#AmWriting, Book Title, and #Memphis

I have three different levels of good news to share with you today.  Good news – I finished Book 3 and sent it to my editor on Thursday.  Fantastic news – she sent it back to me on Saturday night!  Staci, you’re an editing rock star.  About damn time news – I think I have a title.  I’m mulling it over this week while doing edits, and I hope to share it with you next Monday.  Woohoo!!!

This past weekend, hubby and I traveled with friends to Memphis.  Half of us had visited before, but it was a new experience for the rest of us.  It didn’t start off in the most promising way.  On Wednesday, the IHG hotel we had reservations with emailed all of us.  Their AC was out, and we were instructed to call their customer service line for assistance.  Long story short, IHG needs some serious remedial training in customer service.  They were absolutely no help, and we were on our own to find another hotel.

Anyhoo, we made it, and Friday night was spent eating BBQ, dropping by the Peabody Hotel for dessert (you knew it had to be chocolate), and listening to music on Beale Street (sorry the pic’s so crappy).  Saturday, we toured Graceland.  I’m not an Elvis fan, but I was in the minority – hubby and a couple of friends with us were huge fans.  The grounds were beautiful, but the house is much smaller than you’d think.  Visitors were permitted to tour the first floor and basement, and the 70s decor (lots and lots of shag carpet!) brought back some memories of the house I grew up in.

If you’re thinking of traveling to Memphis, I’d highly recommend City Tasting Tours.  We chose the Arts District Food Tour, and it was sensational.  Not only were we treated to some delicious, appetizing food from four different restaurants, we learned fascinating details about the area and history of the district from Christina, our fabulous tour guide.  By the end, the six of us were well-stuffed, and had throughly enjoyed outselves.

Well – I’ll be busy on edits, acknowledgements, and a book description this week.  Happy writing and reading!

 

Christmas in July #BookSale! #YA #SciFi #Fantasy

The Gemini Connection has a new and immensely improved book description – yay!  But I have a stack of books with the old description printed on the back, so let the Christmas shopping commence – after all, it’s only 168 days away!

I’m selling paperbacks for $10.00 (sorry, US only), and I’ll ship it to you media mail.  Or if ebooks are more your thing, it’s $3.99 on Amazon.  Get your Christmas or birthday shopping done early and check something off your to-do list!

If you’d like to purchase a copy, email me at tpolen6@gmail.com and I can invoice you through PayPal.

Here’s what reviewers are saying:

“…an intriguing world that will appeal to fans of Stranger Things and The Giver…”

“(The LGBT plot line) is shown in such a healthy, positive way and I loved it.”

“The characters were amazingly well-written and balanced.”

“The idea of Benders being able to infiltrate the minds of sleepers and interact with dreams and nightmares was mesmerizing.” 

Planet Tage is dying, and the best hope of saving it is gone.

Seventeen-year-old identical twins Evan and Simon share an extraordinary bond, a trait that’s both useful and invasive. They use their connection in their work at Scientific Innovations. Evan is a Mindbender, someone who enters the minds of scientists to spark ideas, join thoughts, and battle nightmares. Simon is a science prodigy and Tage’s best chance of survival.

Unfortunately, their unusual link often bleeds into their private lives. When Evan discovers his brother is keeping a secret from him, he lashes out and ignores requests to talk, and even pleas for help. By the time Evan tunes back in, he finds their connection severed and Simon missing.

He suffers a terrible case of survivor’s guilt. Moreover, he’s desperate. The fate of the world rests on Simon’s return, and Evan is willing to do anything to get him back—even working with his greatest rival, who also happens to be Simon’s boyfriend.

Evan finds allies among enemies and adversaries among friends. When nothing is as it seems and everything is depending on him, he must explore a dangerous aspect to his twin connection he never knew he had.

If he fails, he’ll lose both his brother and his world.

Heartwood Box by Ann Aguirre #bookreview #YA #mystery #TuesdayBookBlog

A dark, romantic YA suspense novel with an SF edge and plenty of drama, layering the secrets we keep and how appearances can deceive, from the New York Times bestselling author.

In this tiny, terrifying town, the lost are never found. When Araceli Flores Harper is sent to live with her great-aunt Ottilie in her ramshackle Victorian home, the plan is simple. She’ll buckle down and get ready for college. Life won’t be exciting, but she’ll cope, right?

