Monday, 30 March 2015

March reading round-up

The Legacy Human (Singularity #1)

I was thrilled to get an advance copy of Susan Kaye Quinn's new YA SF novel. Loved it! Read my review here.

I Heart Robot

More robots! Look out for my review of the fantastic I Heart Robot coming soon!

A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic, #1)

I'm a huge fan of all Victoria Schwab's work, and I knew I needed to get my hands on this. Parallel Londons and magic and cross-dressing thieves? Hell, yes!

The Copper Promise (The Copper Promise, #1)

I read The Copper Promise and The Iron Ghost by Jen Williams, which were both fantastic! They're fun and engaging epic fantasy adventures, packed with action and quests and magic. Recommended to anyone looking for a fresh approach to traditional fantasy themes!

Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes, #1)

I was really excited to read Snow Like Ashes because I'd heard a lot of good things about it - and look at that gorgeous cover! It's easily one of the best YA fantasies I've read this year, with fantastic worldbuilding, and a kickass female lead character.

Bound (Bound Trilogy, #1)

Bound has to be one of the best indie fantasy titles I've read. It's really well-written with great characters, romance, action and a fully realised fantasy world.

The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy, #2)

The Winner's Crime is an emotionally charged page-turner, just like the first book in the series. Kestrel and Arin have to make incredibly difficult choices with far-reaching consequences. The world-building isn't overdone, but there's just enough detail to really immerse you in the story and the world. I was hooked from beginning to end, and after a torturous cliffhanger, I'm on tenterhooks for the finale!

The Body Electric

As I really enjoyed the Across the Universe series, I was interested to read Beth Revis's first indie published title. The Body Electric is a gripping read with lots of twists and turns and an almost dystopian element.
The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1)

I've been meaning to read Locke Lamora for a while, and I'm glad I did! It's a dark, gritty and totally gripping epic fantasy with an engaging anti-hero. Recommended!

Saturday, 28 March 2015

#WIPMarathon: March Update

It's time for another #WIPMarathon update, hosted by the lovely Ifeoma Dennis!

Last report wordcount: I'd finished drafting the final Alliance book!

Current report wordcount:  I did the read-through of the entire Alliance series to see how much needed fixing. I reassembled the jigsaw of Book 3 and managed to get it into the right order without breaking the book (YES!). I fixed some of the major issues in the other books.

WIP issues this month: Lack of focus.  Being done with a series made it difficult to focus on planning something new when I was still emotionally tangled up in the Alliance series.

Four things I learned this month in writing:
  • I will never get everything right the first time. Or the second time. Or the third... well, it takes me 6-10 drafts to have a book I'm happy with, including multiple rounds of feedback. I probably rewrite at least 60% of each draft, because I have a tendency towards telling, filter words, repetition, excessive use of adverbs, and basically everything you're not supposed to do. :P So I have to rewrite every other sentence. (This is why I infinitely prefer editing other people's books to editing my own...)
  • Keep an over-used words list for line editing. Mine's two pages long now, and includes all those useless filler words, unnecessary adverbs, and repetitive phrases that crop up in my writing when I'm power-drafting.
  • Starting a new project is hard. Outlining is hard, but always worth it. (Evidenced by the fact that I just wrote a series in six months! O.O)
  • Some projects need more time than others. Alliance was better-planned from the beginning, so I could draft the series back to back, but I have a few projects from last year that went completely off the rails and need re-planning.
What distracted me this month when writing:  Adamant being published! 

Goal for next month: Finish proofreading Nemesis. Complete another revision round on Alliance 3.

I've also signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo, and I'm planning to revisit the book I wrote a year ago (my YA post-apocalyptic sequel!). I'm hoping to re-plot it as a longer series. :)

Last 200 words:

No new words this month, but there will be teasers from Nemesis coming soon!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

What's Up Wednesday

It's time for What's Up Wednesday, a weekly meme run by Erin L Funk and Jaime Morrow. Here's what I've been up to this past week!

What I'm reading

I read The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. It's a dark, gritty and totally addictive epic fantasy. Recommended!

