New Release and Giveaway! THE LAST SHADOW GATE by Michael W. Garza (The Last Shadow Gate Chronicles #1)

The Last Shadow Gate
by Michael W. Garza
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: March 3rd 2017
NeverHaven Press


Summer vacation was never supposed to be like this.

It was bad enough Naomi had to be shipped off to her dad’s home for the summer and deal with her half-brother Gavin, but when the siblings are forced to spend their break with their great-grandmother in upstate New York, everything changes. An investigation into the strange disappearance of their great-grandfather forces them to retrace his footsteps. They discover a gateway between worlds and encounter extraordinary creatures in a land where the people are desperate to escape the coming of a shade lord. To survive their adventure, Naomi and Gavin must settle their differences and find the elusive shadow gate that will take them home again.

Pre-order on Amazon!



Book 1: The Last Shadow Gate

Book 2: A Veil of Shadows (Coming 2017)

Book 3: The Shadow of War (Coming 2018)

About the Author:

Michael W. Garza often finds himself wondering where his inspiration will come from next and in what form his imagination will bring it to life. The outcomes regularly surprise him and it’s always his ambition to amaze those curious enough to follow him and take in those results. He hopes everyone will find something that frightens, surprises, or simply astonishes them.


Author Links:

WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebookAuthor’s Amazon Page

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Cover Reveal! THE HUNDREDTH QUEEN by Emily R. King

The Hundredth Queen
Emily R. King
Published by: Skyscape
Publication date: June 1st 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

As an orphan ward of the Sisterhood, eighteen-year-old Kalinda is destined for nothing more than a life of seclusion and prayer. Plagued by fevers, she’s an unlikely candidate for even a servant’s position, let alone a courtesan or wife. Her sole dream is to continue living in peace in the Sisterhood’s mountain temple.

But a visit from the tyrant Rajah Tarek disrupts Kalinda’s life. Within hours, she is ripped from the comfort of her home, set on a desert trek, and ordered to fight for her place among the rajah’s ninety-nine wives and numerous courtesans. Her only solace comes in the company of her guard, the stoic but kind Captain Deven Naik.

Faced with the danger of a tournament to the death—and her growing affection for Deven—Kalinda’s only hope for escape lies in an arcane, forbidden power that’s buried within her.

In Emily R. King’s thrilling fantasy debut, an orphan girl blossoms into a warrior, summoning courage and confidence in her fearless quest to upend tradition, overthrow an empire, and reclaim her life as her own.

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Author Bio:

Emily R. King is a reader of everything and a writer of fantasy. Born in Canada and raised in the USA, she has perfected the use of “eh” and “y’all” and uses both interchangeably. Shark advocate, consumer of gummy bears, and islander at heart, Emily’s greatest interests are her four children. She’s a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and an active participant in her local writers’ community. She lives in Northern Utah with her family and their cantankerous cat.

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C.D. Bell, Author of WEREGIRL, Tells Us, “There is No ‘I’ in Wolf”


There is no “I” in Wolf
By C.D. Bell, author of Weregirl

Reading Weregirl, most people don’t know that it wasn’t written by a single author, but by a team of writers and editors working at the Vermont publisher Chooseco.

“How does that work?” my writer friends ask. Skeptically. Most assume that writing is an activity best conducted in solitary confinement. At the base of this belief is the idea that multiple voices will muddy the purity of intention that only a solitary writer can achieve. Nothing is more dreadful, the thinking goes, than what is created “by committee.”

But after having plotted and then written a book in this way, I am not sure they are always right.

As a culture, we humans seem to be always pushing for increased isolation, as if the ability to escape each other is the reward of all our technological advancement. By necessity, it used to be that families would sleep all together in a single room, warmed by a small fire as well as body heat. Children would routinely share beds until only very recently. Now, that feels unthinkable. What do we need as humans? As writers? A room of our own.

Really? Always? If we traveled back in time, I suspect the closeness humans used to share gave them a sense of peace and balance I often feel missing in the modern world, where the stress of our isolation is thought to be the cause of many mental and physical illnesses.

