Category Archives: Book News

Book Excerpt: Bad Girl Gone

Awakening

When I tried to remember exactly how I came to be lying in the cold black room, my mind couldn’t focus.
I could feel myself slowly climbing upward, clawing my way out of the clutches of a nightmare. This was usually a good feeling, because you knew you were just dreaming, and the nightmare was over. Except this time it wasn’t. My hands felt clammy. I gripped the sheets until I knew my knuckles must be white. Help me, I thought. Somebody please help me.

I had no idea where I was, and for a terrifying second I couldn’t even remember who I was. But then I remembered my name. Echo. Echo Stone. My real name is Eileen. When I was a toddler, I waddled around repeating everything my parents said and they called me “Echo,” and it just stuck.

Remembering my name and how I got it kick-started my brain. I knew who I was. I remembered that I was sixteen years old and lived in Kirkland, Washington, with my mom and dad. It was all coming back to me. Mom was a dentist and Dad taught middle school English. Good, I could remember parts of my life. But I was still in a dark, cold room and had no idea how I got there. I held back a scream, my chest tightening. Don’t lose it, Echo, keep it together, I told myself. Calm down, think good thoughts.

I pictured Andy, my boyfriend. Six feet tall, broad shoul- ders, blue eyes, and long golden-brown hair. He loved to feed me cookie bites and called me his rabbit. I called him Wolfie. Sometimes he got the hiccups for no reason at all and usually laughed them away. Thinking of Andy momentarily made me feel warm inside, even though the room was freezing.

Where was I? I was shivering and yet also bathed in sweat, my skin slick with it. I clutched for my trusty Saint Christo- pher necklace. But it wasn’t there. Mom gave it to me to protect me when I traveled. Would it protect me now? I would never have lost it. The chain must have broken. And then I had an ugly thought. What if someone had ripped it from my neck? I shuddered. Where are you, Andy? I need you!

Continue reading Book Excerpt: Bad Girl Gone

Received in July

The following are the books, movies, television shows, etc. I received in July for review and/or giveaways:

Blu-Rays:
Kong: Skull Island
Ghost in the Shell

Mystery Boxes:
TeeBlox
Bam Box
ThinkGeek Capsule

47 North / Amazon Press:
(ID)entity by Pj Manney

DC / Young Animal:
Mother Panic Vol. 1: A Work in Progress by Jody Houser
Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye Vol. 1: Going Underground by Gerard Way

Del Rey / Balantine:
Gilded Cage by Vic James
The Core by Peter V. Brett
Star Wars: Battlefront II: Inferno Squad by Christie Golden
The Last One by Alexandra Oliva

Disney Hyperion:
The Adventurers Guild by Zack Loran Clark
Percy Jackson and the Olympians The Percy Jackson Coloring Book artwork by Keith Robinson
Apex by Mercedes Lackey

Epsilon Games:
Primus Vita – Issue 1

First Second:
Castle in the Stars: The Space Race of 1869 by Alex Alice

Harlequin Teen:
Legion by Julie Kagawa

Harper Voyager:
The Reluctant Queen by Sarah Beth Durst
Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill
Noumenon by Marina J. Lostetter
Sinless by Sarah Tarkoff
Breach of Containment by Elizabeth Bonesteel
The Rift Uprising by Amy S. Foster
The Rift Frequency by Amy S. Foster

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt / John Joseph Adams / Mariner:
Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn
Retrograde by Peter Cawdron

InkShares / Geek and Sundry:
The Punch Escrow by Tal M. Klein
Devil’s Call by J. Danielle Dorn

Library of America:
Ursula K. Le Guin: The Hainish Novels and Stories

Little, Brown:
Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

Pyr:
A Kiss Before Doomsday by Laurence MacNaughton

Scholastic:
The Knowing by Sharon Cameron

St. Martin’s Griffin / Thomas Dunne:
Bad Girl Gone by Temple Mathews

Subterranean Books:
Don’t Live For Your Obituary by John Scalzi

Titan Books:
The Beauty by Aliya Whiteley
Clade by James Bradley
Infinite Stars by Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Titan Comics:
Assassin’s Creed: Volume 3 Homecoming by Anthony Del Col

Tor:
Arabella and the Battle of Venus by David D. Levine
Killing Is My Business by Adam Christopher

Tor Teen:
Last Chance by Gregg Hurwitz

William Morrow:
Strange Weather: Four Short Novels by Joe Hill

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: STONE GIRL’S STORY

Courtesy of Clarion, I have an ARC copy of Stone Girl’s Story by Sarah Beth Durst for five (5) lucky winners!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends August 11. I’ll draw a name on August 12, and notify winners via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Cover Reveal and Giveaway: STONE GIRL’S STORY

Book Excerpt: The Glass Arrow

Excerpt of The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons.

Run.

My breath is sharp as a dagger, stabbing through my throat. It’s all I hear. Whoosh. Whoosh. In and out.

They’re here. The Trackers. They’ve followed Bian from the lowland village where he lives. The fool led them right to us.