I'm also beta-ing Jess's manuscript, the sequel to her debut, which she recently signed with Curiosity Quills! :)

What I'm writing

I finished an Alliance short story, one I've been attempting to get done since December! (I struggle with short stories for some reason. I've written two entire novels since starting this one!)

I also got out one of the YA urban fantasy manuscripts I wrote last year, the one I was working on when I got completely derailed by the Alliance series in August. :P The draft's in better shape than I remember, and I completely forgot that I have a series outline, so I'm considering revisiting this one for Camp NaNoWriMo! The problem is, I also revisited my YA post-apocalyptic duology, which is also less of a train wreck than I remember, and realised I could expand it into a longer series. Indecisiveness...

My writing goal this week: Decide which project to work on! :P

What works for me

Writing, writing all the time. I should know by now that I turn into an unbearable grump when not writing, seeing as I've been compulsively putting words on paper since I could hold a pen. I've pretty much concluded that any attempt I make to have a break from writing will end with me in front of the computer again. :P

What else is new

I started watching The 100, to see what all the fuss is about, and I'm hooked!

I'm also busy with freelance work, as I'm running a Spring Sale on my editing and proofreading services. :)

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

What's Up Wednesday

It's time for What's Up Wednesday, a weekly meme run by Erin L Funk and Jaime Morrow. Here's what I've been up to this past week!

What I'm reading

I read Snow Like Ashes by Sarah Raasch. Loved it! This is one of the best YA fantasies I've read in a long time.

I'm now rereading the Discworld series. I was sad to hear about Terry Pratchett passing away. :/ Discworld is one of my favourite fantasy series.

What I'm writing

I've been tweaking Nemesis. Managed to cut over 300 uses of the word "that" and other such overused words. Also, em-dashes.

I'm trying to emotionally disentangle myself from the Alliance series so I can plan something new. I have two potential ideas - one's YA SF/paranormal and possibly (gasp) a standalone, the other's an epic fantasy idea I'm playing around with. I'm definitely not ready to commit to a long series again for a while, though!

My writing goal this week: More brainstorming! 

What works for me

Brainstorming new ideas! I'm currently playing with two completely different ideas. One's epic fantasy, the other's YA paranormal cyberpunk SF... yeah, my brain's having trouble focusing at the moment. :P Right now, I'm brainstorming, worldbuilding, researching and making lists.

What else is new

Adamant is out and selling, and I'm getting pre-orders of the second book, too! My evil plan is working! *ahem*

I also sorted through old writing stuff from Teenage Emma, which was... enlightening. Amongst other things, I found a story about someone throwing a dead body in a river, some awful poetry, two printed-out copies of the first manuscript I wrote, a morbid and angsty continuation of Lord of the Flies I wrote for GCSE coursework (and got an A*. Ha!), and a monologue from the POV of an angry ghost which earned me my first rejection. Hmm.

Other than that... not much. It's been an odd week. And it's really weird not to be working on a draft. So I'm concentrating on freelance work, playing Skyrim and Lego Hobbit, and generally recovering from the pre-publication panic!

Monday, 16 March 2015

Cover Reveal: The Gateway of Light and Darkness by Heather Marie + Giveaway (U.S. Only)

Hey, everyone! Today I'm hosting a cover reveal for the sequel in the Gateway Series titled THE GATEWAY OF LIGHT AND DARKNESS by Heather Marie! LIGHT AND DARKNESS releases April 13th, 2015 from Curiosity Quills Press, and is the follow-up to the YA supernatural thriller THE GATEWAY THROUGH WHICH THEY CAME, which I proofread for CQ and reviewed last year! Before you jump to the awesome cover below, here’s a note from Heather Marie:

Hi hi! Thank you so much for stopping by and checking out the cover reveal! I’m so psyched to share the Light and Darkness cover with you. It went through a lot of changes before the final version was chosen, and watching it develop into what it is now was seriously exciting! If you enjoyed book one, you are in for a treat. I had way too much fun writing book two, admittedly more fun than the first, because Aiden and the gang go through some intense twist and turns throughout the entire story. If there’s one thing I love, it’s definitely hearing from my beta readers just how crazy and exciting the journey was for them. It’s my hope that you feel the same way and I can’t wait for you to read the final installment in the Gateway Series! With that being said, thank you again for reading Aiden’s story, and now let’s get to the creeptastic cover reveal, shall we? Enjoy!

