Thursday, 14 November 2013

Review: Waterfell by Amalie Howard #TheAquarathi

$9.99 U.S./$11.99 CAN
ISBN: 978-0373211050
Young Adult
304 pages
Harlequin TEEN
October 29, 2013

Nerissa Marin hides among teens in her human form, waiting for the day she can claim her birthright-the undersea kingdom stolen from her the day her father was murdered. Blending in is her best weapon-until her father's betrayer confronts Nerissa and challenges her to a battle to the death on Nerissa’s upcoming birthday-the day she comes of age. 

Amid danger and the heartbreak of her missing mother, falling for a human boy is the last thing Nerissa should do. But Lo Seavon breaches her defenses and somehow becomes the only person she can count on to help her desperate search for her mother, a prisoner of Nerissa’s mortal enemy. Is Lo the linchpin that might win Nerissa back her crown? Or will this mortal boy become the weakness that destroys her?


This was a brilliant read with a fascinating twist on the normal undersea creature. I was expecting another mermaid novel but this was nothing like anything I've ever read, with interesting mythology, a great sci-fi element, and plenty of adventure.

Howard has created a new type of alien race, one with a great sense of purpose and drive. I could not put this book down as I just had to know more about the Aquarathi. Their story was one of tragedy and pain, but also one of hope, if only Nerissa would accept her destiny. As the story unfolded, an evil, twisted, intertwining plot grew to epic proportions that saw Nerissa coming face to face with her evil nemesis in a fight to the death, as well as having to deal with the dark secrets that destroyed her family.

The characters were all amazing. I particularly loved Jenna. She has to be the best friend ever, and she really kicked ass with her taser. Lo was a bit mysterious. I knew there had to be more to him and I enjoyed looking for the little hints that would give me some clue as to what was up with him.

It has been a while since I’ve been so immersed in a story that speaks to everything I love about this genre. It was an amazing, well developed, smooth read, and I’m very much looking forward to reading the next installment.



 photo TherianMoon-3.jpg

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                         
Marissa Curnutte




Young adult author’s debut novel named a Seventeen Magazine Summer Beach Read

NEW YORK CITY – Young adult author Amalie Howard enchanted readers with her debut novel “Bloodspell,” a Seventeen Magazine Summer Beach Read. She returns with an impressive five new books to be published throughout the next two years.

First, readers will take a dive into the deep blue sea in the first novel from Howard’s new oceanic science fiction two-part series, The Aquarathi. Waterfell (October 29, 2013, Harlequin TEEN) tells the story of an alien shape-shifting princess who hides among humankind, and fights to save her species in the depths of the Earth’s oceans when an enemy murders her family, threatening the future of her underwater kingdom. The sequel “Oceanborn” will follow in 2014.

Continuing a tradition of strong female characters, “The Almost Girl(January 7, 2014, Strange Chemistry) introduces readers to a tough, independent soldier from a parallel universe who is thrown into an earthly mission that has her second guessing life as she knows it. “The Almost Girl” is first in a two-book series.

Howard’s “Alpha Goddess(March 2014, Skyhorse/Sky Pony Press) seamlessly blends Indian mythology and fantasy. Her unique take on the Hindu myth of Ramayana, the epic love story of Rama and Sita, has already piqued the interest of a Hollywood producer who is eager to adapt the book into a film.

Having landed publishing deals with three presses in just the span of one month, Howard is a sought-after novelist with her finger on the pulse of young adult readers. After the release of her first book “Bloodspell,” she earned a stellar reputation as an engaging writer with a sixth sense for what young readers are really looking for in literature. Howard has been honored by the Royal Commonwealth Society, and is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She lives in New York with her husband and three children.



A rising star among young adult writers, Amalie Howard developed a loyal following after releasing her debut book, “Bloodspell,” in 2011. Now, she is returning with five new books that are sure to excite her devoted fans and catch the attention of new readers.

A bookworm from the beginning, Howard grew up on a small island in the Caribbean with her nose buried in books. When she was just 13 years old, her poem “The Candle” was published in a University of Warwick journal, marking a sign of great things to come. Howard immersed herself into other cultures, globetrotting through 22 countries in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. After moving to the United States, she earned a bachelor’s degree in international studies and French from Colby College in Maine. She also holds a certificate in French literature from the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, France. Traveling around the world, Howard has lent talents as a research assistant, marketing representative, freelance writer, teen speaker, blogger and global sales executive.