As I thought about these questions going into the collaborative Weregirl process, it wasn’t lost on me that Weregirl’s subject—wolves—do everything collaboratively. They sleep in tiny dens piled up on top of each other. They communicate with others in and out of their pack through the smells they lay down and through song. They divide into effective team roles when they’re on the hunt with the precision of a group of Navy SEALs. Watch them and you’ll see that it isn’t static, who does what. They’re in a constant state of negotiation—the alpha probably encounters a dozen micro-challenges to/confirmations of his position on a daily basis.

This kind of negotiation turned out to be a huge part of the Weregirl writers’ room. Just to set the scene, I’ll add some detail. It was March. It was Vermont. Everything outside was either ice or mud, depending on where the sun was hanging in the sky. If the sun was hanging at all. For three days, the team and I sat around in a conference room table while outside Vermont dripped. We ate chocolate and take out and, well, proposed ideas and asked difficult questions and argued about the answers and took notes and felt like we weren’t getting anywhere and what the heck were we going to do if we got to the end of the retreat and had nothing to show?

All the while, I was in interpersonal overstimulation hell. I’d propose an idea and it would be accepted and I’d think, Aha! That’s why I’m here. It’s all about me! I’m brilliant at this! Then, only ten minutes later, the most important part of that idea would be supplanted by someone else’s latest thought. How can that be? I would want to ask. (And I probably did ask more often than was polite.) That idea was the keystone in the arch of this story. Without my idea, everything will crumble.

But then something strange would happen. I would start to like the idea that had supplanted mine. I’d start to see that almost because it didn’t come from me, it had some strange power. It would be fun to write, because it would push me out of my own head. I’d go from a sulky, Fine—the battle cry of the passive aggressive malcontent—to ten minutes later, Okay, maybe that can work, to ten minutes after that, I get it. Let’s go. And then the idea would change again.

It was only later, when I sat down to write (and yes, that mostly happened in my “room of my own”), I came to see that what we created together was solid. Better than solid. Exciting. The rhythm was good. The story moved but also settled into itself. It was self-confident, which is a strange thing to say about an outline, but true. Maybe because our collective vision protected it from the whim of tangents? Maybe because six people means six times the ideas?

Or maybe it was me who was self-confident, not the outline. Maybe my awareness of the vetting process, my having lived through it, grounded me in each episode and character’s raison d’être. Or maybe I had a better time writing it because, on a certain fundamental level that wolves know about and maybe we humans should get to know better, I felt comforted by the understanding that in this one project, at least, I was not alone.


About C. D. Bell:cd-bell-headshot

When she’s not biking the streets of Brooklyn, NY, you can find C. D. Bell writing in a decrepit RV clinging to the side of a hill in upstate New York, trying to teach herself to watercolor, or inventing her own recipes. She is a voracious reader of anything and everything fantasy, supernatural, or romance. And she swears that the monsters she often writes about are not real– at least she hopes not.

Created by a talented team of six female writers and inspired by the working tradition of television writers, C. D. Bell is a Chooseco author pseudonym developed with teen author Cathleen Davitt Bell, who has written I Remember You [Knopf 2015], among other novels for young adults.

The second installment of the WEREGIRL trilogy is already in the works.

About Chooseco:

Chooseco publishes the Choose Your Own Adventure series. Widely commended for its appeal to reluctant readers, the interactive, multiple-choice multiple-ending series is the 4th-bestselling series for children ever published, with more than 265 million copies translated into 38 languages. Chooseco has sold over 10 million copies since the series re-launch in 2006. Weregirl represents Chooseco’s first foray into full-length, non-interactive young adult fiction.



Nessa Kurland is running for her life. 

C. D. Bell’s WEREGIRL is a fast-paced teen thriller set in Tether, Michigan, a town on the brink of shutdown since it was stripped of its resources by corporate polluter Dutch Chemical.

High school junior Nessa Kurland is a cross-country runner with her eyes set on one thing: a college scholarship as her one-way ticket out of Tether.

Talented teammate Cynthia Sinise invites Nessa on a nighttime run through Tether’s overgrown forest trails. But she speeds ahead, leaving Nessa alone to discover a trapped wolf. Nessa tries to free the animal but is badly bitten, seemingly ruining her hopes for a strong fall season with the cross-country team.

