Friday, August 22, 2014

Guest poster Trish Thacker Interviews Author Seanan McGuire and Reviews ONE SALT SEA

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(or any other Splashy book of your choice)!
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Trish Thacker is an aspiring author with too many stories and ideas to sort out.   She wants to share her love of books with the world and hopes that one day her own novel will join that list. Someday, she'd love to travel the world.
Follow Trish on Twitter!
~*~
Seanan McGuire is the author of the October Daye series (ROSEMARY AND RUE, A LOCAL HABITATION, AN ARTIFICIAL NIGHT, LATE ECLIPSES), as well as a lot of other things. She's also Mira Grant (www.miragrant.com), author of FEED and DEADLINE. Born and raised in Northern California, she fears weather and is remarkably laid-back about rattlesnakes. She watches too many horror movies, reads too many comic books, and shares her house with two monsters in feline form, Lilly and Alice (Siamese and Maine Coon). 
Follow Seanan on her website and Twitter!


Interviewing Seanan McGuire

and Reviewing ONE SALT SEA
by Trish Thacker


I was asked to do this guest review on ONE SALT SEA because Bonnie knows how much I love Seanan McGuire's books and try to get everyone to try them. McGuire not only writes books, but she also writes songs and sings. She knows her mythology and lore and it shows in her posts, her writing and songs.

Her website can be found at http://seananmcguire.com and has a more extensive set of bios.

ONE SALT SEA is the 5th book in the October Daye series.  The back of the book gives us the overall spin of the novel:

October "Toby" Daye is finally doing all right. She's settling into her new role as the Countess of Goldengreen; she's actually dating again; she's even agreed to take on Quentin as her official squire. Life is looking up all around—and that inevitably means it's time for things to take a turn for the worse.

Someone has kidnapped the sons of Duchess Dianda Lorden, regent of the Undersea Duchy of Saltmist. To prevent a war between land and sea, Toby must not only find the missing boys, but also prove that the Queen of the Mists was not behind their abduction. She'll need all her tricks and the help of all her allies if she wants to make it through this in one piece.

Toby's search will take her from the streets of San Francisco to the lands beneath the waves, and her deadline is firm; she must find the boys in three days' time, or all of the Mists will pay the price. But someone is determined to stop her—and whoever it is isn't playing by Oberon's Laws…

As the battle grows more and more personal, one thing is chillingly clear. When Faerie goes to war, not everyone will walk away.

The book starts out with her being trained to deal with her new speed and strength from her mother changing the balance of her changeling blood (in this universe, part fae, part human) to be more fae and starts out fairly light-hearted, but then goes downhill quickly—and you know Toby will be in it deep.

This book actually caught my attention in a slew of other books that were on a list for books that dealt with selkies, one of my absolute favorites in water mythologies. I remember seeing the first book, ROSEMARY AND RUE, in my library years ago and I regretted that I hadn't picked it up in that instant. As soon as I realized this book was part of the series…well—let's just say all the books thus far are gracing my shelves and I'm eagerly awaiting the next book.

Some of the reasons why I loved this book—we get to see more of the Faerie Kingdoms. We get to see Toby very much outside of her element. Water…is not her friend and calling it a phobia is, I believe, very well justified. The first book has her turned into a koi for fourteen years, whilst investigating a case for her liege lord. It's no wonder that the idea of having to visit an undersea kingdom would not sit well with her. Getting turned into even part-fish was not in her plans.

Seanan manages to infuse a great number of mythological creatures in this new setting, both bizarre and fantastic and utterly real in the sense that you can picture them clearly and see them moving about their environment. We not only have selkies (and the story of how they came to be!) but we have merrow, hippocampus, kelpies, undines…as well as some of some truly unique creatures, such as cetace.

It's an engaging book and I certainly don't want to spoil by giving too much away. I will say though, that Seanan is truly masterful at setting up little scenes that have a huge impact later on. I was able to interview her on this book and some of her writing in general. 


Interviewing Seanan McGuire

I noticed that your merrow are a bit different than the 'standard' mer that are in a lot of literature. (You even rib at it slightly with Toby poking fun at The Little Mermaid) Did you have any specific research in creating the Undersea creatures? Fairy tales, legends, etc?

