Welcome to my stop on The Night Weaver by Monique Snyman Book Blast
Series: Shadow Grove (Book 1)
Paperback: 266 pages
Publisher: Vesuvian Books (October 15, 2019)
Praise for THE NIGHT WEAVER“With its boogeyman-like creature based in lesser-known folklore, the novel is unique, as well as creepy and unsettling. It also functions on a metaphorical level, growing stronger by feeding on the negative emotions of the townspeople … The Night Weaver introduces a world of myth, intrigue, and darkness with considerable technique.” ―Foreword Reviews“Simultaneously refreshing and deeply unsettling, The Night Weaver weaves together small-town horror with an intricate otherworldly fairytale to deliver a blend of horror and fantasy that captures the essence of young adult terror seasoned with the stuff of grown-up nightmares.” ―The Nerd Daily
“… a very easy to read page-turner … As the mystery develops it moves deeper into dark fantasy … brimming with ideas.” ―Ginger Nuts of Horror
“I have been searching high and low to find a writer that could intrigue me with writing as witty and crafty as Cassandra Clare, and lo and behold I found one. HOLY HELL what a read.” ―Nadine Maritz, MY HEAD “IN A NUTSHELL“
2018 BRAM STOKER AWARDS® Final Ballot FINAL BALLOT
LOS ANGELES, CA, FEBRUARY 23, 2019 Named in honor of the author of the seminal horror novel Dracula, the Bram Stoker Awards® are presented annually for superior achievement in writing in eleven categories. Previous winners include Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, George R. R. Martin, Joyce Carol Oates, and Neil Gaiman. The HWA formed in 1985 with the help of many of the field’s greats, including Dean Koontz, Robert McCammon, and Joe R. Lansdale. The HWA is home to the prestigious Bram Stoker Award® and the annual StokerCon convention.SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN A YOUNG ADULT NOVEL •Ireland, Justina – Dread Nation (Balzer + Bray) •Legrand, Claire – Sawkill Girls (Katherine Tegen Books) •Maberry, Jonathan – Broken Lands (Simon & Schuster) •Snyman, Monique – The Night Weaver •White, Kiersten – The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein (Delacorte Press)
Shadow Grove isn’t a typical town. Bad things happen here. Children disappear, one after the other, and nobody is doing anything about it. Parents don’t grieve, missing posters don’t line the streets, and the sheriff seems unconcerned.
Seventeen-year-old Rachel Cleary lives on the outskirts of Shadow Grove, next to the creepy forest everyone pretends doesn’t exist. Usually the forest is filled with an eerie calm, and unmistakeable graveyard solemnity. But the trees have started whispering, forgotten creatures are stirring and the night feels darker than ever.
Something is stalking the residents of Shadow Grove, changing them into brain-dead caricatures of themselves. It’s up to Rachel to find a way to stop the devouring of her hometown before all is destroyed and everyone she loves is forever lost.
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This book was received from the Author, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own
The Night Weaver is the first installment in Monique Snyman, Harrowsgate Series.
Every once in a while you come across an author that you know by reading their writing for the very first time. that you will be buying anything they write in the future. Monique Snyman, writing is suspenseful and gripping, that made for a nonstop read for me.
Rachel Cleary is trying to make sense of the abductions occurrences in Shadow Grove and the even weirder reactions from the non responsive adults. There are no missing persons posters for the children who have gone missing, no search parties have been organized. This is all very odd indeed.
The town’s history is tainted with the strange and the horrific occurrences. From poisoned school lunches to devastating factory fires. Definitely odd because all events that have been glossed over in the town’s history with nonchalant excuses. The only people who seem concerned about the newest calamity are the kids that have not yet been taken by a strange and sinister presences.
Rachel Cleary’s family, along with her neighbors the Crenchaws, harbor a clandestine, which is a multigenerational obligation. It means they are responsible for guarding the perimeter of the forest at the edge of Shadow Grove. They must keep the boundary intact and closed. By maintaining a sort of peace with the un human creatures that inhabit the forest. It has worked in the past, this delicate balance has been more-or-less kept, even if an occasional shadow does slip through the boundary. Now it seems like something something more usual has made it or her way through the cracks of the boundary .
“There’s something wrong with the forest. It’s waking up.”
Imaginative world building drawing on the inspiration from old English folklore, The Night Weaver does not only prey upon the flesh of children, but also on the grief, fear, and ultimately pain— This dark creature is both the feared monster that is hiding under ever scared child’s bed. Or it’s a glimpse of a sinister dark shadow, maybe something that you think you might have saw out of the corner of your eye. A thing that that preys on the minds of anyone who has experienced a tragedy.
In this spine tingling book of dark fantasy, That captivates you and draws you into it’s unsettling, atmospheric pages The plot is intriguing, and the writing flows perfectly. The characters are well developed and are easily connected to.
The book is a dark chilling blend of horror and fantasy, with an entering dialogue that was easy to follow. A spellbinding storyline that kept me engaged all the way through to the end. Once I started reading this novel I had to finish it, and stayed up all night to do so.
An immensely enjoyable, suspenseful, gripping, page-turner of a read.
Monique Snyman’s mind is a confusing bedlam of glitter and death, where candy-coated gore is found in abundance and homicidal unicorns thrive. Sorting out the mess in her head is particularly irksome before she’s ingested a specific amount of coffee, which is equal to half the recommended intake of water for humans per day. When she’s not playing referee to her imaginary friends or trying to overdose on caffeine, she’s doing something with words—be it writing, reading, or fixing all the words.
NERD BLAST SCHEDULE:
http://www.jeanbooknerd.com/2019/09/nerd-blast-night-weaver-by-monique.html Monique Snyman lives in Pretoria, South Africa, with her husband and an adorable Chihuahua. She’s the author of MUTI NATION, a horror novel set in South Africa, and Bram Stoker Award® nominated novel, THE NIGHT WEAVER, which is the first installment in a dark fantasy series for young adults.
*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
Hi guys! Today we have a very exciting blog tour! Y’all know how much I love retellings, and this one is extra special. Cursed is going take over, and it is very soon going to be a NETFLIX SHOW. So, you better get on it and read this book now,
The Lady of the Lake is the true hero in this cinematic twist on the tale of King Arthur created by Thomas Wheeler and legendary artist, producer, and director Frank Miller (300, Batman: The Dark Night Returns, Sin City). Featuring 8 full color and 30 black-and-white pieces of original artwork by Frank Miller.
Whosoever wields the Sword of Power shall be the one true King.
But what if the Sword has chosen a Queen?
Nimue grew up an outcast. Her connection to dark magic made her something to be feared in her Druid village, and that made her desperate to leave…
That is, until her entire village is slaughtered by Red Paladins, and Nimue’s fate is forever altered. Charged by her dying mother to reunite an ancient sword with a legendary sorcerer, Nimue is now her people’s only hope. Her mission leaves little room for revenge, but the growing power within her can think of little else.
Nimue teams up with a charming mercenary named Arthur and refugee Fey Folk from across England. She wields a sword meant for the one true king, battling paladins and the armies of a corrupt king. She struggles to unite her people, avenge her family, and discover the truth about her destiny.
But perhaps the one thing that can change Destiny itself is found at the edge of a blade.
I am a huge fan of anything Arthurian and every year I reread the Mists of Avalon!
