Author Blog Tour: Last Song Before Night by Ilana C Myer

Welcome to the Working for the Mandroid stop on Ilana C Myer's blog tour for her debut novel, Last Song Before Night! We are so happy to be part of this tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. I'm about midway through the book and it's a beautiful and captivating world of song and magic along with some creepy mystery and really well formed characters. I'll have a review for you in a few days, but in the meantime learn more about Last Song Before Night and Ilana before entering to win one of three hard cover copies from Tor!

Last Song Before Night
Ilana C Myer

TOR
Releases September 29, 2015
416 pages
High Fantasy | Magic

Find it on Goodreads

AMAZONB&NiBOOKS | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY | INDIEBOUND | MACMILLAN

A high fantasy following a young woman’s defiance of her culture as she undertakes a dangerous quest to restore her world’s lost magic

Her name was Kimbralin Amaristoth: sister to a cruel brother, daughter of a hateful family. But that name she has forsworn, and now she is simply Lin, a musician and lyricist of uncommon ability in a land where women are forbidden to answer such callings—a fugitive who must conceal her identity or risk imprisonment and even death.

On the eve of a great festival, Lin learns that an ancient scourge has returned to the land of Eivar, a pandemic both deadly and unnatural. Its resurgence brings with it the memory of an apocalypse that transformed half a continent. Long ago, magic was everywhere, rising from artistic expression—from song, from verse, from stories. But in Eivar, where poets once wove enchantments from their words and harps, the power was lost. Forbidden experiments in blood divination unleashed the plague that is remembered as the Red Death, killing thousands before it was stopped, and Eivar’s connection to the Otherworld from which all enchantment flowed, broken.

The Red Death’s return can mean only one thing: someone is spilling innocent blood in order to master dark magic. Now poets who thought only to gain fame for their songs face a challenge much greater: galvanized by Valanir Ocune, greatest Seer of the age, Lin and several others set out to reclaim their legacy and reopen the way to the Otherworld—a quest that will test their deepest desires, imperil their lives, and decide the future.

 

About Ilana C. Myer

Ilana C. Myer has written for the Globe and Mail, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Salon, and the Huffington Post. Previously she was a freelance journalist in Jerusalem for the Jerusalem Post, the Jewish Daily Forward, Time Out Israel and other publications. She lives in New York City.

Ilana was born in New York but grew up in Jerusalem, Israel, where she spent her teen years haunting secondhand bookstores in search of books written in English—especially fantasy. It was in one of these shops that she discovered David Eddings and realized that epic fantasy continued after Tolkien, and from there went on to make such marvelous discoveries as Tad Williams, Robin Hobb, and Guy Gavriel Kay.

Since learning to read, Ilana had decided she would write books, but during college in New York City was confronted with the reality of making rent, and worked as a receptionist, administrative assistant, and executive assistant where she on occasion picked up dry cleaning. She afterwards found more fulfillment as a journalist in Jerusalem where she covered social issues, the arts, and innovations in technology, and co-founded the Middle East environment blog, Green Prophet. It was during these years in Jerusalem, on stolen time, that Last Song Before Night took shape.

She writes as Ilana Teitelbaum for various outlets, but decided early on—since the days of haunting bookstores, in fact—that “Teitelbaum” was too long for a book cover. “Myer” is a variation on the maiden name of her grandmother, whose family was exterminated in Germany. It is a family with a long history of writers, so it seems appropriate to give credit—or blame—where it’s due.

WEBSITE | BLOG | TWITTER | GOODREADS

 

Enter to Win a Copy of Last Song Before Night!

3 winners will receive a finished copy of LAST SONG BEFORE NIGHT. US Only.

Tour Schedule

Week One:

9/21/2015- Library of a Book Witch- Interview

9/22/2015- A Book and a LatteGuest Post

9/23/2015- A Trail of Books Left BehindReview

9/24/2015- Working for the MandroidPromotional Post (Future Review)

9/25/2015- Chasm of BooksInterview

 

Week Two:

9/28/2015- GalleywampusReview

9/29/2015- DanaSquare- Guest Post

9/30/2015- Fic GalReview

10/1/2015- The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan ClubInterview

10/2/2015- History from a Woman's PerspectiveReview

Author Blog Tour: Little Robot by Ben Hatke

Welcome to the Working for the Mandroid stop of Ben Hatke's blog tour for Little Robot! A million thank yous to First Second and Macmillan for having me on this tour to celebrate this gorgeous and captivating graphic novel/picture book. We love robots here at Working for the Mandroid, so Little Robot was right up our alley. Below you will find my review and hang around to the end to enter to win your very own copy of Little Robot. To see the entire blog tour lineup, check out Macmillan's website here.

