Review: The Bone Season by @say_shannon Samantha Shannon

I have been SO excited to finish this book and write a review for it. I was lucky to get an ARC of The Bone Season at BEA, and immediately fell in love with this book on the plane ride home. The Bone Season is scheduled for release in August. When I say pre-order it, I mean pre-order it. You’re not going to want to miss this book, and when it comes out, it’s going to be HUGE.

About The Book

A major event-the first book in a seven-part series of dizzying imagination. Welcome to Scion: No Safer Place. It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing. But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city-Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now led by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly-as soldiers in their army. Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.

Review

The Bone Season begins with a world in the not-so-distant future, where Paige, a Voyant with the power to push her body into other people’s dreamscapes (like psychic auras), works for a syndicate in SCION London. After accidentally murdering someone, she is captured and eventually brought to SHEOL I, a commune in Oxford run by an alien race called the  Rephaim who feed on aura.

Paige is an excellent herione. She’s tough and independent, but she still carries an inner will to help those around her at whatever cost. Through her journey in SHEOL I, she embarks on a strange relationship with her keeper, Warden and blood-consort Arcturus, and we also see flashes of her past from her childhood in Ireland, to the Molly Riots, to her eventual move to SCION London, and her life in the syndicate.

The story is rich, with a full and interesting world, and characters who all have something monumental at stake. We move through the free world, to the dystopian SCION, to the prison of the Rephaim, all seamlessly, and all making the reader clamor for more.

Most importantly, Samantha Shannon’s writing is brilliant. For such a young author, she has managed to capture a world of distrust and cold war within the journey of Paige, and tied an action-packed thriller with deep psychic hierarchies as well as political change and rebellion.

This book is a must-read, and I’m so excited for it to come out so everyone can read it and love it! Movies are already planned, and from what I’ve read, this series is going to be the next big thing (you heard it here, ladies and gentlemen).

About the Author

Samantha Shannon was born and raised in West London. She’s currently pursuing her degree in English literature at the University of Oxford. The Bone Season is her first published work of fiction-the first in a seven-book series. It has been sold in eighteen countries and film rights have been optioned by The Imaginarium Studios, a film company led by Andy Serkis The Lord of the Rings ; The Hobbit) and Jonathan Cavendish (producer of Bridget Jones’s Diary). Follow Samantha on Twitter: @say_shannon; and on her blog: http://www.samantha-shannon.blogspot.com

P.S. Samantha Shannon, I love you and hate you for being so young and so awesome.

Pre-order Here

Interview with @Georgia_McBride and Her Fantastic Novel Praefatio & Giveaway!

Today I have the distinct pleasure to host an interview with author and publisher extrordinaire, Georgia McBride! Her novel, Praefatio, has just released, and it is fantastic (if I do say so myself). Review to come.

About the Book

PRAEFATIO Cover

The story of 17-year-old Grace Ann Miller is that of no ordinary runaway. Touching upon topics such as mental illness, teen pregnancy, and the relationship between victims and abductors, this is Grace’s account of weeks on the run, falling in love, and losing everything but her faith. After being missing for weeks, Grace turns up on the estate of international rock star Gavin Vault, half-dressed and yelling for help. Over the course of 24 hours, she holds an entire police force captive with incredulous tales of angels, demons, and war, intent on saving Gavin from lockup and her family from worry over her safety. Instead, authorities believe that Grace is ill, the victim of assault and suffering from a severely fractured mind as a result of Stockholm Syndrome. Undeterred, Grace reveals the secret existence of dark angels on Earth, an ancient prophecy, and a wretched curse steeped in biblical myth. Her claims set into motion an ages-old war, pitting sister against brother and light versus darkness, resulting in blood, death, and the loss of everything that matters. Faced with corrupt police officers, eager doctors, and accusing journalists, Grace must convince all of them that her delusions are actually the truth, with nothing but her word as proof.

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I had the chance to bombard Georgia with questions 😉

You wear so many hats. How do you manage to fit in all of the awesome work you do?

GM:  I’m pretty sure I’m failing miserably. I don’t sleep much, I eat very unhealthy things at odd hours and I get frequent headaches. That said, I try to dedicate one day/weekly to YALitChat – and that’s Wednesdays. The rest of the time is dedicated to being a publisher and author.

What was the first plot bunny that inspired Praefatio?

GM: They all came at one time – the girl with the incredulous story, the boy accused of unspeakable crimes and the incident that would change everything we believe.

If one song out there could define your book, what would it be?

GM: I listened to a ton of 30 Seconds to Mars while writing this book. I think A Beautiful Lie kind of sums it up though.

