Thursday, 26 May 2016

PROMOTION - TALES FROM THE UNIVERSE ANTHOLOGY & AUTHOR INTERVIEW - JESSICA HOLMES

Title: Tales From The Universe
Publisher: Inklings Press
Release Date: 8th February 2016

BLURB from Goodreads
Ten new voices in the world of science fiction cast their minds open wide and bring forth visions of tomorrow. Science fiction stories that deal with love, and fear, hope and despair, the ugliness of mankind and its beauty. Tales that reach to the farthest edge of the galaxy, and that face startling futures right here on Earth. These ten stories deal with artificial intelligences, cloning, aliens, war, peace and humanity's place in it all. We give you Tales From The Universe.


MORE INFORMATION 
ABOUT THE COLLECTION
(provided by Jessica Holmes)

The Devout Atheist by Daniel M. Bensen (thekingdomsofevil.com)
An archaeological dig goes awry when one of the group chooses to use medicine in favour of the tried-and-tested talismans that keep the others safe from demons. 

Upgrade To Murder by Rob Edwards (storycastrob.co.uk)
A bored astronaut decides to educate the AI controlling his station in the ways of murder- with a little help from Agatha Christie.

Suliko by R.H. Nelson
A man clings to the memory of his lover in a world where to be forgotten is to never be resurrected. 

Dead In Space by Matthew Harvey (twitter.com/TetsunariHarvey)
An AI aboard a broken down ship awakes when a salvage crew arrive on board. She's dying and in need of rescue- if she can just make them hear her.

The Familiar Road by Pedro Camelo (facebook.com/PedroCameloAuthor)
A man discovers what his wife and his neighbour get up to while he's away each weekend- and that's not the only thing they're keeping from him. 

Cosmic Egg by Ricardo Victoria (twitter.com/wingedleo)
A team of astronauts find something impossible on the surface of a neutron star- a temple. Even stranger? What's buried in the heart of the star. It's about to wake up.

Small World by Brian S. Converse (facebook.com/BrianSConverse)
An alien exiled to our world learns of a terrible threat to our existence, and he's the only one who can stop it. 

The Ellian Convergence by Brent A. Harris (twitter.com/BrentAHarris1)
Years after the end of humanity, the AI society left behind is under threat from a greater artificial intelligence. There's only one way to save themselves, and that's to save the humans. 

Lazarus Soldiers by Leo McBride (facebook.com/leomcbrideauthor)
A squad of cloned soldiers go to investigate a downed colony base, and discover that the very technology they rely on for resurrection and transport was the downfall of the base.

Deep In The Rock by Jessica Holmes (twitter.com/scribblingjess)
A pair of asteroid miners suspect they aren't being told the whole truth about their jobs. They set out to investigate, but will end up wishing they hadn't.



AUTHOR INTERVIEW
with
Jessica Holmes


What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
My name is Jessica Holmes, and I'm from Lancashire, which is where I am now.

Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I've flipped back and forth between loads of career ideas, but writer was the one I always came back to. Though if not writing, I'd be doing something in Art and Design, which I was studying at college until health issues forced me to take a step back. 

Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
Tales From The Universe is from Inklings Press.

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
Well, the one that's just published was a collaborative effort between myself and nine other authors, each contributing a short story. Mine took a couple of weeks.

What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I personally am working on a fantasy novel about an heiress to a smuggling fleet, and the next anthology from Inklings Press, who published Tales From The Universe, will be on the theme of alternate history!

Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
I'm planning the sequel to the fantasy novel I'm working on, as it's in the late stages of revision. 

If you had to choose to be one of your characters in your book/books which would you be? and why?
To be honest I'd be reluctant to enter the world of anything I've written. I have a tendency to do horrible things to my characters. Things don't end well for them.

How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I've been writing since I could hold a pencil, but it's been a couple of years that I've been taking my projects seriously.

Where do you get your book plot ideas from?What/Who is your inspiration?
They mostly come from daydreams, or when I'm just about to go to sleep. I just have to hope the ideas will still be in my head when I wake up!

Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I like to put a bit of music on, whatever I'm in the mood for at the time. I have to say that Woodkid's The Golden Age is like WD-40 for the brain.

Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
I have gifted a few copies of Tales From The Universe in exchange for a a fair review.

Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
I've read all the reviews of Tales From The Universe. So far, they're all good!

Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
No, I think that would be dishonest. I've not been in that position yet though. 

How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books?Who designed the Cover of your books?
I was just one of the contributors for Tales From The Universe. The title and cover choice were in the hands of Inklings Press. Ricardo Victoria designed our cover. 

How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
I normally browse through a name catalogue for an appropriate name based on the character's background, personality, so on and so forth.

Are character names and place names decided after their creation? or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
Generally the character comes first, then I pick a fitting name.

Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
I'll have a vague idea of who they are, and as I write the pieces come together and I learn a lot about them.

How do you market/promote your books?
We had a Facebook launch party on the day of launch, and we've been using social media to spread the word.

Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing?
I adore Ray Bradbury's short stories, and I think that's had an influence on the sort of story I like to write.

Which format of book do you prefer, ebook, hardback, or paperback?
I'm not fussy, I have an e-reader, but generally I'll buy whatever's cheapest.

Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst book to movie transfer?
Some do, some don't. The Golden Compass, based on Northern Lights by Philip Pullman was an adaptation that as a kid I was enormously disappointed with-- they cut off the ending! Though I heard the BBC is working on an adaptation, so I'm looking forward to that. They did a good job with Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. 
As for favourite, I'd have to go with Lord Of The Rings. Yes, some things were changed, but on the whole it's a great trilogy.

What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)
I'm currently reading a second-hand paperback of World War Z by Max Brooks.

Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
It's hard to say, really. A lot of people are still very keen on printed books. I doubt they'll ever really die out, even when 99% of books are digital, they'll still sell print editions, for collectors perhaps.

Did you read a lot at school and write lots of stories or is being a writer something newer in your life?
I had my nose buried in a book at all times when I was in school. I'd tell stories of my own to anyone who would listen.

Did you have a favourite author as a child?
Easy. J.K. Rowling.

Do you have a treasured book from your childhood? If yes, what is it?
The Harry Potter books sparked my love of reading, as they did for loads of children of my generation (although I was actually a later arrival, only being a baby when the first one was published).

Are there any New Authors you are interested in for us to watch out for? and Why should we watch out for them?
Well, I must draw attention to my fellow Tales From The Universe authors: Daniel M. Bensen, Brian S. Converse, Pedro Camelo, Rob Edwards, Brent A. Harris, Matthew Harvey, Leo McBride, R.H. Nelson and Ricardo Victoria. They wrote a cracking collection of stories which I am proud to be a part of. 

What do you think about book trailers?
We had one for Tales From The Universe. Seems only right to use all the resources at our disposal for promotion of the book!

Do you or would you ever use a pen name?
Depends on what I was writing. Not right now, but if for example I got a reputation for writing terrifying horror and wanted to go into children's books, I might consider a pen name then to avoid putting people off.

Where can readers follow you?
The info for the rest of the authors in Tales From The Universe will soon be available at  inklingspress.com
Blog: Not mine personally, but Stephen Hunt from Inklings Press runs alteredinstinct.com, where all news related to anthologies, free short stories (there might be one from me soon!), and author interviews are posted.
Twitter: @scribblingjess

Amazon: This will take you to your local Amazon page for Tales From The Universe: mybook.to/TalesUniverse

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

SERIES PROMOTION & REVIEW - THE WITCH'S HANDBOOK BY ANN M. NOSER

Title: How To Ditch Dead Guys
Series: The Witch's Handbook
Author: Ann M. Noser
Genre: NA, Fantasy, Paranormal
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Release Date: 28th March 2016

BLURB from Goodreads
After everyone EMMA ROBERTS raises from the dead sinks back into the river, she longs for a purpose. A schedule. Something to accomplish.