Howard is a recipient of a Royal Commonwealth Society award, an international youth writing competition. She is also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Howard’s first book, “Bloodspell” (June 2011, Langdon Street Press) earned rave reviews and was named a Seventeen Magazine Summer Beach Read. Readers will hear more from Howard as she releases a pair of two-book series, “Waterfell” (November 2013, Harlequin TEEN) and “The Almost Girl” (January 2014, Strange Chemistry), as well as “Alpha Goddess” (March 2014, Skyhorse/Sky Pony Press) over the next two years.

Howard lives in New York with her husband, three children and one willful feline that she is convinced may have been a witch’s cat in a past life.

Author Website I Twitter Facebook I Amazon I Bloodspell Facebook Page I LinkedIn I Goodreads I Google + I YouTube I Tumblr I Pinterest

Other books by Amalie Howard 



Paperback, $15.99; eBook, $5.99
ISBN: 978-1936782116
Young Adult
400 pages
Langdon Street Press
June 2011



The spell was simple...

Cruentus Protectum (Defend the Blood)

But what do you do if your blood is your enemy?

Victoria Warrick has always known she was different. An outcast at school, she is no stranger to adversity. But when she receives an old journal for her seventeenth birthday, nothing prepares her for the dark secrets it holds -- much less one that reveals she's a witch with unimaginable power.

What's more, when she meets the dazzling but enigmatic Christian Devereux, she has no idea how much her life is about to change. Enemies will hunt her. Friends will turn on her. The terrible curse that makes her blood run black will stop at nothing to control her. And Christian has a sinister secret of his own...

Without knowing whom to trust, can Victoria survive her blood's deadly desires? Or will she lose everything, including herself?
Praise for Amalie Howard’s “Bloodspell”
“You’ll love it if… you’re sick of all the lovey-dovey stuff other books can’t seem to leave out of their supernatural stories. This is just the right amount of romance here, but it doesn’t overpower the plot. The fight scenes are terrific, and much more satisfying than listening to people whine about wanting to be together forever!” – Kara McGrath, Seventeen Magazine
“Conjures up elements of teen angst: forbidden love, loss and, of course, supernatural powers, in this fast-paced tale of a young witch come into her powers.” – Nancy L. Claus, Westchester Magazine
“It takes a calling, skilled writing and more than a little courage to release yet another vampire stories these days, but Larchmont writer Amalie Howard has created a world of vampires and witches that addresses many real-world issues faced by modern teenagers.” – Polly Kreisman, The Loop NY
“The story itself is compelling and interesting, the descriptions of the locales are beautiful, the teen melodrama mostly manages to stay at the level of actual drama, and the ideas are fresher and newer than most in the genre.” – Samantha Holloway, Albedo Magazine
“From the first page this story grabbed me and did not let me go until I closed the book. This narrative moves. It is not kinetic – it is highly compelling. Amalie Howard is a good storyteller and a nuanced writer who knows her material, knows how to draw us in as readers, and clearly cares about her characters – therefore we do. I loved the back story of Victoria’s family and the connections that are brought forward to the present in the narrative as a riddle for both the protagonist and the reader to discover together. They are beautifully woven into the story from beginning to end.”
Jon Lunievicz, author of “Open Wounds”

Readers on Amazon

“I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a fresh new perspective to a world that we all love hiding in.”
“‘Bloodspell’ is dark and brooding with the perfect story of forbidden love intertwined into it, along with feuding families and a never-ending power struggle for supremacy.”
“Howard’s characterization sets the right tone for love, intrigue, betrayal, lust, power, human frailty and grandeur, against a backdrop of soulful Maine, larger than life New York, enthralling Paris and historical England and France.”

Readers on GoodReads

“Amalie Howard turned a now seemingly common topic of vampires and witches and made it extraordinary. The mythology that she weaves into the story is fantastic. The plot is complex, full of action and does not shy away from the dark aspects of vampires and magic.”
“Amalie Howard’s ‘Bloodspell’ is a winner. From the intricate yet captivating storyline to the setting and characterization, Amalie’s novel unfolds in a masterful display of language.”

Coming soon!


