Daughter of Etheron
by Brandon Young
Genre: YA Space Fantasy
Release Date: April 18th 2017
Summary from Goodreads:
Born the children of the ruling family.
Betrayed by the ones that swore to protect them.
IN A SHATTERED GALAXY . . .
Siblings, Elenah and Teveran are thrust into a secret war of space magicians that will decide the fate of the galaxy.
But a darkness swells in the galactic depths, magicians wielding magic not seen for millennia, and as the struggle for power grows more desperate, the children might find themselves fighting on opposite sides of the conflict.
In a galaxy forged in the debris of a magical explosion…
We enter a war of military might and magic where secret armies collide and an ancient foe threatens to topple the stability of the galaxy. Enter the Saga of the Magicus Eye, a brand new space fantasy epic told in two narrative threads spanning thousands of years:
The Main Sequence is the primary story thread, a series of novels broken up into multiple story arcs beginning with Daughter of Etheron—the first in a trilogy. As the main sequence progresses, we will see reoccurring characters, locations and themes, as well as how they and the galaxy they live in change over generations of warfare and revolution.
Daughter of Etheron is the perfect place to start as it minimizes the learning curve exponentially. In writing it, I knew the story needed to fulfil a number of functions. It had to:
Introduce readers to a brand new galaxy
Establish the state of the galaxy
Have a satisfying ending
Set the stage for something exciting to come
So I came up with the simple story thread of a girl who leaves her homeworld for the first time, so as to put her in the reader’s shoes, with the simple quest of finding her brother—which can be easily accomplished in a 100,000-word novel. Meanwhile, a secondary thread follows her brother as he learns about the more mystical aspects of the galaxy under the tutelage of a powerful magician—which in turn introduces us to another important element of the saga: magic.
The use of multiple viewpoints was a conscious choice made in the early stages of idea development. I specifically chose to include a diverse set of characters (human, non-human, old and young) in order to reveal many different aspects of the galaxy and ensure this novel worked as a strong launching point for the rest of the saga.
However, it is not a necessary starting point…
The Expanded Universe serves as a companion to the main sequence, a series of standalone novellas and short stories designed to expand on characters and events mentioned and starring in the main sequence. The EU is not required reading in order to understand the main sequence, although new readers could potentially start here so as to try a smaller story before delving into the meat of the saga. The first novella was released simultaneously to Daughter of Etheron, and is entitled Rebel and the Aeonseer: a story about the birth of the rebellion and the supernatural creatures that set things into motion. Rebel will be included free with every purchase of Daughter of Etheron, but can also be purchased on its own for the low price of $1.99AUD (or about $1.50USD). I’m also excited about the first short story, A Perfect Doom, releasing later this year for free.
I had a lot of fun writing the first two instalments in the Saga of the Magicus Eye, and I hope you’ll come along for the ride and find something you like within its pages!
About the Author
Brandon Young is the debut author of the Saga of the Magicus Eye. He’s also a musician, gamer, and avid Star Wars fan living in Melbourne, Australia.
Receive a free digital copy of Daughter of Etheron and the first novella in the Magicus expanded universe, Rebel and the Aeonseer! Simply fill-in the signup form to receive monthly updates on the Saga of the Magicus Eye, and automatically go into the draw to be one of ten winners! This giveaway expires at midnight on May 12, 2017 (AEST), with winners being notified that weekend.
Don’t Kiss the Messenger (Edge Lake High School, #1)
by Katie Ray
Publication Date: April 10, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Teen Crush
For most of her teenage life, CeCe Edmonds has been dealing with the stares and the not-so-polite whispers that follow her around Edgelake High. So she has a large scar on her face—Harry Potter had one on his forehead and people still liked him.
CeCe never cared about her looks—until Emmett Brady, transfer student and football darling, becomes her literature critique partner. The only problem? Emmett is blindsided by Bryn DeNeuville, CeCe’s gorgeous and suddenly shy volleyball teammate.
Bryn asks CeCe to help her compose messages that’ll charm Emmett. CeCe isn’t sure there’s anything in his head worth charming but agrees anyway—she’s a sucker for a good romance. Unfortunately, the more messages she sends and the more they run into each other, the more she realizes there’s plenty in his head, from food to literature. Too bad Emmett seems to be falling for the wrong girl…
Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book involves one fiercely scarred girl who wants the new guy in town, the new guy who thinks he wants the new girl, and the new girl who really isn’t sure what she wants, and the misunderstanding that brings them all together. You’ll laugh, you’ll swoon, you’ll fall in love.
Bryn let herself in through the front door. I had been drowning my sorrows in hot chocolate and An Officer and a Gentlemen. I looked up as Bryn unzipped her coat.
“How did it go?” I asked.
“You broke up?” I tried not to sound hopeful.
“Worse.” She sighed and sat down next to me on the couch. “Emmett told me he loved me. Sober. To my face. Most guys at least text that kind of stuff.”
Her words hit my heart like arrows. I slumped deeper into the couch, aching from the blow. I had been disillusioned enough to think that one day he would confess those words to me.
