The Hidden Blade by Sherry Thomas

The Heart of Blade Duology, Book One
260 pages
Available Now
Find it on: Amazon, B&N, Goodreads
In the waning days of the last dynasty, in a quiet, beautiful corner of imperial Peking, a young girl's blissful ignorance is shattered when she learns that she is the illegitimate daughter of an English adventurer and a Chinese courtesan. What future is there for such a girl? But a mysterious figure steps forward and offers to instruct her in the highest forms of martial arts--a path to a life of strength and independence.

Half a world away in England, a young boy's idyllic summer on the Sussex downs implodes with the firing of a single bullet. Torn from his family, he becomes the hostage of a urbanely sadistic uncle. He dreams of escaping to find his beloved friend--but the friend is in China, ten thousand miles away.

The girl trains to be deadly. The boy flees across continents. They do not know it yet, but their lives are already inextricably bound together, and will collide one fateful night when they least expect it.

'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon' meets 'Downton Abbey,' this remarkable tale of friendship, danger, and coming of age will stay with you long after you have finished the last page.


My review:

This novel length novella and prequel to My Beautiful Enemy and is a lushly detailed gem. Detailing the backstory for characters Ying-ying and Leighton it creates incredible momentum and desire for readers to immediately need to continue with My Beautiful Enemy. It weaves this incredible story of Leighton in England crossing wits with a cruel uncle set on controlling him, and Ying-ying in Peking secretly training as a martial artist. I cannot wait to get the two characters on the same page and see how this backstory colors their actions and reactions to one an other. Sherry Thomas has delivered another incredible couple, story, making it as Epic as I was hoping for.


EAT-SLEEP-READ: YA Book Club August/September- The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

The Elemental Trilogy, Book One
Available Now!
Publisher: Balzer + Bray//Pages 480
Find it on Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, SDCL
Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's being told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the greatest mage tyrant the world has ever known. A suicide task for anyone let alone a sixteen-year-old girl with no training, facing a prophecy that foretells a fiery clash to the death.

Prince Titus of Elberon has sworn to protect Iolanthe at all costs but he's also a powerful mage committed to obliterating the Bane to revenge the death of his family—even if he must sacrifice both Iolanthe and himself to achieve his goal.

But Titus makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the Bane closing in, he must choose between his mission and her life.

This is the EAT-SLEEP-READ- YA Book Club Selection for August! SDCL Book Club members will get to Skype Chat with Sherry Thomas on September 12, 2014 at 4:00 pm PST. If you are in town this is a must attend event. Order your copy today!

A Quick ReviewA wondrous imaginative and completely uniquely fantastical brain-meltingly wonderful book. I devoured this book in slow meticulous bites, uncovering a deeply thought out world. And none of the world building would matter if not for Titus & Iolanthe being incredible characters. Incredible, nothing else can describe how I think of Titus. Self-sacrificing, powerful, honorable, devious, genius, a liar, incredibly brave, and dreamy. And Iolanthe is pretty awesome too.... She's prickly, independent and that rounds out her otherwise too perfectness- beauty, power, and wickedly smart. This seemingly doomed romance between Iolanthe and Titus is kinetic, and their contencious partnership is constantly in peril of falling apart. The only thing keeping them together is Titus's underhandedness and ruthlessness- he is such a wonderful liar. I LOVED THIS BOOK!


Must Have in 2015: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Coming February 10, 2015
ISBN-13: 978-0062310637
Publisher: HarperTeen // Pages: 400
Find it on Amazon, B&N, Goodreads
Make sure to ask your local library to stock this book!
Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood--those with red and those with silver. Mare and her family are lowly Reds, destined to serve the Silver elite whose supernatural abilities make them nearly gods. Mare steals what she can to help her family survive, but when her best friend is conscripted into the army she gambles everything to win his freedom. A twist of fate leads her to the royal palace itself, where, in front of the king and all his nobles, she discovers a power of her own--an ability she didn't know she had. Except . . . her blood is Red.

To hide this impossibility, the king forces her into the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks her new position to aid the Scarlet Guard--the leaders of a Red rebellion. Her actions put into motion a deadly and violent dance, pitting prince against prince--and Mare against her own heart.

From debut author Victoria Aveyard comes a lush, vivid fantasy series where loyalty and desire can tear you apart and the only certainty is betrayal.


An American Duchess by Sharon Page

Coming 09/30/14
Publisher: Harlequin HQN // Pages: 384
Find it on: Amazon, B&N, Goodreads 
Request your local library to stock this book!
At the height of the Roaring Twenties, New York heiress Zoe Gifford longs for the freedoms promised by the Jazz Age. Headstrong and brazen, but bound by her father's will to marry before she can access his fortune, Zoe arranges for a brief marriage to Sebastian Hazelton, whose aristocratic British family sorely needs a benefactor.

