Thursday, April 24, 2014

Guest Post: Author Esther M. Friesner

Some lies lead to true adventure...

Maeve, princess of Connacht, was born with her fists clenched. And it's her spirit and courage that make Maeve her father's favorite daughter. But once he becomes the High King, powerful men begin to circle—it's easy to love the girl who brings her husband a kingdom.

Yet Maeve is more than a prize to be won, and she's determined to win the right to decide her own fate. In the court's deadly game of intrigue, she uses her wits to keep her father's friends and enemies close—but not too close. When she strikes up an unlikely friendship with the son of a visiting druid, Maeve faces a brutal decision between her loyalty to her family and to her own heart.

Award-winning author Esther Friesner has a remarkable gift for combining exciting myth and richly researched history. This fiery heroine's fight for independence in first-century Ireland is truly worthy of a bard's tale. Hand Deception's Princess to fans of Tamora Pierce, Shannon Hale, and Malinda Lo.



Oh, the Places I Haven’t Been!
I’ve just flown back from Ireland, and boy, is that old joke tired.  (If you don’t know which old joke I mean, See Below *)  It was a business trip.  The heroine of Deception’s Princess (and its sequel, Deception’s Pawn) is the legendary Queen Maeve of Connacht, so I had to check out her home turf in order to write about it.

Except I didn’t do that. 

One of the most Frequent of the FAQs I encounter as an author is “Have you ever been to the places you write about?”  It’s second only to “Where do you get your ideas?”  Whenever someone asks me that question about the Princesses of Myth books, I must say “No.” 

Young Helen of Troy’s exploits in Nobody’s Princess and Nobody’s Prize carry her from Sparta, through greater Greece, to the wild lands bordering the Black Sea and home again.  Nefertiti’s adventures in Sphinx’s Princess and Sphinx’s Queen are set in Egypt.  Have I traveled to Greece or Egypt?  No.   (I have visited Japan, the setting for Himiko’s story in Spirit’s Princess and Spirit’s Chosen. I’d love to return, and I’m pleased beyond belief that I was able to write about such a lovely country, but that still leaves me two-to-one on the side of Haven’t been there, haven’t done that.)

Wait a minute.  How dare I?  Behold, one of the first lessons for aspiring writers, namely: Write about what you know.  How can I know a place if I haven’t been there? Should I add this to my Guilt-of-the-day list?

Again. . .No.  If you’re going to have a happy go at writing, you need to understand that Write about what you know does not mean Write about only those things you have experienced firsthand.   (Wow.  Italics and boldface and underlining?  I must really mean this!)  To quote a great Western philosopher, “Well, d’uh!”  If it weren’t so—if we could only write about our firsthand experiences—a huge number of my fellow fiction-mongers would be in deep, deep trouble.  Or dead.  Or undead.  Or--a fate worse than undeath—they’d be the perpetrators of some very dull books indeed.

If we could only write about our firsthand experiences, a lot of fantasy and science fiction could never see the light.  We’d never be taken along on journeys through Middle Earth, never matriculate at Hogwarts, never have it out with Lord Vader aboard the Death Star, never chill to the knowledge that “Winter is coming.” 

And I’d never be able to write about a single character who’s carrying a Y chromosome.

Here’s another thing to bear in mind:  Even if I had been to Ireland, I still could not say I’d seen Maeve’s Ireland.  The same goes for Helen’s Greece, Nefertiti’s Egypt and Himiko’s Japan. To do that, I’d need more than a plane ticket; I’d need a time machine.  (TSA would not approve.) 

Okay, so how do I visit the places I haven’t been and—due to lack of time-traveling abilities—I could never go anyway?  Here’s the short list:  

1. Books.  That’s a given and--since I love ferreting around in libraries—it’s also a pleasure. Heavily illustrated books are research jackpots, particularly those where the artist looks at relics, ruins, grave-goods and monuments, then uses her imagination to create a picture of what all of these things must have looked like when they were new, in use, and part of my characters’ everyday lives.  Funny thing:  Children’s books are among my favorite resources because they are more picture-enriched tend to be more enriched with pictures.

