Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Alpha Unleashed Blog Tour: Promo, Author Interview, Character Bio, Review, and Giveaway!

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                Hello everyone!  I’ve been talking about this book, and series, for a while because I just adore them but also because the latest book, Alpha Unleashed, came out yesterday!  With this I’m super stoked to be participating in the blog tour and I have some goodies lined up for you.  All the book info you need, a pretty spoiler free Author Interview (I tried to keep it as spoiler free as possible) with Aileen Erin, two character bios of some of our favorite characters, an awesome little excerpt, my review, and last but certainly not least an awesome giveaway!  So scroll on down and check it out!

Title: Alpha Unleashed
Series: The Alpha Girl Series
Vol or Book #: 5
Author:  Aileen Erin
Audience: YA, 14+
E-Book Publisher: Ink Monster, LLC
Cover by: Art by Ana Cruz ; 
Graphics by Paddy Donnelly
Editor: Ink Monster, LLC
Pages: unknown at this time
ISBN: 97809906352A0M
Date Published: 10-13-15


Tessa McCaid has had it up to here with supernaturals.  Luciana may have failed to steal Tessa’s magic but she’s just getting started on her crusade for magical domination.  If her demonic summoning isn’t stopped, it could mean the end of everything.

Tessa’s allies, including her mate Dastien, are ready to fight, but they’re no match for Luciana’s power.  A little help (and ancient Inca mojo) from Tessa’s cousin, Claudia, may give the side of good a chance if she can make it home in time, but stopping the war is no longer an option.

When witches and wolves fight, no one wins.  Only time will tell who will still be standing after the last spell is cast. 

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Author Photo - Aileen Erin                Thank you for taking the time to do an interview.  I am beyond excited to find out more about our gang.  I'm also excited to see how Claudia and Lucas continue to interact given how new they are to this.  I'm holding out hope that she will eventually at some point change her mind and make the change so she can live a much longer life with Lucas.  I can't wait to see your answers. 
First I have to say that I am a HUGE fan and just adore this series so much.  I fly through each book and then thankfully don't have to wait too long for another one.  How did you decide on your brand of wolves?

               AE:  Yay!  I'm so glad that you like the series!  I love writing them, so it always makes me happy to know that someone is enjoying them.  J

               Regarding deciding on my brand of wolves, I'd read a lot of urban fantasy, and learned a lot of what I liked and didn't there.  That's where I started to get the idea of putting my own stamp on the werewolf genre.  Then, I did a ton of research on the origins of the werewolf and what various cultures say about it, and then watched some wolf documentaries and read a few books about wolf packs.  I took bits of what I liked from each, and since I get to make it up—ignored the bits that I didn't like so much.
Eve: I could google images of these beautiful creatures all day!

Did you do a lot of research before/as you write the series?  Covens and wolf packs and the like?

               AE: Yes!  I've been interested in the paranormal—magic, witches, werewolves—for a very long time.  I have a whole bookcase dedicated to my research books that I've collected over the years.  And once I decided to write the Alpha Girls series, the collection started growing even more.  I have some fascinating books on witchcraft and covens—some of them a little terrifying—but like I did for the wolves, when it came down to writing about it, I just picked and chose which bits I liked the most and ignored the rest. 

The bond between mates is very intense.  How did you decide on what would go into the bond?

               AE:  I really liked the idea of having a balanced relationship.  I find a lot of romance—especially YA and NA romance—has a very skewed idea about what a healthy relationship should be like.  So the bond between mates started out from that.  Then, I liked that they'd get to share powers and enhance what each other already has, which is what a good relationship should be.  It should make you want to be the best you can be and help you grow in a healthy, positive way.  I put in the telepathy because of something a friend of mind once said to me and my husband.  We were at a dinner party and had a few shared looks, and started cracking up.  We didn't say a word, but we had a whole conversation just us.  I thought that would be nice to put in there—that the couples were so in sync that they could talk telepathically.  Also it made it easier when they shift into wolf-form, so they can still communicate.

