Martians Abroad by Carrie Vaughn Book Tour

I’ve been a fan of Carrie Vaughn for over a decade now — if she’s published a novel, I’ve read it (which doesn’t mean I’ve loved them all. Naturally, I jumped at the invitation to be a part of this Book Tour. My take on the book will be posted in a few, but for now, read a little bit about this book, and then keep scrolling so you can learn how to score yourself a free copy. Or go buy a copy and let someone else get it for free. 🙂

Carrie Vaughn

“It is Polly’s teen snarkiness and strong sense of self that will have readers rooting for her to get to the bottom of the mystery. … this easygoing adventure has an affable appeal.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“This is a classic ‘fish-out-of-water’ boarding-school story, focused on an adventurous, good-hearted heroine, with retro SF twists that nod to Heinlein’s oeuvre.”

Inverse’s 11 Science Fiction Books That Will Define 2017 List

From the author of the New York Times bestselling Kitty Norville series and the highly praised After the Golden Age and Discord’s Apple, MARTIANS ABROAD (A Tor Hardcover; $24.99; On-Sale: January 17, 2017) is a modern feminist update of the classic juvenile science fiction novel by Robert Heinlein, Podkayne of Mars. Classic science fiction authors such as Vernor Vinge, Gregory Benford, and Jack McDevitt have already lauded this new take from Carrie Vaughn, which will appeal to both YA and adult audiences looking for an optimistic view of the future.

Teenage Polly Newton has one single-minded dream: to be a starship pilot and travel the galaxy. But her mother, the director of the Mars Colony, derails Polly’s plans when she sends Polly and her genius twin brother, Charles, to Galileo Academy on Earth—-the one planet Polly has no desire to visit. Ever.

Homesick and cut off from her desired future, Polly cannot seem to fit into the constraints of life on Earth, unlike Charles, who deftly maneuvers around people and sees through their behavior to their true motives. But when strange, unexplained, and dangerous coincidences centered on their high-profile classmates begin piling up, Polly is determined to find the truth, no matter the cost.

A versatile author, Vaughn has earned acclaim in multiple genres even as she continues to hit the bestseller lists. Fans know that she can entertain even while telling challenging and empowering stories about women finding their place in the world. RT VIP Salon describes “the excitement of reading a new story by Vaughn that’s set in a world that is so fascinating.” MARTIANS ABROAD will find fans in adult science fiction readers, young adult fans, and anyone looking for a new take on a classic science fiction adventure.

“Her breezy, convincing teenage heroine brings this familiar material to life: an
excellent retro-SF story retold for a new generation of aspiring starship pilots.”
—Gwyneth Jones (Ann Halam), author of Life

“This fun adventure echoes classic space cadet themes with a
bright finish. It’s in conversation with much of Heinlein’s
legacy with twists to keep it interesting-—a brisk read.”
—Gregory Benford, author of Timescape

About the Author

Carrie VaughnCARRIE VAUGHN, the New York Times bestselling author of the Kitty Norville books, is also the author of the stand-alone novels After the Golden Age and Discord’s Apple, and the young adult books Voice of Dragons and Steel. She holds a Masters in English Literature and collects hobbies—-fencing and sewing are currently high on the list. You can visit her online at


The good people over at Tor Books want to give one of my readers a Hardcover Copy of this book — and who am I to argue? We’re going to keep this simple: if you want the book, between now and 11:59PM MST on 1/30/17, leave a comment on this post. Make it amusing, if you please — it won’t help you get the book, but it’ll make things nicer for me.

Sometime next Tuesday, I’ll use some sort of random number generator to pick a winner, and notify the winner to get your address. Sound easy enough?

Not to take anything away from my upcoming review-ish post, but trust me on this folks, you want this one.

Cover Reveal: Chameleon by Zoe Kalo


Kicked out of school, 17-year old Paloma finds herself in an isolated convent in the tropical forests of 1970s Puerto Rico, where she must overcome her psychosis in order to help a spirit and unveil a killer


An isolated convent, a supernatural presence, a dark secret…

17-year-old Paloma only wanted to hold a séance to contact her dead father. She never thought she would be kicked out of school and end up in an isolated convent. Now, all she wants is to be left alone. But slowly, she develops a bond with a group of girls: kind-hearted Maria, insolent Silvy, pathological liar Adelita, and their charismatic leader Rubia. When, yet again, Paloma holds a séance in the hope of contacting her father, she awakens an entity that has been dormant for years. And then, the body count begins. Someone doesn’t want the secret out…

Are the ghost and Paloma’s suspicions real—or only part of her growing paranoia and delusions?

