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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

GUEST BLOG: The Author's Crystal Ball by Elizabeth Briggs (Author of Future Thread)

Fantasy Book Critic is excited to take part in the blog tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours for Elizabeth Briggs' upcoming book Future Threat. Future Threat is the sequel to Future Shock and it will be published by AW Teen in hardback, paperback, and eBook format on March 1, 2017. (Find it AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads).

Summary for Future Threat:
Six months ago Aether Corporation sent Elena, Adam, and three other recruits on a trip to the future where they brought back secret information--but not everyone made it back to the present alive. Now Elena's dealing with her survivor's guilt and trying to make her relationship with Adam work. All she knows for sure is that she's done with time travel and Aether Corporation.

But Aether's not done with her--or Adam, or fellow survivor Chris. The travelers on Aether's latest mission to the future have gone missing, and Elena and her friends are drafted into the rescue effort. They arrive in a future that's amazingly advanced, thanks to Aether Corporation's reverse-engineered technology. The mission has deadly consequences, though, and they return to the future to try to alter the course of events.

But the future is different yet again. Now every trip through time reveals new complications, and more lives lost--or never born. Elena and Adam must risk everything--including their relationship--to save their friends.

The second book in the New York Times bestselling Future Shock trilogy.

To celebrate the upcoming release of her book, Elizabeth has stopped by our blog to talk about the author's crystal ball. You know that wonderful device that allows them to see into the future so they can write such beautiful time travel novels. 
Elizabeth Briggs will be making the rounds throughout the blog-o-sphere where other wonderful blogs will be posting guest blogs, giveaways, reviews, and other goodies for her upcoming book. So, stop on by after you have read what Elizabeth has to say and don't forget to enter the giveaway! 

Blog Tour Schedule

Week One:
2/20/2017-Andi's ABCsReview
2/21/2017- BookHounds YA- Interview
2/22/2017- Fantasy Book CriticGuest Post
2/23/2017- With Love for Books - Review
2/24/2017- Tales of the Ravenous ReaderInterview

Week Two:
2/27/2017- The Heart of a Book BloggerReview
2/28/2017- Wishful EndingsGuest Post
3/1/2017- Book-KeepingReview
3/2/2017- Two Chicks on BooksInterview
3/3/2017- Always MeReview

The Author's Crystal Ball by Elizabeth Briggs 

One of the best things about writing the Future Shock trilogy is that I get to write about what a future world might look like in thirty years. In order to do this, I did a lot of research into what brand new technologies scientists were creating now, and then imagining how they’d be used in the future. I also looked at what scientists thought would be the next big trends in technology and how they would impact our world.
For Future Shock, I tried to show what the world might realistically be like in thirty years, then I added a few fun things to it too. In that future, everyone has self-driving cars and wearable computers that work with brain waves. Both of these things are in development now and I could easily believe they would be commonplace in a few years. The programmable balloon animals, on the other hand, were something fun I came up with myself because I would love to have one!
For Future Threat, I wanted to take things even further and show a super futuristic world that feels almost utopian. In that book, time travelers have been bringing technology back from the future so Aether Corporation could recreate it, which then led to a very technologically advanced future world. Instead of self-driving cars, now they have flying cars. Instead of wearable computers, now they have computers inside people’s heads. From there, I tried to envision how these things would change society. For example, if people had flying cars, then the wealthy parts of the city might erect domes to keep certain people from flying over them. Or if you have a computer in your brain, you would be able to walk out of a store with whatever you wanted to buy and it would automatically bill you – no cashiers needed.
As the characters visit different timelines in Future Threat, I twisted this future and made it worse and worse – both for the characters personally and for the entire world. Now I’m writing the final book in the trilogy, Future Lost, in which the characters returns to the future once again…but in this one the future is bleak. It’s the worst possible future I can imagine, and it’s a lot of fun to write!

About Elizabeth:
Elizabeth Briggs is a full-time geek who writes books for teens and adults. She graduated from UCLA with a degree in Sociology, currently mentors teens in writing, and volunteers with a dog rescue group. She's the author of the new adult Chasing The Dream series and the upcoming young adult novel Future Shock. Elizabeth lives in Los Angeles with her husband and a pack of fluffy dogs. You can connect with her online

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr | Instagram | Pinterest 


Giveaway Details:

2 winners will receive finished copies of FUTURE THREAT & FUTURE SHOCK, US Only

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

GUEST BLOG: When Fantasy Meets Reality: Looking at the World Through 4 Dimensional Glasses by Erika Lewis (Game of Shadows)

Have you ever wanted to see the world differently? We all would love to do that at some point. That is exactly what our guest blogger for today explores – seeing the world through 4D glasses when fantasy meets reality.

Fantasy Book Critic is excited to welcome Erika Lewis to guest blog. Erika is celebrating the release of her debut novel, Game of Shadows. Game of Shadows comes out February 28, 2017 and is published by Tor Books.