2. Websites.  Long live the Internet!  Sometimes I feel as if I can find anything about any culture at any point in history at the click of a mouse.  But I always double check what I learn from one website against what several others have to say. On the Internet there are facts and then there are “facts.” 

3.  Tourism resources.  I’m lucky enough to live within commuting distance of New York City, the location of many nations’ tourism offices.  They’ve always provided me with materials about countless aspects of the countries I’ve researched, including some containing priceless information about historical sites.  More pictures!

If I didn’t live close to NYC, I’d look up the tourism office I needed online and send a request for information.  Failing that, I’d ask to a local travel agent to give me a hand.  I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how helpful people can be when you tell them you’re trying to write a book!  And speaking of people. . .

4. People.  Some people have been to the places I haven’t and are eager to share their experiences.  Sometimes their stories go outside of the cities and give me a sense of the land that I would not have been able to get from my other research. (A friend of mine who has been to Ireland tells of how his camera—in perfect working order before and after—refused to take photos at one isolated, prehistoric site.  Apparently something didn’t want its picture taken.  I never got chills like that off the Internet!)

5. Pause for Thought.  This is essential.  This is where I take all of the hard facts and pretty pictures that tell me about Ireland, Greece, Egypt or Japan now and think about how they differed then.  I think about how living in a particular place and culture would affect my heroine.  Most of all, I think about how her society’s values would not be the same as today’s.  Slavery was a fact of life in ancient Egypt, so Nefertiti would not be raised to think of it as wrong.  She’d have to reach that conclusion on her own.  There were no coins in Helen’s Greece.  If she wanted to travel, she’d have to come up with a way to pay for her needs on the road.  Celtic warriors of Maeve’s time decorated the entryways to their houses with the preserved heads of their enemies.  She wouldn’t look at them and say, “Ew!”; she’d be proud to see how many trophies her father had brought home. 

And the most important thing I must think about on my travels to lands and times I’ve never been is this:  Helen and Himiko and Nefertiti and Maeve are not modern girls playing dress-up.  They don’t enjoy the rights we take for granted.  Even though they are princesses, they are still subject to the commands of their fathers and considered less important, less valuable than their brothers.  If they want the freedom to be themselves and make their own choices in life, they have to fight for it. 

I get to go along on their journeys, and I wouldn’t trade these travels for any all-expense-paid real trip in the world.

About the Author:
 
Esther M. Friesner was educated at Vassar College, where she completed B.A's in both Spanish and Drama. She went to on to Yale University; within five years she was awarded an M.A. and Ph.D. in Spanish. She taught Spanish at Yale for a number of years before going on to become a full-time author of fantasy and science fiction. She has published twenty-seven novels so far; her most recent titles include Temping Fate from Penguin-Puffin and Nobody's Princess from Random House.

Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in Asimov's, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Aboriginal SF, Pulphouse Magazine, Amazing, and Fantasy Book, as well as in numerous anthologies. Her story, "Love's Eldritch Ichor," was featured in the 1990 World Fantasy Convention book.

Her first stint as an anthology editor was Alien Pregnant By Elvis, a collection of truly gonzo original tabloid SF for DAW books. Wisely, she undertook this project with the able collaboration of Martin H. Greenberg. Not having learned their lesson, they have also co-edited the Chicks In Chainmail Amazon comedy anthology series for Baen Books, as well as Blood Muse, an anthology of vampire stories for Donald I Fine, Inc.

"Ask Auntie Esther" was her regular etiquette and advice column to the SFlorn in Pulphouse Magazine. Being paid for telling other people how to run their lives sounds like a pretty good deal to her.

Ms. Friesner won the Nebula Award for Best Short Story of 1995 for her work, "Death and the Librarian," and the Nebula for Best Short Story of 1996 for "A Birth Day." (A Birth Day" was also a 1996 Hugo Award finalist.) Her novelette, "Jesus at the Bat" was on the final Nebula ballot in the same year that "Death and the Librarian" won the award. In addition, she has won the Romantic Times award for Best New Fantasy Writer in 1986 and the Skylark Award in 1994. Her short story, "All Vows," took second place in the Asimov's SF Magazine Readers' Poll for 1993 and was a finalist for the Nebula in 1994. Her Star Trek: Deep Space Nine novel, Warchild, made the USA TODAY bestseller list.

