Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Summer Hiatus and Eleanor ARC Giveaway Winner!

And the randomly selected winner of the Eleanor ARC goes to ...

J.E. Oneal! Please contact me here to claim your prize!

As you can guess from the title of this post, I'm stepping away from the bridge for a while. It's time for a blogging break. It could be a couple weeks. Could be a month. Either way, I need some time off for writing/editing related awesomeness and chillaxing. But also to collect my thoughts on what to blog about in the upcoming months. And if you want me to blog about something in particular, let me know.

Before I go, I need to thank again my awesome friends who shared WOVEN's cover recently. It turned out very well and much better than I could have hoped for, thanks to you! Have a cosmic cruller on me.

I'll be back sometime in August. Keep being awesome, my friends!

Who's dying for a vacation right about now? What movies have I missed that I should really go see? Should I grow a goatee?

I'm David, and don't commit these word crimes while I'm gone ...

Friday, July 18, 2014

ELEANOR (The Unseen): A Paranormal Achievement So Subtle And Relevant That It Begs To Be Read! was a gamble for Eleanor to rejoin humanity, but she was driven to it. She’d been too successful forgetting. The last vestiges of her family hung by a thread in her transformed brain and drove her to be reckless. Ten years later, Eleanor hides in plain sight. She is an average girl getting average grades in a small Wyoming town: poor but happy, lonely but loved. Her mother, Tabitha, is there for her and that’s all she’s ever needed. But now her mother is sick and David has returned. The only friend she’d ever had, the only other person who knows her secret, is back. And Eleanor again becomes reckless.

Eleanor is a modest girl, unremarkable but extraordinary, young but old, malleable but fixed. She is scared and confused. She is a liar and a thief. Eleanor is not what she appears to be.

(From Goodreads)

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What does a Wyoming town, a precociously shy girl and a coyote have in common? This surprisingly deep and entertaining book by Johnny Worthen! I ran into Johnny for the first time earlier this year at LTUE where he told me the premise of this book. My interest was piqued, and an advanced copy got in my mailbox somehow ... 

Speaking of creepy, that's something we've come to expect from stories with a "paranormal" label, but ELEANOR isn't content with panning out in the conventional paranormal way. It's subtle. Highly subtle storytelling that speaks volumes about actual problems that plague America's youth without resorting to jump scenes. We're talking foster care, rumors, projecting adults, bullies, the possibly of being an actual monster, cancer, and--naturally--adolescent love.

But it's not thrown in our faces all at once. It's a journey through the seasons, carried by comedy, suspense, and ... dare I say tears? What brought this story home for me was the realistic environment created here. The characters are believable, the problems are relevant, and the tie-in of ancient lore and urban legend made this, in my opinion, the most unique portrayal of skin walkers I've read. Believe it!

Eleanor is such a wonderful character by herself, as is the main male character David *grin* and her cancer-stricken foster mom Tabitha. When I wasn't being wowed by descriptive narrative that never failed to paint a clear picture in my head, I was memorized by the organic dialogue that caused equally organic laughs every other page or so. Not to mention a few characters that we just love to hate. And those ending chapters ... they're so freaking clever (no spoilers)! 

If you haven't guessed by this glowing review so far, I pretty much ate this book in one sitting. It may just be the best novel I've read this year. ELEANOR explores deep topics, defining what it means to be a monster and what it means to be human. And what it means to choose. Since I like to give away the advanced copies I receive, you can win the chance to read mine by simply leaving a comment!

I'll announce the random winner on July 23rd. See you then!

Does ELEANOR sound like a novel you'd pick up? If you could be any creature, what would it be? Have you ever been to Wyoming?

I'm David, and whatever you do, "don't eat the stew!"

Friday, July 11, 2014

WOVEN: The Official Cover Reveal Is Finally Here!

My friends, this has been a long time coming. Michael Jensen and I are pleased to present to you the official cover for WOVEN!

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January 27, 2015 by Scholastic Press.

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Isn't that gorgeous? The Scholastic team did a phenomenal job with this cover ... We couldn't be happier. We'll have more to share when the information is ready. Until then, feel free to share this pretty thing with the world. Be sure to check out our Facebook page, too.

And a special thanks to Nina Goffi, the cover's designer. 

Thank you for helping us bring our ghost story to life!

I'm David, and I'm scrolling up to look at this some more ...

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Ninth Chosen: The Shadow Prison: Casting The Power of Light In K.A. Parkinson's Debut Novel!

We're awaiting word on the Woven cover reveal; there's a few details left to iron out (that's a fabric pun ...). Until then, let me tell you about this cool novel that I had the privilege of reading early ...

Sixteen-year-old Macy is not your average teenager—she’s a member of the Chosen, an elite group of gifted and magically talented children responsible for protecting humans from the monsters of the Hidden race. But when the Shard of the Ninth Chosen arrives at her Watcher’s door with the deadly Shadow Wraiths in hot pursuit, her world is shaken. The Ninth is to lead the Final Battle against the evil forces of the Dark. And when that Ninth turns out to be Tolen Parks, a clueless seventeen-year-old who has no idea that he’s anything other than a freak, she figures the world is a gonner. The two of them are swept down a dangerous path that tests everything that Macy is ... and brings out everything that Tolen can be. Amidst monsters and Radia Warriors, the pair must discover who they really are and face the heart of darkness in order to find victory ... and their destinies.

                *      *     *              (From Barnes&Noble)

Author K.A. Parkinson was kind enough to offer me an early read of this novel before publishing it. And I have to say, the story surprised me. It reminded me of David Farland's Nightingale in a few ways (I bet the setting in southern Utah had something to do with it). And I thought for sure I was reading urban fantasy until the magic system and other worldly forces came into play - not that I have anything against urban fantasy, mind you ... Back to the review at hand!

What caught my attention early on was how immersive K.A.'s writing is, brooding and atmospheric from the gate. The deserts of Nevada and Utah came to life in my mind, especially when the town of Green River was portrayed, realistically I might add (I've been there). The battles are nothing short of explosive and the characters find their footing along the journey in a way that makes me believe in their difficult plight, and their reluctance to be what prophecy dictates. 

The character Macy knocked this story out of the park for me. She has the right amount of kick-butt attitude, while trying to find herself and her role as a protector - allied with Tolen - without ever going over the Trinity Syndrome cliff. I also thought the way she recovers from using magic was clever, if not tasty. Tolen's a pretty cool guy too, if not misunderstood. I don't read about characters with two eye colors all that often, so it was fun to see that dynamic at work. And talk about a creepy, stalkish antagonist. I shiver thinking of him.

I had very few issues with the overall execution of the story, and as I understand it, much of those areas were being touched on before I sent my feedback. That said, I'd have to read this again to see how much better this has gotten. The Shadow Prison, the first book in The Ninth Chosen series, is a highly entertaining read that deftly deals with finding one's place in a world that's out of their control, and the ever present battle of the light and darkness that surrounds us all.

Read The Ninth Chosen: The Shadow Prison - It's available now!

About The Author:

K.A. Parkinson was raised in a small suburb where she spent most of her time hiding under her bed with a book, a bag of cookies, and a flashlight. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and two children.

Need links? Find The Ninth Chosen here!

Amazon B&N Smashwords Createspace

What would you do if someone said you were charged to save the world? Would you flee or would you accept the call to action?

I'm David, and I have this strange hankering for a lollipop ...