Cover Shot! Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café.  I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share.  More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents.  There is an allure to a beautiful cover.  Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

Oh, look!  Sherry Thomas has written a YA fantasy!  Everyone raves about her historical romances, and while I have a few on my TBR, I haven’t had a chance to read any of them yet.  The Burning Sky looks to be right up my alley, and I hope I can get to it sooner than later.  Love the cover, too!

In stores September 2013

 

It all began with a ruined elixir and an accidental bolt of lightning…

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she’s being told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the greatest mage tyrant the world has ever known. A suicide task for anyone let alone a sixteen-year-old girl with no training, facing a prophecy that foretells a fiery clash to the death.

Prince Titus of Elberon has sworn to protect Iolanthe at all costs but he’s also a powerful mage committed to obliterating the Bane to revenge the death of his family—even if he must sacrifice both Iolanthe and himself to achieve his goal.

But Titus makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the Bane closing in, he must choose between his mission and her life.

Interview with Bryony Pearce, Author of The Weight of Souls and Excerpt

Please welcome Bryony Pearce to the virtual offices this morning!  Bryony is here to chat about her latest release, The Weight of Souls.  The Weight of Souls is published by one of my favorite publishers Strange Chemistry.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Bryony Pearce] Slightly harassed, book-obsessed dieter with two small children seeks moments of sanity by disappearing into worlds of her own making. Likes chocolate and wine.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Weight of Souls?

[Bryony Pearce] Sixteen year old Taylor Oh is cursed: if she is touched by the ghost of a murder victim then they pass a mark beneath her skin. She has three weeks to find their murderer and pass the mark to them – letting justice take place and sending them into the Darkness. And if she doesn’t make it in time? The Darkness will come for her…

She spends her life trying to avoid ghosts, make it through school where she’s bullied by popular Justin and his cronies, keep her one remaining friend, and persuade her father that this is real and that she’s not going crazy.

But then Justin is murdered and everything gets a whole lot worse. Justin doesn’t know who killed him, so there’s no obvious person for Taylor to go after. The clues she has lead her to the V Club, a vicious secret society at her school where no one is allowed to leave… and where Justin was dared to do the stunt which led to his death.

Can she find out who was responsible for his murder before the Darkness comes for her? Can she put aside her hatred for her former bully to truly help him?

And what happens if she starts to fall for him?

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Bryony Pearce] When I was a teenager I was fascinated by the mythologies of different cultures. I read books telling the stories (particularly tales from Egyptian, Aztec, Norse, Greek and Roman beliefs), books from the cultures themselves (Beowulf, Homer’s Iliad) and fact-based books (Humphries’ Miracles of Exodus, Accounts of the Tutankhamum expedition and other non-fiction). I also adored historical fiction based on these mythologies.

As a result my writing tends to involve significant ‘mythic’ elements. My first book, Angel’s Fury, is a blend of Hindu mythology and Christianity (reincarnation and fallen angels) and Cassie’s story is told against that backdrop. For the follow up to my debut I also wanted an epic mythic element, but I didn’t want to replicate Angel’s Fury, so I had to look elsewhere.

Recalling my obsession with Egypt and Egyptian mythology in particular I revisited my old reference books, did some more research and came up with a back-story based on the rivalry between Anubis and Horus.

In the history of my novel, Anubis, the original Lord of the Dead Lands and judge of the dead, was trapped by the priests of his rival, Horus, within the tomb of Nefertiti (which, to this day, has not been found). In the 1800s a group of tomb robbers discover the tomb, and within it, the trapped, and much diminished, jackal-headed Egyptian god.

The sole survivor of the slaughter is a Chinese worker named Fa. Anubis allows him to live only if Fa agrees to a deal. He and his descendants will work for Anubis (who still cannot leave the tomb), seeking out murderers and sending them to him for justice via ‘The Darkness’.

And how do they find these murderers? Anubis ‘gifts’ Fa and his descendents with the power to see their victims: the dead.

My story is about a modern teenager named Taylor, who suffers from Anubis’ curse. She sees dead people and is compelled to find their murderers and send them into the Darkness. If she does not, the Darkness will come for her. As with all of my characters, Taylor appeared in my head fully formed one day. I lived with her for a while, got to know her and then populated the rest of the book.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Taylor?