She lives in Connecticut with her husband, two children, two rambunctious cats, and a fluctuating population of hamsters.
 
 




































































































 

 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Burn Out Blog Tour, Author Guest Post & Giveaway!!

A futuristic blend of Beth Revis's Across the Universe and Lenore Appelhans's Level 2, Burn Out will satisfy the growing desire for science fiction with a thrilling story of survival, intrigue, and adventure.

Most people want to save the world; seventeen-year-old Tora Reynolds just wants to get the hell off of it. One of the last survivors in Earth's final years, Tora yearns to escape the wasteland her planet has become after the sun turns "red giant," but discovers her fellow survivors are even deadlier than the hostile environment.

Holed up in an underground shelter, Tora is alone--her brilliant scientist father murdered, her mother and sister burned to death. She dreams of living on a planet with oceans, plants, and animals. Unfortunately, the oceans dried out ages ago, the only plants are giant cacti with deadly spines, and her pet, Trigger, is a gun--one of the bio-energetic weapons her father created for the government before his conscience kicked in.

When family friend, Markus, arrives with mercenaries to take the weapons by force, Tora's fury turns to fear when government ships descend in an attempt to kill them all. She forges an unlikely alliance with Markus and his rag-tag group of raiders, including a smart but quiet soldier named James. Tora must quickly figure out who she can trust, as she must choose between saving herself by giving up the guns or honoring her father's request to save humanity from the most lethal weapons in existence.


Meet JAMES from BURN OUT 

James is a quiet soldier who has orders to seize the bio-energetic weapons created by Tora’s father. Tora has sworn to protect the weapons so they don’t fall into enemy hands and struggles with her conflicting feelings toward James. James is also the medic for the army and Tora becomes more confused when he saves her instead of killing her.  In this scene, James uses his profession to express his feelings for Tora.

“How ‘bout here? Does it hurt when I touch here?” he asked in a professional tone, yet both his hands slid down toward my hips and his lips almost touched mine. I was no doctor but this was definitely not part of any medical exam I’d ever seen. My legs turned to jelly and I trembled. When I sighed, James raised a finger to his lips. Oh yeah, the com system.

Ultimately, Tora learns that James has some complicated reasons for being involved in the weapons hunt and that being attracted to him doesn’t mean she can trust him.

 
About the Author:
 

Kristi Helvig is a Ph.D. clinical psychologist turned sci-fi/fantasy author. She muses about Star Trek, space monkeys, and other assorted topics on her blog and Twitter. Kristi resides in sunny Colorado with her hubby, two kiddos, and behaviorally-challenged dogs.
 
You can also find Kristi on Facebook and Goodreads
 
Grab a copy of BURN OUT on:
 
 
And now for a fabulous giveaway!!  If you want a chance to win your very own copy of BURN OUT by Kristi Helvig just enter with the form below and cross your fingers that your name is announced on Monday, April 28th.  This contest is open to residents in the U.S. and Canada.
 
Good Luck!!
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Guest Post: Author Toni De Palma

Fighting the Devil brought Cooper and Grace together. But without a little evil to spice things up, the everyday life of a normal teenager is pretty dull. A summer job crewing on a billionaire’s yacht in sunny Italy might be just the ticket to rekindle passion. While the setting is perfect, the winding, sinister back streets of Naples are also the perfect playground for a scorned Lucifer to wreak havoc. And if evil doesn’t rip them apart, the sultry billionaire’s daughter and the sexy First Officer might be what it takes to finally destroy Cooper and Grace’s love forever.

Casting The Devil's Temptation
 
My book, The Devil's Temptation (Book 2 in the Devil series), was released March 14th!
 
I know some screenwriters write with certain actors in mind who they'd like to play the part of the character they're creating.  So for fun, I thought I'd cast the actors for the characters in my latest novel, The Devil's Temptation (Books 2 in the Devil Series).
 