So when I was given the chance to read and review this hard copy breathtaking Arc, I jumped at the chance and greatly appreciate The Fantastic Flying Book Tour @theffbc for giving me this incredible opportunity.
In this imaginative fantastic retelling of the Notorious Arthurian legend. The Lady of the Lake takes the role of hero in this tale of king Arthur.Creators Thomas Wheeler and legendary artist, producer, and director Frank Miller of 300, Batman, The Dark Knight Returns, and Sin City.This book features full-color and 30 black-and-white pieces of original artwork by Frank Miller.
Cursed is told through the eyes of Nimue, a teenage heroine with a mysterious gift who is destined to become the powerful and tragic Lady of the Lake.Nimue is a child, living in a nurturing environment still following the old ways of the Druid. When the evil Red Paladins, a section of the Church who have made it their mission to wipe out the Fey Folk, attack her village, Nimue finds herself journeying across England to fulfill her mother’s last wish. She sets out on a quest to find Merlin and deliver an ancient sword. Nimue, finds an unexpected partner in a young mercenary named Arthur.
Rumors grow that the Sword of Power has resurfaced again has spread through out the country. Nimue faces incredible forces who all want to claim the sword for themselves, King Uther Pendragon, the Viking Ice King and the Catholic Church.
All knowing the ancient prophecy of the sword …
Nimue will become the hero and the symbol of courage and rebellion against the terrifying Red Paladins, and their King Uther.
I can’t wait to see this novel turned into a show. I love the portrayal of Nimue and everything surrounding her story. Make sure to buy this beautiful novel on October 1st and be sure to watch the Netflix series.
Thomas Wheeler sold his first screenplay at age twenty-two, to Twentieth Century Fox. He has continued to work on major Hollywood features for the last several years. Wheeler lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Christina, and his son, Luca. The Arcanum is his first novel.
Frank Miller is an award-winning comic book writer, novelist, inker, screenwriter, film director, and producer best known for Daredevil, The Dark Knight Returns, Sin City, and 300, among others. He also created Cursed with Tom Wheeler, which is being adapted as a series for Netflix starring Katherine Langford. Visit him online at FrankMillerInk.com or on Twitter @FrankMillerInk.
It’s cover reveal day for Windborn (Fated Stars, #1) by Mary Fan! This sweeping YA fantasy will be released on February 11, 2020 by Snowy Wings Publishing. An epic adventure across an enchanted fantasyland, this story follows air nymph Kiri on her desperate journey to escape from dark magicians. The cover painting was done by Anne Drury, with titles by Story Wrappers.
And here is the full wrap for the hardcover:
The Age of Fire is coming. It’s written in the stars.
Trapped by dark magicians, the air nymph Kiri is running out of time. Like the rest of her kind, she’s bound to her homeland, and if she doesn’t return in seven days, she’ll die. Her only hope is in the magicians’ young apprentice, Darien, whose fierce gaze belies a kind heart. Despite her warnings, he helps her escape, and Kiri soon finds herself fleeing from relentless pursuers who will stop at nothing to recapture her and kill the boy who dared defy them.
With the magicians hot on their trail, Kiri and Darien embark on a treacherous journey through dangerous lands. But she soon learns that there’s more at stake than her own life. An ancient evil is stirring, one foretold to consume the world with fire. And Darien is at the center of it—though how, she doesn’t know.
Meanwhile, the clock is ticking on her life, and unless she can make it back to her land, she won’t live long enough to unravel the dark puzzles surrounding the intriguing, secretive young man—or stop the monstrous force bent on destroying everything.Add it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36668159-windbornABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mary Fan is a YA and sci-fi/fantasy author based in New Jersey. Her books include Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon (YA steampunk fantasy, Page Street Publishing), the Starswept trilogy (YA sci-fi, Snowy Wings Publishing), the Flynn Nightsider series (YA dark fantasy, Crazy 8 Press), and the Jane Colt trilogy (a space adventure series from Red Adept Publishing comprising Artificial Absolutes, Synthetic Illusions, and Virtual Shadows). In addition, she is the co-editor of the Brave New Girls YA sci-fi anthologies about girls in STEM, which aim to encourage girls to explore STEM fields and raise money for the Society of Women Engineers scholarship fund.
When she’s not writing, she can usually be found at choir rehearsal, at the kickboxing gym, or falling off a flying trapeze.
A Treason of Thorns portrays characters dealing with anxiety, emotional and physical abuse (non-graphic) and gaslighting. It also contains mild body horror.
Violet Sterling has spent the last seven years in exile, longing to return to Burleigh House. One of the six great houses of England, Burleigh’s magic always kept the countryside well. And as a child, this magic kept Violet happy, draping her in flowers while she slept, fashioning secret hiding places for her, and lighting fires on the coldest nights to keep her warm.
Everything shattered, though, when her father committed high treason trying to free Burleigh from the king’s oppressive control. He was killed, and Vi was forced into hiding.
When she’s given a chance to go back, she discovers Burleigh has run wild with grief. Vines and briars are crumbling the walls. Magic that once enriched the surrounding countryside has turned dark and deadly, twisting lush blooms into thorns, poisoning livestock and destroying crops. Burleigh’s very soul is crying out in pain.
Vi would do anything to help, and soon she finds herself walking the same deadly path as her father all those years before. Vi must decide how far she’s willing to go to save her house—before her house destroys everything she’s ever known.
We’ve never been free, Violet. Would you even recognize us, I wonder?
Praise For A Treason Of Thorns
“A Treason of Thorns is a fierce and haunting book that grew brambles around my heart and held me captive. I could not escape the power of its wild magic, or the raw, indomitable spirit of its heroine as she fought to redefine the meaning of home.”
–Margaret Rogerson, New York Times bestselling author of An Enchantment of Ravens & Sorcery of Thorns
“A piercing, luminous tale of legacies and devotion, and the many faces of home: a place you remember being loved, a place you fight to protect, and a place that may eat you alive.”
–Rosamund Hodge, author of Cruel Beauty
“Lyrical and inventive, this story of heart and home, of love lost and found again, is sure to stay with readers long after the last page is turned.”
–Megan Bannen, author of The Bird and the Blade
“A Treason of Thorns is an original, engrossing YA fantasy that explores the bonds of family, the cost of freedom, and what truly makes a home. Built like a rolling clap of thunder, Weymouth’s tale is spun of dark magic, unspoken love, and finding the balance between fate and freedom.”
–Sarah Henning, author of Sea Witch & Sea Witch Rising
“With lush prose and an eye for atmospheric detail, Weymouth adeptly spins a tale in which the heroine is torn between passion and purpose, destruction and duty.”
–Publisher’s Weeklystarred review
“Rich in language and imagery with characters readers want to get to know better, this title’s a keeper.”
“Weymouth’s prose is lush and evocative, filled with palpable descriptions and compelling mystery.”
Thank You so much Harper Teen and Edelweiss Books, for this early Arc, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own @gwendalyn_books_
Thank You so much Harper Teen and Edelweiss Books, for early ARC
A broken girl is just the thing for a broken house
Violet Sterling has spent the last seven years in exile, longing to return to her home, Burleigh House. One of the six great houses of England, Burleigh’s magic always kept the countryside well. And as a child, this magic kept her happy, draping her in flowers while she slept, fashioning secret hiding places for her, and lighting fires on the coldest nights to keep her warm.
