Saturday, April 30, 2016

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Enemies Old, Enemies New by Kevin B. Eastman - Ashley's Review

*I received this book as an eARC from IDW Publishing/Diamond Book Distributors on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Enemies Old, Enemies New
Author: Kevin B. Eastman, Tom Waltz, Dan Duncan (Illustrations), & Mateus Santolouco (Illustrations)
Publication Date: May 24th, 2016

Synopsis: The Turtles learn the amazing story of their previous lives, and begin their journey as a true team of brothers! Meanwhile, Baxter Stockman unveils a deadly new strategy for capturing them, just as General Krang arrives in New York demanding results!


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Review: Backstories are my favorite types of stories, regardless of genre. They could be novellas in my favorite novel series, spin-offs of TV shows or movies, or comics based on my favorite characters. I love seeing old enemies and friends and old stories mixed with new characters and worlds. This comic had all of that, and it was about my favorite crime-fighting Turtles to boot! 

At the beginning of this volume, Leo, Mikey, & Donnie have finally found Raph (I guess they were still in the process of assembling everyone, because it doesn't really seem like he ran away). They all start out wearing the read headbands, which I thought was pretty neat - hello, throwback to the original comics! - but they do eventually end up with the colors that most fans know and love. Watching Raph become adjusted to the team was really cool, and I'm kind of surprised I hadn't ever read a story like this one before. 

We also get a peak into the lives of Splinter and the Turtles before they became a rate and four turtles. They were human at one time, and I really enjoyed how the family dynamic remained the same even after all the centuries and many lives they must have lived before they found each other again. It was actually a really sweet story, albeit violent at times. 

Some of my favorite enemies are also running around in this volume. There's Baxter Stockman, who is working for Krang and trying to develop mutants for him. There's Old Hob, who is working for Baxter trying to capture Splinter. There's the Foot Clan, as always, and even Alopex makes an appearance, although she isn't mentioned by name. On the Allies side, Casey Jones and April O'Neill are introduced to each other, and there's a pretty hilarious scene where Casey tries to tell April about the Turtles. 

I just really enjoyed this comic, and I think most fans of the TMNT universe will too. THe artwork is kind of dark and harsh, and there is a little bit more violence in these comics than in the Nickelodeon ones, so I probably wouldn't recommend this one for a younger audience. I'm really excited to read more comics like these (which I hope there are more!). They've also inspired me to look into the origins of more of these characters, so I'll probably dive into the backlist sooner rather than later! A solid 4/5 on this one.


--Ashley

Friday, April 29, 2016

BLOG TOUR: Nighthawks (Children of Nostradamus #1) by Jeremy Flagg - Excerpt + Interview + GIVEAWAY!


Good morning! Today, we're happy to be a part of the blog tour for Jeremy Flagg's newest book, Nighthawks!  Jeremy stopped by for an interview, and we have an excerpt for you to read! There's also a giveaway for a $50 Amazon/Barnes & Noble gift card, so be sure to enter via the Rafflecopter form at the end of this post.

Don't forget to stop by all of the other incredible stops on this tour for more interviews, excerpts, guest posts, and more! The more blog posts you visit and comment on, the greater your chances of winning the giveaway! You can find the tour schedule by clicking the banner above. And now, on to the book, excerpt, and interview!

About the Book

Title: Nighthawks (Children of Nostradamus #1)
Author: Jeremy Flagg
Publication Date: March 1st, 2016
Genre: Sci-fi, Dystopian

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: Twenty-six-year-old painter Conthan Cowan takes art to a shocking frontier…

His debut exhibit features the transformation of his high school friend, Sarah, as she went from a shy, soft-spoken girl to a Child of Nostradamus—an individual gifted with extraordinary abilities. Living in a society where the Children of Nostradamus are captured by the government, Conthan’s exhibit draws attention from officials and protesters alike.

A government psychic may be dead, but that doesn’t stop her from manipulating the future…

The deceased White House aide is only remembered for her failed assassination attempt on the president decades before Conthan was born. Foreseeing her own death, she scribed letters to bring together specific Children of Nostradamus on a mission that will change the world.

On the night of the gallery exhibition, Conthan receives one of those letters…

Whispers from the past direct him to visit Sarah, the subject of his paintings, who like many Children of Nostradamus, is being detained in a government research facility. It’s there he finds himself aligned with a rogue group of Children on a mission to prevent a dark future.

As a dark future unfolds, there's only one hope to stop the destruction of the world...

The Children of Nostradamus.


Excerpt

“…Seabrook, New Hampshire is gone. If you’re just tuning in, the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant has just exploded. We have no word yet on what caused the explosion, but we do know there was a catastrophe resulting in failure of the systems at the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant.”

“God help them,” said the woman at the news desk.

He could hear Elizabeth gasp at the announcement. His mind was moving a million miles an hour. His wife, still covered in sweat and grime from giving birth, his newborn son, his office calling him to alert him to the news, all of it caused his head to swim. He was unsure of what his next move would be.