Cooper is a football player.  He plays running back for his high school team.  He's fit without being a muscle head.  With dark hair and crystal blue eyes, he's the kind of guy girls take notice of, but he's pretty unaware or too concerned with keeping his girlfriend Grace happy to really notice.  Playing Cooper is...

 
For Grace, I need a girl with a heart, but has the potential for showing her rebellious side.  Elle Fanning fits the bill for Grace.
 
 
Stefania is an Italian femme fatale.  She is conflicted, sultry and her secrets run deep.  An actress who can play it sexy as well as give a subtle, nuanced performance is necessary.  Dye her hair black and add an Italian accent and Blake Lively is perfect.
 
 
About the Author:
 
 
I grew up in Brooklyn, New York and when I was a kid I loved to wander the streets with my best friend John. We'd disappear for the whole day, returning conveniently when it was time for dinner. During the summer, I'd dance in the spray of the johnny pump (the fire hydrant). Some summers I'd spend in Ischia, the Italian island where my dad was from.

I have always loved to travel and wander. My most valued possession is my passport. I love to write stories that take me and my readers places and of course I love traveling places to do the research for my books (can you say write offs!). I write Middle Grade and YA both contemporary and paranormal romance but I like to read everything and discover new and unusual books.
 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Countdown: April 2014 (4)

With Spring being right around the corner, we're so close to being able to say goodbye to this cold weather and hello to fresh blooms, and sunny skies, right? At least that's what I keep telling myself, knowing full well, that we're likely to see more rain than sun next month, but I'm trying to stay optimistic. And with all these amazing new releases that will hit the shelves next month, it's getting easier each and every time I add one to my countdown list. Are there any titles that you're extra excited about? Here are a few of the ones I'm looking forward to in April.
Countdown Pick #1:  Learning Not to Drown by Anna Shinoda (04/01/2014)
 
There is a pecking order to every family. Seventeen-year old Clare is the overprotected baby; Peter is the typical, rebellious middle child; and Luke is the-can't-do wrong favorite. To their mother, they are a normal, happy family. And then there are the roles we give ourselves. Clare: the ambitious striver; Peter: the angry ticking time bomb; and Luke: a drug addicted, convicted felon who has been in and out of jail for as long as Clare can remember. To Clare, they are a family on the verge of disaster. Clare has long refused to believe her brother is truly bad...he dotes her, doesn't he? But as Clare starts piecing together the truth about her brother's stints in jail, it starts changing the way she thinks about him. It has also changes the way the community views the family. The only thing it hasn't changed is the way their mother feels about Luke. Each time she welcomes him home with open arms and brushes off his crimes as "wrong place and wrong time," Clare can feel a little piece of her happy home life being taken away. And when her mother does the unthinkable--takes Clare's hard-earned college savings to post bail for Luke's latest transgression--Clare has to decide if sticking up for herself and her future means selfishly turning her back on family...or if it's the only way to keep herself from drowning along with them.

Debut novelist Anna Shinoda's raw, gritty, powerful novel cuts right to the bone and brings to life the skeletons the lurk in the closet.
 
Make sure to add this to your list if you haven't already for the 2014 Debut Author Challenge.  I think this one sounds like it has the potential to make all her readers reflect on their own families and their own lives.
 
Countdown Pick #2:  Ask Me by Kimberly Pauley (04/08/2014)
 
Ask Aria Morse anything, and she must answer with the truth. Yet she rarely understands the cryptic words she‘s compelled to utter. Blessed—or cursed—with the power of an Oracle who cannot decipher her own predictions, she does her best to avoid anyone and everyone.

But Aria can no longer hide when Jade, one of the few girls at school who ever showed her any kindness, disappears. Any time Aria overhears a question about Jade, she inadvertently reveals something new, a clue or hint as to why Jade vanished. But like stray pieces from different puzzles, her words never present a clear picture.

Then there’s Alex, damaged and dangerous, but the first person other than Jade to stand up for her. And Will, who offers a bond that seems impossible for a girl who’s always been alone. Both were involved with Jade. Aria may be the only one who can find out what happened, but the closer she gets to solving the crime, the more she becomes a target. Not everyone wants the truth to come out.
 
