Of this new edition, J.K. Rowling said, ‘Seeing Jim Kay’s illustrations moved me profoundly. I love his interpretation of Harry’s world, and I feel honoured and grateful that he has lent his talent to it.’
I have met many parents who like to read books with their children, and the Harry Potter series has become a quick classic. A generation of children fell in love with these books.
When I was a children’s library clerk at a public elementary school, the hardbound editions of these books were constantly cycled in and out. It didn’t hurt that each was worth a ton of AR points. You’ll never guess which one was the most popular. It didn’t even matter if the student had already read the other books–the mammoth tome called to him, the AR points dancing in his head. He could knock out his required number of points with a single book!
Harry Potter is beloved by adults, too: those who have grown from children who read the series to adults who read it again and again; adults who started as adults and retained or recovered the child-like wonder provided by Rowling’s characters. Adults sometimes feel embarrassed to talk about their love of “children’s literature.” We want you to feel free to talk about the book and the series freely.
Our giveaway is for everybody. If answering any of the question makes you uncomfortable, recognize that there are five other entry points that can be acquired. The final question might make some people uncomfortable; participate in the elements that make you comfortable!
We’ve all got our quirks; forgive our contest runner’s.
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Answer the following questions in the comments below: (1 entry per question)
A. What is your favorite piece of fan art or fanfic?
B. Which House would you Sort into?
C. Do you think Voldemort was a virgin? Why or why not?
*You can leave one or multiple comments and still claim the prizes for the questions you’ve answered. We won’t be picky on how it is submitted so long as you indicate the appropriate information in the Rafflecopter.
The Protector Project by Jenna Lincoln
Release Date: 6/15/15
Boroughs Publishing Group
Summary from Goodreads:
Teen soldier Mara de la Luz is about to find out what makes her so special that some would kidnap and kill her—and others, willingly die for her.
ENDLESS CARNAGE. ENDLESS QUESTIONS.
Mara is a 17-year-old soldier who’s spent years fighting a war that’s lasted generations. Wide-eyed children, some just turned thirteen, rarely survive their first fights despite her best efforts to train and lead them. What she thinks she wants is to uncover the root causes of the war between the Protectors and the masked Gaishan, maybe find a way to end it. But what she really wants is a future—for herself and the others—beyond the battlefield.
Then she’s injured in combat, and when an enemy fighter not only heals her wounds but reveals his face, she sees the promise of all she desires. This cunning teen Gaishan has answers to her questions, but first she must commit treason and travel beyond the boundaries of her world. She must brave a place where everything rests on the point of a blade: her loyalties, her friends, her heart.
After reading several dystopian novels in quick succession, I started reading this book with the expectation that this was another dystopian novel.
The protagonist, Mara, is a seventeen year-old veteran in the middle of a war. Most of the soldiers are teens. Some were tithed to the government by their families, and some are orphans raised by the government. A lot of pieces here allowed me to, quite lazily, confirm my suspicions.
Until I realized that maybe this wasn’t really a dystopian novel. It is definitely a romance, a military science-fiction, a pseudo-fantasy. But it certainly doesn’t take place on our earth. And while life in the military is difficult, we can’t call every depiction of the military a dystopia. The world is broken into some odd binaries: masks bad, bare-face good, human vs. Gaishan, those in enclosures and those in encampments. There are certainly haves and have nots, but have you looked outside lately? None of this makes a book a dystopia.
No, this is something else. I was pleasantly surprised at that. I needed a break from some (admittedly very good) dystopian books.
Early on, we discover that things aren’t as they seem: the faceless monsters look like the humans when the masks come off; the human leaders are lying about victories and motives. We bring our own assumptions to our reading experiences, and this book plays with those assumptions. That takes some careful and smart writing.
The Protector Project initially feels like a fantasy novel, but there are some science fiction elements, especially as the book moves forward. It is a quest for truth.
I enjoyed the surprises along the way. There is plenty of action, romance, and shocking discoveries. This book is aimed perfectly at the combined YA/Teen group.
Agony disrupted Mara’s ability to maintain her energy shield. Dizzy and nauseated, she pulled off her helmet and tried not to vomit. With one hand she soothed her horse, with her other hand she pressed hard on the gash. Hot blood trickled into her boot.
