Giveaway: ‘Isla’s Inheritance’ paperback

If you’ve been waiting for Isla’s Inheritance to come out in paperback but haven’t quite gotten around to buying it, this may be of interest to you — I’m giving away three paperback copies over at Goodreads. The contest is running for all of February, so if you live in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US or the UK, now’s your chance to enter.

I suspect you need to have a Goodreads account to enter, although I don’t know for sure since I’m already a member.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

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On Martha Jones, unrequited love and female empowerment

The other day I was reading a blog post about Amy Pond, the first companion to the eleventh Doctor in Doctor Who. The blogger’s contention was that although Amy was awesome, in and of herself, the plotlines she was given were awful because they all rotated around Amy as Woman — a love triangle, a marriage, a baby.

I’ve seen this argument made many times and I’m inclined to agree, although I still really enjoyed Amy and Eleven. (Rory was a bit wet, but he grew on me.)

In the comments to this post, the consensus was that the superior companion in the reboot was Donna, because she wasn’t defined by her relationship to the Doctor, unlike Rose (who he fell in love with) and Martha (who fell in love with him). These comments were all written back before Clara and Twelve, so she didn’t factor into the debate.

Now, Donna is far and away my favourite, because of her strength of personality, heart, and the amazing character growth she experiences. Of all the companions, she had the most tragic end to her story. I mean, Rose’s was sad as far as it went, but then she got a clone of Ten to shack up with, and who wouldn’t be happy with that?! Donna lost everything. All that growth. All those experiences. I honestly think she would’ve preferred to die. *sob*

On the other hand, I think Martha deserves a little more credit. She was fiercely intelligent in her own right, stubborn and brave. Sure, she fell in love with Ten, but have you seen David Tennant? Besides, he swept in, saved the day and pashed her in the course of the adventure. My ovaries would explode on the spot!

BUT.

Martha didn’t just swan around after the Doctor and sigh. She didn’t pine (unlike Rose). She loved him, but once she realised he was never going to love her, she was independent-minded enough, smart enough, to realise that continuing to be around him was actually bad for her. Because she knew she wanted a partner — which not all women do, I grant you, but she did — and he would never be it.

I found Martha’s departure from Doctor Who to be uplifting, unlike all the others so far. Every time I see that scene, I clap. Because she did it with dignity.

You go, girl!

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Cover reveal for ‘Keir’ by Pippa Jay – and a mini review

I originally read Keir back in the middle of 2013 (I was going to write “last year” but oh, wait, 2015!). I really enjoyed it; I’ve copied my review of it from Goodreads and put it at the bottom of this cover reveal post. (The only sad thing for me is that I ordered the paperback and I love this new cover so much more. Can’t I just, you know, swap them? No? Rats!) — Cass

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A demon waiting to die…

An outcast reviled for his discolored skin and rumors of black magic, Keirlan de Corizi sees no hope for redemption. Imprisoned beneath the palace that was once his home, the legendary ‘Blue Demon of Adalucian’ waits for death to finally free him of his curse. But salvation comes in an unexpected guise.

A woman determined to save him.

Able to cross space and time with a wave of her hand, Tarquin Secker has spent eternity on a hopeless quest. Drawn by a compulsion she can’t explain, she risks her apparent immortality to save Keir, and offers him sanctuary on her home-world, Lyagnius. But Quin has secrets of her own.

When Keir mistakenly unleashes the dormant alien powers within him and earns exile from Lyagnius, Quin chooses to stand by him. Can he master his newfound abilities in time to save Quin from the darkness that seeks to possess her?

Keir is Book One of the Redemption series and part of the Travellers Universe. Previously released by Lyrical Press in May 2012, it has received a SFR Galaxy Award for SciFi Romance for Best May–December Romance (2012), and was a Aspen Gold Readers Choice Award 3rd place finalist (2013), Readers’ Favorite International Book Award finalist (2012), and The Kindle Book Review’s Best Indie Book Awards Nominee for Best SciFi/Fantasy (2013).

