Tag Archives: ya

Book Giveaway: Gemina

Courtesy of Alfred A Knopf Books for Young Readers, I have a copy of Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff 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 October 21. I’ll draw a name on October 22, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Gemina

Fantasy Book Review: Mysteries of Cove Book 2, Gears of Revolution

book tour

Mysteries of Cove: Gears of Revolution by J. Scott Savage

Synopsis:
After finding a compass and clues left by Kallista’s father, Leo Babbage, Trenton and Kallista head west aboard their homemade mechanical dragon to search for the missing inventor. The two teenagers hope to find answers about their mountain city of Cove, but instead, they find only a blackened forest, ruined buildings, and a small underground city. Almost immediately, Trenton and Kallista are caught up in a civil war between a clan of scavengers called Whipjacks and the Order of the Beast, people who believe that dragons are immortal and divine.

Stranded in a new city, the two friends meet Plucky, a Whipjack girl with mechanical legs, and Ander, a young member of the Order who claims humans are able to communicate with dragons. Can they trust anyone, or have they unknowingly stepped into a trap?
And high above in the sky, the dragons are gathering .

Review:
While searching for Leo Babbage, Trenton and Kallista are shot down and land in a complex colony of survivors. Part of the population idolizes dragons, but others to want to help Trenton and Kallista fix their dragon in exchange for helping them with weapons.

Gears of Revolution is an exciting sequel with plenty of mystery, intrigue, and danger. This is a fantastic, steampunk adventure series for middle readers on up. And this 2nd installment is just as suspenseful and dramatic as the first. We learn a bit more about the dragons, and Earth’s history in this book – and I’m looking forward to (hopefully!) reading more in future installments. This is a talented middle grade author who has developed a fascinating world of steampunk and dragons.

Blog Tour Interview: Jessica Cluess on A Shadow Bright and Burning

jessica-cluess

Author Jessica Cluess joins SciFiChick.com today to talk about her novel A Shadow Bright and Burning!

Tell us a bit about Henrietta.

Henrietta is a sixteen-year-old schoolteacher who is desperately trying to keep her secret magic fire power under wraps. As you do when you’re a teenage girl in the Victorian era. That changes when she’s declared the prophesied one, destined to save England from its longstanding war against seven monsters. So she’s whisked off to London, where she makes another alarming discovery: she’s not the prophesied one after all. All of this makes Henrietta intelligent, brave, someone who is a little too comfortable with lying, and deeply untrusting. However, she also yearns to look after the people in her life, so that’s one very positive quality.

What is this fantasy world like?

Magic is out in the open and very much accepted in this version of Victorian England. The three main branches of magic are sorcerers, who are predominantly wealthy and powerful, magicians, who are scattered and have been relegated to permanent second-class citizen status, and witches, who are killed outright when they’re found. The sharp class division has come about because a decade before the story begins, a magician named Howard Mickelmas and a witch named Mary Willoughby opened a portal to another dimension and let seven horrible monsters through. That stared the war, and got both their magical races imprisoned and killed. There is a reason that sorcerers want to kill witches and only keep magicians downtrodden, but that reason will be revealed later on in the series, so I can’t say too much now.

Can you tell us about your journey in publishing?

My first time querying a manuscript was hell. I’d spent two years teaching myself to write and edit a novel for publication, and after six months of querying I’d had maybe two full requests. It was so dispiriting, and I stopped writing for adults and decided to write for the YA market. I found an idea that I loved, spent a year working on it, and then queried again. This time, the process was pretty much a dream. One week after I queried the man who became my agent, he offered to represent me. A few months after that, we went on submission, and less than two weeks later we had an offer. In some ways, the grueling and painful first attempt at publishing made the later success so much sweeter. I’m extremely grateful that I had that challenging beginning.

This will publish a few days after, but how do you plan on celebrating release day?

I’m going to force myself to sleep later than seven o’clock! Also, I’m planning on getting together with a group of friends that evening, and even though it’s a Tuesday we’re going to have a few drinks. You can’t go too crazy. Everyone has work the next day!

Who are some of your favorite authors? What books do you love?

The big inspiration for this series, and for me in general, is Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. I call that book my Lord of the Rings in terms of its influence on me, and my writing. Growing up, my parents didn’t keep many fantasy books in the house, but my dad was a big horror guy, so I was weaned on Stephen King. It is the kind of book I didn’t appreciate as much when I was younger, but now that I’m an adult I see its power. Neil Gaiman and Ray Bradbury were two of my biggest influences as an adolescent, and nowadays I love Diana Gabaldon. There are some great YA fantasy books from up and coming writers like Alwyn Hamilton, Traci Chee, Tara Sim, Audrey Coulthurst, and Roshani Chokshi. And even though I’m not a huge sci-fi person, Dune was one of the most important reads of my life. It was the book that made me want to write speculative fiction professionally, and I’ll always be grateful to it.