Genre: YA/Gothic/Ghost/Multicultural
Word Count: 55,000
Release Date: February 2017

About the Author:

A certified bookworm, Zoe Kalo has always been obsessed with books and reading. Reading led to writing—compulsively. No surprise that at 16, she wrote her first novel, which her classmates read and passed around secretly. The pleasure of writing and sharing her fantasy worlds has stayed with her, so now she wants to pass her stories to you with no secrecy—but with lots of mystery…

A daughter of adventurous expats, she’s had the good fortune of living on 3 continents, learning 4 languages, and experiencing a multicultural life. Currently, she’s working on a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature, which she balances between writing, taking care of her clowder of cats, and searching for the perfect bottle of pinot noir.

Connect with Zoe Kalo on the web: / Facebook / Twitter

Korian and Lucy, Part II by Zoe Kalo

Korian and Lucy, Part IIKorian and Lucy, Part II

by Zoe Kalo
Series: The Cult of the Cat, #.06

Kindle Edition, 35 pg.

Read: November 29, 2016

I’m not sure how to go about this — this makes no sense if you haven’t read Part 1 of this tale — and neither would really make that much sense without the novel, Daughter of the Sun. So if you haven’t read either — skip this, really. Go read Kalo’s novel (or at least my take on it) instead of this post.

Still, I want to say something — and not just because I said I would. I liked this a whole lot better than Part I , which is just about the fainted praise possible. And, like with the novel, Kalo is starting to win me over — she has a certain charm, no doubt about it. I liked Lucy more after this book — her mother. too — and I’m a tad more interested in the story. All good — and well done, Kalo.

Here’s the problem: I’m less convinced than I was after Part I that Kalo’s readers need this story. We haven’t gotten anything we couldn’t and wouldn’t have assumed from what we learned in the novel about this period. I don’t need to know anything about Trinity’s mother, or her romance with Trinity’s father, to be invested in Trinity. Also, I’m not sure that Part II actually accomplishes anything other than letting us know that time passed and that the pregnancy progressed — oh, and it charms curmudgeonly readers like myself. But the story needs to do more than that to justify itself, doesn’t it?

Now, will Part III be able to change my mind about this entire story? Sure. I truly hope it does. But at the present, I don’t see why she bothered with this installment.

Still, I enjoy this world — I like Kalo’s writing (which was better here than in Part I, but not as good as in Daughter of the Sun, Kalo’s one of those writers that needs space), so I’m glad I read this, as will most of her readers be. I’m looking forward to Part III (and truly hope that it wraps things up) — but even more, I’m looking forward to the sequel to Daughter of the Sun.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this from the author in exchange for this post and my honest opinion.


3 Stars

Author Interview with Life Outside the Box’s Marilyn R. Wilson

As part of our Tour for Life Outside the Box, here’s a few questions with Marilyn R. Wilson (as prvoded by iRead Book Tours):

At every single interview I am given pieces of gold – wisdom that this person has acquired on their own unique journey. All have had a profound effect, but if I have to pick just one it would be the words of William Orlowski. I repeat them every time I face a challenging day. “There is no secret, just do and be brave.”

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
When I was young. I often thought it would be cool to write science fiction – my favorite genre at the time. But that was back pre-computer when you had to write everything by hand or type it on an old style typewriter. Unfortunately I had a mind that raced and very little patience. Today’s computers, word processing programs and the internet have made pursuing writing so much easier. Add to that the number of online e-mags and writing sites you can now submit to and you have winning combo. Whether you do books, blogs or just share on social media writing sites, anyone who is interested in expressing themselves through words can find an outlet.
How do you pick who to interview?
People know I love a unique story and are always sending me leads. Then there are those I meet at events or read about in articles. There is honestly never enough time. I could interview someone new every day for the next year and there would still be other stories calling me. I do tend to be drawn to people 35 and up. There are exceptions, but in general I like a story with a lot of life experience behind it and for most people that takes living a few years. The soup has to be cooked.
IOnce you have an interview, what is next?
I record every single interview to help with accuracy, so the first step is the slow process of transcribing these audio files. I used to do it myself, but no longer have time. I now use the services of several transcribers on Once I have a typed transcript of the interview, then the writing process begins. For a magazine submission, I use just a bit of bio material and then move on to whatever the focus of the article is. For the chapters in my Life Outside the Box series, it takes 2-3 days to write out each 5,500 word story – one chapter – followed by 2-3 days of editing. Ten chapters are needed for a new book.
What 3 things would you like readers to know about you?
  • My first love is interviewing. To book interviews, I had promise to write. Over time I’ve come to love writing, but interviewing is still my first passion.
  • I struggle with self-doubt. Getting started on any chapter/article is always a struggle for me. One thing that helped was being told writing is a gift. You don’t need to make it happen, you need to get out of the way and let it happen.
  • I am an avid reader. One relaxing holiday in Hawaii I actually read an entire book every day for 15 days. Believe it or not, I still walked, snorkeled, cooked. went sight-seeing and more. But when all spare moments are spent book in hand, you can go through a lot. While I love print books, when I’m on a reading binge like this my e-reader is my best friend. There are lulls when I don’t read at all, but reading is my favorite way to relax and let go at the end of the day.
How do you promote your books?
Promotion is what I enjoy the least as it takes so much time away from what I actually love to do – interviewing and writing. In today’s market, being visible in the media and on the internet are equally important. I maintain a Twitter account, an Instagram account, a Facebook page, a Goodreads Author page and an Amazon Central Author page. Then a bit of time each week is spent reaching out to bloggers, radio hosts and digital TV hosts to book interviews. I also keep an eye out for any chance to speak at an event. They are a great way to share what I do with a larger audience. I could spend all day every day on promotion and marketing. I’ve had to learn the hard way how important it is to assign a set amount of time each week and keep to it.
Do you have another book in the works?
Yes. Right now I’m working on a second book in my Life Outside the Box Series. I am hoping for a spring release date, but there is still lots to do. After that is finished I have four more titles I would like to develop. All are being released under my own imprint, Real People – Real Lives Press. If interested, readers can add their email address to my list on my website. Information will be released here first. I’ll also be using this avenue to let readers know about giveaway contests where they can win free books.
Do you have a favourite quote from one of your interviews?
At every single interview I am given pieces of gold – wisdom that this person has acquired on their own unique journey. All have had a profound effect, but if I have to pick just one it would be the words of William Orlowski. I repeat them every time I face a challenging day. “There is no secret, just do and be brave.”