Tuba walked in the room and one look at me was enough to catch her up on the conversation.
“He said these weeks were torture to be away from me,” Bryn complained. “He said he had to taste the words that come out of my mouth. He actually said that! What the hell, CeCe?”
Tuba looked over at me. “Looks like we have a budding Danielle Steele on our hands,” she said. Bryn just stared between us, completely missing the reference.
“It gets worse,” Bryn said. “He told me he first fell for me because I was beautiful, but then he said none of that even mattered anymore. That my thoughts are more beautiful than anything and that’s what he loves most about me.”
I looked up at Bryn.
“He said that?” I asked.
She nodded. “That really pissed me off,” Bryn continued. “So I asked him what he would think if I was ugly and he told me he wouldn’t care.” She huffed and stuck her hands on her hips. “That is the biggest line of B.S. I have ever heard. Guys totally care about looks.”
Tuba nodded, slowly. “Yeah, but they care about other things, too.”
“Looks are most important,” Bryn shot back.
“But they’re not the only thing that’s important,” Tuba argued.
I was barely listening. Was it true? Did he really mean it? He loved her more for her mind than her looks? It didn’t take a rocket scientist to fill out the answer to the equation, then, on who he was in love with.
“So, he likes you for your mind, and it’s a problem?” Tuba asked.
“I’m proud of the way I look. I like being noticed. The way he wants me, it’s too much pressure.”
I sighed and ran my hands over my face. Bryn looked over at me.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “I’m so sorry, Bryn. It started off so harmless, just some texts. Then it became something more. I couldn’t stop. It felt so good to be desired for once, it was like a drug.”
I held up my hands in defeat. Finally, I came clean.
Bryn’s mouth fell open with realization. “Oh my God, CeCe. I can’t believe I didn’t see it. This whole time, you’ve been falling for Emmett.”
“You’re in love with him,” Bryn stated. She fell down next to me on the couch.
“That’s not—no, I’m not,” I stammered.
Bryn slapped her hand over her mouth as another idea took hold. “Oh my God. Emmett is in love with you!”
I shook my head, denying the words and throwing them back.
“No, he loves you. He wants you. He could never think about me like that. It was your face that he fell for, not mine.”
“Oh my gosh, CeCe. This is such a mess.”
“He’s still your boyfriend, Bryn,” I said. I swallowed because I knew my next words were a lie. “We can fix this.”
Katie Ray (also known by her previous author name, Katie Kacvinsky) writes teen and new adult fiction novels. Her books have been nominated for YALSA awards, and First Comes Love was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. Her screenplay, A High Note, was a semifinalist in the Austin Screenplay Competition in 2015. She currently lives in Ashland, Wisconsin with her husband, two children, and a slightly insane dog.
by Heather McKenzie
(The Nightmusic Trilogy #1)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: April 17th 2017
Genres: Mystery, Romance, Suspense, Young Adult
Kidnapped and held hostage in the Rockies, a teenage heiress falls for her abductor while her corrupt father and devoted bodyguard fight to get her back. The discovery of true love and dark family secrets turns deadly in this epic coming of age adventure.
Kaya Lowen dreams of living like a normal eighteen-year old, but being heiress to a billion-dollar company has put her life in constant danger. Fiercely guarded by her powerful and corrupt father, she develops close bonds with those who protect her, especially Oliver – a bodyguard who has proven his devotion to her time and again. He wins her heart – until a chance encounter with a mysterious stranger has her questioning everything she believes in. Haunted by true love and reeling from a guilty conscience, Kaya’s world unravels when she’s kidnapped.
Held captive in a rugged wilderness fraught with raging storms, mystical caves and deadly predators, Kaya’s father scours the forest and her bodyguard fights to get her back. But, the discovery of a dark family secret makes Kaya wonder if staying in the arms of her blue-eyed abductor—a captivating stranger with dark secrets of his own – is a safer place to be. At least, that’s what her heart is telling her, her head is saying run…
An epic adventure centered on a smoldering love-triangle, Serenade sings a timeless tale of courage, self-discovery, and life-or-death love that will leave you breathless.
With every shifting of the breeze, my heart sped up. Every shadow made me jump. The small campfire crackled and smoked, playing with my vision.
“It’s him, isn’t it?” Luke said quietly. “Your fiancé… you think he’s out there somewhere?”
“Yes. My father would have sent him.”
“Because he will stop at nothing to get me back.”
“But the sky has been quiet for a while,” Luke said softly.
I looked up. There hadn’t been the sound of helicopters this morning, even though the sky was clear now and vibrant blue above the treetops.
“Do you really love this guy?” Luke asked softly, and I heard him hold his breath.
I forced my head to nod. “Yes.”
“Then you have my word that I won’t hurt him,” he said.
I adjusted the blanket and stayed by his side while he fell asleep. On the edge of my nerves, I kept a watchful eye on the bushes and the gun ready in my hands.
Interview with Heather McKenzie, by Dwight Bueckert
What genre/category is SERENADE?
YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Romance Thriller and Suspense
April 17, 2017
Please describe what the story is about in one sentence.
When the teenage daughter of a corrupt billionaire falls in love with her kidnapper, she fights to stay alive in the Rocky Mountains while her devoted bodyguard vows to stop at nothing to get her back.
Briefly, what led up to this book?
SERENADE is my first novel. Leading up to it was a career in music.
What was the time frame for writing this book? Tell me an interesting detail or two.
Writing SERENADE took about four years. I had a good idea of what I wanted to write, but I had no idea how to write it. I researched writing tips and advice from other authors, and wrote and re-wrote the manuscript at least twenty times– the first draft was 210,000 words! I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I was absolutely determined to get this story out as best as I could, so I kept at it, and in the end I just had to go with what felt right to me. I think that worked.
What was your biggest learning experience and/or surprise throughout the publishing process?
The most incredible experience was working with the editors. I got a massive dose of education during the process and they were kind enough to explain their reasons for the edits. I was in class every time I sat down at the computer and was in awe over the wealth of information they shared with me. My biggest surprise was the dedication from my publisher to assist me with anything I needed. I had been used to trudging it out alone in the music business for years, and their desire to help make SERENADE a success, and answering all my crazy questions and offering such great advice, was amazing. I couldn’t believe that I wasn’t doing this all on my own.
What inspired you to write SERENADE?
I was in my local bookstore one afternoon with my daughter and watched as she searched the Teen/Young Adult section in frustration. She didn’t want vampires, or witches, or dystopian worlds, she wanted a modern day adventure with characters that felt real. So, being the doting mother that I am, I started writing her a book. One month into the process, I was quitting my day job and focusing entirely on learning how to write. I fell head over heels in love with this avenue of storytelling. Being a musician gave me many life experiences to pull from, and my love of Stephanie Meyer’s work fueled the passion to forge ahead and get the story on paper. A love triangle, the romantic setting of the rocky mountains, the art of survival and a character whose strength builds with each page… it all began to come to life every time I sat down to write. I realized when I completed the first manuscript, that what I was essentially trying to get across to my daughter –through the magic of reading– was the understanding of true love; what it feels like and how you know when you’ve found it. And, I am happy to say, that my knowledge of that is born of my own, real, experience.
How did you come up with the title?
I wanted to keep the books in the trilogy with music related names, as it is called The Nightmusic Trilogy. A serenade is a piece of music played at night. It is romantic and supposed to woo a prospective lover… in the book the main character rests her head against the chest of the man she is falling for and his heart beat is music to her ears. It is her own, perfectly written, SERENADE
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I have tried to touch lightly on the effects of chemicals on our bodies and bring to light the correlation between what we do to the earth, and how it ends up affecting us. I also want show readers what is true love, real and healthy and how you know when you’ve found it – which is based off my own experience.
How much of the book is realistic?
I tried to make the book feel like it could actually happen. The characters are completely fictional, but the setting is not. Caves and underground hot springs and the castle in the mountains? All real. The Death Race that takes place every August in Grande Cache? Real.
What book are you reading now?
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. It’s fantastic!!
What are your current projects?
I have just finished book one of a new series of adult fiction that I am very excited about. It is about to enter the editing process. I am also close to finishing NOCTURNE, the second book in the Nightmusic Trilogy. Next up, book three!
Where are you from?
Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA! I was born in the city, then moved to an acreage just outside it and lived an absolute fairy tale childhood in my own ‘castle’ until I left to join a rock band and play professionally. Eventually I moved back, got married there, and got to watch my children have the same amount of happiness as I did in my childhood home.
Where do you write from?
I tiny little bedroom I claimed as an office when my kids moved out, with books galore, guitars, a piano, countless empty coffee cups, and three dogs sleeping at my feet.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Sitting for countless hours every day. I gained about fifty pounds and think I broke my butt at one point. But it was worth it.
Did you learn anything from writing your book, and what was it?
Apparently I am obsessed with smells…?!?!
Do you have any advice for other writers?
If you love it, it’s good. Take opinions with a grain of salt–trust your gutt.
What do you do when you aren’t writing?
I am still actively involved in music, writing and being loud and aggressive with my band on weekends and recording whenever I can. It is my first love, and I can’t let go! I also teach classical piano and voice to youngsters one day a week, which is an incredibly rewarding experience. When I need peace and quiet– which is often– I paint.
Heather McKenzie is a Canadian author and Serenade is her first novel. A professional singer/songwriter with five albums to date, she has been telling stories through music for years and pulls from her extraordinary experiences as a musician to fuel her passion for creating Young Adult fiction. A rocker at heart, a mom of three, an aspiring painter, and a lover of animals, she is kept grounded by her husband at their home in Edmonton.
Rise of the Branded
by Scott Keen
(Scar of the Downers, #2)
Publication date: November 22nd 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pursued into the wild by the soldiers of Ungstah, former slave Crik and the other freed Downers encounter the magical and terrifying nature of their world. They face spectral Shepherds, man-eating Rukmush, and the ancient giants of the earth. When two of their group are captured, Crik is distraught and powerless.
