Friday, May 4, 2012

Unicorn Keep Blog Tour with Angelia Almos

I am honored to be a part of the Unicorn Keep Blog Tour, and to have Angelia Almos here at A Tasty Read for a visit!!  Keep reading past the interview for my review of this magical YA romance.

A Tasty Read: So, your newest book, Unicorn Keep, can you tell us a bit about it? Is it your first YA Fantasy Romance?

Angelia Almos: Here's the blurb for Unicorn Keep:

    Jiline of Ainsley is dismayed when her best friend is selected by the mages to become a unicorn keeper at the Keep, an isolated mountain fortress. Especially since Madelen is in love and engaged to the richest boy in the village. Jiline on the other hand has no prospects of marriage or a trade in their small village. So, she comes up with a plan to take Madelen's place at the Keep and hopefully flunk out of unicorn keeper training before the mages can discover the deception. Unfortunately, the unicorns have their own plans for her.
Mage Herrick, son of the Keep Mage, returns home to the Keep as the trainee keepers arrive. A chance encounter with Jiline, who he believes is Madelen, on the trail sparks a magical connection between the two. Knowing he can't feel a magical draw to someone who has no magic, he tries to prove Madelen (Jiline) has magic within her. His attention brings unforeseen complications for both of them.

Unicorn Keep is probably a little more of a romance than Horse Charmer, but there were romantic elements throughout Horse Charmer, my first YA fantasy. I consider both of them a fantasy first and a romance second. The funny thing is I had originally intended for Unicorn Keep to be a middle grade fantasy with no romance, but my book plans often take major turns once I start to write.

A Tasty Read: Where did you come up with the idea for Unicorn Keep?

Angelia: I had been wanting to do a book with unicorns in it for a little while and I also wanted to do a middle grade fantasy. I started brainstorming and after a couple of days the basic idea of unicorn keepers (children "taking care of" unicorns for adults) came to me. After that I sat down and wrote - the story and characters revealed themselves to me as I went.

A Tasty Read: Do you have a favorite amongst your books? And if so, why does it stand out to you?

Angelia: My favorite is usually the one I am working on at the time. I have soft spots for all of my different books. Either a particular character or how the book came to be. For Unicorn Keep, I would say it is Herrick. He was originally supposed to be a minor supporting character, but as soon as he walked through those bushes he made it clear that this book was also his story and wasn't going to be a supporting character. I fought him at first since I had a plan for how I wanted the story to go, but it didn't take long for him to convince me to chuck the original plan. It was Herrick who made it clear this book was more young adult than middle grade and would be including a romance.


A Tasty Read: The few books that I have read of yours, I have met characters that I wanted to know more about. Do you plan to write sequels to any of your published novels?

Angelia: I tend to write with the idea that my characters always continue to live and have adventures after The End. If those adventures lend themselves to another tale, then yes, I do plan on writing a sequel or series for those books. But as a pantser, I have no idea what the sequels will be or when the characters will start to talk to me again. 

A Tasty Read: Is there any genre that you haven't written yet, that you might want to dabble in?

Angelia: I occasionally get ideas for historical romances, but I don't know if I'll tackle that genre any time soon. Historical readers require a lot of accuracy when it comes to the time period you are setting your story in. Not ready to jump into that type of research.

A Tasty Read: What's next for Angelia Almos?

Angelia: I'm working on a cyberpunk novella and the sequel to Horse Charmer right now. I think the cyberpunk will probably come out first as it is closest to being complete. I had hoped to have the sequel to Horse Charmer done this spring, but that hasn't happened yet.

A Tasty Read: Well...I will be excited to read the sequel and see where these characters are headed.

Thank you so much for hanging out with A Tasty Read today. It was such a pleasure to have you here.

Angelia: Thanks, Lisa. It's been fun visiting with you.

About Angelia

Angelia Almos formed a lifelong passion for horses at the age of five when she talked her parents into riding lessons. Horses often play a prominent role in her young adult fantasy books. She also write horsey nonfiction and space opera. She lives in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with her husband, two daughters, two dogs, two cats, and one pony (she often thinks of bumping that number up to two).


 “No, you’ll go with Wilm.” She spoke fast before she could talk herself out of her sudden scheme. “You’ll leave for the Keep just as expected. Wilm can head off for his apprenticeship. You two will meet up and go together.”

    “But they’ll know I didn’t come.”

    “No, they won’t.” She took a deep breath. The plan would not only help her friends, but benefit her family as well. “I’ll go in your place.”

    “The crystal didn’t glow for you.”

    “We’ll just have to hope they don’t have a giant crystal at the entrance or if they do they’ll just assume that I, Madelen, did something between today and then that ruined my soul.”

    Madelen turned her head to stare directly at her. “You’ll go as me?”

    “Of course, I can’t go as me. My name isn’t written on that parchment.” She brushed Madelen’s hair out of her face with her fingertips. “You know how everyone always jokes we look more alike than different. How we could almost be twins?”

    “You’re my best friend, if they discovered our deceit...”

    “They won’t. They won’t remember me from today. I’ll be you and you’ll be me.” The plan solidified in her head and became more possible with each passing second. “I’ll tell my parents I learned of an apprenticeship for myself. They’ll be happy to see me go. Wilm will go to the apprenticeship he’s been waiting on. I’ll travel with him for safety. You’ll go to the Keep. We’ll meet on the trail. You become me and go with Wilm.”

Here are the buy links. Wasn't sure which markets you wanted so I included all of the ones it is live on.

    Print - Create Space -
Print - Amazon -
Ebook - Amazon -
Ebook - Barnes and Noble -
Ebook - Smashwords -

Unicorn Keep
Angelia Almos
Released April 30th, 2012
178 Pages
Thoroughweb Press
Source: Gifted By Author

What a magical story, I honestly can't think of any other word to describe this book.  I enjoyed the budding romance between Jiline and Herrick, but I think it was the magic that occurred between the Unicorns and Jiline that had me turning the pages. 

The storyline was amazing and I was mesmerized by what actually went into becoming a Unicorn Keeper.  I was cheering for Jiline throughout the whole book.  I wanted her to find her magic and believe that she held more power than even she believed she did.  With the help of Herrick, I think she will eventually find it...hummm...Can't wait for that sequel!!

The way Angelia created a whole different world within the four walls of the keep was such an amazing concept.  I think being a Unicorn keeper would be awesome, harder work than it might seem, but still awesome. 

The character who stole my heart was definitely Herrick.  His draw to Madelen/Jiline was heartbreaking, since he didn't know if she felt the same for him.  The part of the book when Jiline was working with Eli we got to see Herrick knocked down a bit, almost as if he never had felt jealous before.  So cute!!  He was just a wonderful hero, and I am in his cheering corner all the way.

If you are looking to fall away into another world for a little while, pick up a copy of Unicorn Keep, and then share it with the young adult in your life.  You will both fall in love!!


Angelia Almos/Angie Derek said...

Thanks for hosting a stop on the tour and for the great review! I'm glad you liked it.

Jaye Shields said...

Angelia Almos writes darn good characters! I fell in love (or hated with a vengeance) every character that made an appearance. I hate to sound like a flouzy, but every young man that made an appearance, I was rooting for. At one point, I was even rooting for a magical unicorn! This would be a great book to read to my younger brother. The romance is subtle enough to be enjoyed by a wide audience and the fantasy world created by Almos was unforgettable. Loved it. Page turned.

Angelia Almos/Angie Derek said...

Thanks Jaye!

Kristen Schwartz said...

Great review! I can't wait to read it!

Angelia Almos/Angie Derek said...

Thanks Kristen! I just might have to sneak you a copy. ;-)