Saturday, August 11, 2018

This Week on Books Direct - 11 August 2018

This Week on Books Direct -
11 August 2018

This Week on Books Direct -  11 August 2018

Here's a list of some great articles you may have missed this week. Enjoy!

Does Literature Help Us Live? by Tim Parks for The New York Review of Books
Is literature wise? In the sense, does it help us to live? And if not, what exactly is it good for?

Does Literature Help Us Live? by Tim Parks for The New York Review of Books


Amazon says it removed several items of racist propaganda from its store in response to questions from a Democratic lawmaker - though white supremacist literature and other propaganda items remain widely available on the site.

Amazon Pulls Some Nazi-Themed, Offensive Items After Criticism, But Many Remain by James Doubek for npr


Barnes & Noble said sales of books related to anxiety are up more than 25 percent through this past June from a year ago because “we may be living in an anxious nation.”

Barnes & Noble Says Sales Of Books Related To Anxiety Are Soaring. Here's Why by Lauren Thomas for CNBC


An acclaimed Chinese novelist - who murdered four people and used the memory as inspiration for his stories - was sentenced to death yesterday, 23 years after committing the killings.

Crime Author Who Killed People And Used Own Murders To Write Novels Sentenced To Death by Christina Zhao for Newsweek


Anyone who has ever browsed independently published ebooks on Amazon will know the daunting, overpoweringly vast range of books available. With so much out there, it’s hard to find the good stuff.

How to Get the Best #Indie Books on Amazon for Astronomicon


What are the main benefits of self-publishing, as opposed to attempting the traditional route?

6 Reasons To Self-Publish Your First (Or Next) Book by Emma Wilson for AuthorRamp


Tattoos ranged from Dr. Seuss and Harry Potter to the library logo and a worm reading a book.

Book Enthusiasts Get Literary-Themed Tattoos At The Denver Public Library by Daniel Brenner for The Know


This dedicated group of librarians set about reuniting stumped readers with the books from the edges of their memories.

The Crack Squad Of Librarians Who Track Down Half-Forgotten Books by Jessica Leigh Hester for Atlas Obscura


When you think about the balance between writing and marketing, don't think of them as entirely separate. Try and think of how you can integrate marketing in a sustainable way for you that's creative and also meets the goals of what you want for your writing.

How Much Time Do You Spend Writing And How Much Time Marketing? by Joanna Penn for The Creative Penn


It’s not that millennials aren’t reading books - in fact, they actually read more than their older counterparts. But they’re reading in different ways.

Millennial Reading Habits Have Changed The Definition Of A Classic by Ajinomoh Ozovehe Caleb


“Given my love of art, and the way it plays prominently into these novels, the idea of re-jacketing my backlist was an exciting one,” Brown tells EW. “I always set out to write a book that is both fun and mysterious, and so I love the fact that there is more to each jacket than meets the eye.”

Dan Brown Unveils Striking, Mysterious New Covers For His Biggest Books by David Canfield for Entertainment Weekly


If you enjoyed this blog post, please visit the other This Week posts for links to more great articles.

Friday, August 10, 2018

"Infamous" by Allison Stowe

EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
Infamous
by Allison Stowe

Infamous by Allison Stowe

Infamous by Allison Stowe is currently on tour with Xpresso Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