Well, it’s that time, my friends.

Ready… Set… SCROLL!



by Heather Marie
Release date: April 13th, 2015
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Pre-order on Amazon HERE (
eBook: 978-1-62007-848-8
Paperback: 978-1-62007-849-5
Hardcover: 978-1-62007-850-1

Synopsis from Goodreads (

The battle of good vs. evil wages on for Aiden Ortiz in this final installment of the Gateway Series: The Gateway of Light and Darkness. With the Dark Priest defeated, and the Brethren of Shadows refusing to forfeit calling upon the Darkness, the Brethren are determined more than ever to discover a way to banish the Men of Light for good. And as the Dark Priest's curse invading Aiden's veins continues to take on a life of its own, he finds himself in a standoff between his own kind, and the Brethren that want to recruit him for all the wrong reasons. Accompanied by fellow Gateway, Julie Martin, and his best friends Trevor and Evan, seventeen-year-old Aiden prepares himself for the battle of his life.

Protecting those he loves, and learning to put aside his differences for his father in order to learn the ways of the Light, Aiden begins to realize that the thing endangering their lives might not be the threat of the Brethren alone, but the thing taking shape inside of him —readying to unleash itself upon them all.

About Heather Marie

Heather Marie lives in Northern California with her husband, and spends the majority of her time at home reading. Before she followed her dreams of becoming a writer, Heather worked as a hairstylist and makeup artist for several years. Although she enjoyed the artistic aspect of it all, nothing quite quenched her creative side like the telling of a good story. When the day had come for her to make a choice, she left behind her promising career to start another, and never looked back. You can find Heather Marie online at: Twitter (, Facebook (, and

One winner will win a signed paperback of THE GATEWAY OF LIGHT AND DARKNESS. Check out the Rafflecopter below to enter! (This giveaway is U.S. only.)

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The Infinite Blog Tour!

Link to full blog tour schedule:


In the Labyrinth, we had a saying: keep silent, keep still, keep safe.

In a city of walls and secrets, where only one man is supposed to possess magic, seventeen-year-old Kai struggles to keep hidden her own secret—she can manipulate the threads of time. When Kai was eight, she was found by Reev on the riverbank, and her “brother” has taken care of her ever since. Kai doesn’t know where her ability comes from—or where she came from. All that matters is that she and Reev stay together, and maybe one day move out of the freight container they call home, away from the metal walls of the Labyrinth. Kai’s only friend is Avan, the shopkeeper’s son with the scandalous reputation that both frightens and intrigues her.

Then Reev disappears. When keeping silent and safe means losing him forever, Kai vows to do whatever it takes to find him. She will leave the only home she’s ever known and risk getting caught up in a revolution centuries in the making. But to save Reev, Kai must unravel the threads of her past and face shocking truths about her brother, her friendship with Avan, and her unique power.

THE INFINITE Book summary:

The walls of Ninurta keep its citizens safe.

Kai always believed the only danger to the city came from within. Now, with a rebel force threatening the fragile government, the walls have become more of a prison than ever.

To make matters worse, as Avan explores his new identity as an Infinite, Kai struggles to remind him what it means to be human. And she fears her brother, Reev, is involved with the rebels. With the two people she cares about most on opposite sides of a brewing war, Kai will do whatever it takes to bring peace. But she’s lost her power to manipulate the threads of time, and she learns that a civil war might be the beginning of something far worse that will crumble not only Ninurta’s walls but also the entire city.

In this thrilling sequel to Gates of Thread and Stone, Kai must decide how much of her humanity she’s willing to lose to protect the only family she’s ever known.

Author bio:

Lori is the author of young adult fantasy novels Gates of Thread and Stone and The Infinite. She has a borderline obsessive fascination with unicorns, is fond of talking in capslock, and loves to write about magic, manipulation, and family. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, kids, and a friendly pitbull.

