Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Promo Post: Brainwalker by Robyn Mundell and Stephan Lacast

by Robyn Mundell & Stephan Lacast
Genre: YA Scifi/Fantasy
Release Date: October 1st 2016
Dualmind Publishing

Summary from Goodreads:

Fourteen year-old Bernard is full of out of the box ideas—ideas that nobody appreciates. Not his ultra-rational father, not his classmates, and definitely not his teacher, who’s fed up waiting for Bernard’s overdue science project. You’d think with a hotshot quantum physicist for a dad, the assignment would be easy as “pi”, but with his relationship with his father on rocky ground, Bernard is under more pressure than a helium atom.

And Bernard’s impulse control flies out the window when he’s stressed. So instead of turning in his project, he moons the class and gets suspended. Now his dad’s got no choice but to bring him to his work. At the Atom Smasher. It’s the chance of a lifetime for Bernard, who knows smashing atoms at the speed of light can—theoretically—make wormholes. How about that for the most mind-bending science project ever? But when he sneaks into the particle accelerator and someone hits the power button, Bernard ends up in the last place he’d ever want to be.

Inside his father’s brain.

And it’s nothing like the spongy grey mass Bernard studied at school. It’s a galaxy, infinite and alive. Like, people live there. A mysterious civilization on the brink of extinction, as unaware of their host as he is of them. But there’s zero time to process this. Bernard’s about to be caught up in an epic war between the two sides of his dad’s brain over their most precious resource:

Mental Energy.

With his father’s life at stake, Bernard must go up against the tyrannical left side of his father’s brain to save the dying, creative right side. But how the heck is he supposed to do that when he’s just a hopelessly right-brained kid himself?

Check out a Q&A with the authors, HERE!

Advance Praise:

"Excellent story with well developed characters and an awesome setting. My students are currently participating in a Growth Mindsets. Can't wait for publication. It would totally coincide with our brainology studies... I couldn't put it down." — Pam B, librarian, Wyola SD, MT

"In the novel Brainwalker, Mundell and Lacast have devised an ingenious plot using the tesseract concept found in 'A Wrinkle in Time' with the setting being the brain of the protagonist's father." — Douglas B. Educator

“This story is full of high-stakes adventure, and it often excels in its imaginative and allegorical exploration of real-world issues” — Kirkus Reviews

“The descriptions of the various locations, creatures, and residents of the Brainiverse are both fun and intelligent. Bernard is an engaging protagonist.” — Kirkus Reviews

“An imaginative adventure, ... one that clearly benefits from the great amount of thought that its authors put into it.” — Kirkus Reviews

“A fun way for kids/preteens to learn about science and the brain. The pictures are also really great and add a lot to the story” — Olivia Farr, Reviewer at Harvard Medical School

"The characters and the setting of this book are truly unique and very diverse, the plot is filled with fiction mixed with real brain concepts and puts everything into perspective from both fiction and reality" — Gabrielle Messier

"Definitely an approach to teenage urban fantasy that I’ve never seen before. I found myself quite enamored with Bernard and all his geeky questions and theories ... Underneath all the neurology, it’s really a story about connection and love and fighting for what’s important." — Kristen Canady

"'Brainwalker' is a great scientific fiction and that offers the readers a fantastic experience of the scientific adventure with the beautifully written words, the well laid out plots, and lifelike characters in the story." — Yichen Tu

"Not unlike experiencing Avatar in a 3D IMAX theater, this exciting and provocative novel includes characters and images of such dimension, the reader cannot help but feel fully invited into this fantastical storyline." — Lolly Howe

"Story starts and ends with the MOON! All will have to take a read to find out what I am talking about. This is a great Teen read revolving around young minds faced with the challenges of life." — Linda Babbs

"The world-building was pretty sublime: it was so cool to contextualize the brain in this way, and learn about it at the same time... The illustrations were all so refreshing to see - it's been too long since I've read a book that isn't afraid to support the plot line with pictures! I'm looking forward to what Mundell and Lacast have to offer in the future!" — TT turner

5 stars - "The authors have found a creative way to introduce the functions of the brain in a creative way that's full of action, adventure, and suspense. This will be a popular book in middle grades and middle school boys will enjoy this one!" — Susan Grigsby, ALA Librarian

“Teachers are always looking for ways to enhance scientific literacy and Brainwalker is the perfect vehicle to bridge the gap between exciting adventure and scientific inquiry.” — Jennifer C., Educator

"This brilliant new novel grapples with the most exciting topic possible, and invites middle school, young adults and also adult readers into the inexhaustible mystery of the universe. Take the walk." — Maureen G., Educator

About the Authors
Robyn Mundell is an award winning playwright. A graduate of New York University, she performed in dozens of plays in New York and was part of David Mamet’s Atlantic Theater Company. She studied with such theater legends as Uta Hagen, Lee Strasberg, and Stella Adler.