Once in England, her foolproof plan to wed, inherit and divorce proves more complicated than Zoe had anticipated. Nigel Hazelton, Duke of Langford and Sebastian's austere older brother, is disgraced by the arrangement and looks down upon the raucous young American who has taken up residence at crumbling Brideswell Abbey. Still reeling from the Great War, Nigel is now staging a one-man battle against a rapidly changing world—and the outspoken Zoe represents everything he's fighting against. When circumstances compel Zoe to marry Nigel rather than Sebastian, she does so for love, he for honor. But with Nigel unwilling to change with the times, Zoe may be forced to choose between her husband and her dreams.

IB Teen Reviews An American Duchess 

I knew when I read the synopsis for An American Duchess that I was going to be reading something special. A romance that was going to marry my love of Downton Abbey, aviatrices, Mr. Darcy, and Miss Phryne Fisher. I could not wait to curl up in bed and devour this romance!

And from the very start I was not disappointed! Zoe jumped off the page with daring and humor and modernity, while Nigel galloped heroically onto the scene with ice cold cutting disdain and white hot attraction. I was quickly swept up in the Hazelton family and the Brideswell Abbey. Nigel was clearly suffering from PTSD from serving in The Great War and it affected every aspect of his life and family. Zoe came in and brought the Abbey back to life, brought Nigel back to life. Their chemistry was scorching, and their scenes whether they be banter, clashes, dares, or sizzling passion were absolutely addicting. This romance felt epic, the story was so big, and the relationship goes through serious trial and tribulations. I wish this was the start of a series, or that I could reset my brain and read it afresh, but this is a story that should not be missed! Bravo Sharon Page, you have made a fan out of me!


The Girl Who Never Was Tour Stop: Interview with author Skylar Dorset & Review

Romantic, suspenseful, and witty all at once–Alice in Wonderland meets Neverwhere.” –Claudia Gray, New York Times bestselling author of the Evernight series

Otherworld, Book One
Available Now!
ISBN-13: 978-1402292538
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire // Pages: 304
Find it on AmazonB&NGoodreads
THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS is the story of Selkie Stewart, who thinks she’s a totally normal teenager growing up in Boston. Sure, her father is in an insane asylum, her mother left her on his doorstep—literally—when she was a baby, and she’s being raised by two ancient aunts who spend their time hunting gnomes in their Beacon Hill townhouse. But other than that her life is totally normal! She’s got an adventurous best friend who’s always got her back and an unrequited crush on an older boy named Ben. Just like any other teenager, right?

When Selkie goes in search of the mother she’s never known, she gets more than she bargained for. It turns out that her mother is faerie royalty, which would make Selkie a faerie princess—except for the part where her father is an ogre, which makes her only half of anything. Even more confusing, there’s a prophecy that Selkie is going to destroy the tyrannical Seelie Court, which is why her mother actually wants to kill her. Selkie has been kept hidden all her life by her adoring aunts, with the help of a Salem wizard named Will. And Ben. Because the boy she thinks she’s in love with turns out to be a faerie whose enchantment has kept her alive, but also kept her in the dark about her own life.

Now, with enchantments dissolved and prophecies swinging into action, Selkie finds herself on a series of mad quests to save the people she’s always loved and a life she’s learning to love. But in a supernatural world of increasingly complex alliances and distressingly complicated deceptions, it’s so hard to know who to trust. Does her mother really wish to kill her? Would Will sacrifice her for the sake of the prophecy? And does Ben really love her or is it all an elaborate ruse? In order to survive, Selkie realizes that the key is learning—and accepting—who she really is.

Get to know Skylar Dorset:

Skylar’s first story was a tale of romantic intrigue involving two feuding factions of squirrels. Think “Romeo & Juliet” but with bushy tails and added espionage. She was seven.

Since that time, Skylar’s head has been filled with lots of characters and lots of drama. She is delighted to be able to share some of it with all of you now, because, honestly, it was getting pretty loud and crowded in there.

Skylar is a born-and-bred New Englander, which is why Boston was a natural setting for her debut novel, THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS. Skylar shares her home with a cardboard cutout of the Tenth Doctor, lots of Mardi Gras beads from the time she spent living in New Orleans, and a harp she’s supposed to be teaching herself to play. She’d like to get a dog.

Facebook     Tumblr     Twitter   pinterest  

IB Teen chats with The Girl Who Never Was author Skylar Dorset: *In which I reveal my obsession with a particular Goblin...

*This question contains SPOILERS-
IBT: In Selkie’s mind Ben was her unspoken quasi-boyfriend, or at least her imaginary unrequited true love. Can you tell us did Ben consider Selkie his girl from the very start?

SD: No. That crept up on him. He considered her his responsibility from the very start. He didn’t expect to feel as affectionately toward her as he ended up doing. It caught him completely by surprise when he realized it. (In fact, he was in denial about it for a very long time. It was Will who really had to point it out to him.)