Laura Weymouth’s gripping, A Treason of Thorns is a masterfully captivating, and gripping tale. I really enjoyed this utterly unique., this atmospheric historical fantasy. Weymouth spellbinding storyline progression, kept me interested from start to finish.
The main character, Violet Sterling is from a long line of caretakers of the magical house of Burleigh. It’s legacy demands devotion from its caretakers. They must forfeit family, love and sometimes life for the sake of the dark magic of the House.
Weymouth luminous fantasy of unspoken love, and the cost of freedom is one that you will not forget.
I have to say, I am a new fan of Weymouth Books. This is definitely a Book I am going to purchase a paper copy
What really stood out for me was the books premise, it is is unique in that it brings us to a world built entirely around this house,
@gwendalyn_books_ #ya #yafantasy #Ireadya
Laura Weymouth is a Canadian living in exile in America, and the sixth consecutive generation of her family to immigrate from one country to another. Born and raised in the Niagara region of Ontario, she now lives at the edge of the woods in western New York, along with her husband, two wild-hearted daughters, a spoiled cat, an old soul of a dog, and an indeterminate number of chickens. She is represented by the inimitable Lauren Spieller of TriadaUS.
Arrah is a young woman from a long line of the most powerful witch doctors in the land. But she fails at magic, fails to call upon the ancestors and can’t even cast the simplest curse.
Shame and disappointment follow her.
When strange premonitions befall her family and children in the kingdom begin to disappear, Arrah undergoes the dangerous and scorned process of selling years of her life for magic. This borrowed power reveals a nightmarish betrayal and a danger beyond what she could have imagined. Now Arrah must find a way to master magic, or at least buy it, in order to save herself and everything she holds dear.
An explosive fantasy set in a world of magic and legend with a twist you will never see coming.
This book was received from the Author, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own
Conntent warning about assault. Without getting too spoiler-y, there are several women characters whose past magical, psychological, and physical abuse at the hands of a powerful man is described obliquely, but it’s clear that the women are deeply traumatized by it. So much so that it fuels the motivations of one woman in particular and sets in motion the plot of the novel.
Kingdom of Souls Kingdom of Souls is a gripping, riveting, and ambitious dark fantasy epic. This is the first of a planned trilogy, but there is so much plot crammed into the first book. Vivid, magical, and utterly thrilling. Kingdom of Souls is a story of a girl born to a powerful bloodline of witchdoctors with no powers of her own who discovers that she may be the only one who stands a chance to save her kingdom from being ruined …but she finds this battle to be more personal than she expects.
The authors truly excels is in worldbuilding and character development. The stage she sets is as lush as a jungle and unforgiving as a desert. This is no homogeneous fantasy land. Inspired by West African mythology, Barron infuses her world with a rich tapestry of ideas.
The main protagonist, Arrah, has no magic. Every year she attends a ritual that should reveal her powers, and every year she leaves as magic-less as she arrived. Her father, Oshe, is a skilled herbalist and potion-maker and her mother, Arti, is the third most powerful person in the kingdom. Her father’s love and her witchdoctor grandmother’s compassion make bearable her mother’s seething disgust at her daughter’s shame, as does the affection shared between her and Rudjek, the son of the king’s right hand also known as her mother’s nemesis.She is willing to sacrifice everything for her people, even when they despise her.
Throughout it all, she remains true to who she is while growing into a better version of herself.
Shortly after her sixteenth birthday, Arrah’s world is shattered. Children have been disappearing, and fear and distrust is spreading across the city. The temple priests cannot locate them and the orishas—the gods her people worship—are not responding to prayers.
When a friend of Arrah’s is taken, she makes the ultimate sacrifice and trades years of her life to cheat her way into possessing magic. What she discovers next propels her down a path she cannot escape from and a destiny she is ill-prepared for. The Demon King, believed to have been killed by the orishas millennia ago, is rising once more and Arrah’s fate is tied to his. Before this is over, she will lose everything and everyone she loves, maybe even herself.
Throughout it all, she remains true to who she is while growing into a better version of herself.
*They are some uneven pacing issues that should have been addressed before publication, but over all it was a solid ya fantasy.*
Rodrick is a prince of the ruling country of Diar. He has a face kissed by the Gods themselves, with deep blue eyes and long ruby-red hair. Speaking of Gods, he also happens to be the Acolyte of Time. Gifts and curses with this power give him control over aspects of time. And being a dragon-human hybrid has its amazing perks too.
But since childhood, Rodrick has had a target on his back, and his insanely power-hungry father, Demon King Ryton, comes across as his closest but worst enemy. Throw in the workings of an alcoholic mother, a bipolar sister, a recovering addict brother, and an adopted little sister with magical powers, and you have the royal family of Diar.
Things couldn’t get any worse, until he meets the beautiful Princess Arcelia—but Arcelia isn’t the main problem. Her and Rodrick are on now on the run from Rodrick’s father, Ryton. And with the looming risk of world destruction ahead of them, Rodrick is worried about more than college exams.
This book was received as an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.
Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own
An inventive fantasy by a debut author, Winnifred Tataw
The Gods’ Scion: Child of Tempus.
Right from the beginning you are swept up into the books enjoyable plot and likable characters that will have you cheering them on. Tataw has Created an urban/contemporary fantasy that takes on a faced passed storyline.
Rodrick a ruling prince of the country of Diar, Being a Acolyte of his time, And dragon-human. But not everything is perfect, with turbulent family dynamics and a Demon King as your Father. Impending world destruction and magical realism with a dash of romance makes this an intriguing and engaging storyline. Great dialogue and magical elements makes for well written book.
If you enjoy Ya Contemporary Fantasy than this is the perfect book for you.
I look forward to reading more books from this creative Author.
Winnifred or Winnie, as most know her by, is an artist, writer, and author of her debut novel: The Gods’ Scion: Child of Tempus. As a military child, Winnie has traveled extensively around the US East Coast and Germany, learning about the history, lore and culture of each region. Winnie has spent the last two years writing and expanding the world of The Gods’ Scion trilogy series. Winnie has had a lifelong love of literature and art. As a new writer she wants to create beautiful fantasy world and with compelling and intriguing characters. Winnie resides in South Carolina and is an undergraduate at the College of Charleston. She loves to spread positivity and joy to those around her, and look at the world through a glittery pink lens.
Huge thanks to Penguin for sending me an early copy of this book!
Trigger warnings for homophobia, abortion, suicide, rape, abuse, forced pregnancy.
‘It’s on every woman in this country. Kept in shame and silence for generations. Kicked out, locked up, taken away. Their children sold in illegal adoptions; their babies buried in unmarked graves. Forced pregnancies and back-street abortions, eleven a day on the boat to England only to come home to rejection and stigma. Insults and prayers and keeping up appearances – and how do you break a curse like that?’
“Some loves ignite like forest fires, burn down entire towns before anybody’s noticed. . . Some loves smolder like a turf fire, are slow to start but will then burn bright and steady through entire winters.”
“A good cup of tea is a witch’s brew,” the old women said together with wicked grins. “Heals all ills.”
The stunning new novel about silenced female voices, family secrets and dangerous truths from the author ofThe Accident Season.
