Book Giveaway and Excerpt: Books of Ore


Cam Baity and Benny Zelkowicz are excited that their Second Book of Ore novel, Waybound, is now available from Disney-Hyperion! To celebrate, here is an excerpt from the first volume of the trilogy, The Foundry’s Edge. Take a look!

The day was worse than Phoebe had anticipated. Normally, she could endure Miss Castella’s annoying enthusiasm for punctuation, she could even stomach Mr. Pomeroy’s wretched frog-puke breath. But not today. Every class was like being trapped in a sauna. The renovations on the building were causing the air-cooling units to fail, which meant long stretches of sweltering muck interspersed with rare bursts of heavenly breeze.
They wheeled a bunch of brand new Flurrys into every classroom, but even the Foundry’s top-of-the line fans, chrome devices built to resemble spinning snowflakes, did little more than stir the air like a hot, boring soup.

As the end of the day oozed closer, Phoebe shuffled down one of the gleaming remodeled hallways toward Mrs. V ondell’s dreaded history class. She saw a boisterous group of girls and locked her eyes on the ground. Two or more geese were called a gaggle, she knew, but what was the term for two or more shallow, stuck-up, catty know-it-alls? A squall? A shriek?

Yeah, that sounded about right.

She wove through the crowd and snuck past the shriek of snots, hoping to go unnoticed. No such luck.

“Seriously, that can’t be for real.”

“I would just shave my head if I were her.”

“Was it cut by a drunk?”

“More like a blind man.”

This last dig came from Candice, and it stung the worst.

Back when they were kids, Phoebe and Candice had been inseparable. But when Phoebe needed her best friend most of all, Candice had abandoned her as if she thought tragedy was contagious or something.

Phoebe’s breath felt fiery in her nostrils, and her face tingled with humiliation and outrage. She raked a hand through her butchered hair and fussed with its ragged, uneven edge.

She strode into Mrs. Vondell’s classroom and flopped into her chair by the window, more irritated than ever that she had to sit directly behind Candice. As the waddling hippo that was Mrs. Vondell began her history lesson, Phoebe envisioned all the terrible accidents that might befall her ex–best friend.

Perhaps the workers would hit a weak spot in the roof, and the ceiling would collapse on her. Or maybe Candice’s necklace would get caught in the blades of a Flurry. But between the sweaty classroom and Mrs. Vondell’s monotonous voice dripping in her ear like a drug, Phoebe’s mind drifted.

“That’s correct. By 1646, the Alloy War had been going for sixteen years, claiming over thirty million lives,” Mrs. Vondell droned, her multiple chins wagging to and fro. “And on October twelfth of that year, Meridian brought about a cease-fire by introducing . . . the what?”

Nobody raised a hand, but Mrs. Vondell carried on as if she hadn’t noticed the class’s profound disinterest. She turned back to the enameled metal whiteboard, angling her ample rump to the class, and wrote the answer.

“The Ferro-nomic Treaty, which finally permitted international trade of Foundry goods. A free market emerged for the other nations of the world, who lacked our spirit of innovation.”

Phoebe’s eyelids were heavy. She knew Mrs. Vondell expected her students to regurgitate all this stuff word for word on the test, but the day was nearly at an end.

Candice’s muffled snort of laughter snapped Phoebe awake. She stared at the nauseating waves of perfect blond hair that that cascaded down Candice’s back. The girl tittered at some private joke and flung her locks with a showy toss of her head. A handful of her curls spilled across the frame of the open window.

And an immensely satisfying snipe sprang to her mind.

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SciFi Book Review: Dark Energy

Dark Energy by Robison Wells

Synopsis:
Five days ago, a massive UFO crashed in the Midwest. Since then, nothing—or no one—has come out.

If it were up to Alice, she’d be watching the fallout on the news. But her dad is director of special projects at NASA, so she’s been forced to enroll in a boarding school not far from the crash site. Alice is right in the middle of the action, but even she isn’t sure what to expect when the aliens finally emerge. Only one thing is clear: everything has changed.

Review:
Alice thinks she’ll feel out of place at her new school of geniuses and ultra rich. But she meets sociable students who become fast friends right away. The Big Reveal of the aliens who crash landed on Earth is quite a surprise. And eventually, the feel of the story reminded me a bit of the Roswell series. However, there is a darker mystery here.

Dark Energy is an engaging standalone science fiction novel for teens. There is a bit of romance, though there wasn’t any chemistry between the Alice and her beau. I don’t think there was any mention of her even being attracted to him, so it felt a bit awkward. I still enjoyed the characters, especially Alice and her roommates. The mystery and pacing made this an exciting and fun read. And the climactic finale didn’t disappoint.

Book Giveaway: Extreme Prey

Courtesy of G.P. Putnam’s Sons, I have a copy of Extreme Prey by John Sandford 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 May 13. I’ll draw a name on May 14, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

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Book Giveaway: Crossing the Line

crossing the line

Courtesy of Penguin Young Readers, I have a copy of Crossing the Line by Meghan Rogers 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 May 6. I’ll draw a name on May 7, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Crossing the Line

Graphic Novel Review: Superman Vol. 1: Before Truth



Superman Vol. 1: Before Truth
by Gene Luen Yang (Author), John Romita Jr. (Illustrator)

Synopsis:
Superman is going through some changes. First, there’s his new “solar flare” power, which releases tremendous amounts of energy but leaves him functionally human—fragile, vulnerable, prone to hangovers—for 24 hours.

But an even bigger change is coming. A new company called Hordr has sprung up, and its business is secrets. If you have one that you want to keep hidden, Hordr can control you—and no one has a bigger secret than Clark Kent.

Now, Hordr is threatening to expose Clark’s alter ego unless he does everything they command. Will Superman play into the hands of blackmailers to keep his loved ones out of danger? And if the truth that Superman has been hiding is exposed, will it set him free—or ruin his life?

Review:
Since I jumped into this series with this graphic novel, I’m not sure why Superman was drained of his powers and why they’re different now. This, unfortunately, is not explained. For a first volume, it’s really strange. It collects issues #40-44, so it was a deliberate choice. Altered powers aside, this was a really good story.

A confused and depleted Superman leads to more suspense, when he’s not all-powerful. Hordr is an intriguing new villain. And there are quite a few surprises within the story. In this multiverse, Superman is dating Wonder Woman, but his interactions with Lois Lane are great – she’s still the same person. And I’ll always be team Lois and Clark, so I’m hoping his thing with Wonder Woman fails soon. The story and solid artwork will keep me coming back for more in this series.

Collects issues #40-44 and the 8-page Superman story from DIVERGENCE: FCBD SPECIAL EDITION #1.

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