From the Editor’s Desk: The Night Girl by James Bow

Well, hey, look at that. I managed to do a second post before two years had passed this time. I did tell you I’d try to be back more often. Huzzah!

Much like the last one, this one features a cover reveal / mini-book review of a title I’ve had the privilege to help find its way down the long, winding halls of the publishing pipeline. As a reminder, this series contains my own, non-compensated and purely voluntary insights into what it is I loved about this project, both as an acquisitions editor and as a reader. We good? Good.

First, check out this fun cover designed, as ever, by the talented Ashley Ruggirello:

The official back cover copy is still being finalized, so for now, it’ll have to remain a mystery. But if you’re super intrigued (as well you should be), I’d suggest heading on over to the author’s website, where he’s posted a press release that will certainly give you a taste of what to expect from this quirky, yet surprisingly resonant and timely novel.

Bow makes a great point in his afterword (which you’ll all get to read, if you’re so inclined, in just a few short days, as this one’s springing onto shelves this coming Tuesday, September 10th), that his hometown of Toronto is every bit deserving as a setting as the more prolific Los Angeles, London, or New York. But to say this novel is Toronto-centric would be a disservice to what Bow has masterfully created. One of the hallmarks of great urban fantasy is, of course, it’s setting, but I’ve never read one where the city itself was so much a presence in the tale as to almost become the MC itself. Bow’s love for the town he grew up in is obvious, as Toronto breathes, hulking and massive and ever present, on the page. It’s honestly one of the things I loved best; you literally could not tell this story set someplace else.

Sure, some of the plot points could be universally applied to any urban backdrop, but there’s something magic in the way Bow has crafted the setting that makes it feel intrinsic to the tale of Perpetua Collins and the paranormal underbelly of a town humans take for granted. But while Perpetua’s story deals with a lot of heavy, timely themes, there’s something almost . . . innocent in the way in which it’s told. This is very much the modern equivalent of a fairy tale. I hesitate to say it has an almost Disney-esque sparkle, because many of you will consider it a detriment, but there’s something about it that keeps drawing me back to that comparison. I could easily see this among Disney’s roster, and not just because of the goblins, trolls, and faeries. No, it’s an essence to the prose itself, an ineffable, yet utterly familiar quality to the light of its cinematography.

Don’t let that comparison fool you, though. Bow has packed this novel with fair folk who make the Celtic traditions proud, a narrative of struggle and poverty that’s all too familiar to anyone born below the age of forty (yes, millennials, I might be looking at you), and a conflict rife with prejudice and injustice that makes this tale an extremely relevant, timely allegory to our countries’ shared political state. I might not be Canadian, or ever set foot inside the city limits of Toronto, but there was much in this tale that I could overlay on American cities and soil.

I walked away from this one satisfied, happy, but with a sobering, thoughtful view of today’s societal views. And that, my friends, is one difficult combination to pull off. So, if you’re in the market for a read that’s both quirky, thought-provoking, innocent, and dark, I would definitely consider checking this one out. Add it to your Goodreads TBR today!

From the Editor’s Desk: The Skylark’s Sacrifice by J.M. Frey

Why, hello there! Remember me? I know, it’s been an age since I last posted. Trust me, the cobwebs I had to break through to get in here were embarrassing in their thickness. But don’t worry. I brought a hefty broom and cleaning supplies and will soon be posting with regularity again. So, if you’ve happened to miss reading my random musings on all things publishing (with a smattering of martial arts, book reviews, and art-related stuff), you might want to keep an eye on your inboxes. I have some big things planned in the coming months.

And what better way to kick that off than to share an upcoming release I’m so, so excited for? As you recall—if you recall—From the Editor’s Desk was a feature where I could showcase titles I’ve been lucky enough to assist with. Unlike a regular book review, I have in-depth experience with these titles, and I wanted to be able to share some of that insight with all of you—not as a means of financial gain (I’m not being compensated for my reviews, and the opinions here are entirely my own), but as a means to support the authors who entrusted me with their book babies, and to introduce you to books I think are deserving of the precious space on your TBR.

So, now that everyone remembers what it is we’re doing, let’s dive in, shall we?

First, check out this amazing cover, designed by the lovely Ashley Ruggirello:

Cover Image for The Skylark's Sacrifice by J.M. Frey

Robin Arianhod is on the run. Trapped behind enemy lines, her only choice is to lose herself in the sprawling capital of Klonn. But hiding in the shadows is a disservice to the rocket pack she escaped with, and to the man she once considered foe. Instead, she’ll enact his plan, harness the incredible power of the pack, and stop the war from the inside.

Wanted posters stalk her every move as rumor fuels the Skylark’s rise, and her attempts at vigilantism attract the attention of more than just the city guards. Robin finds herself embroiled in the machinations of a mysterious underground rebellion—Klonnish citizens as tired of the war as she is. 

But are they really her allies, or are they using the Skylark as bait? And can she really trust that her former archnemesis turned his coat? Or will the secret of his true identity lead Robin, and her newfound friends, to their deaths?