Then OFFICER WALKER leaves a message on her voice mail: "There's been another murder, and I need your help."

With a bag of witchcraft supplies slung over her shoulder, Emma performs a séance for Walker at the site of the murder. But nothing happens until Emma gets back home.

Black smoke swirls inside the bathroom. An invisible force slams her head onto the tiled floor. A golden snake slithers across her legs, then impales her wrist with its icy teeth.

As the smoke clears and the images fade, the truth becomes clear.

This time around, Emma won't just watch what happened. She'll live it.

As Emma helps Officer Walker solve murder cases, she relives the horror of each victim's last moments of life. From the edge of the river to the underground lair of the gang who murdered Steve, she endures it all.

As Emma weakens, both the victims and the murderers who killed them fight for control of her body and mind.

She's possessed, and the voices inside her head won't let her ask for help.

Even the Book of Shadows can't save her now…



Title: How To Date Dead Guys
Series: The Witch's Handbook
Author: Ann M. Noser
Genre: NA, Fantasy, Paranormal
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Release Date: 15th July 2014

BLURB from Goodreads
College sophomore Emma Roberts remembers her mother’s sage advice: “don’t sleep around, don’t burp in public, and don’t tell anyone you see ghosts.” But when cute Mike Carlson drowns in the campus river under her watch, Emma’s sheltered life shatters.

Blamed for Mike’s death and haunted by nightmares, Emma turns to witchcraft and a mysterious Book of Shadows to bring him back. Under a Blood Moon, she lights candles, draws a pentacle on the campus bridge, and casts a spell. The invoked river rages up against her, but she escapes its fury. As she stumbles back to the dorm, a stranger drags himself from the water and follows her home. And he isn’t the only one…

Instead of raising Mike, Emma assists the others she stole back from the dead—a pre-med student who jumped off the bridge, a young man determined to solve his own murder, and a frat boy Emma can’t stand…at first. More comfortable with the dead than the living, Emma delves deeper into the seductive Book of Shadows. Her powers grow, but witchcraft may not be enough to protect her against the vengeful river and the killers that feed it their victims.

Inspired by the controversial Smiley Face Murders, HOW TO DATE DEAD GUYS will appeal to the secret powers hidden deep within each of us.


INITIAL THOUGHTS
My first thoughts approaching this book are that it will be a light, "chick lit" read. I'm looking forward to the "magical" elements of the book too.

MY REVIEW
I received this e-copy from the publisher's Curiosity Quills Press in return for my honest review and participation in the Blog Tour.
The main character is called Emma Roberts, she has led a quite sheltered life until going away to live on a college campus. She gets put with one of the "popular girls" as her roommate. She has been dragged out to a party with that very room-mate when she first sets eyes on Mike Carlson, Her roommate immediately falls in love with Kevin Carlson. So when Emma is being pulled around social events with her room mate she tends to bump into the brothers a lot. Her roommate soon starts dating Kevin, with a little help from her sister and the Book Of Shadows that was handed down to her by their grandmother. So when Mike is celebrating his 21st birthday Emma goes along with her popular roommate to the "party". Whilst partying Mike becomes quite drunk and on the walk home with Emma decides he want to swim the notorious river that's near the campus. Emma cannot stop Mike from getting in the river and attempting to swim across so she decides to join him. Emma makes the swim to the other side, tragically Mike doesn't. 
Emma's roommate and Kevin (Mike's brother) blame Emma for not preventing Mike from going into the river. In fact everyone on campus seems to blame Emma. It's around that time that Emma stumbles upon the Book Of Shadows. She decides to go to the river and try to exchange her life for that of Mike. Only things go awry and she ends up bringing other males that have perished in the river. The story in about all the scrapes she gets into trying to get Mike back and how she has to help the other "spirits" with their unfinished business too. 
There are some really funny situations in the book. Emma even ends up being attracted to one of the spirits and she takes him home for Christmas with her. The book isn't just humour though as we the reader get to see the spirits families and how they are or are not coping with the loss of their loved one. 
I did like the main character of Emma, kind of shy and introverted, then through helping the spirits she ends up being more confident and outspoken.
I also liked the older male cop character too, who always seems to turn up and catch Emma just after all the drama. He definitely realises that there's something "otherworldly" happening around Emma. At first Emma feels the cop is irritating and suspicious but he soon ends up being a valuable asset when Emma stumbles on a murder case. . . .
Though the book wasn't exactly what I had expected, I did find it an enjoyable, and quite interesting read.
So did I enjoy the book? Yes, it was funny, poignant, sad and actually uplifting at times too. Would I recommend the book? I guess so to those who like a lighter read. Would I read a Book Two? Mmm I'd definitely want to read the blurb for the next book with a view to possibly reading and reviewing it. Would I read other titles by Ann Noser? I think I would, I'd certainly check out the blurbs etc.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

