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Spotlight: Animal Book Recommendations by Simon David Eden

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Book Angel Booktopia welcomes Simon David Eden today to share recommendations for books featuring animals. Terrific picks for any animal lover or fans of Michael Morpurgo.

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The initial inspiration for The Savage Kingdom came from my daughter Millie, who – aged around 10 – began to ask some really smart, challenging questions about life and the universe which I wanted to try to answer as best I could.  I thought if I could weave some of those answers into a ‘story’ I could deal with some weighty issues like bullying and bereavement and destruction of the rain-forest, while also shining a light on some of the good stuff: unconditional love, respect for others, self-belief, hope. It didn’t get me off the hook however, as I took so long to start writing the book!  It didn’t really take off until our rescue cat Bagherra entered our lives. It was observing his relationship with Millie that became the glue for the whole thing and set the tone for the tale and the two central characters Drue and Will-C.  I knew right from the beginning that I wanted to open the story very small, very familiar, just a kid and a pet which everyone can relate to, before taking the reader off, on a rip-roaring, page-turning fantasy adventure.

Given I grew up with wonderful stories like Aesop’s Fables, The Jungle Book, and The Lion The Witch & The Wardrobe it’s perhaps no surprise that I’d eventually turn to writing fantasy featuring animal characters. But that’s not to say they can be any less well-researched or developed than human characters. One still needs to give them layers and nuances and hidden depths. Subtext is everything. Actually, quite often you can plumb even greater depths and make very challenging subject matter more accessible through the device, as you are one step removed. Think of Art Spiegelman’s extraordinary graphic novel Maus, or George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece Animal Farm or even Kafka’s classic Metamorphosis.

And finally a ‘dad’ fact!  Did you know that scientists estimate there are 8.7 million species on the Earth, and we’ve only encountered and identified about 1.2 million of those. Amazing isn’t it! That’s an awful lot of animals we know nothing about, and yet we continue to destroy their natural habitat and drive them to extinction in the name of profit and progress. Besides being a fun and gripping read (I hope!) if The Savage Kingdom encourages even one reader to do their bit to make the world a better, more sustainable, more harmonious place for all the creatures that share it, the long hard slog to getting the tale out into the world will have been more than worth it!

And if you’ve an appetite for more novels that feature animals/animal-human relationships, these are a few all-time classics that I think are very special:

 ‘The Call of the Wild’ – Jack London (pub 1903)

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

It’s a harsh, often brutal tale of Buck, a St. Bernard-Scotch Collie who is stolen from his home and sold into a slavery of sorts as a sled dog. It’s an epic journey (they get me every time) and a story of survival against terrible odds, cruelty and hardship, but one that’s ultimately about redemption and the power of love and trust. I remember reading it by torchlight in bed under the covers, and though I’m sure the nature vs nurture allegorical theme was lost on me at the time, so potent was the tale I was completely transported to another land, and could feel the bitter cold and crunch of the snow and the hot breath of the panting dogs. Wonderful stuff.

 Jonathan Livingston Seagull’ – Richard Bach (pub 1972)

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

The acclaimed fantasy/sci-fi author Ray Bradbury once said of this book that it does 2 things: ‘It gives me Flight and makes me Young’. I couldn’t agree more, but I’d add a third: It makes me Smile. And a forth: It makes me Cry. In a good way, as it’s so simple yet so profound and beautiful. I picked it up again recently having not read it in maybe 20 years, and there’s no question that it had an influence on The Savage Kingdom. You could say it was my introduction to quantum physics before I even knew such a thing existed. There’s a passage that reads: ‘you’ve got to understand that a seagull is an unlimited idea of freedom … your whole body from wingtip to wingtip is nothing more than thought itself.’  For that last line alone, I owe Mr Bach a debt of enormous gratitude.

‘Red Ruff’ – H Mortimer Batten (pub 1937)

Another book I read and re-read when I was still in short trousers. The amazing life story of fox as told by a man who perhaps inspired an entire generation to think more deeply about Nature, so passionate and knowledgeable was he about the great outdoors. Again a massive influence on my future writing career, as it was the first novel I became totally immersed in, that seamlessly blends well-researched fact with finely crafted page-turning fiction. Though he seems to be largely forgotten today, he’s a true literary star for me, and I’d highly recommend this tale for any young reader aged 8+

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Spotlight plus Give-Away: Hard Knox by Nicole Williams

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COVER REVEAL

HARD KNOX

A New Series by NYT Bestselling Author Nicole Williams 

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 The Outsider Chronicles, #1

New Adult/Adult Contemporary

Releasing August 12, 2014

Cover designed by Okay Creations

Knox Jagger. The name inspires resent in every male at Sinclair University, want in every female, and contempt in Charlie Chase.

Charlie can be summed up in three words: independent, independent, and independent. To Charlie, Knox epitomizes everything that’s wrong with college males: prolific one-night stands, drunken senseless fights, and a body that hints at prioritizing gym time over study time.

As an up-and-coming writer for Sinclair University’s newspaper, Charlie’s tasked with getting to the bottom of who’s been dropping little white pills into girls’ drinks at parties. In an ocean of All-American boys sporting polo shirts and innocent smiles, Knox is the obvious suspect. As evidence piles up against the bad boy of Sinclair, Charlie becomes more and more certain it isn’t Knox. But when her drink is dosed at a party and she wakes up on Knox’s couch the next morning, Charlie’s left with more questions than answers when it comes to Knox Jagger.