The forest I know as well as the lines on my palms is dense and shrouded from the mid-morning light. I keep to the shadows, skirting around the bright open patches where the sunlight streams to the forest floor. My calloused feet fl y over the damp leaves and gray pebbles, keeping me stealthy as a fox.

I run a practiced pattern, just like my ma taught me as a child. A zigzag through the brush and trees. I never run in a line; their horses will catch up too quickly on the straightaway, and they’re not all I have to worry about. I know the Tracker hounds have picked up my scent too, but they’re scroungers, weakened by hunger, and not as nimble as me in these woods. I’m banking on their starving stomachs leading them directly to the bait meat in my hunting snares.

My thoughts jolt to the traps. There are six placed strategically around our camp. I know they’re good because I set them myself, and checked them only this morning.

In my mind I see a Tracker’s heavy black boots clamber over the loose branches, see him fall ten feet down into a muddy hole. Another might trip the spring of the rabbit cage so its razor-sharp teeth bite down through his leather shoe.

Trackers are cunning. But not as cunning as me.

I swing around a stout pine, locking my body in place behind it so that I’m absolutely still. The coarse bark imprints onto the naked skin of my shoulders but I hold my position. That’s when I hear it. The thunder of hoof-beats. A shot pierces the air. Gunfire. Someone yells—a man’s voice, strained, hurting. It’s either one of them or Bian. He’s the only man old enough to make a noise so deep. Tam’s not yet seven, and if he were caught, his cry would be shrill. Childlike.

Tam. I must find Tam and Nina, the twins. They count on me when they’re scared. Though when I conjure them in my mind—Tam’s black hair and button nose, Nina’s ever-watchful eyes—I am the one who’s scared.

I’ve prepared them, I tell myself. I’ve prepared them like my ma prepared me. They know the hiding place—the abandoned wolf’s den in the south woods. An image of it breaks through from my memory: the narrow, shale entrance and damp inner chamber, smelling of mold. The rocky floor lined with the brittle bones of squirrels whose souls have long since passed to Mother Hawk. At first it looks to be a trap in itself, but if you squeeze past the tapering stone walls, the rock gives way to soil, and the twisting roots of an old pine create a ladder to climb upward into sunlit freedom.

Continue reading Book Excerpt: The Glass Arrow

Book Giveaway: Tropic of Kansas

Courtesy of Harper Voyager, I have a copy of Tropic of Kansas by Christopher Brown 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 28. I’ll draw a name on July 29, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Tropic of Kansas

Received in June

The following are the books, movies, television shows, etc. I received in June for review and/or giveaways:

Mystery Boxes:
TeeBlox
Bam Box
ThinkGeek Capsule
ThinkGeek Jewelry

Ace:
Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris

Avon Books:
Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

Berkley:
Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine

Del Rey / Random House / Delacorte Press / Bantam:
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
The Waking Land by Callie Bates
Seven Stones to Stand or Fall: A Collection of Outlander Fiction by Diana Gabaldon
A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne
The Book of Swords by George R. R. Martin
Injection Burn by Jason M. Hough
Escape Velocity by Jason M. Hough
Besieged: Stories from The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne
Armistice: The Hot War by Harry Turtledove

Disney Hyperion / Marvel:
Rise of the Isle of the Lost by Melissa De la Cruz
Miles Morales: Spider-Man by Jason Reynolds
Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne

First Second:
Mighty Jack and the Goblin King by Ben Hatke

Harper Collins / William Morrow:
The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson

Harper Voyager:
An Excess Male by Maggie Shen King
The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty
Tropic of Kansas by Christopher Brown

Little, Brown:
Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray
Buried Heart by Kate Elliott

Pocket Books:
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Enigma Tales by Una McCormack

Pyr:
The Genius Plague by David Walton
Raining Fire by Rajan Khanna

Quarto Publishing:
The Impossible Has Happened: The Life and Work of Gene Roddenberry by Lance Parkin

Random House Children / Delacorte Press:
Guardians of the Gryphon’s Claw by Todd Calgi Gallicano

Scholastic:
The Princess and the Page by Christina Farley
Shadowhouse Fall by Daniel José Older

Subterranean Press:
Oberon’s Meaty Mysteries: The Squirrel on the Train by Kevin Hearne

Tor:
Shattered Minds by Laura Lam
The Tiger’s Daughter by K Arsenault Rivera
Perilous Prophecy by Leanna Renee Hieber
Tomorrow’s Kin by Nancy Kress
The Queen of Swords by R. S. Belcher

Tor Teen:
Roar by Cora Carmack

Vintage Books:
Amatka by Karin Tidbeck

Book Excerpt: Scourge: A Novel of Darkhurst

An Excerpt from Scourge: A Novel of Darkhurst
By Gail Z. Martin
Chapter One

A HEAVY IRON candleholder slammed against the wall, just missing Corran Valmonde’s head.

“Son of a bitch!”

“Try not to make her mad, Corran.”

