Monday, June 30, 2014

FFBC: Welcome to the club, Unravel (Linked #2) by Imogen Howson

Unravel (Linked #2)
by Imogen Howson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: July 8th 2014
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Untold dangers await telepathic twins in this sequel to the futuristic, romantic thriller called classic sci-fi, space-travel adventure at its best. After Elissa and Lin exposed the government's secret experiments inLinked, which Booklistcalled a roller-coaster ride into space that just about everyone should enjoy, their home planet Sekoia is thrown into chaos. Determined to do their part to help the planet they've hurt, they return to Sekoia only to discover that things are far worse that they imagined. Resources are suddenly scarce, people are scared, and there's a rising current of anger against the Spares. When Lissa and Lin find themselves among another group of Spares and twins, they feel like they've found their kindred spirits at last. But a threat none of them could have expected is lying in wait for Sekoia's Spares.

As a child, I loved reading so much that I not only read in bed, at the table and in the bath, but in the shower and – not so successfully – on my bicycle.

I enjoyed books in a slightly unorthodox way, too – many of my childhood books have ragged edges where I tore paper from the margins in order to eat it.

I wrote my first book at eight. It was entitled The Dragon in the Teapot and would probably have been a huge hit if I hadn’t lost the only copy on a family day out.

Some years later, armed with several different types of backups, I’m busy writing romantic science fiction and fantasy for young adults and adults.

I live with my partner, our two teenage daughters, and three cats, near Sherwood Forest in England. I’m a Christian, a feminist, and a lover of cheese, chocolate, stationery shops and eighties pop music. I still read in most places, but I no longer eat paper.

I’m a member of The Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, the group blogs The Lucky 13s and Author Allsorts, and the online writers’ community Romance Divas. I’m represented by Mandy Hubbard of D4EO Literary Agency.

You can keep in touch with me on Facebook – – or Twitter –

Or please feel free to contact me by email.

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Dirty Dancing.

Anything happy and pop-music-y. I have the shallowest tastes in the world.


Awwww, Gilbert Blythe from the Anne of Green Gables books. He is such a gentleman!

It’s from These Old Shades, by Georgette Heyer. The hero, the Duke of Avon, is a Bad Man with a Bad Past. The heroine, Leonie, is much younger (and adorable), and calls him “Monseigneur”. He thinks he’s not good enough for her because of his terrible past, and she knows all about it and doesn’t even care. 

They eventually have a conversation in which he says, “Leonie, you are not the first woman in my life.” And she says, “Oh, Monseigneur, I would so much rather be the last than the first.” (Awwww.)

And then he asks her if she’s sure, and she says she never thought he would be so foolish. And then he kisses her and they get married—like, that very day. *melts*

Anything by Joss Whedon. Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse…

Diana Wynne Jones. She died a few years ago and I cried—partly because I was just so sad she didn’t exist any longer, and partly because I realized I would never get the chance to meet her. I wish I’d managed to meet her while I could!

Thank you for having me! And please let me know what you think of Unravel.

Hello Imogen! We are super excited to host you in our FFBC. 

Thank you so much for having me!

Linked is about a girl, Elissa, who has been plagued her whole life by inexplicable visions—and weird phantom bruises that come from nowhere. When she discovers that the source of the visions is the twin—Lin—she didn’t even know she had, who has been raised in a secure government facility and undergone “humane experiments”, they go on the run together. They end up having to escape off-planet, which throws them into the company of the arrogant young spaceship captain Cadan, the best friend of Elissa’s older brother. 

In Unravel, Elissa and Lin, with Cadan’s help, have freed not only Lin, but all the other twins who were imprisoned with her. But in doing so, they’ve caused the collapse of their planet’s government. Their planet is now in chaos and under martial law, and enough people blame the twins to put them in danger all over again.

What fights between spaceships would be like. I spent a lot of time on the website—not so much researching the actual science, but researching what science fiction readers will accept as “realistic enough”, and what are the really obvious mistakes that get made over and over again.

Distrustful, angry, protective, proud, kind.

My favorite scenes were the ones showing the development of Elissa and Lin’s relationship, and also Elissa and Cadan’s. Elissa starts out thinking of Cadan as irritating and arrogant, and he thinks she’s a spoiled brat, and it was a lot of fun gradually making them see each other differently (and even more fun getting them to fall for each other). With Elissa and Lin, they start out kind of knowing each other really well, due to this telepathic link they share. But Elissa didn’t know Lin was real—she thought her visions of her were just dreams—so although she feels weirdly familiar, at the same time she’s this stranger with freaky powers. And that relationship continues throughout Unravel. It’s not a love/hate relationship, but it is a love/fear/confusion type relationship. Which made it interesting!

