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Monday, November 20, 2017

STEAL THE STARS: As Fierce, As Colossal, As All-Consuming Episode Fourteen

Book Nerd Spotlight


Dakota “Dak” Prentiss guards the biggest secret in the world.

They call it “Moss.” It’s your standard grey alien from innumerable abduction stories. Moss still sits at what looks like the controls of the spaceship it crash-landed twenty-five years ago. A secret military base was built around the crash site to study both Moss and the dangerous technology it brought to Earth.

The day Matt Salem joins her security team, Dak’s whole world changes.

It’s love at first sight—which is a problem, since they both signed ironclad contracts before joining the base security team, vowing not to fraternize with other military personnel. If they run away, they’ll be hunted for the secret they know. So Dak and Matt decide to escape to a better life on the wings of an incredibly dangerous plan: They’re going to steal the alien body they've been guarding and sell the secret of its existence.

And they can’t afford a single mistake.


In an epic final showdown in the Texas desert – as Sierra closes in from all sides – Dak and Matt finally learn the truth about Moss.
You can purchase Steal the Stars at the following Retailers:

Author Spotlight
Photo Content from TOR Labs

Nat Cassidy is an actor, director, musician, and playwright. He has appeared on shows such as The Following (Fox), The Affair (Showtime), Red Oaks (Amazon), High Maintenance (HBO), Law & Order: SVU (NBC), as well as on stage in numerous productions and workshops both Off- and Off-Off-Broadway. Nat’s plays have been nominated for a combined total of 17 New York Innovative Theatre Awards, including 3 times for Outstanding Full-Length Script (which he won in 2009, and in 2011 for Outstanding Solo Performance for his one man show about H.P. Lovecraft). In 2012 Nat was commissioned by The Kennedy Center to write the libretto for a world-premiere opera, and in 2014 his play Any Day Now was chosen to be part of Primary Stages’ ESPADrills (The Duke Theatre, directed by Tony-nominee Moritz von Stuelpnagel). He is also thrilled to be writing the novelization of Steal the Stars, which will be published by Tor Books in November 2017. 

Mac Rogers is an award-winning audio dramatist and playwright. His audio/podcasts dramas The Message and LifeAfter have been downloaded over eight million times. His stageplays include The Honeycomb Trilogy (winner of the New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Premiere Production), Frankenstein Upstairs, God of Obsidian, Ligature Marks, Asymmetric, Viral, Universal Robots, Hail Satan (Outstanding Playwriting Winner at FringeNYC 2007), and Fleet Week: The Musical (co-written with Sean Williams and Jordana Williams; winner of Outstanding Musical at FringeNYC 2005). He has earned acclaim from The New York Times, The Guardian, Backstage, The Wall Street Journal, Time Out New York, New York Post, Flavorpill, io9, Fangoria,, Show Business Weekly, New York Press, and many others.



Friday, November 17, 2017

Stolen Secrets by L.B. Schulman

Age Range: 12 and up
Grade Level: 7th and up
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Boyds Mills Press (September 19, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1629797227
ISBN-13: 978-1629797229


“The author captures the desperate uncertainty of life with an alcoholic and having to parent a parent. Whip-smart Franklin has a uniquely drawn personality and his dialogue with Livvy sparkles…VERDICT An engaging coming-of-age novel recommended for libraries looking to highlight issues of alcoholism, Alzheimer’s, and family estrangement.' ―School Library Journal

“Stolen Secrets is a solid mystery with family drama and teen angst. Livvy is a likable character who is smart and perceptive at times, yet, like most teens, naive and clueless at others. The novel is easy to read and would be a good companion read for students reading Anne Frank’s diary. Stolen Secrets will need some hand-selling to teens, but once they pick it up they will not be disappointed.” ―VOYA

“This is a well-written book that sympathetically examines the roles of Holocaust survivors on both sides of the war as well as guilt and forgiveness. The main and supporting characters are funny and engaging…a good addition to those who want to read more books with a Holocaust theme. Recommended.” ―School Library Connection

“A…contemporary story with a Holocaust secret at its core….a jam-packed narrative with a full complement of tropes and topical elements: new girl; friend issues; alcoholism; family secrets, neo-Nazis; predatory elder care; armed robbery—and a romance. The grandmother’s mysterious past intrigues…” ―Kirkus Reviews

After an abrupt move across the country to San Francisco, sixteen-year-old Livvy discovers a grandmother who she believed was dead. Suffering from Alzheimer’s, Adelle shouts out startling details, mistakes her own name, and seems to relive moments that may have taken place in a concentration camp. When Livvy and her new friend Franklin D. find journal entries from the Holocaust in Adelle’s home, Livvy begins to suspect that her grandmother may have a shocking link to a notable figure Anne Frank.