Author Links:


THE INFINITE Purchase Links:

Praise for Gates of Thread and Stone:

“Lori M. Lee excels in building a world of intrigue, oppression, and magic amidst a Labyrinth setting as twisted and winding as the secrets hidden inside her characters’ hearts. Fans of strong heroines who don’t need a boy to hold their hands, action-packed fighting scenes, and whispers of steampunk and mythology, will find themselves wishing they, too, could manipulate the threads of time, if only to stay inside the story a little longer.”
A.G. Howard, New York Times bestselling author of the SPLINTERED series

“A fast-paced, heart-wrenching whirl of a story full of magic, immortals, and a romance that will leave readers gasping for more. I adored the tough, scrappy narrator and fell in love with the boy chasing after her heart. Lori M. Lee introduces us to a fantasy world unlike any other and gives us the first taste of an epic love story in the making. I can’t wait for more!”
Mindee Arnett, THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR series and AVALON series

“Inventive, romantic, and gripping. I was hooked from the first page!”
Amy Tintera, REBOOT and REBEL

“A thrilling adventure in a vivid world, GATES OF THREAD AND STONE is the kind of book you want to read both fast and slow: fast to find out what happens next and slow to savor the journey. I couldn’t put it down.”
Sarah Beth Durst

“Lee has woven a captivating fantasy that will thread its way into your heart and pull you into a world of magic and intrigue.”
Christina Farley, GILDED and SILVERN

My review

I was excited to read the sequel to Gates of Thread and Stone, Lori M. Lee's debut YA fantasy about a girl who can manipulate the threads of time. It's set in a world post-magical apocalypse, in which the godlike Infinites won a war against their human offspring, the Mahjo.

The worldbuilding in this series is fantastic. I liked that the story moved further afield to a nearby city, which is under attack by monstrous chimera. Kai and her companions face new challenges and have to face the problems that resulted from the events at the end of the first book. There's plenty of action, betrayal, and twists, and the writing lives up to the gorgeous cover. Recommended to YA fantasy fans!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 13 March 2015

Author Spotlight with Amy McNulty!

M9B Friday Reveal: Author Spotlight with Amy McNulty with Giveaway #M9BFridayReveals
Welcome to this week’s M9B Friday Reveal!
This week, we are spotlighting Amy McNulty, author of
Nobody's Goddess
presented by Month9Books!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!
Amy McNulty
  • Lightning Round Questions
  • Twitter or Facebook? Twitter
  • Favorite Superhero? Storm
  • Favorite TV show? Breaking Bad
  • Sweet or Salty? Sweet
  • Coke or Pepsi? Neither!
  • Any Phobias? Panic (I'm afraid of being afraid. It makes no sense to me, either.)
  • Song you can’t get enough of right now? "Flyers" by BRADIO
  • Who is your ultimate Book Boyfriend? Edward Rochester
  • What are you reading right now or what's on your TBR? The Fading Dusk by Melissa Giorgio (out this summer)
  • Fall Movie you’re most looking forward to? Mockingjay Part 2

Amy McNulty is a freelance writer and editor from Wisconsin with an honors degree in English. She was first published in a national scholarly journal (The Concord Review) while in high school and currently spends her days alternatively writing on business and marketing topics and primarily crafting stories with dastardly villains and antiheroes set in fantastical medieval settings.

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Nobody's Goddess
In a village of masked men, each loves only one woman and must follow the commands of his “goddess” without question. A woman may reject the only man who will love her if she pleases, but she will be alone forever. And a man must stay masked until his goddess returns his love—and if she can’t or won’t, he remains masked forever.
Where the rest of her village celebrates this mystery that binds men and women together, seventeen year old Noll is just done with it. She’s lost all her childhood friends as they’ve paired off, but the worst blow was when her closest companion, Jurij, finds his goddess in Noll’s own sister. Desperate to find a way to break this ancient spell, Noll instead discovers why no man has ever loved her: she is in fact the goddess of the mysterious lord of the village, a Byronic man who refuses to let Noll have her right as a woman to spurn him and who has the power to fight the curse. Thus begins a dangerous game between the two: the choice of woman versus the magic of man. And the stakes are no less than freedom and happiness, life and death—and neither Noll nor the veiled man is willing to lose.
add to goodreads
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omplete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!
The book will be sent upon the titles release.


