Science Fiction / Fantasy

Weekend Reads: Renhala

Posted by on Sep 27, 2013 in Freebie Friday, Paranormal / Supernatural, Reading, Science Fiction / Fantasy | 0 comments

Weekend Reads: Renhala

Happy Friday! The Muses are looking out for you today – well, looking out for your weekend reading habits rather. We’ve discovered that a book we reviewed – and raved over – is free for a couple of weeks! Obviously, we had to share. Who doesn’t love an amazing + budget friendly read, after all? In anticipation of the release of The Golden Dunes of Renhala, Renhala is free until release day! You may remember this as the book where: Muse KJ saw her jaw literally drop, because she walked by a mirror as she was reading evil bunny Buffy gifs were included in the review upon reading Muse KJ decided that she needed to include more urban fantasy and fantasy works into her to-read list.   Do you need any additional reasons to check it out besides all that? Blurb: Kailey Rooke, timid accountant, dedicated to philanthropic work, finds herself spiraling into a deep depression after she suffers a horrifyingly odd and humiliating assault, to only discover more of these freakish assaults occurring across the globe.A chance discovery leads Kailey to a meeting with elderly Gunthreon, actual master of persuasion. Gunthreon, who seems to know too much of Kailey’s history for her liking, opens Kailey’s eyes to a coexisting realm she never knew existed: Renhala, while entrusting her with the knowledge of her newfound power as karmelean, serving as a beacon to the Higher Ones. Kailey slowly starts revealing new talents, and Gunthreon is fascinated with what she starts achieving. She soon discovers that Renhala is in danger, and this danger has been leaking into her own realm. As she uncovers secrets within herself, and attempts to toughen up, she fuses with an unlikely band of fellow travelers (including a dragon, woodsprite, six-hundred-pound greble, her faithful female canine companion, and a ”giver”), falls into an unexpected love triangle, deals with her sexy and flirtatious best friend’s “issues,” and finds the courage to master a new deadly weapon. On her mission to save Renhala, Kailey will find herself running from life-threatening disasters, such as greble Tartarin, who likes to remind Kailey that when he catches her, he plans on eating her brains with ice cream; she’ll run from the deadly meeples: small cute bunnies with talons and an undeniable thirst for imposing self-destruction on others. Kailey will also run into the possibility that a centuries-old Renhalan rumor is true, that advanced technology existing in Kailey’s realm shortens all life spans. As blood is shed and puzzles near completion, Kailey pulls from deep within herself, conjuring up mystical qualities that enable her to astonish as once predicted at her birth, but despite the newfound strength, Kailey will discover that monsters not only come in ugly packages, but can be easily disguised as those she has come to love and trust. So, what are you waiting for? Load up that e-reader, read Renhala, and come back here to talk to Muse Kristen all about it! Find it at: Amazon Barnes & Noble...

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New Release Tuesday: September 24th

Posted by on Sep 24, 2013 in Horror, New Release Tuesday, Reading, Science Fiction / Fantasy, Thriller, Young Adult | 2 comments