You can purchase Stolen Secrets at the following Retailers:

Book Nerd Spotlight
Photo Content from L.B. Schulman

STOLEN SECRETS is L.B. Schulman’s second young adult novel. Her debut, LEAGUE OF STRAYS, was published in 2012. She grew up in Maryland and now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two daughters, and a pair of loveable mutts. When she isn’t writing, she’s visiting genealogy sites, trying to find famous people she’s related to. You can visit her online at

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Guest Post with Gerald Brandt

Book Nerd Vlog Post
Photo Content from Gerald Brandt

Gerald Brandt is an International Bestselling Author of Science Fiction and Fantasy. He is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. His current novel is The Operative – A San Angles Novel, published by DAW and his short story Storm appeared in the 2013 Prix Aurora Award winning anthology Blood & Water. His first novel, The Courier, also in the San Angeles series was list by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as one of the 10 Canadian science fiction books you need to read. By day, he’s an IT professional specialising in virtualisation. In his limited spare time, he enjoys riding his motorcycle, rock climbing, camping, and spending time with his family. He lives in Winnipeg with his wife Marnie, and their two sons Jared and Ryan. You can find Gerald online at, on Facebook as Gerald Brandt – Author, and on Twitter @geraldbrandt.

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I often get asked about my writing process: am I a panster (one who just sits down to write without any plan) or a plotter (one who plans everything in advance). The answer is a bit of both. Well, okay, maybe more of a plotter than a panster. I usually have the entire novel I'm working on plotted out scene-by-scene before I start writing the first page, but that doesn't mean it's written in stone. Every scene has the opportunity to take off on its own and change the outline in some way. At some point, usually halfway through the novel, I'll stop writing and redo the last half of the outline to match all the new stuff that has crept in.

My process for outlining starts with a giant 4 by 8 whiteboard and a stack of post-it notes. I'll have a different color post-it for every point of view character in the novel. Starting with my main character, I'll write something on the post-it; it could be a single sentence summary of what I want the scene to be, an emotion the character needs to feel, or a setting. The point is to make it brief. This individual post-it will become a scene in the novel.

I'll work with a single character at first. If I have four points of view, the main character will get roughly thirty-five post-its. Once I have a general arc for that character, I move on to the next. By the time I'm done, I'll have a little over eighty post-its on the whiteboard.

Then I start merging each character's story line to create a cohesive whole. While I'm doing this, I look at overall story arc and pacing. This is where I'll remove some post-its and add new ones. I'll also look at the color distribution. Do I have too many scenes from the same point of view back-to-back? If so, rearrange and rewrite as necessary. It's not until I have a nice color distribution and the pacing right before I move onto the next step.

This is where I fire up my computer and run the spreadsheet. I move the post-it notes into the spreadsheet, keeping the color coding for point of view character. As I'm doing this, I take the single sentence or word and expand it into a small paragraph. As the detail goes in, I may find some scenes are out of order, and I'll do more rearranging.

When the spreadsheet is complete, then and only then do I open up the word processor and start writing. Every time I sit down to write, I know what I'll be doing, and the day starts out strong. And just for the record, I keep my word processor simple and old school. I use Wordstar 7.0.

I also keep track of daily word count in another spreadsheet, but that's for a different article.

The third and final installment in the San Angeles trilogy, a thrilling near-future cyberpunk sci-fi series 

Kris Merrill has lost everything. Her family when she was thirteen, her identity when she joined the anti-corporate movement, and now the man she loved. Living in a small room the resistance gave her, she feels alone. Abandoned.
A year ago, Kris's life was torn apart when a delivery went wrong. The last year spent training with the anti-corporate movement had been the closest she'd ever gotten to normal.
Now, war has broken out between the corporations, and the lower levels of San Angeles are paying the price. Water and food are rationed. People are being ripped from their families in massive sweeps, drafted to fight. Those remaining live in a wasteland. The insurgents are trying to help, but Kris is being left out, given menial tasks instead of doing what she was trained for.
She is torn between working with the insurgents as they become more like the corporations they are fighting, and helping the people of the lower levels.
Caught in one of SoCal's draft sweeps and being hunted by an enemy who will stop at nothing to have revenge are just the tip of the iceberg. Kris is pregnant, and she might have to choose between bringing down the corporations that destroyed her family or saving the life of her unborn son.