Wednesday, 11 March 2015

What's Up Wednesday

It's time for What's Up Wednesday, a weekly meme run by Erin L Funk and Jaime Morrow. Here's what I've been up to this past week!

What I'm reading

I finished A Darker Shade of Magic, which was just as awesome as I'd hoped it would be!

I read The Copper Promise and The Iron Ghost by Jen Williams, which were both fantastic! I'd definitely recommend this series to fans of fun and entertaining epic fantasy.

And I read I Heart Robot by Suzanne van Rooyen. I really enjoyed it!

What I'm writing

I finished the first editing pass of the Alliance series and reduced myself to a total mess again. ;_; 

Then I got CP notes on Nemesis (Alliance, #2), so I started working on those!

My writing goal this week: Finish this editing pass on Nemesis.

What works for me

Keeping idea notebooks. And plotting notebooks. And notebooks for pretty much everything. I have one notebook I've been using to organise my vague ideas for planning future novels. I write down things like genres I want to write someday (even if I don't have any concrete ideas), types of characters I could write about, possible plotlines, magic and worldbuilding ideas, and one list just titled "Awesome Stuff". If I think of an idea, it's a given that I'll forget about it five minutes later due to my terrible short term memory, so this notebook is my attempt to keep my ideas safe!

What else is new

Well, as of today, Adamant is available to purchase on all online retailers! ^_^ I'm SO excited that my first self-published book is now out there in the virtual world! (And as an actual physical book-shaped object, too.)  I'm also eternally disappointed that hover boots aren't a thing. :P

Release Day - Adamant (Alliance, #1) by Emma L. Adams

*Squeal* It's live! My first self-published book is live! :D

happy animated GIF

Self-publishing has been hard work, but so incredibly satisfying, and I'm glad I chose this path for the Alliance series. Writing Adamant was a total whirlwind, as those of you who were around to witness the insanity will know. :P 

This was the book I knew I had to write, mainly because I really wanted to read it. I knew it would be different to anything I’d written before (and to be honest, it scared the crap out of me), but I couldn’t let it go. This has been the most challenging, intense, and downright fun story I’ve ever written. I also dubbed this story the Cursed Book, due to the number of near-disasters in the writing process (it crashed and then permanently broke my laptop, amongst other things!). 

I was incredibly nervous about sending it to readers, because after four years in the query trenches and signing my whole Darkworld series with a publisher, I'd decided to self-publish this series. But then I started getting feedback. My CPs and beta readers convinced me that I wasn't totally deluding myself, and I got to work on my self-publishing plan! I'd already spent two months outlining the whole series (six books) so I could jump right into drafting the second book. In fact, I decided to draft the whole series back to back! I hired a cover artist and freelance editor, drafted a schedule, and in December, I got to announce the series! And then followed pre-orders, the cover reveal, print proofs... all the exciting stuff. And now... it's here!

On an alternative 21st-century Earth in which our world is one of many in the Multiverse, the Inter-World Alliance exists to keep the peace between the worlds, and keep the monsters out.

Ada Fletcher is twenty-one, keeps a collection of knives in her room, and is more interested in fighting than her day job as a cashier. She also risks her life on a daily basis, helping refugees from a devastating magical war on her homeworld hide on the low-magic Earth. But when she’s taken into custody by the Alliance, her unusual magic makes her a prime suspect for a supervisor’s suspicious death.

For Kay Walker, whose family founded the organization, there has never been any doubt that his future is with the Alliance – even if it means dealing with sarcastic centaurs and dangerous monsters in the dark Passages between worlds. But when his supervisor is murdered, Kay discovers that a research project might have been the reason, and faces the choice of whether to ignore his instincts or risk becoming the next target, not to mention digging into the Alliance’s history and memories he’d rather keep buried. And there’s something not quite right about the strange, fierce girl he arrested as a suspect.