You can add Keir to your Goodreads shelf HERE.

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Cass’s review

I really enjoyed Keir. It reminded me of some of Anne McCaffrey’s books, which are sci-fi that was light on the science but with a consistent romantic element. I’d forgotten with my recent urban fantasy kick how much I enjoy that combination.

The romance is a slow burn, not a love at first sight thing, which I prefer — although I did start wanting to shake both characters (especially Keir) to get them to just GET ON WITH IT a chapter or two before they actually did.

The world building is great; I especially enjoyed  Metraxi but there are a few to choose from. And the characters are interesting, with back stories that give them lots of issues (read: character development arcs).

Ultimately the underlying message of the story is about acceptance: finding those who will accept you despite your differences, and — by seeing yourself through their eyes — learning to accept yourself.

About Pippa

After spending twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay is now a stay-at-home mum who writes scifi and the supernatural. Somewhere along the way a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moment playing guitar very badly, punishing herself with freestyle street dance, and studying the Dark Side of the Force. Although happily settled in the historical town of Colchester in the UK with her husband of 21 years and three little monsters, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.

Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade, blogging at Spacefreighters Lounge, Adventures in Scifi, and Romancing the Genres. Her works include YA and adult stories crossing a multitude of subgenres from scifi to the paranormal, often with romance, and she’s one of eight authors included in a science fiction romance anthology—Tales from the SFR Brigade.

Sign up HERE for Pippa’s no-spam newsletter for special previews on cover reveals, new releases, the latest giveaways and discounts, and upcoming news. You can also stalk her at her website, or at her blog, but without doubt her favorite place to hang around and chat is on Twitter as @pippajaygreen.

Goodreads | Facebook | Pinterest | Google+ | Wattpad | Amazon

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My favourite girl names, aka characters I’d name my daughters after

Last week’s Top Ten Tuesday bookish meme was a freebie, meaning you could blog about whatever took your fancy, so long as it was in a list of up to ten. My fellow Aussie Owned coblogger, Emily Mead, went with “YA Characters I’d Name My Children After”, which I thought was such a cool idea that I’d run with it as a post. Only I’ve only done the five girls for now; I’ll have a bit more of a think about the boy names. (There are some I love but their sources aren’t books.)

My taste usually runs to “unusual but traditional”, and some of these aren’t traditional, so I don’t know if I’d actually go with them or not. But I’d give it some serious consideration, if I ever had five daughters.

Arwen. This is a tricky one, because although I love the poetry of Arwen’s name, part of me thinks naming a daughter after the most beautiful half-elf in The Lord of the Rings might be a “no pressure” kind of situation! (As an aside — and this may be controversial — but the movie version of Arwen is a much better role model than the one in the book, who mostly just stays home and lets her man do all the work. Tolkien wasn’t good at writing women.)

Arwen and Aragorn

Aviendha. This is a name from The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. The character is a fierce warrior and learns to be a magic-using shaman type called a “wise one”. I imagine that she could be played by Karen Gillan, who was Amy Pond in Doctor Who. And what a gorgeous name! (Note: I also love the name Amelia/Amy, but since I got that from Doctor Who rather than a book, I won’t include it here. Oh, and I love Clara, also from Doctor Who.)

Amy Doctor Who No

Gabriella, or Gaby. Gaby is the main character in Paula Weston’s The Rephaim series. And it’s such a beautiful name! Although I’d probably go with “Gabrielle” rather than adding that extra syllable on the end, just for ease of pronunciation!

Rhiannon. This name first came to my attention in Kate Forsyth’s series Rhiannon’s Ride. In fact, for a while Isla’s name in my trilogy was Rhiannon, but I changed it due to some personal stuff that happened at the time I was drafting what is now Isla’s Inheritance. Also, Rhiannon doesn’t start with i and alliteration is bloody beautiful. ;)

Isla. Ok, I’m being cheeky including this, AND I can’t actually use it now because I have written about her, but I really love the name Isla. I think it’s often true that writers give their characters names they would’ve given their children. (Apparently that’s where Stephanie Meyer got Isabella from.) I could be less shameless and say I got the name from Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins, but I haven’t even read it!