Alpha Goddess

Hardcover, $16.95
ISBN: 978-1626362086
Young Adult
400 pages
Skyhorse/Sky Pony Press
March 4, 2014

In Serjana Caelum’s world, gods exist. So do goddesses. Sera knows this because she is one of them. A secret long concealed by her parents, Sera is Lakshmi reborn, the human avatar of an immortal Indian goddess rumored to control all the planes of existence — Illysia (the Light Realm), Earth (the Mortal Realm), and Xibalba (the Dark Realm). Marked by the sigils of both heaven and hell, Sera’s avatar is meant to bring balance to the mortal world, but all she creates is chaos. A chaos that Azrath, the Asura Lord of Death, hopes to use to unleash hell on earth.

Torn between reconciling her past and present, Sera must figure out how to stop Azrath before the Mortal Realm is destroyed. But trust doesn’t come easy in a world fissured by lies and betrayal. Her best friend Kyle is hiding his own dark secrets, and her mysterious new neighbor, Devendra, seems to know a lot more than he’s telling. Struggling between her opposing halves and her attraction to the boys tied to each of them, Sera must become the goddess she was meant to be, or risk failing, which means sacrificing the world she was born to protect.

Retellings of classic fairy tales and Greek myths are becoming staples in the young adult and adult fiction genres, and now Amalie Howard, author of the popular “Bloodspell,” brings the myth of Rama and Sita’s love story to an exciting new level. Howard’s stunningly fresh voice and imaginative characters promise to make “Alpha Goddess” an exciting addition to the young adult fiction world. Aimed at readers ages 13 to 17, both girls and boys will relate to Sera’s and Kyle’s realistic teen persona and dilemmas while learning more about a famous Hindu myth.



The Almost Girl

Hardcover, $17.99; eBook, $6.99
ISBN: 978-1908844804
Young Adult
Strange Chemistry
January 7, 2014

Seventeen-year-old Riven is as tough as they come. Coming from a world ravaged by a devastating android war, she has to be. There’s no room for softness, no room for emotion, no room for mistakes. A Legion General, she is the right hand of the young Prince of Neospes, a parallel universe to Earth. In Neospes, she has everything: rank, responsibility and respect. But when Prince Cale sends her away to find his long-lost brother, Caden, who has been spirited back to modern day Earth, Riven finds herself in uncharted territory.

Thrown out of her comfort zone but with the mindset of a soldier, Riven has to learn how to be a girl in a realm that is the opposite of what she knows. Riven isn’t prepared for the beauty of a world that is unlike her own in so many ways. Nor is she prepared to feel something more than indifference for the very target she seeks. Caden is nothing like Cale, but he makes something in her come alive, igniting a spark deep down that goes against every cell in her body. For the first time in her life, Riven isn’t sure about her purpose, about her calling. Torn between duty and desire, she must decide whether Caden is simply a target or whether he is something more.

Faced with hideous reanimated Vector soldiers from her own world with agendas of their own, as well as an unexpected reunion with a sister who despises her, it is a race against time to bring Caden back to Neospes. But things aren’t always as they seem, and Riven will have to search for truth. Family betrayals and royal coups are only the tip of the iceberg. Will Riven be able to find the strength to defy her very nature? Or will she become the monstrous soldier she was designed to be?

“The Almost Girl” is a richly imagined story of defiance, courage, and heart. It is the tale of a girl who finds her own way on her own terms, a girl who won’t let what she is define her, and a girl who will sacrifice everything she is for the ones she loves. It is a story of someone who eclipses her predestined fate to become something more … something extraordinary.



Q&A with author Amalie Howard


You released your first book “Bloodspell” in 2011, which led to an impressive five book publishing deals. How the heck do you have time to write so much, and what does it feel like to have your work recognized in such a great way?

I am so incredibly grateful that my wonderful editors saw something they loved in my books and wanted to publish them. All three of my upcoming novels—WATERFELL, THE ALMOST GIRL, and ALPHA GODDESS—each brings something different and unique to the table, so I’m really excited that readers will get to sample such a diverse range of what I have to offer as an author.

As far as writing so much, I’m very lucky that I’m a fast writer, so once I get an idea in my head, I just go. I plot a basic outline of my expectations, and then I let the story take me on its journey. And as I always say to my teen creative writing classes, writing is like homework. You have to make time for it and be diligent about doing it.

