24th July 2014 Releases

Happy Release Day to:

M. D. Waters
Prototype (Archetype, Book 2)
Penguin Dutton (US: 24th July 2014)
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Emma looks forward to the day when she can let go of her past – both of them. After more than a year on the run, with clues to her parents’ whereabouts within her grasp, she may finally find a place to settle down. Start a new life. Maybe even create new memories with a new family. But the past rises to haunt her and to make sure there’s nowhere on the planet she can hide. Declan Burke wants his wife back, and with a little manipulation and a lot of reward money, he’s got the entire world on his side. Except for the one man she dreads confronting the most: Noah Tucker. Emma returns to face what she’s done but finds that the past isn’t the problem. It’s the present – and the future it represents. Noah has moved on and another woman is raising their daughter. Emma battles for her life and her freedom, tearing down walls and ripping off masks to reveal the truth. She’s decided to play their game and prove she isn’t the woman they thought she was. Even if it means she winds up dead. Or worse, reborn.

[REVIEW] Such a Pretty Girl – Laura Wiess

Laura Wiess
Such a Pretty Girl
Simon & Schuster MTV (US & CA: 2nd January 2007; AU: 20th February 2007; UK: 4th September 2008)
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Such a Pretty Girl depicts a community where the tension doesn’t simmer; it’s explosive. The only way to protect the community is to provoke the offender into re-offending, and Meredith offers herself up as the sacrificial lamb. She’s in no way reluctant, though she must battle her fears to complete the task.

The romance is believable: victims, survivors banding together, trying to cope with their tortured pasts…and now their troubled present. Paralysis and religion thread their connection with conflict and salvation. The theory of a “victim soul” is fascinating.

Meredith’s mother is representative of unfortunate women with internalised – and maybe externalised – misogyny, who only value themselves if they have a man. It’s sad, frustrating, and definitely frightening that Meredith’s mum puts herself before her daughter.

This is a true psychological thriller, which I read in one sitting in the dark, wee hours of the day. It’s sinister, scary, and fully engrossing, and cements Laura Wiess as one of my new favourite writers. She’s an expert at crafting layered, hard-hitting stories. Both books I’ve read by her (the other is Me Since You) are five-star quality, which I highly recommend to fans of contemporary, realistic young adult fiction.

22nd July 2014 Releases

Happy Release Day to:

Stephanie Diaz
Extraction (Extraction, Book 1)
Macmillan St. Martin’s Griffin (US: 22nd July 2014)
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Clementine has spent her whole life preparing for her 16th birthday when she’ll be tested for Extraction, in the hopes of being sent from Kiel’s toxic Surface to the much safer Core, where people live without fear or starvation. When she proves promising enough to be “extracted,” she must leave without Logan, the boy she loves. Torn apart from her only sense of family, Clem promises to come back and save him from brutal Surface life. What she finds initially at the Core is a utopia compared to the Surface – it’s free of hard labour, gun-wielding officials, and the moon’s lethal acid – but life is anything but safe, and Clementine learns that the planet’s leaders are planning to exterminate Surface dwellers – and that means Logan, too. Trapped by the steel walls of the underground and the lies that keep her safe, Clementine must find a way to escape and rescue Logan and the rest of the planet. But the planet’s leaders don’t want her running – they want her subdued.

Laurie Faria Stolarz
Welcome to the Dark House
Disney-Hyperion (US: 22nd July 2014)
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What’s your worst nightmare? For Ivy Jensen, it’s the eyes of a killer that haunt her nights. For Parker Bradley, it’s bloodthirsty sea serpents that slither in his dreams. And for seven essay contestants, it’s their worst nightmares that win them an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at director Justin Blake’s latest, confidential project. Ivy doesn’t even like scary movies, but she’s ready to face her real-world fears. Parker’s sympathetic words and perfect smile help keep her spirits up…at least for now. Not everyone is so charming, though. Horror-film fanatic Garth Vader wants to stir up trouble. It’s bad enough he has to stay in the middle of nowhere with this group – the girl who locks herself in her room; the know-it-all roommate; “Mister Sensitive”; and the one who’s too cheery for her own good. Someone has to make things interesting. Except, things are already a little weird. The hostess is a serial-killer look-alike, the dream-stealing Nightmare Elf is lurking about, and the seventh member of the group is missing.