[Bryony Pearce] Hardened

Lonely

Indomitable

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Justin had a theme song, what would it be?

[Bryony Pearce] Coldplay’s Viva la Vida

I am a fan of the poetry in Coldplay’s lyrics and their belting tunes to which I sing along (tunelessly). The lyrics to Viva la Vida feel truly appropriate for what happens to Justin in the novel.

He starts off as king of the school; the most popular boy, ruler of the clique … then he gets murdered. He can’t be seen by anyone except a girl he made miserable for years, he doesn’t know who killed him and is powerless to affect the living. Finally he is terrified that when his killer is found and he moves on, he won’t be going ‘anywhere good’. He cannot see a light: ‘Saint Peter won’t call my name’.

I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own
I used to roll the dice
Feel the fear in my enemy’s eyes
Listen as the crowd would sing
"Now the old king is dead! Long live the king!"
One minute I held the key
Next the walls were closed on me
And I discovered that my castles stand
Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand

For some reason I can’t explain
I know Saint Peter won’t call my name
Never an honest word
But that was when I ruled the world
I hear Jerusalem bells are ringing
Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror, my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Taylor is never without.

[Bryony Pearce] Her memory of her mother and her mother’s white glove, which she uses to cover up her hand if a ghost has Marked her.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Justin’s pocket?

[Bryony Pearce] A One Direction CD (as if)

Rubbish (chewing gum, sweet wrappers etc.) it always goes in the bin

A make up bag (he’s willing to take a lipstick, but if Tamsin can carry an entire make up bag she can carry a handbag to put it in)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Taylor’s greatest regret?

[Bryony Pearce] That she was not honest with her friends earlier on and did not have the chance to be with Justin before he died.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Bryony Pearce] Anne Macaffrey, David Gemmell, Stephen King, Maggie Steifvater. I like to think that my work is dark, character driven, exciting but also lyrical and descriptive. (at least, that’s what I aim for), and, to me, the aforementioned writers embody those attributes. If I’m feeling a bit stuck, I’ll often go back and read some King or Macaffrey and the ideas will start to flow again.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Bryony Pearce] Peace and quiet

My laptop

A comfortable chair

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Bryony Pearce] City’s Son by Tom Pollock. His writing absolutely embodies what I try to do with my own, but I think he does it much better. He is lyrical, exciting, dark and his characters stayed with me long after the end of the book. I kind of hate him J

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Bryony Pearce] I’ve loved reading since the moment I could read and that was SO long ago that I have no idea what books were the most important to me. I know my mum used to read me the newspaper from cover-to-cover when I was a baby (no television in our house until I was eight), I know that I have a lovely battered copy of The Wind in the Willows and I know Mum once told me that I made her read a book called Aristide over and over solidly for almost three hours. This says a lot about my mum’s awesomeness (my kids would have been told to go and play with their LEGO after three renditions) and also suggests that I loved the book.

I do, however, remember the books that made me want to write: Anne Macaffrey’s Brain and Brawn Ship series. In particular The Ship Who Sang: I read it and adored it when I was quite young and never looked back.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Bryony Pearce] I’m a mum to two small children (a girl and a boy who isn’t at school yet), so most of my time is spent feeding and entertaining the kids, chauffeuring them around and cleaning up their messes!

I read all the time. If I don’t have a child in my arms, I’ll have a book.

When I can, I like to go to the cinema and theatre and I recently began karate lessons with my children. It is a great family activity and I love it.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Bryony Pearce] Facebook Page BryonyPearceAuthor

Twitter @BryonyPearce

Email: admin@bryonypearce.co.uk

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

Bryony is hosting a giveaway on her blog.  Please hop over to enter

Purchase links:

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-weight-of-souls-bryony-pearce/1113784409?ean=9781908844644

About the book:

Sixteen year old Taylor Oh is cursed: if she is touched by the ghost of a murder victim then they pass a mark beneath her skin. She has three weeks to find their murderer and pass the mark to them – letting justice take place and sending them into the Darkness. And if she doesn’t make it in time? The Darkness will come for her…
She spends her life trying to avoid ghosts, make it through school where she’s bullied by popular Justin and his cronies, keep her one remaining friend, and persuade her father that this is real and that she’s not going crazy.
But then Justin is murdered and everything gets a whole lot worse. Justin doesn’t know who killed him, so there’s no obvious person for Taylor to go after. The clues she has lead her to the V Club, a vicious secret society at her school where no one is allowed to leave… and where Justin was dared to do the stunt which led to his death.
Can she find out who was responsible for his murder before the Darkness comes for her? Can she put aside her hatred for her former bully to truly help him?
And what happens if she starts to fall for him?

