A 5 Star #BookReview for The Gemini Connection and a #Giveaway! #YAbooks #scifi #blackrosewriting

Suze at With Love for Books made my week with her review of The Gemini Connection.  Writers sometimes feel such a personal connection with their characters, and I certainly did with these twins.  Knowing someone loves them as much as I do just warms my heart.  Hop over and read the review and interview, then register for the giveaway!

I won’t be able to get to comments before Sunday or Monday, but I promise it’s for a good reason you’ll find out about in my post on Monday.

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WWW Wednesday: What Am I Reading? #amreading

WWW Wednesday is a meme from Sam at Taking On A World Of Words

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m currently reading #Murdertrending by Gretchen McNeil.  Original, completely compelling story line, and a pretty quick read.

WELCOME TO THE NEAR FUTURE, where good and honest 8/18 citizens can enjoy watching the executions of society’s most infamous convicted felons, streaming live on The Postman app from the suburbanized prison island Alcatraz 2.0.

When eighteen-year-old Dee Guerrera wakes up in a haze, lying on the ground of a dimly lit warehouse, she realizes she’s about to be the next victim of the app. Knowing hardened criminals are getting a taste of their own medicine in this place is one thing, but Dee refuses to roll over and die for a heinous crime she didn’t commit. Can Dee and her newly formed posse, the Death Row Breakfast Club, prove she’s innocent before she ends up wrongfully murdered for the world to see? Or will The Postman’s cast of executioners kill them off one by one? 

I just finished Scream Site by Justina Ireland.  It’s classified as YA, but reads like MG, so I was a bit disappointed.  The ending had a definite Scooby-Doo feel.

Sabrina Sebastian’s goal in life is to be an investigative reporter. For her first big story, she researches a popular website called Scream Site, where people post scary videos and compete for the most “screams.” While Sabrina’s friends and her sister, Faith, talk nonstop about the creepy viral videos, Sabrina just hopes that covering this trend will get her the internship she’s wishing for. But as she digs into the truth behind the website, she begins to suspect that these aren’t only aspiring actors and videographers at work. Some clips seem a little too real. And when Faith goes missing, Sabrina must race against time to save her sister from becoming the next video “star.” 

Next, I’ll read Timekeeper by Tara Sim for one of my book clubs.  The theme is LGBT books and this one has been in my TBR for a while, so it was a perfect time to move it to the top.

I was in an accident. I got out. I’m safe now.

An alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, where a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

A prodigy mechanic who can repair not only clockwork but time itself, determined to rescue his father from a Stopped town.

A series of mysterious bombings that could jeopardize all of England.

A boy who would give anything to relive his past, and one who would give anything to live at all.

A romance that will shake the very foundations of time. 

The Wish Granter (Ravenspire #2) by C.J. Redwine #bookreview #YAbooks #fantasy #TuesdayBookBlog

The world has turned upside down for Thad and Ari Glavan, the bastard twins of Súndraille’s king. Their mother was murdered. The royal family died mysteriously. And now Thad sits on the throne of a kingdom whose streets are suddenly overrun with violence he can’t stop.

Growing up ignored by the nobility, Ari never wanted to be a proper princess. And when Thad suddenly starts training Ari to take his place, she realizes that her brother’s ascension to the throne wasn’t fate. It was the work of a Wish Granter named Alistair Teague who tricked Thad into wishing away both the safety of his people and his soul in exchange for the crown.

So Ari recruits the help of Thad’s enigmatic new weapons master, Sebastian Vaughn, to teach her how to fight Teague. With secret ties to Teague’s criminal empire, Sebastian might just hold the key to discovering Alistair’s weaknesses, saving Ari’s brother—and herself.

But Teague is ruthless and more than ready to destroy anyone who dares stand in his way—and now he has his sights set on the princess. And if Ari can’t outwit him, Bishe’ll lose Sebastian, her brother…and her soul. 

This series is based on re-tellings of fairy tales, but can be read as stand alones.  The The Wish Granter is an adaption of Rumpelstiltskin – which I had to look up, as the original tale is a distant memory.

I fell hard for Ari.  With her undying loyalty, steadfast determination, cunning negotiation skills, and love of pie – I just adore her.  And she always carries snacks in her handbag – a necessity in life.  Sebastian’s backstory is nothing short of heartbreaking, and he maintains his distance with people – but not for long after meeting Ari.

No doubt you’ve heard that death and taxes are the only certainties in life.  There’s another – the death of a beloved character in any of this author’s novels.  I’ve read several of her books now, and it’s a given.  No spoilers here – you’ll just have to read it yourself.

I read this for a book club (the theme for the month was re-tellings) and it was the perfect selection – exciting action, a sweet romance, an instantly lovable princess, and a loathsome villain (if karma ever needed to make a visit, it’s to this guy).  If you enjoy twists on old fairy tales, I highly recommend this series.

 

Father’s Day, #BookSigning, and a #Giveaway

Happy Belated Father’s Day to all the dads out there!  Father’s Day here was kind of quiet – we went to see a movie, Tag, then grilled out.  Only one son was home – the other was looking at new apartments, since his lease expires at the end of July and he has his ‘real world’ job now.  Tag was a pretty good movie.  Hubby and I didn’t think it was quite as good as the reviews are indicating, but still a fun, popcorn-type of flick.  And anything with Jeremy Renner is just a bonus in my book.

