Category Archives: Book News

Book Giveaway: Markswoman and Mahimata!

Courtesy of Harper Voyager, I have a copy of Markswoman and Mahimataby Rati Mehrotra for one lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends April 5. I’ll draw a name on April 6, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Markswoman and Mahimata!

Guest Post: Author Amber Royer

Author Amber Royer joins SciFiChick.com today to talk about researching for her Chocoverse books. Her latest novel, Pure Chocolate, book 2 in The Chocoverse series, is available now!

“Research and Empathy”

At a recent science fiction convention, someone asked me what was the craziest thing I’d done in the name of research for my Chocoverse books.

A few images popped into my head.

One was me with a hairdryer and an extension cord attempting to winnow cacao beans on my apartment patio. (Cacao has a papery hull that must be removed if you want to achieve a smooth texture when you process it into chocolate.). But many a would-be craft chocolate maker has done the same thing. Because commercially-purchased chocolate processing equipment is expensive.

The second was me in the passenger seat of a jeep, trying to take pictures of the many cows tethered along the side of a road. While we were moving at speed. I wound up with a ton of pictures of blurry foliage — and of cow butts. We had visited Samana, Dominican Republic, to take a tour of a cacao plantation, and someone gave us a whole pod, directly off a tree. Everyone we were traveling with seemed to think we were crazy for eating raw fruit in a foreign country. But we didn’t care as we were sucking tart-pineapple flavored pulp off the cacao beans. And we suffered no ill effects, so that wasn’t really crazy either.

Third, there was me watching the World Cup, trying to get into it the way a true fan would. Which probably doesn’t sound crazy at all, until you realize that prior to designing Brill (my story’s male lead) and Bo’s brother Mario (who is a HUGE soccer fan) I’d never really watched sports. What IS crazy is that I lied about this fact back when I was in high school to get a job as a sports intern for the local paper.

I learned fast and hard that you can’t fake fandom, of any sort. The first time you go looking for Arnold Palmer in the football photos file, everyone is going to know you have no idea what you’re doing.

There are a ton of geek references in the Chocoverse books, and I come by them honestly, from a lifetime of consuming science fiction films and books, starting with The Flight of the Navigator and Space Camp when I was a kid. So I didn’t have to actively research that at all.

The soccer thing isn’t huge to the plot, and I still couldn’t tell you the names of all the real-world players, but I learned enough to understand the rules of the game and WHY my characters enjoy watching it. I understand them better now. (And I enjoy watching soccer sometimes now too.)

Different aspects of a book are going to require different levels of research, depending on how much of the plot centers around them, and how detailed you will need to be in your explanations, and how much you already know. (Even if you think you know facts, though, you should probably still look them up to verify you remember things correctly.

There’s a lot more detail in the series about chocolate production and botany, so I needed to do more hands-on work to get it right, so that the reader would feel like they’d actually traveled with Bo inside that rainforest to obtain a forbidden cacao pod. This book also involved a lot of YouTube time, from trying to get a feel of what an arial approach to Rio would look like from inside a helicopter to seeing how it really looks when a corgi tries to sit with those impossibly short legs. (The answer is they don’t— they just sort of sploot backwards from standing to lying down in one motion — and sploot is an actual term corgi lovers use, so better get it right. And yes, now I want a corgi, but no, I haven’t gotten one. Yet.)

I once heard writing described as a sustained act of empathy, and several people have permitted the advice to write what you know to instead writings what you would like to know. Put those two ideas together and you can begin to understand how much each project changes a writer, if you let yourself be true to the details.

Received in February

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

Mystery Boxes:
TeeBlox

Abrams / Amulet:
Riverland by Fran Wilde
The Raven’s Tale by Cat Winters

Ace:
The Beast’s Heart: A Novel of Beauty and the Beast by Leife Shallcross

Amazon / Skyscape:
The Rule of Many by Ashley Saunders
The Fever King by Victoria Lee

Berkley:
A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn

Daw:
Terminal Uprising by Jim C. Hines

Del Rey:
The Women’s War by Jenna Glass

Disney Hyperion / Freeform / Marvel:
Captain Marvel What Makes a Hero by Pamela Bobowicz
The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton
Captain Marvel: Higher, Further, Faster by Liza Palmer
Captain Marvel: Starforce on the Rise by Steve Behling
Aladdin: Far From Agrabah by Aisha Saeed
The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

Gallery Books:
HALO: Renegades by Kelly Gay

Macmillan Teen / Henry Holt / FSG / Swoon / Fiewel and Friends / Roaring Brook Press:
Before I Disappear by Danielle Stinson
The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg
Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki
Gut Check by Eric Kester
Fake It Till You Break It by Jenn P. Nguyen
Better Than the Best Plan by Lauren Morrill
How to Be Luminous by Harriet Reuter Hapgood