I didn't even have to finish the first paragraph to know this was a book that I'd be adding to my countdown list immediately!  It's so intriguing and mysterious, and I'm already feeling like I'm on the edge of my seat.  I can't wait to pick this one up next month!
 
 

The Next Great Fantasy Epic is here! For fans of Ranger's Apprentice and the Chronicles of Narnia.

Everyone in Moorvale believes the legend: The brave knight Tristan and the famed wizard Vithric, in an epic battle decades ago, had defeated the evil Nethergrim and his minions. To this day, songs are sung and festivals held in the heroes' honor. Yet now something dark has crept over the village. First animals disappear, their only remains a pile of bones licked clean. Then something worse: children disappear. The whispers begin quietly yet soon turn into a shout: The Nethergrim has returned!

Edmund’s brother is one of the missing, and Edmund knows he must do something to save his life. But what? Though a student of magic, he struggles to cast even the simplest spell. Still, he and his friends swallow their fear and set out to battle an ancient evil whose powers none of them can imagine. They will need to come together--and work apart--in ways that will test every ounce of resolve.

In a story reminiscent of the Ranger’s Apprentice epic and the Chronicles of Narnia, Matthew Jobin weaves reality, magic, and adventure into the next great fantasy phenomenon.

 
I think it's a pretty bold statement to compare any new release to the likes of the Chronicles of Narnia, but no one would be happier than me to see a new series come out that can hold a candle to such an amazing classic!
 
Countdown Pick #4:  Rebel Belle (Untitled, #1) by Rachel Hawkins (04/08/2014)
 

Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper's destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can't get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she's charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper's least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him--and discovers that David's own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y'all beg for more.

Rachel Hawkins hasn't let me down yet, and from the sounds of it, this book will not be any different.  I can't wait to see how she'll weave cotillions and daggers together!
 
Countdown Pick #5:  Toxic Heart (Mystic City, #2) by Theo Lawrence (04/08/2014)
 

A city in flames. A trust betrayed. A perfect love destroyed.

Has Aria lost Hunter, her one true love?

Ever since rebellion broke out in Mystic City, pitting the ruling elite against the magic-wielding mystics, Aria has barely seen her boyfriend. Not surprising, since Hunter is the leader of the mystic uprising, and he'll do whatever it takes to win freedom for his people—even if that means using Aria.

But Aria is no one's pawn. She believes she can bring the two warring sides together, save the city, and win back the Hunter she fell in love with.

Before she can play peacemaker, though, Aria will need to find the missing heart of a dead mystic. The heart gives untold powers to whoever possesses it, but finding it means seeking out a fierce enemy whose deepest desire is for Aria to be gone—forever.

 
It's finally here!  Well almost, but what's another week or so right?  I feel like I've been waiting on this sequel forever, but after enjoying the series opener so much, I'm sure it'll have been worth the wait.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

In My Mailbox (130)

This is a meme that I first heard about from Kristi over at The Story Siren and immediately wanted to jump on board. I'm always picking up new books, because I never tire of reading, but the other thing I like about this meme is that it gives everyone an opportunity to check out what other book fanatics, bloggers, etc... got for themselves. I've gotten great recommendations from this meme and hope that keeps up in the future.

Here's what I got, what did you guys get this week?
  
For Review:
 
 
 
 
Aspen by Rebekah Crane (Thanks to in This Together Media)
 
One quiet night in Boulder, Colorado, Aspen Yellow-Sunrise Taylor made a mistake.

In the next instant, her life changed forever.

Aspen doesn't want to remember the devastating car accident that killed Katelyn Ryan, a sleek-haired popular soccer player. But forgetting is hard-- because Katelyn may have died -- but she didn't leave. Her ghost is following Aspen around, and heading into senior year, it's kind of a problem. Especially when Katelyn's gorgeous former boyfriend Ben appears to be the only person at school with a clue as to how Aspen feels.