I met some nice people at the book signing, but didn’t sell many books.  Spoke with several teens and gave out some swag, then talked with an engineer about why I write and read YA books, and how he absolutely needed to watch Inception.  He walked out with a video of the movie.  Also discussed theories on what will happen in the next Avengers movie with a fellow Marvel fan – always enjoy doing that.

Now for some more shameless self promotion!  I was interviewed over at YA Books Central, and they’re also hosting a giveaway for The Gemini Connection.  If you’re a YA author or reader, this is a fantastic site for keeping up to date with all the new releases, read or write reviews, and they offer tons of giveaways.  I highly recommend checking it out.

An excerpt of Sarah was featured yesterday on author D.G. Driver’s A Summer of Ghosts series.  Her new novel, Lost on the Water, A Ghost Story, will be released July 17th and I can’t wait to read it!  If you haven’t read her Juniper Sawfeather books, you’re missing out on an intelligent YA series dealing with important environmental issues.

Hope you all have a great week!

 

The Writer’s Reading Corner: John Vance #historicalfiction #comingofage #amreading

It’s been one busy week, but Friday is finally here!  If you’re a regular at this blog, you’ll remember I likened my January visit to Disney World to the Seventh Circle of Hell.  John Vance is here to share his review of Fools in the Magic Kingdom, a satirical take on Disney World (sounds like something I could get behind), and to tell us about his newest release, Tick Cooper.

Recently, I’ve been fortunate to read wonderful indie novels by Tracy Ball, Kristen Jackson, and John Hazen, all of whom I highly recommend.  Most recently, however, I finished a splendid indie satire, Fools in the Magic Kingdom by Michael Hartnett.  As a Disney aficionado I couldn’t resist grabbing this one—and I absolutely loved it.  First, Hartnett has a refreshing and impressive cleverness with language–shaping his phrases and dialogue with a particularly deft hand.  Sections are utterly hilarious as we follow his characters through the Magic Kingdom and the World Showcase in Epcot. But unlike the lines at Disney World, everything flows at a brisk pace through the novel’s pages. In addition, Hartnett’s characters are as whimsical as Peter Pan, disturbing as Maleficent, amusing as Smee, sassy as Sebastian, unstable as Tinker Bell, intelligent as Mulan, violent as Scar, and illusive as Jack Sparrow. Readers who enjoy off-kilter characters who shake us up and push us around will delight in this book.

But it would be wrong to judge this novel as only a vivacious satirical romp through the Magic Kingdom, for in the very best literary satire—from Juvenal through Swift to Vonnegut–important and compelling issues are at the heart of the frivolity and outlandishness.  Here we find ourselves asking important questions about intolerance, nostalgia, traditions, and control. What in life can we find “magical” and how necessary is it to experience that magic? Other significant matters and themes in the book are depravity, vanity, expectation, disappointment, disillusionment, and fear of change.  In brief, we need more satirists with the skill and imagination of Michael Hartnett.

 

As for me, I’ve wanted to write a young person’s book that would appeal to reader’s of all ages.  Tick Cooper is my attempt to do just that. Tick is a twelve year old Ohio boy who’s about to accompany his Uncle Ned down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans. It’s the autumn of 1860, right before the election that will send Abraham Lincoln to the White House. With his mother deceased and his father having deserted him for the chance of gold in California, Tick has been most fortunate to receive the care and love of his father’s older brother and his wife—Aunt Clara. Although she has recently passed away, she and Uncle Ned have educated the boy about living a good and proper life. But Tick hasn’t had much of a chance to put what he’s learned into practice—nor to face the moral challenges every young person will face as he or she grows up. But the river journey will provide plenty of those experiences and tests of character. Yet reaching New Orleans does not conclude Tick’s lessons and challenges, for there he witnesses a slave auction, and on the block is a thirteen-year-old freed black girl named Clarissa, whom Tick had briefly met in Ohio. Now Tick faces his most significant challenge. Can he help get Clarissa back to Ohio all the way from New Orleans?

Although set in the nineteenth century, the novel touches on a number of issues affecting young males and females today—and it does not repeat moments from Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, its obvious literary inspiration (in fact, the historical Sam Clemens makes an appearance in the book).  It’s a novel full of fun and adventure—and I’m very confident the reader will love Tick.  Finally, I found it both delightful and therapeutic writing from the perspective of a twelve year old boy.  (Available at www.amazon.com)

John Vance is a former professor of English at the University of Georgia.  Active in the theater—as an actor, director, producer, and playwright—he had thirty-five of his plays staged.  Now John has turned his creative energies toward fiction and has twelve indie novels published.

Website: www.authorjohnvance.com

Facebook Author’s Page: https://www.facebook.com/authorjohnvance/

Twitter: @VictorianVance

 

 

Ruthless Magic (Conspiracy of Magic #1) by Megan Crewe #bookreview #YA #fantasy

In the contest to keep their magic, the only options may be die… or kill.