Meanwhile back in the city, Durgan, former Captain of the King’s Guard who allowed Crik and his friends to escape from Ungstah, is now a Downer, one of the Branded. Amid the murmurings of an uprising among the Branded, Durgan just wants to be left alone to search for his missing son. But in the process, he discovers how dark the powers of Sulfus the king truly are. Durgan must take a stand in the coming war between the Branded and the powerful armies of Sulfus.
To kill any hope of escape for the city’s Branded, the army comes after Crik and his friends to make an example of them. The answers for Durgan, Crik and freedom for all Downers lie hidden in the dark recesses of the Northern Reaches, in the treacherous places Crik and his companions are about to enter.
Durgan stopped and whirled around, and found another Downer, not as pale or thin, standing in the entranceway to the street. Clenched in his hand was an iron rod with a tip sharp enough to pierce flesh. Durgan eyed it and, without a weapon of his own, felt vulnerable. He knew he would have to get through one or both of the men to make it out of the alley alive with the bread still in his possession. Even if he gave the loaf to them, however, there was no guarantee they would let him walk out of there. Not waiting for another Downer to arrive, Durgan spun on his heels and barreled toward the pale Downer. He ran him over and knocked him into the wall with a thud! The Downer, dazed, slid to the ground, and Durgan burst out of the alley into the broad daylight.
The other bigger Downer chased after him, swinging the iron stake in his hand. “Get him!” he cried. “Don’t let him go!”
Several more Downers, who must’ve been hiding in the alleys, appeared and began chasing Durgan. He wound his way through the people now crowding the street, skirting around those who just stood and watched. After a few minutes of running, Durgan realized there was no way he would be able to lose them. There were too many. I’m going to have to face them, he thought, and I’m going to have to do it alone. He needed a weapon though, something that would give him a chance.
Up the street, Durgan noticed a small opening between the buildings. Once he reached it, he slid his body in the gap and began shimmying through the crevice. The space was so tightly enclosed, his nose grazed the bricks as he inched along. He moved as quickly as he could, and just as he was about to come out of the other side, he heard the voice of the pale Downer.
“Now we’ve got you,” he snarled. “You’re running out of places to go.”
Durgan forced his right foot out of the gap, but as he brought the left one up, it became wedged. He crashed into a puddle. His hands, face, and hair were drenched. He pushed himself up and pulled on his foot with such force he could feel the skin scrape off as he wrenched it free. It sent him back into the puddle with a piece of the brick. A loud cackle ricocheted through the alley.
“You’re not moving fast enough,” taunted the sickly Downer.
Standing up to run, Durgan felt pain surge through his leg. The Downer was right. He wasn’t moving quickly enough. He was out of time. This was where he had to make the stand. Bending down, he fished through the puddle and pulled out the piece of brick. He had his weapon.
“If you think you’re ready,” said Durgan, water running down his sleeve. “Come on through.”
The pale, sickly Downer, who had a lone trail of blood dripping down his head, paused. A look of hesitation flashed across his face.
“I’m waiting right here for you,” continued Durgan. “As soon as that ugly head of yours pops out of that alley, it’s going to taste brick. What’s the matter? You don’t seem so brave anymore.”
“I’m just waiting as well,” said the sickly Downer, now smirking.
“For us,” said a voice from the other end of the alley.
Durgan twirled around and saw the group of Downers, the one with the iron spear standing in the front, brandishing it.
“So this is how it’s going to be?” said Durgan. “One against a dozen.”
“This is how it is in the Waste,” said the sickly Downer. “In my kingdom.”
Durgan ripped off a thin piece of his shirt and wrapped it tightly around his hand, securing the brick in his palm.
“Whoever wants to be first let them come,” offered Durgan.
The Downer carrying the sharpened iron rod cautiously approached. In a sudden move, he jabbed the iron rod straight at Durgan, who grabbed the tip and pulled, bringing the brick hard into the Downer’s face with his other hand. The Downer collapsed into the puddle and didn’t move. Durgan didn’t dare lower his eyes to pick up the spear.
“Who’s next?” he asked, trying to appear calm. If only they knew how badly his heart crashed against his chest.
“Everyone,” said the sickly Downer. The smile was gone from his face.
The rest of the Downers rushed toward Durgan, who began swinging the brick. He heard the jaw crack in one Downer and the nose on another break before he was struck and brought down hard against the street. He saw nothing but stone and felt nothing but pain as hands and feet punched and kicked at him. His vision darkened. He could tell he was about to pass out.
“You see?” said the sickly Downer, whose voice sounded tinny and distant. “I am King of the Waste.”
Durgan screamed in pain as the iron rod pierced his body and struck the stone street beneath him.
Scott grew up in Black River, NY, the youngest of three children. While in law school, he realized he didn’t want to be a lawyer. So he did the practical thing – he became a writer. Now, many years later with an MFA in script and screenwriting, he is married with four daughters, two of whom he home schools.