Rigan Valmonde knelt on the worn floor, drawing a sigil in charcoal, moving as quickly as he dared. Not quickly enough; a piece of firewood spun from the hearth and flew across the room, slamming him in the shoulder hard enough to make him grunt in pain.

“Keep her off me!” he snapped, repairing the smudge in the soot line. Sloppy symbols meant sloppy magic, and that could get someone killed.

“I would if I could see her.” Corran stepped away from the wall, raising his iron sword, putting himself between the fireplace and his brother. His breath misted in the unnaturally cold room and moisture condensed on the wavy glass of the only window.

“Watch where you step.” Rigan worked on the second sigil, widdershins from the soot marking, this one daubed in ochre. “I don’t want to have to do this again.”

A small ceramic bowl careened from the mantle, and, for an instant, Rigan glimpsed a young woman in a blood-soaked dress, one hand clutching her heavily pregnant belly. The other hand slipped right through the bowl, even as the dish hurtled at Rigan’s head. Rigan dove to one side and the bowl smashed against the opposite wall. At the same time, Corran’s sword slashed down through the specter. A howl of rage filled the air as the ghost dissipated.

You have no right to be in my home. The dead woman’s voice echoed in Rigan’s mind.

Get out of my head.

You are a confessor. Hear me!

Not while you’re trying to kill my brother.

“You’d better hurry.” Corran slowly turned, watching for the ghost.

“I can’t rush the ritual.” Rigan tried to shut out the ghost’s voice, focusing on the complex chalk sigil. He reached into a pouch and drew a thin curved line of salt, aconite, and powdered amanita, connecting the first sigil to the second, and the second to the third and fourth, working his way to drawing a complete warded circle.

The ghost materialized without warning on the other side of the line, thrusting a thin arm toward Rigan, her long fingers crabbed into claws, old blood beneath her torn nails. She opened a gash on Rigan’s cheek as he stumbled backward, grabbed a handful of the salt mixture and threw it. The apparition vanished with a wail.

“Corran!” Rigan’s warning came a breath too late as the ghost appeared right behind his brother, and took a swipe with her sharp, filthy nails, clawing Corran’s left shoulder.

He wronged me. He let me die, let my baby die— The voice shrieked in Rigan’s mind.

Continue reading Book Excerpt: Scourge: A Novel of Darkhurst

Hawthorn Moon Guest Post with Gail Z. Martin

Gail Martin, Dreamspinner Communications

The Allure of the Outlaw
By Gail Z. Martin

What is it about bad boys, girls who break the rules, and outlaws that hooks us into stories over and over again?

Maybe part of it’s wish fulfillment–a chance to escape the confines of ‘appropriate’ behavior by proxy without fearing the consequences. Perhaps some of it is trying out our rebel wings before we fully commit to burning bridges. Often, it’s just sweet to see the outsider win, the outcast show everyone up, the misfit save the world.

Think about some of the outlaws we love the best: the crew of the Serenity, Captain Jack Harkness, Han Solo, the Winchester Brothers, Butch and Sundance, the Doctor, and even, eventually, the command team of Babylon 5 and many more. They do the right thing, even if it’s in the wrong way, even if their methods don’t fit with what society expects. We wish we had their courage, and sometimes, we do.

In my Chronicles of the Necromancer/Fallen Kings Cycle, we saw a couple of kinds of exiles. Prince Martris (Tris) Drayke became an exile along with his friends when Tris’s half-brother seized the crown and killed the king. Jonmarc Vahanian went on the run after raiders murdered his family and he double-crossed a vyash moru blood mage. Cam and Carina’s father threw them out of their home because of Carina’s magic and the bad luck thought to accompany twins.

The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga finds disgraced lord Blaine McFadden exiled to the Velant prison in the harsh arctic expanse of Edgeland for a murder he doesn’t regret. His circle of close friends–Kestel, Dawe, Piran and Verran–have been sent into exile for their own crimes. When they return to a devastated homeland where even magic no longer works, they find themselves strangers in a hostile land.

Scourge is the first book in my new Darkhurst series for Solaris Books (launching July 15). Undertaker brothers Corran, Rigan and Kell Valmonde become outlaws when they refuse to obey the laws forbidding them from killing the monsters that are murdering friends and neighbors, and that would kill or jail Rigan for his unsanctioned ability with magic. It’s medieval monster hunters in a corrupt and dangerous system. It’s Supernatural meets Game of Thrones.

One of the things I think we like the best about outlaws is that they take risks and defy the powers that be in ways we often wish we could in the real world. They actually tell off the bully, fight against the unfair system, and bring about a rough sort of justice. We cheer for their victories because those wins are so hard to make happen in real life. Watching them win gives us hope, and makes us believe there is a reason to continue resisting.

Sometimes, the heroes we read about inspire us to do the right thing even if society disapproves. Whether it’s standing up for something who is being harassed, voting against laws that unjustly target vulnerable groups, or refusing to go along with an institutionalized injustice, our fictional heroes give us courage to be our better selves. There’s a little bit of outlaw in all of us.

About the Author:
Continue reading Hawthorn Moon Guest Post with Gail Z. Martin