So I Literally Dreamed a Story Idea…

Something happened this morning that was rare enough for me to mention it on social media: I dreamed a story idea. You may know that Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight was sparked by one of her dreams, and Maria V. Snyder’s Inside Out was sparked by one of her dreams. And probably countless other writers, but even MVS has said her dream-idea was a once-off, and she hasn’t dreamt up any other story ideas.

Because I don’t plan to make fiction out of my dream-idea, I gift it to you ;-)

I clearly wasn’t a character (maybe an omniscient storyteller or observer), because the story idea came with its own author names, series/book title, and marketing hook:

Author: D. and C. Gregory (husband and wife writer duo)
Series/book title: Tribes of Justice
Marketed as: Clan of the Cave Bear in snow and ice

I’ve never even read Clan of the Cave Bear (don’t plan to, either), so I don’t know if it has anything in common.

Anyhoo, a woman comes to live in a two- or three-storey house in the middle of nowhere, among snow and ice. Her husband is away for long periods of time, perhaps a “ranger” (I don’t know what that means). While the man’s away, he leaves his missus at home with their circa-five-year-old son, and an older woman (maybe the boy’s grandma, because she’s only there for child-minding purposes). The ranger also leaves one of the young upstarts in his line of work to stay with the woman, boy and grandma in the ranger’s absence. The woman and the young upstart (maybe named Jake) are having it off, but it’s unknown if the husband knows. (Maybe he knows and doesn’t care, or deliberately set them up to have it off.)

So while they’re having it off indoors, the boy is in the front “yard” building some kind of tall wall of snow to shield the house from wind. Not too close to the house, though, in case the wall of snow avalanches the house or something.

The boy may be AI, gen-mod or some kind of alien, because he’s pretty independent, and doesn’t really feel the cold. Omniscient storyteller mentions “empty vessel” and maybe something about a “soul” – either having one or not.

And thus is the entirety of my dream. No plot, or anything helpful – just a setting, a few characters, and marketing info. Maybe you can come up with a plot for it ;-)

So I guess the lesson of this blog post is: Your dreams might help give you story ideas? Either that, or they’re just a load of gobshite, like mine ;-)

P.S. A “wall of snow” likely won’t protect a house from wind. I’ve never lived among snow and ice, so obviously my subconscious made it up, because it’s just as dim as I am when conscious ;-)

[REVIEW] The Dream Thieves – Maggie Stiefvater

Maggie Stiefvater
The Dream Thieves (Raven Cycle, Book 2)
Scholastic (US & CA: 17th September 2013; UK: 18th September 2013; AU: 19th September 2013)
Buy (US Kindle Edition) Buy (US Hardcover) Buy (US Paperback) Buy (UK Kindle Edition) Buy (UK Paperback) Buy (CA Kindle Edition) Buy (CA Hardcover) Buy (CA Paperback) Buy (Worldwide)

You could argue that the Raven Boys Cycle is one big bro-fest, but the new duo in The Dream Thieves is the bromance to end all bromances. They may be unlikely pairing, but their witty banter is delightfully enjoyable. (“WAKE UP, FUCKWEASEL, IT’S YOUR GIRLFRIEND!”)

Fast cars, strange abilities, effed-up families, assassins, and bromance – The Dream Thieves has it all. It not only lives up to its predecessor, but exceeds it. Trust Maggie Stiefvater to make searching for a dead Welsh king fun.

6 New Covers (Armstrong, Arthur, Diaz, Graves, Kern, Vincent)

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16th July 2014 Releases

Happy Release Day to:

Cassie Alexander
The Haunted (Sleeping with Monsters, Book 1)
Argus Industrial (US: 14th July 2014)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

Daphne Vance’s life is perfect – she’s a beautiful, devoted wife, and her husband has just bought her a vast countryside estate to start their family in. But when her husband leaves on a business trip, it doesn’t feel like she’s alone in the mansion – she can feel eyes watching her, and hot hands trailing up her thighs. The domineering spirit of the mansion’s former owner is still present – and when she discovers her husband cheating on her, she doesn’t want to resist the Master anymore…