‘Exquisite . . . This is a book to hold tightly to your chest’Irish Times
‘Lyrical . . . Compelling’Guardian
‘Beautiful, visceral . . . A primal scream’Louise O’Neill
Moïra Fowley-Doyle is half-French, half-Irish and made of equal parts feminism, whimsy and Doc Martens. She lives in Dublin where she writes magic realism, reads tarot cards and raises witch babies.
Moïra’s first novel, The Accident Season, was shortlisted for the 2015 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize & the North East Teen Book Awards, nominated for the Carnegie Medal & won the inaugural School Library Association of Ireland Great Reads Award. It received two starred reviews & sold in ten territories. Her second novel, Spellbook of the Lost and Found, was published in summer 2017, received a starred review from School Library Journal and was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards.
“Maybe it’s time the great House of Rey came to an end. After all, what are we now? Just a house of rage and sorrow.”
Esmae once wanted nothing more than to help her golden brother win the crown of Kali but that dream died with her best friend. Alexi broke her heart, and she vowed to destroy him for it. And with her sentient warship Titania beside her, how can she possibly fail?
As gods, beasts, and kingdoms choose sides, Alexi seeks out a weapon more devastating than even Titania. Past lives threaten the present. Old enemies claim their due. And Esmae cannot outrun the ghosts and the questions that haunt her. What really happened to her father? What was the third boon her mother asked of Amba? For in the shadows, lurking in wait, are secrets that will swallow her whole.
The House of Rey is at war. And the entire galaxy will bleed before the end.
Thank you to Caffeine Blog Tours for allowing me to take part in this blog tour, and to Edelweiss and Sky Pony Press for this free e-ARC of the novel.
A House of Rage and Sorrow, picks up a few months after A Spark of White Fire finish. This is an action packed book, that blends Mahabharata Hindu mythology, along with an Epic Science-Fiction to creative an enjoyable powerful Space Opera.
A vivid, gripping brilliant sequel with a turbulent continuous moving plot-line, that readers will not be able to put down.
A House of Rage and Sorrow, starts off quickly from within its first chapters and then just goes full steam. In this second installment, the author continues to masterly create some of the most amazing world building and the characters come to life much more here than in the previous introductory book in this trilogy.
The book is an complexity of political intrigue, and nail biting roller coaster of a ride.
The Authors vibrant characters, and interesting plots inspired by existing Hindu folklore. Sangu Mandanna has masterly recreated the interwoven Mahabharata mythology, while adding her own twist. I was captivated from page one. I found this story to be engrossing, well thought out.
Perfectly paced and captivating with rich imaginable world building. The storyline is engaging and compelling, The novel is so intriguing, and well-written, with absolutely fantastic characters that totally captivated and fascinated me. I really enjoyed the multi-POV’s, I’m fairly sure rarely any reader gets the chance to see a sentient of a warship’s Point of view.
The strength of this novel handsdown is the author’s fabulous characterizations,
I was captivated and totally invested in the characters struggles in this emotional, sometimes heartbreaking riveting tale. A perfectly created explosive, cliffhanger of ending ending.
Make sure to enter the Giveaway!
The prize is for the privilege of naming one of the Book 3 characters. It will have one winner, and the giveaway is taking place onCaffeine Book Tourstwitter! It is of course open internationally.
Named one of the best 25 space opera books by BookRiot!
The first book in a scifi retelling of the Mahabrahata. When Esmae wins a contest of skill, she sets off events that trigger an inevitable and unwinnable war that pits her against the family she would give anything to return to.
In a universe of capricious gods, dark moons, and kingdoms built on the backs of spaceships, a cursed queen sends her infant daughter away, a jealous uncle steals the throne of Kali from his nephew, and an exiled prince vows to take his crown back.
Raised alone and far away from her home on Kali, Esmae longs to return to her family. When the King of Wychstar offers to gift the unbeatable, sentient warshipTitaniato a warrior that can win his competition, she sees her way home: she’ll enter the competition, reveal her true identity to the world, and help her famous brother win back the crown of Kali.
It’s a great plan. Until it falls apart.
Inspired by the Mahabharata and other ancient Indian stories,A Spark of White Fireis a lush, sweeping space opera about family, curses, and the endless battle between jealousy and love.
Sangu Mandanna was four years old when an elephant chased her down a forest road and she decided to write her first story about it. Seventeen years and many, many manuscripts later, she signed her first book deal. Sangu now lives in Norwich, a city in the east of England, with her husband and kids.
I’m very excited to share this book with you all today! The Devil’s Apprentice in the first book in the incredibly imaginative, and wonderfully entertaining, YA Fantasy series, The Great Devil War.
There will be exclusive content and a giveaway so be sure to read on!
The Devil’s Apprentice (The Great Devil War #1)
Genre: YA Fantasy
Philip is a good boy, a really good boy, who accidentally gets sent to Hell to become the Devil’s heir. The Devil, Lucifer, is dying and desperately in need of a successor, but there’s been a mistake and Philip is the wrong boy. Philip is terrible at being bad, but Lucifer has no other choice than to begin the difficult task of training him in the ways of evil. Philip gets both friends and enemies in this odd, gloomy underworld—but who can he trust, when he discovers an evil-minded plot against the dark throne?
Even though the story (mostly) takes place in Hell and deals with themes like evil, death and free will, it is also a humoristic tale about good and evil seen from a different perspective. A tale that hopefully will make the reader – young or old, boy or girl – laugh and think. – Kenneth B. Andersen
“You’re fairly young, aren’t you?” A forked tongue moistened his scaly fingers, and he flipped through more pages. “How old are you?”
“Thirteen?” the beast mumbled, clearly impressed. “It’s not very often they come to us so young. You must’ve done something really horrific.”
“What do you mean?” Philip shook his head. “What is this place?”
“This place?” The monster raised an eyebrow. “Haven’t you figured it out yet? Oh well, evilness and stupidity often go hand in hand.” His crooked smile revealed pointed teeth, and his gruff voice lowered to a hiss. “This, my boy, is the outer court of Hell. That—” he directed a hooked nail at the black gate, “is Hell.”
“Hell?” Philip whispered, and he saw it all again in his mind. The cat that had spoken to him. The shove to his back that had sent him hurtling into the street. Sam’s triumphant howling. The sound of squealing brakes. The car and the elderly man behind the wheel. And the darkness that had followed.
A dream, he’d said as he stood at the top of the long stairwell, knowing deep inside that it was a lie. This was no dream.
The car hit me, he thought. It hit me, and I’m dead. I died, and now I’m in… in…
“Hell?” he repeated, totally confused. How could he be in Hell? Only evil people went to Hell. Right? “I’m in Hell?”
“You need to say that three times before it sinks in?” the demon said, skimming through his book. “But it could be worse. Plenty others have to say it many more times before it sinks in. Ah, here it is! Let me see.” From the breast pocket of his robe he drew out a pair of silver-framed spectacles and put them on. The demon scanned the page quickly, using his finger as a guide.
“Just like I said,” he shouted angrily, pounding the book with his balled fist. “No one was supposed to enter tonight! Not for a few hours anyway, when an entire troop of politicians were to arrive!” The creature shook his head resignedly. “Well, since you’ve already spoiled my night off, I might as well send you straight to your punishment. What is your name, kid?”