If you met your main character at a bar, how would you interact?

GM: First, I would be all fan girl and crazy. I know it. I have a major literary crush on Grace Ann Miller. I would be like, “Hey Girl. I created you. Don’t you love all those amazing kissing scenes I wrote for you?”

If you could live in any literary universe, which would it be?

GM: Wow. That’s a tough one. I think I would like to perhaps live in the world Delirium. Love hurts so much sometimes. People kill when they can’t have it. We wouldn’t have that problem.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

GM:I hate plotting. Not gonna lie.

How has writing changed your life?

GM: Writing has brought be a wonderful community of people who are supportive. It has also afforded me the opportunity to do something I love – writing and publishing. It’s really been a blessing to me and many others.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

GM: Just write. Don’t worry about what others are writing or doing. Just write.

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About the Author

Goergia McBride Photo

Georgia McBride is the founder of Month9Books, which publishes speculative fiction for teens and tweens, and YALITCHAT.ORG, a nonprofit organization fostering the advancement of young adult literature worldwide. She lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Book Links: Goodreads Barnes And Noble

Author Links: WebsiteFacebook PageTwitterPinterest

Month9Books: WebsiteBlogger CentralFacebookTwitterPinterestGoodreads
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Enter HERE for a giveaway of Praefatio!

Interview with @reneepaceYA Renee Pace, Author of The Forsaken

Today I’m presenting an interview with author Renee Pace about her novel, The Forsaken.

TheForsaken

About The Book

Fighting for freedom means falling from grace.

After taking up arms in a heavenly war, teen angel Isabella is banished to Earth. Her penance: to live as an immortal teenager. Her objective: to create a safe haven for her fellow exiled angels who believe in her mantra of independence. Faced with life on the mortal plane, she and her girls form a rock band as a means to literally sing for their supper.

But when Isabella saves a fallen male angel, things fall apart. If she thought her penance was hard before, she’s got an even harder path to follow now that she realizes Nathan is her soul mate—and that he holds the key to returning her to the heavenly realm. But she has no intention of going anywhere if it means leaving her sisters alone in exile. Until she discovers a hellish plan to amass a human-turned-demon army. Now she must convince the very angels who cast her out that war can no longer be avoided—if they want to survive…

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Where did you get your original inspiration for The Forsaken, and what makes this book original from other paranormal novels?

 

The Forsaken actually started in church. It’s here I should confess that I attend church more for my husband’s sake and my children and while I try to enjoy it I often find my mind wondering, especially during those very long sermons. The Forsaken came from my angst with religious right and wrong and duty which is often part and parcel with any religion. What makes my YA different is that the focus is on women who are fighting for their own independent lives and who will continue to fight their destiny, even if that means saying no to love.

 

If you could have any paranormal attribute, what would it be?

I would love to be able to turn into a mermaid. The sea calls to me in ways I can’t explain. I had to ensure the second house I bought had a view of the Atlantic.

 

If one song out there could define your book, what would it be?

ABBA’s Chiquitita

 

If you met your main character at a bar, how would you interact?

I’d pour my drink all over him because no one tells me who I get to love.

 

If you could live in any literary universe, which would it be?

I want to be frozen and wake up in the year 3010

 

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’m a bit of both. When working on a series I need to plot but The Forsaken started out as me being a pantser.

 

How has writing changed your life?

Writing has made me more confident as a woman. I’m proud to say I’m a writer and I think having control over my own projects is key for me.

 

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Write and write some more. Find a great writing group to be involved with and get a critique partner. Write what you want and not what the market wants – she’s a fickle diva.

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About The Author

I have the great pleasure of living in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which has a population of about 380,000. Halifax is almost like a mini-Boston (one of my fav cities to visit but I confess to loving San Francisco, CA the most) and sits on the Atlantic Ocean, which is what I get to look at as I write my young adult novels. I’m not a teen anymore by statistics only but I keep telling those people that I literally stopped counting when I hit twenty.

Things I do at home – dance around my kitchen (or dance anywhere, can you tell I’m a huge dancer and I have my very own rhythm and style, which sometimes embarrasses my friends but they still love me). I love to read. At the moment I’m reading Edward Rutherford’s latest novel, New York…I got hooked on him when I read Sarum about a dozen years ago. I’m also reading Rachel Hawthorne’s Dark Guardian Novel series and I can’t wait to get my hands on Kelley Armstrong’s Frostbitten novel.

I totally believe in – dragons (in the sea and air), fairies (let’s just say I’ve got some old family history happening there), Sirens and Titans (and no they aren’t mermaids, that’s only what common folks call them but true believers know what they really are and why they walk among us), the power of universal magic and most important on my list is soul love—when you find it, anchor it to your heart and never let it go.