Rife with high-flying action, subterfuge, and deception, The Skylarks Sacrifice is the explosive conclusion to the saga of war-torn Saskwya, and the one pilot who can change it all.

Isn’t it gorgeous? It’s also just freshly revealed, as of today. 😉

I’m also sure that many of you caught that this is the second title in the series, the first having been released while I was off on my prolonged hiatus. Why, then, did I choose to feature this one when I did not feature the first?

Well, once in a great while, a series comes along that is more than just enjoyable. Don’t get me wrong, I’m always honored beyond words for the opportunity to work on anyone’s book baby. But I’m also human, and have my own preferences as a reader that have nothing at all to do with my task as an editor. And this series perfectly encapsulates nearly everything I have ever wanted in my reading experience.

Cinematic in a way that’s just begging for a graphic novel or film adaptation (and has inspired more than few fan-art ideas in a mind that has rarely ever given in to that temptation), it resonated with me on a level that was half satisfied joy, and half jealousy. It at once feels like something I would have written, and something that I would be ecstatic to even halfway manage to emulate, if I were to try.

Rich world-building, high-flying action sequences, subterfuge and deceit, enemies-to-lovers romance, a twisty and clever narrative arc, and emotional resonance that is off the chart, it comes amazingly close to earning the title of my perfect read. It’s definitely among my all-time favorite book series, for sure.

Releasing into the world on September 3rd, 2019, I really cannot recommend it enough. Filled with social commentary that is relevant and timely, characters who crackle to life on the page, and Frey’s signature ability to just absolutely gut a reader, it’s a stellar experience. I can’t say anything more without risking spoilers, so please, just go read it for yourself. I would dearly love someone to discuss it with, once the obligatory spoiler-free period is over. 😉

The Skylark’s Song (Book 1)

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Smashwords // REUTS Store // Goodreads

The Skylark’s Sacrifice (Book 2)

Amazon Kindle Pre-Order // Goodreads

Book Feature: Princess of Tyrone by Katie Hamstead

From the moment I heard about this series, I was excited. It’s got all the makings of something I’m going to truly love — fairy tales, science fiction, and an author whose work I know I already adore. Ready to see more about it? Here you go!

Princess of Tyrone Book Cover

Apolline is happy hunting magical creatures on her pirate infested outer-perimeter planet. She is a fantastic shot, and doesn’t flinch at the blood and guts of her kills. Never once did she consider she could be the missing Princess of Tyrone.

All her life, she has heard the story of the Princess, cursed to sleep for eternity, unless her betrothed, the Prince of Oran, gave her true love’s kiss. Although Apolline knows she is betrothed, she thinks her fairy guardians arranged it out of ignorance of human ways. The thought she could be a princess is inconceivable.

Then Allard appears. Handsome, charming—but he’s not hers to have. He’s betrothed, too. Her guardians warn her against her new found friendship, but she and Allard meet in secret anyway. Despite her rough exterior, he sees beyond her gun-slinging bravado, and their love blossoms.

But the deadline for the sleeping curse is approaching. If Apolline falls in love with the wrong person, she could end up sleeping forever.

A quirky, adventurous retelling of Sleeping Beauty, with a less than princess-ly princess!

Doesn’t that sound amazing? I was supposed to give you my thoughts on it today, but unfortunately, life has prevented me from reading it enough to provide a proper review. However, if there’s one thing I know about Hamstead’s work, it’s that I’m sure to enjoy it. I’m exceedingly excited to see what she does with this unconventional twist on a fairy tale we all know and love, and I’ll be sure to post the full review when I’m done. In the meantime, here’s one of the pretty teaser graphics to entice you and the link to the giveaway celebrating the book’s release (below).

Be sure to check it out!

pot3

About the Author:

katie hamsteadBorn and raised in Australia, Katie’s early years of day dreaming in the “bush”, and having her father tell her wild bedtime stories, inspired her passion for writing.

After graduating High School, she became a foreign exchange student where she met a young man who several years later she married. Now she lives in Arizona with her husband, daughter and their dog.

She has a diploma in travel and tourism which helps inspire her writing.

When her debut novel, Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh, climbed into bestselling status, she believed she was onto something, and now has a slew of novels now available, and is published through Curiosity Quills Press, Soul Mate Publishing, and REUTS Publications.

Katie loves to out sing her friends and family, play sports, and be a good wife and mother. She now works as an Acquisitions Editor to help support her family. She loves to write, and takes the few spare moments in her day to work on her novels.

Book Links: Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Rafflecopter Giveaway

 

Book Feature: Much of Madness by S.E. Summa

Whew! What a week! I don’t know about you, but it definitely felt like February had it out for me, and so far, March hasn’t been much better. But despite the whirlwind of insanity I currently find myself in, I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to a fantastic new indie title by a debut author you’re going to want to keep an eye on.

Much of Madness by S.E. Summa

Seraphina Pearce doesn’t know what’s more frustrating: her magic’s affinity for death, her best friend’s transformation into an albino Sin Eater, or that simply touching a guy she loves means someone’s headed to the morgue.

After a sin-eating job goes awry, she casts a risky spell and butts heads with a handsome stranger in order to win an infamous grimoire.