According to Jewish tradition, a quorum of ten adults is required for public worship. Almost a Minyan traces the story of a young girl whose father and grandfather are regular participants in the town’s minyan – until her beloved Zayde passes on.
Without him, it is even harder for her father to find enough people to make a minyan. Then one day, he brings Zayde’s tefillin to his eldest daughter. A striking new addition to the diverse books movement, Almost a Minyan shares important Hebrew terms and religious concepts through a compelling and beautifully illustrated story for children.
“A warmhearted introduction to coming-of-age in a worship community.”
“A story of inclusion, belonging and equality. I loved the modern, egalitarian, and traditional values shared in this meaningful story. This is a wonderful modern story for our children and grandchildren!”
Cantor Deborah Katchko-Gray
Congregation Shir Shalom, CT
Founder of the Women Cantors’ Network
“A delightful read for girls and boys alike, this poetic family tale brings a wonderful sentimentality to daily Jewish prayers. Moreover, the beauty of the illustrations contributes additional warmth to this snapshot of Jewish life. A nice addition for all libraries and all ages.”
Rabbi Jimmy Kessler, DHL, DD
Congregation B’nai Israel, Galveston
The moment I started this book I was blown away by the art. Susan Simon has an incredible ability to bring warmth to every scene and bring a smile to my face. A beautiful symmetry and presence to every scene made this heartfelt tale a memorable one. As an amateur artist, I was really impressed by the different perspectives and subtle detail the artist included to capture the readers attention. The designs for each character and their expressions were unique and really showed their personalities. The greatest part is there is a signed giveaway for this book! I would highly recommend you enter and share this wonderful book.
The story itself is very heartfelt. In just a short amount of pages, you see the relationships of fathers, sons, daughters and people of faith. Before or after reading, there is also a helpful Glossary of words at the end for people not familiar with Jewish terms. I would actually recommend a phonetic spelling as well since this book is done in rhyme. However, it is easy to quickly get the hang of the phrases and really capture the story.
Almost a Minyan is the story of a young girl and her point of view. She looks up to her dad and his dedication, thinking of the day when she can become one of the ten adults that gather for prayer and rituals only performed in a minyan. With an unexpected loss, she struggles seeing her father become distant. That is until the day he comes to her early in the morning with a surprise. It’s through their faith, that she finds a part herself in the community and sharing a unique experience with her father. Don’t miss your opportunity to experience this book that has so much to offer.
Lori Sales Kline heralds from Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh, PA, which hosts a wonderfully rich Jewish community that fueled her love for Jewish tradition, ritual and practice at home and at, “the shul.”Following her undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Texas in Austin, Lori chose to make Austin her home, largely due to the spiritual connection she felt in the close-knit Austin Jewish community.In her spare time, Lori enjoys camping, celebrating Judaism with her husband and son, and friends. She previously authored the children’s picture book,Josiah’s Dreams.
Susan Simon’s illustrations feature expressive children, humor, sweetness, and imaginative whimsy. She has illustrated seventeen children’s books. Susan lives in the Sonoran Desert of southern Arizona, with the saguaro cactuses, the coyotes, the Catalina mountains, and her husband, D.B., a music theory professor at the University of Arizona.
As a very young child, Susan both learned from and fell in love with the goodness and beauty readable in some children’s book illustrations. Without having words for it, she understood very young the power of a picture to inform deeply. When she’s not trying to give her all to share with children that kind of quality in her own work, she enjoys walking her two beloved rescued mutts – Oatcake and Peach – riding her giant green bicycle, and playing her growly old accordion.
She is a member of the Graphic Artists Guild, and is currently active in the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrator, serving as Co-Illustration Representative for Arizona.
Ivory Queen (Order of the Bell #1.5) By Jacob Devlin Publication Date: January 10, 2017 Publisher: Blaze Publishing
Twenty-five years ago, the venomous Queen Avoria was banished from the enchanted realms of Florindale and sentenced to spend eternity inside a cursed mirror.
After a seemingly endless tumble through the mirror’s abyss, Avoria awakens in a gloomy metropolis in the darkest corner of Wonderland. There she meets the shrewd King of Hearts, Cornelius Redding, and the two strike a turbulent alliance. As Avoria helps Cornelius execute his conquest of Wonderland, she plots her own vengeance against the world that cast her out. In the city’s cold shadows, Avoria finds pawns in the souls that defied her, truth in the reflection that calls to her, and power in the past that forged her. And thus, the Ivory Queen begins carving a path to the ultimate throne.
What Readers Are Saying
“a well-written glimpse into the magic mirror.” – Janelle
” Avoria is a really fascinating villain” – Samantha
About the Author
When Jacob Devlin was four years old, he would lounge around in Batman pajamas and make semi-autobiographical picture books about an adventurous python named Jake the Snake.
Eventually, he traded his favorite blue crayon for a black pen, and he never put it down. When not reading or writing, Jacob loves practicing his Italian, watching stand-up comedy, going deaf at rock concerts, and geeking out at comic book conventions. He does most of these things in southern Arizona.
The Carver by Jacob Devlin Publication Date: July 19, 2016 Publisher: Blaze Publishing
Crescenzo never would’ve thought his father’s figurines were modeled after real people, but when his loved ones start vanishing from his life, he must unite their real life counterparts and seek their aid to save his family.
Shadow Fall (Shadow Fall #1) by Audrey Grey Publication Date: November 22, 2016 Publisher: Blaze Publishing
The asteroid hurtling toward the earth will kill billions.
The Emperor and his Gold Court will be safe in their space station, watching from the stars. The Silvers will be protected underground. But the Bronzes must fight it out at the Shadow Trials for the few remaining spots left on the space station.
When an enigmatic benefactor hands Maia Graystone a spot in the Trials, she won’t just get a chance at salvation for her and her baby brother, Max: She gets to confront the mother who abandoned her in prison, the mad Emperor who murdered her father, and the Gold prince who once loved her. But it’s the dark bastard prince she’s partnered with that will make her question everything, including her own heart. With the asteroid racing closer every day, Maia must trust someone to survive.
Marked By D. Laine (Apocalypse Assassins Trilogy #1) Publication date: March 28th 2017 Genres: New Adult, Paranormal, Post-Apocalyptic
For trained assassin Dylan Romero, business is good. As the agency’s top warriors, he and partner Jake Walker are the last two people evil wants to see on the other side of a gun.When a mission takes them to the college town of Bozeman, Montana, they discover that there is more than just another mark in another town to keep them there. With a heavy concentration of vessels doing their demon masters’ dirty work and flesh-craving monsters lurking around every corner, the secluded Midwest town is set to become the first battleground of the apocalypse.The last thing Dylan needs is a distraction. With the fate of the world at stake, the life of one girl shouldn’t matter – until the day she changes everything.
I write relationships. Whether contemporary or fantasy, they are always real and never easy.When I’m not writing, you can usually find me with my nose in my Kindle – reading romance of course – or running around after my three little boys, or catching up on an episode of Supernatural or This Is Us.
The Perfect Tear
by Connie Lansberg
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: November 11th 2015
Summary from Goodreads:
Eleanor, a timid orphan, is a Singer. Her songs keep nature in balance, but when they are stolen from her the grey mist descends, and her world fails to thrive. This timid orphan is forced into a course of action she never asked for, nor envisioned.
Eleanor grapples with crippling self-doubt and fear until she learns these are far more perilous than the physical dangers she faces moment to moment on her terrifying, puzzling and often funny search for The Perfect Tear, a crystal which contains the Third Vibration and able to heal the land. She is horrified to discover that she must defeat an inter-dimensional being or become his accomplice in the destruction of she loves.
But Eleanor is no savior, just a simple girl with strong instincts and she must learn to trust them. Just like the notes of a song must form connections to create a melody, Eleanor must discover the connections needed to create the harmony required to truly save her world.
Eleanor, a timid orphan with an extraordinary musical gift has just turned sixteen. She has no clue to her real purpose, but she refuses to become a subservient old maid, like the miserable nuns she grew up with. Eleanor knows Mother Superior has no intention of letting her leave–her songs are the only thing keeping the grey mist at bay. Her best friend Audrey begs her to run away with her but where would they go? The world outside the Abbey is barren and dangerous. Eleanor finally decides to take her chances and in the act of running away, meets her destiny. The girls find themselves in a strange land full of unknown dangers where they are met by an ethereal creature, Tsera, who gives Eleanor a choice. Go home to Edward, the boy she loves, never to sing again and wait until her world dies or, risk everything to find The Perfect Tear, a crystal that contains the Third Vibration and the only thing that will stop the destruction of her world.
The wind hit Eleanor with a great force. She staggered back, bumping into the wall of the quarter gallery. She had always loved the elements—wind, rain, lightning, and thunder—but always with solid the earth beneath her feet. Here, they were all at the mercy of the storm.
She kept her back against the gallery wall and watched the men struggle with the main mast. The rope had come loose and whipped about like a wild animal. Audrey clutched the railing. Her mouth moved but Eleanor could hear nothing above the shrieking of the wind. Audrey needed to come back to their quarters. She was in danger. Eleanor’s heart pounded. She knew nothing of the sea, but she could feel its power and knew Audrey was too brave for her own good.
Eleanor left the safety of the wall and headed toward Audrey. She pitted herself against the wind. It tore at her dress and whipped her hair around her face, stinging her cheeks.
Edward motioned for her to go back. He looked frantic. She peered over her shoulder to see Bella at the top of the stairs. Why wouldn’t they go below deck where it was safe? She yelled for Audrey to come away from the railing, but Audrey couldn’t hear her over the shrieking winds. Eleanor had to get to her.
The tempest roared past her ears and brought with it another sound. The resonance made her blood freeze. Eleanor felt her body stiffen, and a sense of foreboding took over.
Her gaze darted about, and the hairs on her arms stood up. What was happening? The very air felt different, and the sound, low and ugly, grew louder until she could no longer hear the wind. A small moan escaped her lips. Something was happening. Something bad was about to take place, and she needed to stop it.
In the space of one breath, the wind halted, the rain stopped falling, and the sea grew still. Eleanor raised her head and reached out her hands as if preparing to ward off a blow.
A long-necked creature rose from the sea and towered over the ship. Eleanor pressed her hand to her throat and tried to scream, but the sound stayed trapped within her.
The clouds disappeared, and the serpent glittered in the full moonlight. It was magnificent and terrifying. It opened its mouth and roared. Eleanor shivered.
The ship, lifted from beneath its hull by a massive wave was tilted portside. Eleanor hit the deck hard as Bella skidded by, and she managed to grab the frightened animal. With Bella under one arm, Eleanor slid forward until she was able to fling her arm around the mizzenmast. Audrey hung onto the railing with a terrified look on her face and Eleanor could see she was at risk. The men clung to the main mast, but Edward lost his grip and skidded toward the ship’s railing.
The serpent roared again. It bent its enormous head toward the deck, toward Edward, and the scream inside her finally escaped. This monster was as tall as the barn from which she had jumped all those years ago. She dragged the comb from her hair and pointed it at the fiend. “STOP.”
A beam of liquid light flew from the comb. Within the stream, she could see smaller, pulsating circles of bright silver. The beam grew in size until it split, forming a web around the monster. It acted as a net. It created a barrier between the ship and the demon, thwarting its plan to devour Edward. Its roar was terrifying.
The ship leveled, and the serpent vanished. John raced to Edward’s side and pulled him to safety. The silence was like a thick cloak, and Eleanor stared in wonder at the sparkling net, which hung in the night sky.
She set Bella down and tried to calm herself. Edward was safe. They were all safe for now. Her breath came in bursts. She needed her heart to stop racing. An arm slid around her and she leaned into the support.
Audrey squeezed. “What are those little silver balls of light?” Her voice was soft and full of wonder.
They all stared at the sparkling lights, like tiny stars hung in the night, connected by the web of light.
Eleanor peered up through heavy lids. Her heart finally slowed its frantic pace, but she felt strange as if part of her was suspended in the night sky. She found it hard to move her limbs. She knew what the little balls of light were.
She struggled to speak. “Songs, my songs. Those I have sung and those I have yet to sing–they kept the garden awake.”
Audrey gazed at the wondrous sight and nodded. Eleanor lifted the comb and pointed it at the glistening net. She must call them back for she could not bear the emptiness inside, as though her soul had gone missing. She took a deep breath and readied herself to receive them.
“Not this time.” The voice inside her head reverberated throughout her body. Eleanor froze. The giant serpent reared its head from the sea. With no sound, it opened its mouth wide. The creature swallowed Eleanor’s net of light and all her songs with it.
Eleanor screamed and doubled over, clutching her stomach, and she heard Audrey gasp.
Edward raced toward her. “Eleanor.”
The long tail of the serpent slipped onto the deck and curled around Eleanor. It dragged her to the railing. Bella jumped on her skirts and bit down. Audrey flung herself at the tail. In an instant, Eleanor, Audrey, and Bella were swept overboard.
About the Author
Connie Lansberg is a singer/songwriter and now author based in Melbourne Australia. She’s had her original songs placed in some of Australia’s best loved TV shows that play around the world and The Connie Lansberg Quartet is a fixture in the Melbourne jazz scene. Her most recent original musical project is Tsera’s Gift, written especially for The Perfect Tear and she performs these songs throughout Melbourne. This is Connie’s first novel and the movie is coming. The record will be out soon.
Connie has received several grants from the Victoria Council of the Arts for the development of mobile phone games that she created.
Connie joined the Melbourne Writers Group in 2010 to work on ideas and scripts and during this time the idea for The Perfect Tear began to develop and take shape. She continued her education by taking scriptwriting classes at the Australian Film and Television School in Melbourne. She has two more stories to complete The Perfect Tear Trilogy and is hoping to have the second book finished in 2017
“The first thing anybody tells you about this business is to say what makes you unique and different, but I couldn’t and the very idea of it never sat well with me and after much deliberation, I finally realized why.
Because, I’m not unique or different-I’m exactly like you and I love that. We each have a unique filter through which we interpret the world, and with this filter in place, I write stories and songs and you might find them surprising or intriguing or confronting, you may relate or you may not. They may make you laugh and sometimes, even cry.
You may or may not understand what I’m trying to say and you may not understand me, however, rest assured, once we get past the filters, at our core, we are wonderfully and beautifully, exactly the same.”
Traveler By L.E. DeLano (Traveler, #1) Published by: Swoon Reads Publication date: February 7th 2017 Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
A teen writer discovers that every mirror is a portal into an alternate version of her life in this romantic YA fantasy by author L.E. DeLano.Jessa has spent her life dreaming of other worlds and writing down stories more interesting than her own, until the day her favorite character, Finn, suddenly shows up and invites her out for coffee. After the requisite nervous breakdown, Jessa learns that she and Finn are Travelers, born with the ability to slide through reflections and dreams into alternate realities. But it’s not all teacakes, pirates and fantasy lifestyles…Jessa is dying over and over again, in every reality, and Finn is determined that this time, he’s going to stop it… this Jessa is going to live.
Jessa spends her time dreaming of traveling the world and being a world renowned writer. She gets a taste of her wish when suddenly she’s traveling to parallel realities of her life. With some twists. Suddenly her dreams, including a green eyed boy named Finn, are her reality. After being weary of him at first, he explains that she’s in danger. As a Traveler that can go to different realities, Finn discovers the Jessa’s are being targeted and killed.
Something I immediately noticed and enjoyed is Jessa’s perceptiveness. As a writer, she’s very observant and it was very entertaining the way the book was shaped around her own observations and narrative. The pacing starts out slower and then really picks up. I liked the air of mystery at first and then the craziness that ensues.
Another aspect was Jessa’s love for her older brother who is autistic. It was handled very well from the beginning and had great variation from the main plot. Her relationships and dynamics between the people in her life were well written. Especially considering the changes with each new reality.
It was such a refreshing plot! I don’t think I’ve read anything with pirates in it since a children’s book. This had amazing fantasy elements and action to keep me turning ‘digital’ pages as fast as I could. I did want to see more on how the romance would develop between her and Finn. Finn is protective and becomes quite lovable throughout the book. I’m not a big fan of love triangles (which comes later) but the characters were compelling and I look forward to the next addition. I liked the surprises of not just one character but their parallel self as well. It made it really interesting and I became really invested in the characters. Plus, a shocking ending! As someone who loves writing cliffhangers and starling ends, I felt particularly close to L.E. Delano’s desire to make us want the sequel right away.
About the Author
L.E. DeLano is a YA novelist rep’d by Barry Goldblatt Literary agency, author of the upcoming “Traveler” (Swoon Reads/MacMillan 2017) and lifelong writer. Her work has been featured on various online outlets and she lives in Pennsylvania with two very adventurous kids and two very ridiculous cats. In her spare time, she writes (of course) and binge-watches way too much Netflix.
How do you live with yourself when you decide who dies?
Ava Parks would have killed for an iPod for her sixteenth birthday. Anything would have been better than coming into her birthright of being a seeker for the Grim Reaper, an arrangement made by her fallen angel ancestor in exchange for his re-admittance to heaven. And she isn’t just any seeker — she finds souls that have the potential for becoming angels and sentences them to death. A year and two souls into her role as a seeker with her conscience overflowing with guilt, Ava comes up with a plan to thwart the system. When it goes awry, she is forced to submit the name of a classmate, Cole Fowler, an ornery, rough around the edges guy who always seems to come to her rescue, whether s he likes it or not. Her feelings for Cole prompt her to intervene, and she saves him from death, upsetting the Grim Reaper’s agenda.
While Ava schemes to find a way to save Cole, she learns he has some secrets of his own. She lets him believe he is protecting her, and not the other way a round, until a final showdown with the Grim Reaper forces Ava to make choices Cole may never forgive.
Birthright is a very consistent and well-paced book. It was very easy to get lost in Ava’s struggles and bravery in her wish for freedom. She is quite literally trapped in her life but continues to stay defiant against Xavier despite the destructive power he holds. I found it very easy to instantly like Ava. She is a very self-aware character who knows her own flaws and tries to improve herself despite everything going against her.
I particularly found her relationship with her mother moving. While she is angry with her mother for keeping the Seeker secret from her for years, she stills tries to push past her anger and be close to her. Both of them are trapped as Seekers, a job that requires them to name a person of pure white aura and therefore dooming them to death. The catch is that it is for the purpose of them possibly becoming angels. Possibly. While there is no guarantee and they never find out, they both struggle with being responsible for their deaths. In many ways, I could tell the subtle examples of anxiety and PTSD that Ava experiences. Biting her nails, nightmares, and a feeling of detachment are consistently in the book. She struggles with the guilt of the past people she’s named and desperately tries to figure out how to escape Xavier’s demands.
This book balances between a darker theme and the straightforward narrative of a young adult. Ava is mature for her age and keeps to herself but is still a teenager. Ruddick does a great job of giving Ava very mature experiences and then showing her own teenage urges for a normal life and feelings towards Cole. The only critique I would give is the age difference between Ava and Cole. While Cole is only two years older and still in high school, I thought having them a closer in age or moving slower towards a relationship would have been better. At times, I wanted them to become closer in getting to know one another instead of kissing as it felt more meaningful with Ava’s actions to save him. Of course, teenagers tend to be a bit more distracted towards other things. Overall, great book! Engaging moments and dynamics between characters and the rising action to the epic climax was perfect. I look forward to reading the next one!
About the Author
Jessica lives in Virginia with her college-sweetheart husband, two rambunctious sons, and two rowdy but lovable rescue dogs. Since her house is overflowing with testosterone, it’s a good thing she has a healthy appreciation for Marvel movies, Nerf guns, and football.