How can Charlie ever hope to uncover the truth behind a guy so closed off he’s become . . .

Hard Knox.

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About the Author

I’m the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the CRASH series (HarperTeen, S&S UK), LOST & FOUND series, UP IN FLAMES (S&S UK), The EDEN TRILOGY, and a handful of others. I write stories about everyday kinds of people who find themselves in extraordinary kinds of situations. I tell love stories with happy endings because I believe in making the world a better place, and that’s one tiny way I can make it so. I’m one of those people who still believe in true love and soul mates, and would rather keep my head in the clouds any day over having my feet firmly on the ground.

Blog | Twitter | Facebook

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The author is offering (1) print copy of HARD KNOX! Visit her Facebook page to enter 

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To sign-up for the HARD KNOX Blog Hop in honor of this release and/or the HARD KNOX Blog Tour, visit AToMR’s site

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Spotlight plus Give-Away: Unwritten by Chelsea M Cameron

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BOOK SUMMARY

Children’s librarian by day. Romance novelist by night.
British single father.
Someone else is writing this love story…

Blair Walton isn’t your average curvaceous tattooed children’s librarian. She’s also one half of bestselling romance author, Scarlet Rose. Along with her BFF Raine, she spends her nights writing books so steamy, she’s afraid they would shock her Southern conservative grandmother to death . . . if she knew about them. That’s why she and Raine write in secret.

On deadline for their latest book and out of ideas, Raine suggests (demands) that Blair find a guy and “do some research”. Declan Bennet has all the qualifications: He’s British, looks fabulous in a suit, has glorious blue eyes and gets bonus points for being an amazing single dad to his adorable son, Drake. But what starts out as a research project quickly turns into something much more. And Blair’s not the only one with secrets.

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Buy Links Amazon/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

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Author Information

Chelsea M. Cameron is a YA/NA New York Times/USA Today Best Selling author from Maine. Lover of things random and ridiculous, Jane Austen/Charlotte and Emily Bronte Fangirl, red velvet cake enthusiast, obsessive tea drinker, vegetarian, former cheerleader and world’s worst video gamer. When not writing, she enjoys watching infomercials, singing in the car and tweeting (this one time, she was tweeted by Neil Gaiman). She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maine, Orono that she promptly abandoned to write about the people in her own head. More often than not, these people turn out to be just as weird as she is.

Her New Adult Contemporary Romance titles include My Favorite Mistake, which has been bought by Harlequin along with a sequel, Deeper We Fall and Faster We Burn (April 20, 2013)

Her Young Adult books include Nocturnal, Nightmare and Neither, the first three books in The Noctalis Chronicles. The fourth and final book, Neverend will be out in 2013. Whisper, the first in The Whisper Trilogy is also available, with the second book in the series, Silence and the final book, LIsten coming out in 2014.

Website/Twitter/Facebook/Goodreads

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Spotlight plus Give-Away: The Hazards of Sex on the Beach by Alyssa Rose Ivy

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THE HAZARDS OF SEX ON THE BEACH Synopsis

One broken heart, one drink too many, one steamy night in the sand…

No one warns you about the dangers of drinking with a broken heart. At least no one warned me. I never imagined I’d fall for a musician, especially not one like Chase, but then again I never expected to have my heart broken into a million pieces by the frat guy I thought was the love of my life.

Sometimes it’s the rash decisions, like hooking up in the sand, that lead you to the best places—the kinds of places where it’s possible to let yourself fall in love again.

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Buy Links: Amazon/Nook/Itunes/Kobo/Google Play

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Alyssa Rose Ivy Bio

Alyssa Rose Ivy is a New Adult and Young Adult author who loves to weave stories with romance and a southern setting. Although raised in the New York area, she fell in love with the South after moving to New Orleans for college. After years as a perpetual student, she turned back to her creative side and decided to write. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and two young children, and she can usually be found with a cup of coffee in her hand.

Links: Twitter/Author Goodreads/Pinterest/Website/Facebook

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Spotlight: Letting Go by Molly McAdams

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BOOK SUMMARY

Grey and Ben fell in love at thirteen and believed they’d be together forever. But three days before their wedding, the twenty-year-old groom-to-be suddenly died from an unknown heart condition, destroying his would-be-bride’s world. If it hadn’t been for their best friend, Jagger, Grey never would have made it through those last two years to graduation. He’s the only one who understands her pain, the only one who knows what it’s like to force yourself to keep moving when your dreams are shattered. Jagger swears he’ll always be there for her, but no one has ever been able to hold on to him. He’s not the kind of guy to settle down.

It’s true that no one has ever been able to keep Jagger—because he’s only ever belonged to Grey. While everyone else worries over Grey’s fragility, he’s the only one who sees her strength. Yet as much as he wants Grey, he knows her heart will always be with Ben. Still they can’t deny the heat that is growing between them—a passion that soon becomes too hot to handle. But admitting their feelings for each other means they’ve got to face the past. Is being together what Ben would have wanted . . . or a betrayal of his memory that will eventually destroy them both?

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