Instead, Nessa’s freakishly quick recovery is followed by improved running times. All her senses are heightened. Nessa has transformed.

She has become a werewolf.

In her new state, Nessa learns there are things about Tether that powerful people want to keep hidden. Why does a Nobel Laureate work at the small-town medical clinic? Are top college athletic scouts really interested in her emerging talent? Can she trust Chayton, the motorcycle-riding guide her friends have faith in? WEREGIRL‘s Nessa must navigate her junior year and true human darkness, while making peace with her new, wild nature.



Release Day and Giveaway! IMMORTAL by Nicole Conway (Dragonrider Chronicles #4)


Hello Readers! Welcome to the Release Day Celebration for

Immortal (Dragonrider Chronicles #4)
by Nicole Conway

presented by Month9Books!

Don’t miss out on the next book in this series,
and be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!


Happy Book Birthday, Nicole!

Immortal (Dragonrider Chronicles #4)
by Nicole Conway
Publication Date: November 8, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books

Destiny has called.

With Jaevid Broadfeather forever lost to the depths of Luntharda, Felix Farrow struggles to stand on his own. He begins a violent downward spiral which causes him to abandon his post as a dragonrider, hiding in the halls of his family estate. His one hope for redemption lies within the heart of someone from his past—and the very last person he ever wanted to see again.

And now the time has finally come.

Hovrid, who has ruled Maldobar as a tyrannical imposter, is preparing to make a decisive assault against Luntharda that will destroy what remains of the elven race. Only Jaevid, Felix, and their trusted friends are able to stand in his way. They have only one chance to end the war, and only one hope to absolve the curse that threatens to destroy their world. The stage is set. The plan is in motion.

What began as one boy’s adventure will now end in blood.


“When we were fledglings at the academy, you went out of your way to sit with me and get to know me. I’ve always wondered why.”

“I’d heard about the halfbreed student who was joining our ranks. Everyone was talking about how puny you were and that they didn’t expect you to last one day in real training,” he recalled. “I suppose I just wanted to see for myself what you were really like—if you were actually that brave, or just dumb.”

“And? What was the verdict?”

Felix grinned again. “I dunno. The jury’s still out.”


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Nicole is the author of the children’s fantasy series, THE DRAGONRIDER CHRONICLES, about a young boy’s journey into manhood as he trains to become a dragonrider. She has completed the first two books in the series, and is now working on the third and final book.

Originally from a small town in North Alabama, Nicole moves frequently due to her husband’s career as a pilot for the United States Air Force. She received a B.A. in English with a concentration in Classics from Auburn University, and will soon attend graduate school.

She has previously worked as a freelance and graphic artist for promotional companies, but has now embraced writing as a full-time occupation.

Nicole enjoys hiking, camping, shopping, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends. She also loves watching children’s movies and collecting books. She lives at home with her husband, two cats, and dog.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram |Goodreads





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A Top 10 List for SPELLS & SORCERY by S. Usher Evans (with a giveaway!)

Top 10 things you could find out on the eve of your 15th birthday that are worse than, “You have magic!”

  1. You’re grounded
  2. Your father is a frog and you may develop warts.
  3. We’re moving to Antarctica. Here’s your coat.
  4. That pain? Oh, that’s just your tail coming in.
  5. Your mother’s family are trolls and you might experience a need to live under a bridge.
  6. Your rival has the same birthday and invited all your friends.
  7. Your brother is really your father and your sister is really your grandmother
  8. We got you socks for your birthday.
  9. The internet has crashed forever
  10. You’re normal. Because let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to find out they have magic?


Spells and Sorcery
S. Usher Evans
(Lexie Carrigan Chronicles, #1)
Publication date: October 4th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

You have magic.

One sentence, three words, four syllables. Enough to change my life forever. And I’m not talking about the whole spells and sorcery thing.

Lexie Carrigan thought the weirdest thing about her was she preferred watching documentaries and reading the newspaper to reality TV and Twitter. But on the eve of her fifteenth birthday, her aunt and sisters drop a bomb–she’s magical.