About the author:

Bryony Pearce completed an English Literature degree at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge in 1998 and afterwards worked in the research industry. After a while she moved to a village at the edge of the Peak District and went freelance so she could devote more time to writing.

She is now a full time mother to two children, writes as much as possible and enjoys doing school visits and events when she can fit them in.

Her first book, the award-winning Angel’s Fury, was published by Egmont in 2011.

Excerpt:

Waiting on Wednesday–A Hundred Horses by Sarah Lean

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

One guess why I’m waiting for A Hundred Horses by Sarah Lean…Yup, it has horses!  And magical adventures.  And a lot of fun, I hope!  In stores January 2014

 

From the author of A Dog Called Homeless, winner of the Schneider Family Book Award, comes a gentle tale with a touch of magic about the power of friendship, the truth of belonging, and the most special of a hundred horses.

Nell is not happy about spending her school vacation with relatives she doesn’t know. Expecting nothing more than silly little cousins and boring farm life, she sneaks along a special suitcase that once belonged to her father. In it, she knows, are the parts of a music box and sixteen miniature painted horses, and she thinks maybe she can fit them all back together.

But the countryside has unexpected surprises. When a half-wild and mysterious girl named Angel steals Nell’s suitcase, the two girls are tied in an adventure of Angel’s devising. Nighttime meetings and a horse that might just be magical pique Nell’s curiosity, and soon she must put together the mystery of who Angel truly is, understand the legends about the herd of a hundred horses, and also discover something special about herself.

 

What are you waiting on?

Review: Mist by Susan Krinard

 

 

 

Title:  MIST

Author: Susan Krinard

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

 

New York Times bestselling author Susan Krinard launches her first urban fantasy series
Centuries ago, all was lost in the Last Battle when the Norse gods and goddesses went to war. The elves, the giants, and the gods and goddesses themselves were all destroyed, leaving the Valkyrie Mist one of the only survivors.
Or so she thought.
When a snowy winter descends upon modern-day San Francisco in June, Mist’s quiet existence starts to feel all too familiar. In quick succession, Mist is attacked by a frost giant in a public park and runs into an elf disguised as a homeless person on the streets…and then the man Mist believed was her mortal boyfriend reveals himself to be the trickster god, Loki, alive and well after all these years.
Loki has big plans for the modern world, and he’s been hanging around Mist for access to a staff that once belonged to the great god Odin. Mist is certain of one thing: Loki must be stopped if there is to be any hope for Earth. But the fight is even bigger than she knows….
Because Loki wasn’t the only god to survive.


Review:

While I love mythology, I have to admit that I don’t know much about Norse mythology. I am far more familiar with Greek, Roman, and Egyptian gods and goddesses, so when I saw Mist, I thought it would be the perfect way to learn more about Odin, Freya, and the rest of the gang.   Did I learn more about them? Yes, but a lot of the details about them, as well as the background information on Ragnarok, felt too much like info dumping, and often left me confused.

Mist believes she is one of the only survivors of Ragnarok, or the end of the world.  She has been entrusted by Odin to guard his spear, but as the years dragged by and still the god did not appear to take back his mighty weapon, Mist lost hope of ever seeing him again.  Turning her back on her Valkyrie duties, she’s decided instead to make Midgard her home.  She believes Asgard has been closed to her forever, everyone she knew dead, so she settles down in San Francisco and tries to make the best of things.  After she’s attacked by a frost giant, however, she realizes that she isn’t the only one to survive the final battle.  To her great dismay, she learns that her boyfriend is actually Loki, and he’s been fooling her in order to get his hands on Odin’s spear.  Now with the real end of the world approaching, she has to put her trust in a battered elf and learn how to make use of the magic she didn’t realize she possessed. 

