Give me magic, gadgets, monsters, zombies, everything that seems impossible, and throw in some tough chicks with swords. That's the stuff.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cover Reveal Party & Giveaway: A Cursed Embrace

Cecy Robson is back with book 2 in her Weird Girls series: A Cursed Embrace!

Blurbage: "Celia Wird and her three sisters are just like other twentysomething girls—with one tiny exception: They are the products of a curse that backfired and gave each of them unique powers that made them, well, a little weird.…

After Celia Wird and her sisters help master vampire Misha save his family, their powers are exposed to the supernatural community of the Lake Tahoe region. But fame comes at a price, and being “weird” isn’t always welcome.

To make matters worse, Celia desires the love of Alpha werewolf Aric, but his pack is bent on destroying their relationship to preserve his pureblood status. And once weres start turning up dead—with evidence pointing to the vampires—she must face the prospect of losing Aric forever. But the chaos only masks a new threat. An evil known as the Tribe has risen—and their sights are set on Celia and her sisters."

My take: I had a lot of fun reading the prequel novella and first book, so I am on board for book 2. I love the trees in the background (the series is set in Lake Tahoe, a place I have visited many times and love). I like the lighting, but my favorite bit is the smaller detail of the claws on her right hand. I liked that part about the first cover too.

I am hoping for lots more action in this second go-round.

Now to the GIVEAWAY! Cecy is giving away one signed copy of SEALED WITH A CURSE. This is open to everybody (national & international). Just comment below by March 2.2013. If you are on Twitter or facebook, check Cecy out. She has a very good sense of humor and has made my morning more than once with a clever tweet.

Thanks, Cecy!

About the author:

Cecy (pronounced Sessy) Robson is an author with Penguin's SIGNET ECLIPSE. She attributes her passion for story-telling back to the rough New Jersey neighborhood she was raised in. As a child, she was rarely allowed to leave the safety of her house and passed her time fantasizing about flying, fairies, and things that go bump in the night. Her dad unwittingly encouraged Cecy's creativity by kissing her goodnight wearing vampire fangs. Gifted and cursed with an overactive imagination, she began writing her Urban Fantasy Romance Series, Weird Girls, in May 2009. THE WEIRD GIRLS: A Novella and SEALED WITH A CURSE are now available. The second novel in The Weird Girls Series, A CURSED EMBRACE, releases July 2, 2013.


Monday, February 25, 2013

Review: Emilie & the Hollow World

Emilie & the Hollow World by Martha Wells

My dad really enjoyed the Journey to the Center of the Earth film starring James Mason and Pat Boone so I watched it many (MANY) times as a child. I liked it - the idea of tunneling underground and finding a fantastical world, dangerous creatures, and lots of adventure. I just had one problem with it.

There was no girl character my age.

Blah, blah, social norms of the time, scandal, ruined future, blah, blah. I didn't care.

I largely still don't.

As I read Wells' Emilie & the Hollow World, I felt like my childhood fantasies had sprung to life. A strange world at the center of the earth? Check. Magic? Check. Fantastical beings and monsters? Check. A young, smart heroine? Check plus!

I was giddy with nostalgic joy. I wish I had this book when I was younger. I am buying the print version to go in my kids' library. I devoured this book and loved every second. I also obviously must read more books by Martha Wells.

Emilie has run away from home and is planning on stowing away on a ship so that she can try to start a new life at her cousin's school. Emilie's mother ran away and became an actress, but she and Emilie's father died, so our heroine was raised by her very disapproving uncle and aunt who believe Emilie is a ticking time bomb ready to become disreputable. Of course, things go awry and Emilie ends up stowing away on the wrong ship. It is under attack by nefarious types and soon is underway on a voyage to the center of the earth, with Emilie along for the ride. She meets and befriends new beings and an adventuress who leads the life Emilie dreams about, proves she has good instincts in a fight, is afraid but works through it, always keeps her head and is loyal throughout. This is a fast-paced book with lots of action and was just a lot of fun.

While I did draw some parallels between Verne's book and this one, Emilie is not a retelling of  Journey to the Center of the Earth. It is set in a unique world, with magic and airships, and while the adventurous spirit is there, they are different books.

Emilie is published by Strange Chemistry, Angry Robot's YA imprint. I also think that this book would be fine for younger, middle-grade and even some tween readers. There is some violence, but nothing gory. This is also another YA with no romance. There is a bit of flirting with the seeds planted for something perhaps in the future, but that is just a tiny aside, to be honest.

This book does work as a standalone, but I do hope that someday we will get Emilie's next adventure.

There is a Goodreads giveaway going on now for this book (ends February 28).

Emilie & the Hollow World will be released April 2, 2013.

Martha Wells:
On Twitter

Strange Chemistry:
On Twitter

[received an ARC to review]

Monday, February 18, 2013

Review: She Returns From War

She Returns From War by Lee Collins (Cora Oglesby #2)

Oh, Lee Collins, I love this world you have created, but you kick me when I'm down!