Little Robot
Ben Hatke

First Second
I received a copy of this book from the publisher.
Released September 1, 2015
Graphic Novel | Children's Book | Robots!

Find it on Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indie Bound

When a little girl finds an adorable robot in the woods, she presses a button and accidentally activates him for the first time. Now, she finally has a friend. But the big, bad robots are coming to collect the little guy for nefarious purposes, and it's all up to a five-year-old armed only with a wrench and a fierce loyalty to her mechanical friend to save the day!

#1 New York Times Bestselling author Ben Hatke brings his signature sweetness to a simple, moving story about friendship and overcoming fears that will appeal to readers of all ages

This book, you guys! This book! It broke my heart and pieced it back together again in the 25 minutes it took me to slowly read through it. Then I spent another 20 minutes flipping to my favorite panels to stare at the captivating and colorful illustrations while I got lost in this world of robots and friendship. Little Robot is the epitome of making a picture book for children that is as emotionally impactful and enjoyable for adults.

We follow our protagonist, a little girl who is seemingly isolated through much of the day as she goes on an adventure. She’s very curious, highly imaginative and very smart. She travels through the lands around her house, poking at animals and exploring. She finds a tool belt and a box that’s washed up on the shore of a river. Inside is the most adorable robot ever. Through the course of 134 pages of beautiful illustrations, she and her new robot fan discover the power of friendship, the pain of betrayal and the gratitude of forgiveness and compassion.

All with maybe 30 words and assorted robotic sound effects in total in this book. It’s a stunning piece of art that is perfectly executed and makes me ridiculously giddy to witness. Our protagonist is a little girl of color who can fix and build machines. She is made of compassion and love, and our new little robot friend is the perfect receptacle as she teaches it how to walk, the joy (and fear) of cats, and what it means to be a true friend. I love how smart and capable this nameless girl is, and how awkward and scared she is when it comes to other human children. She overcomes fear to save her friend and her friendship helps create more helpful robots along the way.

Little Robot is an imaginative and colorful adventure. I can’t wait to share this book with my niece and nephew. This would be a great book for someone just on the cusp of learning to read or any child that loves colorful pictures with the imagination to tell themselves a story. Ben Hatke has create something beautiful and fulfilling with Little Robot and I hope every child (and their parents!) gets a chance to experience it.

About the Author

Ben Hatke is the author and illustrator of the New York Times-bestselling Zita the Spacegirl graphic novel trilogy and the picture book Julia's House for Lost Creatures. He lives and works in the Shenandoah Valley with his wife and their boisterous pack of daughters. When not writing or drawing he jumps around a lot, practices archery, and sometimes breathes fire. Ben posts stories, art, and comics online at BenHatke.com.

Find Ben on: 

Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr

 

Sound like something you'd love to? Enter in the Rafflecopter below to enter a copy for yourself! The contest will run until midnight on September 24 and the winner must have a US shipping address. Good luck!


Author Blog Tour Guest Post & Review: In Midnight's Silence by T. Frohock

Wecome to the Working for the Mandroid stop on T. Frohock's blog tour for In Midnight's Silence, the first in her Los Nefilim series! If this novella about angels and daimons on the verge of Civil War in early 20th century Spain sounds like your time of book, it's currently available for Kindle and Nook for just 99 cents!! It would make for a great summer beach read!

I asked T. why she choose to set her Los Nefilim series in early 20th century Spain, and she provided this lovely guest post to explain some of the historical background that inspired her story. Take it away T.!

Researching Spain and the Spanish Civil War

I’ve been getting this question a lot, and I really appreciate the opportunity to get all my various thoughts in one spot.

Why Spain?

The answer is really easy. Generally, when I write a novel, the characters come to me before the story. I had an idea for a character named Guillermo, who was Spanish. The novel was set in 1348 in Aragon. I didn’t realize at the time how much research I would have to do in order to familiarize myself with Spain, but it really turned into a wonderful experience.