Well, my primary research tool was the same as it always is: I went to UC Berkeley to study folklore and mythology, which left me with a solid grounding in a lot of stories, and a home library that could be used to bury a man alive.  So I just started going through my books, looking for commonalities and things I wanted to explain.  I also did a lot of 'what do I want them to be able to do'--so for example, I knew I needed them to be able to have legs on command, so that was incorporated.

If you were turned into a Merrow, would you take to it as well (or not as well!) as Toby, or would you have a better time of it?

I love mermaids.  I think I would have a great time of it.  I would also be assuming that it was a particularly vivid dream, so I would probably wind up being eaten by a shark when I didn't have the sense to swim away.

ONE SALT SEA is the fifth book in the October Daye series (barring the short stories). How long of a planning process do you have with the books? I noticed connections between ONE SALT SEA and CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT, for instance.

The book that's coming out in September, THE WINTER LONG, actively answers questions that were posed in book one, ROSEMARY AND RUE.  Not all the questions, even.  Just some of them.  I am playing a very, very long con.
What are your favorite water creatures, mythological or otherwise? You have an entire Undersea of theme (and some quite unique and intriguing!)

I adore octopi.  I never met an octopus I didn't like.  Apparently, I am the doppelganger of an Australian octopus handler, and I always know when I'm visiting an aquarium she's worked at, because the octopi become very excited to see me.  I also adore mermaids of all types, especially interesting or ecologically unique mermaids.
If you met the Luidaeg, how would you react?

I would run like hell, because I would be in my own fictional universe, and my death would be following on Cait Sidhe paws.  The Luidaeg wouldn't kill me.  Tybalt sure would.

What was your big influence for writing the October Daye series in general?

The works of Katherine Briggs.  She was an English folklorist who wrote a lot of books on the fairy lore of the British Isles.  I think she's had more influence on me than anything else."

Will there be any hints of what the ultimate price the selkies have to pay in the upcoming books?

Well, one of the upcoming books will actually resolve that price, so I'd say that counts as a hint.  It definitely won't be focal until after book nine, though.



All in all, I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys urban faerie with a lot of humor, snark and some truly unique and fantastic writing. The host of characters (not just the main) are strong and have amazing moments, they support Toby and have their own stories as well. Toby is strong and takes no crap from anyone.

The series starts with ROSEMARY AND RUE and the newest book, THE WINTER LONG, comes out in September.


~*~
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Title: ONE SALT SEA
Author: Seanan McGuire
Release Date: Sept. 6, 2011
Publisher: DAW
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18755539-cutlass
SUMMARY:

October "Toby" Daye is finally doing all right—and that inevitably means it's time for things to take a turn for the worse. Someone has kidnapped the sons of the Duchess Dianda Lorden, regent of the Undersea Duchy of Saltmist. To prevent a war between land and sea, Toby must not only find the missing boys, but also prove that the Queen of the Mists was not behind their abduction. She'll need all her tricks and the help of her allies if she wants to make it through this in one piece.

Toby's search will take her from the streets of San Francisco to the lands beneath the waves. But someone is determined to stop her—and whoever it is isn't playing by Oberon's Laws. As the battle grows more and more personal, one thing is chillingly clear. When Faerie goes to war, not everyone will walk away. ONE SALT SEA is the fifth installment of the highly praised Toby Daye series.


{Early Review} ATLANTIA by Ally Condie

Don't forget! 
(or any other Splashy book of your choice)!

Check out the schedule of events for both
Oh, Magic Hour and A Backwards Story!
Don't miss a second of all the great stuff we have in store for you!
If you post about our underwater friends online, share your link here!
Grab some promotional buttons for your blog
and stop back for fun guest posts, exciting author visits, giveaways, reviews,
and more!
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You landwalkers are really, really lucky! ATLANTIA doesn't come out until October 28th, but you're getting an in-dept sneak peek NOW!

Normally, I wait to post my reviews until close to a book's launch, but I make exceptions when events are involved!

The good news? I really enjoyed reading ATLANTIA...and I'm so excited to talk about it with you this fall!