I live my version of paranormal and it’s my reality. I hope you enjoy my worlds that my young adults enter and enjoy the journey of self-discovery many of them make.

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Review: Zenn Scarlett by C.J Schoon

About the Book:

When you’re studying to be exoveterinarian specializing in exotic, alien life forms, school… is a different kind of animal.

Zenn Scarlett is a resourceful, determined 17-year-old girl working hard to make it through her novice year of exovet training. That means she’s learning to care for alien creatures that are mostly large, generally dangerous and profoundly fascinating. Zenn’s all-important end-of-term tests at the Ciscan Cloister Exovet Clinic on Mars are coming up, and, she’s feeling confident of acing the exams. But when a series of inexplicable animal escapes and other disturbing events hit the school, Zenn finds herself being blamed for the problems. As if this isn’t enough to deal with, her absent father has abruptly stopped communicating with her; Liam Tucker, a local towner boy, is acting unusually, annoyingly friendly; and, strangest of all: Zenn is worried she’s started sharing the thoughts of the creatures around her. Which is impossible, of course. Nonetheless, she can’t deny what she’s feeling.

Now, with the help of Liam and Hamish, an eight-foot sentient insectoid also training at the clinic, Zenn must learn what’s happened to her father, solve the mystery of who, if anyone, is sabotaging the cloister, and determine if she’s actually sensing the consciousness of her alien patients… or just losing her mind. All without failing her novice year…

Review

Zenn Scarlett is a novel with an interesting premise and a gorgeous cover. I loved the idea of Zenn, who lived on a colonized Mars and worked for the Cloister helping alien animals. The first part of the book was very interesting science fiction, and reminded me of reading some of the greats.

That being said, after a while the book fell a bit flat. There wasn’t much of a forward-moving impulse to keep me going. It was more of a day-by-day account of Zenn’s life. I would have liked to see a bit more action, or at least some urgency in the mystery, but I didn’t find it.

Overall, it’s a very interesting read and Sci-fi fans will enjoy the lovely prose and the world Zenn lives in, just don’t expect a big adventure, because it just doesn’t arrive in this book. (Probably the sequel).

 

Note: This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Interview with @STbende ST Bende and her book ELSKER plus excerpt!

I’m so excited to present to you today my interview with ST Bende about her book ELSKER!

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Thanks so much for letting me visit today, Lindsay.  As a debut author, it’s been fantastic to be embraced by such a lovely group of bloggers.  Y’all have been so gracious!

ELSKER, Book One in THE ELSKER SAGA, follows twenty-year-old Kristia Tostenson as she leaves her small town to find adventure at Cardiff University in Wales.  Kristia gets a lot more than she bargained for when she falls in love with Ull Myhr.  He’s not just a graduate student – he’s an Asgardian Assassin and the Norse God of Winter.  Kristia’s orderly life is about to get seriously complicated.

 Interview

Being a Finn, I love Scandinavian mythology. What part of your research was the most fun?

Hei hei!  The mythology is fantastic, isn’t it?  It’s so complex, with nine realms and scores of creatures, and it’s so, so dark.  There’s just so much to work with.  Researching the myths might have been my favorite part of writing Elsker.  I read every book I could find at our little library, including the kids books.  (Note to whoever’s in charge of marketing Scandinavian mythology to kids: you might want to scale back on some of the gruesome illustrations.  Just sayin’.  Who knew trolls were so scary?)

It was important to me to develop a male lead most people hadn’t heard of, so I didn’t do much reading on Thor, Odin and the lot.  And although the God of Winter is pretty popular with skiers (did you know there’s an Ull Festival in Colorado?  I’d love to go one day!), most people aren’t familiar with him.  I knew Ull was my guy when my library got a textbook written by a Scandinavian Studies professor.  It was over three hundred pages long, with only a paragraph-long mention of Ull.  He was pretty much a scholarly blank page, and I couldn’t wait to create his back-story.

 

 How does Elsker push the envelope for fantasy?

Although there are plenty of stories about Greek gods interacting with mortals, there aren’t a ton of YA/NA books that focus on Scandinavian mythology.  Asgard is a radically different world from Mt. Olympus, and the existence of the nine realms opens up a slew of potential bad guys and allies.  The Greeks have their Hydra and Titans, but we’ve got Jotuns, Dark Elves, Trolls, and these visionary Norns.  And bringing it all to Midgard (Earth), and seeing it through the eyes of a girl whose frame of reference is a 300 person town with one stoplight… well, in that context, the mythological Norse world just seems even crazier.  As a writer, it was a dream to have so many types of characters to play with.  And as a reader, hopefully it’s a journey that’s different than anything you’ve seen before.

