Strange Chemistry and Exhibit A close down: a round-up of the links

SCI’ve been a Strange Chemistry fan from the beginning. Its editor, Amanda Rutter, was one of the first friends I made when I discovered the blogosphere, at the time she was still blogging at Floor to Ceiling Books, and she helped me out a lot when I decided to start blogging myself. So to see her move into publishing herself was exciting and witnessing Strange Chemistry publish some of the most innovative and wonderful books in the field of YA in the past two years has been a pleasure.  Read More …

Kat Ross – Some Fine Day

katross-somefinedaySixteen-year-old Jansin Nordqvist is on the verge of graduating from the black ops factory known as the Academy. She’s smart and deadly and knows three things with absolute certainty.

She knows that when the world flooded and civilization retreated deep underground, there was no one left on the surface.

She knows that the only species to thrive there are the toads, a primate/amphibian hybrid with a serious mean streak.

Most of all, she knows there’s no place on Earth where you can hide from the hypercanes, continent-sized storms that have raged for decades.

Jansin has been lied to. On all counts. Faced with the truth in the form of a charismatic young survivor named Will, Jansin vows that her former masters will regret making her what she is…

Some Fine Day by Kat Ross was a story in a sub-genre I’d never heard of before picking up this book: cli-fi. Often set in the (near) future and with a speculative bent, it’s fiction that deals with the fall-out of global warming and climate change, such as Paolo Bacigalupi’s work or J.G. Ballard’s The Drowned World. In Ross’ version of our future, about sixty or seventy years from our present day, our world has been taken over by huge storms called hypercanes. A hypercane is a sort of permanent hurricane/typhoon that can grow to cover an entire continent. In the wake of their genesis, humanity has fled below the surface and has built a civilization deep underground. It is against this background that Ross has set her story and it’s one that is both impressive and fun.  Read More …

Guest Post: Lisa Ann O’Kane on the Cults in Essence [Blog Tour]

ESSENCE_Tour_BannerCults are a strange and somewhat frightening thing. While we often, somewhat disdainfully, refer to celeb culture as cultish or call a rather fervent fanbase a cult, the real deal is often even more nefarious. In many cases they also lead to tragedy, such as the events in Waco and Jonestown or the mass-suicides/murders connected with the Order of the Solar Temple or the Heaven’s Gate. Whenever I see cults mentioned in the news I wonder what draws people into them, what are their motivations? So the synopsis of Lisa Ann O’Kane’s Essence was bound to snag my attention. When I got the chance to ask Lisa for a blog post of course I had to ask her about why she chose to write about them and how she researched them. You can find her answer below.  Read More …

Danielle L. Jensen – Stolen Songbird

danielleljensen-stolensongbirdFor five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the ruins of Forsaken Mountain. Time enough for their dark and nefarious magic to fade from human memory and into myth. But a prophesy has been spoken of a union with the power to set the trolls free, and when Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she learns there is far more to the myth of the trolls than she could have imagined.

Cécile has only one thing on her mind after she is brought to Trollus: escape. Only the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time, wait for the perfect opportunity.

But something unexpected happens while she’s waiting – she begins to fall for the enigmatic troll prince to whom she has been bonded and married. She begins to make friends. And she begins to see that she may be the only hope for the half-bloods – part troll, part human creatures who are slaves to the full-blooded trolls. There is a rebellion brewing. And her prince, Tristan, the future king, is its secret leader.

As Cécile becomes involved in the intricate political games of Trollus, she becomes more than a farmer’s daughter. She becomes a princess, the hope of a people, and a witch with magic powerful enough to change Trollus forever.

One of the most beloved and well-worn tropes in fantasy is that of the farm boy turned prophesied saviour. In Stolen Songbird Jensen flips that trope and turns it on its head, not just by turning the farm boy into a farm girl, but by making the outcome of the prophesy uncertain in more ways than one. There is also more than a little hint of the Beauty and the Beast at work here, even if Cécile’s troll husband is as handsome as a girl might wish.  Read More …

Guest Post: Danielle L Jensen on Subverting Tropes [Blog Tour]

stolensongbirdtourbannerOne of my most anticipated YA novels this spring was Danielle L. Jensen’s Stolen Songbird. Having just finished the book this weekend, I can say that anticipation was completely warranted. For a full review, check back tomorrow, but today I’m pleased to bring you a guest post by Danielle as part of her blog tour. I asked Danielle whether and how Stolen Songbird subverted the classic trope of the The Prophesied One. The following was her answer.  Read More …

Guest Post: Christian Schoon on Pets in the LSA + Giveaway [Blog Tour]

namelessstarstourbannerWelcome to the twelfth blog tour stop on the Under Nameless Stars blog tour. Today you’ll not only find the next question in the giveaway competition, but also a guest post from Christian. When I read Zenn Scarlett last year I fell in love with Katie, the rikasett and some of the other animals in the Ciscan cloister on Mars where Zenn lives. Coupled with Christian work in horse rescuing, it triggered the following question:

Almost every little girl and many boys go through a horse-mad phase at some point in their life. What would be the equivalent in Zenn’s world? Would it be the rikasett or is there another animal that every child goes mad for?