IBT: Mothers are a huge theme in Girl Who Never Was- specifically absentee mothers and the children who will go to any length to reconnect with them. What was it about Selkie and Ben that make them look for who they are by seeking their mothers out?

SD: I think for both of them the search for their mothers is part of a larger search for who they are in general. Where Selkie is concerned, no one ever talks to her about her mother, she knows almost nothing about her, she is an enormous black hole of non-information. And Selkie feels like she doesn’t have much of an idea of who she is, and thinks that’s because she doesn’t know her mother. It becomes almost a matter of convenience for her: I’ll know what to do with my life if I can just find my mother; she’ll have all the answers. Selkie turns out to be right about that in one way but very wrong about that in another way. I like to think that what Selkie has to learn is that she already knows who she is, she always did, that knowing who you are does NOT mean having all the answers and in fact really means accepting that you never will. 

Ben has almost the opposite problem of Selkie: He’s talked to about his mother constantly. I think Will has a line about how Ben is “relentlessly compared” to his mother (and if Will doesn’t, he should, or he did, or something). So Ben never knew his mother but he *feels* like he knows her, and he feels like he knows he will never measure up to the myth of her. Ben defines himself by this unknown figure everyone keeps telling him about, and the idea of getting to *meet* this figure basically rocks his world. And it’s part of Ben’s journey to learn the same lesson Selkie learns, just from the opposite direction: Who you are isn’t a matter of who anyone else is. 

IBT: Fathers were also a significant theme. Selkie’s father is a loving parent, but they are kept apart- literally and figuratively- by his mental illness. Ben’s father resides in a different realm, and is currently “personifying a rat”. Both father figures are unconventional to say the least. Why did you put so many barriers between parent and child?

SD: This is one of those situations where you realize as an author that a lot of YOU is showing. I actually have a very large, very close family. So I wrote entirely about characters who *don’t* have that, mostly because I wanted to explore that. Who would I be without my family? Well, who are Selkie and Ben? The answer is: They’re themselves. In a way, I used this book to teach myself the same lesson I taught Selkie and Ben: who we are is who we are, whether your family is large or small, whether you have a few very close friends or you’re a social butterfly. 

*This question contains SPOILERS-
IBT: The prophecy regarding Ben- in which he is foretold to betray Selkie, and then die soon thereafter- has he set it in motion by leaving the group? Leaving Selkie? 

SDAh, you’ve hit upon the central conflict of THE BOY WITH THE HIDDEN NAME! Selkie certainly thinks so. But Ben would disagree. And what, after all, does the prophecy really say? STAY TUNED. 

*This question contains SPOILERS-
IBT: Isn’t it fair to say that Ben was betrayed by Selkie and Will when they kept news of Ben’s mother from him? They omitted the information to serve their own goals. At that point the trust was broken. Why is it then a “betrayal” for Ben to leave? Sure I don’t want him to separate from the group- that means I won’t see him on the page- but isn’t it understandable, even if it is selfish?

SD: The decisions people make on behalf of the people they love are always tricky and complicated and difficult to categorize (which is, incidentally, why prophecies are so maddeningly impossible to untangle: What does “betray” mean, after all?). I really wanted, with Ben’s decision at the end of the book, to leave the reader in exactly the position you’re in: You can understand why Selkie begs him not to leave, but you can also understand why Ben felt like he had to. I wanted you to be split. I didn’t want either one of them to be entirely *right* in how they were behaving (just as I didn’t want either one of them to be entirely *wrong*). Because they’re in a messy situation and there really is no right or wrong. Will and later Selkie keep the knowledge about Ben’s mother from him partly out of protectiveness, partly out of caution, partly out of helplessness. If they’d told him sooner, would Ben have left sooner? Would the prophecy have fallen apart sooner? All questions for THE BOY WITH THE HIDDEN NAME, but, honestly, all questions that are almost impossible to answer, because worlds with prophecies can actually be harder to navigate than worlds where you never have any idea what’s coming. 

IBT: I’m extremely curious about those gorgeous Goblins. Hello! Will we meet Tall-Dark-and-Smoldering-Handsome Crown wearing Goblin in the Library? He jumped off the page with a mere mention. (But also they were the tool the Seelie’s used in the genocide of the Travelers- so maybe I shouldn’t be so eager?) Help! Are Goblins good bad-boys or bad bad-boys?
Available December 2, 2014

SD: Goblins are, like all truly excellent characters, a little bit of both. You will indeed meet Tall-Dark-and-Smoldering-Handsome Crown wearing Goblin in the Library in THE BOY WITH THE HIDDEN NAME. In fact, you’ll be spending a lot of time with him. Hopefully you’ll continue to love him. Come back to me after THE BOY WITH THE HIDDEN NAME comes out, and we’ll chat a ton about him. ;-)

IBT: If Selkie’s “superpower” is for Naming things and people, could she Name someone back into existence after they’ve been named by a Seelie and drifted?

SD: Unfortunately, naming doesn’t work that way. She can name someone and improve their condition, but once they’ve been named out of existence, they’ve become irretrievable. 