A Gaishan stepped out from the trees. Its hand came down next to hers, brushing Mara’s fingers and the wound.
“Don’t touch me!” she yelled.
The figure pulled off the Gaishan mask revealing a human face, young and male. His smile was grim, “Mara, you were out of position.”
Mara’s breath stopped. She stared into the Gaishan’s silver gray eyes, felt the tremor of magic cross from his fingers into the torn flesh of her leg. The air shimmered and shrank, enclosing them. He was light haired and tall, not much older than any of the Protectors. The pain eased and the burning tapered to a mild sting.
“Your questions have answers. But you’re asking the wrong people,” he said.
She threw a punch at his mask-less face, but the Gaishan blocked it, trapping her hand.
His smile relaxed into a grin and he leaned closer. “One of the answers is, this isn’t your fight.” He slapped her horse on the rear, propelling them back to the field.
About the Author
Jenna Lincoln loves to read, write, and talk about reading and writing. She spent many happy years as a language arts teacher doing just those things. After dabbling in Firefly and Supernatural fan fiction, Jenna got serious about building her own imaginary world, big enough to get lost in for a long, long time. When she comes back to reality, Jenna enjoys her home in beautiful Colorado with her husband and two daughters.
Steve—Diomedes Tydides to his Trojan War buddies—just had a bad day on his charter fishing boat in San Diego, but when the goddess Athena calls on her faithful warrior for another secret mission, he’s ready. The bomb that exploded inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art isn’t the crime American authorities think it is. Someone also stole the Cup of Jamshid, and Diomedes knows its fortune-telling abilities won’t be used for anything benign.
Though Diomedes recovers the Cup from a determined shaman holed up beneath Central Park, when he finds his allies slain and the Cup taken once more, he knows he’s up against a truly powerful enemy. Over a millennium has passed since Diomedes last contended with Medea of Colchis, deranged wife of Jason the Argonaut, but neither her madness nor her devotion to Hecate, goddess of witchcraft, has waned, and she intends to use the Cup of Jamshid to release across the world a dark brand of chaos unseen in human history.
Immortal since the Trojan War, Diomedes must once again fight for mortals he understands less and less, against a divine evil he may never truly defeat.
Havoc Rising is in the top three first books in a series I have read in the last year. It’s hard for me to get into a new series when only the first is out. I usually like to have several books to read while I wait. The other two are Aeronaut’s Windlass, by Jim Butcher, and Rosemary and Rue, by Seanan McGuire. I hope you can tell by the company that this book is really something special. Not only is it a good book in its own right, it’s an excellent first book in a series. I’m eager to read the second!
Brian S. Leon did not shirk his research responsibilities when writing a book about Greek gods. I’ve found there is a strong tendency among writers to shoehorn the classical gods into their books without doing a proper amount of research, thus diluting the culture from which they came. They often become superpowered beings that are closer to fanfiction with little basis in history. I’m not making the claim that the gods were real, but they were real enough to the Greeks, who worshiped them, and they have a huge amount of writing devoted to them. Brian S. Leon does not make the mistake of just grabbing the Cliff’s Notes version of the Theogony and watching Brad Pitt’s Troy. He put a lot of time and effort into being as faithful to the primary sources as he could.
In fact, his main character is found in The Iliad. Basically, the main character’s story begins at this moment:
Now Pallas Athene gave Diomedes, Tydeus’ son, strength and courage to prove himself the finest of the Argives and win glory and renown. She made his helm and shield burn with unwavering flame, like that of Sirius the star of harvest, who when he has bathed in the Ocean depths rises to shine brightest of all. Such was the fire that streamed from his head and shoulders, as she thrust him into the heart of the fight where the enemy were strongest.
Because Leon spent so much time and effort doing the research, it does not feel like he stole the names of renowned characters. He is merely breathing new life into them and carrying on a literary tradition.
Havoc Rising was released by Red Adept Publishing on 6/16/2015.