There’s a really violent scene towards the end of Unravel. It was hard to write it as brutally as it needed to be, and also hard to make all the characters react realistically—but not so realistically that all I had was pages of everyone crying and screaming! Which might be true to life, but which would be pretty dull to read.

I don’t usually write with a message in mind—I’m writing primarily to entertain people. But a definite message that came out during the writing of both Linked and Unravel is that, if a group of people sees another group of people as different, as “other”, it’s a very short step from that to seeing them as not really people at all. And once they’re not people, you can justify all sorts of atrocities. You see it in the way the Nazis treated Jews, in the way white people treated black slaves, and, in the UK, more recently, the way the press speaks about immigrants—both legal and illegal.

Linked and Unravel are not political allegories at all (which is good, because I think you have to be a genius to write an allegory that’s also worth reading as a story), and I definitely didn’t set out to write a book with a message, but I think that point about turning people into the “other” has ended up being portrayed very clearly in both books.

I guess it just matters to me a lot, so it ends up in my writing.

Follow the FFBC Unravel Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Win (1) of (2) hardbacks of Unravel by Imogen Howson (INT)

The Unofficial Book Blitz: Chrysoprase (Chalcedony Chronicles #2) by B. Kristin McMichael

Chrysoprase (Chalcedony Chronicles #2)
by B. Kristin McMichael
Publisher: Lexia Press
Release Date: June 25th 2014
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Mari had her time in the past and is finally home. Unfortunately, she didn’t understand the goddess’ warning that traveling to the past would have consequences. She could never have imagined what they would be, but she quickly finds out that not everything is the way she left it. Now Mari must learn how to time travel if she wants to put her life back into the order it was before she went into the past to be with Seth. Mari soon discovers that time traveling isn’t as easy as she thought it, and the goddess refuses to help her learn. Mari must turn to an old friend, someone she never planned to see again, and get his help if she wants to right what she has changed. But even that might come with a price. 

Mari travels into the past again to find loved ones. Her journey brings more questions, and a few answers, to the puzzle that is her life. Mari can quickly see why her mother went to the future, and Mari needs to do the same as soon as she can to bring her loved ones back. The past is far more complicated, and dangerous than she ever imagined—particularly for Mari. She might just be the piece everyone is seeking in their own puzzles to control not only the past but the future, too.

by B. Kristin McMichael

A new player is introduced into Mari’s already complicated world: 

I looked up. It felt like someone was watching me. I glanced around the room. The door was still closed, and no one was around. I hadn’t heard anyone enter. Their maids were silent, but not that silent. I looked back around the room. The feeling was still there, but I was alone. 
My focus went back to the documents scattered around the room in glass cases. One toward the far window caught my attention. The carnelian lines around my hand pulsated as if to tell me I was going in the right direction. The tingles in my arm felt much like they did when I was around Seth. I missed him so much, and I was nowhere near knowing how to get him back. It was like Seth was sending me a sign even though we were far apart. I moved slowly down the line of books. Something was calling to the stone that was now imprinted into my arm. I stopped at each book as I passed. Why was one calling to me and all the others not? As I got close to the one I really wanted to see, I paused again. I still felt like someone was watching me. I looked down at the words on the page in the box in front of me. They weren’t the ones calling to me, yet were pretty all the same. 
“Figured this would be where you ran off to,” Logan said quietly from somewhere in the room. 
I was sure I didn’t hear him enter, and I had no clue how long he had been there. He stepped out of the shadow he was hidden in and slowly slunk across the room. Logan had always puzzled me. Around everyone else, you would think he was just another very friendly jock, but alone, he was completely different. His movements were always perfect and graceful, but he kept that hidden from everyone else. I remember the first time I was alone with him. Logan was exciting, and he made me feel like I was the one he had spent his life hunting. I still felt that vibe from him, but now it was just confusing. I didn’t have feelings for him anymore, beyond the annoyance I still felt about our last date. That would probably last forever. The reason I didn’t trust guys in general, and rightfully so, was standing in front of me now. Having him slowly analyzing me was strange. I still got butterflies in my stomach—anyone would get that when someone as hot as him was looking at you. But I didn’t have the loving feelings that once went with those butterflies. 

