December 15, 2017

Making the Cover: "Wakefield" 2.0 by Erin Callahan & Troy H. Gardner

Hello lovelies!

I'm treating you to something different today. Not quite your classic cover reveal, but the illustrated story of how a concept is made into a cover. Cool, uh? 😃

 
Before we start, a short recap is due. In 2013, I received a review copy of Wakefield from the very hands of authors Erin Callahan and Troy H. Gardner. To cut a long story short, since then we have developed a great author/blogger relationship. I reviewed the three collaborative books they have put forth so far (after Wakefield, the sequels Tunnelville and Perfection), beta-read for both of them, and cheerleaded like a champion at every step of their writing journey. The books Erin and Troy co-authored are the first half of the Mad World double trilogy, originally published by a small press. After Book 3 came out - that is, in June 2013 - the two of them have been working at refining their craft, while also tending to their individual projects. Now, since the rights for the first three installments were reverted to them, Erin and Troy have decided to go indie, and are ready to kick off Wakefield, Tunnelville and Perfection again, before they start publishing the second half of the series. This involves a whole rebrand, of course, starting with the covers. Troy is the one in charge of them, and today on the blog he kindly shares his creative process in a Wakefield making-the-cover post. (Note: Wakefield 2.0 is scheduled for Dec. 22nd, as an ebook for now, with a paperback edition coming soon - so keep your eyes peeled!). Here goes...(...P.S.: watch the very end of the post for Wakefield new blurb, along with a preorder link!).

December 12, 2017

Edward Aubry: "Mayhem's Children" (ARC Review)

Title: Mayhem's Children [on Amazon: from Dec. 19th | on Goodreads]
Series: Mayhem Wave (3rd of 5 books)
Author: Edward Aubry [Facebook | Goodreads]
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Year: 2017
Age: 14+ (note: Book 1 was marketed as a YA/NA crossover. The series is progressively becoming more mature, but I would say that Book 3 covers all the spectrum from teen to adult. NA will do - especially since one of the leads is 23)
Stars: 4.5/5
Pros: As in Book 1 and 2, quirky and audacious blend of post-apocalypse, technology and magic. Characters who are easy to empathise with. Never a dull moment.
Cons: The blend I mentioned might not work for everyone - and it's even more audacious here than before.
WARNING! Some gore and mature themes. There's talk of sex, but only some kissing on screen.
Will appeal to: Those who like imaginative worlds, lots of twists and turns, strong female characters and enemies-to-lovers F/F romances. Those who are looking for a fresh approach to post-apocalypse.

Blurb: Eight years have passed since the Mayhem Wave forever altered the world to a blend of science and magic, and since Harrison Cody rescued twenty-eight teenage girls from human traffickers. Now they are disappearing - but Harrison did not just rescue them from villains those many years ago, he also adopted them, and that relationship holds the key to the true nature of their present danger. Dorothy O’Neill, another of Harrison’s adopted daughters, though from very different circumstances, has taken five-year-old Melody, Harrison’s only child by blood, under her wing. As the missing persons crisis intensifies, Dorothy discovers she and Melody are targets as well. Separated by hundreds of miles, and with no means of communication, Harrison and Dorothy become entangled in the schemes of a monster who hopes to alter the world once again at the cost of all they hold dear. And as Dorothy finds an inner strength and new abilities she never dreamed of possessing, she comes to suspect Melody may be something more than she appears. (Goodreads excerpt)

Review: First off...DISCLAIMER: I have been talking to the author on a few occasions since reviewing his previous titles, Unhappenings, Prelude to Mayhem and Static Mayhem - which I rated 4 stars. Moreover, I am a semi-regular reviewer of Curiosity Quills titles (like this one), but if you look back at my ratings, this never prevented me from being unbiased.
 
DOUBLE THE TROUBLE (AND THEN SOME)

Mayhem Wave is a complex series, what with interweaving futuristic technology and old-but-not-plain magic, plus constantly pulling the rug from under our feet with its unexpected twists and turns. All the same, the author rides the monster without a flinch. With this installment in particular, sometimes I felt like I was watching a Doctor Who episode, only with a side of magic (maybe a Twelfth Doctor one, in which you never know where things are going) - and if you know me, this is meant as a huge compliment 😀 (BTW, the Doctor is even mentioned in one of the very first chapters!). The stakes are very high here: on one hand we have the disappearance of Harrison's adopted daughters, on the other an impending danger that might annihilate the post-Mayhem Wave world. All the characters are tested, pushed to their limits, and sometimes even fooled. Humans and not (a pixie and a ghost among them) are always challenged, and must put to use every single gift they possess, in what is, for all purposes, a teamwork (though there are a few tense and/or funny moments among the team members along the way). I must admit that a bit of the science behind the Mayhemsphere went to my head, but nevertheless, the danger(s) and the twists felt very real and were a blast to read about. Not to mention, I was caught completely off-guard by the final twist on the villain's motive. [...]

December 08, 2017

Author Interview: C.W. Snyder ("Child of Nod")

Hello my darlings!
My guest today is C.W. Snyder, author of The Balance series (in progress). After reading his debut book Child of Nod, I reached out to him on Twitter with an interview proposal, which he graciously accepted. But before we get to know him (and his dreams 😉) a little better, here's a spotlight on his first book...

Title: Child of Nod
Series: The Balance (3 books)
Author: C.W. Snyder
Genres: Afterlife, Fantasy, Mythology
Year: 2017
Age: 14+
Child of Nod on Amazon | on Goodreads

Blurb: Alice wakes one day to find herself on the other side of death, in the corrupted fairy tale land of Nod. Unable to remember much of the events leading to her demise, she sets out on a journey to discover her memory and the reason for her presence in Nod. Unknown to her, the man responsible for her death, Jack, is on a mission to find her spirit and end her second life.
Alice takes flight, only to find herself drawn into the lives of those around her and the mystery permeating that place. From the humble streets of Elysium to the mirrored spires of Memoria, her journey takes her on a path that leads to a decision that will affect the fate of Nod.
Along the way, she meets a cast of characters that include a madman with a dark secret, her faithful companion, Dog, and woman made of memory. Together, they help her on her journey as she uncovers the truth of Nod and the woman behind it all, the Red Queen. (Amazon)

Interview: So, first off, thank you Clayton for agreeing to a Q&A session on Offbeat YA! Would you like to introduce yourself?

In my day job, I'm the systems admin for a small business. After work, I write, because I'm not quite at the 'people are throwing money at me' stage of my career yet. I have two dogs, I'm married, live in North Dakota, and occasionally pick up a guitar and play it badly. In the meantime, I've published a few short stories, and I'm the author of The Balance series, the first of which is Child of Nod. [...]