Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Release Day Blitz: Shadow Reaper by Amos Cassidy

Really looking forward to reading Shadow Reaper by Amos Cassidy, so it's great to be taking part in today's release day blitz for it!



Summary:
Only the bravest go over the Horizon...

Twenty years ago the barriers between worlds came down and our reality was swallowed up by the Shadowlands. Now we scavenge to survive, until one day there’s nothing left to reap. Starvation is around the corner, but I’m not the roll over and wait-to-die kinda girl. Nope, I’m going further than anyone has ever been and returned to tell the tale. I’m going into the Beyond, and I’m not coming back without a solution.

Dark urban fantasy with a post-apocalyptic twist.

Information about the Book

Title: Shadow Reaper
Author: Amos Cassidy
Release Date: 13th September 2016
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Kindle Press
Format: Ebook


Author Information



Amos Cassidy is the pen name for Richard Amos and Debbie Cassidy. Amos is a 31 year old Diva and Cassidy a 39 year old mother of three; well, four if you include the husband. A common love of all things Joss Whedon, Urban Fantasy, and a tug of war over Jensen Ackles, brought them together, and one cold February afternoon, over nibbles and coffee, their partnership was born. 

You can find Cassidy hard at work in her fortress of solitude which has eaten up the majority of her garden, and Amos...well he's still trying to get the invisibility gizmo he got off a friendly alien in exchange for a pair of earphones to work. Funnily enough he hasn't been seen around much lately...

Frequent doses of sugary snacks, coupled with regular injections of caffeine aid in their production of a unique brand of cross genre tales. They are always writing, but are happy to take a break to chat to their wonderful readers, so drop them a line at
amoscassidy@yahoo.co.uk, or just pop over to see what they're working on at amoscassidyauthor.com and they'll bust out the biscuit tin.


 

Sunday, 11 September 2016

YA Shot Blog Tour: Jane Hardstaff on Feeling Your Way


I'm looking forward to the upcoming YA Shot festival,  so I'm really happy to be on the blog tour today hosting Jane Hardstaff, author of fabulous MG historical novels The Executioner's Daughter and River Daughter!

Two years ago when The Executioner’s Daughter was published, I worried about labels. I worried that being part of a genre – historical fiction – would somehow define me and my fledgling book. I worried that even the word ‘historical’ would be a massive turn off, sending children scuttling round the corner to the Wimpy Kid aisle. Because to a lot of young readers historical has a classroom feel to it, in a way that adventure or fantasy or funny doesn’t. 

Yet historical fiction can engage and compel as much as any other genre. 



There are so many exceptional voices in historical fiction: Sally Gardner, Elizabeth Wein, Emma Carroll and Frances Hardinge, whose startling, sinuous thriller The Lie Tree won the Costa Book of the Year. Or Morris Gleitzman, whose novel Once, about a boy trying to make sense of the cruelty of grown-ups in Nazi-occupied Poland, makes you laugh, then breaks your heart.

It’s so obvious now I think about it, but somehow I hadn’t thought. The historical novels I love are not so much about ‘bringing a period to life’, as reaching through time, finding connections and resonance with our lives today. The history is there, seeping through the skin of the story, but these writers have some other gift for turning an idea into a living, breathing thing.

What is it? What is this gift that makes those books so special?

Hilary Mantel said this:
‘To write historical fiction, you need to have more than an intellectual knowledge, you need to have that emotional punch behind everything you do. So one tries in a way, to recover that childlike sensibility.’

It’s an exciting thought. The childlike sensibility. The ability to be absorbed without over-thinking. To unthink, perhaps. To feel your way.

So now I don’t lose sleep over definitions. I love this genre that I’m part of, with all its diversity and richness and characters that can reach through time. As a writer, when I set sail at the beginning of a story, it’s the emotional truth that I am looking for. I hope I can recover enough of that childlike sensibility to find it.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

LGBTQIAP+ Retellings I'd Love To See

I blog fairly rarely these days (you may have noticed) but occassionally I get an idea for a fun post. Slightly more often, someone else gets an idea I love, and they're kind enough to let me use it, so when Dahlia Adler tweeted the below question it got me thinking.

Thanks to Dahlia, who runs the AMAZING LGBTQReads, for letting me base a post on her tweet!)