Description
Enter the world of this YA thriller, where nothing is ever quite as it seems…
It’s been five years since the high profile kidnapping case which turned Cassie Waterson’s life upside down. The aftermath led her to become a household name – for months, she was splashed across TV screens, appeared in newspaper headlines, and featured in the furtive whispers of the residents of her hometown. But why? She hadn’t done anything significant. In fact, she’d done nothing at all; merely watched, motionless, as a shadowy figure lifted her baby sister off her feet, and bundled her into the back of a station wagon.
That single moment soon became Cassie Waterson’s life. Agonised by guilt, confused by the lack of punishment, scrutinized by the media circus… everyone claims to know Cassie now, but nobody does at all. The face she puts on for cameras, the voice she fakes for the talk shows… none of that is the reality behind the mask. Cassie is not the strong, confident girl who glares with certainty from the screen. Cassie doesn’t have her assuredness or her optimism about her sister coming home. Cassie is someone else entirely, and the only person who knows is the one person she must avoid… at all costs.
Every story has two sides, and the flipside of Cassie Waterson is Alexis Aldridge. Unknown, anonymous, kept hidden from the world by her fearful parents … Alexis is a conundrum, wrapped in darkness. While she and Cassie lead opposite lives, they both long for the one thing they miss: a sense of normalcy, and the freedom to be themselves.
Infamous is an unmissable YA mystery novel which will take you on twist after turn, and which provides suspense and surprises on every page.

Excerpt
Her father wasn’t facing her anymore. He was searching the lawn. Something clicked. Through Cassie’s blurred vision, she saw his eyes transform as the knowledge sunk in.
“Where’s your sister?” he asked.
That was it. She felt the truth finally make its way from her heart to her head. Her face contorted as she exploded into a crying fit. She couldn’t answer.
“Cassie!” he barked. “Where is she?”
By now he had stomped over and placed a firm hand on her shoulder. He shook her, but Cassie was trembling anyway, rendering his efforts to make eye contact useless.
She tried to speak but couldn’t; her sobs were blocking the airway to her lungs. She inhaled sharply.
“A lady came,” she started, sobbing again. “She took her. She had Sophie and I tried to stop her but she was too fast and then she was gone.” She got the words out in one breath, allowing her to give in to the tears once more.
After a moment of silence, her father sprinted in the direction of that corner, where Cassie had been hallucinating her sister’s return. He paused at the side entry gate, still braced to run. His head darted in all directions, looking for the car or a clue or his little girl, safely abandoned on the side of the road. Meanwhile, Cassie’s mother froze. Hours of sun bed-induced tanning seemed to reverse in seconds. Cassie had never seen her so lifeless. Her mouth hung open, jaw slightly shuddering as though grasping for words.
“Elizabeth! The police station!”
The words drew Cassie’s gaze back to her father. From the corner of her eye, she saw him dart off again, this time disappearing, just like that station wagon before him.
Cassie knew right then that her life before that moment would be irrelevant. She had been strolling down a path of life that ended with a “Do Not Enter” sign. She had no choice but to change direction, and it would lead her somewhere far away from that golden destination that she’d originally been headed.
Without washing her mascara-stained cheeks, her mother marched into the family SUV and set off for the police station. The next morning, the journalists arrived asking for pictures of Sophie. Cassie’s father greeted them. She remembered watching from behind the staircase railing as he slouched through the archway, from the foyer to the living room. He didn’t turn on the lights. He just stared at the photographs on the hand-carved mantle while Cassie wondered why he preferred the dark. After six full minutes, he chose one. Then he replanted it facedown on the surface and walked away.
So Cassie hunted through scores of albums, while her father lay paralysed in bed and her mother sat at the dining room table, with that same lifeless expression and a never-empty glass of wine. By afternoon, the local news had called for an interview. It took place on the porch, and Elizabeth was otherwise engaged. Ray, on the other hand, made it to the front door, but one glance of the yard sent him straight back into his ‘living dead’ state. He looked to Cassie, his body awkward and eyes uncertain. She told him she could talk to the camera people, and a moment later he offered a slow nod. He’d be just inside, he said. By evening, the story had caught the attention of national news carriers, and Cassie’s picture was being shown alongside her lost sister’s on television screens across North America.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“Amazing book. Very suspenseful. Leaves you on cliffhangers a ton, which makes the book more exciting. Really good read. Recommended.” ~ jak3m3ns
“I really enjoyed Infamous. It is well written and shows the horrors that a family can face when something happens to their child. Overall, Infamous is a solid mystery that will keep you guessing up until the very end. Which the ending also has an additional twist I was really surprised about and in a way was very satisfying.” ~ R.R.
“I enjoyed this book tremendously. I couldn't put it down except for the part where I had to take a break because I couldn't see the page for my tears. I look forward to reading more by this author!” ~ Brittany Strickland Dunn
“I thought that this book was a very interesting read! I actually really enjoyed that it was set up as a dual-perspective YA because it gave you more information on both sides plus we were able to explore two countries - Canada and England!” ~ Jackie
“I really loved Infamous. The story is different; it's not recycled material we've seen over and over again. It goes with our society's obsession with crimes, media and (mis)information. And, most of all, it digs deep into characters that are wonderful to read. Sometimes funny, sometimes dramatic, the writing is solid from beginning to end.” ~ E