Fantasy Book Review: The Scourge

The Scourge by Jennifer A Nielsen

Synopsis:
As a lethal plague sweeps through the land, Ani Mells is shocked when she is unexpectedly captured by the governor’s wardens and forced to submit to a test for the deadly Scourge. She is even more surprised when the test results come back positive, and she is sent to Attic Island, a former prison turned refuge — and quarantine colony — for the ill. The Scourge’s victims, Ani now among them, can only expect to live out short, painful lives there. However, Ani quickly discovers that she doesn’t know the whole truth about the Scourge or the Colony. She’s been caught in a devious plot, and, with the help of her best friend, Weevil, Ani means to uncover just what is actually going on.

But will she and Weevil survive long enough to do so?

Review:
Ani and Weevil are loyal friends that would do anything for each other. Ani is a strong and hard-headed girl with a lot of pride. Unfortunately, this gets her in trouble with authority figures; and she winds up in the Colony for Scourge victims. Weevil follows just because he’s loyal and thinks he can help.

This is a fantastic stand-alone story set in a fictional world where a deadly Scourge has the population terrified. The plot is pretty predictable, but it doesn’t make the suspense any less thrilling. The characters are vivid and the story is captivating. The pacing and excitement make it a hard book to put down. Events build to a climactic conclusion that doesn’t disappoint. The Scourge is an engaging story for young adults and adults alike.

Book Giveaway: Frost

Courtesy of Scholastic, I have a copy of Frost by M. P. Kozlowsky 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 October 14. I’ll draw a name on October 15, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Frost

Fantasy Book Review: The Killer In Me

The Killer In Me by Margot Harrison

Synopsis:
Hasn’t he lived long enough? Why not? I could take him like a thief in the night.
This is how the Thief thinks. He serves death, the vacuum, the unknown. He’s always waiting. Always there.

Seventeen-year-old Nina Barrows knows all about the Thief. She’s intimately familiar with his hunting methods: how he stalks and kills at random, how he disposes of his victims’ bodies in an abandoned
mine in the deepest, most desolate part of a desert.

Now, for the first time, Nina has the chance to do something about the serial killer that no one else knows exists. With the help of her former best friend, Warren, she tracks the Thief two thousand miles, to his home turf-the deserts of New Mexico.

But the man she meets there seems nothing like the brutal sociopath with whom she’s had a disturbing connection her whole life. To anyone else, Dylan Shadwell is exactly what he appears to be: a young veteran committed to his girlfriend and her young daughter. As Nina spends more time with him, she begins to doubt the truth she once held as certain: Dylan Shadwell is the Thief. She even starts to wonder . . . what if there is no Thief?

Review:
Nina is a troubled girl. She sees brutal murders through someone else’s eyes. And whatever she does, she can never seem to stop him. She’s not even sure if he’s real. But she has his name and residence, so she decides to trek across the country to find him and get answers.

The Killer In Me is an exciting and captivating psychological thriller. With a couple of shocking twists along the way, I thoroughly enjoyed this story. The characters are vivid, and there is plenty of mystery, suspense, and drama. Young adults on up should enjoy this mind twister.

SciFi Book Review: Flying

Flying by Carrie Jones

Synopsis:
People have always treated seventeen-year-old Mana as someone in need of protection. She’s used to being coddled, being an only child, but it’s hard to imagine anything could ever happen in her small-town, normal life. As her mother’s babying gets more stifling than ever, she’s looking forward to cheering at the big game and getting out of the house for a while.

But that night, Mana’s life goes haywire.

First, the hot guy she’s been crushing on at school randomly flips out and starts spitting acid during the game. Then they get into a knockdown, drag-out fight in the locker room, during which Mana finds herself leaping around like a kangaroo on steroids. As a flyer on the cheerleading squad, she’s always been a good jumper, but this is a bit much. By the time she gets home and finds her house trashed and an alien in the garage, Mana starts to wonder if her mother had her reasons for being overprotective.

It turns out, Mana’s frumpy, timid mom is actually an alien hunter, and now she’s missing–taking a piece of technology with her that everyone wants their hands on, both human and alien. Now her supposed partner, a guy that Mana has never met or heard of (and who seems way too young and way too arrogant to be hunting aliens), has shown up, ordering Mana to come with him. Now, on her own for the first time, Mana will have to find a way to save her mother–and maybe the world–and hope she’s up to the challenge.

Review:
Mana is a likable girl, with a crush on her best friend. And it turns out he’s the only one she can trust when Mana comes home to a ransacked house and her mother missing. Mana’s mother has been keeping secrets from her – and a big one about Mana herself.

I had high hopes for this story, thinking it was a young superhero-type book of alien hunting. Instead, we only see Mana use her (never fully explained) ability once in the beginning and a second time further on. This is not an action-packed adventure. But it’s more of a search for a missing item and Mana’s mother, while fending off mysterious aliens and Men in Black. There is plenty of mystery, suspense, and drama. I just wish we could have seen Mana really use her abilities and kick butt. It’s still an engaging and fun story, just not quite what some may expect with the title of the book somewhat misleading.

Book Giveaway: My Gym Teacher Is an Alien Overlord

Getting back from vacation, means that I don’t have time to gather a unique post or review anything – so a week of giveaways it is!

Courtesy of Viking, I have a copy of My Gym Teacher Is an Alien Overlord by David Solomons 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 August 19. I’ll draw a name on August 20, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: My Gym Teacher Is an Alien Overlord