On a similar note there is a disparity of males to females.  With that we see many males trying to win a select number of females, does this cause a problem with the wolves in general?  More instances like Dastien and Tessa maybe?  What happens to the ones who don't find them basically? 

               AE:  Yes.  This causes a lot of problems, and puts a lot of pressure on the girls,  It's a pretty good way to show some tension,and also leaves some room for me to focus on other couples and matches—like I did for Claudia and Lucas. 

               After Tessa and Dastien, there might be more instances where a Were takes matters into their own hands.  But a lot of the guys end up hoping to find their true mate.  Their match.  I talk a little about the Cazadores—as they're the ones who haven't found their match.  But hopefully, someone will come along for each of them, given enough time.  And the Weres definitely have a lot of time.  Think about Lucas.  He waiting a LONG time for Claudia. ;)

In Alpha Unleashed we are diving back into Tessa, but I hope Claudia and Lucas will still be present because I did just adore them in Bruja and I think Lucas will be a real asset to our St. Ailbe's wolves.  Will we have some cousin time between Tessa and Claudia?  I'm dying for them to talk and compare notes as it were. 

               AE:  I'm so glad you liked bruja so much.  It was always a risk to veer away from Tessa and Dastien, but I felt like Claudia deserved her story to be told.

               Claudia and Lucas are most definitely in Alpha Unleashed.  The books overlap, so Alpha Unleashed starts the morning that Claudia leaves for Peru.  But Claudia and Lucas and the rest of the gang that end up in Costa Rica will be back in Texas before all the action gets going.

Luciana is practicing some seriously dark stuff, how can those following her not see that?  And stand behind it?

               AE:  I get into this a bit in Alpha Unleashed, but I think it's hard when you're trusting your leader to guide you.  The evil stuff didn't happen over night.  I think if she'd started doing bad things right away, they would've stood up against her.  But it was on a slow boil, and she had her reasons.  Being the coven leader meant that she had visions, too.  Only they're not as clear or as strong as Tessa's.  But still, the coven trusted her to guide them.  They didn't realize that Luciana's visions were a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy, and that her fear of coming war with the wolves were leading them into darker and darker magic as time went on.

I'm ready for the epic battle, though I am worried about some of my favorites as I know no one is safe.  From the description of Alpha Unleashed it seems the battle will be fought on several fronts, including in the media, coming out of the shadows.  How do you think our current world would react if wolves, witches, vampires, and such came out as real?  How would you react?

               AE:   hope that I'd be welcoming, although I'd definitely be super curious.  I'd have a million questions for them!  And I would really hope I didn’t piss them off if I got something wrong in my books. ;)

With so many amazing characters in this world who is your favorite to write scenes for?

               AE:  I want to say Tessa, but I really like Meredith a lot.  I think she's fun and spunky.  We got a little hint of her backstory in Avoiding Alpha, but I'd love to get her and Donovan a book.

Bogdana with Bogdana The Booknerd wants to know what book are you currently reading?  What's your favorite genre to read?

               AE:  I'm reading The Haunting by Joan Lowery Nixon right now.  I ate up her books when I was in seventh grade, but I'm writing a paranormal ghost books next and I wanted to re-read her stuff.  I'm trying to figure out how scary I want to make it.  I feel like if I just start writing, I'll make the book so scary that I won't be able to sleep at night—which won't work at all. (If you have some ghost story books to recommend, I'll take those!)  Before that, I read—or devoured—Sarah J Maas's Queen of Shadows.  Loved it!  I finished it and went right back to chapter one to re-read it.  And the book before that was Jennifer Estep's Cold Burn Magic.  OMG!  So good!  Thankfully the second book is coming out 10/25, or else I'd be DYING.

               I read fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, some sci-fi, anything YA, NA romance, contemporary romance, and paranormal romance.  All variations on a theme.  I like speculative fictions, but I like it with a healthy dose of romance. J

OMG I'm reading Queen of Shadows now and I know what you mean.  Bogdana also asked an intriguing question, if you could co-author a series with anyone who would it be?