About the Author
Allison Stowe
Allison Stowe is the author of the YA novel, Infamous. Raised in a generic Toronto suburb, Allison spent her childhood posting fan fiction online in hopes of influencing The WB’s writing rooms. She wrote her first novel at age 13. It was based on her favorite TV show, and upon submission, she learned of copyright law.
In 2010, she graduated with a BA (Hons) in Journalism from Ryerson University, where she was the Managing Editor of the online newspaper. During her brief journalistic career, Allison wrote for Chatelaine magazine and TV Guide Canada (essentially achieving a life dream). Shortly after graduation, she relocated to Brighton, UK, and refocused her attention on her second passion – helping young people.
While studying for her MSc in Educational Psychology at UCL, Allison wrote Infamous as a way to fulfill her instinct to keep writing. When she isn’t writing about the lives of young adults, or watching prime-time teen dramas, Allison mentors university students who’ve been diagnosed with mental health issues. She lives in London, UK, with her fluffy ginger cat, Sawyer. Infamous is her debut novel.

Giveaway
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of five signed copies of Infamous by Allison Stowe (open internationally).

Links

Thursday, August 9, 2018

"Maya Mysun and the World That Does Not Exist" by PM Perry

INTERVIEW and EXCERPT
Maya Mysun and the World That Does Not Exist
by PM Perry

Maya Mysun and the World That Does Not Exist by PM Perry

Author PM Perry stops by today for an interview and to share an excerpt from his new children’s book, Maya Mysun and the World That Does Not Exist. Get your copy ON SALE for only $0.99 (save $2.00) to 18 August.

Description
Maya Mysun is a dreamer; tormented by the vision of the wraith & the event she witnessed, something she cannot reveal to anyone not even her protective twin, Jack.
Their thirteenth birthday was supposed to be the best one yet but her troubles were just beginning. An unexplainable event forces the twins to flee their home in search for a mystical monk, the protector of the world that does not exist; the world of magic.
All her life Maya had dreamt of magic but it was not supposed to be like this. On a perilous night the twins are forced to race across London, desperately trying to stay one step ahead of something dark.
Along the way they meet a rebellious runaway with an agenda of his own, discover an underground castle & a mysterious monastery with a hidden history & powerful artifacts.
Maya is scared for there's panic in magical world but determined to unravel the event that forced her to leave home; she bravely ventures deeper into a world filled with unheard of mythical beasts & challenges age-old gatekeepers. But in doing so she comes in contact with an evil long thought to be destroyed.
Discover a world of ancient prophecies & experience the beginning of a rampant adventure with twists that keep on building.