The reason I chose to set that first novel on the Iberian Peninsula had to do with another storyline that I’d developed for the book. The characters were Nephilim (Nefilim in Spanish, hence the series name), and they reincarnate with the memories of their past lives intact. This particular group was in Jerusalem during their firstborn lives. When the Romans conquered what is today Israel, and instigated the diaspora, some Jews fled to the Iberian Peninsula. Since people migrated in that direction, I wondered if maybe souls would, too.

I had intended for that novel to be the beginning of a series, and I wanted to bring those characters up through the Spanish Civil War. However, other projects took precedence, so for a while I forgot about Guillermo, Diago, and Miquel along with their entwined stories. Meanwhile, the seeds for Los Nefilim were there, germinating while I worked on other projects.

Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, that novel didn’t sell. I went on to write other things, but I never forgot the characters or their stories. Last year, I was asked to write a novella, and since the original story was in limbo, I talked with my agent about resurrecting the characters in a new story for the sake of the novella.

I never considered changing their nationality. By this time, these characters were Spanish in my mind. I also wanted a more modern setting, and changed the protagonist from Guillermo to Diago.

I have a strong background in World War II history, and initially started to place the story in that time period; however, it seemed kind of ridiculous to thrust them into World War II when, being Spanish, they were much more likely to be involved in the Spanish Civil War. Guillermo del Toro's exquisite Pan's Labyrinth really intrigued me, because he managed to capture the brutality of the period without losing the beauty and magic of the Spanish people and the country. After Pan’s Labyrinth, I watched The Devil’s Backbone, which was another film by del Toro, also set during the Spanish Civil War.

I got my hands on several histories of the Spanish Civil War and began to research the period just prior to and during the war. I set the story in Barcelona, because the city is old and has such a spooky history. Ghosts and vampires and poltergeists haunt the city, so I figured what were a few more Nefilim, angels, and daimons? The powerful religious history of Barcelona, Catalonia, and Spain just fit the world that I’d built for my Nefilim and their magic.

I used several histories in order to reconstruct the time period. If you’re interested in reading more about Spain and the Spanish Civil War, here a few:

The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939 by Antony Beevor

The Franco Years by Jose Yglesias

The Life and Death of the Spanish Republic: A Witness to the Spanish Civil War by Henry Buckley

Medieval Iberia: Readings from Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Sources (second edition) edited by Olivia Remie Constable

Queer Iberia: Sexualities, Cultures, and Crossings from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance edited by Josiah Blackmore and Gregory S. Hutcheson

The Spanish Civil War: Reaction, Revolution, Revenge by Paul Preston

The Spanish Holocaust: Inquisition and Extermination in Twentieth Century Spain by Paul Preston

About T. Frohock

Web site: http://www.tfrohock.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/T_Frohock

BIO: T. Frohock has turned a love of dark fantasy and horror into tales of deliciously creepy fiction. Her other publications include everything from novelettes to short stories. She is also the author of the novel, Miserere: An Autumn Tale. Her newest series, Los Nefilim, is coming from Harper Voyager Impulse and debuts in June 2015 with the novella, In Midnight's Silence.

T. lives in North Carolina where she has long been accused of telling stories, which is a southern colloquialism for lying.

In Midnight’s Silence
T. Frohock

Harper Voyager Impulse
I received a copy of this novella from the publisher in return for being on the blog tour
Released June 23, 2015
128 pages
Fantasy / Novella / Angels

Find it on Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple | Kobo

The fate of mankind has nothing to do with mankind…
Born of an angel and a daimon, Diago Alvarez is a singular being in a country torn by a looming civil war and the spiritual struggle between the forces of angels and daimons. With allegiance to no one but his partner Miquel, he is content to simply live in Barcelona, caring only for the man he loves and the music he makes. Yet, neither side is satisfied to let him lead this domesticated life and, knowing they can't get to him directly, they do the one thing he's always feared.
They go after Miquel.
Now, in order to save his lover's life, he is forced by an angel to perform a gruesome task: feed a child to the daimon Moloch in exchange for a coin that will limit the extent of the world's next war. The mission is fraught with danger, the time he has to accomplish it is limited…and the child he is to sacrifice is the son Diago never knew existed.
A lyrical tale in a world of music and magic, T. Frohock's In Midnight's Silence shows the lengths a man will go to save the people he loves, and the sides he'll choose when the sidelines are no longer an option.