Summary of Game of Shadows

Ethan Makkai thought that seeing ghosts was the worst of his problems. Between his ethereal gift and life with a single mother hell-bent on watching his every move, he feels imprisoned. When Ethan sees a chance to escape, to leave the house by himself for the first time in his life, he seizes it, unaware that this first taste of freedom will cost him everything.

Ethan is thrown into a strange and eerie world, like nothing he's ever seen. He's assaulted by dive-bombing birds and rescued by a stranger who claims to be his bodyguard. His apartment is trashed, and his mother is kidnapped to a place Ethan never knew existed—a hidden continent called Tara.

Travelling to Tara in search of his mother, Ethan discovers that everything he knows about his life is a lie. His mother is royalty. His father is not dead. His destiny is likely to get him killed.

Confronted by a vicious sorcerer determined to destroy the Makkai family, Ethan must garner strength from his gift and embrace his destiny if he’s going to save his mother and all the people of Tara, including the beautiful girl he’s fallen for.

Please welcome Erika Lewis to our blog! A huge thank you to Erika and Tor for arranging this blog stop! 


When Fantasy meets Reality: Looking at the World through 4 Dimensional Glasses by Erika Lewis

Have you ever strolled through a zoo, wondering how many of the sleeping animals were really shape-shifting aliens just trying to get a little shuteye? Or leaped over a gutter not wanting to fall into the drainage system underneath the city, but you know the truth. It leads to an underground world where you’ll be dragged into the service of a militant gremlin for his personal pleasure.

That’s what I like to call looking at the world through 4-D glasses. My favorite stories bend the real world into something different, magical and exciting, and dark and twisted. C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe with a doorway that leads to a strange and wondrous land called Narnia. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter universe where wizards and witches’ magic life intersects with the muggle world on a daily basis. Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter novels where a battle between pantheons, and their unique offspring, rages throughout history, and into present day New Orleans (at least in the first book.) All brilliant authors who imagined the streets outside their doorsteps with the same quirky houses, and nosey neighbors, in the same towns with the traditional markets and clothing stores, but they saw something else. They saw soul-sucking vampires who roamed the streets at night, witches and warlocks living and working side by side with humans who had no idea magic even exists, or a door inside a wardrobe that would take you to an entirely different land.

I loved these books. Books that force me to examine my own world in a new way, to wonder if the impossible was possible in my own backyard. It all began with Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. My love for sugar led to a fixation on finding a way to get to the chocolate factory through my own house. Let me preface this by saying that I was seven. I told my friends who were sleeping over that the downstairs bathroom’s shower was a secret elevator into the factory. Yeah. I had a very active imagination. But, here’s the catch, it only worked at the stroke of midnight. Months of trying, we could never manage to keep our eyes open after eleven. I never got to bathe in the chocolate river, or drink soda that let me float to the ceiling.

During my college years, I spent a semester living in London, but traveled to Ireland almost every weekend. With little money for flights, a group of friends and I would hop on a train for Liverpool as soon as classes let out. We’d stop there for an hour because they had COLD beer on tap! Don’t laugh. It was hard to come by in England at that time. Then, we’d get the ferry from Liverpool to Dublin. I don’t recommend this as a travel plan unless you have a very strong stomach. Rough seas lead to intense seasickness, especially post beer. Flying is much easier.

Renting the cheapest car we could find, we’d pile in, with my friend Faith and I usually in the backseat, the peanut gallery they called us, and we’d give directions. But we never had a map. When we came to a roundabout or a fork in the road, we’d just pick a direction. Usually not the same one… thus the nickname.

One day, as fate took a hand, we ended up in County Meath, at the Hill of Tara, the Celtic seat of power. An hour following a loquacious guide with tales of high kings, magical Druids, and a mother goddess, and I was hooked. I knew I wanted to bring them in to the real world, into my world and yours, but how?

Game of Shadows. When Ethan Makkai, a kid from Venice, California, whispered in my ear, I knew I had a sarcastically funny, relentlessly tormented, reluctant hero. And who better to push Ethan every step of the way than a strong-willed, kickass young woman from Tara with magical powers she never knew she had until he comes into her life. Sounds like a match made in the Otherworld, right? Ethan couldn’t agree less the first time he meets her, since she’s gleefully attempting to remove his head.

But, this 4-D world starts off in Los Angeles where Ethan lives with his mother. Not sure about where you live, but L.A. is filled with loudly screeching, hungry crows. They straddle the wires that run through the alleys behind houses, prepared to dive-bomb for their lunch. But you see, in Ethan’s neighborhood, those crows are actually spies waiting to dive-bomb him, once they find him alone. And they’re not alone in spying on Ethan either.

