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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Assassin's Heart by Sarah Ahiers

Assassin's Heart by Sarah Ahiers
Series: Assassin's Heart #1
Publication Date: February 2, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
A Young Adult novel
Pages: 400
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

In the kingdom of Lovero, nine rival Families of assassins lawfully kill people for a price. As a highly skilled member of one of these powerful clans, seventeen-year-old Lea Saldana has always trusted in the strength of her Family. Until she awakens to find them murdered and her home in flames. The Da Vias, the Saldanas’ biggest enemy, must be responsible—and Lea should have seen it coming. But her secret relationship with the Da Vias’ son, Val, has clouded her otherwise killer instinct—and given the Da Vias more reason than ever to take her Family down.
     Racked with guilt and shattered over Val’s probable betrayal, Lea sets out to even the score, with her heart set on retaliation and only one thought clear in her mind: make the Da Vias pay.
With shades of The Godfather and Romeo and Juliet, this richly imagined fantasy from debut author Sarah Ahiers is a story of love, lies, and the ultimate vengeance.
Interview with the protatonist, Lea Saldana

Storybook Slayers: Hello Lea, welcome to Storybook Slayers! We are so happy to have you stop on by to answer a few questions. Being an assassin to the goddess Safraella and to the Saldana Family you must go through rigorous training. What are some of the things you have to learn and perfect as member of the number one family in Lovero?

Lea Saldana: Oh, so much. We’re trained rigorously as soon as we’re able to walk. That means weapons. And poisons. And politics and religion. And once you find something in which you’re proficient, it means studying until you’re a master. For example, when my mother discovered my aptitude for poisons, it meant endless study of how to make them, how to survive them, how to make antidotes. And all of that on top of my other studies. We have to be perfect in all things, because when your Family is ranked the highest, it wouldn’t take much to slip.

SS: Where in Lovero was your favorite spot to visit?

LS: I loved to eat at Fabricio’s. The food there is fantastic and I particularly like their duck served with a red-wine glaze. Also, Fabricio’s is great if you’re looking for some privacy with someone special.

SS: In Lovero there happened to be twelve Families that serves Safraella, who were the other three and how did they become lost?

LS: They were the Bencivennis, the Idonis, and the Laterzas. The Idonis were wiped out by plague in their region.
The Bencivennis and Laterzas were embroiled in a violent feud that the rest of the Families stayed out of. The Laterzas were ultimately destroyed by the Bencivennis, but the Bencivennis did not come out unscathed and when their Family failed to recover after a few generations, the remainders married into other Families, mostly the Bartolomeos who also gained their territory.

SS: I'm sure clipping people takes up much of your time, Lea. But what are some other hobbies that you enjoy aside from your assassin's work?

LS: I like to read. Reading is a great hobby because it doesn’t require a skill other than literacy and it can still pass the time and bring you great joy. I also like embroidery, but it’s something I just don’t have much skill for and don’t have the time to dedicate to becoming better at it. So mostly I just wish I could embroider.

SS: And our final question. I find the masks to be such an interesting custom to the art of clipping. Why had you chosen black azalea flowers on yours? And if you had the choice to choose a different insignia for your mask, what would you pick?

LS: Well, my name, Oleander, is a poisonous flower, and my favorite embroidery patterns are flowers, so I knew I wanted some sort of flower on my mask and I liked the idea of it being something beautiful, yet at the same time deadly. But I didn’t want to use my namesake because I didn’t want to, more or less, stamp my name on my mask. So I chose azaleas instead. I feel comfortable behind them.
If I were to pick another pattern . . . that’s a hard one. Maybe something to do with the stars. I love to watch them, on quiet nights, and think about how everyone in the world can see the same thing I see, if they only look up.

SS: Than you so much for stopping by the blog, Lea! We look forward to seeing what happens in the sequel. Best of luck with everything!
Sarah Ahiers is working towards an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults and lives in Minnesota with three dogs and a house full of critters. She has a collection of steampunk hats and when she’s not writing she fills her time with good games, good food, good friends and good family.
     Sarah writes Young Adult and Middle Grade novels and occasionally dabbles in Picture Books. Fantasy is her favorite genre, though she sometimes can be found playing around with Horror and other things that go bump in the night.
     Sarah’s debut novel, ASSASSIN’S HEART (HarperTeen, February 2nd, 2016) is a Young Adult Fantasy. In the Kingdom of Lovero, where families of assassins lawfully kill people for the right price, seventeen-year-old Oleander “Lea” Saldana sets out on a path of vengeance against the most powerful assassin family of all.
     She is represented by Mollie Glick of Foundry Literary & Media.

 Giveaway Details

(1) Winner will receive a finished copy and some swag (bookmarks, postcards), US Only.

Tour Schedule:

Week One:
1/25/2016- Adventures of a Book JunkieInterview
1/26/2016- Brittany's Book RamblesReview
1/27/2016- Tween 2 Teen Book ReviewsGuest Post
1/29/2016- The Young FolksInterview

Week Two:
2/1/2016- Cover2CoverReview
2/2/2016- YaReadsGuest Post
2/3/2016- Dark Faerie TalesReview
2/4/2016- Storybook SlayersInterview
2/5/2016- Fiction FareReview