Popularity, college, Homecoming Court, hot guys - none of these things ever mattered to Aspen. She's been busy trying to rein in her giant mass of blonde curls, keep her stoner mother Ninny away from Toaster, her mom's awful bongo drumming boyfriend, and prevent her best friends Kim and Cass from killing - or kissing - one another. But with Ben sitting next to her in Physics looking all too gorgeous, Katelyn's spirit dogging her steps, and her obsessive snow-globe collecting therapist begging her to remember all the things she wants to forget, Aspen is thrust into a vivid, challenging world she can't control … and doesn't want to.

A darkly funny, emotionally gripping story of opening up, letting go, and moving on, ASPEN is about the best-worst accident of your life ... and what comes next.


The Adventures of Jillian Spectre by Nic Tatano (Thanks to UK Harper Impulse)

Welcome to the Mystic Quarter...

Jillian Spectre knows what happens after you die.

Because the seventeen-year-old mystic seer can see the future of her clients even after they've passed on. And that's not even her coolest power...

She can be in two places at once. Problem is, her heart can only be in one.

Supernatural abilities aside, she's a typical high school senior torn between two guys. But that gets put on the back burner when she discovers the father she had long assumed was dead is actually alive, with unique powers of his own. He's a technopath, with the ability to interface his mind with technology. And he's got a plan to take down society.

Unless Jillian can stop him.

THE ADVENTURES OF JILLIAN SPECTRE is the story of a very special girl who learns that the power of love is more important than supernatural powers.


City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments, #5) by Cassandra Clare

The New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments continues—and so do the thrills and danger for Jace, Clary, and Simon.

What price is too high to pay, even for love? When Jace and Clary meet again, Clary is horrified to discover that the demon Lilith’s magic has bound her beloved Jace together with her evil brother Sebastian, and that Jace has become a servant of evil. The Clave is out to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. As Alec, Magnus, Simon, and Isabelle wheedle and bargain with Seelies, demons, and the merciless Iron Sisters to try to save Jace, Clary plays a dangerous game of her own. The price of losing is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him? Or is he truly lost?

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.


Cold Fury (Cold Fury, #1) by T.M. Goeglein (Thanks to Putnam Juvenile)

Jason Bourne meets The Sopranos in this breathtaking adventure

Sara Jane Rispoli is a normal sixteen-year-old coping with school and a budding romance--until her parents and brother are kidnapped and she discovers her family is deeply embedded in the Chicago Outfit (aka the mob).

Now on the run from a masked assassin, rogue cops and her turncoat uncle, Sara Jane is chased and attacked at every turn, fighting back with cold fury as she searches for her family. It's a quest that takes her through concealed doors and forgotten speakeasies--a city hiding in plain sight. Though armed with a .45 and 96K in cash, an old tattered notebook might be her best defense--hidden in its pages the secret to "ultimate power." It's why she's being pursued, why her family was taken, and could be the key to saving all of their lives.

Action packed, with fresh, cinematic writing, Cold Fury is a riveting and imaginative adventure readers will devour.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Guest Post: Author Rebecca Serle

Growing up in privileged, Manhattan social circles, Caggie’s life should be perfect, and it almost was until the day that her younger sister drowned when Caggie was supposed to be watching her. Stricken by grief, Caggie pulls away from her friends and family, only to have everyone misinterpret a crucial moment when she supposedly saves a fellow classmate from suicide. Now she’s famous for something she didn’t do and everyone lauds her as a hero. But inside she still blames herself for the death of her sister and continues to pull away from everything in her life, best friend and perfect boyfriend included. Then Caggie meets Astor, the new boy at school, about whom rumours are swirling and known facts are few. In Astor she finds someone who just might understand her pain, because he has an inner pain of his own. But the more Caggie pulls away from her former life to be with Astor, the more she realises that his pain might be darker, and deeper, than anything she’s ever felt. His pain might be enough to end his life…and Caggie’s as well.

New York City!  "The concrete jungle where dreams are made of," according to Alicia Keys and Jay-Z.  In many ways, writing The Edge of Falling was like writing a love letter to this city - one that I love more than words could ever say and one that I admired from afar for so long.  I watched Gossip Girl and Sex and the City with a vicarious, emerald envy.  Eventually I found my way to New York, but it wasn't for another five years that I felt ready to tell a story here.  Then The Edge of Falling was born.