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

   MY TWIN SISTER, BAY, and I pass underneath the brown-and-turquoise banners hanging from the ceiling of the temple. Dignitaries perch on their chairs in the gallery, watching, and people crowd the pews in the nave. Statues of the gods adorn the walls and ceiling, and it seems as if they watch us, too. The temple's largest and most beautiful window, the rose window, has been lit from behind to simulate the effect of sunlight through the panes. The glass shines like a blessing--amber, green, blue, pink, purple. The colors of flower petals Above; of coral formations Below.
   The Minister stands at the altar, which is made of precious wood carved in an intricate pattern of straight lines and swirls, of waves that turn into trees. Two bowls rest on top of the altar--one filled with salt water from the ocean that envelops our city, one filled with dark dirt brought down from Above.
   Bay and I wait in line with the other youth our age. I feel sorry for everyone else because they don't have a brother or a sister to wait with them. Twins aren't very common in Atlantia.
   "Do you hear the city breathing?" Bay whispers. I know she wants me to say that I do, but I shake my head. What we hear isn't breathing. It is the never-ending sound of air pumping through the walls and out into the city so that we can survive.
   Bay knows that, but she's always been a little crazy about Atlantia. She's not the only one who loves our underwater city or refers to it as alive. And Atlantia does resemble a giant sea creature sprawled out in the ocean. The tentacles of our streets and thoroughfares web out from the larger round hubs of the neighborhoods and marketplaces. Everything is enclosed, of course. We live underwater, but we're still human; we need walls and air to protect us.
   The Minister raises his hand, and we all fall silent.
   Bay presses her lips together. She is usually calm and serene, but today she seems tense. Is she afraid that I'll go back on my word? I won't. I promised her.

(Pages 11~12, US e-book edition
Changes may be made before the final copy is finished!)

I was so excited when I heard that Ally Condie was releasing a novel that ventured into underwater territory. I read MATCHED back before the dystopian genre was a BIG THING. The first book came out before DELIRIUM and before DIVERGENT. I read MATCHED first. I loved it for what it was, for how fresh the ideas were. I didn't love the second book, CROSSED, nearly as much because it's more of a "journey" book, but I wasn't ready to give up on the series. I'm glad I didn't, either, because REACHED turned out to be the best book in the series. You can see how much Condie has grown as an author when you read both REACHED and ATLANTIA. There's more grit and depth. Characters are so much fuller and their world is scarier and more complex than expected. ATLANTIA is also stand-alone novel, which is so refreshing among the sea of duologies and trilogies currently flooding the YA market (Though...I wouldn't be opposed to a return trip in the future!).

Rio and her twin sister Bay have always lived Below. Rio dreams of exploring Above and breathing air and seeing sky, but after their mother's untimely death, she promises to remain Below with Bay at their choosing ceremony. Only...Bay chooses to go Above. Bay, who never wanted to leave Below. Why would Bay leave her, knowing Rio couldn't follow? Why does Rio have to remain behind? Without her mother and her sister, Rio must fend for herself while protecting her deepest, darkest, secret: She's the last of the Sirens, and the government would do anything to get their hands on her. But when Atlantia is in danger, Rio is forced to choose: Protect her secret, or let Atlantia fall?

There is so much going on in ATLANTIA. So much good stuff! I don't want to leave a trailer of spoilers since the book isn't out for another two months and is so hotly anticipated, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Condie has created a complex, thriving world Below, and proven the fact that humans are smart enough to adapt event after we pollute ourselves out of our own world. The politics of Below are intriguing, and the Miracles that created blessings such as Sirens are awe-inspiring. I especially loved the way Rio became so strong on her own and plotted to save herself. She isn't weak, and she doesn't rely on others to solve her problems. I especially loved her underwater sport of choice and the way she went about training to achieve her goals.

While there are Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic elements that may turn off readers sick of the genre, it isn't the focus. Rio doesn't want to bring down the government. In fact, her mother was the head of it before she died. She just wants to be reunited with her sister. All of the elements that made the underwater city work and evolve fascinated me, and I loved seeing the blend of mythology and futuristic science. How does living underwater change us? How do we evolve? What sicknesses are eradicated, and what others introduced? How do Above and Beyond work in harmony together if they can never interact? There's so much to think about as you read. I finished this novel feeling thoroughly pleased, and I look forward to seeing what sort of world Condie introduces us to next.
~*~
C O N T E N T R A T I N G S

Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG ( Romance and kissing.)
Language: PG ( I can't recall anything, but we'll be safe and mark it PG )
Violence: PG13+ ( Character death, nothing overly graphic )
Other: --
~*~
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

It's mysterious and intriguing at the same time. It could be mermaids. It could be something else. But it definitely deals with water...right?