Okay, here's ten I'd love to see.

Louisa May Alcott's Little Women is a favourite classic of mine. How about The March Brothers, with Joe and Andy (Jo and Amy in the original) both as bisexual guys?

My absolute favourite, The Great Gatsby, is crying out for more ace characters. (Okay, admittedly, IMO pretty much EVERYTHING EVER is crying out for more ace characters.) Nick as an ace/aro guy who just wants to be close friends with Jay, Jay Gatsby as an ace biromantic guy, and Daisy as a demisexual biromantic guy.

Pride and Prejudice with Darcy and Lizzie not romantically involved, but as two ace/aro characters who form a strong connection and embark on a quasiplatonic relationship.

Musical of Les Mis retold with a nearly all female cast - we'll keep Thenardier as a guy, maybe. And perhaps Jean Valjean, I guess. But the love triangle becomes an f/f/f one between Marie and Eponine, both lesbians, and homoromantic ace girl Cosette.

Ten Things I Hate About You (I know it's already a retelling, but I love Ten Things and I can't stand Taming of the Shrew!) with Kat as an ace girl who wants romance but not sex and isn't expecting to find it, until Patrick comes into her life and reassures her that he loves her and her asexuality.

Folk song Matt Hyland is about a lord's daughter who falls in love with her father's servant, only for her parents to find out. Overhearing them planning to send him away, she warns him and gives him money to run. When her parents realise her heart is broken, they bring him back and allow them to marry. I don't want to claim that this is the only happy ending in all of folk, but it's definitely one of them. I would LOVE a retelling of this with the servant as a trans boy, brought up by parents who see him as a girl, running away and finally being able to live as a boy when he gets the job with the lord's family.

Another folk song; this time without a happy ending (except OBVIOUSLY there would be in my retelling!) Matty Groves is about a servant who's seduced by his master's wife, only for the master to return and catch them in bed together and slay Matty in a duel. F/f retelling of this one, with the servant being a surprisingly good swordfighter and managing to kill the lord and escape with his wife, would be AMAZING.

Non-binary Sherlock Holmes investigating mysteries, and involved in a poly romance with Watson and Watson's wife, SCREAMS awesomeness to me!

Aladdin with a trans girl as Aladdin, using her street smarts to fool her uncle and then falling in love with the princess, could be really great as well, I think.

And finally another film - Casablanca with three guys involved in the central love triangle would be wonderful!

What LGBTQIAP+ retellings would you like to see?

Saturday, 20 August 2016

#6Degrees: Unboxed to... (Guest post by Lisa Williamson)

I'm excited to have the brilliant Lisa Williamson taking part in 6 Degrees today! Lisa's debut, The Art of Being Normal, is one of my favourite books of the last few years.




Non Pratt's stunning novella Unboxed takes place over a single day. Another YA novel with a short timeframe is Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist.

Set over a single evening, it charts the romance of Nick and Norah, brought together by their almost identical taste in music. The novel is co-written by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, who have gone on to pen a further three excellent books together. One of my very favourite co-writing teams is the hilarious and brilliant Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison.

Tom and Lucy's debut, Lobsters was widely regarded as one of the funniest books of 2014. The novels exploration of teenage sex is frank, funny, realistic and overwhelmingly positive, instantly reminding me of the representation of sex in Judy Blume's iconic Forever.

Forever is the story of Katherine and her boyfriend, Michael. It's widely considered one of the first books for young adults to portray teenage sexuality in a positive light, tackling virginity loss and masturbation alongside themes such as divorce, bereavement and family stress, all with Blume's trademark honestly and humour. Over 30 years after publication, it's is as popular and relevant as ever. Published a year earlier, The Cat Ate My Gymsuit by Paula Danziger has also stood the test of time. 

The Cat Ate My Gymsuit explores parental relationships, body image and popularity. Its thirteen year-old narrator, Marcy Lewis learns to find her voice when her favourite teacher, Miss Finney is threatened with the loss of her job for her unconventional teaching practices. Marcy leaps to Miss Finney's defence, her protest resulting in a suspension from school and major rifts at home. Another teen making a stand is the wonderful Lottie in Holly Bourne's What's a Girl Gotta Do?