As far as *naming* is concerned. 


IBT: Are gnomes really moving Aunt True & Aunt Virtue’s possessions by inches at a time?

SD: Hahaha! This is one of my favorite central unresolved questions of the books. I leave it up to the reader, but in my head: Yes. They are. They’re very pesky, those gnomes!

IBTWill is quite the Lothario, is it that Wizard’s by nature are rather romantic, or is it specific to Will? He seems to leave a trail of broken hearts wherever he goes.

SD: Nope, that’s specific to Will. Most wizards are actually loners by nature, secretive and combative. They don’t make friends or build alliances easily. Will, however, craves friends. He’s prone to loneliness and is constantly trying to surround himself with people. He’s also a severe romantic, as you note. He falls in love easily and passionately and he means every minute of it. Although he also falls out of love just as easily. While it’s true that he leaves a trail of broken hearts, he doesn’t mean to do it in a malicious way; he just doesn’t understand why everyone else doesn’t fall in and out of love as easily as he does. 

IBT: Is redemption or reconciliation for Selkie and her Mother possible?

SD: I like to live in a world where redemption and reconciliation are always possible, and nothing is ever hopeless. But what does all that mean for the prophecy??

IBT: Thanks Skylar! I cannot wait for THE BOY WITH THE HIDDEN NAME! I have sooo many more questions about what happens next!

IB Teen reviews Girl Who Never Was and Girl Who Kissed a Lie:

Beautifully written, lushly detailed, fantastical first book to a wonderful new series!

The Girl Who Never was goes deep into the imagination to bring us an action packed tale full of quests, romance, and the search for identity. Selkie Stewart is determined to find the mother she never new, and in doing so completely unravels the fabric of her reality. Enter in Faeries, Goblins, Wizards and intricately woven new worlds. Fantasy and romance readers should run, not walk to get your hands on this delicious book.

I usually don't love faerie stories. Faeries tend to be scarily powerful, but with rules so convoluted and nonsensical- plus faeries keep too many secrets. And while GWNW has all of that, it is enriched by vividly realized storytelling. Colors, locations, characters are all brought to life with almost tangible detail. The quirkiness of the characters is terribly endearing with the added bonus of serving a purpose. There is a reason that Selkie is a bit of a magpie, she picks up the oddest bits and puts them in her pocket, "Just in case". And there always is. There's a reason why Ben is covered in odd layers at all times. There's  a reason why Aunt True & Aunt Virtue are constantly paranoid & complain about gnomes. There is a for Selkie Father's madness.

Within the pages of this book, and Girl Who Kissed a Lie, you'll find a human bestfriend in Kelsey. If you haven't yet read the FREE novella "Girl Who Kissed a Lie", then do so immediately. DO it so that you may:

A: feel the full power of Kelsey's AMAZINGNESS as a bestie. 
B: Feel the Ben love and tension between him and Selkie all the more acutely.
"...Ben is- I think- older than me in a way that always makes me feel very young, but I don't think he does it on purpose, the way college guys do when we cross paths on the T ...  Ben is effortlessly older than me."
"...I don't even remember having to tell Ben my name, why should I have to tell him that we're kind of dating, even if he doesn't know it and has never kissed me? He should just know." --Selkie about Ben.

Ben. He's weird, secretive, beyond mysterious, bossy, and loathes getting wet- but he is WONDERFUL. This lovely and trembling imaginary love affair Selkie has going on in her head with Ben, the older guy who is all hers (meaning she doesn't tell anyone about him) is EPIC- and seemingly unrequited. Seemingly. Yet Ben acts so peremptorily towards Selkie, not always overtly, but he is accustomed to a certain dynamic between them, and it throws him when Selkie deviates from their relationship pattern. It's confusing to her, and intoxicating, and completely 
empathetical because we have all at one time in our lives been the Queen of our own all consuming and completely imaginary love affair. Anyway, at least it begins all in her imagination.
" 'Selkie,' he bites out, "I am the only thing that has ever made your life make sense. Do you trust me?"..."But I need you now, just for a minute more, just the way you usually do, and come with me." --Ben to Selkie.
Adventure, romance, intrigue, quests, impossible tasks, terrible Mothers, torture, Kisses, sexy Goblins, player Wizards, paranoid ogres, lunatic fathers, time is not time, and reality which is not reality, evil Seelie Faeries, and more mythical creatures than I can list. What is not to love?

My reactions for Girl Who Never Was:

My reactions for Girl Who Kissed a Lie:


Cover Revealed: IGNITE by Sara B. Larson

A Defy Novel, Book Two
Coming January 06, 2014
ISBN-13: 978-0545644747
Publisher: Scholastic Press 
Pages: 304
Find it on Amazon, Goodreads

Murder, abductions, and forbidden romance abound in this thrilling sequel to Sara B. Larson's acclaimed YA debut, DEFY.