Philip didn’t reply, but stared at the demon, dumbstruck.
“Wake up! We don’t have all night. Eternity waits. Your name?”
Philip cleared his throat timidly. “Philip.”
“Philip, Philip, Philip,” the demon mumbled, riffling back and forth a few pages. He wrinkled his brow. “That’s odd. Last name?”
Philip told him his full name, and once again the demon searched in his book. The wrinkles in his brow deepened, and his yellow nails scratched at his scalp. Then he shook his head and clapped the book shut with a sigh. “That name isn’t in the registry. Some dumb fool has made a mistake, kid. You’re not supposed to be here.”
“I’m not?” Philip said and felt a warm relief spreading through him. Then his eyes fell on the inky, thick darkness that enveloped the walls of Hell, and his sense of relief vanished. “Then where should I be?”
“Let that be your first lesson, Philip. Down here, humor is always dark.”
The Devil’s Apprentice, Is the First in a series of The Great Devil War Books
A fun an intriguing adventure fantasy that is full of dark humor, and fantasy world building.
A mistake and a twist of fate, sets in motion the storyline.
Cleverly written in third POV of Philip Engle, a thirteen-year-old boy who lives with his mother and who lost his father when he was very young.
The book is a page-turner, there are heroes and villain and it’s absolutely hilarious. Rich fantasy world building that is both imaginative and engaging.
Descriptive details, along with snarky humor keep you captivated.
The author combines Christian theology, mystery with coming-of-age twisted plot. It made good use of biblical mythology and tries to give a convincing argument as to why evil is necessary. Anderson, creatively draws you into feeling empathy for Lucifer and the fate of his hellish kingdom.
The writing PG since this is a middle grade book but its concept and dark humor might elevate it to an older audiences.
Most of the book takes pace in fictional Hell and deals with themes like evil, death and free will. A bookish tale about good and evil seen from a different perspective.
Thank you so much for reading book lovers!
I love discussing wonderful books with all of you so please comment below and let me know your thoughts. Do you see yourself reading this book? Do you love the genre?
Have a Wonderful Day
About the Author
I WAS BORN IN DENMARK ON A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT IN NOVEMBER 1976 …
… and I began writing when I was a teenager. My first book was a really awful horror novel titled Nidhug’s Slaves. It didn’t get published. Luckily.
During the next 7 years, I wrote nearly 20 novels–all of which were rejected–while working as a school teacher. The rest of the time I spent writing.
In 2000 I published my debut fantasy book, The Battle of Caïssa, and that’s when things really took off. Since then I’ve published more than thirty-five books for children and young adults in genres ranging from fantasy to horror and science fiction.
My books have been translated into more than 15 languages and my series about the superhero Antboy has been adapted for film, which is available on Netflix. An animated tv series is currently in development.
A musical of The Devil’s Apprentice opened in the fall 2018 and the movie rights for the series have also been optioned.
I live in Copenhagen with my wife, two boys, a dog named Milo and spiders in the basement.
About THE GREAT DEVIL WAR: The Great Devil War was published in Denmark from 2005-2016, beginning with The Devil’s Apprentice.
Even though the story (mostly) takes place in Hell and deals with themes like evil, death and free will, it is also a humoristic tale about good and evil seen from a different perspective. A tale that hopefully will make the reader – young or old, boy or girl – laugh and think.
Today Is My Stop On The When Summer Ends Book Tour
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Tor Teen (April 9, 2019)
Praise for WHEN SUMMER ENDS
“Bringing the small-town Michigan setting evocatively to the forefront, Pennington’s sophomore novel captures the pleasures of new love.” ―Kirkus Reviews
Praise for LOVE SONGS & OTHER LIES
“A captivating read and a great pick for fans of Morgan Matson and Emery Lord!” ―RT Book Reviews
“Filled with lyrics, love, and late nights, Pennington’s debut novel will appeal to romance fans of Sarah Dessen and Susane Colasanti.” ―School Library Journal
“Pennington’s debut is a light road-tripping romance about redemption and the love of music.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Reading Cam & Vee’s past and present romance reminds me of This is Us! This is going on my keeper shelf.” ―Simone Elkeles, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author
Love Songs & Other Lies is a music-infused romance about a pair of perfectly imperfect teenagers who will have readers rooting for their happily ever after.” ―Katy Upperman, author of Kissing Max Holden
“Boys in bands, second chance romance, and pitch-perfect chemistry. Love Songs & Other Lies hits all the right notes!” ―Gina Ciocca, author of Last Year’s Mistake
“Fun and full of heart, with a hero who stole my heart!” ―Katie McGarry, author of Pushing the Limits
Aiden Emerson is an all-star pitcher and the all-around golden boy of Riverton. Or at least he was, before he quit the team the last day of junior year without any explanation. How could he tell people he’s losing his vision at seventeen?
Straight-laced Olivia thought she had life all figured out. But when her dream internship falls apart, her estranged mother comes back into her life, and her long-time boyfriend ghosts her right before summer break, she’s starting to think fate has a weird sense of humor.
Each struggling to find a new direction, Aiden and Olivia decide to live summer by chance. Every fleeting adventure and stolen kiss is as fragile as a coin flip in this heartfelt journey to love and self-discovery from the author of Love Songs & Other Lies.
You can purchaseWhen Summer Ends at the following Retailers:
This book was received as an ARC from the publisher and Author, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own
➽TW: Abandonment, neglect, and underage drinking.
Three months Two changed fates One chance to fall in love
“Why did we have to meet the summer before I move away?”
When Summer Ends by Jessica Pennington is the perfect YA contemporary to Finish off your Summer Reading. The Michigan beach town setting is the perfect backdrop for this sweet coming of age story. The authors ability to create a book that is Ya swoon worthy and strong family and friendships themed book makes this book a perfect read.
Jessica Pennington seems to have ability for for writing stories that feature settings that are perfect for a very sweet light summer romance. Both of the characters work at a popular tourist spot in Michigan, and I really enjoyable to read about their boating and camping adventures. It definitely sets the stage for some sweet romance.
The duel perspectives added an extra element to the story that I really enjoyed
This coming of age story is told from the perspectives of Olivia and her boyfriend, Aiden. Olivia is a perfectly flawed character and it is quite relatable reading about her struggles. She has to make some tough choices as well as come to grips that some things in life are not within our control. I really loved how Olivia’s character developed in the plot as the book progresses.
I really enjoyed this faced paced heartwarming modern family themed storyline. The storyline is creative with unconventional family themes, which makes the book more relatable.
Fans of the YA contemporary genre will love this new novel from Jessica Pennington. When Summer Ends has the perfect setting for a summer romance, full of family, friendship, and love, and with big changes that lead into new beginnings
Definitely one book to read before this summer ends..
Photo Credit: Sheena Pearce
Jessica Pennington is no stranger to the combination of love and drama. She’s a wedding planner, after all. A writer since the age of ten—when she sought publication for her poem about a tree—Jessica likes the challenge of finding the humor in a sad situation or highlighting the awkwardness in a romantic one. She lives in a Michigan beach town suspiciously similar to the one in her novel, with her husband Josh and their son, Rory. Love Songs & Other Lies is her debut novel.
