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Blog Tour Spotlight: The Forest Beyond the Earth by Matthew S. Cox

Under the watchful eye of the Mother Shrine, twelve-year-old Wisp ekes out a simple, but challenging life with Dad, foraging for food and losing herself in old books from the world that came before. She loves the Endless Forest ― except when the Tree Walkers come for her.

In ages past, the great rain of fire and ash destroyed the Earth, wiping out the ancients and everything they had made. Nature has reclaimed much since then, spreading out in a vast forest full of wonder and dread. Ever in fear of being taken away, she follows Dad’s rules without question while learning to survive off the land.

No longer a small child, she accompanies Dad on one of his treks, her first time more than a few steps away from the cabin. A day exploring with him is the happiest time of her life, but joy is short-lived.

A monster follows them home.

Blog Tour Spotlight: Fey Spy by Tiffany Shand

A fey,

A world that’s against her,

A mission to save her people,

And a lost love.

Serafina Valeon fights to save her people by working in the resistance as a spy, in a world where she could be killed for being a fey. Only a scared artifact, the keystone, can help bring freedom to the fey. Sera must risk her life to recover the stone and venture into the mage city of Elmira.

Once there she stumbles across her childhood sweetheart, Bastian, who now works for the very people that hunt her race. Sera must find a way to work with Bastian, despite their differences and the forbidden desire between them. Will she be able to recover the artifact without revealing who and what she really is? Will Bastian be able to accept her, or will their love be the doom of her?

Blog Tour Spotlight: The Twilight Saint by Jessica Penot

It has been thousands of years since the fall of the great nations, and the tribes that remain in the ashes of the fallen must fight to survive in the shadows. In this desperate landscape, Ailive has spent her entire life fighting for the honor of her tribe and she has grown weary of war.

When Ailive sees a chance to escape her fate, she flees into a chaotic landscape where death and darkness lurk behind every friendly face until she finds refuge in the peaceful city at the center of her world. In this city, Ailive finds everything she's ever dreamt of, but news of a strange prophet from the South brings whispers of war to Ailive's peaceful home.

Now Ailive alone can stop the genocide of an entire tribe of people. Ailive alone holds the key to bringing peace to the world and destroying the monstrous man whom she once loved, if she can only gain the courage to pick up her sword again and make herself fulfill the destiny she's fought her entire life.

Blog Tour Spotlight: Micromium by David Gittlin

The year is 2038. Earth’s biosphere is on the brink of destruction from the effects of global warming and pollution. The World Energy Council has awarded a lucrative contract to a major US corporation to mine a precious ore discovered by the first manned mission to land on Mars.  One kilo of Micromium can power a large city for a year without environmental side effects.  A few grains of the ore can fuel a car for a year or longer.  Micromium promises to provide clean energy to a thirsty planet far into the future.

When two people die in a mining accident on Mars, the World Energy Council sends Commander Logan Marchant and a crack team of astronaut specialists to investigate.

Curator's Pick: Rollin' Into Mystery

When you’re young, it’s all about finding ways to entertain yourself to keep the boredom at bay. Lucky for the West Main Five it doesn’t look like they have to go too far when they stumble upon a mystery in their own yard. 

Rollin’ In Mystery follows the story of five friends who find a ransom note and jump head first into solving the mystery. With no fear and previous experience, they quickly find themselves deep in a case that not even the police seem to be completely aware of. From interesting characters to helpful hints, these friends will either find glory in solving a case or find themselves in trouble.

Read our critic and curator reviews and download a copy of this book here.

Curator's Pick: Keeper of the Watch

I approached reading Keeper of the Watch with some apprehension; I seem to have read all too many fantasy-based books that just don’t manage to communicate their ideas very clearly. A lot of their sci-fi and fantasy elements aren’t fully explained, which makes it difficult to fully immerse yourself in the story. I have to say though, that I was pleasantly surprised with Keeper of the Watch.

From the moment that I started reading, I wanted to know more. Kristen L. Jackson does a fantastic job of merging realism with fantasy, and even as we learn about different dimensions and the idea of blood flowing from human body to mechanical watch, nothing seems out of place. As protagonist Chase Walker experiences these things, we do too, which allows Jackson to explain everything in a clear, but not overbearing manner.

For the Book Lover: Dragon & Sword Bookmark

The best fantasy stories always include a dragon. Within the pages of a book, these powerful, beautiful, magical winged beasts  lay waste to anything that stands in their way. And then there is the treasure. Gold and gemstones enough to make Fort Knox look like a piggy bank. 

But the dragon does have one foe. A noble night and his trusted blade. 

If you love fantasy, and dragons are your thing (they are totally our thing!), then you gotta have this bookmark. Made of silver plated metal, this Celtic-ispired dragon is adorned with hematite gemstones, and of course, a sword.

Where Do Stories Grow?: John Saomes

A Guest Blog Post by Author John Saomes

When I first saw this question, I loved the idea behind it because it challenged me to think back to a time when I had the bare beginnings of my first book, and little more. My story contained a simple message—that mankind can be better than we are—that we can do better, and have a better life if we can only find a better way to live.

Through my characters I wanted to offer glimpses of a brighter world where the people were happier and each day held greater meaning. The beginnings of that story came from my own experiences of hardship as I battled to make ends meet in a consumer driven society of unbridled excess. The day-to-day grind of going off to work a job that held no interest depressed me—and I knew I wasn’t alone.

What is an Artisan Author?

Take a little walk through time with me.

The edges of the real world begin to blur and fade as we step back into a simpler, harsher time, when the sweat of your brow, and the skill of you hand was how you made a living.  Here, travel by horseback is for the rich. For us peasants, it’s one foot in front of the other.

We pass through the city gates and into the marketplace. Reams of colored silk draw your eye, then the dizzying array of fruits and vegetables. Near the end of the row, a broad-shouldered man in a floury apron pulls back a cloth to reveal dozens of loaves of bread. Each crusted mound a masterpiece unto itself, each hand-crafted and guaranteed to stave off hunger while delighting your tastebuds.

We Asked Author K.B. Owen: Where Do Stories Grow?

Harry S. Truman once said: “There is nothing new in the world, except the history you do not know.” That was certainly the case with a major enigma in my life, my mother-in-law. (I know what you’re thinking…go ahead, insert mother-in-law jokes here). What I discovered about her, and the circumstances under which I learned it, are responsible for the historical mystery series I write today.

Joan was a school librarian and an avid reader. Books were one of the ways she and I connected with each other when moments grew awkward, especially in the early years of our relationship (she was a stoic Yankee, and I am definitely not). In the summer of 2005—she had been my mom-in-law for fifteen years by then—she suffered a devastating head injury and slipped into a coma. I would read to her in the rehab hospital, though I had no idea if she could hear me or not.

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