Now the girl who never made waves is blowing up her nightstand and trying to keep from wreaking havoc on her school. When a kind stranger shows up with all the answers, Lexie hopes he’ll be able to help her control her newfound powers. But Gavon may not be as kind as he seems, and soon Lexie finds out that being magical is the least weird thing about her.

Spells and Sorcery is the first YA fantasy from S. Usher Evans, author of the Razia series, the Madion War Trilogy and Empath.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo


Author Bio:

S. Usher Evans is an author, blogger, and witty banter aficionado. Born in Pensacola, Florida, she left the sleepy town behind for the fast-paced world of Washington, D.C.. There, she somehow landed jobs with BBC, Discovery Channel, and National Geographic Television before finally settling into a “real job” as an IT consultant. After a quarter life crisis at age 27, she decided consulting was for the birds and rekindled a childhood passion for writing novels. She sold everything she owned and moved back to Pensacola, where she currently resides with her two dogs, Zoe and Mr. Biscuit.

Evans is the author of the Razia series, Madion War Trilogy, and Empath, published by Sun’s Golden Ray Publishing.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter


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The genreCRAVE Sci-Fi and Fantasy Book Party and Giveaway!

Welcome to the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Book Party!

Welcome to the genreCRAVE Science Fiction and Fantasy $1200 Giveaway! We have something really exciting set up for you.

First, some KILLER Science Fiction and Fantasy books at a steal, and after that, a chance to enter our $1200 Gift Card Giveaway! Read on for more information, but first, check out the books from our sponsors at the link below!


Here are a couple of sneak peeks!

Ambassador 1: Seeing Red
I had never been on first-name terms with the president, but while I sat there trying hard not to succumb to jet-lag, he chatted about my father, whom I had just visited, and who had finally retired from Lunar Base to his native New Zealand. Sirkonen opened the drawer of his desk and took something out, which he flipped across the gleaming wooden surface. I could do nothing but catch it. A datastick. I turned it over. The black plastic cover reflected the sunlight.

“What’s on it?”

“You might find it useful. Think of it as some . . . personal advice, from me to you. We’ll talk about it later, when you return for your first briefing.” He shut the drawer with a thud as if closing the subject.

This was highly irregular. “Mr President, can I ask—”

He shook his head, and offered me a drink—Finnish vodka, best in the world, he said. While he poured, his hands trembled.

I should have insisted that he tell me what was wrong, but who was I? An unimportant, sending-out-our-feelers type of diplomat, expendable and twenty years his junior. Not the type of person to draw attention to his problems—with alcohol or otherwise.

We made a toast. The heavy scent of the vodka did nothing to improve my alertness.

“Mr Wilson, when you come back in six month’s time, you must present your report to the general assembly. We need to know in detail what sort of regimes we’re dealing with.”

I didn’t understand why he spoke in such empty generalities; I wondered when he was going to open that folder on his desk and sign the contract. Nicha, my Coldi assistant, was waiting in the foyer. We had a whole heap of work to catch up on. I was annoyed that Sirkonen had changed our meeting time at the last minute—the original meeting had been scheduled for tomorrow morning.

Sirkonen stopped speaking.

I stared at him, realising with embarrassment that I’d been off with the fairies. Was I meant to have said something? Was I breaking rule number one of the diplomatic circle: never show any sign of sleep deprivation?

An attack of dizziness overtook me. My vision wavered, as if the world were painted on a silk flag that flapped in the wind, and all the furniture was rimmed in a red aura. “Mr President, I’m—”

I just managed to put my vodka down. The glass hit the wood with a soft clunk, the only sound in the frozen silence.

There was a small sound from outside, a click.

As if stung, Sirkonen turned to the window; his eyes widened.


The president opened his mouth, but a sharp crack interrupted his words.

Releasing Rage
She stepped into the firewall square. The door behind her closed and she authorized the interior door to open.

A buzz swept over her. No, not simply over her. Into her. She gasped, her inhalation of air drawing more of this unknown presence inside her.

It was too much, almost suffocating. Joan swayed, lightheaded. “Do not faint. Do not faint,” she repeated to herself, closing her eyes.