While I found the info dumping in the first half of the book trying, I loved Mist when something was happening.  The heroine is strong, brave, and determined to save her adopted, even if it means standing up to Loki and his ruthless plans to take over the  world.  She has a handful of allies, and she’s not even sure she can trust them.  Odin’s sons, Vidarr, and Vali, are hardly dependable allies.  Vidarr is aggressive, selfish, and quick to rage, and Vali is a drunk who always caves to his brother’s whims.  Dainn, the tattered elf she found in the park, is hiding terrifying secrets, both about himself and Freya’s plans for Mist.  I liked Dainn, too.  He’s one step away from losing himself to his inner beast, and he has to ceaselessly fight the curse he’s been burdened with.  He’s old, but that doesn’t necessarily make him wise.  A fool to one of Loki’s tricks, he has a grudge the size of  California against his tormentor. 

I kept seeing Tom Hiddleston as Loki  (not a bad thing, right? And what’s this about Loki NOT being in the next Avengers movie??), which gave him a strong image in my mind every time he appeared in the book.  He’s such a fun character, what with his love of causing chaos for his own sick amusement.  Better yet, he has the power to back up his bad boy behavior.  There aren’t many who can oppose him, and Mist’s attempts to track him down and get the spear back seemed hopeless at first.  As she was forced into one deadly encounter after another, though, her powers grew, along with her desire to take Loki down.  I enjoyed the conflicts and confrontations as they clashed time and again.  He’s the kind of character you love, love, love to hate, so I wasn’t overly upset when Mist come out on the losing side more than once.  Like Mist’s, my dislike of Loki had to fester so that when Mist got the best of him, the victory would be that much sweeter.

I thought the pacing was slow at first, and that most of this book was set up for the series.  However, after the giants attack Mist in her home, the story really took off, and it was hard to put down after that exciting sequence of events.  The battle scenes were a blast, and the plot was starting to take off when the book ended.  While Mist didn’t always work for me, I am invested in the characters now and am looking forward to seeing what happens next.

Grade:  This book is hard to grade.  C+/B-

Review copy provided by publisher

Interview with Susan Krinard, Author of Mist and Giveaway!

I’m excited to welcome Susan Krinard to the virtual offices today! She’s here to chat about her latest release, Mist, and after the interview, she has an excerpt to share, as well as three copies of Mist for you to win! 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Susan Krinard] Nerd, SF/Fantasy fan, reader, to fellow nerd, living in Albuquerque with three dogs, two cats. Loves angst, redemption, love stories, tough heroines, and good villains.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about MIST?

[Susan Krinard] Mist is the story of a centuries-old Valkyrie (who manages to keep herself looking around 28) living in San Francisco and trying to live a normal, mortal life. Hundreds of years ago, when Ragnarok–the final battle of the Norse gods (the Aesir) and their enemies—was about to begin, she and her sister Valkyrie were sent to Midgard (Earth), sworn to protect the gods’ twelve Treasures until Odin came to reclaim them.

But he never came, and Mist finally gives up her duty … until she faces a frost giant waiting for her in Golden Gate Park, and finds an elf in rags who had already “met” the giant, and lost. He tells her that the gods have survived, and are on their way to reclaim the Treasures from their Valkyrie guardians. But Freya, the goddess of love, who acts as the go-between for Mist and the other Aesir, isn’t quite what she seems. And Loki, their mutual enemy and greatest threat to Midgard, has a past with Mist and a legion of Jotunar (giants) on his side.

It’s up to Mist to head the ragtag army of mortals, Valkyrie, minor gods, and one elf in a battle against seemingly impossible odds, or see her adopted world fall into chaos.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Susan Krinard] I’ve always loved mythology. It was like a visit to other worlds, and that was always what I was looking for as a reader when I was a kid. Long before I began writing professionally, I used to tell myself fantasy stories built on mythological concepts. I loved the silly TV cartoons about Thor, Iron Man, Spider-Man and Submariner. I started looking at comics just before my teens, though I was a bit afraid to read them because girls just didn’t do that in those days. And again, Thor was one of my favorites.

After I discovered SF and fantasy, that genre seemed to fit right in with the kinds of mythological stories I loved so much. When I sold my first contemporary paranormal romance in 1993, I made use of the mythology of the shapeshifter, choosing a non-cursed werewolf as my hero.