And new mysteries to be solved: 

I was going to do it right this time. I pictured the Jones house library, and the book that called to me at the party over Thanksgiving. By the time I finished thinking of the book we were there, standing in front of it. Ty took a breath and moved a few feet away from me. 
“I’ve never done that more than a once in a day. That was a bit weird,” Ty commented, shaking out the hand that had been touching the stone. 
I nodded and looked down at the book with the ancient text. I still felt a hum coming off the book. I wanted to touch it and see if the pages were humming like I felt they would be. I peered into the box and looked at the weird lines. It was nothing I could understand. I looked up and around the room. Logan wasn’t there. I really wanted to touch the book. 
“What is it?” Ty asked, stepping behind me and looking over my shoulder. 
“I don’t know. Something about the book makes me feel like I should touch it. Like if I touched it I would know the secret it’s trying to tell me,” I explained. “Gosh, that sounds weird,” I added as I turned around. 
“Weird? Yes. But I’ve seen a lot of weird things happen since we first found these stones,” Ty said, holding his up. The glow I normally saw off the stone was gone. I looked down to my arm. The lines were faded around the edges. We were going to have to wait until the power returned, or for Logan. 
I looked up at Ty. I really wanted to see why I should touch the book. Ty nodded to me. It didn’t matter how weird it was, I was going to try. I looked around the room one more time. Ty stayed right behind me, he was so big that if anyone was in the room they would be blocked from actually seeing me while I touched the book. It felt like I was stealing, or doing something wrong. These texts were old and priceless. Oils from your hands could damage the paper, but I still had to know. The longer I stood there, the more the book pulled at me. I lifted the glass case only enough to get a finger in to touch the text. I slid my finger in and felt the shock as I touched it. I quickly pulled my hand out in surprise. 
I turned back to Ty to tell him what happened when the shimmer of Logan traveling into the room caught my eye. 

And true love to reunite with: 

I leaned forward and pulled his head down to meet mine. I kissed him again. I needed to. I needed to feel that he was real. Each time he went away, and my memories changed, it felt like I lost a part of him. In losing him, I was losing part of me. He was everything I ever wanted. It was scary to feel that way about one person, but it was true. Even Logan and our past couldn’t compare with the feelings floating around inside me at just the touch of Seth’s lips to mine. He was everything I needed. 
“And you?” he asked as he pulled back a little. 
“Me what?” I asked, looking up into his eyes. The desire I saw there was surely mirrored in my own. 
“How long has it been in your time?” Seth asked as he eyed me over, looking for any change in me. 
“Five weeks,” I replied, watching his eyes roam over my body. When most men looked at you like that it was creepy, but the way he looked made my stomach tumble. 
“And Ty was with you there?” Seth asked, finally bringing his eyes up to mine.  
“Yes,” I answered, looking up at him. Did he really want to just talk after all this time apart? 
“But he didn’t come with you,” Seth replied to my answer. 
He balanced on the wall with only one hand, allowing his free hand to reach up and touch my face. I closed my eyes and tried to memorize his touch. No matter how I was with him now, it would never last. I had a feeling we would always have to fight to be together. 
“No,” I responded, feeling his body press up against me. His lips met mine again, and I rested my hands on his bare chest. There were a few perks to the Egyptian military clothing, or rather lack of clothing. 
“Why,” Seth began as he moved his kisses to my ear. “Are.” He kissed down my neck, sending tingles to my toes. “You.” He reached the indent where my neck and shoulder met. “Here?”  
He finished asking his question, but the kisses continued as he pushed the fabric of the multiple tunics I wore out of the way to continue kissing down a line. He began moving back up my neck slowly as he waited for a response, but I was having trouble even remembering the question. It was hard to carry on a conversation when we couldn’t keep ourselves apart.

Originally from Wisconsin, B. Kristin currently resides in Ohio with her husband, two small children, and three cats. When not doing the mom thing of chasing kids, baking cookies, and playing outside, she is using her PhD in biology as a scientist. In her free time she is currently hard at work on multiple novels. Every day is a new writing adventure. She is a fan of all YA/NA fantasy and science fiction.

Win (1) ebook copy of Chrysoprase (INT)

Win a signed paperback copies of both "Carnelian" and "Chrysoprase" (US Only)