Life Outside the Box by Marilyn R. Wilson Book Tour

Welcome to our Book Tour stop for Life Outside the Box. Along with this blurb about the book I’ve got an interview with the author, Marilyn R. Wilson coming up soon (the link’ll work when the post goes live).

Book Details:

Book Title:  Life Outside the Box (Second Edition)
Author: Marilyn R. Wilson
Category: Adult non-fiction, 236 pages
Genre: Inspiration / biography / fashion
Publisher: Real People Real Lives Press
Release date: Oct 27, 2016

Book Description:

This second edition offers new content added to each and every chapter – personal author reflections from behind the scenes.

Get inspired to step out of your box and embrace your potential. From the corporate world, to the arts, to working with the disenfranchised, the message is clear: there is no such thing as a normal way to live your life and no one right solution to any problem. Selected from over a hundred interviews, the stories shared here open a window on the journeys of seven women and three men who have charted their own paths, including Ruthie Davis–top US luxury shoe designer and the winner of the 2014 AAFA Footwear Designer of the Year award; and Geir Ness whose perfume is a staple in Nordstrom, Disney World, and on Disney Cruise Lines. Enjoy a glimpse behind the scenes into the unique ways these individuals have chosen to deal with life’s challenges and how they define success in their careers.

Buy the Book

Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble

Meet the Author:

Marilyn R. Wilson is a freelance writer and speaker with a passion for interviewing. Her career as a writer began in an unusual way, by answering a Craigslist ad. It was while conducting her first interview the world Marilyn R. Wilsonshifted – she had found her passion. Since 2006, she has interviewed over 150 people from as near as her hometown of Vancouver, Canada, and as far away as South Africa.

​Whether through a random encounter on the New York subway or via a one-on-one interview with an internationally recognized artist, the goal is the same-to give wings to the unique journeys of inspiring individuals. This goal first led the author to co-launch a successful, innovative magazine focused on professionals working in the fashion industry paired with photography and illustrations by local artists. Then in 2015, Wilson took her passion to a new audience with the release of her first book, the first in a series featuring the lives of real people living real lives.




The Breedling and The City in the Garden by Kimberlee Ann Bastian

Now for the last post on The Breedling and The City in the Garden book tour.

The Breedling and The City in the GardenThe Breedling and The City in the Garden

by Kimberlee Ann Bastian
Series: The Element Odysseys, Book 1

Kindle Edition, 280 pg.
Wise Ink Creative Publishing , 2016

Read: October 24 – 25, 2016

The immortal soulcatcher Bartholomew (soon to be known as Buck) comes to 1930’s Chicago to track down someone and repay a debt. He comes looking like a young teen and is taken under the wing of a homeless orphan who seems to be a year or two older. The two have to deal with challenges and obstacles both mundane and other-worldly to survive, much less complete.

I’m not really sure how to describe the book beyond that, quite honestly. Maybe go back and check the main Book Tour post for a better description.