Alexa remains by the newly crowned King Damian’s side as his guard, ever committed to helping him rebuild Antion and reclaim the hope of Antion's people, despite continuing to harbor a secret love for him. However, when another threat to Damian and his kingdom emerges, and blame is cast on their newly forged allies from Blevon, Alexa knows things are not what they seem. With the fate of her nation hanging in the balance once again, will Alexa be able to protect her king and uncover the true enemy -- before it's too late?


Cover Revealed: Endsinger by Jay Kristoff

The Lotus War Trilogy, Book Three
Coming 09/23/14
ISBN-13: 978-1250001429
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books // Pages: 464
The flames of civil war sweep across the Shima Imperium. With their plans to renew the Kazumitsu dynasty foiled, the Lotus Guild unleash their deadliest creation—a mechanical goliath known as the Earthcrusher, intended to unite the shattered Empire under a yoke of fear. With the Tiger Clan and their puppet Daimyo Hiro in tow, the Guild marches toward a battle for absolute dominion over the Isles.

Yukiko and Buruu are forced to take leadership of the Kagé rebellion, gathering new allies and old friends in an effort to unite the country against the chi-mongers. But the ghosts of Buruu’s past stand between them and the army they need, and Kin’s betrayal has destroyed all trust among their allies. When a new foe joins the war tearing the Imperium apart, it will be all the pair can do to muster the strength to fight, let alone win.

The traitor Kin walks the halls of Guild power, his destiny only a bloody knife-stroke away. Hana and Yoshi struggle to find their place in a world now looking to them as heroes. Secret cabals within the Lotus Guild claw and struggle; one toward darkness, the other toward light. And as the earth splits asunder, as armies destroy each other for rule over an empire of lifeless ash and the final secret about blood lotus is revealed, the people of Shima will learn one last, horrifying truth.
There is nothing a mother won’t do to keep her children by her side.

There is a massive giveaway connected to this cover reveal, read up on the details and learn how to enter at Mr. Kristoff's blog.


Cover Revealed: A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

Firebird, Book One
Coming 11/04/14
ISBN-13: 978-0062278968
Publisher: Harper Teen // Pages: 368
Find it on AmazonB&NGoodreads
Every Day meets Cloud Atlas in this heart-racing, space- and time-bending, epic new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray.

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.

Claudia Gray’s CAN’T GET NEXT TO YOU, the first book in the Firebird trilogy, about a girl who must pursue a killer through alternate realities where she sees all the radically different lives she might have led, and realizes her target may be far more than the cold-hearted murderer she’d believed him to be.


Cover Revealed: This Shattered World by Aime Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Starbound, Book Two
Coming 12/23/14
ISBN13: 9781423171034
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion // Pages: 400
The second installment in our epic Starbound trilogy introduces a new pair of star-crossed lovers on two sides of a bloody war. 

"...but to tide you over, look for a Starbound e-short, called This Night So Dark, coming Oct. 7."-- from USA Today.

Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met.

Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet's rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents.

Rebellion is in Flynn's blood. His sister died in the original uprising against the powerful corporate conglomerate that rules Avon with an iron fist. These corporations make their fortune by terraforming uninhabitable planets across the universe and recruiting colonists to make the planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion.

Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelenting war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war.

As Flynn and Lee attempt to uncover the truth about Avon, they realize that there is a conspiracy on the planet that runs deeper than either of them could imagine, one that Lee's former commander, Tarver Merendsen, only scratched the surface of two years ago.

The stunning second novel in the Starbound trilogy is an unforgettable story of love and forgiveness in a world torn apart by war.

THIS SHATTERED WORLD is a companion novel, set in the same galaxy as book one in the Starbound Trilogy. Six months after the events of THESE BROKEN STARS, the second book in the trilogy follows a new pair of star-crossed lovers—one a rebel fighting for his home, the other a soldier, her mission to eradicate the rebellion—facing down a powerful darkness hidden in the wilderness of a newly terraformed world.
THE STARBOUND TRILOGY:Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy."Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner's WRECKED (series), pitched as Titanic in outer space, in which a wealthy teen socialite (Lilac Laroux) and a young war hero crash land on an uncharted planet after their flagship spaceliner goes down mid-voyage, forcing them to confront harsh conditions, otherworldly incidents, and their own mutual attraction." --from Publishers Marketplace.
(Previously Listed as REBELLION)


Must Watch! Girl Who Never Was Book Trailer- surprise at the end...

I'm totally freaking out at the sneak peek of the cover for Boy With the Hidden Name!!!


Invasion: A Sequel to The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze- now available...

The Last Princess, Book Two
by Galaxy Craze
Publisher: Alloy Entertainment
Pages: 200
Find it on Amazon Kindle, B&N NookiTunes, Not yet available at SDCL 

After defeating Cornelius Hollister—the man who killed her parents and tried to destroy her country—Princess Eliza Windsor wants nothing more than to live quietly with Wesley, the boy she loves. It’s been ten years since the Seventeen Days, the series of disasters that decimated the earth. England was the only country to survive—or so they thought.