               AE:  It's so hard to write that idea of writing something with someone seems at times more difficult logistically yet so tempting!  My critique partner for the last 6 years—Lola Dodge—is someone who I've actually talked about writing a series together.  In fact, I wrote Cipher, and she's writing the next book in the series—Quanta (out 10/13), and my business partner—Christina Bauer—is writing another character in the series—Maker (which doesn't have a set release date yet).  So that might happen!

               Alpha Unleashed comes out October 13th is there anything you can share or tease us with?  Aside from the excerpt below, that is.

               AE:  Teasers are so hard without drifting into spoilerland.  I will say that defeating Luciana will NOT be easy, but by the time all is said and done, I think all the readers will be very happy.  Or I hope they will!  J

Are you working on any other projects? You mentioned a ghost story.

               AE:  I'm taking a little break from Tessa and Dastien to write a new series—Invocation, the first book in the Holy Ghost High series.  I've been writing Tessa and Dastien for…six years.  Becoming Alpha was my thesis for my MFA, so it's time for me to take a little break just to make sure I keep the Alpha Girl series fresh and don't burn out.  But I'll be back to it.  I can't stay away from Tessa and her gang for long!

Finally, how can fans reach you? (Links attached below for easy access)

               AE:  I'm on all kinds of social media.  I'm slowest on Goodreads but everywhere else, I check daily.  J

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Instagram: aelatcham

Teresa Elizabeth McCaid—aka Tessa—is a girl who has never quite fit in.  At least, she didn't until she was bitten by Dastien Laurent, her mate.  Now, she's part bruja part werewolf, part human, and totally cool with it.  When she's not taking down evil witches and vampires, she likes to spend her time with Dastien.  They love to go for runs and listen to EDM.