Brian S. Leon is truly a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none. He began writing in order to do something with all the useless degrees, knowledge, and skills–most of which have no practical application in civilized society–he accumulated over the years. His varied interests include, most notably, mythology of all kinds and fishing, and he has spent time in jungles and museums all over the world, studying and oceans and seas across the globe chasing fish, sometimes even catching them. He has also spent time in various locations around the world doing other things that may or may not have ever happened. Inspired by stories of classical masters like Homer and Jules Verne, as well as modern writers like J.R.R. Tolkien, David Morrell, and Jim Butcher, combined with an inordinate amount of free time, Mr. Leon finally decided to come up with tales of his own.
Hey, it’s time for another giveaway! How about two giveaways for a total of four chances to win? Sounds good to me.
Remember to scroll down for both giveaways! They are in separate Rafflecopter forms.
As a part of the Blog Friends Forever blog hop, we are pleased to have contributed to a tiered giveaway. We are giving out three giftcards, TO YOUR CHOICE OF BOOK RETAILER, one each worth $75, $50, and $25. Who doesn’t like giftcards? Oh, not even the crickets complain?
Special thanks to Fiction Fare and the Swoony Boys Podcast for putting this together. The complete schedule can be found at both of those above links, or at the bottom of this post. There are plenty of other giveaways offered! (Though, note that the $75, $50, and $25 group giveaway will be the same on each site–you can only enter once for each item, no matter how many sites you visit).
We have a paired prize offered by Galleywampus: the winner will receive one (1) copy of The Mirror Empire and one (1) copy of Empire Ascendant by Kameron Hurley.
These books were provided by Angry Robot. Thanks, you Exasperated Automatons!
Angry Robot allows this giveaway to be International.
The Mirror Empire
A stunning new epic fantasy from two-time Hugo Award winner Kameron Hurley.
On the eve of a recurring catastrophic event known to extinguish nations and reshape continents, a troubled orphan evades death and slavery to uncover her own bloody past… while a world goes to war with itself.
In the frozen kingdom of Saiduan, invaders from another realm are decimating whole cities, leaving behind nothing but ash and ruin. At the heart of this war lie the pacifistic Dhai people, once enslaved by the Saiduan and now courted by their former masters to provide aid against the encroaching enemy.
Stretching from desolate tundra to steamy, semi-tropical climes seething with sentient plant life, this is an epic tale of blood mages and mercenaries, emperors and priestly assassins who must unite to save a world on the brink of ruin.
As the dark star of the cataclysm rises, an illegitimate ruler is tasked with holding together a country fractured by civil war; a precocious young fighter is asked to betray his family to save his skin; and a half-Dhai general must choose between the eradication of her father’s people or loyalty to her alien Empress.
Through tense alliances and devastating betrayal, the Dhai and their allies attempt to hold against a seemingly unstoppable force as enemy nations prepare for a coming together of worlds as old as the universe itself.
In the end, one world will rise – and many will perish.
File Under: Fantasy [ Orphaned Child | World at War | Blood Magic | The Fluidity of Gender]
The Mirror Empire was released by Angry Robot books on August 26th, 2014. It can be ordered HERE or just about anywhere that books are sold.
The Empire Ascendant
Loyalties are tested when worlds collide…
Every two thousand years, the dark star Oma appears in the sky, bringing with it a tide of death and destruction. And those who survive must contend with friends and enemies newly imbued with violent powers. The kingdom of Saiduan already lies in ruin, decimated by invaders from another world who share the faces of those they seek to destroy.
Now the nation of Dhai is under siege by the same force. Their only hope for survival lies in the hands of an illegitimate ruler and a scullery maid with a powerful – but unpredictable –magic. As the foreign Empire spreads across the world like a disease, one of their former allies takes up her Empress’s sword again to unseat them, and two enslaved scholars begin a treacherous journey home with a long-lost secret that they hope is the key to the Empire’s undoing.
But when the enemy shares your own face, who can be trusted?
In this devastating sequel to The Mirror Empire, Kameron Hurley transports us back to a land of blood mages and sentient plants, dark magic, and warfare on a scale that spans worlds.
Empire Ascendant will be released by Angry Robot books on October 6th, 2015. It can be ordered HERE or just about anywhere that books are sold.
Receive entries based on the Rafflecopter widget below. Entries will cease at Midnight, 10/17. We will conduct a random drawing on 10/18 and announce a winner after the winner has been contacted. If the winner does not respond within two days, we will select a second random winner.