New Release Tuesday: September 24th

  It’s Tuesday! New Release Tuesday, at that. An extra exciting New Release Tuesday. Why is it so exciting? Because both Muses are ecstatic to rave about one of the books being released today. Are you excited yet? Young Adult   Ultraviolet Catastrophe by Jamie Grey The Muses are really excited to talk about this book. Why? Because we both adore it.  As we’re running the blog tour for Ultraviolet Catastrophe over at Pen and Muse Press, we were able to get our happy grabby hands onto e-ARCs. Our thoughts: You will not be disappointed with this book. Muse KJ has been highlighting, swooning, and texting her BFF frantically with “You’ve read UVC, right? Because omg, I need someone to talk to about this RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND.” Oh, you know, just gushing like crazy over @Jamie_Grey‘s ULTRAVIOLET CATASTROPHE with @KristenJett. Because, you know, AMAZEBALLS. — Andrea Hannah (@andeehannah) September 24, 2013   Quantum Electrodynamics. String Theory. Schrödinger’s cat. For sixteen-year-old Lexie Kepler, they’re just confusing terms in her science textbooks, until she finds out that her parents have been drugging her to suppress her outrageous IQ. Now Branston Academy, a school run by the world’s most powerful scientists, has tracked her down and is dying for her to attend – as a research subject. She takes refuge at Quantum Technologies, a secret scientific community where her father works as a top-notch scientist, and begins her new life as girl genius at Quantum High. But the assignments at her new school make the Manhattan Project look like preschool – and Lexie barely survived freshman algebra. Her first big assignment – creating an Einstein-Rosen bridge – is also her first chance to prove she can hold her own with the rest of QT’s prodigies. But while working with the infuriatingly hot Asher Rosen, QT’s teen wonder, Lexie uncovers a mistake in their master equation. Instead of a wormhole, the machine they’re building would produce deadly ultraviolet rays that could destroy the world. Now Lexie and Asher have to use their combined brainpower to uncover the truth behind the device. Before everyone at Quantum Technologies is caught in the ultraviolet catastrophe.   Find Me by Romily Bernard “Find Me.” These are the words written on Tessa Waye’s diary. The diary that ends up with Wick Tate. But Tessa’s just been found . . . dead. Fans of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy will just love this creepy and alluring teen thriller. Complete with action, techie intrigue, a horrifying mystery, and a blossoming romance full of sparks, Find Me is an exhilarating debut. When teen hacker and foster child Wick Tate finds a dead classmate’s diary on her front step, with a note reading “Find me,” she sets off on a perverse game of hide-and-seek to catch the killer. But things get even more personal as Wick’s deadbeat dad returns and the killer points to Wick’s sister Lily as the next target. With the help of oh-so-cute hacker-boy-next-door Griff, can Wick find her tormenter and save her sister? Because it just got personal. Find Me won a 2012 Golden Heart Award and placed first in the 2011 YA Unpublished Maggie Awards (given by Georgia Romance Writers).     Countdown  by Michelle Rowen 3 seconds left to live. Once the countdown starts, it cannot be stopped. 2 pawns thrown into a brutal underground reality game. Kira Jordan survived her family’s murder and months on plague-devastated city streets with hard-won savvy and a low-level psi ability. She figures she can handle anything. Until she wakes up in a barren room, chained next to the notorious Rogan Ellis. 1...

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Fear and the Second Book in a Trilogy by J. Elizabeth Hill

Posted by on Sep 4, 2013 in Guest Post, Science Fiction / Fantasy, Writing | 0 comments

Fear and the Second Book in a Trilogy by J. Elizabeth Hill

Hi! I’m J. Elizabeth Hill, and the lovely ladies of Pen & Muse were kind enough to let me stop in here for a spell on the blog tour for my upcoming book. Possession is the sequel to Bound and the second book in the Mirrors of Bershan trilogy. It’s also my second published novel. I’d like to share with you a few things about that experience. In my long experience as a reader, I’ve often found that, when I love a debut, quite often the second book by that author is less satisfying. I can think of a number of reasons, but the point is that I’ve often been disappointed and left praying the next one by them will be better. I’m also familiar with a phenomenon in trilogies where the second book is less than stellar, feeling more like filler to get us from Book 1 to Book 3. I’m not a fan of that either. Shouldn’t every book have a point and be a story of its own? Shouldn’t they all be good? Maybe you see why I was nervous about Possession, pretty much from the day I outlined it. I was doing both of these things at once and I desperately wanted to avoid these problems. Don’t Let It Slide When I started writing Possession, I was afraid of that second-book slump. I knew I had an advantage, that the only deadline I had was the one I set, but it was still a concern, whether I could push further and do something that was it’s own book. The way I plan trilogies (each book being a separate section of the overall story) suggested it was unlikely, but that didn’t stop the fear. I wanted to prove I had more than one book in me, to myself more than anyone else. So I pushed myself to go further, to dig deeper. I also made a conscious effort to do new things and not shy away from things that were hard. I think that’s one of the keys to at least equaling the last book, to challenge yourself in new ways, to try new things. You just have to make sure they’re effective and that you’re not changing basic things that mess up the previous book. That’s a challenge all its own. That Wasn’t There Before I find the second book in a trilogy is in many ways a double-edged sword. On one hand, I get to layer details into things I introduced in book 1, to unpack those things and often make them more complicated. Things I only touched on before can suddenly take on new importance and be a focal point in the sequel. That’s always exciting, that ability to show the readers new parts of the world and society I built. On the other hand, consistency becomes the bane of my existence. When I’m writing the second book, I’m always aware that I’m writing back into the first book. Part of what the story needs to do is build on what was in the previous volume, but it also needs to remain consistent, without things magically changing to make things easier for me as a writer. If it’s hard to work something in from the first book, that’s fine, but I still have to find a way. That’s just part of the job of writing a sequel in general. This need for consistency applies to both the story details and the tone, not to mention characters. Yes, they should have grown through the previous book, but that doesn’t mean they should start behaving...