Each year, the North American Confederation of Mages assesses every sixteen-year-old novice. Some will be chosen. The rest must undergo a procedure to destroy their magical ability unless they prove themselves in the mysterious and brutal Mages’ Exam.

Disadvantaged by her parents’ low standing, Rocío Lopez has dedicated herself to expanding her considerable talent to earn a place in the Confederation. Their rejection leaves her reeling—and determined to fight to keep her magic.

Long ashamed of his mediocre abilities, Finn Lockwood knows the Confederation accepted him only because of his prominent family. Declaring for the Exam instead means a chance to confirm his true worth.

Thrown into the testing with little preparation, Rocío and Finn find themselves becoming unlikely allies—and possibly more. But the Exam holds secrets more horrifying than either could have imagined. What are the examiners really testing them for? And as the trials become increasingly vicious, how much are they willing to sacrifice to win?

The first in a new series by USA Today bestselling author Megan Crewe, Ruthless  Magic combines the magic of Harry Potter with the ferocity of The Hunger Games alongside a poignant romance. Fans of Cassandra Clare and Holly Black, look no further for your next urban fantasy fix!

Although the book description is highly intriguing, overall, Ruthless Magic was just an okay read for me.  Not that there’s anything wrong with this book – it’s well-written, has interesting world-building, and likable characters, but nothing really stood out.  Note that I’m in the minority on this opinion – the majority of reviews for this novel have been stellar.  Maybe I was expecting more since it uses heavyweight comp titles like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, and mentions Cassandra Clare and Holly Black, both authors with outstanding fantasy series under their belts.

I like the idea of the magical community feeling an obligation to reveal themselves to the ‘dulls’ (non-magic folk) and assist with government safety, but I found it surprising that despite this magic being around for quite some time, even those in charge don’t seem to understand it.  The rules regarding the magic are somewhat unclear.

Again, this isn’t a bad book by any means – I’d just hoped for a bit more originality.  If The Hunger Games doused with magic whets your appetite, this is probably a book you’d enjoy.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.

 

#NewRelease Cusp of Night by Mae Clair #supernatural #mystery

I’m thrilled to host Mae Clair today with her new release, Cusp of Night.  I became a fan of Mae’s after reading the first page of her Point Pleasant series, and can’t wait to dive into this new novel!

Hi, Teri and Teri’s readers! It’s great to be here today to talk about my new mystery / suspense novel Cusp of Night. I have a fondness for things that are unusual and otherworldly, so this book has a more than a touch of the supernatural among its pages. With dual timelines, it tells the story of Maya Sinclair in the present—a woman who was clinically dead for two minutes and twenty-two seconds—and Lucinda Glass, a renowned medium of the late 1800s. Both timelines converge at the end, tying past and present together in one neat bow. The past was especially interesting to write, as I was able to delve into the culture of the day.

As an example, “home circles” were very popular. Think of board game night today when you gather with a group of friends for a few hours of fun. In the 1800s charades and other parlor games like grandmother’s trunk and musical chairs were popular. Eventually, however, home circles overshadowed common games with small groups of family and friends gathering to try their hands at table tilting, producing rapping sounds, and communicating with the dead. By 1891, the Ouja Board was a strong seller and popular in home circles.

This is a Ouija board with lit candle on the antique setting.

Spiritualism was exploding as a practice, religion, and a blending of magic and science. Even those who had no experience with the supernatural, found it intriguing to sit with a group of friends and experiment to see if any of them had mediumistic powers. Séances became a form of entertainment, as much as a way of breaching the Aether that separated the living from the dead.

Cusp of Night is populated with characters who are caught up in the surge of Spiritualism—both good and bad—and who use it to their advantage. For Lucinda Glass, my main character in the past, being a medium is about more than producing messages from the hereafter. It’s about a way of life and understanding an odd, enigmatic man who upsets and reshapes her world.

Banner ad for cusp of Night, a mystery/suspense novel by author, Mae CllairBLURB
Recently settled in Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania, Maya Sinclair is enthralled by the town’s folklore, especially the legend about a centuries-old monster. A devil-like creature with uncanny abilities responsible for several horrific murders, the Fiend has evolved into the stuff of urban myth. But the past lives again when Maya witnesses an assault during the annual “Fiend Fest.” The victim is developer Leland Hode, patriarch of the town’s most powerful family, and he was attacked by someone dressed like the Fiend.

Compelled to discover who is behind the attack and why, Maya uncovers a shortlist of enemies of the Hode clan. The mystery deepens when she finds the journal of a late nineteenth-century spiritualist who once lived in Maya’s house–a woman whose ghost may still linger.

Known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill due to a genetic condition, Lucinda Glass vanished without a trace and was believed to be one of the Fiend’s tragic victims. The disappearance of a young couple, combined with more sightings of the monster, trigger Maya to join forces with Leland’s son Collin. But the closer she gets to unearthing the truth, the closer she comes to a hidden world of twisted secrets, insanity, and evil that refuses to die . . .

PURCHASE HERE

You can find Mae Clair at the following haunts:
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bio box for author, Mae Clair