The rolling under her feet gradually stopped. She opened her eyes and wished she hadn’t. Crimson spray covered everywhere she looked. Gore was splattered into the farthest corners, hanging from the ceiling. Cleaner bots scrubbed the walls and floor.

This was why she felt dizzy, she reasoned. She smelled and sensed this butchery.

C899321, the being she had been told was responsible, stood in his uploading dock, a cable inserted into his nape, his towering form naked, covered with blood, his long black hair dripping with it.

He turned his head, locked his gaze with hers and she sucked in her breath. There were worlds of agony, of rage, in those bright blue eyes. This was no rational, logic-driven cyborg. This was a man, an animal, crazed by bloodlust and pain.

“They thought to pacify me with the use of a human female?” he thundered, his deep gravelly voice clawing across her skin, awakening parts in her she didn’t realize slept. “I’d kill you before I allowed you to touch me.”

This insult didn’t hurt her the way he’d intended. Joan knew she wasn’t the slim tiny female males desired. She was solidly built, good breeding stock, as her mother had once said.

She discarded his words and focused on the torment in his tones. He hurt. Horrifically. Her fingers twitched, the urge to reach out to him, to comfort him, tremendous. Judging by the flex of his powerful biceps and thigh muscles, by the anger radiating from him, he wouldn’t appreciate that response.

He also wouldn’t listen to any command she issued. A reprimand, verbal or physical, would add to his hostility. Some being had already tried to restrain him and failed. The reportedly unbreakable wrist and ankle cuffs attached to the frame of the uploading dock had been shattered, rendered useless.

Joan discarded four solar cycles’ worth of theory on how to handle malfunctioning cyborgs, realizing now that the academy experts knew nothing.
Her late father, however, had taught her how to deal with wild beasts.

“I would never touch you without your permission.” She lowered her gaze, showing submission, recognizing C899321 as the dominant male he was. He’d seek to harm any aggressor, to protect himself and his territory. If she wasn’t female, she suspected she’d already be dead.

“I also would never hurt you.” Joan stuffed a couple of cleaning cloths into her pockets and dropped to her knees, into a puddle of red. The moisture soaked through her flight suit. “I’m here to serve you, to clean you.”



Entering is easy! Directions are on the Rafflecopter, but as an overview:

  1. Subscribe to genreCRAVE and confirm your subscription when you receive the confirmation. You must confirm via the confirmation email to get entry for the $1200!
  2. Select what other newsletters you would like to join. Each newsletter = 1 entry. Enter your email to confirm. This email must match the email you used for confirmation in step 1!
  3. You may unsubscribe at any time, but reporting as Spam will get you disqualified from all future giveaways, and we run some pretty awesome giveaways (in the last 30 days, we’ve given away multiple books as well as a $2000 and $1000 gift card, and now this $1200 one!)
  4. Winner will be announced at our Facebook Party and contacted via Email. We will have other prizes at the Facebook Party as well!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS FOR SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY FANS ONLY. IF YOU ARE NOT AN AVID READER OF THOSE GENRES, YOUR ENTRY WILL BE DISQUALIFIED. Please do not try to find a way around this. There will be other giveaways Enter this one if you love SCIENCE FICTION and FANTASY! Thank you!

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New Release and Giveaway! THE KING IN THE STONE by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban (Two Moon Princess #2)


The King in the Stone
Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban
(Two Moon Princess, #2)
Publication date: July 25th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Young Adult

A full moon,
A silver key,
And the unbending passion of two young lovers
will bring hope to a defeated kingdom
and, through their sorrow, deliver a king
who will change its fate.

Vivid visions have haunted Andrea since her arrival in northern Spain. In her visions, the ruins of the medieval village she’s excavating comes alive, and, around the fires burning in the no longer buried hearths, she sees people dressed in furs sharpening old fashioned swords.
Even more upsetting for her that the headaches her visions leave is the fact that Julián appears in them—Julián, the king from her world whose rejection she is trying hard to forget.

But when a slide bury Andrea under the mountain, Julian comes searching for her. Soon after they are reunited under the mountains, the full moon opens a portal and sends them back a thousand years into the past, to a time right after the Spaniards have been defeated by the Arabian invaders.