After being heckled on her way to school, Lottie decides enough is enough and launches a feminist revolution, calling out every instance of sexism she sees (with a little help from a rather loud clown horn). The climax of Holly's excellent Spinster Club trilogy, it's a smart, witty and important read for teenage girls and boys everywhere.


Monday, 15 August 2016

Release Day Blitz: Making Arrangements by Ferris Robinson

Really happy to be taking part in a celebration of the release of Making Arrangements by Ferris Robinson, which looks great!



Summary:
Against all odds, cancer survivor Lang Ellis is celebrating the one-year anniversary of her “death sentence” when her beloved husband drops dead on the tennis court.
Devoted to him, she reels from the loss, focusing on her precious granddaughter but struggling with her bossy only child, Teddy, and his aloof girlfriend, Sarah.
With her historical family estate in jeopardy, Lang realizes her husband wasn’t as perfect as she thought.
The secret he carried to his grave can ruin her life.
If she lets it.

Information about the Book
Title: Making Arrangements
Author: Ferris Robinson
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 319
Release Date: 15th August 2016
Publisher: Self-Published
Author Information
 

Ferris Robinson lives in a beautiful part of East Tennessee with her husband and two dogs. The mother of three grown sons, she delights in the fact that her dogs obey her – more or less.

A former columnist for the Chattanooga Free Press, she is the editor of the Lookout Mountain Mirror and the Signal Mountain Mirror. Her work has been published numerous times in The Christian Science Monitor and theChicken Soup for the Soul’ series. She is a columnist at chattanoogan.com.
The author of several cookbooks, including “Never Trust a Hungry Cook,” which she wrote in college and the “Gorgeless Gourmet’s Cookbook,” Ferris was featured on the cover of Women’s World magazine. Promoting her super-easy but healthy recipes, she made numerous television appearances and sold 10,000 copies of the Gorgeless Gourmet’s Cookbook, pre-Internet. Paid subscribers from every state in the U.S. received her newsletter featuring “practically fat-free recipes for super-busy people.”
Her book “Dogs and Love – Sixteen Stories of Fidelity” has 94 reviews on Amazon, and her other books include “Authentic Log Homes.” “Making Arrangements” is her first novel.




Excerpt

What do you wear the day after your husband dies? Lang wondered, damp from the shower. She put on her old sweatpants and Jack’s practically disintegrated Auburn sweatshirt because they were so soft. She wanted to feel something easy on her skin. She pressed the frayed ribbed collar to her nose and breathed in the sharp smell of aftershave and bacon grease. Jack’s smell.
Teddy sat hunched over the kitchen counter with Sarah and Katie D. on either side of him. Sarah leaned into him, her cloud of pale hair floating out over the back of Teddy’s brown sweater, hovering with static electricity. Lang watched the three of them for a moment from the doorway. She could hear murmurs of their sentences: Katie D.’s singsong voice, Teddy’s hoarse rumble, apologizing for something, and Sarah speaking so tenderly her voice didn’t sound human.
Lang closed her eyes, holding on to the doorjamb for balance, and felt Sarah’s words like they were something physical, covering her softly. Gently.
“Mom!” Teddy said, scraping the chair away from the counter. She jerked to attention.
He looked like he hadn’t slept in days; the collar of his button-down shirt was uncharacteristically wrinkled, and his azure eyes were flat.
“Oh! I didn’t hear you!” A. J. said, appearing suddenly from the hall bathroom. She looked Lang up and down, grimacing. “You still got that rubber band around your wrist.” Lang pulled the frayed cuff down to her knuckles, holding the soft fabric in her fists.
A. J. looked like a different person except for her crumpled tennis clothes. Her hair was styled and her eyes were bright and her skin was dewy. She looked like she’d found a day spa in the hall bathroom. Lang sniffed the air, detecting vanilla and deodorant.
“I smell something,” Katie D. said.
“Halston,” A. J. said, flapping her hands in circles about her neck in an effort to spread the heavy perfume around the room. Katie D. crinkled up her nose.
Lang ran her fingers under her own eyes, trying to remember the last time she’d looked in a mirror. She should have put on some makeup after her shower. Concealer under her eyes at least. She reached her hands out toward her son, then curled them into useless fists as she shook her head slowly.
Teddy wrapped his arms around her, and she felt her boy sink into her, collapsing for a second. His breath caught, and his chest shuddered against her shoulder.
“Shhh,” she said. “Don’t cry.” She felt him stiffen before he stepped away.
“How you holding up?” Teddy asked brusquely. “Who would have thought, huh? Sorry, bad joke. Dad would have laughed, though.”
Lang squeezed the edges of her mouth up into a semblance of a smile. No one would have ever thought Jack would be dead instead of her. Hilarious.