But I always wanted to write “straight” fantasy. So when I was invited to participate in the anthology Chicks Kick Butt, I turned back to my love of mythology in writing the original novelette, “Mist.” I loved the idea of a Valkyrie heroine, and I’ve always loved tricksters … so I knew Loki, as the antagonist, was going to be a lot of fun. (I wrote “Mist” before the first Thor movie came out, so any similarities, especially between the Lokis, is sheer coincidence!) I also wanted a sort of aesthetic character to contrast with Mist and drive her crazy, so I chose an elf, Dainn, to be her somewhat ambiguous ally. (Not much is said about elves in what Icelandic retellings remain to us, so I could do largely what I wanted with them.)

Norse mythology is very earthy, very direct and “romantic” in the traditional sense, and the Norse gods are very much like humans—selfish, malicious, generous, inconsistent, courageous. I chose to interpret these myths my own way, developing some aspects and discarding others.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Mist?

[Susan Krinard] Straightforward

Courageous

Conflicted

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Mist is never without.

[Susan Krinard] Her sword, Kettlingr (kitten) … disguised as a knife she wears on her belt.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Susan Krinard] Authors such as C.J. Cherryh, Lois McMaster Bujold, Andre Norton, among many other female authors (and some male) I’ve been reading since I was about 11. I’m also greatly inspired by nature, and good adventure/SF movies and TV like Firefly, The Avengers, X-men, Fringe, etc. I’m definitely a nerd at heart.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Susan Krinard] My computer (duh)

Peace and quiet, or ambient music

My dogs

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Susan Krinard] It’s really, really, really hard to knock my socks off. I’m very picky, and though I will like a book (I’m currently reading The Demi-Monde by Rod Rees), the last book that made me wish I could get the sequel immediately (which, alas, didn’t even happen this year) was last summer: the most recent of Rebecca Cantrell’s Hannah Vogel mystery series set in WWII Germany, City of Broken Glass. Her website doesn’t even suggest she’s working on a fifth book after leaving us with a major cliffhanger!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Susan Krinard] Get out into nature, especially in spring and summer. I didn’t get to do enough of that last year or this due to my constant deadlines. I love to read good SF/Fantasy, historical, and mystery authors. I love a good movie, ranging from old classics to modern super hero films. I try to get out to see friends, another activity I’ve hardly been able to enjoy this or last year.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Susan Krinard] The best way is via my website, www.susankrinard.com. I also have a Facebook page. Right now I still owe readers a few answers to blog comments, but as soon as this book is in (about a week to go) I’ll be getting to that.

Thanks for this opportunity!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you for visiting today!

Here a short excerpt from MIST

“Your manners disappoint me, my dear Mist,” a voice said from the shadows behind the desk. “And so does your judgment. I had hoped you would take warning and flee. After all the plea sure you’ve given me, I had intended to spare you.”

Eric. But it wasn’t Eric’s voice. And the figure that emerged from the shadows was not tall and broad- shouldered, but as lean and wiry as a stoat. He was dressed in black from neck to toe, modified biker’s leathers adorned with flashy metal trimmings and emblazoned with a stylized flame. His eyes were brilliant green, the irises rimmed with orange. His red hair was artfully styled, and his long, handsome face was smiling.

He looked nothing at all like the man she’d come to love. But her heart lurched under her ribs as she realized who she was seeing. Loki, the great Trickster, once beloved of Odin. The child of powerful giants, Loki was one of the few divine beings— not quite a god— who could change his shape completely without relying on illusion or possessing the body of an animal or man. At times he had saved the Aesir, at other times opposed them. His constant scheming had been overlooked until he had killed Baldr, the blind god, with malice and treachery.

The punishment they had set for him had planted the seeds of the Last Battle.

But he had many flaws besides a propensity for duplicity, not least of which was overweening pride and belief in his own ultimate superiority.

And that meant he could be beaten. Not now, not by her, but by those who were coming.

Swallowing her instinctive fear, she faced him squarely. “I’ve come for Gungnir, Slanderer,” she said.

“How charming.” Loki walked past Vidarr without a glance in his direction and stood before her, hands on hips. “You always were impulsive, darling. That was what made you so entertaining in bed, even if your other skills were not”— he looked her up and down— “quite as well developed as I might have preferred.”

Mist swung Kettlingr at his head. Loki sent the sword spinning to the floor with three short words and a wave of his hand, violently twisting Mist’s fingers.