The prize: one (1) copy of The Mirror Empire and one (1) copy of Empire Ascendant by Kameron Hurley. These will be shipped directly from Angry Robot.
A high fantasy following a young woman’s defiance of her culture as she undertakes a dangerous quest to restore her world’s lost magic
Her name was Kimbralin Amaristoth: sister to a cruel brother, daughter of a hateful family. But that name she has forsworn, and now she is simply Lin, a musician and lyricist of uncommon ability in a land where women are forbidden to answer such callings—a fugitive who must conceal her identity or risk imprisonment and even death.
On the eve of a great festival, Lin learns that an ancient scourge has returned to the land of Eivar, a pandemic both deadly and unnatural. Its resurgence brings with it the memory of an apocalypse that transformed half a continent. Long ago, magic was everywhere, rising from artistic expression—from song, from verse, from stories. But in Eivar, where poets once wove enchantments from their words and harps, the power was lost. Forbidden experiments in blood divination unleashed the plague that is remembered as the Red Death, killing thousands before it was stopped, and Eivar’s connection to the Otherworld from which all enchantment flowed, broken.
The Red Death’s return can mean only one thing: someone is spilling innocent blood in order to master dark magic. Now poets who thought only to gain fame for their songs face a challenge much greater: galvanized by Valanir Ocune, greatest Seer of the age, Lin and several others set out to reclaim their legacy and reopen the way to the Otherworld—a quest that will test their deepest desires, imperil their lives, and decide the future.
I love this book. I want you to know that now, because I am going to discuss the synopsis, and some of what I have to say is about how the synopsis is not adequate in describing the novel. And that’s okay. There isn’t room for a 1,000 word synopsis on the back of the book.
The synopsis to this novel is a little bit misleading, but generally accurate. (That line’s a publisher blurb for a book jacket if I’ve ever seen one. Call me up, I can write these all day). This book is pretty much all of the things noted in the synopsis above, certainly, but it is broader in scope than the blurb suggests.
It is about Lin, a “musician and lyricist of uncommon ability,” though the issue isn’t technically that women are forbidden to use music; women are de facto disallowed from being Poets and musicians, cut-off from the choice by societal norms, rather than by the law de jure. I think this says a lot more about the society than that it is “illegal” for women to use music. This is a cultural, societal, top-down discrimination. A poet runs the world, but even poets are censored and living half-lives. Play a song that hasn’t been approved? You might end up dead.
The novel is also very much about the characters glossed over in the synopsis with the quick phrase “and several others”. There are multiple limited third-person perspectives; we are looking not just over Lin’s shoulder, but over the shoulders of several other young, creative characters. These other characters have much to lose and are significant to the story line: Rianna, a young, sheltered, driven gentlewoman who acts in some ways as a foil to Lin, who dreams of running away with the poet Darien; Darien, a young Poet, privileged, talented, goodhearted and in love with Rianna; Marlen, musical partner to Darien, a dark soul, sardonic–the moon to Darien’s sun, in more ways than one. There are a few other characters with their own limited POV segments, but these are the primary POVs. And each of these characters are worthy of discussion.
In this book, you will find many elements that make fantasy appealing: you will find a quest given by a master of the field; you will find brave heroines and heroes, sometimes disguised; you will find reprehensible, conniving villains; you will find shared, prophetic dreams; you will find that many characters are untrustworthy. There are blood-rites, coercion magic, familial abuse, music, and secrets. Many, many secrets.
Last Song Before Night is lyrical. The flow and pacing are impeccable. The characters are fully realized–ugly and beautiful and ordinary in turn–and completely unique from one another. The world is intriguing and complete with a real-but-lightly-sketched historic breadth; though our glimpse of the world is limited, small, intimate, and there is much yet to be revealed. The stakes are critical to a huge population.
By making magic interconnected to music (the magic-users are poets and bards) in the world of Last Song Before Night, Myer is able to aptly have a few big discussions at the same time.
Is music a sort of magic? Let’s make that not just music, but art as well. Is art magic? If it is, then does censorship–of music, art, poetry, fiction–mean the reduction of magic in our world? What happens to a society when we take away the magic of art? Maybe art is allowed, but people can only paint certain pictures. They can only perform certain songs. Does “art by numbers” still have a magic in it? If we stifle the creative process, does it destroy the magic?
