots to end it. . .

It’s been ten years since Sasha Keaton left her West Virginia hometown . . . since she escaped the twisted serial killer known as the Groom. Returning to help run her family inn means being whole again, except for one missing piece. The piece that falls into place when Sasha’s threatened—and FBI agent Cole Landis vows to protect her the way he couldn’t a decade ago.

First one woman disappears; then another, and all the while, disturbing calling cards are left for the sole survivor of the Groom’s reign of terror. Cole’s never forgiven himself for not being there when Sasha was taken, but he intends to make up for it now . . . because under the quirky sexiness Cole first fell for is a steely strength that only makes him love Sasha more.

But someone is watching. Waiting. And Sasha’s first mistake could be her last.



******************
I really enjoyed this! Even if it did almost give me nightmares while I was awake. 
Second chance romance is my favorite trope and this one did not disappoint. It had all of the components I love about a JLA book: humor, romance, and swoon. But TILL DEATH also has elements of mystery and hide-behind-your-fingers-suspense.

Read it!

And then enjoy a TILL DEATH inspired cupcake.  



******************

Trailer Link:
https://video214.com/play/nWBQQPmNYruuznYL0PEY8Q/s/dark



******************
About Jennifer L. Armentrout:


# 1 New York Times and #1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA.

She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

Website: http://www.jenniferarmentrout.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JenniferLArmentrout
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jlarmentrout
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorjlarmentrout/?hl=en




******************

Till Death Cupcakes
~ Red Velvet Cake
~ Vanilla Frosting
 ~ Severed Finger Fondant Toppers

I have never made severed finger cupcake toppers before. And I have to admit, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to pull this off. Blood and body parts tend to make me queasy, but since my local party story did not carry edible severed fingers--I asked--I had to make them myself.

Here is the finished product. Directions follow at the end of the post.

Photo Credit: Jenuine Cupcakes

Photo Credit: Jenuine Cupcakes

Photo Credit: Jenuine Cupcakes


Here's how I did it...

I made flesh colored fondant by adding a few drops of brown food gel, working it in until I reached the desired Average White Girl color I wanted. 

I prefer gels to traditional food coloring because gel doesn't change the consistency of whatever you're making. It's also concentrated so you use less. You can do this by hand, or use can use a stand mixer with a dough hook. 

Photo Credit: Jenuine Cupcakes

 Roll the fondant into a ball, cover in plastic wrap (greased with a little butter so it doesn't stick), place in an airtight container and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Photo Credit: Jenuine Cupcakes

When you're ready, pull off a hunk of fondant and roll it into finger length shapes. 
 
Photo Credit: Jenuine Cupcakes

I used my own ring finger as a guide.  

Photo Credit: Jenuine Cupcakes

Use a fondant tool, toothpick, or tip of a sharp knife to form a nail bed, knuckles, and creases.
 
Photo Credit: Jenuine Cupcakes

Photo Credit: Jenuine Cupcakes

 I used a paintbrush and food gel to paint the nail beds. I used red along the jagged end to make it look like blood.

I hadn't told my family what I was working on, so when my 12yo walked into the kitchen and saw these, he was a little freaked. He actually looked ready to pass out.

Photo Credit: Jenuine Cupcakes


 Allow the gel to dry before placing the severed finger on top of the cupcake.  
Photo Credit: Jenuine Cupcakes

Photo Credit: Jenuine Cupcakes

Enjoy!

Photo Credit: Jenuine Cupcakes


Red Velvet Cake

You can totally cheat and use a box mix. I won't judge you.

Cake Ingredients:
1/2 Cup salted butter
1 1/2 Cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 Tablespoons red food coloring 
1 Cup buttermilk* (*Mix 1 Tablespoon white vinegar with 1 Cup milk, let sit for 15 minutes and viola! Homemade buttermilk.)
2 1/2 cups Self-rising flour
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
2 Tablespoons cocoa

Icing:
2 1/2 sticks salted butter at room temperature
4-6 Cups powdered/confectioner sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 Tablespoons light corn syrup OR water depending on your sweetness preference. (I do 2 TBS light corn syrup and 1 TBS water)

Cake Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with cupcake liners. (yields 24-36 regular size cupcakes) 
2. Combine butter and sugar, mix well. Add eggs and beat well.
3. Make a paste of cocoa and red food coloring; add to creamed mixture, mix well. If it looks like something bled to death in your bowl, you are doing it right.
4. Add the vanilla and buttermilk together and then add that to the creamed mixture making sure you alternate with flour until mixed well. 
5. Add the baking soda and vinegar and then fold into the batter, gently. 
6. Pour batter into cupcake liners, filing them 2/3 full. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, or until a cake tester or knife inserted into the cupcake comes out clean.
7. Let cool completely before frosting.

Icing Directions:
1. Cream butter well.
2. Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and light corn syrup/water. Mix on low until combined. Then mix on medium for 5 minutes or until smooth. 
3. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes. 