Below you can find Christian’s answer to that question and the giveaway competition.  Read More …

MG Buehrlen – The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare

mgbuehrlen-the57livesofalexwayfareFor as long as 17-year-old Alex Wayfare can remember, she has had visions of the past. Visions that make her feel like she’s really on a ship bound for America, living in Jamestown during the Starving Time, or riding the original Ferris wheel at the World’s Fair.

But these brushes with history pull her from her daily life without warning, sometimes leaving her with strange lasting effects and wounds she can’t explain. Trying to excuse away the aftereffects has booked her more time in the principal’s office than in any of her classes and a permanent place at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Alex is desperate to find out what her visions mean and get rid of them.

It isn’t until she meets Porter, a stranger who knows more than should be possible about her, that she learns the truth: Her visions aren’t really visions. Alex is a Descender – capable of traveling back in time by accessing Limbo, the space between Life and Afterlife. Alex is one soul with fifty-six past lives, fifty-six histories.

Fifty-six lifetimes to explore: the prospect is irresistible to Alex, especially when the same mysterious boy with soulful blue eyes keeps showing up in each of them. But the more she descends, the more it becomes apparent that someone doesn’t want Alex to travel again. Ever.

And will stop at nothing to make this life her last.

The ideas of reincarnation and past life memories have always fascinated me. On the one hand, the idea is terribly romantic, especially if you also include the notion of soul mates, on the other it also provides a sense of fairness—all those people who lead tragically short, unhappy lives get a chance to experience happiness, while those who have blackened their karma in this life get to work it off in the next. Thus, when I read the synopsis for The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare I was immediately captivated. Here was a look at reincarnation as a form of time-travel, how cool is that? And MG Buehrlen doesn’t disappoint with her debut novel. The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare was a blast.  Read More …

Julianna Scott – The Seers [Blog Tour]

juliannascott-theseersAfter nearly being drained of her ability and betrayed by a man her father trusted, Becca Ingle was left with one clue — Ciaran Shea. He holds the key to the downfall of the power-mad Holder, Darragh, and can ensure the safety of both Holder and Human kind alike… but is he willing to help?

Becca, Alex, Jocelyn, and Cormac set out Adare Manor to meet with the Bhunaidh, an aristocratic group of pure blooded Holders of whom Ciaran is a rumored member. However, when Becca discovers that they might not be the only ones after the information Ciaran has, everyone begins to wonder if Bhunaidh might not be as uninvolved with Darragh as they claim.

A race to uncover Ciaran’s secrets begins, where the line between friend and foe is blurred, and everyone seems to have their own agenda. Becca will have to call on every ability at her disposal to uncover the truth, all the while knowing that sometimes the answer is more dangerous than the question.

Julianna Scott’s debut The Holders took me by surprise last year. The book had sounded like a fun, interesting read, but I was taken completely unaware by how much I loved the story. It featured a great protagonist with a very distinctive voice in Becca, an interesting concept in the Holders and their abilities, and the romance between Alex and Becca was delicious. So The Seers was a book that I was really looking forward to and it was definitely worth the anticipation. It was a fun continuance of the story and I got answers to some of the questions I was left with at the end of the previous book.  Read More …

Laura Lam – Shadowplay

lauralam-shadowplayThe circus lies behind Micah Grey in dust and ashes.

He and the white clown, Drystan, take refuge with the once-great magician, Jasper Maske. When Maske agrees to teach them his trade, his embittered rival challenges them to a duel which could decide all of their fates. People also hunt both Micah and the person he was before the circus–the runaway daughter of a noble family. And Micah discovers there is magic and power in the world, far beyond the card tricks and illusions he’s perfecting…

A tale of phantom wings, a clockwork hand, and the delicate unfurling of new love, Shadowplay continues Micah Grey’s extraordinary journey.

Discussing Shadowplay is impossible without revealing some major spoilers for the previous book Pantomime. If you haven’t read it and want to remain unspoiled, please read no further. You’ve been warned: here be spoilers!  Read More …