Praise for the SAN ANGELES Series

"The Courier is lean and mean as Kris’s rugged ride, ripping through plot and world-building at a relentless pace... Brandt has created a darkly gripping vision of the future," ―B&N Sci-fi Fantasy Blog

“Brandt’s supercharged sequel to The Courier continues the cyberpunk fun of the San Angeles series.... Brandt fleshes out an all-too-possible future of crushing poverty and corporate control, and the complex heroine who will lead us through to a better future.” —

“Brandt has created a fully-fleshed universe, filled with high tension, memorable villains, and plot twists by the dozen.” ―Barnes & Noble

“It felt a lot like the Bourne Identity movie except with a sci-fi setting and a relatable young girl as the protagonist. The Courier is a fast paced science fiction thriller, with a heroine you can really root for and a world you can’t wait to learn more about.” ―The Heroine Bookstore

“Gerald Brandt tells an impossible-to-put-down tale and introduces us to an exciting heroine I’d love to see more of.” ―University City Review

You can purchase The Rebel at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Gerald and Penguin Random House for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Rebel by Gerald Brandt.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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{Nerd Blast} The Last Thing She Ever Did by Gregg Olsen

Paperback: 380 pages
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (January 1, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1542046424
ISBN-13: 978-1542046428


“Gregg Olsen pens brilliant, creepy, page-turning, heart-pounding novels of suspense that always keep me up at night. In The Last Thing She Ever Did, he topped himself.” —Allison Brennan, New York Times bestselling author

“Beguiling, wicked, and taut with suspense and paranoia, The Last Thing She Ever Did delivers scenes as devastating as any I’ve ever read with a startling, pitch-perfect finale. A reminder that evil may reside in one’s actions, but tragedy often spawns from one’s inaction.” —Eric Rickstad, New York Times bestselling author of The Silent Girls

“Olsen's latest examines how a terrible, split-second decision has lingering effects, and the past echoes the present. Full of unexpected twists, The Last Thing She Ever Did will keep you guessing to the last line.” —J.T. Ellison, New York Times bestselling author of Lie To Me

“Master storyteller Gregg Olsen continues to take readers hostage with another spellbinding tale of relentless, pulse-pounding suspense.” —Rick Mofina, international bestselling author of Last Seen

Official Nerd Blast for The Last Thing She Ever Did by Gregg Olsen

This is a Nerd Blast, you will post the promotional info we provide you with, including the giveaway. No reviews required. Please mark your Calendar.


From the #1 New York Times bestselling author comes a psychological thriller exploring the things we dare to do when no one is looking . . .

The community along Oregon’s Deschutes River is one of successful careers and perfect families. For years, up-and-comers Liz and Owen have admired their good friends and neighbors, Carole and David. They appear to have it all—security, happiness, and a beautiful young son, Charlie.

Then Charlie vanishes without a trace, and all that seemed safe is shattered by a tragedy that is incomprehensible—except to Liz.

It took one fleeting moment for her to change the lives of everyone she loves—a heartrending accident that can’t be undone. Neither can the second-worst mistake of her life: concealing it. As two marriages crack and buckle in grief and fear, Liz retreats into her own dark place of guilt, escalating paranoia—and betrayals even she can’t imagine. Because there’s another good neighbor who has his own secrets, his own pain, and his own reasons for watching Liz’s every move.

And only he knows that the mystery of the missing boy on the Deschutes River is far from over.

You can purchase The Last Thing She Ever Did at the following Retailers:

Book Nerd Spotlight
Photo Content from Gregg Olsen

Throughout his career, Gregg Olsen has demonstrated an ability to create a detailed narrative that offers readers fascinating insights into the lives of people caught in extraordinary circumstances.

New York TimesWall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author, Olsen has written nine nonfiction books, nine novels, a novella, and contributed a short story to a collection edited by Lee Child.

The award-winning author has been a guest on dozens of national and local television shows, including educational programs for the History Channel, Learning Channel, and Discovery Channel. He has also appeared on Dateline NBC, William Shatner's Aftermath, Deadly Women on Investigation Discovery, Good Morning America, The Early Show, The Today Show, FOX News, CNN, Anderson Cooper 360, MSNBC, Entertainment Tonight, CBS 48 Hours, Oxygen's Snapped, Court TV's Crier Live, Inside Edition, Extra, Access Hollywood, and A&E's Biography.

In addition to television and radio appearances, he has been featured in Redbook, USA Today, People,Salon magazine, Seattle Times, Los Angeles Times and the New York Post.

The Deep Dark was named Idaho Book of the Year by the ILA and Starvation Heights was honored by Washington's Secretary of State for the book's contribution to Washington state history and culture. His Young Adult novel, Envy, was the official selection of Washington for the National Book Festival.

Olsen, a Seattle native, lives in Olalla, Washington with his wife, twin daughters, three chickens, Milo (an obedience school dropout cocker spaniel) and Suri (a mini dachshund so spoiled she wears a sweater).