Book Video


Excerpt
Maya woke abruptly on a clear night in London.
‘Tommy that felt real, bewitchingly real,’ she whispered to her pet tortoise in his vivarium across the window. Fully awake, she hugged her soft duvet. ‘I was in these dark woods and I saw a portal appear; you know, a doorway to another world. It had an intense blue light with lightning sprouting from its edges, and it tore the woods before me. Don’t worry, nothing happened to the woods; it was like a tear in a photograph, only it was a tear in the air. Through the tear I saw a chamber with a glowing fireplace. And then a wizard walked through!’
Vivid dreams were normal for Maya, but this felt like something else. Rubbing the goosebumps on her arms, she quietly sat up and swept her brown fringe back before leaning across to pluck Tommy from his world. Excited and frightened, she cuddled the small creature and looked through the gap between the curtains behind her to see if it was still night. Her heart sank to the bottom of her stomach when she saw the otherworldly grey sky. An ungodly hour, she thought, recalling what she’d read. It was a period of uncertainty, neither day nor night, when the dark arts were at their strongest.
‘I’ve still got some time before our big day!’ She sighed, giving Tommy another embrace before returning him to his pebbles. Maya and Jack, her not so-identical twin, were about to celebrate their thirteenth birthday. But that wasn’t for a couple of hours, so she snuggled down with thoughts of presents floating in her mind. Comfortable, she gazed up at the glowing stars stuck on her ceiling and gave a quick glance to her fluffy toys before closing her eyes. It wasn’t long before images of fantasy, of wizards, kings and magic rose in her mind. The images returned like a flash flood: slow at first, then quickening until she was swept into another world.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“... one of the best fantasy novels I've read in a long time.”
“... recommend this to any reader that enjoyed the Harry Potter books.”
“... story of talking animals and magic was not only enchanting but the best book of its kind since The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.”
“Reminded me in some way of Johnny Quest from my childhood.”
“... a great gift to a teenager who loves fantasy adventure.”
“...  a clean read for kids!”
“... Entertaining story for young and the not so young.”

Interview With the Author
Author PM Perry joins me today for a quick interview about his new book, Maya Mysun and the World That Does Not Exist.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
I recommend this book for children aged 9 years and upwards.
What sparked the idea for this book?
My inspiration was my daughter and the idea to have a girl as the main character.
So, which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
The idea for the novel came first, but it was always going to have a female lead.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
I found it hardest to write the action sequences.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I hope it helps my young readers become stronger and overcome their weaknesses and fears.
How long did it take you to write this book?
Altogether, it took me about one and a half years to write the book.
What is your writing routine?
I took time off from work and wrote daily as a routine.
How did you get your book published?
I self-published my book via Amazon.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Not so much advice, as a warning: it’s a marathon!
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I enjoy spending time with my family when I’m not writing.
What does your family think of your writing?
They like it! Especially my daughter who now has a book written especially for her.
Did you like to read when you were a child?
I enjoyed reading The Famous Five series and similar novels.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I first realized I wanted to be a writer about ten years ago.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
I suppose the main character’s journey reflects my own, to some extent.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
I have been influenced by writers such as J. K. Rowling and Stephen King.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I’ve heard from a few - they seem to like the story. I have a lot of great reviews!
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
I hope to develop the story further by adding more books to the series in the future.
Thanks so much for stopping by today! I’ll share my review with our readers once I get the chance to read your book.


About the Author
PM Perry
PM Perry is an aspiring new author who lives and works in London, where he divides his time between writing, being an entrepreneur, and spending time with his family. Surprisingly he writes both fiction and non-fiction books. Maya Mysun and the World That Does Not Exist is his first novel and is a children's magical adventure based in London.
Until recently, PM Perry was happy within his comfort zone working as a successful manager. An unexpected change shook him from the comfort zone and empowered him to author a book and tick off one of the items on his bucket list.
Writing has enabled him to discover many friends around the globe: all highly motivated and wise individuals and all chasing their dreams. Writing has also allowed him to come out of his shell and live life by undertaking new ventures - in other words, chase his dreams. Chase your dreams, try the impossible and live a little.

Links

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

"Echoes" by Alice Reeds

EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
Echoes
by Alice Reeds

Echoes by Alice Reeds

Echoes by Alice Reeds is currently on tour with YA Bound Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


Description
They wake on a deserted island. Fiona and Miles, high school enemies now stranded together. No memory of how they got there. No plan to follow, no hope to hold on to.
Each step forward reveals the mystery behind the forces that brought them here. And soon, the most chilling discovery: something else is on the island with them.
Something that won't let them leave alive.
Echoes is a thrilling adventure about confronting the impossible, discovering love in the most unexpected places, and, above all, finding hope in the face of the unknown.