T. Frohock’s world of In Midnight’s Silence is one hiding a dark underbelly where daimons and angels fight for control and power. At the start it feels familiar and like the real world, so it becomes jarring when suddenly a deep mythology becomes hinted at and characters’ histories are alluded to in passing references. For awhile I honestly believed I’d picked up the series in the middle and had to continue to reassure myself that In Midnight’s Silence was the beginning. There just seemed like so much had happened before that I wasn’t privy to that I should already know.

Diago was born from a daimon and an angel, and refuses to pledge to anyone side of the battle looming over early 20th century Spain. He lives and loves a Nephilim named Miquel, who fights on the side of angels, but mostly they live in a small apartment in Barcelona and work their jobs as a music teacher and a guitar player. That is until an angel kidnaps Miquel in order to blackmail Diago to do a deadly errand for him.

Diago’s world is one where supernatural beings have magical powers, primarily through music. This was a unique take on magic with characters humming, whistling and singing to fight their enemies. It produces an interesting imagery and allows for those on the same side to create harmonious music as their fight battles. I really enjoyed the idea of music and tones as magic, though there isn’t really much explanation on how things work. It just creates a mysterious, often dark undertone to what could have otherwise been unexplained and basic magic.

Diago is a conflicted figure, happy in his life though caught in the middle of a bigger picture. When he discovers a son he never knew he had, he becomes more conflicted, but also becomes a more heroic figure. Miquel is less formed, seen only as the lover to fight for and not so much as a character of his own, but in a 128 page novella, it’s difficult to truly fill out the secondary characters.

In Midnight’s Silence gives a glimpse to a much larger world that deserves a much larger book. This felt like a promotional prequel to something bigger coming out. The world is dark and intriguing with shadows of darkness everywhere ready to pounce on our heroes. The magic system provides an atmospheric nature to a short story that made me want more. This is an interesting introduction to a new take on angels and demons fighting for the fate of the world.

I received a copy of this novella from the publisher for being on the tour. All opinions are my own.

Author Blog Tour: From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess by Meg Cabot

Welcome to the Working for the Mandroid stop on Meg Cabot's blog tour for From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess. Visit here to see the full tour schedule.

As part of Meg Cabot’s tour for From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess, Meg and First Second books asked a bunch of bloggers what they would do if they woke up tomorrow and found out they were royalty. This is a particularly difficult question for me to answer because it’s been a really long time since I imagined myself a princess. What do princesses do these days? Does it come with financial security and a charmed lifestyle? Would a charmed lifestyle work well with my not-quite-so-traditional personality? Could I just lounge around reading books and eating cupcakes and ignore the rest of the world? What would my princessly duties be?

So if tomorrow I learned I was a princess, I would be a barefoot jeans and sneakers type of princess, who avoided balls and makeup and fancy gatherings. I would travel the world trying to teach people the value of being nice to one another and learn about cultures all over the world. I would eat loads of unusual and yummy foods and meet interesting people. I would try to be good and spread a little bit of happiness around the world, not for the sake of cameras, but because it would be the right thing to do.

I would hope that my new found royalty wouldn’t come with paparazzi and crazy stalkers, so I could explore the world around me and see how best I could contribute to it. I would use my new privileged position to snuggle a koala bear in Australia, but not to get much more special treatment outside of that. I would still wait in lines and wait my turn. Just because I have title wouldn’t suddenly make me better than everyone else.

What I can tell you is that I wouldn’t be a designer dress and heels princess. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I’m too clumsy for such baubles. I wouldn’t feel comfortable having people do everything for me either, so I would still bake yummy things for myself and other people, maybe even fold my own laundry! I wouldn’t mind having someone to drive me around though…

But mostly I would try to be good, just like I do every day I’m not a princess. Maybe I’d be able to do it on a grander scale in a more world-wide type of capacity than I can now, but I would remain a student of the world, learning all the time and finding the best ways to contribute to make things a little better. I’d hope royalty wouldn’t change me that much.

 

So what would you do if you woke up to find you were royalty? Answer in the comments and enter to win a copy of From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess by Meg Cabot below! Winner must have a US mailing address to receive the prize from the publisher.

