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The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare II – Title Reveal!

It feels like only yesterday that we were announcing the signing of M.G. Buehrlen and The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare.

And even though Alex Wayfare’s first adventure only hit the shelves a couple of months ago, it’s already proven a firm favourite with our fans, certifying its place in the history of Strange Chemistry.

Now some might argue this an opporunity to put our feet up for a bit, have a cup of tea and bask in the glory of another great book. But not us, no instead we’re bringing you some big, exciting news. We’re officially revealing the title to the next Alex Wayfare novel!

Before we do though, just in case this isn’t enough Alex goodness for you, make sure to jump straight over to Young Adult Book Central who are also taking part in our reveal. They’re running a giveaway competition so make sure to get yourselves entered quickly!

But back to the reason why you’re here! Without further ado, the new Alex Wayfare story will be called:

 

The Untimely Deaths of Alex Wayfare

I think you’ll agree with us that it is a fantastic title! One that I’m sure has already got you guys hooked!

Until the sequel comes out make sure to keep your eyes glued to the Strange Chemistry site for plot information, cover reveals release dates and much much more!

Cover Reveal! Crushed by Eliza Crewe

If you visited the website for the first time ever this week, you could be forgiven for thinking that all we talk about is book covers. We’ll admit, we do love a good book cover and when our’s are so good-looking who can blame us. With that in mind we have a brand new, gorgeous cover to share with you today!

Crushed by Eliza Crewe is the sequel to last year’s Cracked and the second book in the Soul Eater series. Here’s a reminder of the description we brought you earlier this year:

“Meda Melange has officially hung up her monstrous mantle and planted her feet firmly on the holy and righteous path of a Crusader-in-training. Or, at least, she’s willing to give it a shot. It helps that the Crusaders are the only thing standing between her and the demon hordes who want her dead.

The problem is, the only people less convinced than Meda of her new-found role as Good Girl are the very Crusaders she’s trying to join. So when a devilishly handsome half-demon boy offers escape, how’s a girl supposed to say “no?”

After all, everyone knows a good girl’s greatest weakness is a bad boy.”

Ok I’ve dragged this out long enough, you know the title, you know the story, now have a look at the cover and tell us what you think!

Credit: Art by Dominic Harman

Gorgeous right? Get in the comments and give us your view, we love to discuss covers with all of you. Once you’ve done that check out these lovely bloggers who are taking part in our reveal, they’re all running giveaway competitions so make sure you get signed up!

Flights of FantasyPopcorn ReadsThe AP Book ClubShe-Wolf ReadsMy Guilty ObsessionThe Thousand LivesPages From My ThoughtsBitches with Books

Retaining the Look of a Series

Amanda here, wanting to chat about covers and retaining the look to a series of books. Strange Chemistry has been running officially for a year and a half, and I’ve been working behind the scenes for over two years, so we’ve now had the experience of seeing sequels and follow-ups being published by authors on the list. And one of the things I have been incredibly keen to do is try to retain the look of a series across different covers. I’ve seen numerous comments from people about how they dislike when covers change mid-series, or when a paperback is very different from a hardback. As a reader, I feel the same. I adore seeing on my shelves a completed series that has the same look and format, so this was a principle I definitely wanted to bring to Strange Chemistry.

Since we recently released the stunning action-packed cover to DELETE – the final novel in Kim Curran’s twisty, turning, thrilling series about shifters, it seemed like the perfect time to show off some of those linked books covers we now have. Enjoy!

Shift, by Kim CurranControl, by Kim CurranDelete, by Kim Curran

The covers for Shift, Control and Delete are by Larry Rostant, and show the hero, Scott Tyler. Each of the covers picks a specific scene from within the books, and we definitely wanted to achieve a very cinematic feel. What I like best about these covers is seeing Scott in action shots, but also seeing the way his character develops on the front of the books as well as within them. By Delete, you get a real sense of the danger and determination of this teen Shifter.

Poltergeeks, by Sean CummingsStudent Bodies by Sean Cummings

Poltergeeks and Student Bodies by Sean Cummings feature Julie, a red-headed witch girl who most definitely eschews ballgowns and fancy outfits. She is a jeans and t-shirt kind a gal. Again, the front covers feature scenes from each novel. My favourite part? The fact that Julie is rather sneakily wearing an Iron Maiden t-shirt on the Student Bodies cover (yes, they might just be my fave band!) These covers were by Paul Young.

The Assassin's Curse, by Cassandra Rose ClarkeThe Pirate's Wish by Cassandra Rose ClarkeThe Wizard's Promise by Cassandra Rose Clarke

With the covers for Cassandra’s high fantasy novels, I wanted to evoke the feel of the world, as well as try to present the mystery and magic present in each book. Hence the more Eastern feel to the cover, with the filigree patterning around the edge. I was very determined that the covers for the first duology would be a little unusual, and definitely not show the characters so that the reader could imagine them his or herself. Personally I think that Sarah J Coleman did a stunning job with these.