“It’s no use,” Vidarr said, his voice thick with despair. “You can’t beat him.”

“Listen to the Silent One, villkatt,” Loki said. “Like you, Odin’s son has been corrupted by his long residence in Midgard. He let his magic fade over the years. He proved remarkably ineffective in his attempts to resist.” Loki reached for the glass of red wine that stood on the nearby desk and sniffed it critically. “I confess I am a little surprised that you found me so quickly.”

Mist made a show of nursing her twisted fingers. They hurt like the devil, so it wasn’t really a show at all. “You didn’t make much of an effort to hide your trail,” she said.

“Your magic never amounted to much, nor did I have anything to fear from you should you find me . . . as our meeting here has proven.” He took a very small sip of the wine and held it on his tongue. “Amusing, isn’t it, that you thought ‘Eric’ might not be able to handle the truth about you?”

About the book:

 

MIST  By Susan Krinard (Website, Goodreads)

A Tor Hard Cover

ISBN: 978-0-7653-3208-0

On Sale: July 16, 2013

Centuries ago, all was lost in the Last Battle when the Norse gods and goddesses went to war. The elves, the giants, and the gods and goddesses themselves were all destroyed, leaving the Valkyrie Mist one of the only survivors.

Or so she thought.

When a snowy winter descends upon modern-day San Francisco in June, Mist’s quiet existence starts to feel all too familiar. In quick succession, Mist is attacked by a frost giant in a public park and runs into an elf disguised as a homeless person on the streets…and then the man Mist believed was her mortal boyfriend reveals himself to be the trickster god Loki, alive and well after all these years.

Loki has big plans for the modern world, and he’s been hanging around Mist to get access to a staff that once belonged to the great god Odin. Mist is certain of one thing: Loki must be stopped if there is to be any hope for Earth. But the fight is even bigger than she knows.

Because Loki wasn’t the only god to survive.

Purchase links

Indiebound, Barnes & Noble, BooksAMillion,

Powells, Walmart, Overstock

About the author:

Susan Krinard has been writing paranormal romance and fantasy since 1993, when a published author friend read a short story she’d written and advised her to try writing a novel. She sold her first novel to Bantam Dell, and has since written for Bantam, Penguin, Harlequin/ Silhouette, Harper Collins, St. Martin’s Press., and Tor Books. Her output includes twenty-three novels and twelve novellas and short stories.

Susan’s love for Science Fiction and Fantasy began when her fourth grade teacher read Madeleine L’Engles’ A Wrinkle In Time to the class. She attended her first Star Trek convention at the age of 14. Since then she’s continued to read voraciously and has attended numerous local and World Science Fiction conventions. Her first major urban fantasy series is the “Midgard” series, beginning with Mist, a July 2013 release from Tor Books.

Susan and works in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her husband Serge Mailloux—whom she met because of a mutual love of the works of writer C. J. Cherryh—dogs Cagney, Nahla and Freya, and cats Agatha and Rocky. www.susankrinard.com

Giveaway!

Thanks to Susan and Tor Books, I have three copies of Mist, as well as some awesome Mist bookmarks, up for grabs!  Just fill in the widget to enter. US addresses only, please

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Waiting on Wednesday–Moonkind by Sarah Prineas

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

ZOMG!!!!  I just discovered that Sarah Prineas has another book due in stores in December! I loved Winterling, and I have Summerkin on my wish list.  I just added Moonkind to the list, so it looks like I have some awesome MG novels to look forward to at the end of the year.

 

Moonkind, the sweeping conclusion to Sarah Prineas’s fantasy adventure series that started with Winterling, follows Fer, the Lady of the Summerlands, as she attempts to inspire change in the face of great danger and resistance.

Fer, the Lady of the Summerlands, has made a critical mistake. In a world where oath-binding magic runs deep, the consequences of a broken promise can be nothing short of dire. But Fer has not broken her promise-she’s remained true to her vow to rule with honesty and without the disguise of a glamorie. Yet as a young leader, she’s naively trusted others to honor such an oath, too-one that many are unwilling and unable to keep.
With the cost of countless broken oaths weighing heavily on the land, the realm has begun to change. A stillness is creeping in, bringing a silent death to the place that Fer holds so dear. Only Fer has the power to fight it, but she may have to rely on the help of the one boy whose very nature is to deceive her.
Sarah Prineas, the award-winning author of the Magic Thief books, shines in this mesmerizing series conclusion. Praised by Kirkus Reviews for her lush and sensuous prose, Sarah once again takes readers on a breathtaking journey to a land of wildling transformations, magical poultices, shape-shifting troublemakers, and enduring friendships that cannot be broken.