Scholastic:
Last of Her Name by Jessica Khoury
The Stars Below by David Baldacci
Transformed: The Perils of the Frog Prince by Megan Morrison
Rise of the Dragons by Angie Sage

Simon Teen / Simon Pulse:
Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto

St Martin’s Griffin:
Black Star Renegades by Michael Moreci

Subterranean Press:
Before I Wake by David Morrell
The Flowers of Vashnoi by Lois McMaster Bujold

Titan Books:
Captain Marvel: Liberation Run by Tess Sharpe

Tor:
A Labyrinth of Scions and Sorcery by Curtis Craddock
Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djèlí Clark

SciFiChick.com’s 14th Anniversary and Giveaway!

This is a few days late, since I was out sick this weekend… but SciFiChick.com is 14 years old! 14 years of news, reviews, and interviews of SciFi/Fantasy books, movies, TV, and monthly subscription boxes!

Many thanks to my readers and visitors!

And thanks to the various publishers, authors, and media contacts who continue to send books, movies, and monthly subscription boxes for review. You help to keep my passion/addiction alive and keep me buried in books, movies, and collectibles!

____________________________________________________

Courtesy of Tor Books, I have a copy of A Labyrinth of Scions and Sorcery, by Curtis Craddoxk for one lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends March 15. I’ll draw a name on March 16, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading SciFiChick.com’s 14th Anniversary and Giveaway!

Book Spotlight: Dead Moon – Audible Original with Excerpts

Dead Moon by Peter Clines is available today!

Synopsis:
In the year 2243, the Moon belongs to the dead.

The largest graveyard in the solar system, it was the perfect solution to the overcrowding and environmental problems that had plagued mankind for centuries. And the perfect place for Cali Washington to run away from her past.

But when a mysterious meteor crashes into one of the Moon’s cemeteries, Cali and her fellow Caretakers find themselves surrounded by a terrifying enemy force that outnumbers them more than a thousand to one. An enemy not hindered by the lack of air or warmth or sustenance.

An enemy that is already dead.

Now Cali and her compatriots must fight to survive. Because if they don’t, everyone on the Moon may be joining the dead.

And maybe everyone on Earth, too….

Prologue:

Excerpt 1:

Excerpt 2:

Book Giveaway: Black Star Renegades

Courtesy of St Martin’s, I have a copy of Black Star Renegades by Michael Moreci for one lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends March 1. I’ll draw a name on March 2, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Black Star Renegades

Received in January

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

Mystery Boxes:
TeeBlox

Angry Robot:
The Beast of Nightfall Lodge: The Institute for Singular Antiquities Book II by SA Sidor

Del Rey:
Sisters of the Fire by Kim Wilkins
The Memory of Fire by Callie Bates
The Passage by Justin Cronin
The Soul of Power by Callie Bates

Disney Hyperion / Marvel:
Swap’d by Tamara Ireland Stone
Prosper Redding The Last Life of Prince Alastor by Alexandra Bracken
Chasing Helicity Into the Wind by Ginger Zee
Marvel Powers of a Girl by Lorraine Cink
The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman
Mirror, Mirror: A Twisted Tale by Jen Calonita
Aru Shah and the Song of Death by Roshani Chokshi
Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez

Grim Oak:
Unfettered III edited by Shawn Speakman

Harper Teen:
The Cerulean by Amy Ewing

Harper Voyager:
Phoenix Falling by Laura Bickle

HMH:
Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith

Random House / One World:
A People’s Future of the United States by Charlie Jane Anders

Random House Kids:
Hilo Book 5: Then Everything Went Wrong by Judd Winick

Saga Press:
An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris

Scholastic:
Wings of Fire Graphic Novel 2: The Lost Heir by Tui T. Sutherland
Undaunted by Kat Falls
The Deceiver’s Heart by Jennifer A. Nielsen
The Erth Dragons: The New Age by Chris D’Lacey

Simon and Schuster Children / Aladdin:
The Unwanteds Quests: Dragon Ghosts by Lisa McM
ann
The Revenge of Magic by James Riley

Tor:
The Iron Codex by David Mack
They Promised Me The Gun Wasn’t Loaded by James Alan Gardner
Vengeful by V. E. Schwab
The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons

Tor Teen:
Ship of Smoke and Steel by Django Wexler
Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard

Book Giveaway: Swap’d

Courtesy of Disney Hyperion, I have an extra copy of Swap’d by Tamara Ireland Stone for one lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends February 8. I’ll draw a name on February 9, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Swap’d