Katya's World, by Jonathan L. HowardKatya's War by Jonathan L. Howard

The Katya books by Jonathan L Howard were, once again, a very different direction. At the time that this cover was commissioned, there was a definite move towards more symbols on covers (like Divergent, I suppose), especially to highlight that a novel was SF rather than any other genre. I followed this idea, but wanted to pull out the aspects of the novels that made it so original: the Russian background, the water planet, the military side of the story, and I love the way that Lee Gibbons captured this.

Broken, by A. E. RoughtTainted by A. E. Rought

This duo of beautiful covers were done by Steve Wood – he has definitely been one of our go-to artists and produced some stunning and very different pieces of art. The author in this case – A E Rought – is incredibly visual and created a fantastic mood board on Pinterest that helped guide us towards the end result. I like the fact that the first novel is narrated by Emma, and features her on the cover, while the second is narrated by Alex and so features him on the cover in a scene directly from the book. I also like the switch in colours from Broken to Tainted, and think they look beautiful side by side.

Pantomime, by Laura Lam, February 2013Shadowplay by Laura Lam

Ah, Pantomime and Shadowplay! Tom Bagshaw was the chap behind this lovely pair of covers. Pantomime was one of those novels that required a lot of thought in terms of how to present the cover. I wanted to capture the secrets, the hiding, the mysteriousness of our protagonist. Putting Micah on the cover required looking at a whole lot of androgynous models, and one of those I liked the best was Tilda Swinton – a strong, beautiful and unusual face. It was Laura’s idea to feature Cyan on the cover of Shadowplay and this just seemed perfect. It also allowed us to put a non-Western face on the front of a Strange Chemistry book, and I particularly wanted this for Laura’s books since the inclusivity and diversity is part of what makes them such a stunning read.

The Holders, by Julianna Scott - March 20123The Seers, by Julianna Scott

I will confess that The Holders and The Seers were two of the very hardest covers to brief in the whole time I have been working up ideas. Once I decided that I wanted to represent some of the magical items that featured in the stories, Lee Gibbons seemed the perfect choice, especially when I saw the work he’d done on other book covers featuring gems. and jewelry. I wanted the green gem on the first cover to be something that absolutely draws the eye, so the background was kept plain by necessity. Julianna was the one to find the beautiful image of the crystal ball that we then included on the second cover. In both cases we tried to present a Celtic tinge to reflect the events in the books.

Emilie & The Hollow World, by Martha WellsEmilie and the Sky World, by Martha Wells

Oh, I love these covers! They so perfectly represent the books and were done so professionally by Amazing15. From the hardest covers to brief (The Holders and The Seers) to the very easiest. As soon as I read Emilie and the Hollow World I could absolutely envisage this style of cover, that showed the adventure, the travelling, the era. You will have seen that we quite often go from blue to orange across a series – this is because the colours work so perfectly alongside each other.

Zenn Scarlett by Christian SchoonUnder Nameless Stars by Christian Schoon

And finally (for now – over the next few months we’ll be presenting some more second in series) the gorgeous covers for the Zenn Scarlett series. These were done by our own incredibly talented Steven Meyer-Rassow – he has now worked on a few covers for Strange Chemistry, Angry Robot and Exhibit A, and I think they’ve all been exceptional pieces. These covers both say SF in a really beautiful way – I was guided a little by the way I’d seen other SF covers in the YA arena.

There you go – a quick look at some of our linked covers. You’ll see that we try to keep the same artist for the covers in a series, and that we use the same font and feel for the covers. To me it’s important that a person can identify the genre and the tone of a novel from the cover. It’s also important to have a cover that will feel both familiar but look just a little different to others around it. I enjoy identifying trends within YA covers, and then thinking about how to best utilise that trend, or possibly subvert it a little.

I would be very happy to answer any questions about the Strange Chemistry covers, and the process behind cover briefing – just leave your comments below and I will get to them as soon as I can. And it would be fab to hear from you which of these sets of covers speaks to you, and appeals to you the most!

Happy Book Birthdays!

No its not an April Fools, we really do have two new book birthdays to celebrate today!

That’s right ladies and gentlemen we’ve got two birthdays to celebrate which means two brand new ebooks for you lovely people. The two newest additions to the Strange Chemistry family are Stolen Songbird by Danielle Jensen and Under Nameless Stars by Christian Schoon!

And because we love to spoil you all, below we’ve got descriptions and sample chapters for both the books. So have a read and get over to the Robot Trading Company website to grab your copies!

Stolen Songbird by Danielle Jensen

Part One of The Malediction Trilogy

For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the ruins of Forsaken Mountain. Time enough for their dark and nefarious magic to fade from human memory and into myth. But a prophesy has been spoken of a union with the power to set the trolls free, and when Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she learns there is far more to the myth of the trolls than she could have imagined.

Cécile has only one thing on her mind after she is brought to Trollus: escape. Only the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time, wait for the perfect opportunity.