Wrong. From the start, things are very, very wrong. Her great-aunt still leaves food for the husband who went missing twenty years ago, and local businesses are plastered with MISSING posters. There are unexplained lights in the woods and a mysterious lab just beyond the city limits that the locals don’t talk about. Ever. When she starts receiving mysterious letters that seem to be coming from the past, she suspects someone of pranking her or trying to drive her out of her mind. To solve these riddles and bring the lost home again, Araceli must delve into a truly diabolical conspiracy, but some secrets fight to stay buried… 

I’ve never read this author before, but when the book description mentioned a small town with secrets, and suspense with a sci-fi edge, I knew it was time to become acquainted with her work.

This book grabbed me right away.  Araceli feels a presence in the attic, and actually sees the string attached to a light bulb turn on by itself – I was all in.  Mysterious lights in the forest, loads of people missing, a box that transports letters to a recipient decades earlier – it just got better.  A lot goes on in this novel, and that’s something I enjoyed about it.  It’s also an usual blend of contemporary, romance, suspense, and sci-fi, something that should attract readers of several genres.

Traveling with her journalist parents for most of her life, Araceli has experienced things most teens can’t imagine, so it’s understandable that she dives into these mysteries head first.  While I admire her bravery and determination, she also comes across as selfish and headstrong, since she doesn’t always consider the consequences of her actions – especially when they involve the lives of other people.  Then again, these are the actions of a teenager.

I don’t generally read YA contemporary, but with sci-fi, suspense, and time travel tossed into the mix, I plowed through this book in a couple of days.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

 

#AmWriting, #BookSale, and #StrangerThings3

Happy Monday, guys!  Not sure about you, but we’re roasting here.  I feel like we live inside a dryer turned on high – the heat and humidity are miserable.  When it’s like this, I stay inside with the AC.

My beta returned her notes a week ago – she had some fantastic ideas, and confirmed some things I already suspected in the back of my mind – and I’ve been hunkered over the laptop for the past eight days deleting, rewriting, and adding/deleting POVs.  We’re going out of town this weekend with friends to Memphis (first time for me), so my goal is to get this done, sent off to my editor, and enjoy the weekend without thinking about the book every second.  This is also why I’m so behind on visiting blogs – I promise I’ll get to yours!

I’ll post more about it this week, but with some expert help from a friend (thanks, Staci!) The Gemini Connection now has a new description on the back:

Planet Tage is dying, and the best hope of saving it is gone.

Seventeen-year-old identical twins Evan and Simon share an extraordinary bond, a trait that’s both useful and invasive. They use their connection in their work at Scientific Innovations. Evan is a Mindbender, someone who enters the minds of scientists to spark ideas, join thoughts, and battle nightmares. Simon is a science prodigy and Tage’s best chance of survival.

Unfortunately, their unusual link often bleeds into their private lives. When Evan discovers his brother is keeping a secret from him, he lashes out and ignores requests to talk, and even pleas for help. By the time Evan tunes back in, he finds their connection severed and Simon missing.

He suffers a terrible case of survivor’s guilt. Moreover, he’s desperate. The fate of the world rests on Simon’s return, and Evan is willing to do anything to get him back—even working with his greatest rival, who also happens to be Simon’s boyfriend.

Evan finds allies among enemies and adversaries among friends. When nothing is as it seems and everything is depending on him, he must explore a dangerous aspect to his twin connection he never knew he had.

If he fails, he’ll lose both his brother and his world.

What does this mean for you?  A Christmas in July sale!  I have a stack of books at home with the old description I’m selling for $10, and will ship them to you media mail.  If you’d like to purchase one (or more!) email me at tpolen6@gmail.com

I usually mention what I’m watching, but this week, it’s what I’d like to be watching.  I’ve been waiting for so long – Stranger Things is back!  Season 3 dropped last week, but because of the rewrites, I haven’t been able to get to it yet.  I forsee bingeing in my future.

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 was on a good reading roll for a while, until I got my notes back from my beta reader, so I’ve been hanging with this book for about a week, and I’m only half finished.  With the supernatural happenings, House of Salt and Sorrows has me riveted.  And with a mystery and hoards of red herrings, I’d love to find a quiet corner somewhere and finish it.  Or a noisy corner.  I do just fine with both.

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next. 

My book club assignment for this month is choose a book from a genre I don’t usually read.  For me, that’s a YA contemporary romance.  Back in the winter, I’d gotten five sample chapters from this book, and the character’s voices grabbed me.  One of the authors wrote Simon vs. the Homosapiens Agenda, a book that I loved, so What If It’s Us was an easy selection for me.  And it was fantastic.

Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is? 