Robyn wrote and performed in several of her own plays including Pieces of O and Traveling Bowls of Soup, produced by Pulitzer-prize winner Beth Henley. Traveling Bowls of Soup opened at the Met theater to rave reviews and received several Drama-Logue awards. Robyn has since been selling original screenplays and TV pilots to major film companies and networks. She is the daughter of Canadian Nobel laureate Robert A. Mundell, and is married to actor-playwright Raymond J. Barry. Together, they have four children.

French-Born Stephan Lacast likes to think of himself as a geek, which depending on your dictionary means either “knowledgeable about computers”, or “boring social misfit.” At the age of twelve his idea of fun was building computers and programming, and by fifteen he was a contributor to a computer magazine. A graduate of Paris-Dauphine University, he holds a Bachelor in Economics, a Master in Business Administration, and a Master of Advanced Studies in Information Systems.

After teaching at Dauphine University, Stephan went on to work as a consultant and engineer for one of the top ten Information Technology services companies in Europe, before deciding to leave Paris and move to the United States.

Social Media Links:

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Promo Post: Songs of Seraphina by Jude Houghton

Songs of Seraphina
by Jude Houghton
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: June 30th 2015
Tenebris Books, Grimbold Books

Summary from Goodreads:

Some battles bleed so much, and for so long, that the earth never truly forgets their dead. Some battles are born of oppression, and some of greed, and some simply because it was written in the stars.

Three sisters—Charlemagne, Cairo and Pendragon Agonistes—are sent from America to England to live with their eccentric grandparents after their mother disappears and their father falls to pieces. But before the girls have time to find their feet, Charlemagne is married off to a dead man, Penny takes a nap and wakes up as a boy, and Cairo is swept into a dangerous romance with a man who wants her for more than her considerable charm. With the girls wrapped up in a conflict they barely understand, they don’t notice that their grandmother is transforming, or that the two demigod assassins who took their mother are now coming for them—if one of them can get over his crisis of conscience.

In this richly painted tale, at whose heart is the unbreakable bond of family and blood, the world of Seraphina collides with our own as three unique girls are dragged into twilight lives past, fighting for vengeance, retribution, and the survival of their exiled people.

She ran through the outcrops of forest and brush, through the smallholdings where the trees had been cleared for Calliope farmlands, then on to the border of the wetlands. Here she began to slow. The marshy terrain was treacherous, breaking into pockets of continuous water three or four feet deep. There were well-worn pathways criss-crossing the wetlands. The area was often tapped for irrigation, but in the middle there was a giant causeway of rocks, scrub and caves that created a dry island in the otherwise sodden terrain.
The Stony Marsh almost looked man-made, but it was too vast and had been a feature of the terrain since the Gildas first came to these lands. Song was taught that they were formed by volcanic eruption, but when she actually saw the Marsh, she couldn’t help thinking there was something else at work, a wiser power. The rocks looked sculpted, so smoothly were they hewn, and hidden caves stood like witnesses of some ancient civilization.
As Song trekked along the path, she kept away from the trees. Though this meant occasionally stepping into the water, sometimes up to a foot high, it was safer. The trees of this part of the marsh had snakes in them; the black death serpents hung in tight nests and spiralled down onto their prey. One drop, one bite, one death. They were so sensitive to light and temperature, they existed across just one degree of latitude, but on that latitude they were as plentiful as they were deadly.
The water was at its highest just before the Stony Marsh, and the trails narrowed and became increasingly uneven, limiting her movements. This was where the traps would be. Song wondered what form they would take. Nets triggered by the brush of a tine? Holes harbouring poisonous arachnids? She imagined both would appeal to the Acrapheans.
She looked for silver threads and disturbances in the earth, but saw nothing. Suddenly she became conscious of a strange flapping noise above her head; strange because egrets and other birds tended to be near the ground. Looking up she saw a large piece of parchment tied between two cypress, and next to it another, and then another.
In the still night air they made an eerie susurrus. She stared at them for a moment, trying to see what they were supposed to do or how the trap worked. It made no sense. Craning upwards she moved cautiously forward. Her toe snagged on a mannequin hair, very fine but too strong to snap outright with her weight. In the same instant an arrow, released from a tree to her left, buried deep into her shoulder. She stumbled, looking at it with incredulity. The blood came thick and fast.
How could she have been so stupid?
She felt something spread through her arm—the cloudy progression of poison.