New York has an inner life that breathes.  When you live here, your relationship with New York is very much like your relationships with real people.  The city is a place of serendipity: the subway arriving at just the right time so that you get to Starbucks to see the cute guy you've been eyeing for the third straight day in a row; the dollar you find beneath your shoe just when you need a bit of kindness to brighten your day; the essence of possibility and change you feel when you know you are brushing shoulders with the likes of so many people, just like you, who have dreams and hopes all their own.

But like other relationships, New York isn't perfect.  The city can be callous and shallow: it rains when you're wearing suede shoes.  It shuts you out when you want to be let in: you miss the subway on the morning of an important meeting.  Compromising is difficult: the seasons are felt in extremes and it's either too hot or too cold.  One minute you can go from feeling like you are WINNING New York...to think that New York has spat you out like a peanut shell at a Yankee Game.  Strike three.

In The Edge of Falling, the city comes alive to reflect Caggie's inner feelings, and her challenged relationship with herself.  Caggie is complex, like New York - and also like this always-changing city, she is full of possibility.  The Edge of Falling is her journey to discover that.

Many thanks to The Bookshelf Sophisticate for hosting me today!  If you're looking for a uniquely New York story, make sure to check out The Edge of Falling, and follow me on Twitter.
 
About the Author:
 
Rebecca Serle is the author of When You Were Mine and is an obsessive lover of all things pop culture. She blogs about The Vampire Diaries for New York magazine’s Vulture and can be found on Twitter: @RebeccaASerle. She, like Caggie, lives in Manhattan—just far from the Upper East Side.
 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Countdown: April 2014 (3)

With Spring being right around the corner, we're so close to being able to say goodbye to this cold weather and hello to fresh blooms, and sunny skies, right? At least that's what I keep telling myself, knowing full well, that we're likely to see more rain than sun next month, but I'm trying to stay optimistic. And with all these amazing new releases that will hit the shelves next month, it's getting easier each and every time I add one to my countdown list. Are there any titles that you're extra excited about? Here are a few of the ones I'm looking forward to in April.
 
Countdown Pick #1:  Dangerous by Shannon Hale (04/01/2014)
 

Maisie Danger Brown just wanted to get away from home for a bit, see something new. She never intended to fall in love. And she never imagined stumbling into a frightening plot that kills her friends and just might kill her, too. A plot that is already changing life on Earth as we know it. There's no going back. She is the only thing standing between danger and annihilation.

From NY Times bestselling author Shannon Hale comes a novel that asks, How far would you go to save the ones you love? And how far would you go to save everyone else?

When Shannon Hale came out with Austenland, she won me over.  As a huge Austen fan, any author who puts their own spin on my favorite author's writing is OK by me.  So while this book doesn't sound anything like her previous works that I enjoyed, I have no doubt that her writing will continue to entertain me and I'm eager to see how this future release plays out.
 
Countdown Pick #2:  Stolen Songbird (Untitled, #1) by Danielle L. Jensen (04/01/2014)
 

For those who have loved Seraphina and Graceling comes another truly fabulous fantasy...

Trolls are said to love gold. They are said to live underground and hate humans. They are said to be evil. When Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and sold to the trolls, she finds out that there is truth in the rumours, but there is also so much more to trolls than she could have imagined.

Cécile has only one thing on her mind after she is brought to Trollus, the city she hadn't even known existed under Forsaken Mountain: escape. But the trolls are inhumanly strong. And fast. She will have to bide her time, wait for the perfect opportunity.

But something strange happens while she's waiting - she begins to fall in love with the handsome, thoughtful troll prince that she has been bonded and married to. She begins to make friends. And she begins to see that she may be the only hope for the half-bloods - part troll/part human creatures who are slaves to the full-blooded trolls. There is a rebellion brewing. And her prince, Tristan, the future king, is its secret leader.

As Cécile becomes involved in the intricate political games of Trollus, she becomes more than a farmer's daughter from Goshawk's Hollow. She becomes a princess, the hope of a people, and a witch.

 
Fantasy will always be one of my favorite genres, and if this book's description is to be believed, with Kristin Cashore wrapping up her Seven Realms series, I'm excited about the possibility of another series stepping up and filling it's place.
 