REVIEW & PROMOTION - STRUCK - PHOEBE MEADOWS SERIES BY AMANDA CARLSON

Title: Struck
Series: Phoebe Meadows
Author: Amanda Carlson
Genre: Urban, Fantasy
Release Date: 24th May 2016

BLURB from Goodreads
When Phoebe Meadows gets struck by a strange light in the stockroom of Macy’s, life as she knows it flies out the window. As if being hit by lightning isn’t bad enough, she’s accosted in the subway by a man with a missing hand, arrives home to find a raven on her kitchen counter, and her neighbor, Ingrid, shows up dressed like a gladiator hell-bent on protecting her.

Before Ingrid can shuttle her to safety, Phoebe is kidnapped and tossed into one of the Nine Worlds where she’s quickly forced to come to terms with what she is: A valkyrie. The only problem is, she has no idea what that means.

After a narrow escape, she finds an unlikely ally in Loki’s son, Fenrir. Together the valkyrie and the wolf must battle their way back to New York City and reach the valkyrie stronghold where Ingrid is waiting for her. But with danger and obstacles at every turn, she might not live long enough to learn the full truth about who and what she really is…


OTHER TITLES 
BY AMANDA CARLSON

Jessica McClain Series
Blooded #0.5
Full Blooded #1
Hot Blooded #2
Cold Blooded #3
Pure Blooded #4
. . . . more to follow

Sin City Collectors Series
This novella series is co-written by Kristen Painter
Aces Wild #1
Queen Of Hearts #2
Ante Up #3
Dead Man's Hands #4
All In #5
Double Or Nothing #6
Titles wrote in pink are by Kristen Painter


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amanda Carlson is the author of the upcoming Jessica McClain series. The first book, Full Blooded, will be released by Hachette Book Group, ORBIT US & UK SEPT 2012. She’s been writing for over ten years. Full Blooded is her first novel. She lives in Minneapolis, with her husband and three kids.

AUTHOR LINKS


REVIEW

Title: Struck
Series: Phoebe Meadows
Author: Amanda Carlson
Genre: Adult, Urban, Fantasy
Release Date: 24th May 2016

BLURB from Goodreads
When Phoebe Meadows gets struck by a strange light in the stockroom of Macy’s, life as she knows it flies out the window. As if being hit by lightning isn’t bad enough, she’s accosted in the subway by a man with a missing hand, arrives home to find a raven on her kitchen counter, and her neighbor, Ingrid, shows up dressed like a gladiator hell-bent on protecting her.

Before Ingrid can shuttle her to safety, Phoebe is kidnapped and tossed into one of the Nine Worlds where she’s quickly forced to come to terms with what she is: A valkyrie. The only problem is, she has no idea what that means.

