All posts by SciFiChick

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Author Guest Post and Giveaway: J. Kathleen Cheney


Courtesy of the author, we are giving away a copy of The Golden City and The Seat of Magic by J Kathleen Cheney for one (1) random commenter! Leave a comment below to enter!


shoresofspain
Head

Leaving One World Behind for Another
by J. Kathleen Cheney

While I’m writing this, the last book of my Golden City series, The Shores of Spain, is poised to debut. If you count the three novels, the two novellas I’m working on putting out, and the notes for the third novella (or possibly fourth novel) that’s currently waiting in a file on my desktop, I have written nearly 500,000 words in this setting—an alternate 1902 Portugal.

Because it’s Historical Fantasy, I’ve spent the last few years researching for this series. I’ve studied history, language, and customs. I’ve learned to cook some of the local food (I’m a terrible cook, though.) I’ve actually traveled to Portugal and spent a couple of weeks there. For years it seemed that every spare moment was spent researching Portugal, and every spare penny was put toward period maps, travel videos, and relevant books.

And now that’s all over. Or is it?

It’s been hard for me to stop researching. I’ll see an article on one of the Portugal Facebook groups I follow, and find myself falling down the rabbit hole of research again….for no good reason. Am I ever going to put that knowledge to work? I don’t know.

Did you know that the Agramonte Cemetery in Porto is overrun with cats? Someone even took the time to set up a Reddit for pictures of cats at Agramonte, although no one has ever posted on it. Apparently, setting up a “cat in the cemetery” Reddit is common—there seem to be a lot of cat/cemetery pictures there. I don’t know how much time I spent down that particular rabbit hole, but it was far more than I needed because I only went there to make certain that Agramonte was opened before 1903.

The problem with stopping one’s research is that the setting doesn’t stop being interesting.

So I’ve had to remind myself not to purchase more books about Portugal. I’ve tried to limit my time on webpages about the setting. I’ve even let my language practice lapse, one thing I actually should not give up.

But the issue here is time. Because I only have a finite amount of time to get the next book written, I have to hustle to get my research done. I’m researching underground building design, Scandinavia, India, Persia. I’m having to consider new languages and peoples and I’m fleshing out a whole new world…in a matter of months, not years.

And just as I did with Portugal, I’ve fallen in love with this new setting. It’s a second world fantasy, which means I’m building it from the ground up. Or from under the ground and up.

I’ve had to do this before. I wrote three novellas before the Portugal books that were set in Saratoga Springs, New York. I accumulated what feels like a ton of research info on that location. Many of those books are still on the shelf behind me. Will I ever write something set there again? I certainly hope so.

Because we never truly forget our older settings. We will always love them, like a friend that we haven’t seen in years but with whom we still try to keep in touch. We know them. They’re familiar. Comfortable.

But for writers it’s always on to the next thing, always with a prayer that the next thing will be even more fun, and more successful. Fingers crossed!


Courtesy of the author, we are giving away a copy of The Golden City and The Seat of Magic by J Kathleen Cheney for one (1) random commenter! So, leave a comment below to enter!

Continue reading Author Guest Post and Giveaway: J. Kathleen Cheney

SciFi Book Review: Hunt for the Pyxis

Hunt for the Pyxis by Zoe Ferraris

Synopsis:
On the night Emma Garton’s supposedly boring parents are kidnapped, she is forced to face the truth: they’ve been lying to her about many things, including the Pyxis, a mysterious amulet that holds the key to saving another world—and worse, they aren’t even from planet Earth.

To find her parents, Emma and her best friend, Herbie, must leave Earth and enter the Strands—the waterways of space, where huge galleons ply the intergalactic seas. But a journey through the constellations won’t be easy—not with evil Queen Virgo and every scoundrel in the galaxy determined to find them.

Review:
Emma and Herbie travel the galaxy to rescue Emma’s parents. But the biggest surprise is that Emma’s parents have been lying to her. That doesn’t stop her from trying to find and rescue them. Emma also doesn’t know what the Pyxis is, but she’s willing to keep it safe at all costs as her parents have done.

Hunt for the Pyxis is the first in a new series for middle readers. Blending fantasy and science fiction, the The Galaxy Pirates series debut is unique and action-packed. It’s full of mystery, adventure, magical water, and flying ships. The suspense builds to a thrilling finale that leaves off in a bit of a cliffhanger. I’ll definitely be picking up the next in this fun and engaging series.

Book Giveaway: HALO: Hunters in the Dark

Courtesy of Gallery Books, I have a copy of HALO: Hunters in the Dark by Peter David for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends July 31. I’ll draw a name on August 1, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: HALO: Hunters in the Dark

Received in June

The following are the books and movies I received in June for review and/or giveaways:

Ace:
Queen of Fire by Anthony Ryan

Amazon Publishing / 47North / Thomas & Mercer / Skyscape:
The Stellow Project by Shari Becker
Letters to Zell by Camille Griep
Weavers by Aric Davis

Daw:
Faces by E. C. Blake

Del Rey:
Star Wars: Dark Disciple by Christie Golden
Fable: Blood of Heroes by Jim C. Hines
Resistance: Dave vs. the Monsters by John Birmingham
Lisette’s List by Susan Vreeland
Golden Son by Pierce Brown
Dave vs. the Monsters: Ascendance by John Birmingham