Others survived the Seventeen Days, and soon England is engulfed in suffering and bloodshed once again. Eliza and Mary become prisoners in their own home. To save her country, Eliza will have to rely upon all her inner strength—and learn to trust where she least expects it.

In the sequel to The Last Princess, Galaxy Craze has written another darkly atmospheric tale of adventure, suspense, and the unbreakable power of true love.

2012's THE LAST PRINCESS was an amazing book that not that many people know about. But if you've read it, odds are you've been begging the publishing Gods for the sequel. Apparently, it was happening and there were red herrings all over the place about INVASION. But the publication date came and went and fans hadn't seen a synopsis or a leaked cover. Nothing. Until I just kept digging, I finally found it ALREADY available on iTunes, that lead me to Amazon Kindle and it seemed that with practically ZERO hype, Invasion was published on April 9, 2014. A bit bitter that there seemingly NO fanfare, I'm just grateful it's here, and I'm off to read it. Ta!


Cover Revealed: Dead of Winter by Kresley Cole

The Arcana Chronicles, Book Three
Coming 01/06/15
ISBN-13: 978-1481423458
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BYR // Pages: 336
Find it on AmazonGoodreads
Can Evie convince her rival loves to work together? Their survival depends on it in this third book of #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole’s Arcana Chronicles, a nonstop action tale of rescue, redemption, and a revenge most wicked.

Heartbreaking decisions 
Evie was almost seduced by the life of comfort that Death offered her—until Jack was threatened by two of the most horrific Arcana, The Lovers. She will do anything to save him, even escape Death’s uncanny prison, full of beautiful objects, material comforts…and stolen glances from a former love.

Uncertain victory
Despite leaving a part of her heart behind with Death, Evie sets out into a frozen and perilous post-apocalyptic wasteland to meet up with her allies and launch an attack on The Lovers and the vast army they command. Such formidable enemies require a battle plan, and the only way to kill them once and for all may mean Evie, Jack, and Death allying. Evie doesn’t know what will prove more impossible: surviving slavers, plague, Bagmen and other Arcana—or convincing Jack and Death to work together.

Two heroes returned
There’s a thin line between love and hate, and Evie just doesn’t know where she stands with either Jack or Death. Will this unlikely trio be able to defeat The Lovers without killing one another first?

Catch up with the first two books in the series: Poison Princess & Endless Knight! Order them from SDCL here.


Wizard's Promise Blog Tour Stop: Q&A with Cassandra Rose Clarke!

The Hannah Duology, Book One
Cover by Sarah J Coleman
ISBN-13: 978-1908844743
Publisher: Strange Chemistry // Pages: 336
Hanna has spent her life hearing about the adventures of her namesake Ananna, the lady pirate, and assassin Naji. She dreams of the same adventures, but little does she know she is about to tumble into one of her own. Hanna is apprenticed to a taciturn fisherman called Kolur, and, during a day of storms and darkness, are swept wildly off course. 

In this strange new land, Kolur hires a stranger to join the crew and, rather than heading home, sets a course for the dangerous island of Jadanvar. As Hanna meets a secretive merboy, and learns that Kolur has a deadly past, she soon realises that wishing for adventures is a dangerous game - because those wishes might come true.

"I was picking ice berries for Mama’s start-of-spring cake when a spark of magic smacked me in the side of the head. My basket hit the ground and berries rolled out over the mud, and I scowled at the little trail of amber light darting back and forth through the air...Read more.

Cassandra Rose Clarke lives in Houston, where she writes and teaches composition at a local college. She holds an M.A. in creative writing from The University of Texas at Austin, and in 2010 she attended the Clarion West Writer’s Workshop in Seattle. Her work has been nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award and YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults. Her latest novel is the YA adventure fantasy The Wizard’s Promise.

Here are some fun facts about her:
Favorite movies: Aliens, Ghost World, The Big Lebowski, The Royal Tenenbaums, and 2046. Favorite books: The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline L'engle. Among her favorite TV shows includes Freak & Geek, Mad Men, Star Trek Next Gen, and the Twilight Zone.

  Facebook     Tumblr     Twitter 

IB Teen chats with The Wizard's Promise author Cassandra Rose Clarke:*In which I reveal that I am still much too obsessed with Naji of the Jadorr'a:

More awesome artwork by Sarah J. Coleman

IBT: When we first met Ananna in Assassin’s Curse, she had already led a life of adventure on her parents’ ship and been in many dangerous situations as a Pirate of the Confederation. At the start of Wizard’s Promise Hannah could not be more opposite, her greatest adventure seemed to have been getting bored on Kolur’s fishing boat. How different was it writing Ananna taking on an adventure with Naji, vs. Hannah kidnapped by her mentor and having to figure out everything on her own- for her first ever- and extremely perilous- adventure? 