Severed Fondant Fingers:
*The marshmallow fondant needs to be made at least one day ahead.
Ingredients: 
10 ounce bag of mini marshmallows
2-4 TBS of water
2lbs powdered sugar
Butter for greasing 
Plastic wrap
Air-tight container
Various food gel colors: brown, orange, blue, red
Mini paintbrush or Q-tip 
*Day One:
1. Combine marshmallows and 2 Tbs water in a microwave safe bowl. 
2. Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute.
3. Stir mixture.
4. Repeat until all of the marshmallows have melted. 
5. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl. Add powdered sugar 1 Cup at a time, mixing well. You want a pliable texture: not too soft, not too hard. 
6. Add a few drops of brown food gel, mix well until you get the desired "flesh" color you want.
7. Unroll some plastic wrap and grease it with a little butter. I drag my stick of butter across it a few times.
8. Grease hands with butter. 
9. Shape fondant into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, place in air-tight container and refrigerate at least 24 hours. 

Day Two:
1. Tear off a chunk of fondant and roll out onto a greased surface. 
2. Roll into finger sized portions. I used my own ring finger as a guide.
3. Using a fondant tool, toothpick or tip of a sharp knife--whatever you have lying around, really--begin to make impressions for knuckles, creases, and a nail bed. 
4. Make a jagged cut on the end so it looks like someone sawed it off. 
5. Using the paintbrush, dip it into the blue, orange or red and paint on the nail bed like nail polish. Use red along the jagged end to make it look like blood.
6. Allow the gel to dry before placing the severed finger on top of the cupcake. 
7. Keep some in your fridge so you can freak out your family and friends.
8. Enjoy!


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Schedule:
 

Wednesday 2/22  - Reads All The Books  - Book-Inspired Cocktails & Brews
Thursday 2/23 -  Vi3tBabe/Deity Island  - Book-Inspired Manicure
Friday 2/24  - The Irish Banana Review – Book-Inspired Makeup   
Monday 2/27 - No BS Book Reviews – GIF Review
Tuesday 2/28 - Jenuine Cupcakes – Book-Inspired Cupcakes 
Wednesday 3/1 - Vilma’s Book Blog – Book-Inspired D├ęcor
Thursday 3/2 - Kimberlyfaye Reads – Book Cover Reimagining
Friday 3/3 Stuck In Books – Favorite Bed & Breakfast Destinations



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Giveaway:

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

BLOG TOUR: Gemina (The Illuminae Files_2) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Welcome to Jenuine Cupcakes, this is my stop on the Gemina blog tour!


Author(s): Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff 
Illustrator: Marie Lu 
Publication: October 18, 2016
By: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Reader

The highly anticipated sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller that critics are calling “out-of-this-world awesome.” 

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault. 

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy's most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion. 

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station's wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They've totally got this. They hope.

Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.


*I received an ARC and an audiofile from the publishers in exchange for an honest review(s)*



~ My Thoughts ~

Sci-Fi/Space/Books That Are Smarter Than Me are not my usual go-to jams, I'm more of a romance-with-a-side-of-any-other-genre kind of girl, however, this series is special. Not only did it suck me in from the very start, Illuminae, Book One in the series, had a similar effect on both of my boys, ages 12 and 16. I can't remember the last book all three of us read at the same time and enjoyed talking about. 

When Gemina arrived in the mail, it was like Christmas morning!

My youngest son tag-teamed both the book and the audio, which made for an even more enjoyable reading experience. 

Photo credit: Jenuine Cupcakes
 
Audio: Not enough stars in the universe! If Illuminae hadn't ruined me for other audiobooks, Gemina certainly would have. Seriously. Part of me wants to see this story on the big screen but the other part of me doesn't because the audio cast is SO FREAKING FANTASTIC. Anyone else would pale in comparison.  

(Steve West and MacLeod Andrews, two of my absolute favorite narrators are part of the cast. I've suffered through other less than stellar books JUST because I wanted to keep listening to the sound of their voice(s). Wow, okay...that sounds a lot creepier on the page than it did in my head. Anyway. What I mean is, either of these two could read my grocery list and make it sound amazing.)  

Story: Okay, so this is harder to put into words without spoiling anything, so I'll use some gifs....


 Opening to the first page of Gemina and pressing PLAY on the audio like, okay, I'm ready.
 

 Meeting Nik and Hanna and Jackson and Ella



Nik, Heimdall's resident bad boy, has enough charisma to charm to the spacesuit off pretty much any girl he wants to, but he has sight set on Hanna.
Hanna is Princess Heimdall, though she kicks a*s and takes names as well--if not better than the guys on board. She has Jackson, her dad's right hand man, wrapped around her whispernet and scrawling "J + H 4Eva" into his palm pad.
Ella is a hacker genius, and my favorite character.

Oh, and Hanna and Nik supposedly don't like each other.

 Uh huh, I wasn't buying it either. These two put the "T" in Tension. 


But then Jump Station Heimdall is invaded by a bunch of BeiTech lackies, which is so not "bliss", and all kinds of crazy shizz starts going down and I'm like...

 
 and...

  Poor cow cows.


and... 



Which had me like...

 No, REALLY. 


Then...

 

Kady and Ezra and AIDAN show up and things are a little better, but then I'm confused and seriously...




But then....



And finally...


Gemina is an action packed, heart-stopping, head-spinning, mind-blowing companion/sequel that DOES NOT disappoint! Do yourself a favor and read it. You won't regret it, I promise.


~ GIVEAWAY ~
One copy of GEMINA (provided by the publisher)
Must be 13 years old to enter
U.S. Only 


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