The last thing Ada wants is to help the infuriating Alliance guard who arrested her, but it soon becomes clear that the Alliance knows too much about Ada’s offworld origins. More, in fact, than she knows herself. Now she has to choose between loyalty to her family, and helping the Alliance save the Earth – and the Multiverse – from a deadly enemy.

Buy the book:

And... it gets better. Nemesis (Alliance, #2) is already available to pre-order on Amazon, and it'll be released on June 8th 2015!

Pre-order here.

excited animated GIF

To celebrate, I'm giving away a $10 Amazon gift card!

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As always, if you want to keep up to date on my new releases, sign up to my author newsletter! :)

Friday, 6 March 2015

Emma's Recommendations: Multiverse Stories!

To anyone who's read any of my books, it should come as no surprise to know that I love stories involving alternative universes and fantastical worlds. The Alliance series came about because I had an idea for a particular kind of Multiverse I really wanted to read about, and that I hadn't seen before. It's not the typically-sci-fi use of infinite parallel universes in which it's possible to encounter doppelgangers of people you know - it's more like a fusion of portal fantasy and sci-fi technology. The multiple universes in the Alliance series are linked through a system of Passages and all are tied into the same magic system (though at different levels). So I thought I'd talk about some of the other books I've enjoyed that use multiple universe-systems.

Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy was probably the first parallel-worlds story I read. It's also one of my favourite series of all time, one I reread at least once every couple of years. It's one of those series which I love just as much as an adult reader as I did when I was twelve. This vividly imagined story with wonderful characters can be enjoyed on so many levels.

Diana Wynne Jones's Deep Secret. I have a special love for this one. Magids are responsible for dealing with certain other worlds, mostly to do with manipulating the "fatelines" so that people make the right decisions at the right time. The best part of this book takes place at a fantasy convention - combine magic with cosplayers and you get absolutely hysterical results. There are other Jones books which use alternative worlds, too - I've been a fan of the Chrestomanci series since I was about eight, and I adore Howl's Moving Castle. (Side note: Markos the centaur is my tribute to Diana Wynne Jones.)

Stephen King's Dark Tower series. This is a huge, multi-world epic defying genres, and it's awesome. It's also seriously confusing to begin with, but stick with it - it swiftly becomes gripping.

The Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy - parallel worlds aren't a major part of the plot at first, but the Faceless Ones come from another dimension and this takes on a more important role later on. I love this series for its hilarious dialogue and fantastic characters, so I had to mention it here!

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman is awesome. It's set in a magical library which has spies who collect certain valuable texts from different realities. It has adventure, magic, fantastic worldbuilding and dragons - what more do you want?

On the more YA SF side of multiverses, I really enjoyed Tandem by Anna Jarzab, Dissonance by Erica O'Rourke, and A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray.

And I'm currently reading Victoria Schwab's A Darker Shade of Magic, which is historical fantasy with parallel Londons and rare magicians who can move between them.

Which Multiverse stories have you enjoyed?

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

What's Up Wednesday & IWSG

It's time for What's Up Wednesday, a weekly meme run by Erin L Funk and Jaime Morrow. Here's what I've been up to this past week!

What I'm reading

I read The Infinite by Lori M. Lee, the sequel to Gates of Thread and Stone. I also read The Legacy Human, Susan Kaye Quinn's new YA sci-fi novel. Loved it! I'm a huge fan of SKQ's blog, which is one of the best resources out there for indie authors.

I'm now reading A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab, which is fabulous.

What I'm writing

More edits. All the edits. Book 3 is a jigsaw, Book 4 is too short, and large sections of Books 5 and 6 need rewriting.

Don't try and edit four books at once, guys. *picks pieces of brain off the walls*

My writing goal this week: More edits. Stop getting distracted by shiny, shiny plotbunnies... 

What works for me

Leaving notes in my manuscripts as I'm drafting. Unfortunately, it means when I'm editing, I'll come across them and have no idea what they mean (or find astonishingly unhelpful notes like "insert witty line here" or, my personal favourite, "EPIC BATTLE THING" in place of an actual scene). Oh, and I have so much trouble thinking of names, I tend to use initials or punctuation marks in the first draft and then have to replace them with actual names later. 