But something unexpected happens while she’s waiting – she begins to fall for the enigmatic troll prince to whom she has been bonded and married. She begins to make friends. And she begins to see that she may be the only hope for the half-bloods – part troll, part human creatures who are slaves to the full-blooded trolls. There is a rebellion brewing. And her prince, Tristan, the future king, is its secret leader.

As Cécile becomes involved in the intricate political games of Trollus, she becomes more than a farmer’s daughter. She becomes a princess, the hope of a people, and a witch with magic powerful enough to change Trollus forever.

North American Print & EBook

Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | BarnesandNoble.com | IndieBound.org

Under Nameless Stars by Christian Schoon

Book Two in the Zenn Scarlett series

Zenn Scarlett’s novice year of exoveterinarian training on Mars isn’t quite going to plan…

After facing a plot to destroy her school and its menagerie of alien patients, could things get worse? Yes, they could: her absent father has been kidnapped.

Desperate to find him, Zenn stows away aboard the Helen of Troy, a starliner powered by one of the immense, dimension-jumping beasts known as Indra. With her is Liam Tucker, a Martian boy who is either very fond of her, very dangerous to her, or both. On the verge of learning the truth about her father, Zenn’s quest suddenly catapults her and Liam thousands of light years beyond known space, and into the dark heart of a monstrous conspiracy.

Braving a gauntlet of lethal environments and unearthly life forms, Zenn’s courage is tested as never before. With the fate of entire worlds in the balance, she is racing headlong into trouble… again.

North American Print & Ebook
Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | BarnesandNoble.com | IndieBound.org

Global DRM-Free Epub Ebook
Robot Trading Company

Media Round Up 28/03/14

Hi folks!

Media round up time again and today we start with Black Dog by Rachel Neumeier!

Black Dog by Rachel Neumeier

“There was blood, death, battles and action. The pace was great and I really dug the budding romantic feelings coming from Natividad. The strongest point of this book was the completely unique take on werewolves. I’m hoping in the next book we will learn more about state of this world and it’s history. Lovers of werewolf fiction will hopefully find this take on the lore a refreshing treat.” – My Shelf Confessions

“The world is epic, the characters intriguing, and the end had some promising developments that left me eager to read more in the next book.” – Fantasy Book Cafe

“Coming into Black Dog I had no idea what to expect. Would it be too similar to others? Would Rachel Neumeier lose that spark that threads so strongly between each of her books? Would it be totally awesome? Why yes, yes it would. Be totally awesome that is… Black Dog is, like the characters within its pages, frightening and beautiful and solid right down to its core. While I went in excited and unsure, I came out on the other side feeling that this might just be my favorite Rachel Neumeier book yet.” – Tor.com

“I started reading Black Dog on my way home from work one night and couldn’t put it down.  My boyfriend was trying to have a conversation with me and I was just like “But… but… but the werewolves!  I need to know what happens to the werewolves!”  It’s one of those books where you become so wrapped up in the story that you want to put reality on hold until you finish it.  I loved the book, and would highly recommend it.” – Books Without Any Pictures 

“Amidst the violence of pack life, Neumeier shows us beauty in the smallest details: Natividad’s protective magic, the times when the characters comfort each other, and the joy Natividad and her brothers feel when they see snow for the first time. These moments balance out the blood and grief, and make this a story of hope.” – Books, Bones & Buffy

“There’s so much about this book that works. The realness of the characters, some strong racial inclusion, an intriguing story with a few twists and turns and a very nice bait and switch at the end all set in an interesting new world that is going to be fascinating to explore. This ticks all the right boxes and is well worth a read.” – Fangs for the Fantasy 

So that was a pretty bumper round up on its own, but as its a friday and we like to treat you, here is a sneak peek about what people have been saying about one of books that isn’t even out yet! Under Nameless Stars by Christian Schoon.

Under Nameless Stars by Christian Schoon

“I was very impressed with the world building in this novel.  Schoon has a vivid and fascinating imagination, and his novels are absolutely overflowing with his inventive creatures and settings.  It is not one of the most scientifically accurate Sci-Fi novels I’ve ever read, but I really enjoyed the scope of the ingenuity the author used in his plot and setting.  Sometimes pure imagination is more interesting than scientific plausibility, and I found this novel to be a perfect example of this fact.” – Avid Fantasy Reviews

“An exciting and worthy follow-up to Zenn Scarlett, with an assortment of loveable new characters, and lots of scientific facts that make this a believable story.” – Books, Bones & Buffy

“In the end, Under Nameless Stars was a wonderful sequel. It’s jam packed with colorful characters, humor, and action. There was a bit of budding romance, but not much. Zenn isn’t really the romantic type. There is a happy ending, and I certainly hope there’s more adventures to come for Mars’ newest hero!” – Pink Kindle (Goodreads)

“I liked the first book but this one I seriously enjoyed! It was so full of action and humour and plenty of food for thought too! A very good science fiction read with all the good elements there!” – In Love with Handmade

Two more fantastic books from YA publisher that just keeps on giving!