Today I have Partnered With Xpresso Book Tours To Bring You The Cover Reveal Of Kingdom of Thorns & Dreams Boxed Set
Kingdom of Thorns & Dreams Boxed Set
Publication date: October 15th 2019
Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, New Adult
Sleeping Beauty, but not how you remember it…
Sleeping Beauty, but not how you remember it
That’s all. Just one kiss and the curse will be broken.
But is love’s true kiss a myth and will it be strong enough to break the curse that’s held her in its grasp for a century?
The compelling tale of a young princess fated to sleep forever and the prince destined to save her retold in this spellbinding collection by USA Today and Amazon bestselling authors.
One click now for your happily ever after.
“Sendo used to tell me fairy tales. How he’d love mine if he were still alive: the tale of a girl who’d sewn the sun, the moon, and the stars into three dresses.”
Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.
Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise. And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars.
Sendo used to tell me fairy tales. How he’d love mine if he were still alive: the tale of a girl who’d sewn the sun, the moon, and the stars into three dresses.”
His gaze bored into mine, deep and penetrating. Melting my resistance. “I know one thing, Maia Tamarin–being with you makes me happier than I have ever been.”
This book was received as an ARC from NetGalley,in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own
This story follows Maia Tamarin, a girl with aspirations to be a tailor, but because she was born female all she can hope for is to make a good match in marriage. However, when her father, a renowned tailor in his own right is summoned by the royal court, Maia decides to pose as a boy to save her father from becoming even more ill on the journey. Aware that the penalty of death is imposed for her actions, she’s determined to overcome the hardships to become the best tailor. Except she’s one of twelve tailors eyeing the coveted position. Despite her skills, she becomes caught up in the schemes of saboteur tailors and is saved by the royal court magician Edan, who has seen through her disguise; his motives unclear. Her final challenge is the most difficult: crafting three dresses for the king’s bride-to-be using the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of the stars. Her journey will set her on a path that she never imagined,
Maia Tamarin, has aspirations to be a tailor, in world where women are subservient. Born the only girl in a family of three older brothers, with a Father as Tailor. She sacrifices everything to protect her family. In a turn of events she seizes the opportunity for a one in life time chance to become a Court Tailor. Maia decides to pose as a boy and Travel to court In disguise as her brother .while there she must avoid court intrigue and schemes of saboteur tailors .She must face her final challenge crafting three dresses for the king’s bride-to-be using the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of the stars.
Her journey will set her on a path that she never imagined..
The Author has creatively weaved One Thousand and One Nights into a Chinese-themed adventure story, with just enough sweet romance to make it a perfect read! This is one of those books that you just have to read to know what feeling I’m getting at. It sucks you in and keeps you hungry for more until you reach the mind-blowing ending. It’s a unique and unforgettable magical storyline. Masterfully created spellbinding world. I devoured this one as fast as I could and was completely drawn into the lives of these characters. I turned those pages as fast as I could and then slowly took in this beautifully written page turner. What I especially liked is Elizabeth Lim imaginative writing style. I feel in love with the overall premise of the novel, and the quick pace it kept me engaged.
I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading the next installment in this series.
I am having a give awayon my IG Account
Clink On The pic below, to takeyou there
Elizabeth Limgrew up on a hearty staple of fairy tales, myths, and songs. Her passion for storytelling began around age 10, when she started writing fanfics for Sailor Moon, Sweet Valley, and Star Wars, and posted them online to discover, “Wow, people actually read my stuff. And that’s kinda cool!” But after one of her teachers told her she had “too much voice” in her essays, Elizabeth took a break from creative writing to focus on not flunking English.
Over the years, Elizabeth became a film and video game composer, and even went so far as to get a doctorate in music composition. But she always missed writing, and turned to penning stories when she needed a breather from grad school. One day, she decided to write and finish a novel — for kicks, at first, then things became serious — and she hasn’t looked back since.
Elizabeth loves classic film scores, books with a good romance, food (she currently has a soft spot for arepas and Ethiopian food), the color turquoise, overcast skies, English muffins, cycling, and baking. She lives in New York City with her husband.
Grade Level: 7 – 9
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers (January 22, 2019)
Praise for SOMEDAY WE WILL FLY★ “DeWoskin explores a rarely depicted topic. . .A beautifully nuanced exploration of culture and people.” ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review★ “An unusual portrait of what war does to families in general and children in particular . . . affirms the human need for art and beauty in hard times.” ―Booklist, starred review
“A provocative exploration of what resilience means when you’re pushed to the edge.” ―BCCB
“With pathos and a fine eye for historical detail, DeWoskin (Blind) relates the story of Shanghai’s Jewish refugees during WWII, when Shanghai was under Japanese occupation. DeWoskin captures the crushing destruction of war and occupation, the unfathomable resilience communities can muster through cross-cultural friendships and acts of kindness, and the power of the performing arts to foster hope in times of struggle and desperation.” —Publishers Weekly
“A provocative exploration of what resilience means when you’re pushed to the edge.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
DeWoskin vividly captures this fraught time of dislocation and turmoil, and deftly connects the anguish of Jewish refugees and the agony of the Japanese occupation, elevating this beautiful novel into a clarion call for peace. —The National Book Review
“Rachel DeWoskin’s storytelling features an extraordinary combination of curiosity and kindness, on top of a belief that everyone can have an impact on the world they find themselves in. Someday We Will Fly is powerful, adventurous story of a teenager who confronts the brutal history with courage, love, and imagination. I could not put it down.” —Aleksandar Hemon, author of Nowhere Man and The Lazarus Project
“An engrossing and beautifully-rendered plunge into less-known Holocaust history, featuring the plight of Jewish World War II refugees in Japanese-occupied Shanghai.” —Julie Berry, Printz Honor-winning author of The Passion of Dolssa“Though I have written extensively about the Holocaust in novels, a picture book, poems, I had never before heard of the 23,000 Jews who fled to Shanghai for the duration of the war. Starvation, rough treatment by occupying Japanese troops, the teenagers turning to all kinds of difficult work (including gentlemen’s clubs as dancers and prostitution) to make money for their devastated families. Rampant disease, and early deaths were their daily lot. In Someday We Will Fly Rachel DeWoskin has taken the horrors and turned them into a YA novel that is terrifically moving and full of a kind of poetry in motion that is both terrifying and uplifting in equal measure.” —Jane Yolen, author of Mapping the Bones, The Stone Angel, Devil’s Arithmetic, Briar RoseFleeing Poland 1941, Lillia and her circus preforming family become split: her mother is left behind while the family travels to the last city that will take Jewish refugees: Shanghai. This unique view into a forgotten part of history is told with candid, yet lovely prose. While some aspects of the story are embellished, the book holds true to history. A great companion to Salt to the Sea. —Readers Books “Someday We Will Fly is an intense and immersive novel.” —TeenReadsOTHER HONORS ● Junior Library Guild selection ● Kirkus “Historical Fiction Gems” selection (January 2019) ● Bookish January 2019 Book Club PickWarsaw, Poland. The year is 1940 and Lillia is 15 when her mother, Alenka, disappears and her father flees with Lillia and her younger sister, Naomi, to Shanghai, one of the few places that will accept Jews without visas. There they struggle to make a life; they have no money, there is little work, no decent place to live, a culture that doesn’t understand them. And always the worry about Alenka. How will she find them? Is she still alive? Meanwhile Lillia is growing up, trying to care for Naomi, whose development is frighteningly slow, in part from malnourishment. Lillia finds an outlet for her artistic talent by making puppets, remembering the happy days in Warsaw when they were circus performers. She attends school sporadically, makes friends with Wei, a Chinese boy, and finds work as a performer at a “gentlemen’s club” without her father’s knowledge.But meanwhile the conflict grows more intense as the Americans declare war and the Japanese force the Americans in Shanghai into camps. More bombing, more death. Can they survive, caught in the crossfire?You can purchaseSomeday We Will Fly at the following Retailers:Photo Content from Rachel DeWoskin Rachel DeWoskin has spent much of her life in China, including childhood summers with her parents and brothers, excavating ancient Chinese musical and medical instruments for her dad’s research. Rachel lived in Bejing for most of her twenties, where she became the unlikely star of a Chinese soap opera called Foreign Babes in Bejing. She spent the last six summers in Shanghai, where she researched and wrote Someday We Will Fly.