This book is all about what you think about Buck — and Charlie, to a lesser extent. Buck/Bartholomew has an eccentricity, a naivety that can make him endearing, ditto for Charlie’s street-smarts coated with his tough (yet tender) exterior. Better yet, if you find yourself invested in their friendship’s ups and downs. If you like these two, are interested in what happens to them, pretty much every problem with the book can be ignored. I wanted more from both of those characters, and I’m not sure I can ignore the problems with the book just because to them. Still, I can see where many people would love these two and find my issues shallow.

There are some real problems with this — for example, it’s hard to tell just how much of Bastian’s world is “our” world and how much is her mythology. Which might not make much sense, so let me try to explain: there are priests (I assume, Roman Catholic), but it’s hard to tell if that worldview is true/a true world here; Eden means one thing to Roman Catholics, but pretty much it seems to indicate the mortal world in this book. Also, too often I think Bastian goes for mysterious or suspenseful and ends up being vague, opaque or ambiguous. She’s done some great world-building here, I’m just not convinced that she’s great at explaining that world to the reader.

Technically there was a narrative arc to this novel, with an actual ending and a place to jump off to the next novel. But only technically, this is part of a story at best, the first installment in a series that really just serves to propel the reader for the forthcoming book. There’s some odd vocabulary sprinkled through the narrative occasionally — its one thing for Bucks/Bartholomew to have antique words and phraseology due to his origin, but for the narrative to throw those in every now and then it just doesn’t work it’s jarring, drawing attention to it self

There’s an earnestness to the writing, a clear effort on Bastian’s part, and you want to root for her and her creation — I’m not entirely certain she succeeds with this book, but man, you want her to. Those who like steampunk, but aren’t tied to the tech; those who don’t mind mixing fantasy with history; and/or those who like seeing children/child-sized characters in life-or=death situations, this could work for you.


3 Stars

A Few Quick Questions With…Kimberlee Ann Bastian

So, for the second post on The Breedling and The City in the Garden book tour, we got a few questions with the author, Kimberlee Ann Bastian. As usual, I kept it short and sweet, because I’d rather she work on her next book than take too much time with me.

I see that this is being billed as a “reboot” of the novel — what does that mean for you and the book?
All it really means is that my first attempt was a dress rehearsal. I learned a great deal of what not to do when self-publishing and really it boils down to not cutting corners where your book is concerned. Not that I meant to cut corners. I just didn’t have the proper funds. You’re either all in or you’re not and though my first intentions were good and I had the drive, it wasn’t quite what I imaged it would be. Now, with the brilliant team at Wise Ink Creative Publishing, I have an extraordinary team to work with and all the tools an indie author needs to realize his or her vision. The Breedling and the City in the Garden is now, after eight years of trial and error, the way it was always meant to be with all the professional bells and whistles included.
Most authors have dozens of ideas bouncing around their craniums at once — what was it about this idea that made you say, “Yup — this is the one for me.”?
The idea for the Element Odysseys came to me at a time when I actually had no other ideas running through my head. I put all my energies into the concept and it really helped me write my way out of a trialing situation and once I started, I couldn’t stop.
What kind of research — if any — did you have to do for this? Uncover any nuggets that were so great that you had to rework the story just to fit some of your research into things?
The research journey for this book and for the series in its entirety has been fascinating. I have tapped into every vital online database, read countless books and articles. Watched a few documentaries and I went above and beyond the scope of what has made it into the final version of the story. I have even visited the sites of Chicago where the story takes place, or what’s left of them. For The Breedling and the City in the Garden, the greatest historical nugget I found came during my second round of editing when I was working on changing the title. I came across the Great Seal of Chicago, which on the seal the Latin phrase Urbs In Horto is present. Upon learning the translation Garden City or City in the Garden, I knew I had to reference it in the story and ultimately it became the second half of the title.

Who are some of your major influences? (whether or not you think those influences can be seen in your work — you know they’re there)
I think for this first book I pulled a great deal of inspiration from Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, Irene Hunt’s No Promises in the Wind and Mark Twain when creating the historic feel of the story. For the mythology elements of the story, I did draw a little from HBO’s Carnivale in how to blend the historical with the fantastical. Although for those familiar with the series, I’m not nearly as abstract. Subconsciously, I probably took some inspiration from Harry Potter as well, for I have already been told the opening chapter is reminiscent of Dumbledore and McGonagall in the beginning of The Sorcerer’s Stone (The Philosopher’s Stone).
What’s the one (or two) book/movie/show in the last 5 years that made you say, “I wish I’d written that.”?
This is the hardest question by far—haha. (pauses to contemplate) In the book category, I’d have to say Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus. I’m also going to go a little rogue and choose a musical, Lin Manuel-Miranda’s Hamilton: An American Musical, it is my current obsession.

Thank you kindly for letting me swing by The Irresponsible Reader, H. C. It has been a blast chatting with you! Happy Reading.

Thanks for your time, Ms. Bastian, I wish you and the release the best.