What else is new

The usual - work, editing, all the emails, flailing because people out there are reading Adamant (EEEEP!). Playing Lego Hobbit.


It's also time for IWSG! The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the creation of Ninja Captain Alex, and is a great way for writers to share their worries, support and encouragement.

I'm a bundle of nerves at the moment, as my first self-published book, Adamant, releases in a week! I've been through the pre-release jitters before, of course, but this time it's different because it's the first book I'm launching independently! I'm switching between excitement that I finally get to share this story and that dreaded condition known as Imposter Syndrome. In the UK, self-published books (and even small press books) aren't acknowledged by bookshops or conventions and as I don't live in London, it's difficult for me to get to most publishing events. I don't mind that (luckily, because I've never been able to get a signing and there aren't likely to be any local events), but sometimes it feels a bit isolating. So I'm having to do my usual reminder that publishing a book is still epically awesome, even if I'm celebrating alone in the attic by writing another book. Which, to be honest, is the best way to celebrate!

Only seven more days to go! :D

Monday, 2 March 2015

Review: The Legacy Human by Susan Kaye Quinn

New Release: The Legacy Human (Singularity #1) by Susan Kaye Quinn #YA #SF
ebook and print

When transcending humanity is the prize, winning the Game is all that matters.

Seventeen-year-old Elijah Brighton wants to become an ascender—a post-Singularity human/machine hybrid—after all, they’re smarter, more enlightened, more compassionate, and above all, achingly beautiful. But Eli is a legacy human, preserved and cherished for his unaltered genetic code, just like the rainforest he paints. When a fugue state possesses him and creates great art, Eli miraculously lands a sponsor for the creative Olympics. If he could just master the fugue, he could take the gold and win the right to ascend, bringing everything he’s yearned for within reach… including his beautiful ascender patron. But once Eli arrives at the Games, he finds the ascenders are playing games of their own. Everything he knows about the ascenders and the legacies they keep starts to unravel… until he’s running for his life and wondering who he truly is.

The Legacy Human is the first in Susan Kaye Quinn’s new young adult science fiction series that explores the intersection of mind, body, and soul in a post-Singularity world… and how technology will challenge us to remember what it means to be human.

“If I were a movie producer, I would option this in a heartbeat.”
“This story is so intense I felt I couldn’t get a proper breath.”
“Science fiction with philosophical depth.”
Win paperbacks of The Legacy Human and Mindjack Trilogy, as well as other great prizes, and chat with some AMAZING Sci-Fi author-friends (check out the line-up below!). Giveaways run ALL DAY (9a – 9p Chicago Time, GMT-6)

SCHEDULE - Chicago Time (GMT-6) on March 2nd
9a - 10a - Sue (Singularity)
1p - 2p - Jennifer Wells (Fluency)
2p - 2:30p - Endi Webb? (Terran Gambit)
3p - 4p - Rysa Walker (Timebound)
5p - 5:30p - Wes Davies? (Binary Cycle)
5:30 - 7p - Sue (Singularity)
7p - 8p - E.E. Giorgi? (Chimeras)
8p - 9p - Jessica Keller? (Saving Yesterday)
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My review

Eli is a legacy human in a world where most humans have ascended, becoming perfect human-machine hybrids. He wants nothing more than to join them, but his legacy status means his pure human genes have to be preserved. But Eli's mother is dying from a disease the ascenders won't cure. The only way out is for Eli to enter the creative Olympics, winning ascension for himself and his family. The problem is, he can only create his best art when in a fugue state he doesn't understand.

I was immediately hooked. Susan Kaye Quinn has a gift for creating sympathetic characters and a writing style that grabs you and doesn't let go. All the characters are unique and three-dimensional, from Eli's supportive best friend Cyrus to the other contestants at the Olympics, to the ascended, who have motives of their own. Eli is a fantastic lead character and I was rooting for him from the first page. The high-stakes plot kept moving, never stalling. This is a gripping story which raises profound questions about technology and what makes us human. A compelling start to a series I'll certainly be continuing with!