Giveaway

For the release day blitz, Ferris is giving away one e-book copy of the book to one lucky winner!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, 13 August 2016

#6Degrees: Unboxed to... (Guest Post by Kayleigh from K-Books)

Really delighted to welcome fabulous Kayleigh from the awesome K-Books blog to take part in #6Degrees this week! Check her brilliant blog out and follow her on Twitter.

Unboxed is the new novel by Non Pratt, one of my all time favourite authors. She is one of the authors that I don't need to know anything about the book, I will just buy it. Another author who is one of my favourite's and on my auto-buy list is Jennifer L Armentrout. Unboxed has a great theme of friendship throughout the book, which is also a major theme in The Problem with Forever.

I was very lucky to meet Jennifer L Armentrout, author of The Problem with Forever, when she was in the UK in July 2016 at the Romance Author and Reader Event (RARE) in Edinburgh. Another author that I was lucky to meet at that event was Wendy Higgins so I'm going to jump to one of her books, See Me, which is a cute fantasy book including leprachauns and fae.

Linking with the theme of fae characters makes me jump to The Faerie Guardian by Rachel Morgan, which is one of my favourite series incuding the fae. The Faerie Guardian has a major kick-ass heroine. Linking to another series with a kick-ass heroine is Sarah J Maas' A Court of Thorns and Roses series and my favourite of that series so far is A Court of Mist and Fury.

ACOMAF is one of my favourite fantasy series and going with fantasy series is my link to Harry Potter. Harry Potter is my favourite fantasy series of all time, that I re-read over and over.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

#6Degrees: Unboxed to...

As ever, a huge thank you to Annabel Smith and Emma Chapman for letting me use their idea for the 6Degrees meme. If you want to join in, just start with The Unboxed and make your own chain of six books, linking in any way you like. (And remember to add the link as a comment!)


Unboxed - one of the most moving books I've read so far this year - was written by Non Pratt and there are many ways I could link it from there - either to one of her first two books, Trouble or Remix, which like Unboxed are superb, or to one of the authors whose YALC panels I missed as I was too utterly engrossed in Unboxed to put it down (but that one may be tactless, so I won't!) I'll also avoid the temptation to link to Leigh Bardugo because Non cosplayed brilliantly as Six Of Crows's incredible Kaz Brekker. (Seriously though this was AMAZING!) Instead I'll jump to I'll Be Home For Christmas, the upcoming anthology from Stripes which sees lots of UKYA authors - Non among them - telling stories about Christmas. I'm reading this at the moment (via NetGalley) and it's a really special book with lots of fantastic stories, and is raising both money for and awareness of Crisis, a fabulous charity.

One of the other authors in the anthology is Holly Bourne, whose Spinster Club trilogy, particularly the just released What's A Girl Gotta Do?, are some of my absolute favourite contemporary books. Funny, feminist, and justifiably furious, they are a call to arms as well as being a fantastic series.

What's A Girl Gotta Do? caused something of a Twitter storm last week with the #IAmAFeminist hashtag. Juno Dawson, author of lots of fabulous books (of which my favourite is Mind Your Head, her recent non-fiction book about mental health) wrote a superb piece for Glamour Magazine on being caught up in the storm.

Juno was at YALC where she was extremely busy - she took part in Ask YALC on Sunday, with Holly, Rosalind Jana, and Gemma Cairney, in addition to talking to You Know Me Well authors David Levithan and Nina LaCour on Saturday in one of my favourite panels of the weekend. You Know Me Well is a really wonderful books and it was fascinating hearing them talk about it.

And finally, You Know Me Well is centred around San Francisco Pride. Linking via Pride, it was amazing to hear from several booksellers I know that Lucy Sutcliffe's outstanding memoir Girl Hearts Girl, released here just before London Pride, has been flying off shelves! It's a gorgeous read which looks at coming out, finding love, and dealing with anxiety, and is a really inspirational book.