Separated by a bitter winter, Andrea and Julian are caught in opposite sides in the battle between the Spanish last unconquered settlements and the Arabian army. A battle for survival that will determine the fate of a kingdom and demand of them the ultimate sacrifice: As the Arabs close on the mountains, Julián makes a decision that will break Andrea’s heart and change them forever.

Goodreads / Amazon


In the following excerpt from The King in the Stone, Julián makes a fateful decision.

I don’t know how long I remained by the cliff staring down at Andrea’s broken body, so unnaturally still in her white shroud of snow. I don’t know how long I remained by the cliff lost in a world of my own. A world beyond feelings, beyond reason. A world in which, I came to believe, time could flow backwards, and as long as I didn’t move, didn’t breathe, it was still possible to reverse its course. Andrea would rise from the ledge and climb to my side, and her blood would be warm again inside her body and not a red stain over the snow.

I don’t know how long I remained by the cliff dreaming impossible dreams. Then somewhere down in the valley, a horse neighed and broke the spell.
I shivered. The rush of the fight had left me by now, and the bitter wind blowing through the mountain had covered my body with a frozen dust. If I didn’t leave soon I would freeze to death. Forcing my stiff legs to move, I turned my back to the ledge and started walking.

I didn’t remember going back into the cave and retrieving the sword and the knife from the bear’s body. I didn’t remember grabbing the cloak or picking up Andrea’s arrow from the ground or walking down the mountain. The next thing I remember is someone calling my name.

I shook my head to clear my mind and looked around. I was back in the oak grove where we had tethered the horses, and Irene stood in front of me.

I let go of the hilt of the sword I’d instinctively grabbed, and nodded to the girl whose waif-like face was tense with fear.


I tried to talk. But no words came.

Irene moved closer and reached for my face. “You’re hurt, Julián. Let me help you.”

“There is no time. We must go. Now. Get the horses ready. I’ll get Theodorica.”

Turning my back on her, I entered the copse.

Her feet and hands bound, a dirty rag over her mouth, Theodorica was sitting on a stump. Her eyes full of contempt didn’t leave mine as I approached her, and when I removed her gag, she spat at me.

In anger, I lifted her and held her against the closest tree. Theodorica struggled like a wild animal trying to break free, and as I fought her back, something snapped inside my mind, turning the throbbing ache at Andrea’s loss into a feral urge to make Theodorica mine. Forcing her face still with one hand, I kissed her. I kissed her long and hard. Not because I cared for her, but because Andrea was dead and she alive, and in the aftermath of death we crave life.

I kissed her out of pain, out of anger and despair. Out of hate. I kissed her until her body grew willing under mine. Only then, I pulled back.
Without a word, I cut her bonds.

Theodorica stared at me.

“You got your wish, my lady,” I said in answer to the question she had not asked. “I’m coming with you to the Arab’s camp.”

Sequel to:

Author Bio:

Carmen Ferreiro Esteban is the author of the medieval fantasy Two Moon Princess (Tanglewood Press 2007), and Immortal Love (Crimson Romance 2012). Her own translation into Spanish of Immortal Love can be found under the title Bécquer eterno.

Carmen was born in Galicia (northern Spain) and went to college in Madrid, where she finished her Ph.D. in Biology. She worked as a researcher in Spain and California, before moving to Pennsylvania, where she now works as a writer, editor and translator.

For more information, please visit her website or reach her on Facebook.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook


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Mass Market Release Review! THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE by Neil Gaiman

Title: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Author: Neil Gaiman
Mass Market PB Release Date: June 28, 2016
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Coming of Age
Format: Ebook/Paperback/Hardcover/Audio


Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.



I’m not even sure where to start with this one. This is a book full of magic, love, and excessive creepiness that also made me cry. At one point near the end, I was practically sobbing.

Clearly, it’s a book by Neil Gaiman.

As usual, he blew me away. It’s a short book, but it still manages to pack an emotional wallop while absolutely dazzling the imagination. It also completely messes with your mind–I didn’t even realize until the very end (when Joe Hill told me in the extras, darn it. On my own, I may never have noticed–that’s how immersed in the story I was) that we never even learned the narrator’s name. I did realize that we never find out who the funeral was for–in the back of my mind when it was mentioned, I wondered (vaguely, very vaguely) who had died, but then got sucked right back in to the narrative and just didn’t care anymore.