Dastien Laurent is originally from France, but when his parents were brutally murdered, he came to Texas to live with his godfather—Michael Dawson.  He's always struggled with his alpha-side, but never as much as when he met Tessa.  He didn't mean to bit her, but he wouldn't change it for the world.  Even when evil witches are beating down the door, he never regrets a second.  With her, he's finally able to see his future. 
excerpt (2)
I trailed off when I noticed Meredith staring hard at something behind me. I quickly glanced over my shoulder. “What?” 
“What’s Shannon doing with that group?” Her lips pressed into a tight, thin line. “And is that Imogene?” Meredith and I might be split on how we felt about Shannon, but we totally agreed on Imogene. 
I turned back to my now-cold omelet and took a bite. “I know,” I said after a second. “Looks like they’re BFFs now.” 
She scrunched up her nose as she thought. “Why is she with those guys? Shannon has nothing in common with them. She’s from the Irish pack. And Imogene? Really?” Meredith stared at them like she could glean answers off them. “Maybe if we all try reaching out to her, she’ll sit with us again.” 
I’d explained what happened between Shannon and I while Meredith was sick, but she didn’t understand. For better or worse, they’d been friends since forever. Their parents were friends and they’d grown up taking vacations together. Meredith was loyal, almost to a fault, and that meant she refused to give up on Shannon. “We tried that, remember? It didn’t work.” 
“I should go over. Try talking to her again.” 
I nearly rolled my eyes. Meredith had tried talking to Shannon, and in her defense—Shannon was still nice to her, but it was a losing battle. Shannon would obviously rather be with her new friends than us. 
Meredith started to stand up, but I grabbed her hand. “I wouldn’t—” 
“I have to try.” 
I let her go as I tried to think of a way to say what I needed to say without making it worse. “I don’t know. I still can’t feel anyone at that table through the pack bonds. Including Shannon.” 
Meredith crossed her arms as she stared down at me. “Whatever happened between you and her, she wouldn’t do anything to harm the pack. Shannon’s not capable of that.” 
I disagreed, but saying so would only hurt Meredith’s feelings. “What if she thought it would help the pack?” And what if they aren’t part of our pack anymore? I thought the words but didn’t say them aloud. 
For a second, Meredith’s lower lip trembled, and I thought I’d gotten through to her, but then she shook her head. “No. I don’t believe that. Not at all.” 
I kept my mouth firmly shut. If there was one person I didn’t want to piss off, it was Meredith. She’d been my friend—no questions asked—from the beginning. She’d helped me through when all I’d wanted to do was run away from St. Ailbe’s. And when I’d sucked at running and kept falling out of windows, she hadn’t made fun of me. Much. “I just don’t want you to get disappointed.” 
“I—” Meredith stopped in the middle of what she was saying, and turned to the door. 
It took me a second to figure out what was going on, but then Donovan came into the cafeteria, and started our way. Maybe he’d be able to reach Meredith, because I sure as hell wasn’t getting anywhere. 
She laughed at something he must’ve said through their bond. “Donovan is going to keep you company while I talk to Shannon. I’ll be back in a sec.” 
There wasn’t any point in trying to stop her. 
Donovan took Meredith’s spot at the table. He wore sweat pants and a T-shirt and his black hair was still messy from his run. His clothes gave of the scents of cedar and grass and dirt, and it almost made me jealous. 
Maybe a run would clear my mind. Help me figure out a way around these visions. 
“She’s checking on Shannon, eh?” Donovan asked, bringing me back to myself. 
“Yeah.” I’d already said my piece to his mate. I didn’t need to repeat myself. 
He jerked his chin toward the table in question. “There’s still something off about them.” 
My fork dropped to the plate with a clatter, and I glared into his glass-blue eyes. “Oh, come on. We’re not doing this.” 
Donovan raised his eyebrows. “Not doing what?” 
He had to be joking. “I just had this conversation with Meredith. I know how the whole mate thing works. There’s not a chance she didn’t tell you.” 
He gave me a wicked grin, and I knew trouble was coming. “Aye. But what you don’t know is that I agree with you.” 
“You do?” Mr. Dawson had been all—everything’s fine. Donovan hadn’t said a word. Why now? 
“Yes. I do.” 
“What do you know?” I leaned toward him, lowering my voice. Pesky Weres and their super-awesome hearing. “Why are their bonds missing? I thought they couldn’t leave the pack without putting in a formal bid to Mr. Dawson.” 
“That’s true enough. I don’t know what’s going on, but I think you’re going to find out. If this absence of pack bond is spreading, then we need to find the cause. Just… Don’t say anything to Meredith until we’re positive. All right?” 
Whoa. I didn’t keep much—if anything—from Dastien. “Do you think that’s wise?” 
“Keeping my opinions from my mate?” One side of his mouth quirked up. “Not usually. But she made her side clear enough with you, and I’d rather not start an argument that won’t get us anywhere.” 
Who knew? Even the great Donovan—one of the all-powerful Seven—was afraid of pissing off his mate. The idea was a little preposterous, but then again—I didn’t like upsetting Dastien either. I’d done it. But that didn’t mean I liked it. That left me with one last question. “Why can’t you keep an eye on them? You’re probably way better at this pack bonds stuff than I am.” 
He raised an eyebrow. “In case you’ve forgotten, I’m not of this pack. I’m an alpha, and can use that to overpower and override the pack bonds if necessary, but this needs more finesse. An insider’s look.” 
“But your mate’s in our pack.” When Dastien bit me, I’d become part of the St. Ailbe’s pack. I figured it would be the same for Donovan and Meredith and their mate bond, even if they hadn’t gone through with their bonding ceremony. 
“Doesn’t work that way. I’m already the alpha of another pack.” 
“So, what about Meredith? Is she still part of this pack?” 
“Until she and Michael decide to let her move to mine. She’ll keep it for as long as she’s here, and I think that’s best.” He leaned forward. “I’ve heard through Michael and Meredith, but I want to know what it is you’re feelin’ from them. I’ve not experienced this before, and that’s sayin’ something to me.” His Irish accent thickened, and I finally knew that someone else was as worried about this as I was. 
“I don’t know what to say except that I can’t feel them. It’s like they’re there, but they’re not.” I sighed. “It makes no sense. Which is why Mr. Dawson blew me off when I brought it up. Shouldn’t you be talking to him about this? He’s the alpha.” 
“What makes you think I haven’t already?” 
The tension on my shoulders relaxed. It seemed like a good sign that two alphas were really talking about the problem. “And?” 
“Nothing. If they’ve withdrawn from the pack, he’s not feeling it.” He leaned in closer, speaking so quietly that even I could barely hear. “But last night, he gave that group of boys from the Canada pack a direct command and they disobeyed. I backed the command and forced their obedience, but I shouldn’t have had to. He’s their alpha. It may be that Rupert Hoel’s influence went deeper than those we’ve caught. There’s still a major player out there, and I’ve a fine idea who it might be.” 
Holy shit. That was bad news. Only someone more alpha than Mr. Dawson could ignore his commands, and they weren’t more alpha. At all. 
“I think you might know. It’s one who got away.” 
It hit me then. They’d kicked one of the Seven out of the Council. The one who hated me. Ferdinand. “Do you really think it could be?” 
“But you didn’t say anything when I brought it up before.” 
“It took me longer to feel what you were getting at. I like to suss things out before actin’. Get fully aware of the situation. If you feel anything else out of the ordinary, let me know. Just be aware that if that lot wants to leave, that’s fine by me. They’re welcome to go their own way, but they need to make formal bids to Michael and they’ll have to tie to the Seven until they find their new packs. It must be done properly, or they’ll be considered lone wolves. And if they align with Ferdinand… I’d like those youngsters to avoid that if possible.” 
My stomach churned, and suddenly I didn’t feel much like finishing my omelet. If the pack was breaking up, then how were we ever going to defeat Luciana? We needed to be united if we wanted to stand the slightest chance of surviving. 