This novel is beautifully written and complete on its own. Myer spent seven years on the book, and it shows in the loving, cautious way the words have been chosen. I know she has planned two other books in this world, and if she asks me if I would like to read them, I’ll tell her, “Yes, please.”
About the Author
Ilana C. Myer has written for the Globe and Mail, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Salon, and the Huffington Post. Previously she was a freelance journalist in Jerusalem for the Jerusalem Post, the Jewish Daily Forward, Time Out Israel and other publications. She lives in New York City.
Ilana was born in New York but grew up in Jerusalem, Israel, where she spent her teen years haunting secondhand bookstores in search of books written in English—especially fantasy. It was in one of these shops that she discovered David Eddings and realized that epic fantasy continued after Tolkien, and from there went on to make such marvelous discoveries as Tad Williams, Robin Hobb, and Guy Gavriel Kay.
Since learning to read, Ilana had decided she would write books, but during college in New York City was confronted with the reality of making rent, and worked as a receptionist, administrative assistant, and executive assistant where she on occasion picked up dry cleaning. She afterwards found more fulfillment as a journalist in Jerusalem where she covered social issues, the arts, and innovations in technology, and co-founded the Middle East environment blog, Green Prophet. It was during these years in Jerusalem, on stolen time, that Last Song Before Night took shape.
She writes as Ilana Teitelbaum for various outlets, but decided early on—since the days of haunting bookstores, in fact—that “Teitelbaum” was too long for a book cover. “Myer” is a variation on the maiden name of her grandmother, whose family was exterminated in Germany. It is a family with a long history of writers, so it seems appropriate to give credit—or blame—where it’s due.
The Giveaway is toward the bottom of the page.
(USA only, I’m afraid. I apologize to everybody else; We can’t afford the international shipping rates yet)
Remember that each of the blogs listed in the Linky table is also offering a free book or other item! Keep hopping from blog to blog for chances to win other items: banned books, gift cards and more!
About banned books
Books get banned for any number of reasons, often because somebody somewhere doesn’t like what is being said or how it is said or why it is said. It’s a mess, really.
The ALA has this to say about the reasons people choose to censor:
Censors might sincerely believe that certain materials are so offensive, or present ideas that are so hateful and destructive to society, that they simply must not see the light of day. Others are worried that younger or weaker people will be badly influenced by bad ideas, and will do bad things as a result. Still others believe that there is a very clear distinction between ideas that are right and morally uplifting, and ideas that are wrong and morally corrupting, and wish to ensure that society has the benefit of their perception. They believe that certain individuals, certain institutions, even society itself, will be endangered if particular ideas are disseminated without restriction. What censors often don’t consider is that, if they succeed in suppressing the ideas they don’t like today, others may use that precedent to suppress the ideas they do like tomorrow.
A Few Words
I can only speak for myself.
I’m somebody who went through an MLIS degree program, so you can probably guess where I fall on censorship. I believe that people must choose for themselves which information they wish to access. There is a slippery slope any time a person chooses to anoint him- or herself the adjudicator of taste, morals or freedom.
I joined this Blog Hop in honor of intellectual freedom. Each blog that has joined in this celebration is offering a $10+ prize: either a banned book, or the means to purchase one (generally in the form of giftcards).
I chose to offer up the His Dark Materials Omnibus. The series (comprised of The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass) has been challenged, so far as I can tell, primarily by those who think the author, an Atheist, perhaps started, or sought to start, some sort of war on religion. Within these books, there are a few shocking sentiments expressed about the nature of religion, God, and sin. A character says, in the first book, that he is going to kill God. This is not intended metaphorically.
One can view all of this through myriad different lenses. For some, this book is certainly in bad taste. For others, it might speak to them in a way in which they need to be spoken.
I’m not here to make the call on whether or not you should read these books. I do know that I really enjoyed these books. The idea of dæmons, these manifestations of souls that live outside of the body in animal form, really resonated with me. The concept of Dust provided a mythology that sprinted along next to Catholic doctrine without aligning with Catholicism. The resolution to the series left me in tears.
If you only know the series from the movie, you’re missing something by not reading the books. If you enjoyed the movie recognize that this is something different. Something, I think, better.