Rating: *****

On a side note to indie authors: Susan's blog is a goldmine of useful information, and I really recommend it!

Sunday, 1 March 2015

February reading round-up

The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

I was incredibly lucky to receive a copy of The Walls Around Us for review from Netgalley. It's a haunting, dark and atmospheric thriller, the kind of tale that sticks in your memory long after you finish. The story is told by Amber, who is locked away in a juvenile detention centre, and Violet, a dancer, whose best friend is convicted for an equally terrible crime. Their lives intertwine through past and present in an expertly woven mystery. The suspense, told in hypnotic, fluent writing, kept me turning the pages without pause for breath.

I hesitate to share too much about the plot in case of spoilers, but it's intricate and gripping with a supernatural twist, and the ending is shocking, memorable, and brilliantly apt. Highly recommended.

The Mime Order (The Bone Season, #2)

I enjoyed Samantha Shannon's debut novel, The Bone Season, and I was excited to see where she took the story next. The strongest part of this series is the intricate, detailed worldbuilding, from the clairvoyants to the sinister Emim and Rephaites. The majority of this book takes place in London's clairvoyant criminal community, where Paige lived before her time as a prisoner in Sheol 1. Some readers might find parts of this slow-paced, but I appreciated the depth of detail given to the clairvoyant underworld, and there's plenty of tension as Paige tries to spread word of the Rephaim and their plan. There's also a murder mystery, some fantastic action sequences, and a fantastic twist at the end which has made me intrigued to read the next book!

I picked up Anomaly because the concept really intrigued me - people with the ability to change reality with their thoughts. This is a fantastic YA sci-fi with an original twist, one I haven't read before. I loved the voice, and the lead characters are great. I'll be keeping an eye out for the sequel!

The Providence of Fire (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, #2)

I also read The Providence of Fire, the sequel to Brian Staveley's epic fantasy The Emperor's Blades. It's just as action-packed and gripping as the first book!

The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines, #6)

The Ruby Circle, the final book in Richelle Mead's Bloodlines series, was another one-sitting read. There were a lot of unexpected twists and a fitting ending for the series which won't disappoint fans of either this series or Vampire Academy.

Of Shadow and Stone
Another Netgalley find was Of Shadow and Stone by Michelle Muto. I really enjoyed her NA horror The Haunting Season, which I reviewed a while ago, and I was really interested to read her first title for adults. This is an atmospheric and engaging paranormal fantasy. Of Shadow and Stone is a well-written story with an original paranormal twist. 
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

I also read Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. While the premise of this book initially seemed familiar, I was quickly drawn into the story. In Mare Barrow's world, the poverty-stricken lower-class Reds serve in the war while the ruling Silvers live in luxury. But when a Mare unexpectedly demonstrates powers usually gifted only to Silvers, she is forced to adopt a false identity and leave her family for the deadly world of the Silver court.

This is a compelling, intense read. I loved the concept of division by blood, and the fight scenes and superpowers were very creative. Mare is a strong protagonist and the side characters are all fully developed, keeping me guessing as to who had ulterior motives. There's just enough worldbuilding to paint a vivid picture while the story keeps moving at a quick pace, with twists and turns that left me breathless. A very strong start to a new YA fantasy trilogy - this series is one to watch!

The Infinite Sea (The Fifth Wave #2)
I finally picked  up The Infinite Sea, the sequel to The 5th Wave. This gripping alien apocalyptic sci-fi series is definitely worth the hype. Recommended!


A funny, imaginative YA portal fantasy with a great main character, humour, and vivid worldbuilding.

The Infinite (Gates of Thread and Stone, #2)

The Infinite is a great sequel to Gates of Thread and Stone, following a girl who can manipulate the threads of time. The worldbuilding is great, and there's plenty of action and betrayal.

These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)

I must be the last person to pick up this book, but I was hooked from the first page. Fantastic writing, a gripping plot, great characters and romance - this is one of the best YA science fiction books I've read!