Except for the fact that the narrator is 1) a boy 2) lives in England and 3) survived some pretty wild and intense stuff when he was seven (although maybe I did too, and have also blocked it out, as he does for 99% of his adulthood? Only if it really is anything like his experience, I’d really rather it stay forgotten. Permanently.) the main character could have been me. Seriously, when he says things like:

“I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.”

–that’s me. And so is

“I lay on the bed and lost myself in the stories. I liked that. Books were safer than other people anyway.”


“I went away in my head, into a book. That was where I went whenever real life was too hard or too inflexible.”

Yep. Me again.

I loved that he used the things he found in books to try and save himself and his family. Because, as he points out at one point, words can save lives, sometimes. And I completely agreed with him on his views of myths:

“I liked myths. They weren’t adult stories and they weren’t children stories. They were better than than that. They just were.”

(Obviously this idea comes straight from Neil, because his next book is going to be based on Norse mythology. Count me in!)

Gah! Such a good book. A must-read for just about everyone, but especially anyone who’s old enough to not quite remember their childhood with perfect clarity. Really. Just read it–you won’t be sorry.

However, once again Mr. Gaiman has left me feeling that it’s a darn good thing he wasn’t in charge of telling me stories before bed when I was growing up…or now, for that matter. Otherwise I might never have gotten to sleep…

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.





About the Author:

Neil Gaiman is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Neverwhere, Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, Anansi Boys, The Graveyard Book, Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett), The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains; the Sandman series of graphic novels; and the story collections Smoke and MirrorsFragile Things, and Trigger Warning. He is the winner of numerous literary honors, including the Hugo, Bram Stoker, and World Fantasy awards, and the Newbery and Carnegie Medals. Originally from England, he now lives in the United States. He is Professor in the Arts at Bard College.

Visit his website at




A Conversation with L.E. Sterling, Author of TRUE BORN (True Born #1)


Thanks so much for agreeing to be with us today, L.E.! What 5 things should readers know about you?

  1. I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Drake has renamed our city the “6ix” but no one seems to know why.
  2. I “prepared” for writing a science fiction book like True Born by working for some of the world’s top biomedical engineers. My job was to tell stories about their work. (Seriously. That’s a job). Essentially, that meant I’d hang around in labs and get these amazing scientists and grad students to explain everything to me like I was a small child. It worked, though, because now I can tell you all sorts of interesting factoids about nanoparticles and DNA proteins.
  3. I have a PhD in English Literature – but my thesis was on magic! Yup, more cool preparation for writing science fiction and fantasy novels!
  4. I have published two previous novels. The Originals can be found under my original pen name, L.E. Vollick (and was even published in French: Les Originaux). Pluto’s Gate, my second novel, is published under L.E. Sterling. Both of these novels can be found widely (if you’re interested) and, if you live in Canada, at the public library.
  5. True Born was originally published as a novella on Wattpad – which is all it was ever originally intended to be. I wrote it as back story for another set of novels I intended to write about Dominion City, but it really took off, so I continued the story…and it spun into a trilogy.

You do seem to be uniquely prepared! (And according to, “6ix” is derived from your area code, 416. But how 6ix = 416 isn’t explained…am I just missing it? Is it some weird Canadian math, maybe?)


Tell us all about your main characters—who are they? What makes them tick? Most importantly, what one thing would they need to have with them if stranded on a desert isle? 😉

Lucy and Margot Fox are identical sisters. Lucy thinks of herself as the dull and responsible sister, while Margot has always been the vivacious, outgoing twin. But all that starts to change through the course of the novel, and Lucy comes to know herself in a new light, while Margot…well, you’ll see.


What would they need on a desert island? Each other! Lucy and Margot find separation very difficult. They are very special twins, as you’ll find out!



Where did the inspiration for this book come from?