Plus, the use of a shell is perfect because it makes sense in context..certain shells are very important in the book!

I can't wait to see what this one looks like in person!
  ~*~
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Title:  ATLANTIA
Author: Ally Condie
Release Date: Oct. 28, 2014
Publisher: Penguin // Dutton Children's
Received: For Review
SUMMARY:

Can you hear Atlantia breathing?

For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamt of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all her plans for the future are thwarted when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected decision, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long hidden—she has nothing left to lose.

Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother’s death, her own destiny, and the complex system constructed to govern the divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long-hidden truths.

{Alternative Free Fridays} DROWNING MERMAIDS by Nadia Scrieva and A MERMAID FOR CHRISTMAS by Nichole Chase

Check out the schedule of events for both
Oh, Magic Hour and A Backwards Story!
Don't miss a second of all the great stuff we have in store for you!
If you post about our underwater friends online, share your link here!
Grab some promotional buttons for your blog
and stop back for fun guest posts, exciting author visits, giveaways, reviews,
and more!
Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest

& 

Not interested in the weekly Free Fridays title offered by Barnes and Noble?
I'm usually not, either!

I thought about it and realized just how many free e-books I've found and downloaded onto my nook. I decided to start sharing some freebies with you!

No matter your e-reader, no matter if you get the official weekly book or not,  I hope you enjoy my alternatives!



Okay, today I have TWO free mermaid novels for you!
(And if you missed it last Friday, I featured mermaid novel MADLY by M. Leighton!)



Title: DROWNING MERMAIDS
Author: Nadia Scrieva
 


Available FOR FREE from:

WHY?


Like princesses? Stories with Captains? Underwater kingdoms?? You get all this and more in DROWNING MERMAIDS, the first book in the Sacred Breath series.


SUMMARY: 


She is an elegant princess displaced from her home. He is a rough sea captain with a heart of gold...

To escape the war in her underwater kingdom, the noble daughter of a murdered king must flee to Alaska. Doing all she can to keep her younger sisters safe, Aazuria tries to assimilate and work among the Americans, with her feisty red-haired bodyguard at her side. This refuge holds pleasant surprises, for the princess meets a somber gentleman in a dark corner who promises to show her his world.

Trevain Murphy is a successful crab fisherman who has spent his life building an empire above the sea, but knows nothing of the greater empire beneath the surface. When a graceful dancer captures his attention, he becomes fascinated with her old-fashioned speech and unique mannerisms. Learning that her father has recently died, he cannot resist extending his kindness in offering to guide and protect her.

As it becomes clear that the dark-haired woman is much more than she seems, Trevain is unprepared to uncover the staggering secrets behind her innocent facade. Neither the captain nor the princess can imagine that their lives will become forcibly entwined as a common enemy threatens both of their worlds...




Title: A MERMAID FOR CHRISTMAS
Author: Nichole Chase
 

Available FOR FREE from:

WHY?


This just sounds cute! What do mermaids ask Santa Claus for at Christmas time? Plus, I love the way the cover has an ornament made out of mermaid scales! I also like the idea that there's an extended preview of the series to get a taste for if we want to continue reading!

SUMMARY: 


A short story from NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Nichole Chase.

What does a mermaid ask Santa for at Christmas? Follow young Meena and her father to find out! Approximately 3,000 words

(Originally included in the Christmas Lites II Anthology but has been reedited and fleshed out.)

This title also includes the first three chapters of FLUKES by Nichole Chase.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

{Tour Exclusive Excerpt/Giveaway} THE CINDERELLA THEOREM by Kristee Ravan

Check out my review of THE CINDERELLA THEOREM during A Twist in the Tail Thursday next week on August 28th! ^_^
 
A themed book tour through Prism Book Tours.