Buy Links: 

About the Author:
Jude developed a love of fantasy from a relatively early age after realising an innate talent for making stuff up could result in something other than detention. Working across the globe in fields as diverse as journalism, data entry, sales, management consultancy and babysitting, Jude has partially succeeded in putting an English and History degree from Oxford University to good use. A somnambulist, insomniac, lover of letters, Jude writes late into the night, most nights, tumbling down the rabbit hole to dream of other lives. Jude currently lives in Pennsylvania with an over-enthusiastic family and absurdly entitled dog.

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Sunday, 16 October 2016

Promo Post: Unlocked by Margo Kelly

by Margo Kelly
Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller
Release Date: October 1st 2016
Merit Press


A provocative thriller involving hypnosis, mystery, love, and friendship!

Someone has been moving the stuffed pink elephant in Hannah's room. She thinks. And ants crawl over her hands, across the steering wheel, all the time. Don't they? They're what made her crash the car on the way home from the fair, and she wouldn't have freaked out, wouldn't have caused her friend's death, for no reason. But she doesn't know if a person is messing with her, if the paranormal is messing with her--or if she's just going psychotic like her dad before her.

When her friends bail, Hannah is left floundering. Not even her boyfriend Manny believes her, and new girl Chelsea is practically replacing her at school. Only artsy outsider and self-proclaimed occult expert, Plug, agrees to help Hannah find out the truth about hypnosis and demons, and even he can't help Hannah reclaim her mind from whatever's taking over. She'll have to do that herself if she wants to save her friends, her mom and herself.

Q & A:

Q: If you could live in any book “world” which book would it be? 
A: Oh. My. I read a lot of thrillers, horrors, and dystopias … so I don’t know that I’d want to live in any of them. ;) I would want to live in a tranquil place. So I suppose I’d want to live in the world of Anne of Green Gables -- Prince Edward Island. 

Q: If you had a time machine where would you go back in time or ahead? And who would you like to visit. 
A: I would go back in time about fifteen years to visit more with my maternal grandmother before she passed away from this life.

Q: Do you have any pets?
A: Two dogs. We rescued our big black dog from the local shelter, and they had named him Black Sabbath. The little white dog, which we also rescued, was really tiny when we first brought him home. We wanted to give him a name opposite of Black Sabbath. So we named him Rascal Flatts. We call him Rascal.

Q: Any pet peeves? 
A: Dog hair (no pun intended) … and yet, I have two wonderful dogs who shed hair everywhere and on everything, and I love them.

Q: What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
A: When I was around seventeen, I took a college entrance exam for a coworker so that she could test-out of a math class she didn’t want to take.

Q: When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie? 
A: I’m a pretty honest and even blunt person. I don’t usually lie. If you ask me a question I don’t want to answer, I will either say, “Oh, that’s a story for another day.” Or, “Frankly, that’s none of your business.”

Q: Where can readers stalk you online?
A: Website: www.margokelly.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MargoKelly.author
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MargoWKelly
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/margokelly
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/margowkelly/

Buy Links:

About the Author:

Margo Kelly is a native of the Northwest and currently resides in Idaho. A veteran public speaker, Margo is now actively pursuing her love of writing. Her critically acclaimed debut, Who R U Really?, was published by Merit Press (an imprint of F+W Media) in 2014. Her second novel, Unlocked, will be published by Merit Press in October 2016. Margo welcomes opportunities to speak to youth groups, library groups, and book clubs.

Margo Kelly loves to be scared … when she’s reading a good book, watching a good movie, or suffering from the hiccups. She loves writing thrillers for young adults and hopes her stories give you the goose bumps or the itchies or the desire to rethink everyday things. Margo is represented by the not-so-scary, but totally awesome, Brianne Johnson of Writers House.

Author Links:

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Thursday, 6 October 2016

Book Blitz: Through The Veil by Colleen Halverson

Through the Veil
The Aisling Chronicles
Book One
Colleen Halverson         

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Entangled

Date of Publication: February 22, 2016


Number of pages: 400 pages
Word Count: 120K

Cover Artist: Louisa Maggio

Book Description:

Where the fairy tale ends, destiny begins. Elizabeth Tanner is no Tinkerbell, and her life is no fairy tale. Broke and drowning in student loans, the one thing she wants more than anything is a scholarship from the Trinity Foundation. But after the ancient Irish text she's studying turns out to be more than just a book, she becomes their prisoner instead. And when Trinity reveals Elizabeth is half-Fae, she finds herself at the center of a plot to save the magical races of Ireland from a brutal civil war.