Rachel lives in Chicago with her husband, playwright Zayd Dohrn, and their two daughters. She is on the fiction faculty of the University of Chicago and is an affiliated faculty member in Jewish studies and East Asian Studies. —Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter
3 Winners will receive a Copy of SOMEDAY WE WILL FLY By Rachel DeWoskin.
Power. Courage. Invincibility. The marks of a true hero.
Meg Sawyer has none of these things.
Meg has never stopped a moving bus with her bare hands, been bitten by a radioactive
insect, or done anything moderately resembling saving the world. She doesn’t have to. She’s a background citizen, a nobody, one of the swarms of faceless civilians of Lunar City–where genetically enhanced superhumans straight out of the comics have thwarted
evil for years.
For as long as the Supers have existed, Meg has had one goal: to not become a
casualty in their near-daily battles for justice. And for the last seventeen years, she’s managed to do just that. Sure, her minimum-wage job at the local coffee shop isn’t great, she can’t even leave her apartment without loading herself up with protective
gear, and her car was just hijacked to throw at a supervillain (again), but she’s not dead yet.
But when Meg accidentally finds one of the city’s perfect, invincible protectors
murdered under extremely suspicious circumstances, her whole “innocent bystander” strategy falls apart. After being coerced by his determined girlfriend into a mission to help prevent the deaths of the remaining Supers, Meg finds herself forced into the foreground
of a story she never wanted to be part of—one that challenges everything she thought she knew about both her city and herself.
Collateral Damage Chapter 1
Arnold is dead.
It’s not my fault. Let’s get that clear. These kinds of things usually aren’t, but that doesn’t change the unavoidable fact that he’s super, super dead.
I wish I could say Arnold’s dead-ness is unexpected, but the truth is, I’m impressed he even survived this long.
My last car only made it six months.
To be fair, he’s not technically dead yet, but he’s definitely going to be in a few minutes. Maybe it’s fatalistic to write this off as an inevitability, but I’ve lived in Lunar City long enough to know when it’s someone’s—or something’s, in this case—final day.
In this case, it’s the police scanner duct-taped to my dashboard that sets off the feeling of impending doom—but even before it starts blaring, I can already tell something’s wrong. The desperate hope that maybe the hordes of people running hysterically down the street toward my car are participating in some kind of 5K only lasts a few moments before, with a pavement-rattling eruption, the tidal wave of dark smoke starts rolling in behind them. This, as you’d imagine, shuts my original theory down pretty quickly.
As if the stampeding herd isn’t enough of an indicator, the police scanner suddenly lets out a static-laced crackle that quickly gives way to a garbled, warped version of the authoritative shouting I’ve come to expect from it. I prod the finicky device until the muffled noise turns into something that sounds like “two casualties,” “East Seventh Avenue,” and “SuperVariants have engaged,” and that’s enough for me.
“Absolutely not,” I mutter, yanking the steering wheel to the left and dodging across the traffic down a side road. “Not today.”
This turns out to be one of my worse ideas, because the side road is already occupied by one of the Supers.
SuperVariant Three, if we’re being specific.
I would accuse the Lunar City Police Department of misinformation (East Seventh, right? Did the scanner not just say he was on East Seventh?), but I’m not really supposed to have a scanner, so there’s no one to complain to.
My tires screech as I hit the brakes, just feet away from the standstill traffic blocking the road, the owners having abandoned their cars in favor of running. And there, about six cars ahead of me, boots firmly planted on the hood like it’s some kind of pedestal, is SuperVariant Three. The morning sun glistens off the gray leather supersuit he’s wearing like it’s a second skin, his famously perfect blue-black hair positioned in its trademark coil over his forehead.
“Everybody out of the streets!” he’s ordering, a gloved hand cupped around his chiseled jaw. “Get to someplace safe! You need to—”
A piercing scream grabs both of our attention. It’s impossible to tell who it came from, but it’s clearly someone out of the cluster on the sidewalk—one of the dozen or so heads gaping upward in terror at a massive billboard groaning on its hinges, a light breeze away from crashing down to the street below.
“Oh, no,” I whisper, and then Three and I both move at the same time.
I’m not worried about the people underneath the billboard. I’m worried about me. Because I’ve seen Three in action before, and I know his MO.
In the few seconds that it takes me to lunge for my backpack—an unwieldy black monstrosity jangling with a color-coded assortment of safety gear all firmly labeled please return to Meg Sawyer—and smash a thumb into the release on my seatbelt, the billboard has wrenched free with a fantastic howl. I can see Three flying toward it in a gray blur.
Get out of the way, get out of the way, get out of the way—
I tumble out of the car and lunge for the sidewalk just as Three reaches the falling metal. There’s a weird moment of optimism where I wonder if maybe today, he’ll be different; maybe today, he’ll just catch it and gently put it down on the ground like a normal, rational human. No show of power, no flashy stunts.
But then he raises his fist and decks the absolute hell out of it.
I have just enough time to snatch the closest thing I can grab off my backpack—which turns out to be a safety helmet, thank god, and not something completely useless for the situation, like a Band-Aid or hand sanitizer—and jam it on my head before the billboard’s trajectory is walloped away from the paralyzed citizens and toward the small army of abandoned cars lining the road.
I’ll give Three this: the guy’s got a future career in bowling if he ever wants it.
There’s something weirdly satisfying about watching the ripple of cars get smashed to pieces. It’s like when you line up a chain of dominos and push one over. The not-satisfying thing is the knowledge that the billboard on its own would never have been able to cause this much damage, but I guess you can turn anything into a missile if you super-punch it hard enough.
The rippling of the first few cars is the only thing I see, however, because that’s when I dive behind the closest tree, cover my organs with my backpack, and clamp my eyes and mouth shut against the impending cloud of dust and debris. The last thing I need today is to get impaled by flying shrapnel.
The next few moments are underscored by a soundtrack I know very well—the sound of metal screeching as it wrenches apart, glass shattering, steel pounding into the sidewalk. When the noise gets replaced by silence, followed by the clamor of breathless, relieved sobs of gratitude that can only mean the people on the other side of the street have suddenly realized they’re not dead, I know it’s safe enough to open my eyes and peer around the corner.