After a narrow escape, she finds an unlikely ally in Loki’s son, Fenrir. Together the valkyrie and the wolf must battle their way back to New York City and reach the valkyrie stronghold where Ingrid is waiting for her. But with danger and obstacles at every turn, she might not live long enough to learn the full truth about who and what she really is…


Goodreads Link

INITIAL THOUGHTS
I have read quite a lot of books by Amanda Carlson, such as Bks 1,3 & 5 in the Sin City Collectors Series which is co-written with Kristen Painter as well as Bks 0.5 through to Bk 5 in Amanda's Jessica McClain Series which I admit to being totally besotted with since reading Blooded. So I do have high expectations as I approach reading Struck. One of the immediate questions I have is will Phoebe Meadows be as kick butt as Jessica McClain? I'm hoping so. Looking forward to discovering a new character & series. I also haven't read about a Valkyrie before either.

THOUGHTS WHILST READING
15%  - I don't normally like reading mythology and Gods but I can feel this book pulling me in already!
34% - Phoebe is quickly learning to kick butt! A great new character from Amanda Carlson.
49% - Ooo my! the hot Fenrir, Loki's son #bookcrush #bookboyfriend and the innocent new to being a Valkyrie Phoebe, Odin's daughter are getting rather steamy!
55% - Should Fenrir and Phoebe be placing so much trust in the snakes?
60% - I am really hating having to put this one down to go to sleep! Lots of action, danger, mythology, gods, demons, monsters, a newbie Valkyrie and a little romance thrown in with Fenrir, the son of Loki."

REVIEW
I was fortunate enough to be offered a free e-arc of Struck in exchange for my honest review.
The cover features a young woman who upon reading the book you find out is Phoebe Meadows. Phoebe seems to be being struck by lightning, yet at the same time she appears to be controlling it too. There is also a large bird on the cover who is an important character from within the book. I love the font and format of the book title, series title and the Authors name appears boldly on the cover but at the same time compliments the cover rather than dominating it. There is also a byline which says "Lightning is about to strike twice. . ." which pertains to things that happen within the book as well as fitting well with the title of of the book too. So would this cover alone make me pick this book up from a book store shelf? Yes, just the cover would have me taking it from the shelf to learn more about it. Of course as an Amanda Carlson fan I would always pick up any book written by her to investigate it further.
The main character in the book is Phoebe Meadows, and we first meet her whilst she is working in her local Macy's shoe department. Phoebe has gone in search of a certain pair of shoes for a customer, then there is some sort of "sonic boom" and she is struck (hence the title) and blacks out amidst a pile of shoes! That is the moment Phoebe's life changes, though she isn't yet aware of it. Phoebe returns to her small apartment, to find a large black bird in it! A woman called Ingrid who Phoebe initially believed was a just a friendly neighbour turns out to be a Shieldmaiden/Valkyrie who is actually quite closely related to Phoebe. Ingrid does try to help Phoebe and reveal's who her real parents are. Phoebe can hardly believe that she is the offspring of a union between a God and a Sheildmaiden. (see I am trying not to reveal too much ere which is difficult when I just want to rave about the book!). Ingrid informs Phoebe that the large bird, called Hugin has been sent by her father to warn that danger is coming! Ingrid explains that other supernatural beings in different realms who wish to harm Phoebe. Ingrid goes on to say they need to travel as quickly as possible to the safety of the Valkyrie stronghold Phoebe learns if she is caught by the Norns they will either send her to one of the Nine Worlds or even kill her. To say it's a lot for Phoebe to take in is an understatement! In fact it takes a mixture coaxing, scaring and bullying to finally make Phoebe agree to go with Ingrid even though at this early stage she is still finding the whole story somewhat unbelievable. The two women set off on what will be a long arduous, possibly dangerous journey to the Valkyrie stronghold. Ingrid hands a knife that she refers to as Gram to Phoebe, informing her that her father sent it for her to defend herself with if attacked. 
I have to say that Amanda Carlson really keeps your attention from the first words on the first page to the last words on the last page. There is lots of detail and scene setting throughout the whole book. You can read what may seem to be an insignificant piece of information at first but then later in the book all becomes clear. 
This book contains many different supernatural elements, there's the mythology of the Gods and all their disagreements with both each other and the other supernaturals such as other shieldmaidens, valkyries, norns sutyrs, and ettings. Then there's also the shifter element of Loki's son Fenrir, and his powers, and banishment . .  I loved how Phoebe's parentage and siblings are revealed to her, and I think her romance with Fenrir is a great part of the book too. I am wondering what will happen when her father finds out about it. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and am eagerly awaiting the next book as I have so many questions and so many possible scenario's spinning around in my head. For the future romantic parts of the book, I'm thinking there may be a promising future romance between Sam and Tyr.. . .then there's the steam and sizzling relationship between Phoebe and Fenrir. After reading the sneak peek of book two that is revealed at the end of this book, I am highly anticipating the training that Phoebe will have to undergo, which I can imagine will be both informative, interesting and humourous to read. I'm looking forward to learning more about and hopefully "meeting" Phoebe's parents and other siblings. Another question that sprung to my mind was I wonder if Phoebe & Jessica will ever cross paths?   
So did I enjoy reading Struck? Yes, as I have said in my review I enjoyed reading this book from the first word to the last. Oh and I loved the sneak peek at book two.
Would I recommend reading this book? Yes, if you love mythology, or even if you are like me and don't know much about the subject its a really great read.
Would I want to read another book in the Phoebe Meadows Series? Yes! It was rather cruel and sneaky of Amanda giving a sneak peek of book two. . . and now I'm wanting even more now!
Would I want to read other titles by Amanda Carlson?  I already have read other titles by Amanda. I am also looking forward to more of the Jessica McClain Series. 

