My Bookish Ways

Cinda Williams Chima’s The World of Weir Blog Tour: The Seers (excerpt and giveaway)

As part of the World of Weir Blog Tour for Cinda Williams Chima’s Heir Chronicles, I’ve got a short excerpt from Book 5: THE SORCERER HEIR (coming up from Disney-Hyperion on Oct. 21st) and a fantastic giveaway! Enjoy!

Jack surveyed his little band of warriors and sighed. It was a team of scrubs—mostly people they’d wanted to keep away from the main action. Morrison. Hudson. Hackleford. Scavuzzo. And one longtime friend and ally—Blaise Highbourne, Jack’s former neighbor, and a seer on the council.

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Angry Robot has been purchased and is looking forward to a bright future

As you probably already know, Angry Robot is one of my favorite pubishers, and I’m pleased to see that they’ve been acquired by someone that seems intent on preserving what Angry Robot has so painstakingly built. You can see the entire post with details at the Angry Robot website.


October 2014 New Releases in Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror

Here are the new releases in SF, Fantasy, and Horror for October 2014. You’re sure to find something to fatten up your TBR list! 


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October 2014 New Releases in Mystery, Suspense, and Fiction

Here are the new releases in Mystery, Suspense, and Fiction for October 2014. Look at all the pretty covers!! 


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Jumper and Reflex by Steven Gould

A very good friend of mine calls what I did this weekend a book binge, so here’s my quick takes on Jumper and Reflex by Steven Gould. I’m halfway through Impulse, and Exo will immediately follow, so stay tuned! If you haven’t read the series, there are some inevitable minor spoilers, so be warned.

JUMPER-Looking for pure escapist fun? Jumper, and its sequels, have got you more than covered. 17 year old David “Davy” Rice, discovers he can “jump”, or teleport, during a confrontation with his alcoholic, abusive father. He quickly gets a handle on his newfound ability and it opens up a whole new world for him. He leaves home, and after procuring some seed money (and then some) from a bank, sets himself off in a small apartment and soon falls in love with Millie Harrison, who’s a few years older than Davy-who is now 18, after meeting her at a party. What follows is a blazingly entertaining wish-fulfillment/coming of age action novel that you won’t be able to put down. Promise.


Ok, so, I thought I had read this way back when it came out in 1992. I would have been a sophomore in high school (there, now you know how old I am), BUT, I don’t think I did. I meant to re-read since I snagged a copy of Exo, and wanted to dive into the series. Maybe it’s just been THAT long. Either way, it was really fresh (even though it’s 22 years old), really fun, and just a blast. There are limitations to Davy’s ability, and I love at how Gould navigates the ins and outs of teleportation, while pretty accurately (I think) portraying how a 17 year old would get by on his own, especially one that’s pretty wounded. And Davy is wounded. His mom left when he was pretty young, and he’s still heartbroken about that, but there’s more to that story, and it’s what leads in to the second half of the novel, when Davy sort of accidentally falls into being a hero. Davy is fairly naïve, and has quite a few crises of conscience, but I like that about him, that he tries not to lower himself to the level of those that would do others harm, even if it takes a little extra plotting and planning to get things done. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again-one thing I liked about this book is that it’s written before cellphones became ubiquitous, and I like that characters have to go the extra mile to communicate sometimes. Obviously, inevitably, that changes in future installments, but I enjoyed it. Inevitably, Davy’s power gets some notice from various government agencies, and this will figure prominently in the next book.

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Interview: Steven Gould on Exo, the science of “jumping”, and more!

Please welcome Steven Gould to the blog! His brand new entry in his fantastic Jumper series (more on that soon), EXO, just came out a few weeks back, and he kindly stopped by to answer a few of my questions. Please give him a warm welcome!

steve-by-ellenExo is the fourth book in your Jumper series and tells Cent’s story. She was also featured in Impulse, but how do you think she’s grown since that book? Why do you think readers will root for her, and also, for Cory, who she teams up with?
She’s loved and been burned in love. She has more competence than in IMPULSE but a little less confidence. She has a burning need to distract herself right now and that, plus a life-long interest, pushes her down a new path. I think her desires and insecurities are familiar to most of us who are or have gone through their teens, but with a substantial dose of wish-fulfillment. Cory, while an important new character, joins a whole group of the characters with whose different and shared goals drive the story.

For those that haven’t read the series, will you tell us a little more about “jumping” and the science behind it?
Jumping is teleportation, the ability to go from one place to the next almost instantly. It’s a classic trope in the genre: Alfred Bester’s THE STARS MY DESTINATION, Phyllis Eisenstein’s BORN TO EXILE, Star Trek’s transporter beam, lots of television. In the series, I expand its uses but never beyond the parameters set forth in the first book, JUMPER. When jumping, a portal is opened between two different locations. If you jump back and forth quickly enough, you can leave this portal open. When you jump from one location to the other, you are matching frames of reference, so you can jump from a speeding car to the sidewalk without rolling down it at 60 mph. If you think about it, you can add velocity at your destination that doesn’t match the frame of reference.