CRC: I’m glad you noticed those differences because I actually put them in the book on purpose! I didn’t want to completely rehash Ananna’s character with this story, since I didn’t want to make it seem as if she were being replaced in some way. So Hanna is a much different character than Ananna, although she does admire her and look up to her.

In terms of actually writing the two books—it’s funny, because there really wasn’t much difference for me, as the writer. In both cases the characters sort of led me in the directions they needed to go. I mean, both of them are using adventure as a way to find themselves, but they come from such wildly different backgrounds, with wildly different experiences, that those adventures are going to manifest accordingly. So Ananna is going to take all that peril in stride—she’s used to it—whereas Hanna is going to see it as adventuring not being all it’s cracked up to be.

IBT: Wizard’s Promise is very much Hannah’s book, and isn’t really a GUY, and Isolfr isn’t physically in the story very much and is still cloaked in a lot of mystery. Is a romance for Hannah important to the story?

CRC: Romance was definitely on the back burner for this book. I wanted to focus more on friendship and trust—the fact that Hanna can’t trust Frida and Kolur, that Isolfr wants her to trust him but doesn’t make it easy, that she befriends Asbera and Finnur when she finally strikes out on her own. That said, romance is going to be more prevalent in the sequel, but it’s still coming from that basis of friendship.

IBT: Let’s pretend that Hannah is able to go the “In Between Place” & call forth a young Ananna to ask her for advice (although I do realize that that is not a possibility). What bit of wisdom or words of encouragement would Hannah want from her hero? And would a teenaged Ananna be able to give Hannah what she’s looking for?

CRC: Actually, that possibility isn’t as far removed as you might think—but that’s a spoiler for the sequel, The Nobleman’s Revenge :)

I do think that Hanna and teenage Ananna would share a rapport, though. Hanna would definitely fangirl Ananna big time, and Ananna would find it alarming at first and then, once she got used to it, amusing. 

In terms of advice, I think Hanna would want to know if it’s possible for her to get away from the expectations of her parents and do what is she wants. That’s Hanna’s big driving force at the start of the story, and she would have seen Ananna as having done just that. Would Ananna have given her practical advice? Eh… maybe? I’d like to think she’d try, but something tells me teenage Ananna would have a hard time wrapping her mind around the idea that Hanna couldn’t just run away from those expectations like she did.

IBT: Both of your heroines Hannah and Ananna seem to be similarly untrained when it came to their magic. Both characters seem to thrive when placed in peril. For Ananna love brought out her most powerful magic- powerful enough to defeat a Mists Lord! And I’m wondering how much a more personal and emotional investment would affect Hannah’s power? 

CRC: Hmmn, that’s an interesting question! Ananna’s relationship to magic was always a bit tenuous. She wasn’t especially interested in it, largely because she didn’t think she could do it. With her, she needed that extra boost—her love for Naji—to gain the confidence to work her magic. Hanna, on the other hand, already has a natural tendency for enchantment. She practices on her own, and she actively wants to train as a witch. So she doesn’t need that personal boost to find her magical strength as much as she needs the opportunity to prove that she has the capability.

*This question contains spoilers-

IBT: Where does the title for The Wizard’s Promise come from?
  • The broken promise of Kolur to the Queen of Jandanvar?

  • Hannah’s promise to Isolfr to help him defeat Lord Foxfollow (although she’s a witch not a wizard so that can’t be it!).
  • Isolfr’s promise to get Hannah home at the end of their quest (assuming they survive).
  • None of the above & I missed a major plot point?
CRC: It’s definitely A. Originally the novel was called The Fisherman’s Promise, as a reference to the fact that the entire impetus of the adventure was Kolur setting out to right his broken promise to the Queen of Jandanvar, like you said. That promise is what gets Hanna swept up in adventure in the first place! However, my publisher thought that a fisherman’s promise lacked the drama of an assassin’s curse or a pirate’s wish, so we changed it.

IBT: How much magic theory have you worked out for the sake of continuity? Do you have rules to give it structure- or do you just let your imagination go nuts?

CRC: Mostly the latter, although I do have a few basic rules to help with continuity issues— magic is a form of transformation, there are different types of elemental magic, too much magic can be dangerous, and so on. For me, though, the real fun of magic is in its unearthliness. I’ve never been fond of overly-rigorous magic systems that feel like science. I want my magic to mysterious and strange and only partially understandable.IBT: How do you write the action sequences? There are so many things to keep track of, keeping the pace so quick, and still keeping it clear and detailed.

CRC: Action sequences are actually really hard for me to write, and I think there are two things that help make them good. The first is practice. I have a tendency to want to gloss over action sequences, but by forcing myself to write them I started to get the hang of it. The second thing is to try and experience them, too. Action sequences are very cinematic, and their natural medium really is film. If you can play the action scene out in your head like a movie, that can help you get a stronger sense of it. But because books <i>aren’t</i> movies, you still have to translate that to the page. I tend to focus on sensory perceptions (ie, what does the POV character feel right now? Smell? Hear?). If you focus just on sight—which I think is a problem with action scenes, due to their cinematic nature—the scene can fall flat, because it’s trying to emulate a movie without actually being a movie.