FINAL THOUGHTS
Wow another fantastic kick butt female from Amanda Carlson! In my opinion this book is a promising start to yet another brilliant series by Amanda Carlson. I highly recommend reading this one. When can I read more?



Monday, 23 May 2016

BOOK BLAST - SCHISM BY BRITT HOLEWINSKI

 "Schism" is the first book in a new dystopian trilogy that tells a tale of survival, of good versus evil, and of constructing a future with only memories of childhood. 
A government-created virus is accidentally released before testing is complete and within weeks it kills six billion people, children are the only survivors. 
Andy Christensen and her two friends travel across the country searching for a safe place to live, but nowhere, it seems, is capable of resurrection. 


Author: Britt Holewinski
Genre: Dystopian, Post Apocalyptic, Survival, Thriller
Release Date: 15th March 2016

BLURB supplied by PB Tours
"My name is Andrea Christensen. I'm one of the oldest oldest people in the world."

"Schism" is the first book in a new dystopian trilogy that tells a tale of survival, of good versus evil, and of constructing a future with only memories of childhood.

A government-created virus is accidentally released before testing is complete and within weeks it kills six billion people, children are the only survivors. Andy Christensen and her two friends travel across the country searching for a safe place to live, but nowhere, it seems, is capable of resurrection.

PURCHASE LINKS
Kobo 
Blio 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

MRock-BHolewinski-2014-8-828x1024

"Born in Boston, Britt Holewinski lived in six different houses across the United States during her childhood, sparking her interest to write about characters who must continually adapt to new situations and locations. Early on, she dreamed of becoming an astronaut; however, shortly after completing her graduate degree, she was offered a job with the CIA. Her years working for the Agency opened her eyes to the world we live in and gave her rare glimpses of what living in a crumbling, post-apocalyptic world might be like. In her spare time, Britt loves to go hiking anywhere with a view, learn French, and visit historical Revolutionary and Civil War sites along the East Coast." 

  Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Tumblr / Google + / Wattpad / Website

PRAISE FOR THE BOOK

“SCHISM is an engrossing page turner that skillfully deals with dark subject matter in a compelling, through-provoking manner…The writing is crisp and clear, and the novel’s details are well-researched, down to the names of local roads and landmarks and the types of technology used by the survivors.” -IndieReader.com 


“This apocalyptic teen drama’s character interactions may draw readers in, but its vigorous story will keep them hooked.” - Kirkus Reviews


Schismbookblast