Honourable mention

Bella. I used to love the names Bella and Isabelle (and also Isabeau from The Witches of Eileanan by Kate Forsyth), but although Bella Swan is a gorgeous name — Meyer gets props for that — she’s not my favourite character around, so I’m not sure I could use this now.

Bella Swan

What book character names do you love? :)

 


Review: ‘Endsinger’ by Jay Kristoff

Endsinger

A TREMBLING EARTH
The flames of civil war sweep across the Shima Imperium. With their plans to renew the Kazumitsu dynasty foiled, the Lotus Guild unleash their deadliest creation—a mechanical goliath known as the Earthcrusher, intended to unite the shattered Empire under a yoke of fear. With the Tiger Clan and their puppet Daimyo Hiro in tow, the Guild marches toward a battle for absolute dominion over the Isles.

A BROKEN REBELLION
Yukiko and Buruu are forced to take leadership of the Kagé rebellion, gathering new allies and old friends in an effort to unite the country against the chi-mongers. But the ghosts of Buruu’s past stand between them and the army they need, and Kin’s betrayal has destroyed all trust among their allies. When a new foe joins the war tearing the Imperium apart, it will be all the pair can do to muster the strength to fight, let alone win.

A FINAL BATTLE
The traitor Kin walks the halls of Guild power, his destiny only a bloody knife-stroke away. Hana and Yoshi struggle to find their place in a world now looking to them as heroes. Secret cabals within the Lotus Guild claw and struggle; one toward darkness, the other toward light. And as the earth splits asunder, as armies destroy each other for rule over an empire of lifeless ash and the final secret about blood lotus is revealed, the people of Shima will learn one last, horrifying truth.

There is nothing a mother won’t do to keep her children by her side.

Nothing.

Endsinger is the third and final book in The Lotus War trilogy by Aussie author Jay Kristoff. All the setup from the first two books—the various factions, wars, betrayals, rivalries and romances—comes to a head in Endsinger. That’s probably why the paperback was 661 pages. Seriously, there were times when, after reading for a couple of hours, I had to stop due to wrist strain. By the end I had to stick the cover together with sticky tape because the book was collapsing under its own weight!

If you’ve read the first two books in the series, you’ve already got an idea of what to expect from Jay’s style. His prose is beautifully, darkly descriptive, so much so that I half expected to get a chest infection from reading about Shima’s polluted air and soil. The Lotus Guild and its toxic chi industry—made from the Lotus Bloom they worship and adore—have driven the land over the edge, killed the animals and created great swathes of deadlands where nothing can survive.

(A note on the prose: if you’re the sort who prefers a straightforward style over lush metaphor, you might want to look at a sample of Jay’s writing before deciding whether it’s for you. It’s definitely a matter of taste: one person’s “descriptive” can be another’s “florid”.)

And, like the first two books, his story is bloody. He isn’t afraid to kill characters, which is only fitting. This is a war, after all. But there are a couple of particularly traumatic deaths in Endsinger. I won’t say who they are, obviously, but although I found them sad, they fall into the category of “noble sacrifice for a greater good”, which I’m okay with as a reader. It would be unrealistic if no one died.

Jay’s style is like a lot of epic fantasy, in that he tends to jump between characters, giving little bursts from different perspectives. During battle scenes, particularly, this can be four or five times in a chapter. But he doesn’t head hop within each scene, which is good; when he’s telling a story from a character’s perspective, he is faithful to that character, and manages to portray them as fully fledged people with their own motivations and desires, even the ones that only appear once or twice. (Even the puppy.)

I love the relationships between characters—especially between Yokiko and Buruu, although that’s been an ongoing thing and my adoration is therefore no surprise to me. I have a new favourite in Endsinger though, which is the street rat Yoshi. He’s learned from his (it must be said) rather stupid, cocky behaviour in the previous book, but he still has a bit of swagger there. I just loved his attitude.