 If one song out there could define your book, what would it be?

It’s Time, by Imagine Dragons.  My small town girl and my Norse god are literally from two different worlds.  Kristia’s future is unwritten, and she moves to Wales for a fresh start.  Ull comes from a world where his destiny was set at birth, and he feels powerless over his fate. “I get a little bit bigger but then I admit, I’m just the same as I was.  Now don’t you understand?  I’m never changing who I am.”  Ull would love to feel like he could change the future, but he believes he’s on a predestined course he has to follow.  And Kristia’s going to do everything she can to show him he’s wrong.

 If you met your main character at a bar, how would you interact?

If I met Ull in real life I would giggle uncontrollably, turn bright red, ask to take a picture with him, blurt out “I love you” like the grown-up that I am, then run the other way.

If you could live in any literary universe, which would it be?

I’d enroll at Hogwarts and hang out with Ron, Hermione and Harry.  I would totally be a Gryffindor, and Hermione and I could share our obsessively detailed class notes.  On weekends we’d stuff our faces at Honeydukes, though I would never, ever try a Bertie Botts Every Flavored Bean.  Ever.

I got to meet Gary Oldman when he was promoting Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and while all the other adults asked him savvy questions about his illustrious acting career, I shoved my Harry Potter book at him and begged for an autograph.  He signed it “Gary Oldman/Sirius B.”  It’s one of my most prized possessions.

 Are you a plotter or a pantser?

A pantser.  Since I wrote Elsker for myself, I didn’t really think much about where it was going or how it would flow.  I just sat at the keyboard and waited to see what would happen.  I wrote the scenes I wanted to as I thought of them, then went back and pieced them together.  It made for some crazy storylines, not all of which made the final cut, but it was really fun.

 How has writing changed your life?

Writing lets me purge my creative energy.  It’s something I can do on my own, whenever I have the time, and there aren’t any rules.  It’s a fantastic release.  Getting to share Elsker with the world is really scary, but it’s also the first time I’ve gotten to introduce my imaginary friends to anyone else.  And that’s exciting.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

I’ll be honest, I’ve never really thought of myself as a writer.  It’s just something I love doing, for me.  And if you love something, you shouldn’t let anything stop you from doing it.  Don’t worry about whether what you’re doing is marketable, or whether you’ll ever get an agent or a publishing deal.  Just do what you love, and take pride in knowing that you are pursuing your passion.

That said, if publication is your goal, a good critique partner is invaluable.  I’m such a huge fan of mine, we recently wrote a YA project together.  We had a blast.  *Waves* Hi, Jacque!

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THE ELSKER SAGA is available now from Entranced Publishing.

TUR, the prequel, can be downloaded for free at http://www.entrancedpublishing.com/imprints-2/blush/elsker/

ELSKER, Book 1, is available from Entranced, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Find ST Bende on Twitter : @STBende

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/stbende

or at (http://stbende.blogspot.com/).

And be sure to stop by http://stbende.blogspot.com/ between April 11th and May 20th to enter to win fabulous prizes in the ELSKER Release Month of Giveaways!

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BONUS Excerpt!

ELSKER – Book 1, THE ELSKER SAGA

At eight o’clock, a firm knock interrupted my reading.  I picked my way through the flower shop that our living room had become and opened the door.

“Oh good, you kept my peace offerings.”  Ull treated me to a rakish grin.

“Just a few of them,” I muttered.  “Come on in.”

“Oh, no.  You must come with me.”

“Why?”  I challenged.  Ull sighed.

“Are you going to fight me at every turn?”

“Probably.”

“Please come.”  He looked so adorable standing on my stoop, his scarf casually thrown across the grey sweater under his coat.  I gave in quicker than I meant to.

“Fine.”  I grabbed my coat from the closet by the door and shoved my keys and wallet into the pocket.  “Where are we off to?”  I closed the door behind me and followed Ull into the brisk night, waiting for his promised explanation.

But he didn’t say anything.  Instead, he put his hand on the small of my back and guided me away from campus.  I shivered and noticed that Ull wore his jacket open, at ease in the chill.  As we rounded the corner, Ull dropped his hand to clasp mine.  It was so warm, so strong, and for a moment I forgot to be mad at him.  We walked in silence as he led me down the main road.  After two right turns, I found myself standing in a quiet garden.

Ull had brought me to a church.