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"Taranta’s debut opens the door to a magical new world filled with adventure, strong characters, and an intriguing plot. ...Readers can eagerly anticipate more of Faris’ story and adventures." Booklist 

"In the first chapter alone, readers will experience a wide range of emotions, from heartbreaking agony to the sweetness of young love to the thrill of adventure — and back to agony once more. Both Faris and North are strong, complicated characters with good hearts. Other characters, including Alistair, are difficult to trust and yet impossible to write off completely. Taranta’s writing is nearly poetic and casts its own sort of magic. Readers should brace themselves for the last few chapters, and start stalking the internet for word on a sequel!" The Romantic Times

"Taranta takes all the best lessons from The Hunger Games and the Game of Thrones series and expertly uses them to create a dark, violent fantasy world. This first tale...reveres its strong female characters and does not shy from the gritty, gruesome realities of uneasy alliances. ...Readers will be swept up as the story unfolds. Against a sea of vastly similar offerings, Taranta’s story rises above the competition in exciting and unique ways." VOYA 

"In a crowded fantasy field, Taranta’s story stands out for its mature writing, inventive and scary creatures (and even scarier humans), and complex and often ruthless characters." Publisher's Weekly

To save her sister’s life, Faris must smuggle magic into a plague-ridden neighboring kingdom in this exciting and dangerous start to a brand-new fantasy duology.

Faris grew up fighting to survive in the slums of Brindaigel while caring for her sister, Cadence. But when Cadence is caught trying to flee the kingdom and is sold into slavery, Faris reluctantly agrees to a lucrative scheme to buy her back, inadvertently binding herself to the power-hungry Princess Bryn, who wants to steal her father’s throne.

Now Faris must smuggle stolen magic into neighboring Avinea to incite its prince to alliance—magic that addicts in the war-torn country can sense in her blood and can steal with a touch. She and Bryn turn to a handsome traveling magician, North, who offers protection from Avinea’s many dangers, but he cannot save Faris from Bryn’s cruelty as she leverages Cadence’s freedom to force Faris to do anything—or kill anyone—she asks. Yet Faris is as fierce as Bryn, and even as she finds herself falling for North, she develops schemes of her own.

With the fate of kingdoms at stake, Faris, Bryn, and North maneuver through a dangerous game of magical and political machinations, where lives can be destroyed—or saved—with only a touch.

You can purchase Shimmer and Burn at the following Retailers:

1 Winner will receive a copy of Shimmer and Burn by Mary Taranta.
Shimmer and Burn will be purchased through Book Depository.

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Praise for ODD & TRUE

★ “Thought-provoking, atmospheric, and utterly bewitching.” —Booklist, starred review

★ “The story is adventurous and fast paced, and Winters' atmospheric writing and exploration of themes such as storytelling, family, disability, and trauma will entice many teens . . . An excellent purchase for creepy historical fiction shelves.” —School Library Journal, starred review

“[A] captivating, poignant tale of childhood magic and the bond between sisters.” —Publishers Weekly

“Storytelling and the blur between truth and fiction are at the heart of this metafictive narrative . . . Winters has woven an intricate and innovative pattern of structure, genre, and history that cannot fail to capture readers’ imaginations.” —Kirkus

“Cat Winters, masterful author of dark historical novels like The Steep and Thorny Way, has crafted a spooky novel of two Van Helsing-like sisters who fight nightmarish monsters in Odd & True.” —BookPage

“Winters is a master at weaving historical events into dramatic narratives touched by the supernatural . . . There are monsters here, paranormal and human, but they're no match for two girls skilled in wit and weaponry.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“Cat Winters is a masterful storyteller . . . a dark historical fiction/fantasy novel that will keep readers up late in the night.” —ALAN Picks

“Odd & True is a beautifully, carefully crafted piece of art . . . nothing short of a masterpiece . . . Winters’s atmospheric prose paired with her well-researched dark moments in history will leave you with a chill down your spine, making Odd & True the perfect slow-burn read for autumn and winter.” —

Trudchen grew up hearing Odette’s stories of their monster-slaying mother and a magician’s curse. But now that Tru’s older, she’s starting to wonder if her older sister’s tales were just comforting lies, especially because there’s nothing fantastic about her own life—permanently disabled and in constant pain from childhood polio.

In 1909, after a two-year absence, Od reappears with a suitcase supposedly full of weapons and a promise to rescue Tru from the monsters on their way to attack her. But it’s Od who seems haunted by something. And when the sisters’ search for their mother leads them to a face-off with the Leeds Devil, a nightmarish beast that’s wreaking havoc in the Mid-Atlantic states, Tru discovers the peculiar possibility that she and her sister—despite their dark pasts and ordinary appearances—might, indeed, have magic after all.

You can purchase Odd & True at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
1 Winner will receive a copy of Odd & True by Cat Winters.
Odd & True will be purchased through Book Depository.

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