 

What are you waiting on?

Review: When the Stars Threw Down Their Spears by Kersten Hamilton

 

Title: When the Stars Threw Down Their Spears

Author: Kersten Hamilton

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

 

“People will die.”

Locked doors are opening, and uncanny creatures are tumbling through mysterious portals from Mag Mell, the world-between-worlds, into the streets of Chicago. The Dark Man has marked Aiden with a new song that’s scared him badly, and a frightening new group of sídhe is lurking nearby.

Teagan knows this is war, and she must protect her family. She leaves her flesh and bones behind to join Finn in hunting the evil beings across the city. Meanwhile, their relationship is heating up—almost faster than they can control. But he is still bound to fight goblins his entire life . . . and by blood she is one of them now.

Then the gateway to Mag Mell cracks open again, and the Wylltsons find themselves caught in a trap. As her loved ones begin to die, Teagan realizes that she must destroy the Dark Man and his minions once and for all in order to save those who remain . . .

. . . before it is too late.


Review:

All good things must come to an end, so it is with some sadness that I type out this review.  I have loved Kersten Hamilton’s Goblin Wars series since the first book, which I remember reading in Lexington KY at a horse show.  I read a lot of books and usually can’t remember the protagonists’ names half of the time, but I distinctly remember reading Tyger, Tyger in the hot, sweltering arena.  I remember some OMG moments, and I remember being impatient to read In the Forests of the Night, which I thought was an even better book.  And so here we are, on the finale, and once again, I thought Kersten Hamilton delivered a powerful, adventurous story, which closed out the series nicely.  While people did die, as promised, she wrapped up most of the story lines to my satisfaction, and I don’t hesitate to urge you to read this if you have been enjoying the series so far.  You won’t be disappointed.

I will make one observation about the author’s narrative style, because I believe that it will drive some people batty.  Occasionally, the character interactions come across as kind of random, but I think that these conversations add a lot of flavor and background to the events.  Topics fly back and forth, and at the time, they don’t always seem to fit with what is going on.  Only as Teagan and Finn are ramping up for their big showdown with the Dark Man, Mab, and all of the scary creatures in Mag Mell do they make sense.  When the conversations are finally placed in the context they belong, all of seams become neat and tidy.  The prose requires some patience, and I didn’t find it as immediate and relevant as other YA books.  It doesn’t plod by any stretch of imagination, but I wonder if this series would have been better suited as straight up fantasy, instead of being shelved in the YA section of the bookstore.  Your mileage may vary here.

I grew to love many of the characters, especially Teagen, Aiden, and Abby.  The Turtles even had their Mafioso charm, which made the scene in Rosehill that much more painful.  New character Seamus was a welcome arrival, and I never knew if he should have been trusted.  One thing that I will say for Teagan is that she gave her trust unconditionally, and she always believed the best in everyone and everything.  Even when it was doubtful that her trust was deserved, she still gave it wholeheartedly, accepting that there were risks involved.  Once crossed, however, it would take a feat of great sacrifice and effort to earn it back.  It was her unfaltering belief in others that made Teagan such an easy character to like.  She knew that she was going to get bit on the backside every now and again, but that didn’t destroy her faith that others would do the right thing.

I enjoyed this series very much, and am sad to see it come to a close.  I knew that I could count on an engaging read with each new installment, and that something would happen to shock and horrify me, but also give me hope that things would, somehow, work out in the end.  I also appreciated Teagan’s growth as a character, because, if I have to be honest, I was a little iffy on her the first 100 pages of Tyger, Tyger.  She more than made up for that by the end of the series, becoming strong, brave, and kind.  I don’t think I would have managed to remain kind, considering all of the life-altering and heartbreaking events that she experienced.  In the end, that’s the take away I’ll have for this series; Teagan’s unwavering faith in others, despite all of the betrayals and treachery, and that’s where she found the strength to keep fighting against the Dark Man and Mab.  Win or lose, she refused to compromise her beliefs.  I loved that about her.