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Review, Another by Yukito Ayatsuji

 

Another is an interesting and creepy read, and hopefully just the beginning of the release of Japanese Light Novels.

Volume 1 follows Sakakibari, a transfer student with some physiological health issues. He joins Third Year Class 3, and immediately learns that there is something different about this class; a curse which results in multiple deaths of students and their families.

He befriends the strange Mei Misaki, who is ignored completely by her peers. Eventually he unravels the background of the curse and the steps being taken to avoid it, but the true nature of the curse is still a mystery.

Another vol. 1 is an interesting read, with lots of creepy mystery. It also showcases Japanese culture and is just one of many of Japan’s “Light Novels”. It’s a good, quick read, and I’ll be looking out for vol. 2.

Interview with Jack Croxall @jackcroxall Author of Tethers

I am so excited to introduce you all to Jack Croxall, if you haven’t met him already. His book, Tethers, is totally fantastic and a wonderful, well-written read. I love it.

A bit about his book:

In the wake of a cold Victorian winter, two teenagers discover an anonymous journal filled with strange passages and bizarre scribblings.

The journal soon draws them into a covert and sinister conspiracy, a conspiracy centred around an otherworldly artefact with the power to change everything …

Karl and Esther have spent almost every day of their thirteen years in the quiet market town of Shraye. Stifled by their rural surroundings and frustrated by their unfulfilled ambitions, they find the allure of the journal’s mysterious pages impossible to ignore. The book seems to be beckoning them away from Shraye, away from their homes and towards the coast where an unsolved disappearance has set in motion a dark chain of events.

The voyage the teenagers soon find themselves undertaking is one of desperate importance and true peril; it will change the way they see the world, and each other, forever.

Set in Victorian Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire, Tethers is the first instalment of The Tethers Trilogy.

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Here’s my interview with Jack:

How much work did you put into building your world?

On the whole, Tethers took about two years to write and a good proportion of that time was spent researching Victorian England (where the novel is set). I spent hours upon hours studying Victorian life and I must say it was fascinating, not a chore in the slightest! My favourite aspect was perhaps life on the waterways – a style of living that is non-existent in today’s society. Whole families would live in the single cramped cabin of a narrowboat as they transported supplies up and down the rivers and canals. The life was incredibly tough and children would work full days as soon as they could walk.

What was the initial lightbulb idea that put Tethers into motion?

 

I started writing Tethers with absolutely no (conscious) plan whatsoever, and, at times, I did wonder where the novel was going. However, my lightbulb moment came when I realised the aspect of the plot that the book’s title is a reference to. I couldn’t possibly go into any more detail than that though …

What was the single hardest scene to write in the book?

 

There is a scene where a main character dies and that was incredibly difficult to write, not only because it’s horrible to let one of your darlings go, but you have to accurately gauge and convey all the emotions at play in the other characters present. It took several redrafts but I think I got there in the end!

If one song out there could define your book, what would it be?

 

I really can’t think of just one song, but I have put together a playlist of songs I listened to whilst writing the book. You can check it out here: http://bit.ly/Zr6l9U

If you met your main character at a bar, how would you interact?

 

One of my main characters, Esther, lives in a rural pub and I think if I somehow turned up there, she would be quite keen to talk to a new face. She’d probably be disappointed when she found out I wasn’t particularly exciting or mysterious though – unless she found out I was from the future of course!

If you could live in any literary universe, which would it be?

Oh, that’s easy; Lyra’s universe in His Dark Materials. Philip Pullman crafted a gorgeous world for his seminal trilogy and the best part is that everybody gets their own daemon (a physical, animal-embodiment of your soul). I think mine would be a heron because I’m patient, persistent and I love water!

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

 

Can I be a combination of the two, a ‘planster’ perhaps? I’ve recently been writing with a vague plan but allowing myself absolute freedom to go off on tangents and connect the dots however I feel is best at the time. It’s working out well actually.

How has writing changed your life?

 

Quite simply, it’s made me happier than ever before.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Firstly, I would say read as widely as you can – not exclusively books from the genre you intend to write in. I’m not only talking about fiction either; blogs, newspaper articles, pamphlets, menus, billboards, DVD boxes, E-mails, all can be sources of great writing – you need to absorb as much of it as you can. Secondly, I suggest getting involved with the larger writing community. With social networking it’s never been easier and most writers and readers really are wonderfully supportive. I’ve found talking to fellow bookish-types incredibly helpful so, get involved; my twitter handle is @JackCroxall, if you’re interested, add me for a chat!

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Find Tethers here:

 

More About Jack Croxall:

 

Jack Croxall - Author Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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