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A chat with Steven John, author of Outrider

Steven John is the author of 3 A.M. and his new novel, OUTRIDER, just came out! Please welcome him to the blog!

stevenjohnYour new book, OUTRIDER, is quite different from THREE A.M.! Will you tell us more about it and what inspired you to write it?
THREE A.M. was inspired by setting and character: once I had those in place in my mind all I needed was a story for into which Tom Vale (the protagonist) could fall. OUTRIDER on the other hand began with an idea about a conflict; the makings of the story came to me after a conversation with my brother, in fact, (indeed I spoke of it in the acknowledgements in the book). We talked about a scene involving a field of solar panels and a shootout. That was enough: from there came the world of OUTRIDER, populated by its many characters and with the inevitable clash between people operating on opposing belief systems.

Have you always wanted to be a writer? Will you tell us more about yourself and your background?
I have always been writing, if not always planning to be a writer, per say. I made movies all throughout my childhood (in Alexandria, VA, near Washington, DC) and went to film school in Boston, then moved to LA and worked in that industry for a number of years. But I wrote short stories and several aborted novels in my younger days, along with poetry (some of which is competent, some of which is youthful tripe), essays, and of course papers for school, assignments which I always relished over, say, a math test (mathematics and I are not on god terms). More even than writing, though, I have since childhood been a voracious reader, and it is to that I credit any ability I have now.

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A round-up of smashing Kindle deals under $5!

Get ‘em while they’re hot! You know the drill-all awesome, all under $5! I’ve got you covered with SFF, suspense, YA, it’s all here, so you’re sure to find something to curl up with over the weekend!

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Interview: David Liss, author of The Day of Atonement

I’m a longtime fan of David Liss’s work, and to my utter delight, he agreed to answer a few of my questions about his newest book, THE DAY OF ATONEMENT (I loved it), and much more. Please give him a warm welcome!

davidlissDavid, I’m so thrilled about THE DAY OF ATONEMENT, and Benjamin Weaver even makes a brief appearance. What inspired you to write a book about the Inquisition’s influence in Portugal?
I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but there’s a major historical event that happens in the last third of the book, and this is something I’ve always been fascinated by. It’s an event that shows up in both the history and the literature of the period, and it’s one of those things that’s been on my mind since my days in graduate school.

I’d had the idea that I might write about 18th century Lisbon for some time, and when I started doing some preliminary reading, I became absolutely fascinated by the cultural landscape – an empire on the verge of collapse; a distracted and self-indulgent ruling class; the presence of foreign merchants who run the nation’s economy; and, of course, the last powerful Inquisition in Europe – a medieval throwback in the age of enlightenment – which has become a twisted version of its original incarnation, which was never so pretty to begin with. That’s just a long way of saying I loved the social, political, and economic turmoil, which struck me as a great backdrop for just about any kind of story, but a revenge story in particular.

What kind of research did you do for the book, and what was one of the most interesting, or surprising things you learned?
Lisbon, as it was in the 18th century, does not exist today (again, I obliquely refer to the last act of the novel), and getting a sense of the physical city at the time was my greatest challenge. Of course, I spent a lot of time reading, but this time and place are not well documented. I went through all the scholarly material I could find, and I read a number of memoirs written by English merchants in 18th century Lisbon. Finally, I took a research trip, where I had a lot of help from local experts and museums. I always save the visit to the physical space until I have a solid draft of a book, otherwise I don’t know what to look for, or even what I’m looking at. In this case, I went around trying to find plausible locations where certain events I wanted to happen could happen.

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The Day of Atonement by David Liss

dayofatonementThe Day of Atonement by David Liss (Random House, Sept. 23,2014)-Sebastião Raposa was only a boy when he was forced to flee Lisbon after his family was taken away by the Inquisition. It’s now 10 years later, and he’s returned to Portugal under the name of Sebastian Foxx, and in the guise of an English businessman. Business isn’t his real priority in Portugal, however. In fact, all these years he’s harbored a simmering hate for the man that took his family and changed his life forever: a priest named Pedro Azinheiro. His one goal is to kill Azinheiro and avenge his family, but he soon realizes that it won’t be as simple a task as he first thought.

A little about Sebastian Foxx: as a child he was a Jew that had converted to Christianity, or, a New Christian, and they were particular targets of the Inquisition, who suspected them of secretly practicing Judaism. No one was safe, and just about no one could be trusted, since agents of the Inquisition frequently used family members and friends against each other under threat. After all, there’s not much you won’t do when your children are threatened with torture and death. While in England, he was mentored by Benjamin Weaver, a prominent character in a few of Liss’s previous works (and one of my favorite characters, period.) Foxx knows how to protect himself, and he knows how to fight, but it’s going to take those skills, and quick thinking to navigate the treacherous Lisbon that he now finds himself in.

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