                I was so excited to get to ask some interesting questions of the author but not nearly as exciting to read this book so I was stoked when my I got my ARC a couple weeks ago, even though my pre-order downloaded yesterday.  Now I get to share my thoughts with you.  Now as she mentioned this is a wrap of to the current open story arc.  While the door isn’t shut on all the characters in the future this is a sort of end.  My previous reviews:  Becoming Alpha, Avoiding Alpha, AlphaDivided, and Bruja.

Rating: 5 Stars

                This book was amazing!  I have loved this series since the first book and each book in the series as I got to know the characters a little more in each story just made me love them more.  There is so much happening and wrapping up.  We have the epic battle with Luciana and her demon mojo and everything happening with the wolves, witches, fae, and humans.  There are a lot of moving parts and constantly something happening. 

                As much as I loved Bruja and seeing from Claudia’s POV I am happy to be back with Tessa for this final battle as it started with her.  She is so over the whole fighting mess, she wants it over with and just to live her life with her true mate, Daestien.  They have faced obstacle after obstacle and are ready for some peace.  I just love how they interact and how they can help each other through their different internal struggles simply by being there for one another.  Tessa is doubting herself after losing her powers however temporarily and feeling she will make the wrong move and be the cause for people she cares for dying.  That’s a lot on anyone’s shoulders.  Plus being concerned about your pack turmoil, the witches, and the humans and you’re lucky to be functioning. 

                I was super stoked to see Claudia and Lucas interact with the gang.  I didn’t get my talk I was hoping for…yet but there was still some good stuff and seeing Lucas around the gang was awesome!  Choosing sides and getting your people as ready as possible for what’s coming is the name of the game.  I really liked adding in the human perspective as well, it was a long time coming in my opinion.  No way would it have been under wraps much longer and seeing out supernaturals deal with that was humorous at times. 

                Again without giving much away, I was worried for all my characters life and limb throughout most of the book because there is no shortage of death in a war this large.  Still as this arc came to an end I feel that the main points have been wrapped up nicely.  It was very satisfying ending even as my heart raced through it all.  I highly suggest marathoning all five of these amazing books, they are superfast reads that you want to read in one sitting. 

                Now there is only one thing left to do and that is to check out the giveaway below and enter it!  Also spread the love in the comments below.  Did she answer your most pressing questions?  Who is your favorite character in the Alpha Girls series thus far?  When she continues the world in the future is there anyone you’d like to see the story focus on?  Let me know below. 

                Until next time…

giveaway (2)

September 21 – 29, 2015

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