InkLit:
Michael Midas Champion: Book One by Jordan B. Gorfinkel

Kensington:
Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep

Gallery Books:
HALO: Hunters in the Dark by Peter David

Henry Holt / Metropolitan Books:
The Only Words That Are Worth Remembering by Jeffrey Rotter

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers:
Deceptive by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Mac Teen Books / Roaring Brook Press / Feiwel and Friends / FSG:
Dreamstrider by Lindsay Smith
Firewalker by Josephine Angelini
The August 5 by Jenna Helland

Penguin Teen / Razorbill / Dial:
A Book of Spirits and Thieves by Morgan Rhodes
Tracked by Jenny Martin

Pocket Books:
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Sacraments of Fire by David R. George III
Star Trek: The Original Series: Crisis of Consciousness by Dave Galanter
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Armageddon’s Arrow by Dayton Ward

Pyr:
The Chart of Tomorrows by Chris Willrich

Rebellion / Ravenstone:
The Awesome by Eva Darrows

Roc:
Witches with the Enemy by Barb Hendee
The Price of Valor by Django Wexler

Scholastic:
Wings of Fire Book Six: Moon Rising by Tui T. Sutherland
The Keeper by David Baldacci

St Martin’s:
Weightless by Sarah Bannan

Subterranean Press:
The Best of Nancy Kress by Nancy Kress

Switch Press:
Lois Lane: Fallout by Gwenda Bond

Titan Books:
The Queen of The Swords by Michael Moorcock
The King of Swords by Michael Moorcock
Fu-Manchu: Re-enter Fu-Manchu by Sax Rohmer
Beauty & the Beast: Some Gave All by Nancy Holder

Tor:
The End of All Things by John Scalzi
Low Midnight by Carrie Vaughn
Kitty Saves the World by Carrie Vaughn
The Philosopher Kings by Jo Walton
The Unnoticeables by Robert Brockway

Tor Teen:
Ungodly by Kendare Blake

WMG Publishing:
Crystal Caves by Kristine Grayson
Brittany Bends by Kristine Grayson
Recycled Pulp edited by John Helfers
The Life and Times of Buffalo Jimmy: Headed West by Dean Wesley Smith

SciFi Book Review: The 100: Homecoming

The 100: Homecoming by Kass Morgan

Synopsis:
Weeks after landing on Earth, the Hundred have managed to create a sense of order amidst their wild, chaotic surroundings. But their delicate balance comes crashing down with the arrival of new dropships from space.

These new arrivals are the lucky ones-back on the Colony, the oxygen is almost gone-but after making it safely to Earth, GLASS’s luck seems to be running out. CLARKE leads a rescue party to the crash site, ready to treat the wounded, but she can’t stop thinking about her parents who may still be alive. Meanwhile, WELLS struggles to maintain his authority despite the presence of the Vice Chancellor and his armed guards, and BELLAMY must decide whether to face or flee the crimes he thought he’d left behind.

It’s time for the Hundred to come together and fight for the freedom they’ve found on Earth, or risk losing everything-and everyone-they love.

Review:
Homecoming is the third installment in the 100 series. The tv show (based on these novels) is completely different in story and feel. I much prefer the books, as the show has gotten to be extremely dark and depressing with little hope or good feelings. The novels also have some great characters that I thoroughly enjoy. This latest novel is packed with drama, suspense, romance, and mystery. And events build to an exciting and satisfying conclusion. Young adult science fiction fans will want to check out this engaging series.

Book Giveaway: A Book of Spirits and Thieves

Courtesy of Penguin Young Readers, I have a copy of A Book of Spirits and Thieves by Morgan Rhodes for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends July 24. I’ll draw a name on July 25, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: A Book of Spirits and Thieves

Fantasy Book Review: The Originals: The Resurrection

The Originals: The Resurrection by Julie Plec

Synopsis:
Klaus, Elijah and Rebekah Mikaelson had won it all, only to lose it again by 1788. Control of New Orleans is split between the vampires and the werewolves, much to Klaus’s displeasure. In a dangerous attempt to reclaim his home, Klaus decides to build a vampire army to take out the werewolves once and for all. If he can’t have love, then he’ll settle for power. Elijah lets his brother take the reins as he turns his attentions to a beautiful and mysterious woman. But Rebekah has had enough of her brothers’ love of bloodshed and begins a journey to find her first home and the key to her family’s immortality. As the battle rages on, the siblings must come together and fight for what they believe in most: family.

Review:
More time has passed since the last novel. Elijah has stepped back and become less emotionally involved, and lets Klaus take control as he likes. And Rebecca has run off with yet another beau, in search of a tree that has the means to end her and her brothers. Meanwhile, someone seems to be manipulating the relationship between Klaus and the uneasy truce with the werewolves.

The Resurrection is the third novel in this first (but hopefully not last) Originals trilogy, a novelization of the hit tv show. This final installment may be my favorite of the three. Full of twists and surprises, new villains, and magic – it’s thoroughly captivating from beginning to end. I’d love to see The Originals visit a new city next time and explore new stories.