Countdown Pick #3:  Dark Days by Kate Ormand (04/2014)
 

16-year-old Sia only has 15 days to live.

A New World has been created, a place that is highly selective of its citizens and welcomes only the most extraordinary people. Its creators believe they're putting the world to rights and moving towards a perfect future. They've divided society into sectors, with a metal wall surrounding each one. There’s no way in, no way out. A clock tower ticks down the days until a cyborg army penetrates the sector walls, and when they do, nothing will remain of the sector and its citizens but blood, fire and ash.

Sia and her family are far too ordinary to be chosen, so they're left in their sector to die at the hands of machines. Sia accepts her fate, knowing she can’t escape it. Then she meets Mace, a dangerous and attractive boy, who refuses to give up life without a fight...

DARK DAYS is a YA dystopian action-romance novel with jarring violence and high suspense, and could be described as having the gore and action of THE TERMINATOR, and the thrilling romance of MATCHED.

 
I'm not too sure about the gore they describe in this one but the romance and action are always a welcome sight.  So I guess only giving it a chance will determine whether or not this book and I are a good match.
 
Countdown Pick #4:  Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell (04/01/2014)
 

Rule One—Nothing is right, nothing is wrong.
Rule Two—Be careful.
Rule Three—Fight using your legs whenever possible, because they’re the strongest part of your body. Your arms are the weakest.
Rule Four—Hit to kill. The first blow should be the last, if at all possible.
Rule Five—The letters are the law.

Kit takes her role as London’s notorious “Perfect Killer” seriously. The letters and cash that come to her via a secret mailbox are not a game; choosing who to kill is not an impulse decision. Every letter she receives begins with “Dear Killer,” and every time Kit murders, she leaves a letter with the dead body. Her moral nihilism and thus her murders are a way of life—the only way of life she has ever known.

But when a letter appears in the mailbox that will have the power to topple Kit’s convictions as perfectly as she commits her murders, she must make a decision: follow the only rules she has ever known, or challenge Rule One, and go from there.

Katherine’s Ewell’s Dear Killer is a sinister psychological thriller that explores the thin line between good and evil, and the messiness of that inevitable moment when life contradicts everything you believe.

 
I cannot wait to see what types of revelations are in store for Kit and her wild life of crime.  I don't think readers will find anything close to resembling the sounds of this future release, and I'm looking forward to a nice change of pace and maybe some anxiety inducing scenes filled with suspense.
 
Countdown Pick #5:  Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge (04/01/2014)
 

A romantic and fantastical reimagining of the classic Cinderella tale, Gilded Ashes is a novella by Rosamund Hodge set in the same world as the author's debut novel, Sundered.

Orphan Maia doesn't see the point of love when it only brings pain: Her dying mother made a bargain with the evil, all-powerful ruler of their world that anyone who hurt her beloved daughter would be punished; her new stepmother went mad with grief when Maia's father died; and her stepsisters are desperate for their mother's approval, yet she always spurns them. And though her family has turned her into a despised servant, Maia must always pretend to be happy, or else they'll all be struck dead by the curse.

Anax, heir to the Duke of Sardis, doesn't believe in love either—not since he discovered that his childhood sweetheart was only using him for his noble title. What's the point of pretending to fall in love with a girl just so she'll pretend to fall in love with him back? But when his father invites all the suitable girls in the kingdom to a masked ball, Anax must finally give in and select a wife.

As fate would have it, the preparations for the masquerade bring him Maia, who was asked by her eldest stepsister to deliver letters to Anax. Despite a prickly first encounter, he is charmed and intrigued by this mysterious girl who doesn't believe in love. Anax can't help wishing to see her again—and when he does, he can't help falling in love with her. Against her will, Maia starts to fall in love with him too. But how can she be with him when every moment his life is in danger from her mother's deadly bargain?


What girl doesn't love the story of Cinderella?  I've seen the movie, read a few stories that gave the age old tale a new spin and even saw the Broadway rendition last year.  So I think next month when this title comes out will be perfect timing for my next Cinderella fix!

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