The television flickered and turned to static. Mark reached up and smacked the side of the box. The static began to take the shape of a person. He stepped back to see the solid outline of a man on the TV.

“United States of America,” said a voice through the static, “land of the free and home of the brave. We are calling out your discreet operations. We know all about The Culling. Individuals who for years have been in your employ, using their more-than-human abilities to further your goals, will not die in vain. Killing empaths, slaughtering clairvoyants, and the genocide of telepaths will be responded to in kind.”

“Eleanor,” he said in a hushed voice as he realized what they were talking about.

“The United States has declared war on the wrong people. We can see you coming. We can hear your plans. We will not be eliminated. You’ve seen our reach.”

About the Author

I’m high school graphic design and marketing teacher, at a large suburban high school in Massachusetts. Working as a high school educator and observing the outlandish world of adolescence was the inspiration for my first young adult novel, “Suburban Zombie High.”

My inspiration for writing stems from being a youth who struggled with reading in school. While I found school assigned novels incredibly difficult to digest, I devoured comics and later fantasy novels. Their influences can be seen in the tall tales I spin.

I took the long route to becoming a writer. For a brief time, I majored in Creative Writing but exchanged one passion for another as I switched to  Art and Design. My passion for reading about superheroes, fantastical worlds, and panic-stricken situations would become the foundation of my writing career.

I participated in my first NaNoWriMo in 2006 and continue to write an entire novel every November. Now I am the NaNoWriMo Municipal Liaison to the Massachusetts Metrowest Region. I also belong the New England Horror Writer’s Association and to a weekly writing group, the Metrowest Writers.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Instagram

Author Interview

What group did you hang out with in high school?
Where I grew up there weren’t typical groups of kids. We had jocks in band and everybody partook in the drama productions. There are definitely perks to growing up in a small town. However, the group I related to the most was the geeks and awkward kids. We were the comic geeks and without them, I would have just hid away in my room reading comics on my own. It was good to find a group of people who supported my weirdness with their own weird.


What are you passionate about these days?
These days I spend the majority of my time writing. A lot of the writing business keeps me occupied so I spend the majority of my free time actually writing. I’m kind of a solitary person so I like hanging out, watching movies, but writing is my passion. I’m also a huge fan of music and for me, the two intertwine nicely.  Generally if I’m writing I have music on as it helps me set the mood of my writing. If I had more time, I might even pick up the guitar and start playing again, but at the moment, writing comes first.


If you had to do your journey to getting published all over again, what would you do differently?
I would start earlier. I had books sitting on my shelves collecting dust for years before I decided to take the plunge. I had thought of it as a hobby and not as a money making tool, and in truth, they’re the same. I waited five years before I put out my first book and I think that is one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made. However, it has allowed me the ability to speed up my release schedule, I still wish I had done it earlier so I could have learned the ropes when it was young. 

My other major wish would be to not work in a vacuum. It took me years of solitary writing to finally start meeting writers in person. However, the moment that happened, something changed in my motivation. I started writing more, writing better and pushing myself. When I found my community of writers I realized I had all these resources to draw from and it’s been helpful. I also say vacuum, because I didn’t think at first to try and connect with my fans. They would email me and I’d send it back, but I didn’t think of trying to make a community of fans. I’m doing it now, and think, “If I started this years ago, I’d be so much further along.” But hindsight is 20/20 and there’s no better time than now.


Ebook or print? And why?
I mix them. My mom was a librarian and I’ve always grown up with a house full of books, so I will never get over the smell of the binding glue when you crack open the pages. There is something fantastic about knowing when you shut the book, between two pieces of backerboard, is an entire universe filled with intrigue and human lives. It’s magical. However, I’ve started using my iPad for some books. I mostly use it for technical manuals or for book series I’m not actively collecting. I read so much that I would have to buy another home to store them, so it has become essential for my sanity. However, when I find an e-book I love so much I can’t put it down, I think why the heck not, let’s add it to the library and I’ll buy the physical book. When it arrives it goes straight into the study (right after I take a moment to smell it.)


What is your favorite scene in this book?
I find the best moments in my book are when the characters are put under an unbelievable amount of stress. In one particular scene, Dwayne, my father figure in the book is trying to protect his superhuman family and has to resort to extreme measures. The reaction of his victim, labeling him a “hero” is halted as he begins the torturing. I love this scene because it forces us to think, “Would I do the same?” and we find that our heroes are cut and dry good guys. There are moments when they have to become the villain to protect the people they love. I love this idea they are battling their situation to maintain their humanity while others are offering it up for personal grandeur. In the end, you walk away knowing that even the heroes have to get their hands dirty and I think this is an important life lesson to be had.

Giveaway!





M9B FRIDAY REVEAL: Scepter of Fire by Vicki L. Weavil - Cover Reveal + GIVEAWAY!


Today Vicki L. Weavil and Month9Books are revealing the cover and first chapter for SCEPTER OF FIRE, a companion novel in the CROWN OF ICE Series! Which releases October 18, 2016! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to be one of the first readers to receive an eGalley!!