Not unlike the elevator I wanted to take to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, Ethan travels to Tara through a portal that reminds me of my time on that rocking ferry to Ireland, only much, much worse. And on the other side of that gateway, he finds a world that both excites and terrifies him…

So, the next time you’re walking down the same old boring street, bring a notebook. Take out your phone and take some pictures. Is there something you never noticed before? Are you afraid to touch it? Go on. Do it. Push the tiny grate open. I double-dog-dare you…

ERIKA LEWIS graduated from Vanderbilt University, and went on to earn an Advanced Certificate in Creative Writing from Stony Brook University. She has had a successful career in television production for the past fifteen years, working with Sony (V.I.PStrong Medicine), with Fireworks Television (La Femme NikitaAndromedaMutant XStrange Days at Blake Holsey High), with Fox (On Air with Ryan SeacrestAmbush Makeover) and with G4 (Attack of the ShowX-Play). Erika is the author of The 49th Key, currently running in Heavy Metal Magazine, with the trade out soon, and the recently released Firebrand with Legendary Comics. Game of Shadows is Erika’s debut novel. Find out more at:

Monday, February 20, 2017

"The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett" by Chelsea Sedoti (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

Visit Chelsea Sedoti's Official Website Here

OVERVIEW: A teenage misfit named Hawthorn Creely inserts herself in the investigation of missing person Lizzie Lovett, who disappeared mysteriously while camping with her boyfriend. Hawthorn doesn't mean to interfere, but she has a pretty crazy theory about what happened to Lizzie. In order to prove it, she decides to immerse herself in Lizzie's life. That includes taking her job... and her boyfriend. It's a huge risk — but it's just what Hawthorn needs to find her own place in the world.

FORMAT: The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett is a YA contemporary mystery novel. It stands at 398 pages. It was published January 3, 2017 by Sourcebooks.

ANALYSIS: Have you ever wondered what it was like to be a stalker? You know one of those people who sees someone for a nanosecond and they become so obsessed with them they think of them day and night and start to become that person? If you answered yes, then this book is for you!

The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett was supposed to be this mysterious contemporary YA novel about a girl who goes missing while on a camping. Of course, the girl was loved by the entire city and was uber-popular, but one girl Hawthorn becomes obsessed with the case and is hellbent on solving it.

Sounds like it has potential, but it sadly missed the boat. The book is filled with 95% of Hawthorne being an ultra-selfish, rude, insensitive person who doesn't care about anyone or anything. That is until she develops a borderline stalker attitude towards Lizzie Lovett – after Lizzie went missing.

I understand people being upset about someone missing, but Hawthorne takes it to a whole new level. She had only talked to the girl ONE time in her entire life. In fact, she hated Lizzie and couldn't stand her. But when Lizzie goes missing Hawthorne is going to solve the case.

How is she going to solve the case you ask? Well, she becomes Lizzie. Yes, she goes and takes the same job at the small diner as Lizzie, she frequents the places she went, walks around the campsite she went missing, and even starts dating Lizzie's boyfriend (who BTW is 25 and Hawthorne is 17). Hawthorne makes it her life to become and be Lizzie – because she believes she has this perfect life.

While she is working on solving the mystery, Hawthorne gets this brilliant idea that Lizzie has turned into a werewolf (did I mention this book is a contemporary YA novel? If not, please keep that in mind because... it is important). Hawthorne doesn't just keep her theory to herself. She tells her brother, her parents, and even Lizzie's boyfriend. And it isn't like 'Oh maybe she was a werewolf", we are talking full researching werewolves, going on hunts, and honestly believing that Lizzie is a werewolf.

The whole werewolf thing was just weird and out of place. I am not sure if it was some attempt at humor or some attempt at fantasy realism or what, but it didn't work. It just seemed like Hawthorne was immature and mentally unstable, and people like Lizzie's boyfriend just encouraged her by taking her on werewolf hunts and doing all this stuff to help 'find the werewolf'.

I honestly thought that Hawthorne was going to turn out to be some mentally ill, bipolar individual. She was so all over the board with the things she would do. For example, she is upset that everyone is upset Lizzie is missing and she claims they shouldn't care because they hadn't seen her in a while. Jump forward a few weeks, Hawthorne is now obsessed with Lizzie's disappearance and she is upset that everyone has moved on.

Another example is of her and her rather rude attitude towards her brother. She just said whatever popped in her head no matter how rude or insensitive it is. I couldn't believe someone would be 17 and not have one single ounce of care for anyone around them. Hawthorne didn't. There had to be something wrong with her.

I will say that Chelsea Sedoti has a really good writing style. It is very conversational and it makes for a fast read. I just feel that this novel could have become so much more than it did. The mystery (which was non-existent) was boring, the ending of the book was unsatisfying, and the obsession with someone you barely knew was just odd. Maybe it would have been better if Hawthorne had been a little nicer, the mystery a little more mysterious, if the werewolf theory wasn't so front and center, or even if Hawthorne and Lizzie had been friends (either currently or in the past). But it wasn't and it just made for a weird read.

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