As Commander of Trinity's elite warriors, Finn O'Connell isn't used to having his authority challenged. He doesn't know whether to punish or protect the infuriating young woman in his custody. When he discovers the Dark Fae want to use Elizabeth's abilities to control the source of all power in the universe, he'll risk everything to help her. At the mercy of Trinity and enslaved to the Dark Fae, Elizabeth finds herself alone on the wrong side of an Irish myth thousands of years in the making. Refusing to be a pawn in their game, Elizabeth has to fight her way back to the man she loves, but to do so, she must wage her own war against the magic that binds her.

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Wiping the crumbs off his jeans, Finn reached into his backpack and threw an apple at me, which I caught with a deft hand.
            “Nice catch,” he said, grinning.
            I flung the apple up into the air and caught it in my other hand. “I played third base. Little League.”
            “You mean baseball?”
            I nodded.
            “Never seen a game myself.”
            I gaped at Finn. “You mean you live in Chicago, and you’ve never been to a Cubs game?”           
            He shrugged. “Not interested.” Finn’s eyes lit up, and he shoved me playfully with his shoulder. “Now hurling. That’s a good game.”
            “Well, they’re totally different. That’s not even a fair comparison,” I said with a sniff.  
            “Fair enough,” Finn said, wistful. “Really, nothing can compare with hurling.”
            I laughed. “MoirĂ© tried to explain the rules to me once, but she lost me after hurley stick.”
            “Oh, it’s simple, really.” Finn jumped down and rummaged around the rubble until he found a large branch. He swung it, the stick cutting through the air, slowly at first, but then with more force. Finn’s chest muscles rippled between the flaps of his leather jacket, and my blood pulsed in my ears at the sight of him, dancing from foot to foot as he practiced his swing.
            “Now the point of hurling,” Finn began, “is to use this stick, the hurley stick.” He raised the old branch in the air. “To get a little ball called a sliotar either over or under your opponent’s goalpost.” Finn picked up a handful of small rocks and, using his “hurley,” sent a pebble whizzing over the stone wall, inches from my head.
            “Hey, watch it!”
            Finn smiled up at me. “You with me so far?”          
            I nodded.
            “Now,” Finn said. “If the ball flies under the goalpost into the net, it’s worth three points.” Finn sent another pebble skittering against the wall, right next to my boot. “But you have to get it past the keeper, and that can be a challenge.” His eyes glittered at me as he swung his stick again. He threw a rock up in the air and with a loud thwack sent it zooming over the wall. I held out my hand and caught the stone, the look on Finn’s face making up for the sting of impact.
            “And he’s out!” I cried, jumping off the wall and doing a mock victory dance. “Cubs win!  Cubs win! Wooooooooooooo!”
            Finn stalked over to me and grabbed my fist. “Will you settle down!” he said, attempting to pry the pebble from my grip. “I’m trying to teach you a three-thousand-year-old art form and you’re nattering on about the fecking Cubs.”
            I giggled, snatching his hurley stick from his hands.
            “Technical foul!” Finn barked behind me, but I sprinted away, swinging the hurley over my head as I climbed the wall.
            “Get back here, you brat!” Finn bolted after me so quickly, he lost his footing on the stone wall and tumbled to the ground.  I laughed as he came to his feet, his hair loose, chasing me. 
             “It’s the bottom of the ninth, bases are loaded!”
            Finn made a snatch for the stick, but I feigned to the right.
            “Tanner’s up to bat.”
I climbed a set of old stairs to nowhere and tossed up the stone. I popped out my hips and, following through on the turn, sent the stone flying over the hill and down the cliffs below. I jumped down, swinging my baseball/hurley bat. “Homerun by Tanner! And the Cubs win the pennant!”
            Finn smacked into me, and I collapsed to the ground, his wide body over mine as he grasped for the stick.
            “Dammit, O’Connell!” I gasped beneath Finn, his whole weight crushing my chest.  “Now I know for a fact hurling is not a contact sport!” I laughed as I squirmed to get away, holding out the stick just beyond his reach.
            “Neither is baseball!”
            With a devilish grin, Finn tickled my armpit, and I curled up in a fit of giggles. He made a grab for my wrist, pinning me to the ground, and his gray eyes danced as he looked down at me. My laughter faded, and running my other hand through his hair, I pulled his face to mine. He kissed me, a low moan rumbling deep in his throat.
            Finn nipped my bottom lip with his teeth, and my back arched as our hips melded together, my better judgment forgotten. He slid his arm beneath my shoulders and pulled me close against him, kissing me long and hard, and I gasped, gulping for air as he lowered his mouth to my neck.