The Cinderella Theorem (The Lily Sparrow Chronicles)The Cinderella Theorem
(The Lily Sparrow Chronicles #1)
by Kristee Ravan
YA Urban Fantasy
Paperback, 367 pages
March 17th 2014
Buy It From Amazon


Fairy tales are naturally non-mathematical. That is a fact, and fifteen-year-old Lily Sparrow loves factual, mathematical logic. So when her mother confesses that Lily’s deceased father is (a) not dead, (b) coming to dinner, and (c) the ruler of a fairy tale kingdom accessible through the upstairs bathtub, Lily clings to her math to help her make sense of this new double life (1 life in the real world + 1 secret life in the fairy tale world = a double life).

Even though it’s not mathematical, Lily finds herself being pulled into a mystery involving an unhappy Cinderella, a greasy sycophant called Levi, and a slew of vanishing fairy tale characters. Racing against the clock, with a sound mathematical plan, Lily attempts to save her fairy tale friends while proving that normality = happiness.




 "From The Fireland Flame" 
by Kristee Ravan




From the Fireland Flame, the daily newspaper of EG Smythe’s Salty Fire Land:

Tybalt’s Tales, Gossip from all the Genres
               
August 19th has finally arrived!  The day we’ve all been waiting for, Fireland!  Princess Lily turns 15 today and finds out that she’s really a princess.  How will our secret Protector respond? Will she be thrilled? That is anybody’s guess since her royal parents, King Matt and Queen Ginnie have been pretty hush-hush about the princess’s love of fairy tales.  This columnist has heard many patrons of a certain eatery (Once Upon a Tine, located in the beautiful northeast corner of the First Ring) hopefully wish that their own tale will be Princess Lily’s favorite. 
                In the meantime, don’t forget to have your presents ready for the presentation on Saturday afternoon.  And for those of you in lesser known tales—I’m thinking of you, Clever Manka—this would be a great time to get on the Princess’s radar.  Saturday evening, we’ll dust off our best clothes and dance the night away at a ball in celebration of the Princess’s return. 
                On the subject of balls, a certain princess (with a ball in her tale) was seen crying recently at the grave of her mother.  And the real gossip?  A certain charming prince was not with her.
                I’ve also heard that the once-and-future-king fended off another evil gift from his sister.  Talk about sibling rivalry!  HEA sure has their hands full with them.
                Speaking of our very own Office of Happily Ever After Affairs (HEA), guess which workaholic Happiologist recently surpassed even Grimm’s record for Most Citizens Cheered?  Hint: He likes cherry vanilla ice cream.
                Oh, the rumors you’re hearing are true about an evil queen with a love for apples.  She did win the lottery and will be getting to present her present (see what I did there? Present the present?  Just because I’m a cat doesn’t mean I don’t like puns.) first to the Princess at Saturday’s presentation.  For Princess Lily’s sake, let’s hope she leaves the combs and laces at home!
                But the rumors you’ve heard about the ProFictionists planning to protest this weekend’s festivities are false.  The secret head of the ProFiction movement told me (secretly) while they don’t love the Sparrow family’s reign here in the Fireland, they would not want to upset the Princess on her first visit.  “It’d be too much for her, you know.  Finding out she’s a princess and finding out that there are people in her kingdom who don’t want her there.  We want to be ruled by a Fictional, yes, but we don’t want to screw up an innocent kid, either. Plus, the King’s guards told us we couldn’t.”  Well, those guards know who signs their paychecks!
                Dine at Once Upon a Tine, where a juicy story will get you a free dessert!
 

Calling for Reviewers!

We're looking for reviewers! You don't need a blog to sign up, but you do need to at least post a review on Amazon. Other sites (blog, Goodreads, etc.) are also appreciated. Reviews must be completed by the end of November. To sign up, please fill out this form.

Kristee Ravan
Kristee Ravan lives in Oklahoma with her husband, daughter, and pet fish, Val (short for Valentine). She wanted to be many things as she grew up including a general, an artist, and an architect. But she never bothered to say, "I want to be a writer when I grow up." She was always writing stories and thought of herself as a writer anyway. She sent her first story to a publisher in the sixth grade. (It was rejected - in a nice way.) When she is not making up stories in her head, she enjoys reading, juggling, green smoothies, playing dollhouse with her daughter, and hearing from her fans. You can contact Kristee at the facebook page for her Lily Sparrow books: The Lily Sparrow Chronicles.


Tour-Wide Giveaway

5 copies of The Cinderella Theorem (print for US winners, ebook for international winners)
Ends August 31st