First in a Young Adult Series - Melting Pot
New Year and New Beginnings
Here we are at the start of another new year. Personally, I’m glad to see 2016 in the rearview mirror. Woooo... 2016 was a tough one on soooooo many levels, but now is the time for a fresh start. Time to reflect on last year, make plans, and set some goals.
What are your goals for 2017?
I have two manuscripts written, edited, and just about ready to go. One is an adult contemporary romance and the other is a young adult (YA) paranormal alternative history. Both books are complete stories that can stand on their own, but my intention is for them to be the first books in their own series. My goal is to get a contract for both of them this year.... There. I’ve said it. I’m speaking my goal into the universe and I am claiming success and abundance.
In honor of this goal, this month’s column features two YA books that are the first books in their respective series. Both feature strong female leads that exemplify inner strength and fortitude.
Let’s add some savories for longevity to The Melting Pot....
A friend who knows that I love great world building and YA adventures recommended this book to me. From the moment she handed her copy to me, I knew I would enjoy it. The cover of Three Dark Crowns is soft and satiny with three beautifully illustrated crowns.
Ok – I’ll be honest and say that this book isn’t as diverse as it could be and it is a bit of a slow starter. You have three queens, their respective courts full of people, and their very individual lands in which they live that you need to know before the action really gets going. It does take almost the first half of the book just to get your arms around the world, but trust me – dear reader – when I say the last half is worth the wait! In fact, the last third truly flies. There are several unexpected twists at the end that will make you absolutely salivate for the next book in the series.
Be warned – this book does end on a bit of a cliffhanger. The next book will be titled One Dark Throne and my quick research on this series stated that the second book will be released sometime this year...probably in the fall. I wouldn’t blame you one bit if you waited for the second book to be released before picking up Three Dark Crowns, but know that you’ll be missing out on a lovely book in the meantime. And for all of my writer friends, this series is an excellent example of methodical world building.
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Fans of acclaimed author Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood will devour her latest novel, a dark and inventive fantasy about three sisters who must fight to the death to become queen.
In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.
But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose...it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.
The last queen standing gets the crown.
WOW... Just WOW! It is hard to believe that The Reader is Traci Chee’s debut YA novel. Ms. Chee gots skillz! I mean crazy skills with regards to story structure, POV, and timelines. Her publisher, Putnam / Penguin Random House, brilliantly executed several graphic design elements within the text that adds to the depth of the story’s world while giving the reader a whole new level of reading experience.
The main character, Sefia, finds herself orphaned and learns that there was way more going on with her parents’ lives than she ever realized. This version of the orphan trope is pretty normal, but don’t be fooled – dear reader – there is NOTHING predictable about this story. There’s magic, assassins, pirates, and (of all things) LIBRARIANS.
This page-turner has a satisfying ‘for now’ ending with hints of many adventures to come. I am thoroughly looking forward to the next book in this series.
The Reader: Book One of Sea of Ink and Gold by Traci Chee
A stunning debut set in a world where reading is unheard-of, perfect for fans of Inkheart and Shadow and Bone
Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible.
With overlapping stories of swashbuckling pirates and merciless assassins, The Reader is a brilliantly told adventure from an extraordinary new talent.
Columnist: C. Morgan Kennedy
I have a confession to make. I’m a time traveler. I love flinging myself into the future, then hurtling fast to an alternative past. In my usual time-space-dimension, I’m a mechanical engineer and business woman. So, I have a natural penchant for hover cars and steam or aether powered engines. Though I was born in the wrong era, I’m actually a child of the sixties – 1860, 1960, 2060.
My stories feature strong women, who know how to wield their minds like weapons. Their men are smart and often controlling….but, rest assured, my female leads give them a run for their money. They strive to follow their hearts and dreams for the betterment of themselves and their loved ones. Like my life, all of my stories feature a diverse cast of characters.
With my business partner, Therese Patrick, I work to demystify marketing principles for my author friends. Our first book, Author Marketing 101 Guide & Journal, was published by Gazebo Gardens Publishing and released in October 2013.
Steampunk, futurist, blerd, artist, author, and marketing maven…a real creative force of nature – that’s me in a nutshell.
Keep tabs on my adventures via my blog, Morgan’s Mix Tape, on my website: http://www.cmorgankennedy.com.