Here’s a message from the author.

Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Steadfast Tin Soldier,” SCEPTER OF FIRE is a companion book to CROWN OF ICE, my retelling of “The Snow Queen.” It takes place a few years later, in the midst of an invasion by a power-mad foreign emperor, and includes most of the characters from CROWN OF ICE.

However the protagonist in SCEPTER OF FIRE is someone new—17yo Varna Lund, an ugly duckling among swans, who’s certain her destiny lies in taking on the mantle of village healer after the death of her aged mentor. But when a young soldier enlists her aid to care for his injured friend, Varna and her sister, Gerda, are catapulted into the war that has engulfed their country.

Forced to flee enemy troops with her sister and the two soldiers, Varna must also evade her mentor, Sten Rask—revealed to be a powerful mage seeking the enchanted mirror hidden by a former Snow Queen.

To protect the mirror, and their country, Varna, Gerda, and the soldiers join forces with a sorceress, an enchanted reindeer, a brilliant scholar, and a young woman traveling with a wolf. But Varna faces a terrible temptation. Promised beauty and power by the devilishly handsome Rask, she must choose—achieve her own desires, or protect a society that has never embraced her.

I love how this cover matches the cover of CROWN OF ICE, and yet is different enough to set the books apart. Both feature striking young women, but whereas CROWN is glazed with icy blue tones, SCEPTER is saturated with reds, golds and other fiery hues. If you look closely, you can even see flames reflected in the girl’s eyes—very appropriate for a book that deals with sorcerers who wield fire. Although the cover model is not an “ugly duckling,” she does accurately reflect the protagonist during one portion of the book, which I will not reveal at this point due to “spoilers”!




Title: Scepter of Fire
Author: Vicki L. Weavil
Pub. Date: October 18, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Paperback & eBook

Find it: Amazon | B&N | TBD |Goodreads


Sharp as pine needles, and twice as bitter, seventeen-year-old Varna Lund’s determined to become a healer. At least patients don’t care about her looks, unlike the young men who spurn her for eighteen-year-old Gerda or even her younger sisters. An ugly duckling among swans, Varna hopes to bury her passionate nature in useful work.

Her healing skills are put to the test when Varna encounters Erik Stahl, a young soldier who’s deserted the battlefield to carry his injured friend, Anders Nygaard, to safety. Varna, enlisting the aid of Gerda, cares for Anders in secret.

But a brutal betrayal catapults the four young people into life on the run, where Varna discovers her old mentor is actually a powerful wizard. Seeking the enchanted mirror hidden by a former Snow Queen, the wizard hopes to use Gerda as a pawn in his plan to aid the invading emperor.

Other forces ally against the wizard, including an auburn-haired sorceress, an enchanted reindeer, a brilliant scholar, and a young woman traveling with a wolf. Along with the soldiers and Gerda, they vow to prevent the mirror from falling into enemy hands. But tempted with promises of beauty and power from her now devilishly handsome mentor, Varna must choose between her own desires and the good of a society that’s never embraced her.

Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Steadfast Tin Soldier”, SCEPTER OF FIRE is a companion book to CROWN OF ICE.





Vicki L. Weavil was raised in a farming community in Virginia, where her life was shaped by a wonderful family, the culture of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and an obsession with reading. She holds a B.A. in Theatre from the University of Virginia, a Masters in Library Science from Indiana University, and a Masters in Liberal Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. 

After working as a librarian at the NY Public Library at Lincoln Center, and the Museum of Television & Radio (now the Paley Center for Media) in NYC, she is currently the Director for Library Services at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

Vicki loves good writing in any genre, and has been known to read seven books in as many days. She enjoys travel, gardening, and the arts. Vicki lives in North Carolina with her husband and some very spoiled cats. A member of SCBWI, Vicki is represented by Fran Black at Literary Counsel, NY, NY.

Where you can find Vicki: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr




1 winner will receive an eBook of CROWN OF ICE & an eGalley of SCEPTER OF FIRE (when available), International.


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Amazing Adventures, Vol 1. by Landry Walker & Matthew K. Manning - Ashley's Review

*I received this book as an eARC from IDW Publishing/Diamond Book Distributors on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle: Amazing Adventures, Volume 1
Author: Landry Walker, Matthew K. Manning, Chad Thomas (Illustrations), James Kochalka (Illustrations), & Ben Costa (Illustrations)
Publication Date: March 1st, 2016

Synopsis: This new all-ages series of Amazing Adventures draws inspiration from the hit Nickelodean cartoon in exciting new ways, by a wide range of today's best writers and artists! Collects issues #1-4.



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Review: For as long as I can remember, I've loved Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Although I like some incarnations better than others (hello, 1980s/90s Turtles!), I will never pass up the opportunity to read more comics, see more movies, and watch more episodes. So of course I had to read this collection as soon as I found it! 