Grade:  B+

Review copy provided by publisher

Interview with Kersten Hamilton, Author of When The Stars Threw Down Their Spears

Please give Kersten Hamilton a warm welcome to the virtual offices! Kersten is here to discuss the last book in her Tyger Tyger trilogy, When The Stars Threw Down Their Spears.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Kersten Hamilton] A dash Mamieo Ida, a teaspoon Pipi Longstockings, great gobs of Peter Pan, some Severus Snape…. Oh, wait.  You meant a different kind of character entirely, didn’t you? That’s more difficult. Let’s see…a joyful peregrine, a partaker of the deeper magic, a too infrequently penitent knave, and a teller of tales.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about When The Stars Threw Down Their Spears?

[Kersten Hamilton] The Goblin Wars is really one book split into three parts. Can I say a little bit about each?

TYGER TYGER invites readers to step through into a modern world of Celtic mythology and magic; IN THE FORESTS OF THE NIGHT calls them to come further up and further in, and WHEN THE STARS THREW DOWN THEIR SPEARS throws the wide, magical world open before them!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Teagan?

[Kersten Hamilton] Compassionate, resourceful, and courageous.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did Teagan change from when we first met her in Tyger Tyger?

[Kersten Hamilton] Teagan was very young in Tyger Tyger. She has grown — as we all must — through making terrible mistakes and tough decisions.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Finn had a theme song, what would it be?

[Kersten Hamilton] Teardrop sung by Newton Faulkner. For Finn, love is a doing word, and he is fearless when it comes to love.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Teagan is never without.

[Kersten Hamilton] Now, that’s a toughie.  Never is a very tricky word when it comes to Teagan. Sometimes she can’t carry anything with her at all. If you have read the first two books, you know what I mean. If you haven’t, then I can’t tell you why. Spoilers! How about I tell you Teagan’s theme song instead? It would be Fix You by Cold Play, and she would sing it for Finn because he has lost many things he cannot replace.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Finn’s rucksack?

[Kersten Hamilton] A cell phone, hair products, or anything ever sold by Abercrombie and Fitch. He *would* have a blade or two, and at least one pair of clean socks and a roll of duct tape….

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Teagan’s greatest regret?

[Kersten Hamilton] Not putting a brick in a certain inner tube once upon a time … just kidding. Her greatest regret is a decision she made soon after she met Finn — a decision she can never change and never forget and will regret forever. :)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What was the most difficult aspect of writing this series?

[Kersten Hamilton] Reaching the end. This story came from deeper inside me than anything I have ever written. It was very, very hard to finish the book. I left my heart on the page when I walked away.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Kersten Hamilton] Caffeine, faith, and a lot of courage.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Kersten Hamilton] FORGET ME NOT by Carolee Dean. Dean uses an incredible mix of screenplay format and poetry, including free verse, villanelle, pantoums, shape poems — and she is always in control of her story. I loved it!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us about your next project?

[Kersten Hamilton] Which one? :) I have a fun MG steampunk series called GADGETS AND GEARS coming this fall, some nitty-gritty picture books for itty-bitty readers are in the works, I have a magical reality MG almost done, and as soon as my heart stops hurting, I’m starting a Top Secret YA project.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Kersten Hamilton] People can reach me by email: kersten@kerstenhamilton.com

from my webpage: Kerstenhamilton.com

or on Twitter:  @KerstenHamilton

Thank you for interviewing me, Julie!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

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About the book:

“People will die.”

Locked doors are opening, and uncanny creatures are tumbling through mysterious portals from Mag Mell, the world-between-worlds, into the streets of Chicago. The Dark Man has marked Aiden with a new song that’s scared him badly, and a frightening new group of sídhe is lurking nearby.

Teagan knows this is war, and she must protect her family. She leaves her flesh and bones behind to join Finn in hunting the evil beings across the city. Meanwhile, their relationship is heating up—almost faster than they can control. But he is still bound to fight goblins his entire life . . . and by blood she is one of them now.

Then the gateway to Mag Mell cracks open again, and the Wylltsons find themselves caught in a trap. As her loved ones begin to die, Teagan realizes that she must destroy the Dark Man and his minions once and for all in order to save those who remain . . .

. . . before it is too late