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Revealing: Possession by J. Elizabeth Hill

Posted by on Jul 23, 2013 in Reading, Science Fiction / Fantasy | 0 comments

Revealing: Possession by J. Elizabeth Hill

Know how I (Muse Kristen) love a gorgeous cover? I’ve got one of those today, but… There’s something I love even more. Nope, not bacon. Or cupcakes. Literary hunks. Because every girl needs a book boyfriend.  Tavis from BOUND by J. Elizabeth Hill is one of mine…and lucky for us ladies, there’s a sequel. Don’t worry fellows – there’s some feisty ladies, and it’s a great fantasy read. *stamps the Muse stamp of approval*   Possession By J. Elizabeth Hill Cover Reveal And Giveaway Coming September 10, 2013 Cover by Regina Wamba of MaeIDesign.com Possession (Book 2 of the Mirrors of Bershan) Book Blurb: “I never meant any of this, least of all for you to pay the price of my pride.” After binding themselves to each other through their magic, Faylanna Derrion and Tavis journey back to her ancestral home, Iondis, intent on restoring the estate to its former beauty. From the moment they arrive, they find the secret horrors of the place aren’t exhausted yet. Faylanna finds an old journal of her father’s, one that shakes her understanding of her own past. Worse, Faylanna and Tavis are both nearly killed when attacked by one of the men set to guard the Ninth Mirror of Bershan, still residing at Iondis. In the aftermath, he disappears with the newly-found journal. Sure there is more to this event than they know, Faylanna and Tavis return to the capital, Rianza, for help. More secrets await them there, ones kept for years by people Tavis never suspected. When the truth is revealed, it alters his present and future completely. Can he rise to the challenges this new fate presents him with or will the change be more than he can handle? The truths each learn about themselves and those they thought they knew will test Faylanna and Tavis’ love for each other. Will they be able to endure the pain and chaos they face, or will it tear them apart?   Haven’t met Faylanna and Tavis? BOUND is on sale! You can pick up the ebook for only $0.99! BOUND (Book 1 of the Mirrors of Bershan) Book Blurb: “Doesn’t she know you can’t do real magic alone?” Faylanna Derrion’s graduation from the Voleno Academy is marred by her father’s demand that she return to the family estate, Iondis. He refuses to accept her decision not to bind herself to another Magicia in an unbreakable partnership, insisting she must do so with his help. No one understands her need to prove she can succeed on her own. Then her mentor and his partner are taken before her eyes by a terrible darkness, forcing her to flee, even as her father’s soldiers try to force her to go home. On her journey to find help, she meets Tavis, a farmer in search of his mother, who she can’t manage to refuse. The revelation that he’s a novice Magicia causes Faylanna to question everything she’s believed. At the same time, a dream that’s haunted her since childhood begins to change and the unknown man in it calls to her. His words are sweet but she’s not quite willing to believe he’s anything more than a dream, until she can’t deny it. As secrets are revealed and events unfold, will Faylanna hold to her solitary path or will she choose the one that now beckons her with new possibilities? Amazon.com KoboBooks Barnes & Noble About the Author Born in Toronto, Ontario, Julie Elizabeth Hill exported herself to Vancouver, British Columbia after many years of staring longingly at the map following every snowfall. For as long...

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Different Is Good by Krista McGee, author of Anomaly

Posted by on Jul 10, 2013 in Guest Post, Reading, Science Fiction / Fantasy, Young Adult | 1 comment