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From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess
Meg Cabot

Fiewel & Friends
Released May 19, 2015
192 pages
Middle Grade / Fantasy

Find it on Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Olivia Grace Clarisse Harrison has always known she was different. Brought up by her aunt's family in New Jersey, book-and-music-loving Olivia feels out of place in their life of high fashion and fancy cars. But she never could have imagined how out of place she really was until Mia Thermopolis, Princess of Genovia, pops into her school and announces that Olivia is her long-lost sister. Olivia is a princess. A dream come true, right? But princesses have problems too.

In FROM THE NOTEBOOKS OF A MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCESS a new middle grade series, readers will see Genovia, this time through the illustrated diaries of a spunky new heroine, 12 year old Olivia Grace, who happens to be the long lost half-sister of Princess Mia Thermopolis.

The original Princess Diaries series sold over 5 million copies in the US (15 million worldwide), spent 82 weeks on the USA Today bestsellers list, and inspired two beloved films.


About the Author

Meg Cabot is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Princess Diaries series. Born and raised in Bloomington, Indiana, Meg also lived in Grenoble, France, and Carmel, California, before moving to New York City after graduating with a bachelor's degree in fine arts from Indiana University. She is the author of numerous books for adults and children, including five #1 New York Times bestsellers. Over 25 million copies of her books have been sold worldwide. Meg Cabot currently lives in Key West with her husband and cat. megcabot.com


Mr

Welcome to the Working for the Mandroid stop on Emmy Laybourne's blog tour for her newest novel, Sweet! We're excited to have Emmy at the blog today discussing her cruise boat horror novel. Having been on cruises before, this has been a particularly interesting read even if it might give me the hibbie jibbies every now and again. If you're interested in Sweet, stick around to the end of the post where Emmy is giving one lucky Working for the Mandroid reader a chance to win a copy of her latest book.

 

I have a dilemma here. I could easily spend this whole blog post talking about how much I like the name WorkingForTheMandroid. It made me laugh, and when you’re working on a blog tour - that is a rare treat! So thank you, Leslie, Fernando and Mandroid, wherever you are.

I’m here to talk to you about my new book Sweet. It tells the story of the product launch of a new diet sweetener called Solu which turns out to be highly addictive. The high-profile, celebrity-studded launch takes place on a week-long luxury cruise. Laurel and Tom, two teens who, for very different reasons, are NOT taking the sweetener, find themselves out at sea amidst five hundred B-list celebrities, reality TV stars and wealthy playboys who become increasingly desperate and depraved, willing to do anything to get more Solu.

Because Sweet crosses a couple of genres (Romance! Action! Horror!) and deals with some surprising issues (Body acceptance! Addiction! Celebrity!), I’ve decided to have 5 special blog posts on this tour, talking about the way Sweet plays within each type.

Today we’re going to talk about the horror aspect of the book. I can’t tell you how proud I am to write a book that really feels, I think, like a horror book.

While my Monument 14 trilogy was plenty scary, it was a post-apocalyptic series. It had a sci-fi element - the air had been contaminated by chemical warfare compounds, dividing the population by blood type. Type O’s turned into bloodthirsty killers, driven to manslaughter; Type A’s blistered up and died almost immediately upon exposure. Type B’s became intensely paranoid and Type AB’s were made sterile and impotent, but otherwise were just fine, so they could watch the carnage around them. Nice, I know!  But still, not a horror novel.

But Sweet is. It features a fairly slow build - at first, the passengers aboard the Extravagance feel terrific. They are enjoying the sweetener and losing weight rapidly.  But they soon become obsessed with Solu and start demanding more and more.

One of my favorite scenes in the book takes place at a formal ball the organizers have thrown when the passengers hit their first weight loss goal - on average, everyone has lost 5% of their body weight. At the ball, Laurel and her best friend Vivka, who’s taking Solu, watch as they roll out the dessert. It’s a giant S  made out of cream puffs held together by strands of caramel.

As celebratory speeches are made, Laurel stands there, watching as Viv edges forward toward the dessert, almost mindlessly. In fact, soon Laurel realizes she’s the only one not walking forward - she’s like a rock in a river and the other passengers are flowing around her.