About the Author:

As a child, Colleen Halverson used to play in the woods imagining worlds and telling stories to herself. Growing up on military bases, she found solace in her local library and later decided to make a living sharing the wonders of literature to poor, unsuspecting college freshmen. After backpacking through Ireland and singing in a traditional Irish music band, she earned a PhD in English with a specialization in Irish literature. When she’s not making up stories or teaching, she can be found hiking the rolling hills of the Driftless area of Wisconsin with her husband and two children. THROUGH THE VEIL is her debut novel.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Book Review: Rhodi Rising by Megan Linski

Rhodi Rising – Megan Linski

*Warning – may contain spoilers*

Author: Megan Linski
Publisher: Gryfyn Publishing
First published: 2016
Edition: eBook
Pages: 203

Blurb:    (Taken from Goodreads)
Forced into hiding.
               Desperate to find their masters.
In the past few months since the attack on their home, twin assassins Dylan and Devin have grown restless. With the Rhodi facing extinction, they search for their masters Talidin and Tavana, only to discover they’ve gone missing. With nowhere to turn, the twins seek help from a pair of mysterious spies, only to find the trail gone cold, marked by hints of torture and destruction.

Dylan and Devin piece together the eventers that led to the disappearance of their fellow Rhodi. As their enemies close in for the kill, Dylan discovers that some things are impossible for a Rhodi… but not for a tigress.

History of my copy: I received a free copy of Rhodi Rising from the author in exchange for an honest review.

After reading Rhodi’s Light, I was looking forward to reading the sequel. Although the story still feels a little disjointed, the plot certainly developed, thus resulting in a book on par with its predecessor.

Plot: In the second instalment of the Rhodi Saga, we follow the twins and their cousin as they leave their hiding place and return to find their Rhodi masters. On the way, they befriend two Searchers who help them too. Once they return to Aeros, they find the house in pieces and discover that their masters are gone.
         Together, the children work to find their masters and to return them home. Amongst this, they find the secret Rhodi weapons with the help of Dylan’s arch-enemy Saffron.
         One bit that I found was downplayed was the death of two of the masters (not naming anyone). It was sort of ‘oh yeah they’re dead’ and that was it, which was a shame.

Setting: Setting was one of the areas that Rhodi Rising advanced in. There were a lot more places that the story takes place in. Particularly strong settings were the destruction that the Hunter’s Guild caused at the Rhodi house and the lavish luxury of Desmiondre’s palace.

Characters: Unfortunately, Dylan becomes rather annoying and whining in Rhodi Rising and, on top of her becoming a tigress, I find I quite dislike her as a protagonist. As for her and Talidin, the whole ‘daddy’ thing is getting a little weird.
               However, Tito improved! Plus, the Searchers were really interesting characters and I look forward to hearing more about them in the future.
               Again, Rachel seemed underdeveloped, as well as Saffron. Can I hope for some depth to them in the final instalment? Let’s hope so! Plus, the whole Tavana/Desmiondre needs some fixing up.

To read or not to read: Read. Besides the many negative points in this review, Rhodi Rising was still a pleasurable book. Perhaps not quite as good as the previous Rhodi’s Light, it keeps the series at a steady rating of being good, but not a ‘must read’ series. If anything, the first 2 books could be merged into one.

Find the review for Rhodi's Light here

Friday, 23 September 2016

Guest Post: My Writing Routine by Carys Jones

My Writing Routine

By Carys Jones

I’m lucky enough to have commandeered an entire room in my house for the sole purpose of writing! When I moved in the walls were already pink which felt like fate guiding me to where I should set up my trusty pink laptop (which is missing a few keys but I can’t bear to part with it) and forge my writing base.

I pretty much write every day. There are of course exceptions but generally I try and stick to my daily routine. I write first thing in the morning as my mind is sharper then. I have daily word targets that I stick to. The targets are scrawled down along with my all my jumbled notes in my assortment of notebooks which are stacked beside my laptop. 

The desk where I write is my self-created little corner of heaven. I’ve covered it with all my favourite things; like my Disney ornaments and pictures of my friends. On the walls are more pictures and also all the programs from the ballets I’ve been to with my Mum. I like to surround myself with things that make me happy, so that when I’m writing a particularly intense scene I can always look up and see something that makes me smile : ) 

I’m very disciplined with my writing as I’ve found that works for me. I set myself deadlines and do my best to stick to them. And I’m never alone when I’m writing. My beloved dog, Rollo, always comes and sits in his little bed of cushions on the other side of my desk. Sometimes he snores so loud that I lose my train of thought but I love having him with me! 

Find out about Carys Jones' book, In Another Life, here.