Different Is Good by Krista McGee, author of Anomaly

We’re always excited to feature something new on Pen and Muse – whether it is a genre we haven’t covered before, a plot so unique we have to shout about it, or some style of not-commonly-done implemented into a novel. While KJ is always eager to bring a dystopia to the blog, we’ve certainly never seen a young adult dystopia mixed with a religious plot. Anomaly by Krista McGee Release Date: 07/09/13 Publisher: Thomas Nelson Blurb: Thalli has fifteen minutes and twenty-three seconds left to live. The toxic gas that will complete her annihilation is invading her bloodstream. But she is not afraid. Thalli is different than others in The State. She feels things. She asks questions. And in the State, this is not tolerated. The Ten scientists who survived the nuclear war that destroyed the world above believe that emotion was at the core of what went wrong—and they have genetically removed it from the citizens they have since created. Thalli has kept her malformation secret from those who have monitored her for most of her life, but when she receives an ancient piece of music to record as her community’s assigned musician, she can no longer keep her emotions secreted away. Seen as a threat to the harmony of her Pod, Thalli is taken to the Scientists for immediate annihilation. But before that can happen, Berk—her former Pod mate who is being groomed as a Scientist—steps in and persuades the Scientists to keep Thalli alive as a test subject. The more time she spends in the Scientist’s Pod, the clearer it becomes that things are not as simple as she was programmed to believe. She hears stories of a Designer—stories that fill her mind with more questions: Who can she trust? What is this emotion called love? And what if she isn’t just an anomaly, but part of a greater design? Available from:        Different is Good When Anomaly was still just the germ of an idea in my brain, I spent a lot of time thinking about who my protagonist would be. I wanted her to be someone readers could relate to, someone who seems genuine. Because, even though the world I created is totally fictional, I know that if the characters don’t resonate, the setting doesn’t matter. I also know that if the characters do resonate, the setting doesn’t matter. Stories rise and fall on the protagonist. No pressure. I knew my protagonist would be a teenager. Thankfully, I spend my days surrounded by teenagers. I have one under my roof, another just a few months away from her thirteenth birthday, and a third close on his sisters’ heels. I teach at a Christian school, so I have teens in my classes, in plays I direct, and in Bible studies. I have also worked with teens for over a decade as a youth leader. I love teenagers, and I want them to know how much they are loved. The desire to “fit in” is one of the greatest struggles most adolescents face. Some want to fit in with the “popular” crowd, some with the athletes, some with the band kids, the rebels, the actors, the skaters – there are many different groups, each with its own identity. And teens, too often, choose a group identity rather than embracing their own. So being different seemed to be to be a relatable struggle for my protagonist. She feels different from everyone around her. And she’s right! But while she sees that as something negative, my desire is the reader sees just the opposite. Thalli has characteristics...

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The Muses Interview: Shannon Delany, author of WEATHER WITCH

Posted by on Jun 30, 2013 in Author Interviews, Science Fiction / Fantasy, Young Adult | 3 comments

The Muses Interview: Shannon Delany, author of WEATHER WITCH

We (Muse Jolene especially) are SO excited to be a part of the Weather Witch blog tour. Shannon is an incredible author, and Weather Witch is her newest steampunk novel. Thankfully, Shannon was kind enough to stop by and answer one of our questions about writing. PS: Be sure to check out the giveaways!   The Muses Interview: Shannon Delany Question: I know you’re big on research, how much research went into making Weather Witch? What helps you decide to use a fact or bend the truth? I’m a sucker for research! In Weather Witch I used four cookbooks, two trips to Philadelphia, two meals at the amazing City Tavern, two books on the ghosts of Philadelphia, and countless web page explorations of places like Elfreth’s Alley and people important but frequently overlooked just to get the bits of Philadelphia the way I wanted (notice I said “wanted” as I took significant creative liberties with both history and geography). That doesn’t include the research into historic music, popular literature of the time, clothing and hair styles. Or the mythological beasties I bring to life. But I love research. And, just as much, I love tossing accurate research aside to slip in the Merrow, Weather Witches and such things. It can be hard to decide what to keep and what to set aside–it’s all valuable (and, having been a history teacher, I love all of it). Mainly I kept the things that lend to the realism of the Weather Witch world and create conflict. I remove things (or allow some things to fade to the background) if they detract from the story and the conflict my characters are dealing with. Excerpt Bran Marshall of House Dregard was a character who ambushed me (and he’s not one you want to be ambushed by). He was originally going to be a tertiary character. But then, like 13 TO LIFE’s Max, he decided to tell me there was more to him than I expected. This excerpt comes from Chapter Four. The knock roused Bran from his reading, and taking the lantern, he stumbled to the door of his modest apartments on the tower’s thirteenth story. Listening for any sign of trouble (because a summoning at such an hour was highly unusual) the Maker slid open the peephole and peered out at one of the town’s watchmen. He was a great beast of a man, tall, broad, and with a wicked scar that turned his every expression into a sneer. “Mister Maker, sir. Seems we’s got a late night delivery of some import for you,” the man said, his rank breath seeping in to sting Bran’s eyes. Bran slammed the peephole shut, squinting. “There is no delivery of such great import that should pull a man from his privacy at this hour. Find me first thing in the morning,” he ordered. As he turned away, more knocking sounded. A distinct and rapid knocking. “Sir, good Maker,” came the high-pitched voice of Maude, the head servant. What brought her to his door at such an hour raised many questions in his mind. He and she had parted ways weeks ago and he had already seen her enjoying the attentions of another man. “Good Maker,” Maude tried again, “I really must insist…” He rubbed his eyes and fiddled with the locks on his door, grumbling his way through each. “Dear God, Maude, what could possibly have been delivered at such an indecent hour and of such great import as to cause you and a watchman to be at my door demanding my attention?” The door groaned...

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