These comics are based around the newest Nickelodeon version of the Turtles. The art matches pretty closely to the show, and it's colorful and fun. I think these comics are geared for more of a younger audience, and the artwork reflects that. If I was a young kid (7-12ish), I would love to read these comics and learn more about my favorite mutant ninjas. There's even a section where Mikey has drawn the cartoons, and I think that was probably my favorite part of this volume. It was just so much fun! 

There are 4 different issues in this volume, and they all tell different stories. You don't need to know too much going into this volume, and as long as you know the basics, it's easy enough to follow along. Since this is the Nickelodeon version, it's fairly clean and there's not too much that's scary or dark that would be inappropriate for a young audience. I was a little sad that this volume isn't very long, because it definitely left me wanting more. 

I would totally recommend this comic book to any fans of the Nickelodeon show, and even to fans of every version of the TMNT. I think a younger audience would enjoy these more than the adult crowd, but they could be a fun set of comics to read together. I'll be looking for more, and I can't wait to find out what adventures the Turtles will have next! 4/5.


--Ashley

COVER REVEAL: McGrave's Hotel by Steve Bryant + GIVEAWAY!


Welcome to the cover reveal for
McGrave's Hotel by Steve Bryant
presented by Month9Books!
Be on the look out for this upcoming title!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

McGraves Hotel FINAL eBook Feb 29 2016


It’s 1936, and nearly twelve-year-old JAMES ELLIOTT is a bellhop at McGrave’s Hotel, there a year since the night his parents died while on a spy mission into Nazi Germany.

JAMES craves a goodbye message from his parents, but is distracted by troublesome guests who require his help.

Assistance with locating a missing and priceless mummy, wrangling mutant spiders, and attaching the head of a bridegroom is just the kind of hospitality guests have come to expect while at McGrave’s hotel where guests are dying to check in.

But over the course of one frightful evening, James will team with Death’s daughter to fight Nazi sympathizers, monsters, and the undead in this riveting, deathly, historical adventure story unlike any you’ve read before.

add to goodreads

McGrave's Hotel by Steve Bryant
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books

About-the-Author2
Steve Bryant


Steve Bryant is a new novelist, but a veteran author of books of card tricks. He founded a monthly internet magazine for magicians containing news, reviews, magic tricks, humor, and fiction, and he frequently contributes biographical cover articles to the country’s two leading magic journals. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana.


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Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!



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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Daughter of Winter (Fairy Queens #3) by Amber Argyle - Ashley's Review

*I received an advanced copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

Title: Daughter of Winter (Fairy Queens #3)
Author: Amber Argyle
Publication Date: April 22, 2016

My Of Ice and Snow (#0.5) Review
My Winter Queen (#1) Review
My Of Fire & Ash (#1.5) Review
My Summer Queen (#2) Review

Synopsis: Bargains. Only the truly desperate make them. Only the truly desperate need them. And always, the desperate pay.

The silence and never-ending dark of winter are all Elice has ever known, for she is the daughter of the Winter Queen. Isolated in a northern queendom with only the seals for company, she dreams of color and music and life. So when a whaling ship crashes just offshore, she doesn't hesitate to rescue the lone survivor, Adar, who quickly becomes her friend. She must keep him hidden from her mother at all costs, for if the Winter Queen discovers him trespassing, she'll kill him.

When her mother reveals just how dark her soul has become, Elice realizes she is as much a prisoner as Adar. To ever know true freedom—to ever become the woman she was meant to be—she must flee with him. But in their flight, she begins to see hints of something more nefarious. The darkness that has taken hold of her mother is spreading, staining the world with its influence.

Unbeknownst to Elice, a bargain was made long ago. A bargain she was born to fulfill.



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Review: I adore Amber Argyle's books. I've never read one that I didn't love, and Daughter of Winter was no exception! Amber has this incredible way with words that makes the story, the world, and the characters all come to life and jump off the page. As soon as I started reading, I felt like I was really in the Winter Queendom and (even though it's basically never-ending winter), I didn't want to leave it! 

This book focuses on Elise, the daughter of the Winter Queen (who we met in the first Fairy Queens book). Elise also has power over winter, although she's nowhere near as strong as her mother. Unlike her fairy mother, however, Elise is warmhearted and caring, and she wants to help as many creatures survive the harsh environment as she can. Although I didn't connect with Elise at first, I eventually grew to love her just as much as the other characters in this series. She's been sheltered her whole life and has a lot of growing and learning to do, but she adapts quickly and begins become the woman she was meant to be. I can't wait to find out what's in store for her next! 

Although Ilyenna is not the main focus of this book, I still really enjoyed seeing her again. She's much colder (no pun intended!) then she was in the first book, but she's been through so much and I can't really blame her for retreating into winter. She still does love her daughter in her own way, but it's hard for her to show it. I actually kind of wish we had seen more of Ilyenna, because I think she's still my favorite character in the series. She's just so different from most other fantasy protagonists, and I just can't get enough of her story.