Marceau L’Argent is the last person she should confide in because the occult cat burglar has a mysterious past, and he’s made it no secret he also wants the grimoire. He recognizes her dark magic and offers his unique help as a rare curse breaker. If all that weren’t enough, Marceau causes butterflies in her stomach—a feeling she’d long thought dead.

Seraphina was only trying to break her curse—not piss off Death himself.

MUCH OF MADNESS is a Southern Gothic Horror story about loyalty, sacrifice, and maintaining hope no matter the odds.

There’s a lot to love about this book, and I’ll go into all the details in my review once I’ve finished reading it, but for now, here’s a tiny glimpse at the awesomeness:

 

MOM Teaser - Cafe'

That’s all I’ve got for now, but I’ll be back with my full recommendation soon. For now, I suggest adding it to your TBR or checking it out for yourself. The book links are conveniently located below.

Happy reading! 😉

About the Author:

Shantele-Silly-hat-300x300S. E. Summa lives in Tennessee with her husband and a menagerie of spoiled pets. After her daughter left the nest, she rediscovered her love for writing. Growing up in Nashville, she always felt the city’s unique culture and landmarks would be the perfect setting for monsters to play. A PRO member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA), Shantele serves as the Volunteer and Membership Coordinator for her local chapter, the Music City Romance Writers (MCRW). She graduated magna cum laude with a BBA from Belmont University. S. E. started The Debut Collective, a supportive online tribe of authors (both published and aspiring), editors, formatters, and cover designers working together to foster a new generation of stories and authors. The Debut Collective is publishing a series of five anthologies in June 2016.

You can find her online at sesumma.com or connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Book Links: Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes and Noble

From the Editor’s Desk: Link by Summer Wier

I know, I know, lots of book reviews lately! What can I say? I’ve been a reading fiend. (Okay, not really. I was just really far behind on my reviews and finally had a chance to start catching up.) But today’s post comes to you as part of a blog tour, so if you must blame anything, blame that. Although, I think after you hear a little more about today’s book, you won’t be feeling the need to place blame at all; it’s a cool one. I promise.

It’s also one that I had the pleasure of assisting into the world, hence the title of the post. Everyone knows what that means now, yes? I can skip the disclaimer? (For those who don’t, it means I was the editor on the project, and this is my way of sharing my excitement for it with all of you.) Then let’s get to the review, shall we?

Link

by Summer Wier

Link Cover

For seventeen-year-old Kira, there’s no better way to celebrate a birthday than being surrounded by friends and huddled beside a campfire deep in the woods. And with a birthday in the peak of summer, that includes late night swims under the stars.

Or at least, it used to.

Kira’s relaxing contemplation of the universe is interrupted when a piece of it falls, colliding with her and starting a chain of events that could unexpectedly lead to the one thing in her life that’s missing—her father.

Tossed into a pieced-together world of carnivals and gypsies, an old-fashioned farmhouse, and the alluring presence of a boy from another planet, Kira discovers she’s been transported to the center of a black hole, and there’s more to the story than science can explain. She’s now linked by starlight to the world inside the darkness. And her star is dying.

If she doesn’t return home before the star’s light disappears and her link breaks, she’ll be trapped forever. But she’s not the only one ensnared, and with time running out, she’ll have to find a way to save a part of her past and a part of her future, or risk losing everything she loves.

Dreamy, fluid, and beautiful, Link pairs the mystery of science fiction with the minor-key melody of a dark fantasy, creating a tale that is as human as it is out of this world.

Link is, in a word, unique. I’m not sure I’ve ever come across a book quite like it. It’s solidly science fiction, but I’ll admit that for the first third (up until a certain scene I can’t talk about because it would spoil it), I did wonder if it wasn’t actually dark fantasy. The truth is, it’s sort of both, crossing and blending the genres in a way that’s wholly original and entirely fascinating.

The thing I love about this one is that it’s not nearly as straight-forward as it seems at a glance. Yes, it is YA, and as such, features the usual teenage angst and romantic sub-plot, but it’s also handled in a way that feels authentic and doesn’t detract from the multi-layered plot that forms around it. Kira approaches her situation with all the acumen and maturity expected of a seventeen-year-old who’s suddenly had everything she’s known ripped away.

Mystery, adventure, and even danger face Kira as she struggles to come to terms not only with the fact that there’s more to the universe than she ever imagined, but also with the truth behind her past and her own identity. Wier manages to keep what is arguably a very personal journey for Kira at the center of the story, weaving an intricate and even somewhat plausible world (as a recent discovery by Stephen Hawking supports) around a framework that is easy to relate to and entirely human. The relationship between Kira and her mom is especially poignant, and something not often seen in YA literature, where absentee parental figures tend to reign.

The first in a trilogy, Link sets the stage for what promises to be an exciting and refreshingly original contribution to the genre. With simplistic prose that is at once lyrical and genuine, Wier paints a splendid, sometimes emotional tale that barely scratches the surface of what her world has to offer. She’s definitely a debut author to keep an eye on, and I, for one, can’t wait for the second installment.

Book Links: Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble