October 12, 2014

Exquisite Captive Blog Tour: Tens List, Review + Giveaway


Welcome to my stop on the Exquisite Captive blog tour! Today I have a tens list by the author along with my review of the book to share with you - and don't forget to enter the giveaway! To follow the rest of the tour, click on the banner above.

Beautiful Captive (Dark Caravan Cycle #1)
Author: Heather Demetrios
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray


Forced to obey her master.
Compelled to help her enemy.
Determined to free herself.

Nalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power, the only survivor of a coup that killed nearly everyone she loved. Stuffed into a bottle and sold by a slave trader, she’s now in hiding on the dark caravan, the lucrative jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their human masters’ every command. She’d give almost anything to be free of the golden shackles that bind her to Malek, her handsome, cruel master, and his lavish Hollywood lifestyle.

Enter Raif, the enigmatic leader of Arjinna’s revolution and Nalia’s sworn enemy. He promises to free Nalia from her master so that she can return to her ravaged homeland and free her imprisoned brother—all for an unbearably high price. Nalia’s not sure she can trust him, but Raif’s her only hope of escape. With her enemies on the hunt, Earth has become more perilous than ever for Nalia. There’s just one catch: for Raif’s unbinding magic to work, Nalia must gain possession of her bottle…and convince the dangerously persuasive Malek that she truly loves him. Battling a dark past and harboring a terrible secret, Nalia soon realizes her freedom may come at a price too terrible to pay: but how far is she willing to go for it?

Inspired by Arabian Nights, EXQUISITE CAPTIVE brings to life a deliciously seductive world where a wish can be a curse and shadows are sometimes safer than the light.


Tens List : Top Ten Travel Spots

In no particular order!

Marrakech and Erg Chegaga, Morocco: I could go on and on about my experience travelling to Morocco to do research for the second book in the Dark Caravan Cycle. It is a gorgeous country with a fascinating culture and so much to do. I adored my trek into the Sahara Desert, where I camped in a nomad tent in the dunes of Erg Chegaga. I loved getting lost in the souqs of Marrakech, with its Aladdin-esque lamps and love potions and staying at the lovely riads—the gusthouses tucked into the serpentine alleyways of the old city. The people are wonderful, the culture—the whole place is eye candy. It was the first time I traveled specifically for a novel and it was an incredibly satisfying experience.

Angkor Wat (Cambodia): Visiting Angkor Wat will ruin you in the best kind of way. It is so astonishing, so immersive, that nothing—I mean, nothing—compares. You feel like Indiana Jones as you explore these ancient temples that were centuries ago in the Khmer jungle. There is a significant scene in Exquisite Captive that takes place here.

Barcelona, Spain: Yet another setting in Exquisite Captive, this is one of my favorite cities in the world. It is beautiful, the food is the best you’ll ever have, and the culture is wonderful. I had such fun eating tapas and drinking sangria, exploring Las Ramblas, the street full of artists and crazy characters. The Gaudi architecture is astounding and there is music everywhere.

New York City: I’ve been to well over two dozen countries and countless cities around the world, yet NYC remains my favorite place on the globe. I recently moved to Brooklyn and it has been a delight to have such constant access to this amazing place. My favorite thing to do is walk around the city in the evening, staring at all the buildings and seeing where the night will take me. Brooklyn is full of writers and Manhattan has so much art and culture to fill the creative well.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Malaysia is a gem, one that many Americans know nothing about. I decided to go here after seeing tourism commercials that were airing while I was living in South Korea as an ESL teacher. I am SO GLAD I went. KL has a magnificent mix of cultures: you can check out a mosque, then head over to a Daoist temple, and end by exploring caves guarded by monkeys who are quick to play with you. I also spent time on Langkawi, a beautiful island off the coast.

Moscow, Russia: Russia is one of my favorite places to visit in the world. It was really hard to decide which city to put down. While St. Petersburg is astounding (and makes an appearance in Exquisite Captive) and the outer provinces gorgeous, if you only go to one place, it has to be Moscow. My favorite thing is the subway stations. They are works of art! Standing in Red Square is an absolute rush. Just walking about the city is a powerful
experience—there’s so much history here and Russian culture, history, and politics is endlessly fascinating.

Rome, Italy: Oh, Rome. If you are an artist of any kind, you absolutely have to go there on a pilgrimage to Beauty. Rome totally lives up to the hype. I have never been in a more exquisite city. The workmanship of the buildings, the grandeur…it’s truly mind-boggling. Don’t even get me started on the food and wine! I went during Christmas, which was really special. The city does it up right.

Kyoto, Japan: Kyoto is my favorite city in Asia. It is stunning. There is nothing like walking down the street and catching two real, live Geisha heading toward a teahouse. It is an elegant city, full of Zen gardens, beautiful restaurants, and lovely pagodas. The people are wonderful and there are all kinds of little surprises.

Amsterdam, Netherlands: Amsterdam is a gorgeous city that will set your imagination on fire. There’s just something so unique about those leaning buildings bordered the canals. It was a lovely place to walk around and the Red Light District was a fascinating place to see. Scary, but fascinating.

Pushkar, India: Here is another setting from Exquisite Captive. I traveled all over India for a few months and Pushkar was the most stunning location. It’s in Rajasthan, which is the desert region. There’s this beautiful lake surrounded by tiny mountains and the town is bustling, full of women in saris and camels everywhere. So much color! I think it’s extra special to me because I was there during the annual camel fair. There were real live snake charmers hypnotizing the snakes, a mustache competition, men in colorful turbans…it was divine! 

Thanks so much for sharing your top ten travel spots with us Heather!
Exquisite Captive is the mesmerizing first book in a new young adult fantasy series. It follows our main character, Nalia, who is a jinni full of ancient powers. She is one of the few of her kind left after a massacre killed almost everyone she loves. Nalia was stuffed into a bottle and sold to a slave trader. She's been hiding on what is called the Dark Caravan - the trade of jinnis between Earth and Arjinna (her homeland) and forced to grant the wishes of her human masters - whom she despises. Now Nalia's only hope for freedom is being offered by her sworn enemy - Raif - and what he offers comes at a large cost. Will Nalia be able to do what Raif requires and finally be free? Or will the price be too high?

This is the first book I've read about jinnis, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect from it. Knowing it was a retelling of Arabian Nights made me even more curious and I decided to give it a shot. I'm incredibly glad I did because I was not disappointed in the least - it was actually the exact opposite. The book completely blew me away. I loved learning about the different jinnis - their powers, characteristics, histories. Not having any prior knowledge of the mythical creatures, I devoured everything I could about them, their world, and their history. I was enchanted by the world and the characters the author created - and I can't wait to read about more of it in the next installment. Nalia was a fascinating main character  for the book. She's an incredibly powerful jinni who's intelligent, devoted to her family and her homeland, and determined to gain her freedom. The plot was wholly original, to me at least, due to my lack of prior jinni reading. It followed what seemed like a natural plot line for a story like this - a jinni  is trapped and wants her freedom from her human master, and must overcome struggles and obstacles that threaten her dream of being free. The author's use of detailed imagery and vivid descriptions added a great depth to the setting as well as the entire novel. I could easily close my eyes, immerse myself in the story, and be inside the book next to Nalia. The writing was fast paced but moved at a normal progression, which made it a quick read for me. Another thing I liked about the story was the use of several genres intertwined together to create something unique and enchanting. There's a bit of something for everyone in the book - action, fantasy, romance, mythology, adventure, and a retelling of a timeless story all rolled into one. It's hard to categorize this novel into just one genre label because it's so much more than a simple fantasy novel or a reimagining of a classic tale. I highly recommend it to fans of all genres, especially those who enjoy fantasies as well as those who haven't read much, if any, jinni fiction before. I found it to be a wonderful introduction into the subgenre and has made me curious about the other books out there. I'll definitely be awaiting the release of the second book to see what happens next!

When she's not traipsing around the world or spending time in imaginary places, Heather Demetrios lives with her husband in New York City. Originally from Los Angeles, she now calls the East Coast home. Heather is a recipient of the PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award for her debut novel, Something Real, which Publisher's Weekly calls “[An] addictive yet thoughtful debut” about reality TV stardom. She is the author of the upcoming EXQUISITE CAPTIVE, a smoldering fantasy about jinn in Los Angeles and what Kirkus called in its starred review "an intoxicating, richly realized realm of magic, politics, spirituality and history" (#1 in the DARK CARAVAN CYCLE). She is also the author of the upcoming I’ll Meet You There (Winter 2015). I’ll Meet You There is a love story about a young combat veteran and a girl trapped in their small town, both struggling to escape the war at home. Heather is the founder of Live Your What, an organization dedicated to fostering passion in people of all ages and creating writing opportunities for youth of limited economic means. She is proud to have an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. You can always find her on Twitter (@HDemetrios), ogling the military dogs she wants to adopt (but can’t because her NYC apartment is way too small). Find out more about Heather and her other books at www.heatherdemetrios.comand www.darkcaravancycle.com
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