This is an interesting book for me because it was inspired by the true story of my great grandmother. She was born in England and sent to the U.S. at a very young age by her recently widowed mother to become an indentured servant. I imagine the whole voyage was traumatic, because apparently my great-grandmother forgot her identity through the crossing. When she finally arrived in the U.S. she gave the officials, and her new ‘family’, her twin’s name – and she lived her entire life, until she was an adult, as her twin until she discovered the truth. I loved the idea of having a bond with someone that was so close that it took over your own, so I explored this in a fictional world.

Wow—what an amazing story and inspiration!


How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?

I’ve been writing since I was a little girl – seriously. I published my first article when I was in grade 3, I think, and I wrote my first (terrible sci-fi/fantasy/YA/dystopian) novel when I was 11. I remember reading a particularly interesting and moving book when I was around 9 or 10 and thinking to myself: that’s what I am going to do. I want to reach into people’s minds and affect them, maybe even change them, through telling them a story. After that, there really wasn’t anything else I was inspired to do with my life.



What do you like best about being a writer? What is the most challenging part?

I love disappearing into the worlds I’m making, and immersing myself into my characters. I love these people – I don’t think one could write good fiction unless one loved his or her characters. On the flip side of that, though, is the challenge of making it good! I constantly worry myself over quality: is the plot good enough? The characters deep and interesting enough? But to be quite honest, the hardest part about being a writer is finding the time to sit down and write!

Isn’t that the truth!


What are you working on right now? What can readers look for from you in the next year?

I’m actually hard at work on the second and third books in the True Born Trilogy. Book 2, True North, comes out in April 2017. Stay tuned! Book 2 is coming!

Awesome! Can’t wait!


What authors and/or books have inspired you?

The list is so long it’s painful. But let’s start with some people I consistently turn to in order to learn how to write better (and also because, goshdarnit, I LOVE their books!): Ilona Andrews, Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs, Tanya Huff, Cassandra Clare, Diana Gabaldon, and Karen Chance.

It is convenient that we can keep reading them and chalk it up to writing research, isn’t it? 😉


What are you currently reading? What are your thoughts about it so far?

I’m reading Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs, the latest in the Mercy Thompson series. I have read almost every book this author has written (and sometimes more than once). I love it, of course. I am amazed that Briggs has been able to put out consistently brilliant novels in this series. I think that’s a hard thing to do, and it’s a skill I need to learn very quickly!

Ooh, I’ve got that series on my TBR. It is amazing that authors can keep writing at the same level of awesomeness, isn’t it?


If you had to “sell” your book in a single Tweet, what would you say?

Okay, well, I’m not very good at putting out in the Twitterverse, but I wrote a haiku once to describe the book, and it comes in well under 140 characters. And so:

Moody antlers rule

What the Fox twins’ blood reveals –

The blond panther snarls.

LOL! I love it! 🙂


About the author:

L.E. Sterling had an early obsession with sci-fi, fantasy and romance to which she remained faithful even through an M.A. in Creative Writing and a PhD in English Literature – where she completed a thesis on magical representation. She is the author of two previous novels, the cult hit Y/A novel The Originals (under pen name L.E. Vollick), dubbed “the Catcher in the Rye of a new generation” by one reviewer, and the urban fantasy Pluto’s Gate.

Originally hailing from Parry Sound, Ontario, L.E. spent most of her summers roaming across Canada in a van with her father, a hippie musician, her brothers and an occasional stray mutt – inspiring her writing career. She currently lives in Toronto, Ontario.


True Born
(True Born #1)
by L.E. Sterling

Welcome to Dominion City.

After the great Plague descended, the world population was decimated…and their genetics damaged beyond repair.

The Lasters wait hopelessly for their genes to self-destruct. The Splicers pay for expensive treatments that might prolong their life. The plague-resistant True Borns are as mysterious as they are feared…

And then there’s Lucy Fox and her identical twin sister, Margot. After endless tests, no one wants to reveal what they are.

When Margot disappears, a desperate Lucy has no choice but to put her faith in the True Borns, led by the charismatic Nolan Storm and the beautiful but deadly Jared Price. As Lucy and the True Borns set out to rescue her sister, they stumble upon a vast conspiracy stretching from Dominion’s street preachers to shady Russian tycoons. But why target the Fox sisters?

As they say in Dominion, it’s in the blood.