As expected, SuperVariant Three is not looking in horror at the destruction he’s just caused to eight different vehicles (including my poor, useless Arnold, which is now a blackened, charred mess with a sliced-off roof and an eruption of smoke pouring out of the engine). No, he’s floating above the awestruck crowd, beaming down at them. I can’t make out any of what they’re all saying to him—probably something along the lines of “I love you” or “sign my face” or “let me name my children after you”—but his proud, confident voice carries.
“Not a problem,” he’s saying. “Just doing my duty.”
My mouth falls open. Not a problem? I have a problem. I have several problems. I’m about to step off the sidewalk to march over and tell him so, but then there’s a near-intangible blur of orange light accompanied by a gust of wind that rips past me so quickly, my helmet clatters to the ground and my choppy red hair blows over my eyes. “Watch it!” I yell, shaking my bangs back into place.
“Hey, Three!” The blur zig-zags through the maze of destroyed cars and slams to a stop near Three and his fawning fans, coming into focus as a tall figure with a sleek wave of black hair, coated in a dull orange neoprene bodysuit. SuperVariant Four. Take a guess what his thing is.
“Quit flirting; One needs backup.” Four stands still long enough to get the words out before he readjusts his opaque goggles and runs up the side of a building, disappearing in another orange flash over the top.
“I do not!” an unseen voice screams in outrage, and then, oh, what a surprise, another Super. A deep purple blotch in the distance that I recognize immediately as SuperVariant One, asymmetrical cape trailing behind her, rockets out from over the building Four has just disappeared behind. I vaguely wonder where SuperVariant Two is in all this. If I had invisibility powers, I probably wouldn’t show up to these shenanigans at all. No one would even know
SuperVariant One executes a sharp swivel in midair that makes her thick, dark braid snap like a whip, and yells, “I can handle this!” She makes a claw shape with her hands, reaches toward the ground, and scoops upward. In response, a car parked at the end of the street rises languidly into the air. She uncurls her right hand into a flat palm and presses it forward, sending the car catapulting over her head and toward some unseen enemy
“Oh, no,” I moan, and instinctively try to shield Arnold behind my body, even though he’s pretty much a lost cause as a vehicle at this point. “It never works!” I yell up at her. “Throw something else!”
She doesn’t even look my way. Before I can say anything else, her left hand is thrown out in that claw shape again, and Arnold is hurtling through the air to join the other car. The thing that’s been antagonizing the Supers has come into view from behind the building, and I can see the polished gleam of an eight-story-tall robot, with some human operating it from inside its transparent head. A robot. Not for the first time, I feel myself filled with irritation rather than terror at the threat of the day. I mean, come on, guys. How did someone build a giant robot in this city without anyone noticing? If someone’s getting eight hundred tons of metal delivered to their house, that needs to be a red flag.
The robot doesn’t even turn its head as its right arm swings up and blocks my car with the earsplitting clang of metal on metal, sending it careening back toward the pavement in a shower of sparks.
I shield my head with my arm as my car crashes and rolls, coming to a smoking stop a few yards away from me, then look back up dejectedly. The Supers are already gone, leading the robot farther down the street.
“You’re fine, right Arnold?” I yell at my car.
It erupts into flames.
Okay. I’ll just walk to work.
I reach around for the metal rod clipped magnetically to the side of my backpack and press a button. It instantly lengthens and expands into a titanium umbrella, riddled with minor dents and scratches. A bowling ball-size crater dips into the left side, giving the whole umbrella an uneven, sagging look. A burn mark from who knows what (I want to say maybe lasers) is just below that. It’s been through a lot, but it still works, I think. I mean, I’m not dead yet.
I raise it above my head and start walking.
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1. Q: Tell us about your writing process and the way you brainstorm story ideas.
A: I don’t know if two books is enough to supply a scientifically justifiable pattern, but pretending it is, here’s the process:
1) A book premise and ending drop themselves into my head fully formed. I know who my characters are and where they’re going and I have no idea how they’re going to get there.
2) I pants. I write without an outline. It is bad. “The first draft is telling the story to yourself!” I scream at myself as I write many, many bad words that I know I will delete later.
3) Somewhere around the 40,000-word mark, I realize that I have made a crucial error in developing one of my lead characters. That personality isn’t right at all. I have to fix it. Wait, I need to change the opening scene to match the characterization I actually want them to have. Wait, none of these characters are right. This worldbuilding is so half-baked. This would make a much better inciting incident. What am I doing?
4) I move all 40,000 words to a file labeled “WIP Dumping Grounds” and start over from scratch.
5) I do this three more times until I have 40,000 words I don’t hate and then I finish the book, still screaming
2. Q: When you develop characters do you already know who they are before you begin writing or do you let them develop as you go?
A: I have to know who my characters are before I start writing, or the story will never get written—I’m the world’s worst pantser, so all I ever know going into a book is who my book is about and where they’re trying to get to. For COLLATERAL DAMAGE I had a set of references for each character to use as a template for if I got stuck (Meg was Mia Thermopolis x Veronica Sawyer x Darcy Lewis x Haruhi Fujioka, for example, mixed with a few friends I know in real life). I feel like if I can understand my characters on as many levels as possible—what they want, what they fear, what they’re trying to accomplish, who or what raised them, how they connect to others, how they talk and move—they’ll become as familiar to me as real people. And if I let them act like real people, they’ll naturally make choices that create the plot
3. Q: Where is your favorite place to write?
A: DISNEY WORLD RESORTS. I’m so lucky that I live so close to them. I work from home as an editor most of the time and if I had to stay in my bedroom all day I’d go crazy, so my favorite thing to do is go work at one of the themed hotels. It makes me feel like I’m on vacation, and it’s so easy to be inspired when every aspect of the Disney brand relies so heavily on thematic storytelling. My top three spots are Beach Club, which makes me feel like I’m on a cruise ship, Wilderness Lodge, which makes me feel like I’m on a writing retreat in the woods, and the Grand Floridian, which is just fancy.
4. Q: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find
A: Yes! COLLATERAL DAMAGE is a play on the superhero genre, which I’m a huge fan of, so there are Easter eggs and references all over the place. No real names or exact details are used, of course, but they’re clear enough for a potential fellow nerd to be like “Wait, this feels like Spider-Man. That’s a Flash joke. That thing covered in gemstones they just walked past in the vault is totally the Infinity Gauntlet.” Stuff like that.
5. Q: Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
A: I prefer each book to stand on its own! One of my favorite concepts is “leave the reader wanting more, not needing more.” I’m an advocate for letting books work on their own as a self-contained unit; I don’t like it when a story ends with all of its ends still loose. I shouldn’t have to buy another book to know how the first book’s conflict wraps up! I think of it as a TV series—you know how each season typically has a central theme, antagonist, character arc, collection of new characters, etc.? By the end of the season, almost everything that has been presented should have reached a conclusion—but then the last episode will hit you with a tease that there’s more to come, like the camera shift to the looming Upside-Down after the school dance scene at the end of Stranger Things. I prefer books in a series to work in the same way—when a reader picks up a book, they’re being invited on a journey, and it’s unfair to the reader to cut that journey short. Without giving anything away from the end of COLLATERAL DAMAGE, there is definitely room for a sequel eventually because it’s superheroes, but I don’t think anyone would feel confused or infuriated if this was the only book in this world that ever got written. I like to put bows on things!