Not necessarily a bad thing, mind you, but I had a couple of ARGH moments. I am going to try my hardest to be non-spoilery, but this is a book 2, so be warned.

I really, REALLY liked book 1, The Dead of Winter (you can see that review here). An older, experienced female lead, lots of kickass action, all set in the late 1800s American West = miles of YES. Also, while we mainly followed Cora's POV (3rd person throughout), we also got to hitch a ride with some of the other characters and villains.

Book 2, however, is a different story. We don't get Cora's POV this time, but rather that of Victoria, an English heiress who needs Cora to hunt down the creatures who killed her parents. We also get interludes with the memories of another character. That's it.

It was interesting to see a beloved character (for me, she might be prickly but I love Cora) from another's POV. Victoria has heard lots of stories of the legendary Cora Oglesby, but when she faces the reality, let's just say she doesn't appreciate Cora's colorful language and lifestyle. Victoria is not always likable, but a lot of her responses were believable. She does come across as naive, but she learns fast. She grew on me.

I was reminded a few times of the movie Unforgiven, with the younger generation getting a look at the real life of a legend, and also learning about the costs of living such a life.

There is action, an old enemy and a new one, and once again Collins kicks my emotions around. I can't say I was surprised by how it all went down, but I thought it was a good end. I like that the vamps here are monstrous. There is good magic (I'd argue that Cora's blessed steel and silver bullets are magic, as well as the monster-slaying weapons from the Dine) and bad magic. Although this time around one of the villains is in more of a grey area. I can't really fault her for her anger or her desire for revenge.

I did miss being in Cora's head. She is a unique character.

I'm just wondering where this will go next, or if there will be more. It is hard to say. There is an end, so no cliffhangers. However, there is room for more stories in this world.

I liked it. Did I like it as much as book 1, no. Will I read more from Collins, oh yes.

[received an ARC to review]

Friday, February 8, 2013

For a Good Cause

I posted this at Stellar Four, but I'm posting it here too.

If you follow Lilith Saintcrow, you might have seen that her son's school burned down the other day. It sounds like everything is gone. She sent out a call for books - because what is a school without books? - and there is an auction going on to try to raise money to help.

There are a lot of good books in the auction. You can find out more about it here.

If you have some good-condition books that you can send, and if you want to learn more about what happened, you can find info on Saintcrow's blog.

Also in kid-centric donation news, Thinkgeek's Project Geek<3 needs your help. It's very easy: Thinkgeek is donating a total of $1000 to classrooms in need through DonorChoose. All you have to do is vote for a classroom. You are also entered to win a gift card, but come on, we don't need an incentive to help out. See more info here (and if you can spare it, you can always donate to the class of your choice as well).

Don't have the $ to help right now? Pass the word along. Put links on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Let's get the word out!

Zenn Scarlett Cover

It's cover time again! This time we have the cover for Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon - an upcoming YA Sci Fi from Strange Chemistry.

 Cover art is by: ARGH! Oxford.

The blurbage: "Zenn Scarlett is a bright and occasionally a-little-too-smart-for-her-own-good 17-year-old girl training hard to become an exoveterinarian. She specializes in the treatment of exotic alien life forms, mostly large and generally dangerous. Her novice year of training at the Ciscan Cloister Exovet Clinic on Mars was going well - until there are a series of inexplicable animal escapes from the school that Zenn finds herself blamed for. As if this isn't enough to be dealing with, her father vanishes under strange circumstances, and Zenn is worried that she has started hearing the thoughts of the creatures around her... 

With the help of Liam, a towner boy, and Hamish, an alien bug also training at the clinic, Zenn must try to find her father, rescue the animals and unravel the mystery of who is behind the attacks on the school. And all without failing her first year

My take: When I first heard the premise, my first thought was "Alien veterinarian? Yes please!" I adore space photos. [When I win the lottery (or the kids are all grown and I have money again) I am getting a kickass telescope.] I have no idea what Zenn is sitting on, but I am sure we will be treated to all kinds of interesting creatures. I am really looking forward to reading this. Zenn Scarlett is out May 7, 2013.

About the author: Christian Schoon grew up in Minnesota, and worked his way through college in a succession of rock bands before earning his degree from the U of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Journalism. Following a stint as an in-house copywriter/scriptwriter at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, he supplied freelance copy for the entertainment industry and scriptwriting for live-action and animated TV. Currently, he writes from his 150-year-old farmstead in Iowa which he shares with a fluctuating number of horses (generally less than a dozen, but not always), 30 or so cats, a dog, three ferrets and a surprisingly tolerant wife.

The Zenn Scarlett books are his first novels, however he admits to being an unrepentant fan of science fiction and fantasy ever since discovering the tales of Edgar Rice Burroughs in the fifth grade. He can be found at his blog: and on Twitter