Excerpt
We are going to die.
That was the first thought that shot through my mind. Maybe it’s just a dream was my second, but then the plane dipped down again, shaking and rattling. I gripped the armrests like my life depended on it. Maybe it did.
Movement to my left told me Miles was awake, too. His eyes were wide, like mine. Normally, I’d have delighted in seeing him shook for once. But thinking you’re about to die has a weird way of bringing people together. “What the hell is going on?” he said. “I don’t know…turbulence?”
At the front of the plane, the door to the cockpit was open. The pilot looked back at us, his expression tense.
He yelled, “You kids, hold on—”
The plane plummeted, and my stomach shot into my chest. A scream got stuck in my throat. Air punched out of my lungs. The ceiling screeched and tore and buckled and peeled away, exposing the sky—
Darkness.
Am I alive? Dead?
My mind swam toward the surface of an endless black ocean. When I opened my eyes, a blinding light stung my vision. The feeling of falling was gone. We’d stopped.
Blinking against the pain, the first thing I could make out was the shattered TV screen dangling from the back of the seat in front of me. The same TV I’d watched only a few hours ago. Was it hours ago? A minute? A day? I had no idea. I touched my face and head—no blood, at least. How is that possible?
Beyond the broken TV, where a wall and cockpit door had once been, was nothing but a hole with frayed metal edges digging into the ground. Where was the front of the plane? Outside, where the wing used to be, were shrubs and broken trees, dirt and sand. And out past the sand, endless water. The ocean.
Holy hell.
Panic tightened my throat and my hands shook.
We crashed.
I had to calm down. Deep breaths in and out. Own the moment, own your fear. Don’t let it own you. That was my mantra in moments like this, thanks to years of kickboxing, and it worked. A little. My hands weren’t trembling anymore.
I was okay. I’d survived. Which meant anyone else on the plane—
Oh no.
Miles.
When I looked from the window to my other side, I was sure there would be a bloody corpse. But no. No blood on his white button-down shirt that I could see. But there had to be some injuries below the surface. And he wasn’t moving.
“Miles?” I croaked, my throat raw, as if I hadn’t spoken in days. No answer. “Miles?” I tried again, louder this time.
Still nothing.
I pushed up and out of the seat, my legs unsteady. I willed them to walk the few steps toward him while I held on to the backrests of my seat and the one opposite him.
I might not have liked him, not even the smallest bit, but I didn’t want him dead. He was spoiled. The personification of everything I grew up hating. Arrogant, rich, and egocentric, all of it bundled up into a single person. Hell, my family could probably pay rent and buy a month’s worth of food using the money he spent on a jacket or shoes.
But wishing him dead? I wouldn’t go that far.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]



Praise for the Book
“Fast-paced and thrilling. Echoes is a heart-pounding and addictive love story.” ~ Mia Siegert, author of Jerkbait
Echoes was a fast paced, on the edge of your seat thriller. A must read.” ~ The Romance Rebels
“This suspenseful and fast paced read had me captivated until the very last page.” ~ The Voluptuous Book Diva
“Mind-blowingly amazing doesn't even begin to cover Alice Reeds' Echoes.” ~ Jessica, a GREAT read
“So full of mystery ... I couldn't put it down and finished in one day.” ~ Books Tales by Me Blog


About the Author
Alice Reeds was born in a small town in Germany but spent her first eight years in Florida, USA. Later on, she moved back to Europe, where her family moved around a lot. She was raised trilingual and has a basic understanding of Russian, read and spoken. After getting her International Baccalaureate Diploma, Alice is studying English Language and Literature at University. In her free time, Alice mostly writes, reads, figure and/or roller skates, or watches countless let's plays and figure skating videos.


Giveaway
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of three print copies of Echoes by Alice Reeds (US only).


Links