Overall, my favourite part of Endsinger is the way all the loose threads are tied into a neat bow (probably made of flesh or intestines or something). There are a few eye-opening moments as we get to see what’s really been going on this whole time—things that were just part of the world in the first two books turn out to have been significant all along. I really admire the level of craft that went into achieving that.

I’ve seen some people shelve this as young adult on Goodreads, but I’d suggest it’s more for older teenagers and adults. Did I mention bloody?

Five stars


‘Isla’s Oath’ (Isla’s Inheritance 2) release day

Button_Isla's OathThey say that new parents always freak out and obsess about their first child’s milestones, whereas with second and subsequent children they tend to be more relaxed. I only have the one actual child so I can’t comment on it, but in some ways, this definitely holds true for books.

Or maybe it’s that I’ve been so busy trying to get all three books ready for the tight release schedule that everything sort of snuck up on me!

Either way, to my surprise, today is the release day for Isla’s Oath. The book blitz will be kicking off on 23 January (at least I remembered to book it a birthday party!), which is very exciting. And, for those of you that haven’t already preordered, the buy links I have so far are here:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon Australia | Barnes & Noble
Kobo | iBooks

As this post goes live, the only one of those that says “buy” instead of “preorder” is the Amazon Australia one, because it isn’t 20 January in the northern hemisphere yet. But throughout the day, the rest of the sites will catch up with us.

(The one place I feel like I’ve really let Isla’s Oath down is that I have to work today, whereas last year I was at home when Isla’s Inheritance launched, so I got to hang out all day on Twitter like a giddy schoolgirl. Still, I know I’ll be checking retailers throughout the day, and squeeing in my office even if I can’t do it on the internet till I get home! Maybe you guys could squee on the internet for me? That’d be awesome!)

If you haven’t read the first book in the series yet and are interested, you can find the relevant purchase links here.

The all-important thank yous

I owe so much to everyone who helped during the process of producing Isla’s Oath, whether it was with a bit of advice, assistance or even just a chance to decompress.

As always, to my alpha reader, Peter — who would provide advice on anything except “the girly bits” — thank you. Luckily Shelby, my fantastic editor, was more than happy to pick up the slack! Thanks also to the rest of my cheer squad: Ali and Craig, Mikey and Karen, the Pageinators, my work colleagues, my sister Kristy, and the Aussie Owned and Read girls — especially Stacey Nash, who was simultaneously on this crazy ride for her own books, and held my hand (virtually) while I hyperventilated over what I was getting into. To the BC09 girls, and my friends on Twitter and Facebook, who’ve also provided a ton of virtual support: I couldn’t have done it without you. Thanks for putting up with how distracted I get when I’m drafting.

A special mention goes to Sharon, who came up with the name Isla’s Oath back when I was just calling the manuscript Book Two. Your title is so much snappier!

Finally, to Nathaniel, my bright little boy and the light of my life: I love you to the moon and back. No, the sun! No, infinity! I’m sorry the books don’t have pictures. xo

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‘Isla’s Inheritance’ paperbacks now available

On the eve of the release of Isla’s Oath (today is your last chance to preorder it; tomorrow you’ll have to … post … order it?), I realised that although I squeed about it on Facebook, Twitter et al, I hadn’t shared the news here.

ISLA’S INHERITANCE IS NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK!

In fact, it has been for three weeks, but I got so distracted with the holiday season that I plain forgot to blog about it.

Here are the buy links I have collected so far:

Amazon US | Createspace | The Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

Last year I promised photos of me fondling the paperback when it arrived. I don’t have one of those, but I do have one of me doing my very first every author signing — in my dining room — and grinning like a loon. I hope that will do!

Isla's Inheritance in a box

Isla's Inheritance signing

Isla's Inheritance Cass signing

(Note the TARDIS pendant. Because I am a nerd. Or geek. I’m never sure which is the better term.)

Happy happy joy joy!


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