For my next book, I was so excited to get this ARC.  It’s the second in a series, and the first book, Sanctuary, was an easy five stars for me.  A combination of X-Men and Alien.

They may have escaped Sanctuary, but Kenzie and her friends are far from safe.

Ex-Omnistellar prison guard Kenzie and her superpowered friends barely made it off Sanctuary alive. Now they’re stuck in a stolen alien ship with nowhere to go and no one to help them. Kenzie is desperate for a plan, but she doesn’t know who to trust anymore. Everyone has their own dark secrets: Omnistellar, her parents, even Cage. Worse still, she’s haunted by memories of the aliens who nearly tore her to shreds—and forced her to accidentally kill one of the Sanctuary prisoners, Matt.

When Kenzie intercepts a radio communication suggesting that more aliens are on their way, she knows there’s only one choice: They must turn themselves in to Omnistellar and destroy the ship before the aliens follow the signal straight to them. Because if the monstrous creatures who attacked Sanctuary reach Earth, then it’s game over for humanity.

What Kenzie doesn’t know is that the aliens aren’t the only ones on the hunt. Omnistellar has put a bounty on Kenzie’s head—and the question is whether the aliens or Omnistellar get to her first. 

 

Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1) by Elizabeth Lim #bookreview #TuesdayBookBlog #YA #fantasy

Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

I’ve never watched Project Runway, and it’s been years since I’ve seen Mulan.  It was the stunning cover and enticing description that drew me to this book.

The solid, imaginative world-building, and Chinese-inspired land are a perfect backdrop for this story.  Descriptions of Maia’s creations and her world are done to perfection, and the magic system is original and explained well.

Maia is everything I enjoy in a main character – feisty, competitive, intelligent, stubborn.  She dreams of becoming the emperor’s tailor, a position only men are permitted to fill.  To Maia, that’s a minor setback, and she finds a way to enter the competition pitting her against eleven men who are far more experienced in the craft.  I initially thought Edan would be detrimental in her quest, but he turned out to be my favorite character.  Charming, intuitive, and mischievous, he’s supportive from their first meeting, and has many secrets of his own.

While the first half of the book is all about the competition, the second half is vastly different, with some nail-biting moments.  Along with lots and lots of romance.  That’s not an issue for plenty of readers, but it comes close to monopolizing the last 50% of the book, and is something I didn’t expect from the description.  The relationship between Maia and Edan is well-portrayed, if a bit predictable, and isn’t without its challenges.

Spin the Dawn is a unique YA fantasy inspired by Chinese culture and mythology, and is set in a magical world, but leans heavily on more romance than I prefer – and I know I’m in the minority in that opinion!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

Calendar Girls: Summer Lovin’ (Bookish OTP)

Calendar Girl is a monthly meme now hosted by Katie@nevernotreading and Adrienne @darquedreamer

The Calendar Girls is a monthly blog event that was created by Melanie at MNBernard Books, and Flavia at Flavia the Bibliophile. It was inspired by the 1961 classic song by Neil Sedaka and created to ignite fun bookish discussions among readers and bloggers.

Each month we get a new theme and choose our favorite book for the theme. The participants get to vote for their favorite.

 

Before we get started, I’ll be late getting to comments today, or maybe even tomorrow.  We’re moving the youngest son into his college apartment today.  In 90+ degree weather.  To the 3rd floor.  In a building with no elevator.  Yay.

I missed out on Calendar Girls over the past couple of months, so I’m glad to be back on track again.  When I saw this theme, that song from Grease immediately started playing in my head – and I bet it’s in yours now.  You’re welcome.  You guys know I’m not one for much romance in my reading, but yes, there are definitely some couples I shipped.  Below are a few that immediately came to mind.

Adam and Ronan from The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.  These guys couldn’t be more different – but from the second I had an inkling there was something more than friendship brewing between them, it just seemed right.  And when Stiefvater’s new book, Call Down the Hawk, is released, readers will see how their relationship has developed.  I can’t wait!

Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley.  I’m sure you guys know the book these characters come from.  With Harry’s tragic past and his horrible living conditions with the Dursleys, I hoped he’d find a stable, loving home and a family of his own.  When the Weasleys welcomed him into their lives (Molly is just the perfect mom), I wanted him to become an official part of their family.  And Ginny’s crush on him from early in the series was just adorable.

But my favorite OTP has to be Kaz Brekker and Inej Ghafa from Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows.  The two of them have tragic pasts that left them broken, but they never give up.  This quote from Kaz sums up their relationship perfectly, and just melted my heart when I read it.

“I would have come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together-knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.”