What will fans of “Bloodspell” like best about your upcoming titles?
Fans of BLOODSPELL will enjoy meeting some very special new characters and being introduced to completely different worlds—figuratively and literally, especially in THE ALMOST GIRL. In WATERFELL, I was particularly excited to share my love of the ocean (I grew up on an island) and surfing! I also wanted to explore the myth of the sea monster and shift it from something terrifying into something beautiful … enter the mysterious world of the Aquarathi!
I’ve always been fascinated by quantum mechanics (even though I was hopeless at physics in high school) and the possibility of alternate universes. In THE ALMOST GIRL, I was able to explore that and more in this book, like the whole concept of nature versus nurture and whether we evolve differently based on harsher environments. I think this book will take readers on an interesting journey.
In ALPHA GODDESS, I wanted to explore some of the stories I’d been told as a child. I also wanted to share some of my experience with readers. My father comes from a long line of Hindu priests, so these myths were a large part of my childhood. The Ramayana is a particularly beautiful love story, and while my novel is a work of fiction, I really enjoyed crafting my version from such an inspiring mythology.
Your next release, “Waterfell,” departs from the world of vampires and witches but stays in the realm of fantasy and science fiction. What do you like about those genres?
Clearly, I love escaping reality. Fantasy and science fiction have always been my true loves. Don’t get me wrong, I love a great contemporary novel as much as anyone, but getting lost in a an epic fantasy world or meeting characters from other planets who have superhuman powers is icing on the cake for me. I like being able to push the boundaries of reality, to create mind-boggling ‘what if’ scenarios … for example, with WATERFELL, what if sea monsters really did exist? And what if they were a species from another planet hiding on ours? And what if they could shift into human form? With science fiction and fantasy, the possibilities are endless.
Like all of your books so far, “The Almost Girl” features a strong, independent female character as the protagonist. What do you hope readers learn from her?
I’m a huge fan of strong female protagonists (that said, I do have a novel with a strong male protagonist so I’m not gender-biased). I do like strong protagonists on the whole, but I also do think there has to be character growth that is transparent and meaningful to the reader. No one’s going to relate to a character who stays the same. With Riven from THE ALMOST GIRL, I love that she has to dig deep down to embrace her emotions. A soldier first, she’s so hard on the outside but still vulnerable on the inside—I really connected with her struggle to just let go of all her rules and be a girl. We build so many walls to keep from being hurt that we don’t allow ourselves to connect with others. I love that she was brave enough to trust her heart. In the end, I’m hopeful that readers will empathize with Riven and learn, as she does, that humans are born to feel, and that being open to life and love doesn’t make you weaker … it makes you stronger.
“Alpha Goddess” is your take on an Indian mythological tale. Where did you first hear about it?
Although ALPHA GODDESS is a work of fiction, a lot of my inspiration for the characters and the world-building in this novel is based on Hindu mythology. My father is a second generation Brahmin (priest class in traditional Hindu society), so Indian mythology was an integral part of my childhood and religious education. Fascinated by stories and legends of various Hindu gods who incarnated as avatars to avert human tragedy, I wanted to write an epic story that encompassed some of the Hindu mythology elements I enjoyed as a child, like the Ramayana, the story of Rama and Sita. Of course, ALPHA GODDESS is my own invented take on another reincarnated version of these characters, and does not actually exist in Indian scriptures.
You are quite the world traveler. How do you incorporate the cultures you come across into your writing?
I love meeting new people and exploring different cultures. I really believe that traveling the world has helped me to craft my characters, especially the ones that aren’t human (whom I have to invent). How do they evolve? How are they different from regular people? How are they the same? I enjoy using elements and facets from all the different cultures I’ve interacted with over the years to develop compelling scenarios and create robust characters in my writing.
I also like to include some of my favorite cities in my novels, for example, Paris and New York in BLOODSPELL, San Diego, California in WATERFELL, and Fort Collins, Colorado in THE ALMOST GIRL. Although a writer can research anything online, writing about a place I’ve actually been to helps me to picture scenes and places more vividly. It allows me to create more authentic descriptions, so that my readers can feel like they are there, too.  
We can only imagine you’re working on something new. Can you give us any sneak peek into the mind of Amalie Howard and what’s to come?
            I’m working on several different projects. I’ve just finished writing OCEANBORN, which is the sequel to WATERFELL, and I’ve also just completed a near-future, technological YA thriller/romance, which has a male protagonist that I’m very excited about. That one is now in the capable hands of my agent. In addition to that, I have outlined a companion novel to ALPHA GODDESS, and I am about to start writing the sequel to THE ALMOST GIRL. Lastly, I’m fleshing out a joint project with another YA writer that’s super secret and under wraps for now. So yes, I’m busy, but I’m embracing it all (with a lot of gratitude).


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