The speeches continue, but the crowd grows antsy. They press closer and closer to the table, finally snatching handfuls of the cream puffs. That’s one of the first moments we know that something is not right.

And of course, things escalate from there.

Sweet is also a horror book that makes some social commentary about how far people are willing to go to lose weight - and also about how addiction is creeping up on us. Is it a proper horror novel? For goodness sake, read it and let me know. [@EmmyLaybourne on Twitter and Instagram - or join my mailing list at: http://emmylaybourne.fanbridge.com/]

In the meantime, I’ll be in my office, working for the mandroid.

 

 

Sweet
Emmy Laybourne

Feiwel & Friends
Releases June 2, 2015
I received a copy from the publisher as part of this blog tour
288 pages
YA / Horror

Find it on Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indie Bound

*People would kill to be thin.*

Solu’s luxurious celebrity-filled “Cruise to Lose” is billed as “the biggest cruise since the Titanic,” and if the new diet sweetener works as promised—dropping five percent of a person’s body weight in just days—it really could be the answer to the world’s obesity problem. But Laurel is starting to regret accepting her friend Viv’s invitation. She’s already completely embarrassed herself in front of celebrity host, Tom Forelli (otherwise known as the hottest guy ever!) and she’s too seasick to even try the sweetener. And that’s before Viv and all the other passengers start acting really strange.

*But will they die for it, too?*

Tom Forelli knows that he should be grateful for this job and the opportunity to shed his childhood “Baby Tom-Tom” image. His publicists have even set up a ‘romance’ with a sexy reality star. But as things on the ship start to get a bit wild, he finds himself drawn to a different girl. And when his celebrity hosting gig turns into an expose on the shocking side effects of Solu, it’s Laurel that he’s determined to save.

Emmy Laybourne, author of the Monument 14 trilogy, takes readers on a dream vacation that goes first comically, then tragically, then horrifyingly, wrong.

 

Enter to Win a Copy of Sweet!

Emmy and her publisher are giving one lucky Working for the Mandroid reader with a US mailing address a copy of her new book. Enter before May 31 for your chance to win!

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Author Blog Tour & Contest: Guest Post from Taran Matharu, Author of The Novice: Summoner Book 1

Welcome to the Working for the Mandroid stop on Taran Matharu's blog tour for The Novice: Summoner Book 1, which just came out last week. I'm really excited to have him on the blog talking about sidekicks and what qualities really make a sidekick stand out. I mean, every good hero needs a sidekick, don't they?

You can see the entire tour schedule over on Mac Teen's blog here. If you'd like to read more of Taran's work, check out what he has hosted on WattPad here. We also have a copy of The Novice to give away, so stick around until the end of the post to enter!

What Does It Take to Create a Memorable Sidekick?

Creating a memorable sidekick is no easy task. With so many characteristics to choose from, it can be difficult to narrow down what kind of character you want them to be. That being said there are a few common traits that I love to see in sidekicks. Here are just a few of them.

1.) Big, hairy and even a little simple

Both powerful and adorable, these creatures tend to be immensely protective of their partners. Some of the best known examples of these are Ludo from Labyrinth, Chewbacca from Star Wars, Baloo from The Jungle Book and Carol from Where the Wild Things Are.

2.) Only capable of saying one word or phrase

By limiting their ability to communicate, their connection with the protagonist becomes less cerebral and more emotional, which is just how I like it. I can’t help but include Chewie again on this list, as well as Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy, Pikachu from Pokemon, Hodor from Game of Thrones and the Librarian from Discworld.

3.) Stubborn, independent and even a little mischievous

Sidekicks are not obedient servants to be ordered about. The best ones are always strong characters and think for themselves. My favorites are Lilo from Lilo and Stitch, Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon, Hooch from Turner and Hooch and Donkey from Shrek (to name but a few).

 

Thanks for stopping by Working for the Mandroid, Taran! I can't wait to see where Fletcher and his sidekick go next!

The Novice: Summoner Book 1
Taran Matharu

Feiwel & Friends
Released May 5, 2015
398 pages

Find it on Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indie Bound

When blacksmith apprentice Fletcher discovers that he has the ability to summon demons from another world, he travels to Adept Military Academy. There the gifted are trained in the art of summoning. Fletcher is put through grueling training as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire’s war against orcs. He must tread carefully while training alongside children of powerful nobles. The power hungry, those seeking alliances, and the fear of betrayal surround him. Fletcher finds himself caught in the middle of powerful forces, with only his demon Ignatius for help.