*This question contains mild spoilers- but I beg you to indulge me!

IBT: Naji was a Jadorr’a and Kolur was trained at the Undimian Citadels. In WP you wrote that training on the Undimian Sea “put him [Kolur] in a very special class of wizards indeed”. I feel like Naji was the bigger badass, but I wish you would be able to make me feel better by confirming that Naji was the stronger wizard. Or is it comparing apples and oranges? Naji’s power came from death & Kolur’s from the sea and that is what the difference was? Oh well, let me cut to the chase, Naji could wipe the floor with Kolur- right!?

CRC: Haha, this is the best question. I tend to think in a fight between Naji and Kolur, Naji would win. Kolur is a highly talented wizard (when he wants to be), but that’s all he can do. He’s a special class of wizard—but that’s just in terms of his prowess with magic. Naji, on the other hand, is a trained assassin. In addition to being a magician as skillful and as educated as Kolur, he also knows how to fight and track targets. Also, blood magic is one of the stronger types of magic in this world, due to the fact that it requires a sacrifice. Kolur just doesn’t have as much going for him.

IBT: And lastly, I am obsessed with fantasy series cartography, will there be a map included in the book or on your website? I know we have the map from Assassin’s Curse duology, but Wizard’s Promise cover so many new landscapes!

CRC: As of right now, I haven’t heard any plans from Strange Chemistry for an official map. However, I had a lot of fun drawing The Assassin’s Curse duology map, so I’m sure I’ll squeeze in time drawing one for The Wizard’s Promise!

IBT: Thank you so much Cassandra! Cannot wait for The Nobleman's Revenge.

My Review of Wizard's Promise:

So what should a reader expect from Wizard’s Promise? Readers can expect Cassandra Rose Clarke to deliver another atmospheric movie for their minds. What absolutely sings off the pages are the breathtakingingly realized world that fans have come to love and expect. Readers will get to know new locations, new cultures, new spells, and powers in the magic system created in The Assassin’s Curse duology.  If Assassin’s Curse was a quest driven action duology, then so far Wizard’s Promise has been a fantastical mystery. There are definitely more questions than answers by the end of the book. Ms. Clarke has readers so wound up with needing-to-know that Nobleman’s Revenge had better be rampage of reveals!

One of the mysteries that readers will be anxious for Clarke to shed more light on is the uber elusive Islofr. It seems like some kind of magic may be preventing Isolfr from being unable to do more than try to put all his feeling- frustration, desperation, hope, and fear- into begging Hannah for HELP. On the other hand the Mists (or Otherworld as you may remember Naji referring to it) have revealed themselves in Wizard’s Promise. They are finally the main antagonists in the story, and that mysterious Mists Lord in Pirate’s Wish is back with a vengeance! Lord Foxhollow won’t let anything or anyone get in the way of his plans- he is absolutely ruthless.

Real Modern-day European pagan ritual festival participants that helped inspire C.R.Clarke! 
Wizard’s Promise is very much Hannah’s story, she carries the whole book. The book can be separated into parts:

·         Hannah bored and wants adventure and to be formally trained as a witch. She craves a life like her namesake.

·         Hannah is angry! She NEEDS answers- but good luck because NO ONE will be helpful with this one.
·         Hannah’s fishing.
·         Hannah’s doing some major magic that’s really really cool.

Hannah and everyone around her are constantly in the middle of a chaotic and lethal situation, or there is this ominous feeling that at any moment the Mists are going to catch up to them.  It was fun to compare how Hannah and Annana both went on journeys of self discovery in very different ways. Annana had made a conscious choice to put her life in danger by running away from her arranged marriage, and also in choosing to help the assassin sent to kill her. Hannah had absolutely no say in being taken into the North & getting involved in trouble with The Mists. But she eventually comes to the decision to help Isolfr after seeing that Lord Foxhollow was never going to stop until everyone in his way was dead.

Hannah is learning to believe in her abilities as a witch, to trust her instincts while on a true trial by fire adventure. She is finding that she can persevere despite the obfuscation of her companions. There is still a lot of mystery surrounding Isolfr, Frida, and I know in my bones that Kolur is still keeping some terrible secret that going to just deepen the stakes involved. There are some really EXCITING things to look forward to in Nobleman’s Revenge; ramping up on the romance between Hannah and Islofr, you know that they will be kicking butt with magic, AND according to Cassandra Rose Clarke HERSELF Annana and Naji make some sort of cameo in Nobleman’s Revenge. In what form this will be:  dream, an Obi-Wan-esque. spiritual visit, or physical presence (likely not) - I’m sure it’ll be tiny and torturous. Bring on the pain Cassandra!