As usual, the plot and the world building are spot on. The book starts out a little slow as it establishes Elise and the Winter Queendom, but then things pick up pretty soon after we met Adar. And then, about halfway through, things take off at breakneck speed. I could hardly keep up, but I loved every second of it! I was glued to the edge of my seat and couldn't wait to see how Elice and Adar would find a way out of one dangerous situation after another. I really felt like I was in danger with them, and that I could feel the cold settling around me as I was reading. 

Overall, Amber Argyle delivers with this latest installment in the Fairy Queens series. If you've read the other books in this series, you definitely want to get your hands on Daughter of Winter ASAP! If you haven't, what are you waiting for?! All three books (and both novellas) are incredible, and if you love fantasy, you are missing out on probably one of the best fantasy series out there! I cannot wait to read the final book, Winter's Heir! 4.5/5 for Daughter of Winter!


--Ashley

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

RELEASE DAY BLITZ: There Once Were Stars by Melanie McFarlane + GIVEAWAY!

ThereOnceWereStarsRDC

Happy Release Day to
There Once Were Stars by Melanie McFarlane!
Join us in celebrating this new release from Month9Books!
Enter the giveaway found at the end of the post.
Happy Book Birthday, Melanie!

ThereOnceWereStarsCover
 Peace. Love. Order. Dome. That’s the motto that the Order has given the residents of Dome 1618 to live by. Natalia Greyes is a resident of Dome 1618, a covered city protected from the deadly radiation that has poisoned the world outside for four generations. Nat never questioned the Order, until one day she sees a stranger on the outside of the dome. Now Nat wants answers. Is there life outside the dome and if so, what has the Order been hiding from everyone?

add to goodreads

There Once Were Stars by Melanie McFarlane
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books


About-the-Author2
Melanie McFarlane

Whether it’s uncovering the corruption of the future, or traveling to other worlds to save the universe, Melanie McFarlane jumps in with both hands on her keyboard. Though she can be found obsessing over zombies and orcs from time to time, Melanie has focused her powers on her upcoming YA trilogy: THERE ONCE WERE STARS and her YA urban fantasy series: SUMMONER RISING.

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Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!


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Friday, April 22, 2016

M9B FRIDAY REVEAL: un/Fair by Steven Harper - Cover Reveal + Chapter 1 + GIVEAWAY!



Today Steven Harper and Month9Books are revealing the cover and first chapter for un/FAIR which releases September 6, 2016! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to be one of the first readers to receive an eGalley!!


Here’s a quick introduction from the author.


When the doctor said my son Aran was autistic, my world turned upside-down.  I spent years playing special games with him to help him understand the world better.  But in the process, I learned to understand him.  While I struggled to pull him into our world, he quietly pulled me into his. This book came out of that.



People always ask authors--including me--why I got a certain scene on the cover or why I didn't put a particular character on the front.  The truth is, authors almost never draw the book covers.  We get a picture of it by email, and it's always a surprise, like getting an early birthday present.  Sometimes the present is a wool sweater you want to wad into a ball and stuff under the bed.  Sometimes the present is a toy you didn't know you wanted until you got it.  The cover for un/FAIR was the latter. Ryan looks very much like I imagined him in my head, and the salamanders creeping down the top make it clear this isn't a happy fairy book.  The artist even snuck in a reference to the Fibonacci sequence!  I loved getting this one.


On to the reveal! 


 Title: un/FAIR
Author: Steven Harper 
Pub. Date: September 6, 2016 
Publisher: Month9Books 
Format: Paperback & eBook 
Find it: Amazon | B&N | TBD | Goodreads

It's difficult enough to live in the neighborhood "freakazoid" house.  It's even more difficult when you're autistic and neither your family nor best friend really understands you.  So when Ryan November wakes up on his eleventh birthday with the unexpected ability to see the future, he braces himself for trouble.  But even his newfound power doesn't anticipate that the fair folk--undines, salamanders, gnomes, and sylphs--want him dead, dead, dead.  Ryan races to defend himself and his family against unrelenting danger from the fairy realm so he can uncover the truth about his family history--and himself.  Except as Ryan's power grows, the more enticing the fairy realm becomes, forcing him to choose between order and chaos, power and family.  And for an autistic boy, such choices are never cut and dry.






Excerpt


Un/FAIR


PART I

CHAPTER ONE

Ryan November woke up on his eleventh birthday and knew he’d be able to see the future by breakfast. He rolled over. His clock said 6:56, so he couldn’t get up for four more minutes. That was all right. He didn’t mind waiting.

Not until he saw the string.

The string was made of liquid silver and lay piled in the exact center of a perfect square of May sunshine on his bedroom floor. It gleamed where the sunlight struck it. Ryan stared. He had never seen it before. The messy string looked out of place in the perfectly neat room. In Ryan’s room, every piece of clothing hung in the closet or lay folded in a dresser drawer. Every book sat in alphabetical order on the shelf. Every toy and video game stood arranged in rows more orderly than troops of soldiers. The squiggle of silver string on the floor made Ryan’s head itch on the inside, where he couldn’t scratch. He wanted to pick the string up and put it away.

The clock stopped him. The little red numbers read 6:57 now — three more minutes to go, even though he wanted to examine the string very badly.

Maybe he could find a way around the problem. Automatically, Ryan ran a flowchart in his mind. If he had written it down, it would have looked like this:

[See Figure 1.]

The chart put him at “Stay in bed,” so he lay there, trying not to scratch his head or squirm with suspense, until at last the numbers flicked to 8:00. Ryan pushed the blankets aside and hurried over to pick up the string, still squiggled across the floor. The moment he touched it, the string moved on its own. It jumped into his hand like a little snake. He felt a cold, tingly sensation, and the string was gone. Instead, there was a perfect circle of raised skin around the palm of his left hand.

“Wow,” Ryan said.

Ryan liked circles. He liked their symmetry, the way you couldn’t tell where they started or ended, the way every part was like every other part. He traced the circle with his finger and smiled. He could have a circle with him wherever he went. Then, because Saturday was a brown day, he put on brown cargo pants, a brown shirt, and brown socks before pulling on his shoes and heading for the stairs. Ryan had red-blond hair that he tried to keep combed but always got away from him, a thin sprinkling of freckles that thickened in the summer, and somber eyes that his best friend Alison always described as “blue pools of inexactitude,” which bugged Ryan because he didn’t know what it meant. At the last second, Ryan remembered to grab his cell phone from his dresser. The circle had almost made him forget. There were already two text messages on the screen:


Happy Shared B-Day, R!!

And

Happy day kiddo!

He texted back, his thumbs jumping across the keypad like precise, tiny frogs:

Happy Shared Birthday to you, too, Alison!

and

Thanks, Mom.

Ryan never felt quite right abbreviating, so he didn’t. Then he traced the circle on his hand one more time and tromped downstairs.

There were fourteen wooden steps leading down to the kitchen. Each one had nine wooden pegs pounded in a straight line across the front edge, and Ryan automatically counted them all at a glance. 126 pegs, just like yesterday and the day before that and the day before that. He liked the number 126. The digits added up to nine, which was also the number of pegs in each step. The number 126 was a good number to start the day with. He jumped over step number twelve. Ryan didn’t like the number twelve. It was divisible by too many other numbers — itself, six, four, three, two, and one. That was half the numbers between one and twelve. Ryan always felt like twelve would keep dividing itself until it vanished entirely, and he didn’t want to step on a stair that might disappear.

Ryan rounded the turn in the staircase and emerged in the kitchen. It was big and airy, and right now it smelled like butter and hot batter. Aunt Zara was on breakfast duty this morning, and today she had settled on pancakes, Ryan’s favorite. Ryan quietly took his usual place on the bench that ran down the long wooden table. Everything in the Cottage was wood — walls, floor, cupboards, ceiling. Wood hinges held the doors on, and wood latches held them shut. Raw exposed beams ran up to support the roof, and the shingles were made of flat wood. The entire house was held together with wooden pegs. Ryan’s dad boasted that not one scrap of steel held the house together. Instead, the builders had used copper and plastic and ceramic. Ryan liked this. Metals like iron and steel felt heavy and harsh and made his stomach queasy.

“My, my. Happy birthday, Ryan,” Aunt Zara said, and put a plate of pancakes in front of him. Ryan tensed a little. Food you could count had to come in even numbers. Mom always remembered this when she cooked, but Aunt Zara sometimes forgot, and it could turn a simple meal into a disaster. Quickly he counted. Two pancakes, two pieces of sausage. Ryan sighed with relief. It would be bad to get the wrong number of pancakes on his birthday.

Ryan glanced up at Aunt Zara. She favored blue blouses and long skirts that flowed together like waterfalls. She wore her blond hair loose around her shoulders except for two blue barrettes that kept her bangs out of her face. She had a long nose and a wide mouth. At the moment, she was smiling with her teeth showing. Her voice had an upbeat tone to it, and she moved like her body was relaxed. Ryan added these things up and decided Aunt Zara was happy. The appropriate response, Ryan had learned, was a smile. So he smiled. Then he remembered that she had just given him something — his breakfast. It meant he had to say something.

“Thank you,” he said slowly, and tensed slightly, wondering if he had gotten it wrong. It seemed like he got it wrong a lot.

“You’re welcome.” Aunt Zara tried to pat his shoulder, but Ryan ducked away. “Sorry, sweetie. I forget.”

Ryan didn’t like it when people touched him. It felt beyond weird to feel their skin sliding over his in ways he couldn’t control. And a hug felt like being suffocated in wet blankets. When he was little, he had screamed and hit. Now he ducked and dodged.

Aunt Zara headed back for the stove. Ryan was turning to his pancakes, silver fork poised, when his world flickered for a second. Everything grew brighter, as if someone had doubled the sunlight, and he heard a knock. A dark-haired girl poked her head through the screen door and said, “Is he still eating breakfast?” and her voice had a strange, ghostly quality to it. Then the extra light vanished and everything snapped back to normal. Ryan realized no time had passed at all.

A knock came, and a dark-haired girl poked her head through the screen door. “Is he still eating breakfast?” Ryan stopped eating to stare. He had just seen this happen twice.

“Come in, Alison,” Aunt Zara sang out. “You’re just in time for pancakes.”

Alison Ferrier stalked through the door and angled across the kitchen to the table, her skinny legs and sharp elbows flopping carelessly in all directions. Even her ponytail looked sharp. Ryan watched her, caught in an awful fascination. One day she was going to puncture something; he was sure of it. Alison was Ryan’s best — his only — friend, and she lived in a tiny trailer in the woods with three sisters and two brothers and one mother (making seven people total, and seven was a prime number). Like him, she was turning eleven today (another prime number, and if you added one and one, you got two). It took two people to be friends, and two was the only even prime number. Ryan liked that.

Alison folded herself onto the bench beside him. “Two pancakes, two sausages,” she said, looking at his plate. “Will it bug you if I have three and three?”

“No,” Ryan said. “That plate over there” — he pointed — “has one pancake on it, so that makes everything Fibonacci.” He said the word the Italian way: feeb-oh-NAH-chee.

“Fibonacci?”

“You know. Zero and one make one, then one and one make two, two and one make three.”

“Oh, right. Cool.”

“My, my. Doesn’t your family feed you?” Aunt Zara asked, setting a plate down in front of her.

“Nope,” Alison said, her mouth already full, and Ryan couldn’t tell if this was a lie or not. He thought about asking, then decided not to and ate more pancakes instead.

“Today is our birthday,” Ryan said. “May first.”

“Yep.” Alison grinned, showing a big mouthful of smooshed-up Fibonacci pancake. Ryan laughed. “Where’s everyone else?”

“I don’t know,” Ryan said.

“Your dad went down to the lake for some early fishing,” Aunt Zara said from the stove. “Aunt Ysabeth and your mother are wrapping birthday presents. So stay out of your mother’s bedroom, Ryan, if you don’t mind.”

There was another flick. The world brightened again, and this time Aunt Zara dropped a spatula. It clattered on the stove. Alison spilled her milk, creating a chaotic mess that rushed over the table and dripped into Ryan’s lap.

The world flicked back to normal. Aunt Zara dropped her spatula. It clattered on the stove. Alison reached for her milk glass. Ryan flinched at the upcoming mess. Chaos was the worst. It hurt his stomach and made his head feel like it was going to explode. So he reached out with his own hand and slapped hers down, pinning it to the table.




Steven Harper/Piziks is the author of multiple fantasy and science fiction novels written for adults, notably the Clockwork Empire and Silent Empire series for Roc as Steven Harper and movie novelizations and tie ins for Pocket Books as Steven Piziks (IDENTITY, THE EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING, GHOST WHISPERER: THE PLAUGE ROOM).  He's also the father of an autistic son.


Giveaway Details:


1 winner will receive an eGalley of un/FAIR.
International.



Thursday, April 21, 2016

COVER REVEAL: The Extremely Epic Viking Tale of Yondersaay by Aoife Lennon-Ritchie + GIVEAWAY!

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Welcome to the cover reveal for
The Extremely Epic Viking Tale of Yondersaay
by Aoife Lennon-Ritchie
presented by Tantrum Books!
Be on the look out for this upcoming MG title!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

Epic Viking

This winter, siblings Ruairi and Dani Miller visit their ancestral homeland: the legendary Viking island of Yondersaay. Even with Granny Miller’s storytelling to pass the time, the pair manage to find trouble. In less than twenty-four hours of their arrival, Ruairi is mistaken for the lost Boy King of Denmark, kidnapped by Vikings, and scheduled to be sacrificed at sundown. Granny isn’t very pleased.

But when everyone except them goes Viking, the three turn to Granny’s epic tales of the legends of Yondersaay, The Gifts of Odin, and King Dudo the Mightily Impressive for clues. But not all stories end happily, and Ruari, Dani, and Granny will have to write their own happy ending.

The Princess Bride meets Vikings in this enchanted tale of high adventure, buried treasure, villainous treachery, violent ends, and – of course – true love. Aoife Lennon-Ritchie’s debut middle grade novel, THE EXTREMELY EPIC VIKING TALE OF YONDERSAAY, is a humorous and heartwarming story for readers ages 9+.

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The Extremely Epic Viking Tale of Yondersaay
by Aoife Lennon-Ritchie
Publication Date: Sept. 27, 2016
Publisher: Tantrum Books

About-the-Author2
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Irish actor and writer Aoife Lennon-Ritchie studied at the Sorbonne in Paris, the Universita di Catania in Italy, University College Dublin in Ireland, and the University of Cape Town in South Africa. Aoife holds diplomas, degrees and a Masters in the multiple fields of business and information technology, English and classic literature, theatre and creative writing; she looks forward to doing her PhD in Film and Media. Always searching for new adventures, Aoife has lived in the UK, France, Greece, Italy, and several US cities, including Chicago, New York and Pittsburgh. She speaks three (and a half) languages. Although she was once an investment banker, she much prefers acting, fencing, writing, and being a mum. She currently lives in Cape Town with her handsome husband and two small children.


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Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!

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RELEASE BLITZ: Daughter of Winter (Fairy Queens #3) by Amber Argyle

Good morning! Amber Argyle's newest book in her Fairy Queens series is finally here! You can get Daughter of Winter at all of your favorite online retailers! If you're not familiar with the book, here's a little more information!



Bargains. Only the truly desperate make them. Only the truly desperate need them. And always, the desperate pay. 

The silence and never-ending dark of winter are all Elice has ever known, for she is the daughter of the Winter Queen. Isolated in a northern queendom with only the seals for company, she dreams of color and music and life. So when a whaling ship crashes just offshore, she doesn't hesitate to rescue the lone survivor, Adar, who quickly becomes her friend. She must keep him hidden from her mother at all costs, for if the Winter Queen discovers him trespassing, she'll kill him.

When her mother reveals just how dark her soul has become, Elice realizes she is as much a prisoner as Adar. To ever know true freedom—to ever become the woman she was meant to be—she must flee with him. But in their flight, she begins to see hints of something more nefarious. The darkness that has taken hold of her mother is spreading, staining the world with its influence.

Unbeknownst to Elice, a bargain was made long ago. A bargain she was born to fulfill.

Purchase links:  Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | B&N | Goodreads

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

RELEASE DAY BLITZ: Emerge (Mer Chronicles #1) by Tobie Easton + GIVEAWAY!

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Happy Release Day to
Emerge by Tobie Easton!
Join us in celebrating this new release from Month9Books!
Enter the giveaway found at the end of the post.
Happy Book Birthday, Tobie!

Emerge Cover

Lia Nautilus may be a Mermaid, but she’s never lived in the ocean. Ever since the infamous Little Mermaid unleashed a curse that stripped Mer of their immortality, war has ravaged the Seven Seas.
So Lia has grown up in a secret community of land-dwelling Mer hidden among Malibu’s seaside mansions. Her biggest problems are surviving P.E. and keeping her feelings for Clay Ericson in check. Sure, he’s gorgeous in that cocky, leather jacket sort of way and makes her feel like there’s a school of fish swimming in her stomach, but getting involved with a human could put Lia's entire community at risk. So it’s for the best that he’s dating that new girl, right?

That is, until Lia finds out she isn't the only one at school keeping a potentially deadly secret. And this new girl? Her eyes are dead set on Clay, who doesn't realize the danger he's in. If Lia hopes to save him, she’ll have to get closer to Clay than ever. Lia’s parents would totally flip if they found out she was falling for a human boy, but the more time she spends with Clay, the harder it is for Lia to deny her feelings. After making a horrible mistake, Lia will risk everything to stop Clay from falling in love with the wrong girl.

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Emerge (Mer Chronicles #1) by Tobie Easton
Publication Date: April 19, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books


About-the-Author2
Tobie Easton

Tobie Easton was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, where she’s grown from a little girl who dreamed about magic to a twenty-something who writes about it. A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Southern California, Tobie hosts book clubs for tweens and teens. She and her very kissable husband enjoy traveling the globe and fostering packs of rescue puppies. Learn more about Tobie and her upcoming books at www.TobieEaston.com.


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Friday, April 15, 2016

M9B FRIDAY REVEAL: Into the Light (Into the Dark #2) by Caroline T. Patti - Cover Reveal + GIVEAWAY!



Today Caroline T. Patti and Month9Books are revealing the cover and first chapter for INTO THE LIGHT, book 2 in the INTO THE DARK Series! Which releases July 26, 2016! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to be one of the first readers to receive an eGalley!!

Here’s a message from the author:
Into the Light is the continuation of Mercy's journey with Nathaniel's backstory mixed in. Readers will learn the history of breaching while Mercy engages in the fight of her life. What draws me to the cover are the colors. The palette is appealing and I love how it all swirls together because it perfectly captures how Mercy's two lives, one as a human and one as a Breacher, are intertwined.

On to the reveal! 


Title: INTO THE LIGHT
Author: Caroline T. Patti
Pub. Date: July 26, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Paperback & eBook
Find it: Amazon | B&N | TBD Goodreads

Mercy’s family is back together and the threat of danger appears to have passed. But any relief she feels is short lived as she is ripped from her body and thrown in jail. Gage and Nathaniel’s plans to break Mercy out won’t exactly be easy. Stuffed full of a chemical binding agent, Mercy is trapped inside the body of a convict without the ability to breach and set herself free. Unfortunately for Mercy, being trapped in jail becomes the least of her problems when she meets her evil twin, Justice.





Caroline T Patti is the author of The World Spins Madly On and Too Late To Apologize. When she’s not writing, she’s a school librarian, mother of two, wife, avid reader and Green Bay Packer fan. You can chat with her on Twitter: @carepatti or find her on Facebook.



Giveaway Details:
1 winner will receive an eBook of INTO THE DARK & an eGalley of INTO THE LIGHT. International.