As the pieces on the board maneuver for supremacy, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands. The Novice is the first in a trilogy about Fletcher, his demon Ignatius, and the war against the Orcs.

Win a Copy of The Novice: Summoner Book 1 by Taran Matharu!

Taran and his lovely publisher have provided a hard copy of The Novice to give away to one lucky Working for the Mandroid visitor. If you're interested and have a mailing address in the US, enter below before May 31 for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mr

Welcome to the Working for the Mandroid stop on the blog tour for Exquisite Corpse, the newly released English translation of Penelope Begieu's French graphic novel. I'm so happy to be working with First Second books to promote Penelope and this quirky little graphic novel. After my review you can enter to win your own copy of Exquisite Corpse. Also check out the other entire schedule for the blog tour over on First Second's website here.

Exquisite Corpse
Penelope Begieu

First Second
I received a finished copy of this book from the publisher in return for being part of the tour.
Released May 5, 2015
124 pages
Graphic Novel / Modern Fiction

Find it on Goodreads (though the blurb gives away things!)

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indie Bound

Zoe isn't exactly the intellectual type, which is why she doesn't recognize world famous author Thomas Rocher when she sumbles into his apartment... and into his life.

Zoe doesn't know Balzac from Batman, but she's going to have to wise up fast because Rocher has a terrible secret and now Zoe is sitting on the literary scandal of the century.

So that is the blurb on the inside cover of the book First Second sent over to me, not what is on Goodreads. I felt like the Goodreads blurb gave away the twist that made Exquisite Corpse really interesting, so if you want to know about it, click on the Goodreads link above.

I didn't know much about this book prior to agreeing to review it other than it involved an author and potential had some writerly themes. I just really wanted to work with First Second books, so I was game for anything they needed from me. Between the title and the tagline - "Dying to be an author." - I thought this book involved zombies, which is in my wheelhouse.

This book is not about zombies.

Instead for the first 2/3rds of this very colorful and comically illustrated graphic novel, we're treated to a relationship drama starring Zoe, a discontent 22-year-old who has no direction, no goals, and no drive to create a better life for herself. She's stuck in a deadend job as a booth babe, where she has to be nice to disgusting men that constantly hit on her and are inappropriate at best. She goes home each night to an unemployed slob of a boyfriend, who does little more than watch tv, scratch his junk and fart in bed.

It's a dismal life until fate introduces her Thomas, a hermit writer who happens to be a world-famous author. Suddenly there is light and goodness in her life, even if it does mean moving into Thomas's lavish apartment and never really leaving. It's better that getting grabbed by strangers at conventions and living with a man who doesn't seem to care if you even come home.

Then one day Zoe learns Thomas' secret, and the book changes from relationship drama, kicks into hyper speed and becomes something a little more twisted. The final third speeds by quickly until I was cheering at the ending. Penelope Begieu knows how to take a straight forward story and suddenly make it much more.

This book feels very French to the point I figured it had to be a translation without knowing it for a fact when two characters are casually smoking by page 6. There is also casual female nudity, though never gratuitous, and various sexual relationships are treated as nothing special. Overall it has an atmospheric nature to the storytelling that felt unusual yet incredibly refreshing to read.

The art itself is more towards the Sunday comic strip style of big eyes and generally simple shapes, and most cases colors are used in a muted palate. The occasional splashs of color reflect changes in Zoe's mentality, while her time with Thomas in his hermit lifestyle start to become monotonous. It's a very straight-forward art style that assists the story without taking away from the narrative style.

Without the twist, Exquisite Corpse probably wouldn't have been for me. It was all very simplistic relationship drama until then, but sudden Penelope Begieu twisted the entire story, flipping her characters upside down and creating even more drama that really livened up the entire story. This was a fun, quick read with a quirky personality that I'd recommend, especially for people not into comics but willing to give the non-capes-and-types variety a try.

 

Enter to Win a Copy of Exquisite Corpse by Penelope Begieu

Thanks to First Second, we have a hard copy of Exquisite Corpse to give away. This contest is open to anyone with a US mailing address and will run until May 15.

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